Success in war ultimately depends on the consolidation of political order. Nadia Schadlow argues that the steps needed to consolidate a new political order are not separate from war. They are instead an essential component of war and victory.
The challenge of governance operations did not start with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US Army’s involvement in the political and economic reconstruction of states has been central to all its armed conflicts from large-scale conventional wars to so-called irregular or counterinsurgency wars. Yet, US policymakers and military leaders have failed to institutionalize lessons on how to consolidate combat gains into desired political outcomes. War and the Art of Governance examines fifteen historical cases of US Army military interventions, from the Mexican War through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Improving future outcomes will require US policymakers and military leaders to accept that plans, timelines, and resources must be shaped to reflect this reality before they intervene in a conflict, not after things go wrong.
Schadlow provides clear lessons for students and scholars of security studies and military history, as well as for policymakers and the military personnel who will be involved in the next foreign intervention.