For close to a decade now I've been roaming the world, delivering in Johnny Appleseed fashion a message that I refined just after 9/11 for the secretary of defense's Office of Force Transformation: The world's core powers must develop a systemic approach to postwar and post-disaster coalition interventions inside what I call the "Non-Integrated Gap," by which I mean those countries and regions least connected to globalization. This vision encompasses the so-called "whole of government" approach, but extends it vigorously to also include the private sector, based on the knowledge that jobs are the only exit strategy.
In short, when it comes to rehabilitating failed and failing states, "Treat 'em and street 'em," doesn't translate to victory in a meaningful sense.
Of course, vision alone accomplishes nothing. It only finds purchase where operational realities pile up, triggering bureaucratic responses. Iraq and Afghanistan represent a tsunami of operational experience building up, and they have triggered all manner of bottom-up responses throughout the U.S. government -- in the form of personnel and units and agencies looking to both expand their capabilities and connect with one another in larger, more effective combinations.