Rewiring Interventions? UK Provincial Reconstruction Teams and ‘Stabilization’

This article explores developments in the UK’s institutional arrangements for managing ‘stabilization’ operations. It suggests that ‘stabilization’ activity takes place within a different framework of priorities from either ‘development’ or military-led ‘hearts and minds’ frameworks. It argues for a sharpening of, and to some extent a returning to basics for, Civil–Military Cooperation (CIMIC) while creating capabilities for a more developed form of ‘stabilization CIMIC’. It also highlights the need for new and widely understood institutions that enhance the capacity for comprehensive and integrated (rather than sequential or coordinated) interdepartmental operational planning. It stresses the difficulties with stabilization models that imply a generic sequencing of activities, rather than approaches that represent a mixture of simultaneity and ‘critical path analyses. The debates framed in this article are rooted in institutional developments witnessed in 2006 and 2007.