A Better Approach to Interagency Coordination for Failed States?

Complex Security

Yesterday’s article in The National Interest is particularly interesting in the discussion of covert vs. clandestine operations and the authorities for each. It also makes a suggestion that Ambassador-led interagency teams in the field be given primary responsibility for planning and execution of strategies where national interests collide with failing states.

Two themes of the article are flawed in my opinion. The first is their framework is too dependent on the nation-state centric organization of the State Department. Problems are increasingly not organized by nation state but are cross border or even non-geographical. Is ISIS an Iraq problem or a Syria problem? Is the Taliban an Afghanistan problem or a Pakistan problem?

The second is that their solution ignores – and perhaps even misassumes – that the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan were organizational and not strategic. The nation-building centric model for stabilization of fragile states is a bad model…

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