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Entrepreneurship & Nation-Building

Mark Marich

According to a new paper on ‘expeditionary economics’ by the Kauffman Foundation, the United States should establish a new school of military government focused on creating a scalable cadre of nation-building experts.

"Revisiting a School of Military Government," is the third paper in a series to reconsider the United States' approach to military and civilian development in areas stricken by conflict and natural disasters. The series suggests that a country’s political and social stability stems from economic opportunity and job growth. In the paper, Rebecca Patterson further explains, “Its premise is that economic development is essential for the longer-term success of many military interventions, but while the United States has enjoyed military success abroad, our discouraging record in promoting economic growth and development has at times prevented us from attaining strategic success.”

She goes on to suggest that such a school would be based on the model of the WWII-era School of Military Government (SOMG) and its Civil Affairs Training Program, established by the U.S. Army in 1942, which proved highly effective in rapidly training several thousand military officers and civilian experts to support the successful transitions to civilian government in postwar Germany and Japan.

Patterson points to the previous School of Military Government, which was based in Charlottesville, Va., but partnered with several universities including Harvard, Stanford, and the University of Chicago, to offer Civil Affairs Training Schools (CATS) as the demand for civil affairs experts grew rapidly during WWII. Curricula among the schools varied, with SOMG graduates focused on higher-level military strategy and CATS graduates focused on local/regional efforts; the system's flexibility allowed the United States to quickly ramp up its training efforts as more personnel were needed. A new program, as described in the paper, would provide rigorous training in areas such as rule of law, economic stability, governance, public health and welfare, infrastructure, and public education and information.

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