Masters Thesis

Model for measuring nation-building progress and addressing threats from weak and failing states in the Middle East

According to Wyler (2008), weak and failing states are often in conflict, at risk of conflict, or newly emerging from conflict. Poor governance, corruption, and lack of basic public services impede their stability. They do not have effective control of their territory, military, or law enforcement. In addition, weak states are unable to achieve lasting economic development. As a result, weak and failing states become safe havens for terrorist and international crime organizations. They cause regional instability and facilitate those seeking Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). These threats pose a danger to the United States and its national interests. Protecting the United States from these threats requires conducting successful nation-building operations. Nation building is critical to “winning the peace” and denying safe havens and networks to terrorists and insurgents. This is a means of integrating war and policy. According to Cohen (2005), there is reluctance to establishing stabilization and reconstruction metrics in order to measure nation-building progress. The concern is that the metrics will be manipulated to push political agenda. As a result, objective metrics for measuring the outcomes of nation building efforts in the Middle East have not been established. This study applies Cohen‟s (2006) proposed cascading model for measuring nation-building progress in the Middle East. Using this method, the metrics are linked to stabilization outcomes providing objective feedback on stabilization progress so mission planners can make better decisions. The metrics developed indicate the situation close to ground truth as possible. Additionally, this study recommends: that metrics be developed for the Transformation and Fostering phases; that outside auditors collect metric data; that metrics be critically analyzed; and that these analyses be used by decision-makers to determine nation-building progress and whether the current strategy is working.

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