Since 1998 I have worked on five governance-related projects in Afghanistan and three in Iraq. On one of these I was hired by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) following a request from former Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier for a “development guy” to be part of the first Strategic Advisory Team (SAT) that the Canadian military sent to Kabul in 2005. The SAT was deployed at President Karzai’s request to support his government’s planning ability. Since that time I’ve been part of several other efforts, including two large ($300M+) USAID governance projects in Iraq.
I’ve learned much from this experience, and hope readers find the following comments helpful. It is a well known truism that without security there can be no development, and also that without development there can be no security. The military’s primary role is usually seen as being related to establishing security, while the development worker’s role is to help improve the performance of the government and increase its legitimacy, which also contributes to security. In a fragile post-conflict environment both sets of actors need to collaborate to help the society move along the trajectory toward progressively higher levels of stability and prosperity. This article highlights a few of the many elements involved in the development and governance side of this work, with a view to illustrating the complexity and challenges inherent in this key dimension of any peace and security mission.