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Helping Others Defend Themselves

The Future of U.S. Security Assistance

Courtesy Reuters

In the decades to come, the most lethal threats to the United States' safety and security -- a city poisoned or reduced to rubble by a terrorist attack -- are likely to emanate from states that cannot adequately govern themselves or secure their own territory. Dealing with such fractured or failing states is, in many ways, the main security challenge of our time.

For the Defense Department and the entire U.S. government, it is also a complex institutional challenge. The United States is unlikely to repeat a mission on the scale of those in Afghanistan or Iraq anytime soon -- that is, forced regime change followed by nation building under fire. But as the Pentagon's Quadrennial Defense Review recently concluded, the United States is still likely to face scenarios requiring a familiar tool kit of capabilities, albeit on a smaller scale. In these situations, the effectiveness and credibility of

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