Rebuilding and strengthening the essential functions of government is a critical aspect of peace-building and recovery after conflict. There is now a wide literature on the challenges of post-conflict state-building based on the international community's experiences in such places as Kosovo, East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. Much of this literature is concerned with the challenges of strengthening administration and service provisionï¿½what might be loosely called the policy implementation functions of government. Much less attention has been given to the policy formulation capacities of post-conflict governments. This is surprising given the importance of conflict-sensitive policies for peace-building and for laying the foundations for economic growth and employment. Many post-conflict governments lack capacity for policy developmentï¿½a gap that is often filled by international technical assistance. In cases where the international community is providing support to a reasonably functioning government after a conflict, this study argues that more attention needs to be given to the government's policy-making capacity. Using the experience of post-conflict Aceh as a prism, the study argues that technical advice can be too easily wasted unless there is concomitant support for developing the institutional infrastructure needed to manage advice and to prepare options for political deliberation and choice.