Fragility creates the conditions for violent intrastate conflict. Its consequences contribute to global disorder and mounting threats to U.S. national security. Significant impediments to effective action in fragile states persist today, even with many years of policy attention and an emerging consensus about its centrality in causing armed conflict. Policy-makers across the U.S. interagency have yet to arrive at a shared consciousness about the challenge of fragility, a shared understanding of the nature of the problem, and the types of capacities that can be comprehensively deployed to address it effectively. This essay describes recent advances in the development sector with regard to fragile states that suggest a way forward for stronger results. The steep challenges of tackling the complex causes of fragility tell us to be measured in our actions, but the experiences of recent progress and the urgency to alleviate human suffering tell us the time is right for greater ambition.