The US Army War College Quarterly: Parameters


Andrea Malouf


The ongoing, 20-year effort to reform Iraq’s Ministry of Interior through capability building is an underreported but critical aspect of NATO’s mission. This article identifies 10 strategic errors or “lessons” from this mission related to ends, ways, means, and assumptions. NATO’s involvement was flawed from design to delivery, including its myopic focus on training, systemic disregard of politics, relegation of civilian expertise, and inadequate measurements of its effects. As a result, police legitimacy in Iraq eroded, potentially exacerbating instability. Capability building is becoming more attractive as a non-kinetic tool; the success of future NATO missions—in Iraq and elsewhere—will, therefore, rely on avoiding similar mistakes.

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