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War Front to Store Front: Americans Rebuilding Trust and Hope in Nations Under Fire Hardcover – February 18, 2014
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“Paul Brinkley helped engineer one of the few success stories in America’s occupation of Iraq. He built on that success in Afghanistan and now has reflected on both experiences—and more—in this intelligent, interesting, and important book.” —Fareed Zakaria
""America's military and civilian leaders agree—our country's national security challenges and geopolitical objectives cannot be achieved by firepower or diplomacy alone. Economic progress, jobs, and opportunity are indispensable to winning the peace and securing our nation. Understanding this reality and driven by a passion to serve, Paul Brinkley and his colleagues took great personal, career, and financial risks to help a war-torn country build a modern economy.
""Brinkley tells a compelling, page-turning story. But it's no fairy tale. Readers will share not only the vision and the importance of the cause, but also the many frustrations and roadblocks experienced along the way. This is an important book—there is much here that inspires, but also many important lessons and insights that Americans and their government need to learn and heed."" —Thomas J. Donohue, President & CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
""Paul Brinkley has written a compelling narrative about igniting economies through business creation in Iraq and Afghanistan in a war zone for two presidents. The story of his heroic team of American citizens serving in harm's way is a heartwarming and heartbreaking page-turner."" —Michael Mullen, ADM, USN (retired), 17th Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
""Paul Brinkley captures America's experience in Afghanistan and Iraq beyond the obvious. His fascinating narrative describes a gordian knot of politics, personalities, culture, and economic realities that confronted, and often confounded, the best of intentions. A must-read for engagement in the modern world."" —Stanley McChrystal, GEN, USA (retired), Commander, International Security Assistance Force - Afghanistan, 2009-2010
""Paul Brinkley’s War Front to Store Front is a very personal portrayal of his tireless commitment to supporting U.S. efforts to bring peace and stability to Iraq and Afghanistan. Through his leadership at the Defense Department, Paul was able to improve the lives of countless Iraqis and Afghans, providing them greater stability, employment, and economic security, along with the hope that their lives would improve. Paul’s account provides solutions for overcoming Washington’s bureaucratic obstacles, and moving post-war economies toward more effective reconstruction."" —Howard G. Buffett, Chairman and CEO, Howard G. Buffett Foundation
“War Front to Store Front is two intertwined tales: one, a fascinating account of how U.S. businesses can play a new and crucial role in stabilizing America’s overseas conflict zones, and another, a rollicking yarn about Brinkley’s team of young Americans dodging bullets and bomb blasts to accomplish their unique mission from the Tigris River to the Hindu Kush. A terrific read!” —Milt Bearden, former CIA Station Chief, author of The Black Tulip, and co-author with James Risen of The Main Enemy
“This is an important book. Not only does Paul Brinkley capture the bureaucratic impediments to effective civil-military efforts in conflict zones, he also demonstrates how we can become more effective in development and stability missions. The lessons are not theoretical—they are practical and the author and his team demonstrated how to apply an entrepreneurial approach to difficult problems."" —H. R. McMaster, MG, USA, author of Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam
""Paul Brinkley’s commonsense approach to rebuilding Iraqi business and industry to provide jobs, incomes, and goods to meet the country’s needs, and to drain insurgencies of manpower and motive, is one of the most significant civilian efforts ever undertaken during warfare. Mr. Brinkley’s brave and relentless engagement of U.S. military and civilian leaders and of Iraqis and Afghans at every level of government and industry—from farms, villages, and the front lines of battle to the U.S. Capitol, give him a breadth of knowledge and perspective like no leader in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan. His is an essential record to be read, debated, and relied upon by military and development specialists for decades to come."" —Edwin Price, Professor of Agriculture and Founding Director of Norman Borlaug Institute for International Agriculture, Texas A&M University
“Paul Brinkley provides a compelling and highly readable assessment of Afghanistan from an economic and a political perspective, and America’s shortcomings in trying to build a stable Afghan state, based on his experiences throughout the country. I highly recommend this to policymakers as the transition of Afghanistan from military engagement to long-term development takes place in the next several years.” —Daud Saba, Ph.D., Governor, Herat Province, Afghanistan
""This is an important book. Not only does Paul Brinkley capture the bureaucratic impediments to effective civil-military efforts in conflict zones, he also demonstrates how we can become more effective in development and stability missions. The lessons are not theoretical; they are practical, and the author and his team have demonstrated how to apply an entrepreneurial approach to difficult problems."" —Major General H.R. McMaster, U.S. Army, author of Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Lies that Led to Vietnam
About the Author
Paul A. Brinkley served five years as Deputy Under Secretary of Defense and director of the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations, charged with the revitalizing the economies of Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the recipient of the Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Medal and the Secretary of Defense-Defense of Freedom Medal for injuries sustained in a car bomb attack in Baghdad in 2010. He has published articles in Newsweek and Military Review and has been profiled in Businessweek, Fortune, New York Times, Washington Post, Der Spiegel, and The Economist.
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The effort was successful beyond all expectations, so TFBSO went on to work in Afghanistan getting the international private business community to partner with and invest in local businesses just as it had done in Iraq. It also worked in countries in Africa and was beginning work in Pakistan.
It's hard to describe what these dedicated civilians working in TFBSO had to overcome in sustaining the work that they were doing. The bureaucratic behemoth in Washington put roadblocks in their way at every turn. Only through military leaders who could see the effect that TFBSO had on reducing violence in these countries was the task force (more than 800 individuals)able to continue as long as it did. It is simply incredible how ignorant politicians and Washington bureaucrats make decisions without knowing anything about the facts on the ground.
Author, and TFBSO leader, Paul Brinkley names names in providing a history of the effort to reconstruct these countries post war. Each country is different from the others. Regions within the countries are different with different cultures. All this must be considered when bringing international businesses in to view the areas in which they might want to invest. This was a complex and extremely courageous venture all around.
How this effort ended before its time is a tragedy beyond comprehension, but Brinkley doesn't leave us there. He provides solid suggestions for moving forward based on what TFBSO learned in its years of operation. If only someone will listen....
This book is a must-read.
I know the author professionally and personally, I was by his side for more than two years, in/at almost every meeting, discussion, briefing, conference, speech.......
What I liked is that for every point of contention he brings up, he provides a recommendation for solution.