Seizing the Golden Hour: Tasks, Organization, and Capabilities Required for the Earliest Phase of Stability Operations by James Dobbins, Stephen Watts, Nathan Chandler, Derek Eaton and Stephanie Pezard – RAND Corporation

This report analyzes the golden hour—the early phase of a postconflict stability operation—and the actions, organization, and capabilities necessary to seize it and set the conflict-affected country on a path to self-sustaining peace. The report combines a review of the literature in this field and a brief examination of key cases of U.S.-led stability operations. The authors find evidence that the early phases of postconflict operations are, in fact, critical for improving the odds of success and reducing the eventual costs of achieving an acceptable outcome. Both diplomatic and military actions to provide security in the postconflict country, as well as efforts to broker a broad-based coalition in support of the new political order, are essential. The United States must work to improve civil-military coordination in these early phases. There are also several relatively small investments the United States could make now, in a period of relative peace, to prepare for future contingencies so that it will be prepared to seize golden hours when they arise…

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