Reconstruction and Stabilization Planning

As reinforced by recent lessons in Iraq and Afghanistan, the success of US government efforts to respond to complex reconstruction and stabilization environments requires an integrated, interagency approach. NSPD-44 designated the Secretary of State to coordinate and lead US efforts to prepare for, plan, conduct and assess reconstruction and stabilization activities. Over the past several years, S/CRS has been building a "whole-of-government" planning framework, associated with its Interagency Management System, for reconstruction and stabilization. The planning framework accounts for both crisis response and long-term scenario-based planning. A guiding principle is the inclusion of all relevant US government departments and agencies in the planning process.

Image of the New Planning Framework for R and S

Text description of this graphic is available on a separate page.


View the Foreign Assistance Framework Chart.

The planning framework for reconstruction and stabilization establishes a four-stage process:

  • Situation analysis assembles data and strategic information to build a knowledge base on vulnerable countries using the Interagency Conflict Assessment Framework.
  • Policy formulation articulates clear policy options with associated risks and benefits in the form of a Policy Advisory Memo. A Principals or Deputies Committee issues a Policy Statement that sets the reconstruction and stabilization goals, provides estimated resource availability, and designates the lead US agency responsible for planning and the lead US official responsible for reconstruction and stabilization operations.
  • Strategy development results in an approved US government reconstruction and stabilization Strategic Plan that prioritizes, sequences, and identifies cross-sectoral linkages of US government efforts. The Strategic Plan includes:
    • Plan overview template—one page graphic depiction of the plan
    • Strategic plan narrative—situation analysis; overarching policy goal; critical planning considerations; major mission elements; prioritization, sequencing and linkages of major mission elements
    • Comprehensive resource and management strategy—rough order of magnitude requirements and availabilities for each major mission element
    • Major mission element concepts—approach for achieving this mission; linkages with other mission elements; sub-objectives; criteria for success; capability requirements; other planning considerations
    • Relevant technical annexes (e.g., logistics, personnel, etc.)
    • Decisions that remain in Washington (e.g., decision to work with host nation armed forces)
  • Interagency implementation planning is an iterative process to synchronize diplomatic, development and defense implementation planning and tasks towards the Strategic Plan. This plan refines major mission element concepts based on the development of sub-objective concepts, determines how to use resources, establishes evaluation metrics, and continues to synchronize cross-sectoral activities.

As this planning framework comes into use, lessons will be incorporated on how best to create the desired unity of effort in reconstruction and stabilization missions.