from Center for Preventive Action

In the Wake of War

Improving U.S. Post-Conflict Capabilities

Task Force Report
Analysis and policy prescriptions of major foreign policy issues facing the United States, developed through private deliberations among a diverse and distinguished group of experts.

This Council-sponsored, independent Task Force points out that nation-building is not just a humanitarian concern, but a critical national security priority that should be on par with war-fighting and urges the United States to equalize the importance of the two. The report argues that the United States must acknowledge that “war-fighting has two important dimensions: winning the war and winning the peace.”

Samuel R. Berger

Chairman, Albright Stonebridge Group

Mona K. Sutphen

Foreign Service Officer, National Security Council 1991 to 2000

Brent Scowcroft

Resident Trustee, The Forum for International Policy

The Task Force, cochaired by former national security advisers Samuel R. Berger and Brent Scowcroft and directed by retired Army Major General William L. Nash, finds that “to succeed, initial military combat operations require advance planning and a substantial commitment of money and manpower. The same is true for the subsequent phase of conflict, commonly called nation-building, and known inside the Pentagon as ‘stabilization and reconstruction.’ The failure to take this phase of conflict as seriously as initial combat operations has had serious consequences for the United States, not just in Iraq but, more broadly, for international efforts to stabilize and rebuild nations after conflict.”

More on:

Conflict Prevention


The U.S. government is currently poorly organized for the task of nation-building. “The higher priority now accorded to nation-building has yet to be matched by a comprehensive policy or institutional capacity within the U.S. government to engage successfully in stabilization and reconstruction missions,” the report says.

The Task Force calls on the president to make it clear that building America’s capability to conduct stabilization and reconstruction operations will be a top foreign policy priority. The report recommends concrete ways for the Bush administration to reorganize to take on these challenges, including giving greater authority to the State Department.

More on:

Conflict Prevention


Task Force Members

Task Force and Working Group Members

FREDERICK D. BARTON is Codirector of the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project at Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and also serves as Senior Adviser in the International Security Program. Prior to that, he was the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva and was the first director of the Office of Transition Initiatives at the U.S. Agency for International Development in Washington, DC.

PETER D. BELL is President of CARE USA. He was also President of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation in New York, a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and President of the Inter-American Foundation, a public agency that supports grassroots development in Latin America and the Caribbean. From 1977 through 1979, he was initially Special Assistant to the Secretary and then Deputy Undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

NORA J. BENSAHEL is a Political Scientist at the RAND Corporation, specializing in military strategy and doctrine. Her recent work has examined post-conflict reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq, military coalitions, and multilateral interventions. She has held fellowships at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and at the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University. Dr. Bensahel is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University.

SAMUEL R. BERGER is Chairman of Stonebridge International, LLC, an international strategic advisory firm based in Washington, DC. Mr. Berger served as National Security Adviser to President Clinton from 1997 to 2000, as Deputy National Security Adviser from 1993 to 1996, and as Deputy Director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff from 1977 to 1980. Prior to his service as National Security Adviser, Mr. Berger spent sixteen years with the Washington law firm of Hogan and Hartson, where he headed the firm's international group.

HENRY S. BIENEN has been President of Northwestern University since 1995. Prior to his current appointment, he was James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor and Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. President Bienen has been a member of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University and a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He was a member of the Senior Review Panel at the Central Intelligence Agency and has been a consultant to the U.S. Department of State, the National Security Council, USAID, the World Bank, and many other corporations and foundations.

HANS BINNENDIJK holds the Theodore Roosevelt Chair in National Security Policy and is Director of the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at the National Defense University. He previously served on the National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Defense Policy and Arms Control, and as Principal Deputy Director of the State Department's Policy Planning Staff. Mr. Binnendijk also served as Deputy Staff Director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

CHUCK HAGEL is Nebraska's senior U.S. Senator and is serving his second term in the Senate. He is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations International Economic Policy, Export, and Trade Promotion Subcommittee and of the Senate Banking Securities and Investment Subcommittee. Senator Hagel also serves on the Intelligence Committee, Rules Committee and the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee.

ANTONIA HANDLER CHAYES is Visiting Professor of International Politics and Law at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. She chairs the Project on International Institutions and Conflict Management of the Program on Negotiation at the Harvard Law School. Professor Chayes was Vice Chair and Senior Consultant of Conflict Management Group (CMG), a nonprofit international dispute resolution organization. During the Carter administration, she was Assistant and later Undersecretary of the U.S. Air Force.

JOCK COVEY served in Kosovo as a Principal Deputy at UNMIK and in Bosnia as Deputy High Representative. A career Foreign Service Officer, he also served twice at the NSC as Special Assistant to the President for Near Eastern and South Asian affairs in the Reagan Administration and for Implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords in the Clinton Administration. He is currently a Senior Vice President of Bechtel Corporation.

IVO H. DAALDER is a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at the Brookings Institution, where he also holds the Sydney Stein Jr. Chair in International Security. He is a frequent commentator on current affairs and has authored ten books. From 1995 to 1996, Dr. Daalder served as Director for European Affairs on President Clinton’s National Security staff, where he was responsible for coordinating U.S. policy toward Bosnia.

JAMES F. DOBBINS is Director of the International Security and Defense Policy Center at the RAND Corporation. He has held State Department and White House posts, including Assistant Secretary of State for Europe, Special Assistant to the President for the Western Hemisphere, Special Adviser to the President and Secretary of State for the Balkans, and Ambassador to the European Community. Mr. Dobbins has handled a variety of crisis management assignments as the Clinton administration's special envoy for Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Kosovo, and the Bush administration's first special envoy for Afghanistan. He is principal author of the two-volume RAND publication History of Nation-Building.

EVELYN N. FARKAS is a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Committee on Armed Services, where she focuses on Asia-Pacific and Western Hemisphere foreign and defense policy, counterterrorism, homeland defense, special operations, and counter-drug and export controls policy. She taught national security strategy, military history, and international relations at the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College. Dr. Farkas is the author of Fractured States and Foreign Policy: Iraq, Ethiopia, and Bosnia in the 1990s.

SHEPARD L. FORMAN has been Director of the Center on International Cooperation at New York University since 1996. Prior to founding the Center, he was Director of International Affairs Programs and Director of Human Rights and Governance Programs at the Ford Foundation. He is coeditor, with Stewart Patrick, of Good Intentions: Pledges of Aid to Countries Emerging from Conflict and Multilateralism and U.S. Foreign Policy: Ambivalent Engagement.

BOB GRAHAM served as U.S. Senator from Florida from 1987 to 2005. He was Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2001 to 2003 and Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee from 1993 to 1995. Prior to his election to the U.S. Senate, he was Governor of Florida and a State Senator. Senator Graham is author, with Jeff Nussbaum, of Intelligence Matters: The CIA, the FBI, Saudi Arabia, and the Failure of America's War on Terror.

JOHN J. HAMRE was elected President and CEO of the Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) in January 2000. He came to CSIS from the Defense Department, where he served as Deputy Secretary of Defense from 1997 to 1999 and as Undersecretary of Defense (Comptroller) from 1993 to 1997. Dr. Hamre also worked for ten years as a professional staff member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. From 1978 to 1984, he served in the Congressional Budget Office, where he became Deputy Assistant Director for National Security and International Affairs.

JANE HARMAN is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (D-CA) and serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. She is the ranking Democrat of the Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security.

VICTORIA K. HOLT is a Senior Associate at the Henry L. Stimson Center, where she codirects the Future of Peace Operations project. She recently coauthored a study of peacekeeping reforms at the United Nations and also looks at regional capacities in Africa for peace operations and efforts to improve peacekeeping and rule-of-law tools. Ms. Holt's prior experience includes serving as Senior Policy Adviser at the State Department (Legislative Affairs), directing the Project on Peacekeeping and the UN at the Center for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, and serving as a senior congressional staffer.

ROBERT D. HORMATS is Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs (International) and Managing Director of Goldman, Sachs and Co. He served as a senior staff member for international economic affairs on the National Security Council from 1969 to 1977, during which time he was Senior Economic Adviser to Henry A. Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, and Zbigniew Brzezinski. He also served as Senior Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Ambassador and Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, and Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs.

JEFF KOJAC is the Executive Officer of Marine Air Support Squadron 2. His previous assignments were at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the National Security Council, and the Marine Corps Commandant's Staff.

DAVID A. LIPTON is Managing Director, Head of Global Country Risk Management at Citigroup. He joined Citigroup following five years at Moore Capital Management. He served in the Treasury Department during the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1998 as Undersecretary for International Affairs, and before that as Assistant Secretary, where he designed and implemented U.S. policy to assist Eastern European countries in their transition to market economies.

WILLIAM L. NASH is the General John W. Vessey Senior Fellow for Conflict Prevention and Director of Center for Preventive Action at the Council on Foreign Relations.

MICHAEL PAN serves as the First Officer for Human Rights in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General at the United Nations. His former positions include Senior Policy Analyst for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress; Political Adviser to the Chief Prosecutor of the Special Court for Sierra Leone; and Associate and Coordinator of the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. During the Clinton administration, he served as the Special Assistant to the Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues at the U.S. Department of State.

ROBIN L. RAPHEL has been Coordinator of Iraq Reconstruction at the U.S. Department of State since 2003. Her previous positions in the State Department include Ambassador to Tunisia and first Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs from 1993 to 1998.

SUSAN E. RICE is a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution. From 1997 to 2001, she was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. Before joining the State Department, Ms. Rice served at the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs and was Director for International Organizations and Peacekeeping at the National Security Council.

DAVID RIEFF is Senior Fellow at the World Policy Institute at the New School University in New York and at the New York Institute for the Humanities of New York University. He is a widely published author on issues such as humanitarian aid, and his books include Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West and A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis.

KENNETH ROTH is the Executive Director of Human Rights Watch, a post he has held since 1993. From 1987 to 1993, Mr. Roth served as Deputy Director of the organization. Previously, he was a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York and the Iran-Contra investigation in Washington, DC. He also worked in private practice as a litigator. Mr. Roth has conducted human rights investigations around the globe.

BRENT SCOWCROFT is President and Founder of the Scowcroft Group. General Scowcroft served as National Security Adviser to both Presidents Gerald Ford and George H. W. Bush. His twenty-nine-year military career began with graduation from West Point and concluded with the rank of Lieutenant General following service as the Deputy National Security Adviser. General Scowcroft's Air Force service included Office of the Secretary of Defense International Security Assistance, Special Assistant to the Director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Military Assistant to President Richard Nixon.

MICHAEL A. SHEEHAN is Deputy Commissioner in the Counterterrorism Bureau at the New York Police Department. He was formerly Assistant Secretary General for Logistics, Management, and Mine Action Service in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations. Before that, Mr. Sheehan served at the State Department as Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of International Organizations. From 1995 to 1997, he was Director of Global Issues and Multilateral Affairs at the National Security Council.

WALTER B. SLOCOMBE is a member of the Washington, DC, law firm Caplin and Drysdale. He was Undersecretary of Defense for Policy in the Clinton administration and served as Senior Adviser for National Security and Defense in the Coalition Provisional Authority for Iraq.

GORDON R. SULLIVAN is President of the Association of the U.S. Army. From 1991 to 1995, he was the thirty-second Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army. General Sullivan has served in a variety of command and staff positions, including four years in joint and allied assignments. His overseas assignments include four tours in Europe, two in Vietnam, and one in Korea. General Sullivan also served in assignments on the Army Staff in Washington, DC, including a tour as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans and as the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army. He also serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

MONA K. SUTPHEN is Managing Director of Stonebridge International, LLC. Previously, she was Vice President at Currenex, an institutional forex trading platform. A Foreign Service Officer from 1991 to 2000, she served at the National Security Council, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, and in the Office of the High Representative on civilian implementation of the Bosnia Peace Agreement.

FAREED ZAKARIA is Editor of Newsweek International and writes a regular column for Newsweek. His 2003 book, The Future of Freedom, was a New York Times best-seller and is being translated into 18 languages. He is a political commentator for ABC News and is the host of PBS's "Foreign Exchange." Dr. Zakaria previously was managing editor of Foreign Affairs.

Top Stories on CFR


A year into the civil war in Sudan, more than eight million people have been displaced, exacerbating an already devastating humanitarian crisis.


The unprecedented Iranian attack on Israel presents U.S. officials with mounting challenges in trying to contain the conflict and maintain a deterrence against Iran and its allies.


The highlights from Kishida Fumio's busy week in Washington.