The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Global Security Studies

Living Edition
| Editors: Scott Romaniuk, Manish Thapa, Péter Marton

Stability Operations

  • William A. TaylorEmail author
Living reference work entry


Stability operations are one component of full spectrum operations, which include offense, defense, and stability operations. They include a wide range of activities that span the various phases of warfare, including pre-conflict, conflict, and post-conflict. In this sense, stability operations blur the distinctions between peace and war because they can occur in either dimension and have elements applicable to both arenas. Stable states share certain inherent characteristics, including security, economic and infrastructure development, and governance and rule of law.

In contrast, stability operations seek to provide local security and civil order within a weak and fragile state, foster political legitimacy there, and ensure a sustainable peace after their cessation. They occur in response to a nation’s sudden deterioration caused by political, military, economic, or social crises that lead to carnage or have the potential to do so. Much of this dynamic results from...


Civil-military relations Counterinsurgency Counterterrorism Defense Disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) Economic development Economic stabilization and infrastructure Full spectrum operations Governance and participation Humanitarian assistance and social well-being Interagency process Justice and reconciliation Nation building Offense Post-Cold War environment Post-conflict reconstruction Rule of law Security Security sector reform (SSR) Weak and fragile states 
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Further Reading

  1. Crane, C. C. (2016). Cassandra in Oz: Counterinsurgency and future war. Annapolis: Naval Institute.Google Scholar
  2. Franke, V., Guttieri, K., & Civic, M. A. (2014). Understanding complex military operations: A case study approach. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Green, D. R. (2017). In the warlords’ shadow: Special operations forces, the Afghans, and their fight against the Taliban. Annapolis: Naval Institute.Google Scholar
  4. Karlsrud, J. (2018). The UN at war: Peace operations in a new era. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Leuprecht, C., Troy, J., & Last, D. (Eds.). (2010). Mission critical: Smaller democracies’ role in global stability operations. Kingston: Queen’s Centre for International Relations.Google Scholar
  6. Manwaring, M. G., & Joes, A. J. (Eds.). (2000). Beyond declaring victory and coming home: The challenges of peace and stability operations. Westport: Praeger.Google Scholar
  7. Ruffa, C. (2018). Military cultures in peace and stability operations: Afghanistan and Lebanon. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Schadlow, N. (2017). War and the art of governance: Consolidating combat success into political victory. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Taw, J. M. (2012). Mission revolution: The U.S. military and stability operations. New York: Columbia University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Watson, C. (2012). Stability, security, reconstruction, and transition operations: A guide to the issues. Santa Barbara: Praeger.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Angelo State UniversitySan AngeloUSA