Fragile states have always been a source of instability and insecurity; the threat has not
suddenly cropped up in this new millennium. Any state which is unable to provide basic services such as functional security for its citizens, a stable judicial system, and access to health, education, and transportation will be a volatile environment and prone to be taken advantage of by illegal and illicit actors (i.e. terrorists, blackmarketeers, etc.). This loss of functionality leads to a loss of legitimacy, often spiraling into violent conflict. In this essay, the author discusses new efforts by United States to respond to the challenges of promoting global stability and to address the crises generated by fragile states.