InterAgency Essay 12-02W, June 2012
by Matthew Denny
This essay explores village stability operations (VSO) in Afghanistan as an “innovative, low-cost, and small footprint” method of achieving U.S. security objectives. New strategic guidance from the Department of Defense (DoD) calls for such measures as a means to fight and win America’s wars, prevent conflict, and shape the security environment.
Promoting stability in failed or failing states is a national security interest of the U.S. and their regional partners, as failed or failing states provide opportunities for transnational crime, terrorism, and other destabilizing activities. VSO in Afghanistan serves as a template for interagency efforts in dispute resolution and fostering relationships with local governements, and provides a conceptual framework to achieve a shared understanding among interagency partners to address both conflict and state fragility where it matters most—at the local level.
The concept of Afghan VSO has a wider application for other interagency efforts to prevent conflict and promote stability in failed or failing states. VSO facilitates coordinating interagency efforts to build local governance capacity and to link the community to the Afghan government.
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