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After Desert Storm: The U.S. Army and the Reconstruction of Kuwait


After DESERT STORM: The U.S. Army and the Reconstruction of Kuwait records the U.S. Army’s pivotal nation-building role in a post-hostilities environment in Kuwait. Janet A. McDonnell, taking both a topical and chronological approach to a complex story of the largest civil-military recovery operation since World War II, chronicles how both soldiers and civilians, working alongside Kuwaiti volunteers, helped to bring a proud but battered Kuwait and its infrastructure back to life within nine months. To capitalize fully on battlefield success today, military leaders must also plan carefully for similar recovery missions. There is much to learn in this fine thought-provoking account. In the wake of the 100-hour ground war against Iraq, the U.S. Army mounted the largest civil-military reconstruction operation since World War II in an effort to restore the shattered country of Kuwait. Never having faced a disaster of this magnitude, the Kuwaiti government simply could not provide for all of its own recovery needs. The U.S. Army played a critical role in rebuilding Kuwait and smoothing the fragile transition from hostilities to peace. Army soldiers and civilians conducted damage assessments, restored electrical power and water supplies, cleared tons of debris, and provided emergency medical care and other essential services. ln doing so, they contributed significantly not only to the physical well-being of the Kuwaiti people but also to political and economic stability in the region. The diffuse, complex Kuwait operation included four basic phases: planning, emergency response, recovery, and the aftermath. But these phases were not always neatly separated nor easily defined. Although the Secretary of Defense defined the emergency response phase as the first 90 days, the distinction between the emergency response phase and the recovery phase quickly became blurred. Sometimes the Army and its contractors made emergency repairs in one area, while more substantial, long-term repairs were undertaken elsewhere. The goal of emergency construction generally was to restore facilities and services to their prewar condition, not to make improvements. Yet, in Kuwait, operators found that there was no clear definition of “emergency construction.” For example, did it mean boarding up windows rather than replacing the glass or clearing rubble from a building or not cleaning it? As the recovery proceeded, the expectations of the Kuwaitis understandably increased and the definition of “emergency repairs” expanded.

320 pages

Categories: All Books, Desert Storm


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