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War and the Art of GovernanceWar and the Art of Governance

Consolidating Combat Success into Political Victory

Nadia Schadlow

Narrated by Robin Rowan

Available from Audible

Book published by Georgetown University Press

Success in war ultimately depends on the consolidation of political order. Nadia Schadlow argues that the steps needed to consolidate a new political order are not separate from war. They are instead an essential component of war and victory.

The challenge of governance operations did not start with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US Army's involvement in the political and economic reconstruction of states has been central to all its armed conflicts from large-scale conventional wars to so-called irregular or counterinsurgency wars. Yet, US policymakers and military leaders have failed to institutionalize lessons on how to consolidate combat gains into desired political outcomes. War and the Art of Governance examines fifteen historical cases of US Army military interventions, from the Mexican War through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Improving future outcomes will require US policymakers and military leaders to accept that plans, timelines, and resources must be shaped to reflect this reality before they intervene in a conflict, not after things go wrong.

Schadlow provides clear lessons for students and scholars of security studies and military history, as well as for policymakers and the military personnel who will be involved in the next foreign intervention.

Nadia Schadlow is deputy assistant to the president for national security strategy. She is a senior program officer in the International Security and Foreign Policy Program of the Smith Richardson Foundation. She has published articles about national security in the Wall Street Journal,, The American Interest, Parameters, War on the Rocks, and elsewhere. She has a PhD from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.


“It is clear from War and the Art of Governance that the nation must never go to war again until it can definitely answer Gen. Petraeus's question about "how this ends." It ends only when the U.S. Army assumes the mantle of leadership and commits itself to remaining on the field until the lives of the population can be protected, the damage repaired and a political future guaranteed.”

—Josh Rogin, The Washington Post

“The conclusions represent important guidelines for every potential use of force in our future.”

World Affairs Journal

“In her excellent book ... Schadlow argues eloquently that war is not over until battlefield success is translated into political victory.”

Washington Times

“Why is American military success on the battlefield not yielding successful political outcomes? In this critically crafted must-read before we enter another war, Dr. Schadlow lays out the post-combat challenges no amount of denial will excuse, persuasively charting what history tells us is required for our military victories to achieve a better peace.”

—James Mattis, US Secretary of Defense

“Nadia Schadlow's War and the Art of Governance is a must read for any senior political or military official trying to understand how to turn military interventions into successful and enduring political outcomes—and for anyone aspiring to these positions.... Quite simply, this is a timely and brilliant book.”

—David Johnson, Principal Researcher, RAND Corporation Adjunct Scholar, Modern War Institute at West Point Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University

“In theory, wars are conducted to serve policy and obtain what the British historian Liddell Hart termed "a better peace." All too often, policy makers fail to plan to translate military results into that elusive better peace or at least a sustainable political end state. With insights drawn from case studies, Nadia Schadlow lays out the persistent flaws in the American Way of War. Civilian policy makers will wince, but Schadlow demonstrates that they are often to blame for the failure to gain strategic results commensurate with the costs of military interventions. Clear implications for both civilian and military strategists are drawn out by the author's impressive scholarship. A must read for anyone who wants to understand the underlying failures of the last 15 years and wants those searing experiences to better position US strategy in the future.”

—Frank Hoffmann, author Decisive Force: The American Way of War

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University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks