Date of this Version


Document Type



United States Department of State document, 2020.


United States government work. Public domain material.


The 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) affirms that the United States will work to strengthen fragile states “where state weakness or failure would magnify threats to the American homeland” and “empower reform-minded governments, people, and civil society” in these places. The President affirmed this commitment when he signed the Global Fragility Act of 2019 (Title V of Div. J, P.L. 116-94) (GFA) into law in December 2019. This Strategy meets the law’s requirement for a “Global Fragility Strategy.”

The United States Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability seeks to break the costly cycle of fragility and promote peaceful, self-reliant nations that become U.S. economic and security partners. The United States will pursue a new approach that addresses the political drivers of fragility and supports locally driven solutions. The United States will engage selectively based on defined metrics, host country political will, respect for democracy and human rights, defined cost-sharing, and mechanisms that promote mutual accountability with national and local actors.

This Strategy outlines four goals to guide United States efforts across priority countries and regions: Prevention: The United States will establish and support capabilities to engage in peacebuilding and anticipate and prevent violent conflict before it erupts; Stabilization: The United States will support inclusive political processes to resolve ongoing violent conflicts, emphasizing meaningful participation of youth, women, and members of faith-based communities and marginalized groups, respect for human rights and environmental sustainability; Partnerships: The United States will promote burden-sharing and encourage and work with partners to create conditions for long-term regional stability and foster private sector-led growth; and Management: The United States will maximize U.S. taxpayer dollars and realize more effective outcomes through better prioritization, integration, and focus on efficiency across the U.S. government and with partners.

The United States will achieve these goals by aligning U.S. Government operations, setting clear priorities, and integrating all tools of U.S. foreign policy: diplomacy; foreign assistance; defense support and security cooperation; trade and investment; sanctions and other financial pressure tools; intelligence and analysis; and strategic communications. The United States will recruit and train staff to work more effectively in fragile environments. The United States cannot and should not pursue these efforts alone. Accordingly, this Strategy outlines a commitment to forge new partnerships with civil society, the private sector, regional partners, and bilateral and multilateral contributors who can provide expertise and share the financial burden.

This Strategy prioritizes learning, data-driven analysis, diplomacy, and information-sharing to understand local dynamics, target interventions, and hold actors accountable. It lays out a clear process to systematically monitor policy outcomes, not just program outputs. If changing dynamics require alterations in approach, if programs are not showing results, or if partners are not living up to their commitments, the United States will change course. The success of this Strategy will require discipline and commitment by the whole U.S. government and our partner governments, the creation of dynamic and forward-leaning country-level strategies, and flexibly and timely resources to power change. Through this new approach, the United States will seek to avoid past mistakes and better advance America’s national security interests in fragile environments.