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March 23, 2005

Stabilization Corps
Posted by Suzanne Nossel

Lorelei, I have thought for some time that there ought to be a civilian version stabilization corps - sort of a hybrid between the military and the peace corps.  (Mostly) young people would sign up for a two year stint, receive 4-6 months training and then be deployed to do things like rebuild schools and clinics and help administer municipalities.  Once deployed, these people could take some of the burden off the military in post-conflict situations, allowing our soldiers to concentrate on what they do best. 

Provided there was some opportunity to choose the kind of work you'd do, a program like this could potentially attract Ivy League grads and others who are highly unlikely to enlist in the military.  It could also utilize more experienced mid-career professionals with relevant skills sets (contractors, electricians, public health experts) like the Peace Corps does. 

When not fully utilized in post-conflict reconstruction missions the likes of Iraq and Afghanistan, members could be deployed as part of the missions of the UN (all of which depend on contributions of personnel from member states) or other multinational organizations like NATO or the OSCE. 

The goal would be to bring up the capacity in the area of post-conflict reconstruction to the standards we hold for military interventions.  While lots of ideas have been tossed around, it seems as though there's been minimal concrete progress in figuring out how to avoid the debacle of an overloaded, ill-suited military trying to handle the Iraqi occupation.


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a test...

Hi All,

Not meaning to rain on anyones parade here, but I'm a Brit.

What you are talking about here, as an organization, has been done before.... it was called the colonial office.

Presuming these people are going to be paid and financed by the US government. Further, presuming they are going to be tasked with providing support for a government with which the US government is happy and has close ties.

Then, this is just the colonial office.



This does smack quite a bit of "taking up the white mans burden" to me as well.

What makes the Peace Corps work is that they're deployed in areas where they are welcomed. It's highly unlikely that similar conditions would prevail consecutive or concurrent to the use of military force.

The idea the Iraqi debacle could have been handled better with more troops and such a "stabilization corps" makes the same critical mistake of the Bush administration. It ignores the underlying social and cultural terrain while vastly over-estimating the extent to which people halfway around the world are willing to be occupied.

A better idea is figuring out how to promote indigenous skillbuilding, infrastrucutre ownership/stewardship, and to accomplish this without the aggressive use of force (which pretty much poisons the well).

Too dangerous. Peace Corp-type operations CANNOT immediately follow our wars. Our Peace Corp DOES NOT go into U.S. created war-torn countries. Our people would be kidnapped and killed. This is a really bad idea.

Too dangerous. Peace Corp-type operations CANNOT immediately follow our wars. Our Peace Corp DOES NOT go into U.S. created war-torn countries. Our people would be kidnapped and killed. This is a really bad idea.

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