War Front to Store Front: Americans Rebuilding Trust and Hope in Nations Under Fire

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9781118239223: War Front to Store Front: Americans Rebuilding Trust and Hope in Nations Under Fire

As the top-ranking official at the U.S. Department of Defense in charge of economic rebuilding, Brinkley and his organization of hundreds of business volunteers struggled against bureaucratic policies to revolutionize foreign aid by leveraging America's strength—its private sector. In doing so, his team demonstrated success in the midst of failure, and created hundreds of thousands of jobs in areas long written off by the civilian bureaucracy as hopeless.

 

Reporting directly to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Brinkley spent five years overseeing economic improvement in Iraq and Afghanistan. The lessons learned in these two nations were soon extended into the war-torn nations of Pakistan, Rwanda, and Sudan.

 

Brinkley, who worked under both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama Administrations, reveals why American foreign policy has left these nations in the Middle East and Africa disappointed, resentful, and suspicious of American intentions. Optimistic that America can deliver on its economic promise, Brinkley outlines in War Front to Store Front the necessary changes in U.S. foreign policy if we want to rebuild and revitalize an economy under fire. 

 

This engaging account details:

 

  • Fascinating insights of the inner workings of American government and its largest bureaucracy—the U.S. Department of Defense
  • Vivid descriptions of a group of business leaders who sought to change how the Pentagon did business, and who wound up in a war zone, including a firsthand experience of a terrorist attack
  • Detailed account of the American business model for foreign development that can improve the lives of war-ravaged citizens, at far less cost than existing military and foreign aid programs
  • Insights into the transition of the Bush Administration to the Obama Administration, and its impact on foreign policy
  • Inside details on the real business climate in Iraq, before and after Saddam Hussein, as well as its political landscape
  • Detailed analysis of the future of Afghanistan, economically and politically, and how its democratic institutions struggle to gain a foothold
  • Comprehensive map to connect Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to the global economy, creating opportunity and reducing anti-Americanism
  • Thorough breakdown of lessons learned in the Middle East and U.S. efforts to translate them to African nations, including Rwanda and Sudan

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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."

Review:

“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

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