Strauss Center News

Updates from the Strauss Center and our affiliated distinguished scholars and fellows


Moran Makes Case for a New U.S. Strategy for Fragile States

Jun 1, 2016 |

On Tuesday, May 24, the Truman Center hosted a panel discussion on a new publication entitled “A Call for a New Strategic Approach to Fragile States,” written by Strauss Center Associate Director Ashley Moran and Andrew Albertson. The paper argues that the changing national security landscape requires a comprehensive, strategic approach toward fragile states. 

The authors assert that, with threats to American national security—including terrorism, pandemics, and the spread of violence—increasingly emanating from fragile states, the absence of a more proactive strategy towards fragile states means a growing portion of U.S. assistance and military resources are spent responding to conflicts and atrocities after they occur—an approach that is both costly and ineffective.

The event briefing the publication was opened by Truman Center President and CEO Michael Breen and featured a conversation with the publication’s authors who outlined the case for prioritizing fragile states and investing in crisis prevention. The event was attended by representatives from the U.S. Defense Department, U.S. State Department, USAID’s Office of Transition Initiatives, USAID’s Democracy and Governance office, National Defense University, civilian universities, think tanks, civil society organizations, and the private sector.

Moran briefed attendees on the drivers of state fragility, underscoring how empirical research on these drivers could be integrated into an assessment and response framework focused on preventing state crises.

The publication launched at the event is the first in a series of four briefs that together propose a framework for understanding and responding to fragile states, including a comprehensive new Strategy for Fragile States outlining actionable recommendations for the next administration. The forthcoming second brief examines existing policy and academic literature on fragility, tackling the complaint that state fragility is too complex to adequately understand, assess, or address. The third brief reviews options for mitigating fragility in partner states through combined development, diplomatic, and defense engagement. And the fourth and final brief discusses specific U.S. government bureaucratic and legislative reforms necessary to implement this strategy.