Weak and Failing States: Evolving Security Threats and U.S. Policy

Weak and Failing States: Evolving Security
Threats and U.S. Policy
Updated August 28, 2008
Liana Sun Wyler
Analyst in International Crime and Narcotics
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division

Weak and Failing States:
Evolving Security Threats and U.S. Policy
Although long a component of U.S. foreign policy, strengthening weak and
failing states has increasingly emerged as a high-priority U.S. national security goal
since the end of the Cold War. Numerous U.S. government documents point to
several threats emanating from states that are variously described as weak, fragile,
vulnerable, failing, precarious, failed, in crisis, or collapsed. These threats include
providing safe havens for terrorists, organized crime, and other illicit groups; causing
conflict, regional instability, and humanitarian emergencies; and undermining efforts
to promote democracy, good governance, and economic sustainability.
The U.S. government remains in the early stages of developing targeted
capabilities and resources for addressing a complex mix of security, development,
and governance challenges confronting weak states. U.S. programs and initiatives fall
under five main categories: (1) conflict and threat early warning, (2) international
cooperation and diplomacy, (3) foreign development assistance, (4) post-conflict
stability operations, and (5) interagency coordination. However, as U.S. policies
toward weak and failing states have grown in priority and cost, particularly since
9/11, some policy makers and analysts have begun to question the Administration’s
commitment to addressing effectively the problems posed by these states.
Congress plays a crucial role in the funding and oversight of programs designed
to address weak and failing states. Several recent bills in the 110th Congress and laws
directly relate to and have changed aspects of U.S. policy toward these states.
Among these include efforts to address (1) civilian post-conflict management
authorities and funding (S. 613/H.R. 1084, S. 3288, and H.R. 5658), (2) temporary
Department of Defense (DOD) funding transfer authorities to the State Department
for security and stabilization assistance (S. 3001/H.R. 5658), (3) temporary DOD
security assistance authorities and funding (S. 3001/H.R. 5658), and (4) options for
reforming foreign assistance and interagency coordination (as mandated in P.L. 108-

199 and P.L. 109-364).

This report first provides definitions of weak states and describes the links
between weak states, U.S. national security, and development challenges. Second,
the report surveys recent key U.S. programs and initiatives designed to address
threats emanating from weak states. Finally, it highlights relevant issues about U.S.
policy toward these states that Congress may consider.
For further analysis, see CRS Report RL32862, Peacekeeping and Conflict
Transitions: Background and Congressional Action on Civilian Capabilities, by Nina
Serafino and Martin Weiss; CRS Report RS22855, Section 1206 of the National
Defense Authorization Act for FY2006: A Fact Sheet on Department of Defense
Authority to Train and Equip Foreign Military Forces, by Nina Serafino; CRS
Report RS22871, Department of Defense “Section 1207” Security and Stabilization
Assistance: A Fact Sheet, by Nina Serafino; and CRS Report RL34455, Organizing
the U.S. Government for National Security: Overview of the Interagency Reform
Debates, by Catherine Dale, Nina Serafino, and Pat Towell.

Scope of the Issue.................................................1
Definitions and Characteristics.......................................4
Links to U.S. National Security Threats................................5
Current Threats...............................................6
Terrorism ................................................6
International Crime........................................7
Weapons Proliferation......................................8
Regional Instability........................................8
Challenges to Development..........................................9
Issues for New U.S. Programs and Initiatives...........................10
Conflict and Threat Early Warning...............................10
International Diplomacy........................................11
Foreign Assistance............................................12
Transformational Development..............................12
Civilian Stabilization Assistance.............................13
USAID’s Fragile States Strategy.............................14
Military, Police, and Counter-Terrorism Assistance..............14
Post-Conflict Stability Operations................................15
Civilian Capabilities......................................15
Military Capabilities......................................16
Interagency Coordination.......................................17
Possible Legislative Issues for Congress...............................19
Civilian Post-Conflict Management Authorities.....................19
DOD Transfer Authority to the State Department for Security and
Stabilization Assistance....................................21
DOD Global Train and Equip Authorities and Funding...............21
Foreign Police Training Authorities..............................22
Interagency Policy Effectiveness.................................23
Appendix A. Definitions of Weak States...............................25
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)............25
National Intelligence Council (NIC)..........................25
National Security Council (NSC)............................25
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).................25
U.S. Interagency Working Group on International Crime..........26
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) ............................................26
Political Instability Task Force (PITF).........................26
U.S. Commission on Weak States............................26
World Bank.............................................26

List of Tables
Table 1. 2007 World Bank Fragile States/Territories.....................28
Table 2. 2007 U.S. Department of State Foreign Assistance Framework
“Rebuilding Countries”........................................28
Table 3. 2007 George Mason University Researchers’ State Fragility Index...29
Table 4. 2007 Fund for Peace Failed States Index........................30
Table 5. 2008 Brookings Institution Index of State Weakness in the
Developing World............................................31
Table 6. Comparison List...........................................32

Weak and Failing States:
Evolving Security Threats and U.S. Policy
Scope of the Issue
Although long a component of U.S. foreign policy, successive U.S.
Administrations have explicitly identified weak or failing states as U.S. national
security concerns since 1998. The past three U.S. National Security Strategy
documents all point to several threats emanating from states that are variously
described as weak, fragile, vulnerable, failing, precarious, failed, in crisis, or
collapsed.1 These threats include providing safe havens for terrorists, organized
crime, and other illicit groups; causing or exacerbating conflict, regional instability,
and humanitarian emergencies; and undermining efforts to promote democracy, good
governance, and economic sustainability. The President, in his 2005 National
Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 44, asserts that “the United States should
work ... to anticipate state failure, avoid it whenever possible, and respond quickly
and effectively when necessary and appropriate....”
To this end, the Administration has established as a goal the “transformation”
of U.S. national security institutions “to meet the challenges and opportunities of the
21st century,” which includes strengthening weak and failing states.2 However, as
U.S. policy toward these states has grown in priority and cost — particularly since
the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 — some U.S. officials and other analysts
have begun to question the effectiveness of the Administration’s policies for dealing
with these types of problem states. As the debate continues into the next presidential
term, this is likely to continue to be a contentious area, with congressional
involvement in U.S. policy toward weak and failing states flowing from its funding
and oversight responsibilities.
Currently, policy makers and observers are advocating competing visions for
addressing state weakness, which could pose significant consequences for U.S.st
national security policy and U.S. preparedness for combating 21-century security
threats. On one side of the spectrum are those who advocate a “Whole-of-
Government” vision for strengthening weak states. Advocates of this approach
perceive weak states to present multiple, interdependent challenges to political
stability, military and security capabilities, and development and humanitarian needs.
As a result, they recommend developing mechanisms and procedures for interagency

1 White House, National Security Strategy of the United States (Washington, DC: White
House, 1998, 2002, 2006).
2 The White House first outlined this goal in the 2002 U.S. National Security Strategy and
repeated it in the 2006 U.S. National Security Strategy, available at
[http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html] and [http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss/2006/].

planning that coordinate all aspects of U.S. policy toward weak states. The
implications of enhancing U.S. government interagency processes could be
substantial for the legislative and executive branches. Supporters have discussed the
potential for significant reform of congressional funding and authorizing
responsibilities, as well as a substantial organizational overhaul of several federal
At the other extreme are those who are critical of U.S. nation-building activities;
they fundamentally question the appropriateness of state weakness as a lens through
which to identify national security threats. Instead, such analysts recommend
developing strategies to combat specific threats, such as ungoverned territories
conducive to criminal exploitation, international terrorism, transnational crime, and
nuclear weapons proliferation, regardless of how strong a state’s government is. In
the case of conflict or post-conflict situations, some critics also discourage
institutionalizing potentially costly U.S. stabilization and reconstruction capabilities.
Some critics also claim that the concept of strengthening states inherently prescribes
a Western model of state function that may not be appropriate in all situations.3 If
U.S. national security policy priority on weak and failing states is not necessary or
desirable, the existence and funding levels of several recently created programs and
strategies to combat weak states threats may be called into question.
U.S. policy toward weak and failing states currently hangs in an uneasy balance
between these two perspectives. In recent years, this has resulted in a proliferation
of new programs designed to address the challenges of strengthening weak and
failing states. The Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization
(S/CRS) in the Department of State, stood up in July 2004, is mandated with leading
and coordinating U.S. efforts for conflict prevention and response in failing states;
in this capacity, S/CRS has sought to implement a whole-of-government approach
for addressing conflict in failed states since at least 2006.4 At the same time, DOD
has expanded its role in conflict prevention and stability operations — revising
military doctrine to elevate these activities to primary missions, devoting greater
resources to such activities, and establishing new institutions to train DOD personnel
and facilitate DOD’s involvement in stability operations, including “phase zero” or
“shaping” operations that, prior to 2004, had not been the purview of DOD strategy
or mission goals.5 U.S. weak states initiatives, however, remain limited by a lack of

3 For a description, see Louise Andersen, “International Engagement in Failed States:
Choices and Trade Offs,” Danish Institute for International Studies, Working Paper No.
2005/20 (2005); Rose E. Brooks, “Failed States, or the State as Failure?” The University of
Chicago Law Review 72 (Fall 2005). This is a concept that is often discussed in the context
of African states. See, for example, Pierre Englebert and Dennis M. Tull, “Postconflict
Reconstruction in Africa: Flawed Ideas about Failed States,” International Security, Spring

2008, Vol. 32, No. 4, pp. 106-139.

4 State Department, Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, “Fact
Sheet: A Whole-of-Government Approach to Prevent, Resolve, and Transform Conflict,”
August 23, 2006.
5 The origins of “phase zero” reportedly date back to a memo by then-Secretary of State
Donald Rumsfeld to the Joint Chiefs of Staff in November 2004 and the term “shaping

interagency cohesion and unclear resources across agencies to carry out programs to
strengthen weak states and combat potential national security threats emerging from
such states. Pointing to these limitations, some observers question whether U.S.
commitment to strengthening weak states is in decline.
In light of the current debate, possible oversight questions for Congress relating
to U.S. policy toward weak and failing states include the following:
!Is there a need for an interagency strategy to coordinate agency
responses to weak and failing states?
!When is it appropriate for the United States to prevent or respond to
situations of state failure abroad?
!How effective are U.S. programs in preventing state failure?
!To what extent are U.S. government “early warning” predictors of
state failure influencing policy planning?
!What do other countries do and how can international cooperation
on weak and failing states be improved?
!What types of unintended consequences could U.S. policies to
strengthen weak states have in the short- and long-term?
This report is intended to serve as a primer on weak and failing states and
related U.S. policy issues. The report first provides definitions of weak states and
describes the links between weak states and U.S. national security and development
challenges. Second, it surveys recent key U.S. programs and initiatives designed to
address threats emanating from weak states and identifies remaining issues related

5 (...continued)
operations” was introduced into official military doctrine in DOD’s “Capstone Concept for
Joint Operations, Version 2.0” in August 2005. A U.S. Government Accountability Office
(GAO) report from May 2007 describes the shift in military doctrine on operations
“[P]revious Joint Staff planning guidance considered four operational phases,
including deter and engage the enemy, seize the initiative, conduct decisive operations,
and transition to peaceful activities. The revised planning guidance now direct
consideration of six phases of an operation, which include shaping efforts to stabilize
regions to that conflicts do not develop, and expanding the dimensions of stability
operations that are needed in more hostile environments occur. This new planning
guidance requires planners to consider the types of activities that can be conducted to
help a nation establish a safe and secure environment, eliminating the need for armed
conflict, and activities to assist a nation in establishing security forces and governing
mechanisms to transition to self-rule.”
See GAO, “Military Operations: Actions Needed to Improve DOD’s Stability Operations
Approach and Enhance Interagency Planning,” May 2007; and Maj. Elizabeth A. Medina,
“Integrated Planning for Unified Action in Phase Zero,” School of Advanced Military
Studies, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, 2007.

to the new programs. Finally, it highlights potential legislative issues that Congress
may be asked to consider.
Definitions and Characteristics
No universal definition for “weak state” or “failing state” exists. Some analysts
describe state weakness as the erosion of state capacity — a condition characterized
by gradations of a regime’s ability to govern effectively, which, in its most extreme
form, results in the complete collapse of state power and function. Most countries
in the developing world fall along this spectrum, exhibiting at least some elements
of weakness. Failing states, which are seen as including only a handful of countries
in the world, exhibit more pronounced weaknesses than others. Among the universe
of weak and failing states, there is no single pathway to failure. In some cases, states
are characterized by gradual, yet persistent, institutional decay and political
instability. In other cases, states rapidly tumble into failure, faltering under the
weight of political instability, an acute natural disaster, or economic crisis. Based on
quantitative development indicators, weak and failing states tend to be among the
least-developed and most underperforming states in the world.
Notable U.S. government and government-affiliated efforts to describe weak
and failing states focus on four major, often overlapping, elements of state function.
Factors stressed include (1) peace and stability, (2) effective governance, (3)
territorial control and porous borders, and (4) economic sustainability.
!Peace and Stability: Failing states are often in conflict, at risk of
conflict and instability, or newly emerging from conflict. Lacking
physical security, other state functions are often compromised;
frequently cited examples of such states today include Sudan and
!Effective Governance: Countries can also be hampered by poor
governance, corruption, and inadequate provisions of fundamental
public services to its citizens. In some cases, as in North Korea or
Zimbabwe, this may occur because leaders have limited interest, or
political “will,” to provide core state functions to all its citizens. A
government’s perceived unwillingness to provide adequate public
services can incite destabilizing elements within a state.6
!Territorial Control and Porous Borders: Weak and failing states
may lack effective control of their territory, military, or law
enforcement — providing space where instability can fester; such
places may also be called “ungoverned spaces” or “safe havens.”
The Pakistan-Afghanistan border and the Sahel region of Northern

6 See, for example, “State Capacity: The Dynamics of Effectiveness and Legitimacy in
Government Action in Fragile States,” Working Papers on Fragile States No. 2, produced
for review by the United States Agency for International Development and prepared by the
IRIS Center at the University of Maryland at College Park, June 2005.

Africa are common examples where such elements of state weakness
ex ist.7
!Economic Sustainability: Many weak states are also among the
poorest countries in the world. Arguably as a consequence of other
security and political deficiencies, weak and failing states often lack
the conditions to achieve lasting economic development. Such
countries include Bangladesh and many in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Links to U.S. National Security Threats
Failed states have appeared as a matter of concern in U.S. National Security
Strategy documents since 1998, though the term had long been the topic of
significant academic debate and implicitly informed U.S. national security policy
since at least the end of World War II.8 As the Cold War concluded in the early
1990s, analysts became aware of an emerging international security environment, in
which weak and failing states became vehicles for transnational organized crime,
nuclear proliferation pathways, and hot spots for civil conflict and humanitarian
emergencies. The potential U.S. national security threats weak and failing states pose
became further apparent with Al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attack on the United
States, which Osama bin Laden masterminded from the safe haven that Afghanistan
The events of 9/11 prompted President George W. Bush to claim in the 2002
U.S. National Security Strategy that “weak states, like Afghanistan, can pose as great
a danger to our national interests as strong states.”9 In 2005, Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice further emphasized how weak and failing states pose
“unparalleled”danger to the United States, serving as “global pathways” that facilitate
the “movement of criminals and terrorists” and “proliferation of the world’s most
dangerous weapons.”10 Many national security observers highlight such
Administration language to indicate that U.S. interest in weak and failing states has
become more substantial since 9/11 and is motivated largely by national security

7 For an analysis of several “ungoverned territories” case studies, see Angel Rabasa et al.,
Ungoverned Territories: Understanding and Reducing Terrorism Risks (Santa Monica, CA:
RAND, 2007).
8 Though not necessarily identified as weak or failing states in the contemporary sense of
the terms, some analysts have argued that the United States has had strategic interest in such
states well before 1998. See Jeffrey D. Sachs, “The Strategic Significance of Global
Inequity,” Washington Quarterly, vol. 24, no. 3 (Summer 2001), pp. 187-198.
9 See also Donald H. Rumsfeld, Annual Report to the President and Congress (2002).
10 Condoleezza Rice, “The Promise of Democratic Peace: Why Promoting Freedom is the
Only Realistic Path to Security,” Washington Post, December 11, 2005.

Current Threats
Analysts identify numerous links between weak and failing states and
transnational security threats, ranging from terrorism and nuclear proliferation to the
spread of infectious diseases, environmental degradation, and energy security. U.S.
national security documents generally address weak states in relation to four key
threat areas: (1) terrorism, (2) international crime, (3) nuclear proliferation, and (4)
regional instability. Other analysts caution, however, that despite anecdotal evidence
supporting a potential nexus between state weakness and today’s security threats,
weak states may not necessarily harbor U.S. national security threats. Furthermore,
the weakest states may not necessarily be the most significant threats to U.S. national
security; relatively functional states, characterized by some elements of weakness
rather than complete state collapse, may also be sites from which threats can emerge.
Terrorism. According to several analyses, weak and failing states are
perceived as “primary bases of operations” for most U.S.-designated foreign terrorist
organizations, including Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Jaish-I-11
Mohammed. Terrorists can benefit from lax or non-existent law enforcement in
these states to participate in illicit economic activities to finance their operations and12
ease their access to weapons and other equipment. As with Afghanistan in 2001,
weak and failing states can also be ideal settings for terrorist training grounds, when
the host country’s government is unable to control or govern parts of its territory.
States mired in conflict also provide terrorists with opportunities to gain on-the-13
ground paramilitary experience.
Researchers find, however, that not all weak states serve as safe havens for
international terrorists.14 Terrorists have been known to exploit safe havens in non-
weak as well as weak states. The Political Instability Task Force, a research group
commissioned by the Central Intelligence Agency, found in a 2003 report that
terrorists operate in both “caves” (i.e., failed states, where militant groups can exist
with impunity) and “condos” (i.e., states that have the infrastructure to support the
international flow of illicit people, funds, and information). The preference for
“condos” suggests that countries most devoid of functioning government institutions

11 See Stewart Patrick, “Weak States and Global Threats: Fact of Fiction?” The Washington
Quarterly 29 (2006), pp. 27-53; Rumsfeld (2002), op. cit.; and Ray Takeyh and Nikolas
Gvosdev, “Do Terrorist Networks Need a Home?” The Washington Quarterly 25 (2002).
See also White House (2006), op. cit.; National Intelligence Council, Mapping the Global
Future (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 2004); Department of Defense,
National Defense Strategy of the United States (2005); U.S. Department of State Office of
the Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism, “Chapter 5 - Terrorist Safe Havens (7120 Report),”
Country Reports on Terrorism (2007).
12 “U.N. Says Trafficking Crimes Funding Terrorism,” Jane’s Terrorism Watch Report,
September 27, 2007.
13 Rabasa (2007), op cit.; U.S. Department of State Office of the Coordinator for Counter-
Terrorism (2007), op. cit.
14 See Edward Newman, “Weak States, State Failure, and Terrorism,” Terrorism and
Political Violence, Vol. 19, 2007, pp. 463-488.

may sometimes be less conducive to a terrorist presence than countries that are still
weak, but retain some governmental effectiveness.15
International Crime. As with terrorist groups, international criminal
organizations benefit from safe havens that weak and failing states provide.
According to the U.S. Interagency Working Group report on international crime,
weak states can be useful sites through which criminals can move illicit contraband
and launder their proceeds, due to unenforced laws and high levels of official16
corruption. Since the Cold War, the international community has seen a surge in
the number of transnational crime groups emerging in safe havens of weak, conflict-
prone states — especially in the Balkans, Central Asia, and West Africa. Criminal
groups can thrive off the illicit needs of failing states, especially those subject to
international sactions; regimes and rebel groups have been known to solicit the
services of vast illicit arms trafficking networks to fuel deadly conflicts in countries
such as Afghanistan, Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Sudan when arms embargoes
had been imposed by the United Nations and other members of the international17
community. Links between transnational crime and terrorists groups are also
apparent: Al Qaeda and Hezbollah have worked with several criminal actors, ranging
from rebel groups in the West African diamond trade to crime groups in the Tri-
Border region of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay, among others.18 In 2008, a U.S.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) official stated that at least 19 of 43 Foreign
Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) listed by the State Department have established links19
to drug trafficking.
Some researchers contend, however, that the weakest states are not necessarily
the most attractive states for international criminals. This may be because some
illicit transnational groups might be too dependent on access to global financial
services, modern telecommunication systems, transportation, and infrastructure that
do not exist in weak states. Researchers also find that some forms of international
crime are more associated with weak states than others. Narcotics trafficking and
illicit arms smuggling, for example, often flow through weak states. However, other

15 Rabasa (2007), op cit.
16 U.S. Government Interagency Working Group, International Crime Threat Assessment
(2000); and NIC (2004), op. cit. See also U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, World Drug
Report (2007); U.S. Government Interagency Working Group (2000), op. cit.
17 U.S. Department of Treasury, “Treasury Designates Viktor Bout’s International Arms
Trafficking Network,” April 26, 2005; Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun, Merchant of
Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes Wars Possible (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley
and Sons, 2007).
18 “Al Qaeda Cash Linked to Diamond Trade,” Washington Post, November 2, 2001; Steven
W. Casteel, Assistant Administrator for Intelligence at the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration, “Narco-Terrorism: International Drug Trafficking and Terrorism — A
Dangerous Mix,” statement to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, May 20,


19 Michael Braun, DEA Chief of Operations, speech at the Washington Institute for Near
East Policy, July 18, 2008.

types, such as counterfeiting and financial fraud, may be more prevalent in wealthier
st at es. 20
Weapons Proliferation. Weak and failing states, unable or unwilling to
guarantee the security of nuclear, chemical, biological, and radiological (CBRN)
materials and related equipment, may facilitate underground networks that smuggle
them. Endemic corruption and weak border controls raise the possibility of these
states being used as transshipment points for illicit CBRN trafficking. Porous
international borders and weak international controls have contributed to 1,080
confirmed nuclear and radiological material trafficking cases by member states from21

1993 to 2006, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The majority of smuggled nuclear material reportedly originates in Central Asia
and the Caucasus where known stockpiles are said to be inadequately monitored.22
Other sources of concern include poorly secured materials in research, industrial, and
medical facilities. A relatively new region of concern for the United States is Africa,
where more than 18% of the world’s known recoverable uranium resources exist.
Lax regulations, weak governments, and remotely located mines that are difficult to
supervise combine to make the removal and trafficking of radioactive substances in
Africa “a very real prospect.”23 Analysts also contend that while the potential for
weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) trafficking through weak states is
considerable, most weak states may be unlikely destinations for smuggled WMD
devices. Such equipment requires a certain level of technological sophistication that
may not exist in some weak and failing states.24
Regional Instability. According to recent research, states do not always
become weak or failed in isolation — and the spread of instability across a region can
serve as a critical multiplier of state vulnerability to threats. Instability has a
tendency to spread beyond a weak state’s political borders, through overwhelming
refugee flows, increased arms smuggling, breakdowns in regional trade, and many

20 Patrick (2006), op. cit.
21 International Atomic Energy Agency, Illicit Trafficking Database (2006). See also Fund
for Peace, Threat Convergence: New Pathways to Proliferation? (2006), and Department
of Defense, National Defense Strategy (2005).
22 Fund for Peace (2006), op. cit.
23 United Nations Security Council, Report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, S/2006/525, July 18, 2006, and “Exploiting Africa: Securing the
Continent’s Uranium Resources,” Jane’s Intelligence Review, September 1, 2007.
According to the above-cited sources, Congolese experts reported that between 2000 and
2006, state officials confiscated more than 50 cases containing uranium or cesium. The
United Nations has confirmed at least one instance of this: in 2005, Tanzanian customs
officials intercepted a shipment that contained a yellow cake-filled barrel that allegedly
came from abandoned mines in Katanga, a southern province in the Democratic Republic
of Congo.
24 Fund for Peace (2006), op. cit.

other ways.25 The National Intelligence Council acknowledges that state failure and
its associated regional implications pose an “enormous cost in resources and time”
to the United States.26
Challenges to Development
In addition to the potential transnational security threats that weak and failing
states pose to the United States, they also present unique challenges from a
development perspective — a dimension of U.S. international policy that the 2002
U.S. National Security Strategy elevated in priority to be equivalent to U.S. policy
on defense and diplomacy. According to some U.S. officials, the primary programs
to support development are inappropriate for fragile states. For example, weak and
failing states have greater difficulty achieving the U.N. Millennium Development
Goals and qualifying for U.S. assistance programs under the Millennium Challenge
Act (22 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), which essentially precludes assistance under this act to
most weak and failing states.27
Some weak states also have difficulty absorbing large amounts of foreign28
assistance, even when donor countries provide funding. According to the World
Bank, fragile states grow only one-third as fast and have one-third the per capita
income, 50% higher debt-to-gross domestic product ratios, and double the poverty
rates of other low-income countries.29 The World Bank also finds that nearly all
fragile states identified in 1980 are still fragile today, highlighting the difficulty in
achieving sustained progress in weak and failing states. Statistical estimates by
World Bank analysts predict that a fragile states is likely to remain so for 56 years,
and the probability of a fragile state experiencing a “sustained turnaround” in any
given year is a mere 1.8%.

25 See Myron Weiner, “Bad Neighbors, Bad Neighborhoods: An Inquiry into the Causes of
Refugee Flows,” International Security 21(1996), pp. 5-42; Paul Collier et al., Breaking the
Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy (Washington, DC: World Bank and
Oxford University Press, 2003).
26 NIC (2004), op. cit.
27 To receive foreign assistance funds under the Millennium Challenge Act of 2003 (P.L.
108-199, H.R. 2673, 22 U.S.C. 7701 et seq.), countries must have achieved certain
performance benchmarks, based on quantitative development indicators. Since weak and
failing states tend to be among the most underperforming and least developed states in the
world, they often are precluded from Millennium Challenge assistance. See also CRS Report
RL32427, Millennium Challenge Account, by Curt Tarnoff.
28 See World Bank Independent Evaluation Group, Engaging with Fragile States: An IEG
Review of World Bank Support to Low-Income Countries Under Stress (Washington, DC:
The World Bank, 2006); Chauvet and Collier, “Helping Hand? Aid to Failing States,”
Oxford University Working Paper (2006).
29 See Chauvet and Collier (2004), op. cit.; Francois Bourguignon, “Broadening Progress
Toward the MDGs,” Speech prepared for the ECOSOC 2007 High Level Segment, Geneva,
Switzerland, July 2-5, 2007, available at [http://www.un.org/ecosoc/docs/pdfs/Bourguignon.

Issues for New U.S. Programs and Initiatives
The United States does not have an official strategy or interagency guidelines
for dealing with weak and failing states. However, several notable programs and
initiatives have been created since 9/11 that aim to help prevent state failure,
strengthen weak states, and counter existing threats emanating from weak and failing
states. These programs span all aspects of state weakness issues to include (1)
identifying threats and monitoring weak states, (2) engaging weak states through
diplomacy, (3) directing foreign assistance toward the alleviation of state weakness
symptoms, and (4) implementing on-the-ground civilian and military stabilization
operations. Depending on the level of state weakness, available resources, and
political considerations, U.S. policy makers may decide to apply one or more of these
programming areas to weak states. Some analysts remain critical of recent U.S.
programs designed to address issues of state weakness. The following sections
describe new U.S. programs and initiatives and highlight existing criticism and
Conflict and Threat Early Warning
The U.S. government uses conflict and threat early warning systems to predict
which states are likely to fail and to identify which near-term emerging conflict
situations require U.S. engagement. These include quantitative measures and
subjective government analyses of state fragility. Early warning systems are used to
assist U.S. agencies to prepare for international crises and identify areas in which
assistance can be provided before a state slides further into failure. The overarching
goal behind the implementation and use of these early warning systems is to help
identify in advance weak states so that the U.S. government can plan and prepare for
a likely crisis situation, and possibly preemptively react to developments. The
National Intelligence Council, Department of State’s Office of Early Warning and
Prevention (located within S/CRS), U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID), and Department of Defense (DOD) have roles in identifying and
monitoring potential threats emanating from weak and failing states.
One U.S. government warning list of weak and failing states has been prepared
by the National Intelligence Council twice per year since 2005, using classified and
unclassified sources. According to government officials, this assessment is based at
least in part on analysis of the Central Intelligence Agency-commissioned Political
Instability Task Force, which boasts more than an 80% accuracy rate for predicting
politicide, genocide, and ethnic and revolutionary wars. USAID began producing a
separate list of fragile states under its Conflict and Fragility Alert, Consultation, and
Tracking System (C/FACTS) in 2006. In addition, U.S. officials say DOD has
worked on developing a list of potential countries where future U.S. military force
may be required; DOD has also worked on identifying potential ungoverned areas
and assessing the threats that they pose to U.S. national security.
According to U.S. officials, the lists of weak states generated by these efforts
are used to inform the various agency’s programming agendas. A May 2007 report
by the State Department’s Office of Inspector General praised the extent to which
interagency coordination for early warning conflict assessment occurs between

S/CRS, DOD, USAID, the intelligence community, and others.30 However, the
extent to which the U.S. government can respond to multiple crises, let alone
mobilize to prevent a crisis from occurring, based on early warning assessments
remains unclear. Among some analysts, the value of effective early warning
assessments can often be undermined by lack of political will to mobilize in time for
an emerging crisis, as well as the lack of sufficient resources and capabilities to
deploy to the potentially numerous states that present early signs of potential state
failure at any given time.31 In the case of S/CRS, for example, which is mandated
with leading and coordinating U.S. efforts for conflict prevention and response in
failing states, many observers have suggested that the office’s small size and limited
resources hamper its ability to address the full range of today’s weak states; instead,
S/CRS has been able to focus only on a small handful of weak states.
International Diplomacy
International diplomacy is one way in which the United States can engage
countries on issues that weaken the state and pose threats to U.S. national security.
By working in cooperation with international actors on weak states issues, including
democracy promotion, the United States aims to prevent transnational threats from
emerging. In 2006, Secretary Rice unveiled transformational diplomacy as one such
initiative. Under the banner of transformational diplomacy, approximately 300 U.S.
diplomats were designated to be shifted to “strategic posts” in the Near East, Asia,
Africa, and Latin America over the course of the next several years. The new posts
focus on promoting democracy and good governance as well as bolstering state
capacity against terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and other security threats in
countries often characterized as weak.32 Although the scope of transformational
diplomacy extends beyond the issues of state weakness, the resulting Strategic Plan
for Fiscal Years 2007-2012 specifically aims to “directly confront threats to national
and international security from ... failed or failing states,” and strengthen state
capacity to “prevent or mitigate conflict, stabilize countries in crisis, promote
regional stability, protect civilians, and promote just application of government and

30 Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of State, Report of Inspection, “Office of
the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization,” Report No. ISP-I-07-26, May 2007.
31 See Appendix B for various public lists of suggested fragile states. For more on arguments
critical of early warning mechanisms, see Marina Ottaway and Stefan Mair, “States at Risk
and Failed States: Putting Security First,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace,
September 2004; Simon Chesterman, Michael Ignatieff, and Ramesh Thakur, “Making
States Work: From State Failure to State-Building,” United Nations University and
International Peace Academy, July 2004.
32 As part of the State Department’s initiative, U.S. diplomats will continue their work on
the Regional Strategic Initiative, which, in collaboration with host governments, is designed
to boost regional political will and capacity to counter terrorism. As of 2006, RSI programs
exist in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Mauritania, Algeria, Morocco, Niger, Chad, and
Mali. See U.S. Department of State Office of the Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism (2007),
op. cit.
33 See White House (2006), op. cit.

According to some analysts, however, the future of transformational diplomacy
hangs in question. There remains some disagreement over whether transformational
diplomacy requires new congressional legislation; the Administration claims the
initiative does not and has not requested new authorities from Congress to implement
transformational diplomacy. In addition, some experts and foreign governments have
raised concerns about the particular prominence of democracy promotion in
Administration’s transformational diplomacy initiative and its potential use as a
“pretext” for intervening in other country’s domestic affairs.34 Lacking legal
requirements to implement the transformational diplomacy initiative, it is possible
that the next Administration may rethink or replace it.
Foreign Assistance
The Bush Administration has begun several new, and sometimes controversial,
foreign aid initiatives that seek to help fragile states build, or reinforce weak
institutions and basic state infrastructure. These include transformational
development; civilian stabilization and reconstruction assistance; USAID’s Fragile
States Strategy; and military, police, and counter-terrorism assistance. In aggregate,
these programs have raised several questions that tie into larger debates about the use
of foreign assistance for national security purposes, including weak states. Major
related issues include whether the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 should be
modified, revised, or entirely rewritten; what role the U.S. military should participate
and the extent to which the U.S. military should be involved in foreign assistance
funding to strengthen weak states; and whether or to what extent U.S. foreign
assistance should be used to train and equip foreign police and other interior law
enforcement elements.
Transformational Development. The State Department’s 2006
transformational development initiative created the office of the Director of Foreign35
Assistance (DFA) and introduced a new Foreign Assistance Framework. The DFA
serves concurrently as the USAID Administrator and has authority over State
Department and USAID foreign assistance programs. The Foreign Assistance
Framework categorizes foreign aid recipients as rebuilding, developing,
transforming, sustaining partners, and restrictive countries, and identifies five
development objectives for all country categories — peace and security, governing
justly and democratically, investing in people, economic growth, and humanitarian
assistance. U.S. officials claim that the Framework implicitly addresses state
fragility, with the majority of so-called weak and failing states falling in the
rebuilding category and some falling in the developing and restrictive categories.

34 For a full discussion of the pros and cons of transformational diplomacy, see CRS Report
RL34141, Diplomacy for the 21st Century: Transformational Diplomacy, by Kennon H.
Nakamura and Susan B. Epstein.
35 For more information on restructuring foreign assistance, see CRS Report RL33491,
Restructuring U.S. Foreign Aid: The Role of the Director of Foreign Assistance in
Transformational Development, by Connie Veillette, and CRS Report RL34243, Foreign
Aid Reform: Issues for Congress and Policy Options, by Susan B. Epstein and Connie

The new framework has the potential to improve alignment of foreign assistance
allocations with foreign policy priorities, such as weak and failing states, by
centralizing management and accountability over State Department and USAID
funds. However, U.S. officials have stated that the new Office of the Director for
Foreign Assistance has yet to develop strategic guidelines or a methodology to
inform the allocation of aid resources to any of the Framework’s country categories
and for weak states specifically. Furthermore, the extent to which the Director of
Foreign Assistance will be able to influence other U.S. agencies — particularly DOD
— that provide foreign assistance funding remains unknown.36 In CY2005, 48% of
U.S. Official Development Assistance (ODA) was controlled by agencies outside of
the State Department and USAID, including the Departments of Defense,
Agriculture, Energy, Health and Human Services, Labor, and Treasury. In CY2005,
DOD alone disbursed more than one-fifth of U.S. foreign assistance.
Civilian Stabilization Assistance. From 2006 to 2007, S/CRS has
supported projects in 18 countries that it identified as in crisis or at risk of crisis,
including Kosovo, Haiti, Colombia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan, Liberia, Chad,
Somalia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq, Nepal, and37
Afghanistan. Funding for these projects was supported through traditional foreign
assistance accounts, as well as through DOD under a temporary transfer authority
provided by Congress — capped at a total of $100 million per fiscal year through
FY2008 — in section 1207 of the FY2006 National Defense Authorization Act, as
amended (commonly referred to as “Section 1207” funds).
Some point to the fact that DOD funds these civilian stabilization assistance
programs as indicative of resource shortfalls within the State Department for
effectively addressing fragile states. Some also raise concern with DOD’s role in
approving these civilian programs; such critics argue that the requirement that the
Defense Secretary sign off on civilian stabilization assistance projects could
encourage DOD to encroach into foreign assistance policymaking that had previously
been the primary responsibility of the Secretary of State. On the other hand,
supporters of DOD’s role in civilian stabilization assistance argue that it creates
opportunities for whole-of-government approaches to foreign assistance and
enhances interagency programming by requiring approach of both the State
Department and DOD (and thus potentially improving civil-military coordination
between military combatant commanders, U.S. ambassadors, and other State38
Department and DOD policy officials). Supporters also argue that this budgetary
arrangement between the State Department and DOD for civilian stabilization
assistance is practical and necessary for U.S. national security purposes, as it enables

36 Medina, pp. 34-35.
37 Countries/Territories include Kosovo, Haiti, Colombia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan,
Liberia, Chad, Somalia, Iraq, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, Nepal, Philippines, Indonesia,
and Malaysia. See U.S. Department of State, “S/CRS Engagement Around the World,” at
[ ht t p: / / www.cr s.st at e.gov/ i ndex.cf m?f useact i on=publ i c .di spl a y&shor t c ut =4AN5] .
38 Testimony of John D. Negroponte, Deputy Secretary of State, “Military’s Role Toward
Foreign Policy,” Statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, July 31, 2008.

the State Department to respond to immediate reconstruction and stabilization needs
before more formal programs can be developed.39
USAID’s Fragile States Strategy. USAID has been at the forefront of U.S.
efforts to prevent future state failure by addressing the underlying sources of
weakness. In 2003, USAID established the Office of Conflict Mitigation and
Management to examine the underlying causes of political instability, conflict, and
extremism, and to improve the Agency’s response to such conditions. In 2004,
USAID also created a new type of foreign service officer, called “Crisis,
Stabilization, and Governance Officers,” that specializes in providing the
humanitarian, economic stabilization, and governance aspects of development
assistance to fragile and weak states. They are given different training and shorter
tours that focus specifically on the post-conflict phase of development, and operate
in countries such as Afghanistan and Sudan.40
In 2005, USAID unveiled its Fragile States Strategy, which provides a strategic
vision for how USAID can most effectively respond to fragile states. Among its
main objectives, the Strategy sought to enhance the Agency’s rapid crisis response
capabilities and establish a strategic planning process that could take into account
conditions of weakness unique to each country. According to U.S. officials and
independent observers, however, the Strategy’s new programming objectives and
strategic priorities for fragile states seem to have been sidelined by the 2006 launch41
of the Secretary of State’s transformational development initiative.
Military, Police, and Counter-Terrorism Assistance. A subset of
foreign assistance distinct from bilateral economic aid, U.S. support for foreign
military, police, and counter-terrorism assistance is a primary means by which to
prevent security threats emanating from weak and failing states. By providing this
specialized form of assistance, the Administration seeks to build and reinforce the
security sector capabilities of partner nations in order to prevent state weaknesses that
transnational threats could exploit. Examples of counter-terrorism programs in weak
states that focus on military assistance and training include the Regional Defense

39 See issues section for further discussion and CRS Report RS22871, Department of
Defense “Section 1207” Security and Stabilization Assistance: A Fact Sheet, by Nina
40 Crisis, Stabilization, and Governance Officers are also referred to as “Backstop-76
Officers.” USAID officials say the creation of this new foreign service officer specialization
was based on the Agency’s observations that officers in failing states require special
expertise to address, simultaneously, such states’ lack of adequate governance, humanitarian
crises, and dysfunctional economies.
41 Stewart Patrick and Kaysie Brown, Greater than the Sum of Its Parts? Assessing “Whole
of Government” Approaches to Fragile States (New York: International Peace Academy,


Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program42 and the Trans-Sahel Counter-Terrorism
Initiative (TSCTI).43
Congress has actively supported the growth of this realm of foreign assistance
in recent years through military, police, and counter-terrorism funding appropriated
in the annual Foreign Operations and supplemental appropriations bills. Under new
authorities granted by Congress in 2005, DOD is using additional funds to train and
equip foreign security forces for counter-terrorism and stability operations.44 DOD’s
growing prominence in providing security sector assistance, however, has raised
particular concern among some policy makers, including Members of Congress, who
question whether the U.S. military is playing too large a role in a realm of foreign
affairs traditionally dominated by the State Department and USAID.45
Post-Conflict Stability Operations
Civilian Capabilities. The current Administration has sought to develop
effective civilian procedures for stability operations in failing states that go beyond46
traditional peacekeeping activities. In August 2004, then-Secretary of State Colin
Powell created the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization
(S/CRS) to plan and conduct civilian post-conflict operations and to coordinate with
DOD in situations that require a military presence. In December 2004, Congress
granted statutory authority for the existence of S/CRS in the Department of State and

42 The Regional Defense Combating Terrorism Fellowship Program (CTFP) has become the
“go to” program within DOD to train international security personnel to combat terrorism
as part of the U.S. Global War on Terror. It was established in FY2002 (10 U.S.C. 2249c)
as a permanent authorization, not to exceed $20 million per fiscal year. The National
Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (P.L. 109-364) raised the authorization to
$25 million per fiscal year.
43 Launched in 2004, TSCTI targets extremism, instability, and violence in the Sahel region
of Africa by providing military support and other assistance, enhancing cooperation among
the region’s security forces, and promoting democratic governance and economic growth.
Joint assessments by the State Department, USAID, and DOD in several Sahelian countries
are also conducted to identify causes of extremism and terrorist recruitment.
44 Under Section 1206 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (P.L.

109-163), Congress authorized DOD to train and educate foreign military forces for counter-

terrorism operations and military and stability operations in which U.S. armed forces are
involved. See “Legislative Issues for Congress” section below for a further discussion of
Section 1206.
45 Reflecting ongoing interest in DOD’s role in foreign assistance, Congress requested,
under Section 1209 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2008 (H.R. 1585), a
report from DOD on foreign assistance-related programs carried out and implemented by
DOD, which specifies, on a country-by-country basis, a description of the dollar amount,
type of support, and purpose of each foreign-assistance related program. H.R. 1585 was
pocket vetoed by the President, effective December 28, 2007, for reasons unrelated to
Section 1209.
46 Stability operations are defined here to include broadly security, transition,
counterinsurgency, peacemaking, and the other operations needed to deal with irregular
security challenges. This follows the 2005 Defense Science Board Task Force definition.

Related Agency Appropriation, 2005.47 One year later, the President officially lent
his support to S/CRS with NSPD 44 in December 2005. NSPD 44 not only identified
the State Department as the lead agency for coordinating stabilization and
reconstruction operations in failing states, but also mandated that it consider and
propose “additional authorities, mechanisms, and resources needed to ensure that the
United States has the civilian reserve and response capabilities necessary for
stabilization and reconstruction activities.”
S/CRS responded to the President’s NSPD 44 with a proposal for a “Civilian
Stabilization Initiative.” Under this plan, S/CRS seeks to create a cadre of volunteer
civilians that could be rapidly deployed anywhere in the world in response to an
emerging crisis. These civilians would have unique skills and training that could be
useful in post-conflict situations and would include police officers, judges, lawyers,
agronomists, public health officials, city planners, economists, and others. S/CRS
aims to develop three distinct pools of such civilians: (1) an “Active Response
Corps” of about 250 full-time U.S. federal government employees who can be
continuous deployed abroad; (2) a “Standby Response Corps” of about 2,000 U.S.
federal government employees that can be called up from their day jobs to deploy
within 45 to 60 days of a crisis; and (3) a “Civilian Reserve Corps” of about 2,000
additional people from the private sector and from state and local government work,
who can be called up from their day jobs to deploy within two months of a crisis.48
See “Possible Legislative Issues for Congress”section, below, for further discussion.
Military Capabilities. The Secretary of Defense issued Directive 3000.05 in
November 2005 on “Military Support for Stability, Security, Transition, and
Reconstruction Operations.”49 In Directive 3000.05, the Secretary elevates stability
operations to a “core U.S. military mission”and calls on the military to be prepared
to conduct and support “all tasks necessary to establish or maintain order” —
including tasks normally “best performed” by civilians. Stability operations from a
Department of Defense perspective encompass a broad array of non-traditional
military engagements, which include peacekeeping, humanitarian and civic
assistance, counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, and counter-insurgency efforts.
Since 2005, DOD has created a new Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for
Stability Operations, a Defense Reconstruction Support Office, and Senior Directors
for stability operations in each Combatant Command. According to DOD officials,
Directive 3000.05 remains in the initial stages of implementation and U.S. military
doctrine is under revision to incorporate stability and reconstruction operations into
military field manuals.
Recent post-conflict stability operations have highlighted possible tensions in
DOD’s relationship with civilian agencies. In 2005, for example, a report by the

47 Section 408, Division B, Title IV of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2005, P.L.

108-447; 22 U.S.C. 2651a note.

48 Ambassador John E. Herbst, Coordinator for the Office of Reconstruction and
Stabilization, Briefing on Civilian Stabilization Initiative, February 14, 2008, at
[ ht t p: / / www.st at e.gov/ s/cr s/ r l s/ r m/ 100913.ht m] .
49 See CRS Report RL33557, Peacekeeping and Related Stability Operations: Issues of U.S.
Military Involvement, by Nina Serafino.

Defense Science Board Task Force on the status of DOD stability operations
capabilities found that “the progress of other organs of Government has been less
fulsome” and that it could not “have confidence in the speed with which changes in
other departments and agencies outside DOD will take place.” Analysts suggest that
DOD efforts to compensate for other agencies’ shortcomings may have the
unintended consequence of causing civilian agencies to rely increasingly on DOD in
future stabilization operations. Some argue that such reliance is not necessarily
problematic, as the military’s “built-in” capabilities in war zones and standby
logistics to immediately deploy and provide basic-needs reconstruction relief makes
it a “natural lead” in post-conflict reconstruction.50 Others, however, argue that the
potential reliance on military capabilities could compromise or conflict with broader
U.S. foreign policy goals.
Interagency Coordination
Cross-agency collaboration on U.S. projects in weak states appears to be
increasing in frequency and institutionalization. The creation of S/CRS in 2004 is
one testament to this development, as it is the first formally mandated office to serve
indefinitely as the lead coordinator for all civilian and military activities related to
conflict prevention and post-conflict reconstruction. S/CRS is also leading an
ongoing effort, the Interagency Management System, to develop interagency planning
and improved coordination for stability operations.51 Prior to the creation of S/CRS,
President Clinton’s 1997 Presidential Decision Directive 56 (PDD 56) governed
interagency management of post-conflict situations. Under PDD 56, an ad hoc
interagency working group called the Executive Committee would be called upon to
supervise the day-to-day management of U.S. operations when crises occured.
Many analysts and U.S. officials observe, however, that the current interagency
approach to weak states — which spans not only post-conflict stability operations
planning, but also development assistance and intelligence community cooperation
on early warning threat assessments in weak and failing states — nevertheless
remains a “messy amalgam” of programs and policies, lacking strategy-level, cross-
agency guidance.52 Criticism by U.S. officials points to overlapping and redundant
responsibilities, as well as programs that are, at times, working at cross-purposes.
Recent World Bank and OECD research indicates, for example, that foreign
assistance flows to fragile states tend to be uneven, irregular, and fragmented from

50 Council on Foreign Relations, debate between Craig Cohen and Col. Garland H. Williams,
“Who Should Lead Post-Conflict Reconstruction?” February 11, 2008.
51 U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Stabilization and Reconstruction: Actions Are
Needed to Develop a Planning and Coordination Framework and Establish the Civilian
Reserve Corps,” GAO-08-39, November 6, 2007.
52 Patrick and Brown (2007), op. cit. See Defense Science Board Task Force (2005), op. cit;
and Beyond Goldwater-Nichols: U.S. Government and Defense Reform for a New Strategic
Era, Phase II Report (2005), available at [http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/bgn_ph2_

all major donor countries and organizations, including the United States.53 Some
officials acknowledge that confusion also remains regarding which agencies should
be invited to interagency policy planning discussions on various weak state issues.
In the case of the S/CRS Interagency Management System, the U.S. Government
Accountability Office (GAO) reports that this proposed interagency planning
mechanism for post-conflict situations remains hampered by several fundamental
problems. These include (1) “unclear and inconsistent guidance” on the roles and
responsibilities of S/CRS and other offices within the State Department, which have
resulted in “confusion and disputes” about who leads policy development and who
controls the resources for stability operations; (2) a “lack of a common definition for
stability and reconstruction operations” across the interagency, which makes it
unclear when, where, or how the Interagency Management System would be applied
in actual crises; and (3) concerns that the Interagency Management System was
“unrealistic, ineffective, and redundant” and general skepticism among interagency
participants that this new planning process would improve outcomes or increase
resources available for fragile states.54
Other recent U.S. projects in weak states are also testing U.S. capacity for
interagency coordination. Such efforts include the Provincial Reconstruction Teams
in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Initiative, and counter-
extremism projects in the Horn of Africa. In all of these recent initiatives, civilian
and military officials are working together to strengthen state capacity holistically
across multiple dimensions of security sector reform, institutional capacity building,
and economic development. In the case of the Horn of Africa projects, as an
illustrative example, USAID funded an assessment that examined the causes of
extremism and identified the most unstable areas in the region. USAID then
collaborated with the Department of State and DOD’s Combined Joint Task Force
for the Horn of Africa to implement a variety of initiatives to counter extremism in
the region. DOD provided the “hardware” by building or rehabilitating essential
infrastructure, such as schools, clinics, and wells, while the Department of State and
USAID provided the “software,” which included educational and medical training
and resources and building institutional capacity.55
USAID has also been working to synchronize civilian-military relations in
national security-related programming since 2005, with the creation of the Office of
Military Affairs56 and the Tactical Conflict Assessment Framework for on-the-ground

53 OECD-DAC Fragile States Group (2006), op. cit.
54 Statement of Joseph A. Christoff, U.S. Government Accountability Office, “Provincial
Reconstruction Teams,” Committee on House Armed Services, Subcommittee on Oversight
and Investigations, October 30, 2007.
55 USAID, “Conflict in the Africa Region,” June 14, 2007, available at
[http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/ cross-cu tting_programs/conflict/support/afr.html ]
56 USAID established the Office of Military Affairs in 2005 and serves as the focal point for
interactions between USAID and DOD. The office is staffed by former military officers,
foreign service officers, and subject matter specialists.

conflict situations.57 The recently created U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), a new
DOD combatant command post that will include significant State Department
leadership, is also indicative of increasing civil-military collaboration.58 According
to U.S. officials, DOD also aims to apply the AFRICOM model to transform the U.S.
Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) by 2016.
Possible Legislative Issues for Congress
The following sections identify several wide-ranging legislative issues that
relate to U.S. programs and initiatives for weak and failing states. They include (1)
civilian post-conflict management authorities, (2) DOD transfer authority to the State
Department for Security and Stabilization Assistance, (3) DOD global train and equip
authorities and funding, (4) foreign police training authorities, and (5) interagency
policy effectiveness.
Civilian Post-Conflict Management Authorities
Building civilian post-conflict capabilities in weak states is a key area of focus,
which policymakers have been debating at least since 2004. At the State
Department’s request, Congress is considering new authorizations to develop civilian
post-conflict stabilization capabilities in the Reconstruction and Stabilization
Civilian Management Act of 2008 (S. 613, H.R. 1084, and H.R. 5658).59 These bills
seek to authorize funding for stabilization and reconstruction assistance in failing
states, as well as the creation of a Response Readiness Corps. This Response
Readiness Corps would include what S/CRS currently calls the “Active Response
Corps” and the “Standby Response Corps.”
Congress has appropriated up to $75 million in initial funding for the Response
Readiness Corps to the State Department and USAID in FY2008 emergency
supplemental appropriations (P.L. 110-252). Congress also appropriated an
additional $50 million for the creation of the third component of the S/CRS Civilian
Stabilization Initiative, the “Civilian Reserve Corps,” in FY2007 supplemental

57 The TCAF was initially field-tested in 2006 as part of a field training exercise with U.S.
Army civil affairs personnel. The purpose of TCAF is to bring development-oriented,
conflict-sensitive approaches into an integrated interagency planning process.
58 See CRS Report RL34003, Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the
U.S. Military in Africa, by Lauren Ploch.
59 Nearly identical versions of the Reconstruction and Stabilization Civilian Management
Act have been introduced in the House and Senate since 2004. During the 109th Congress,
the Senate unanimously passed the 2006 version (H.R. 2206, P.L. 110-28); the House
version was referred to Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International
Operations and did not resurface. For further discussion, see CRS Report RL32862,
Peacekeeping and Conflict Transitions: Background and Congressional Action on Civilian
Capabilities, by Nina Serafino and Martin A. Weiss.

appropriations; this funding, however, is contingent upon specific authorization.60
For FY2009, the State Department included in its budget request to Congress a total
of $248.6 million to stand up the Civilian Stabilization Initiative and other costs
associated with S/CRS. The State Department did not include in its FY2009 request
funding for a Conflict Response Fund; instead it requests the continuation of DOD’s
authority to transfer funds to the State Department for security and stabilization
assistance, which currently is set to expire at the end of FY2008.61
Supporters of the bill, including Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, maintain
that the State Department’s ability to perform its mandated mission in post-conflict
situations is hindered by the lack of support for a conflict response fund and a civilian
reserve corps; critics remain hesitant to provide additional funding to a relatively new
office, charged with developing new concepts.62 Unlike the State Department, which
has had difficulty in obtaining permanent funding for civilian stabilization
capabilities, the Department of Defense has obtained more congressional funds for
U.S. stabilization operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Some analysts have pointed to
DOD’s Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP) as a potentially useful
example of an emergency funding mechanism for strengthening weak and failing
states. Through CERP, U.S. commanders can rapidly disburse discretionary funds
for humanitarian relief and reconstruction needs of local civilians.
International support for the development of civilian post-conflict capabilities
appears to be developing, albeit slowly.63 In early 2008, British Prime Minister
Gordon Brown proposed a 1,000-person civilian rapid reaction force that could
respond to crises in fragile and failing states. This force would resemble the State
Department’s proposed Civilian Stabilization Initiative, consisting of police,
emergency service personnel, judges, trainers, and other crisis experts who could be
called upon in humanitarian or post-conflict emergencies.64

60 Section 3810 of the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans’ Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq
Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (P.L. 110-28).
61 U.S. Department of State, “Reference Guide to the President’s FY 2009 Budget Request
for the Civilian Stabilization Initiative,” Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and
Stabilization (S/CRS), at [http://www.crs.state.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=public.display
&shortcut=4QJW]. DOD’s authority is located in Section 1207 of the National Defense
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 (P.L. 109-163), as extended by Section 1210 of the
National Defense Authorization Act for FY2008 (P.L. 110-181). This provision caps the
amount of money authorized for transfer to $100 million per fiscal year.
62 See Robert M. Gates, “Landon Lecture,” Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense
Robert M. Gates, Manhattan, Kansas, November 26, 2007, available at
[http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=1199]. See also Richard G.
Lugar and Condoleezza Rice, “A Civilian Partner for Our Troops,” Washington Post, op-ed,
December 17, 2007.
63 Patrick and Brown, (2007).
64 Richard Norton-Taylor, “Brown Plans to Send British Civilian Force to Conflict Zones:
Threats to Security Wider Than During Cold War: Civil Protection Network to Monitor
Local Areas,” The Guardian, March 20, 2008; Katherine Baldwin, “UK Sets Up Force for
Failing States in Wake of Iraq,” Reuters News, March 19, 2008.

DOD Transfer Authority to the State Department for Security
and Stabilization Assistance
U.S. foreign assistance for stabilization efforts in fragile states is funded in part
by DOD through a controversial, temporary transfer authority. Under authority stated
in Section 1207 of the National Defense Authorization Act for FY2006 (P.L. 109-
163, H.R. 1815), Congress provided the State Department a mechanism to receive
DOD funds for “reconstruction, security, or stabilization assistance to a foreign
country.”65 In the conference report that accompanied H.R. 1815 (H.Rept. 109-360),
the conferees noted that they viewed this provision as a “temporary authority to
provide additional resources, if needed, to the Department of State until S/CRS is
fully stood up and adequately resourced.” S.Rept. 110-77, which accompanied the
FY2008 National Defense Authorization Act, also described it as a “pilot project.”
Nevertheless, Section 1210 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
Year 2008 (P.L. 110-181) extended the original transfer authority to September 30,
2008. For FY2009, DOD is requesting an increase in the transfer authority cap, up
to $200 million per fiscal year from the current $100 million. DOD is also requesting
that the transfer authority be extended to other U.S. agencies, besides the State
Supporters of the extended transfer authority provision argue that the State
Department’s stabilization capabilities remain underfunded and prevent effective
civilian management of post-conflict situations. Critics echo the 2006 conference
report, which states that the conferees “do not believe it is appropriate, and are not
inclined, to provide long-term funding from the Department of Defense to the
Department of State so that they Department of State can fulfill its statutory
authorities.” Highlighting continued debate over the appropriateness of DOD’s
Section 1207 authority, the House version of the FY2008 bill did not extend the
transfer authority, while the Senate version extended the transfer authority through
September 30, 2008, and increases such authorized funding from $100 million to
$200 million. In the final FY2008 defense authorization, Congress ultimately agreed
to extend the transfer authority, but maintained the funding limit of $100 million
through FY2008.66
DOD Global Train and Equip Authorities and Funding
An ongoing congressional concern is the extent to which DOD should be
involved in strengthening weak states’ militaries to combat terrorism and other
transnational threats that are perceived to emanate through such states. At the heart
of this debate is a temporary congressional authority to allow DOD to train and equip
foreign military forces for counter-terrorism operations and military and stability
operations in which U.S. armed forces are involved (under Section 1206 of the
National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2006 [P.L. 109-163]). In 2006,

65 For additional information, see CRS Report RS22871, Department of Defense “Section

1207” Security and Stabilization Assistance: A Fact Sheet, by Nina Serafino.

66 Section 1210 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (P.L. 110-

181). See also H.Rept. 110-477.

DOD obligated $100.1 million under this authority; in 2007, $279.5 million; and as
of May 2008, $24.8 million.67 This new authority, which began as a two-year pilot
program, has raised concerns among some analysts that it is contributing to a
perceived shift in U.S. foreign assistance funding control from the State Department
to DOD.68 Supporters of Section 1206, however, argue that DOD may be better able
to operate such train and equip programs than the Department of State.
To this end, the Administration has requested that Congress broaden DOD’s
Section 1206 authorities to include (1) training and equipping foreign gendarmerie,
constabulary, border protection, and internal defense forces; (2) increasing funding
authorization levels from $300 million to $750 million; (3) allowing the President or
the Secretary of State to waive any legislative restrictions, including human rights
restrictions, that may apply to assistance for military or other security forces; and (4)
making the authorities permanent.69 Although Congress raised the initial amount of
authorized funding from $200 million to $300 million per year in Section 1206 of the
John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 (P.L. 109-
364), Congress has turned down the Administration’s request to broaden Section
1206 authorities further. Additionally, Congress has not appropriated funds in any
fiscal year for the purpose of Section 1206 authorities.
For FY2009, the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act
(H.R. 5658), which passed on May 22, 2008, would extend Section 1206 authorities
to FY2010. The Senate version would extend the authorities to FY2011, increase the
authorized funding cap to $400 million per fiscal year, and extend the authorities’ use
beyond foreign national militaries to include building the capacity of a foreign
country’s coast guard, border protection, and other security forces engaged primarily
in counter-terrorism missions.
Foreign Police Training Authorities
The U.S. government’s ability to assist foreign countries in law enforcement is
a critical component in stabilizing weak states. Section 660 of the Foreign
Assistance Act of 1961 (P.L. 87-195), as amended by the 1973 Foreign Military Sales
and Assistance Act (P.L. 93-189), restricts the use of foreign assistance funds for the
training of foreign police, unless Congress grants an exception. Some observers
consider Section 660 as “among the most significant restrictions for stabilization and
reconstruction operations” in weak and failing states.70 Such analysts recommend

67 For further information, see CRS Report RS22855, Section 1206 of the National Defense
Authorization Act for FY2006: A Fact Sheet on Department of Defense Authority to Train
and Equip Foreign Military Forces, by Nina Serafino.
68 See “Taking Defense’s Hand Out of State’s Pocket,” Washington Post, July 9, 2007.
69 See DOD request to Congress on legislative proposals as part of the National Defense
Authorization Bill for Fiscal Year 2008, May 2, 2007, available at
[http://www.dod.mil/dodgc/olc/docs/BGPA.pdf]; for FY2009, see
70 Derek Chollet, Mark Irvine, and Bradley Larson, A Steep Hill: Congress and U.S. Efforts

repealing this prohibition to allow for greater flexibility in developing strategies to
address weaknesses in foreign police forces.71 On the other hand, some observers
also point to Congress’s willingness to grant numerous exemptions to Section 660
over the years as indication that Congress has already taken sufficient account of the
potential importance of foreign police training assistance for strengthening weak
Interagency Policy Effectiveness
According to some observers, the issues surrounding challenges posed by weak
and failing states highlight the broader problem of interagency coordination in
national security affairs.72 In one recent, congressionally mandated effort to address
long-term strategies related to foreign assistance policy, the bipartisan “HELP
Commission” recommended that Congress rewrite the Foreign Assistance Act of
1961 to address, among other considerations, the perceived need for improved
coordination between security concerns and development priorities in failed and
failing states.73 “Once thought to be distinct and removed from one another, security
and development now intersect regularly,” the Commission explains. “Moving states
from failed and failing to capable requires going beyond assistance, linking trade,
democratic principles of governance, and security with traditional assistance.”74
Other groups are exploring options for reforming interagency coordination on
national security issues, which could include rewriting the National Security Act of
1947 and revising congressional rules governing committee structure and practice to
improve oversight of interagency activity.75
The implications of enhancing U.S. government interagency processes, not only
could be substantial; observers often compare calls for interagency reform of U.S.
national security institutions to the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 (P.L. 99-433),
which fundamentally altered how the various branches of the U.S. armed services
coordinate capabilities and function. Advocates of interagency reform call for

70 (...continued)
to Strengthen Fragile States, CSIS Report, October 2007 (draft) and March 2008 (final).
71 Dana R. Dillon, “The War on Terrorism in Southeast Asia: Developing Law
Enforcement,” Backgrounder #1720, The Heritage Foundation, January 22, 2004.
72 See the congressionally funded Beyond Goldwater-Nichols: U.S. Government and Defense
Reform for a New Strategic Era, Phase II Report (2005), op cit. See also The Project on
National Security Reform [http://www.pnsr.org/], which seeks to “produce
recommendations on changes to the National Security Act of 1947 and its subsequent
amendments, presidential directives to implement reforms, and new Congressional
committee structures and practices.”
73 Pursuant to the HELP Commission Act (P.L. 108-199), a bipartisan group of policymakers
published a report in December 2007 on recommendations for foreign assistance reform
entitled “Beyond Assistance.” The report is available at [http://helpcommission.gov/
portals/0/Beyond%20Assistance_H ELP_Commi ssion_Report.pdf].
74 “Beyond Assistance,” pp. 26-27.
75 See, for example, the Project on National Security Reform, a non-profit and non-partisan
project led by James Locher III, available at [http://www.pnsr.org/].

institutionalized mechanisms to require interagency strategic and operational
planning, as well as coordinated resource allocation and execution. Critics, however,
caution that such proposals could potentially involve significant reform of
congressional funding and authorizing responsibilities for national defense, foreign
operations, and intelligence.

Appendix A. Definitions of Weak States
Selected U.S. government and government affiliated efforts to define weak
states include the following:
U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). In the 2005
Fragile States Strategy,76 USAID uses the term “fragile states” to include those that
fall along a spectrum of “failing, failed, and recovering from crisis.” The most severe
form of fragile states are “crisis states,” where conflict is ongoing or “at great risk”
of occurring and the central government does not exert “effective control” over its
territory, is “unable or unwilling to assure the provision of vital services to significant
parts of its territory,” and holds “weak or non-existent legitimacy among its citizens.”
National Intelligence Council (NIC). The NIC describes “failed or failing
states” as having “expanses of territory and populations devoid of effective
government control” and are caused by internal conflicts, in the 2020 Project’s 200477
final report, Mapping the Global Future. In this report, the NIC considers the terms
“post-conflict” and “failed state” to be synonymous.
National Security Council (NSC). The NSC defines “weak states” as
lacking the “capacity to fulfill their sovereign responsibilities” in the 2003 National
Strategy for Combating Terrorism (NSCT).78 The strategy document also describes
some weak states as lacking “law enforcement, intelligence, or military capabilities
to assert effective control over their entire territory.” The NSC describes “failing
states” in the 2006 NSCT as similar to “states emerging from conflict.”79
U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). GAO, in its 2007 report80
Forces That Will Shape America’s Future, defines “failed or failing states” as
“nations where governments effectively do not control their territory, citizens largely
do not perceive the governments as legitimate, and citizens do not have basic public
services or domestic security.”

76 U.S. Agency for International Development, Fragile States Strategy (2005), available at
[http://www.usaid.gov/policy/ 2005_fragile_states_strategy.pdf].
77 National Intelligence Council, Mapping the Global Future: Report of the National
Intelligence Council’s 2020 Project (2004), available at [http://www.foia.cia.gov/2020/


78 White House, National Strategy for Combating Terrorism (2003), available at
[ h t t p : / / www.whi t e house.go v/ news/ r el eases/ 200 3 / 0 2 / c ounter_terrorism/counter_terrorism
_strategy.pdf]. The 2006 NSCT does not use the term “weak states.”
79 White House, National Strategy for Combating Terrorism (2006), available at
[ ht t p: / / www.whi t e house.gov/ nsc/ nsct / 2006/ nsct 2006.pdf ] .
80 U.S. Government Accountability Office, Forces That Will Shape America’s Future:
Themes from GAO’s Strategic Plan, 2007-2012 (2007), available at [http://www.gao.gov/
new.items /d07467sp.pdf].

U.S. Interagency Working Group on International Crime.81 In the 2000
International Crime Threat Assessment report, an interagency working group created
under the Clinton Administration defines “failed states”as “unwilling or unable” to
meet “many of the accepted standards and responsibilities of sovereign control over
its territory,” which may lead to “significant economic deterioration and political
unrest that threatens both internal and regional stability.”82
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), of which the United States
is a member, defines “fragile states” as lacking “either the will or the capacity to
engage productively with their citizens to ensure security, safeguard human rights,
and provide the basic function for development.” They are further characterized as
possessing “weak governance, limited administrative capacity, chronic humanitarian
crisis, persistent social tensions, violence, or the legacy of civil war.”83
Political Instability Task Force (PITF). Originally commissioned by the
CIA’s Directorate of Intelligence in 1994 and called the “State Failure Task Force,”
PITF defines “state failure” as a “range of severe political conflicts and regime
crises” and is characterized by a “total or near-collapse of central political authority.”
The Task Force’s statistical methodology identifies instances of politicide, genocide,
adverse regime changes, and ethnic and revolutionary wars as situations when total
or partial state failure occur.
U.S. Commission on Weak States. This bipartisan commission,
sponsored by the Washington think tank Center for Global Development, in its final
2003 report entitled On the Brink: Weak States and U.S. National Security, defines
“weak states” as those with “governments unable to do the things that their own
citizens and the international community expect from them: protecting people from
internal and external threats, delivering basic health services and education, and
providing institutions that respond to the legitimate demands and needs of the
World Bank. The World Bank’s Fragile States Initiative, previously called the
Low-Income Countries Under Stress (LICUS) Initiative, describes “fragile states” as
often characterized by poor governance, internal conflicts or tenuous post-conflict
transitions, weak security, fractured societal relations, corruption, breakdowns in the

81 The interagency working group that created the International Crime Threat Assessment
report was composed of representatives from the CIA; Federal Bureau of Investigation;
Drug Enforcement Administration; U.S. Customs Service; U.S. Secret Service; Financial
Crimes Enforcement Network; National Drug Intelligence Center; the Departments of State,
the Treasury, Justice, and Transportation; the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and
the NSC.
82 U.S. Interagency Working Group, International Crime Threat Assessment (2000),
available at [http://clinton4.nara.gov/WH/EOP/NSC/html/documents/pub45270/45270Book
83 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Development Assistance
Committee High Level Meeting, Fragile States: Policy Commitment and Principles for
Good International Engagement in Fragile States and Situations (2007).

rule of law, and insufficient mechanisms for generating legitimate power and
authority. All are low-income, which is defined as countries with a 2006 gross
national income (GNI) per capita of $905 or less, calculated using the World Bank’s
Atlas Method.84

84 The World Bank acknowledges that “fragility” is “not clear cut” and non-low-income
countries may also exhibit characteristics of fragility. This includes “higher-income
countries facing the aftermath of conflict, genocide, or social instability (such as the
Balkans), more strongly performing countries facing rising conflict risks (for example,
Nepal), and strongly performing states facing fragility in particular sub-national regions (as
in India, the Philippines). See World Bank Independent Evaluation Group, Engaging with
Fragile States: An IEG Review of World Bank Support to Low-Income Countries Under
Stress, (Washington, DC: The World Bank, 2006), p. 175.

Appendix B. Various Lists Identifying
“At Risk” States
Table 1. 2007 World Bank Fragile States/Territories
AfghanistanEast TimorSierra Leone
AngolaEritreaSolomon Islands
Burma Gambia Somalia
Burundi Guinea Sudan
Cambodia Guinea-Bissau T ogo
Central African Rep.HaitiTonga
Chad Laos Uzbeki stan
Congo, Dem. Rep.LiberiaVanuatu
Congo, Rep.MauritaniaZimbabwe
Cote d’IvoirePapua New GuineaTerritory of Kosovo
DjiboutiSao Tome & Principe
Notes: The World Bank uses two criteria to define its set of fragile states: per capita income within
the threshold of International Development Association eligibility, and performance of 3.2 or less on
the overall Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) rating. Some low-income countries
or territories without CPIA data are also included. The World Bank does not publicly rank these
states, according to their level of fragility. This list is in alphabetical order and is available at
[http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXT ERNAL/EXTABOUT US/IDA/0,,contentMDK:2138997
Table 2. 2007 U.S. Department of State Foreign Assistance
Framework “Rebuilding Countries”
Afgha ni st a n I r a q So ma l i a
Co lo mb ia Le b a no n Sud an
Congo, Dem. Rep.Liberia
Cote d’IvoireNepalTerritory of Kosovo
HaitiSierra Leone
Notes: This list of states, prepared by the DFA, includes all those identified by the U.S. Foreign
Assistance Framework asrebuilding countries,” defined asstates in or emerging from and
rebuilding after internal or external conflict.” There are no public documents that explain how these
states were distinguished from other conflict and post-conflict states not listed as “rebuilding. The
list is available at [http://www.state.gov/f/releases/iab/c21508.htm].

Table 3. 2007 George Mason University Researchers’ State
Fragility Index
Co unt ry Sco r e C o unt ry Sco r e
Congo, Dem. Rep.23Angola18
Afgha ni st a n 2 2 G ui ne a 1 8
Sierra Leone21Iraq18
So malia 21 Rwanda 18
Chad20Congo, Rep.17
Burma 20 Guinea-Bissau 17
Sudan 2 0 Nepal 17
B ur und i 1 9 N i ge r 1 7
Cote d’Ivoire19Uganda17
Ethiopia 1 9 Zambia 1 7
Liberia 1 9 Zimbabwe 1 7
Nige ria 1 9
Notes: Developed by Monty Marshall and Jack Goldstone of George Mason University, the State
Fragility Index measures fragility across eight categories: security effectiveness and legitimacy,
political effectiveness and legitimacy, economic effectiveness and legitimacy, and social effectiveness
and legitimacy. The 23 countries listed here are identified in the original index by the color red as the
most fragile states in 2007. For the full list of states, see Monty Marshall and Jack Goldstone, “Global
Report on Conflict, Governance, and State Fragility 2007,” Foreign Policy Bulletin, Winter 2007.

Table 4. 2007 Fund for Peace Failed States Index
Co unt ry Ra nk Co unt ry Ra nk
Sud a n 1 Niger i a 1 7
I r aq 2 E thio p ia 1 8
So ma l i a 3 B ur und i 1 9
Zimbabwe4East Timor20
Chad 5 Nepal 21
Cote dIvoire6Uzbekistan22
Congo, Dem. Rep.7Sierra Leone23
Afghanistan 8 Yemen 24
Guinea9Sri Lanka25
Central African10Congo, Rep.26
Re p .
Haiti 11 Liberia 2 7
Pakistan 12 Lebano n 2 8
North Korea13Malawi29
Burma14Solomon Islands30
Uganda 15 Kenya 3 1
B angladesh 1 6 Niger 32
Notes: The Fund for Peace annually publishes its Failed States Index. The 2007 iteration measures
177 countries across 12 indicators of instability. The 32 countries listed here are labeled “alert” states,
which are those predicted to be most likely at risk of failure. See [http://www.fundforpeace.org/web/
index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=229&Itemid=366] for full list of states.

Table 5. 2008 Brookings Institution Index of State Weakness in
the Developing World
Co unt ry Ra nk Co unt ry Ra nk
Somalia1North Korea15
Afgha ni st a n 2 C ha d 1 6
Congo, Dem. Rep.3Burma17
Iraq 4 Guinea-B issau 1 8
B ur und i 5 E t hi o p i a 1 9
Sudan6Congo, Rep.20
Central African7Niger21
Re p .
Zimb abwe 8 Nepal 22
Liberia 9 Guinea 23
Cote d’Ivoire10Rwanda24
Ango l a 1 1 EquatorialGuinea 25
Haiti 12 T ogo 26
Sierra Leone13Uganda27
Er itr ea 1 4 Nige r ia 2 8
Notes: Developed by Susan E. Rice of the Brookings Institution and Stewart Patrick of the Center for
Global Development, this Index of State Weakness measures 141 countries across 20 common metrics
of state performance. The 28 countries listed here are in the bottom quintile of the developing
countries assessed. These 28 countries also represent what the authors identify asfailed” (numbers
1 through 3) andcritically weak (numbers 4 through 28) states of the world. See
[http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2008/02_weak_states_index.aspx] for full list of states.

Table 6. Comparison List
Index of
20072007 FundState
Foreignfor PeaceWeakness
2006 WorldAssistance2007 StateFailed“Failed and
BankFrameworkFragilityStates IndexCritically
“FragileRebuildingIndex “Red“AlertWeak
Countries St a t es” Countries St a t es” St a t es” St a t es”
Congo, Dem.
Re p .
Cote dIvoireXXXXX
B ur und i X X X X
Congo, Rep.XXXX
Guinea XXX
igra X XXX
Sie LeonXXXX
ZimbawX XXX
Ango l a X X X
Ce ntr a l XX
African Rep.
Chad XXX
Ethiopia X X X
Guinea- XXX
B i ssa u
Niger XXX
East TimorXX

Index of
20072007 FundState
Foreignfor PeaceWeakness
2006 WorldAssistance2007 StateFailed“Failed and
BankFrameworkFragilityStates IndexCritically
“FragileRebuildingIndex “Red“AlertWeak
Countries St a t es” Countries St a t es” St a t es” St a t es”
Er itr ea X X
Ko so vo X X
Le b a no n X X
North KoreaXX
Rwa nd a X X
So lo mo n XX
Island s
Togo X X
B angladesh X
Cambodia X
Co lo mb ia X
Co mo r o s X
Equatorial X
Kenya X
La o s X
Malawi X
Pakistan X
Sri LankaX
Uzb e kistan X
V a nua t u X
West BankX
and Gaza
Yeme n X
Za mb i a X