Security Sector Governance

USIP helps to build professional, sustainable, and locally supported security institutions that promote democracy and the rule of law by assisting U.S. and foreign governments in reforming security sector institutions and developing a cadre of experts through education and training.

Evolving Conflict Dynamics in the Central African Republic

Fri, 10/14/2016 - 10:00
Fri, 10/14/2016 - 12:00
Updates from the Field

Despite holding its first peaceful, democratic elections earlier this year, the Central African Republic remains vulnerable to a resurgence of the conflict that began in 2012. An estimated 2.3 million people require humanitarian assistance to meet basic needs, and a stalled disarmament process allows armed groups to continue operating with impunity in many parts of the country. The U.S. Institute of Peace held a discussion with experts from the field on the crucial next steps needed to achieve disarmament, end the violence and begin reconstruction and reconciliation.

Following the inauguration of President Faustin Archange Touadéra in March of 2016, his government set disarmament of armed groups as its main priority. He has sought to actively engage the armed groups on the design of a process for disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating these forces, but most of these factions remain unsatisfied with the proposed path and refuse to disarm. Instead, they continue to control large swaths of the country, including important transport routes.

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Violent Extremism: Setting Priorities for Research

Thu, 09/29/2016 - 09:00
Thu, 09/29/2016 - 12:30

The near-daily litany of violence perpetrated by violent extremist groups like al-Qaeda, ISIS and Boko Haram illustrates the dearth of understanding about how these militant organizations successfully tap into social discord to advance their campaigns. On Thursday, September 29, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the RESOLVE Network convened researchers from around the world to help set priorities for policy-relevant research to identify effective responses.


Violent extremism presents a number of puzzles: What motivates individuals or groups attracted to political rhetoric advocating violence to take the next step of carrying out violent action? How is this type of violence different from other forms of political violence? When and under what conditions do communities choose to support, abstain from or actively reject violent social movements and extremist groups?  

Amb. William Taylor, Welcome Remarks
Vice President, U.S. Institute of Peace

Keynote and Discussion: Of Barrel Bombs and Beheadings: The Roots of Intergenerational Extremism

Mohammed Hafez, Keynote
Chairman and Associate Professor, Naval Post Graduate School

Georgia Holmer, Moderator
Director of CVE, U.S Institute of Peace

Session 1: The Governance Nexus: Legitimacy, State Fragility and Violent Extremism

Humayun Kabir, Panelist
Vice President, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute

Richard Atwood, Panelist
Director of Multilateral Affairs and Head of New York Office, International Crisis Group

Cheryl Frank, Panelist
Head of Transnational Threats and International Crime Division, Institute for Security Studies

Beza Tesfaye, Panelist
Conflict and Governance Research Manager, Mercy Corps

Cameron Chisholm, Moderator
President and Founder, International Peace &Security Institute

Session 2: A New Narrative: Rethinking the Discourse on Violence & Religious Identity

Eliza Urwin, Panelist
Senior Program Officer, U.S Institute of Peace

Tahir Abbas, Panelist
Senior Research Fellow, Royal United Services Institute

Imtiaz Gul, Panelist
Executive Director, Centre for Research and Security Studies

Houda Abadi, Panelist
Associate Director MENA Projects, The Carter Center

Candace Rondeaux, Moderator
Senior Program Officer and Director of RESOLVE Network Secretariat, U.S. Institute of Peace

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Frontline Diplomats and Development Workers

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 09:30
Wed, 06/22/2016 - 12:00
Balancing Mission and Risk in High Threat Environments

Diplomats as well as humanitarian and development professionals are “frontline civilians,” often working in conflict zones despite the risks. Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom spoke at the U.S. Institute of Peace on June 22 providing a progress report and discussion of how the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development are implementing their new strategy for lowering and managing those risks, based on the 2015 Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR).

Read the event coverage, How to Cut Danger—And Accept Risk—in Civilian Missions.

QDDR called for the State Department and USAID to “continue to balance our values and interests with the inherent risks of 21st-century diplomacy and development.”  Preparation and the mental and physical care of these frontline civilians—before, during and after their assignments—must be paramount and must take into account their different objectives and needs. Leadership must explain to Congress and the American people why such risks must be taken and what is done to minimize, though not eliminate, dangers to civilians in advancing essential diplomacy.

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After Peshawar: Domestic Security in Pakistan

Tue, 01/27/2015 - 14:00
Tue, 01/27/2015 - 15:30

December 16, 2014, may well have been Pakistan’s September 11. Join the U.S. Institute of Peace for a panel discussion assessing Pakistan’s domestic security situation in the wake of the attack on the Army Public School and Degree College in Peshawar.

In the wake of the brutal attack that day, Pakistani civilian and military policymakers came together to formulate a new National Action Plan, making fresh pledges of concerted action against the full host of militant groups operating within Pakistan.

The new security agenda has led to a controversial amendment of the Pakistani constitution to institute new military-run courts for terrorist suspects. Capital punishment has resumed. New initiatives seek to curtail terrorist financing and media access. And combat actions continue in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

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Countering Terrorism in Pakistan’s Megacities: Exploring the Role of the Pakistan Police

Mon, 09/08/2014 - 10:00
Mon, 09/08/2014 - 12:00

In light of the release of a new USIP Special Report entitled "A Counter Terrorism Role for Pakistan’s Police Stations," panel experts discussed the capacity of Pakistan’s local police to counter terrorism in the nation’s urban centers.

Violence from terrorism, secessionist insurgency, sectarian conflict and ethnic turf wars is escalating in Pakistan’s megacities. Yet while the police force and its personnel remain ill-prepared and poorly equipped to meet the challenge, even skeptics recognize that police and law enforcement are the single most important institution in facing Pakistan’s counterterrorism challenge.

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U.S. Foreign Policy in Somalia

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 11:00
Tue, 06/03/2014 - 12:00
Remarks by Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman discussed a new U.S. policy to advance peace, stability and development in Somalia at USIP on June 3rd.

Read the event analysis, Somalia Slated for First U.S. Ambassador in Two Decades



  • Wendy Sherman
    Under Secretary of State, Political Affairs
  • Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Moderator
    Senior Advisor to the President, U.S. Institute of Peace

Join the conversation on Twitter with #USIPSomalia.

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The Future of Afghan Policing: Security after NATO Withdrawal

Tue, 05/27/2014 - 13:00
Tue, 05/27/2014 - 15:00

While much attention has focused on the Afghan National Army ‘s ability to secure the country after the withdrawal of NATO combat forces in 2014, the equally-important role of the police is frequently overlooked.

Huge investments by the international community to create the Afghan National Police (ANP) have had mixed results. Disagreements over what the police force should look like have led to the simultaneous development of multiple models. Now Afghanistan will need to take the lead in resolving this enduring dilemma and creating a professional law enforcement agency suitable for a democratic society. Planning for this transition is underway, but the challenge of transforming the interior ministry, which supervises the police, and the 157,000-member force is formidable.

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General Election 2014 and the Protests in Bosnia: Is Change Possible?

Wed, 04/02/2014 - 10:00
Wed, 04/02/2014 - 11:30

The U.S. Institute of Peace and Emerging Democracies Institute co-hosted a public discussion with experts examining whether the ongoing protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina cause concern for the upcoming elections.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is in the deepest political crisis since the Dayton Peace Agreement ended the war in 1995. Years of political deadlock, dire economic conditions including an unemployment rate hovering above 44 percent, and growing impatience by citizens with their political leaders, fueled violent protests across the country and led a number of government officials to resign.

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One-time Miracle or Exemplar

Wed, 01/15/2014 - 14:00
Wed, 01/15/2014 - 16:00
What are the lessons of Mandela's legacy and South Africa's transition for other countries?

USIP and Beyond Conflict discussed lessons learned from South Africa’s transformation experience with some of the key negotiators during the transition, from both the African National Congress and National Party.

Read the event coverage, Considering the Lessons of Mandela’s Legacy and South Africa’s Reconciliation

South Africa’s remarkable transition from apartheid to majority rule in the 1990s has often been referenced as a model for other countries in need of significant reform and grappling with a bloody past.  The recent passing of Nelson Mandela has renewed interest in the country’s transformation.  But there remain unanswered questions concerning whether the processes that worked in South Africa and lessons learned are applicable in other contexts.

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Governance and Stability in Iraq

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 14:00
Tue, 01/14/2014 - 17:00
Remarks by Deputy Prime Minister H.E. Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq and Discussions with Members of the Council of Representatives

The United States Institute of Peace (USIP), the National Defense University (NDU), and the Iraqi American Community Center (IAC) hosted H.E. Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, and members of the Iraqi Council of Representatives for public remarks and a discussion on governance, services, transition, and peace and stability in Iraq.

Read the event coverage, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Calls for Reconciliation, U.S. Pressure.

Despite regional geopolitical tensions from Syria, high levels of violence, and political differences, Iraq has braved its external and internal obstacles to remain on course to hold its national elections scheduled for April 2014. Regardless of the outcome of the elections, the relationship between the federal, regional, and provincial levels and devolution of powers will remain at the core of Iraq’s politics, and with significant implications for governance, services, security, and overall peace and stability in the country.

The schedule of events was as follows:

2:00pm to 3:15pm | Remarks by H.E. Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq, Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq

  • William B. Taylor, Opening Remarks
    Vice President for Middle East and Africa, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • H.E. Mr. Saleh al-Mutlaq, Keynote Remarks
    Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq
  • Q&A Discussion

3:15pm to 3:30pm | Intermission

3:30pm to 5:00pm |Town Hall Discussion with Iraqi Members of Council of Representatives

  • Sarhang Hamasaeed, Moderator
    Senior Program Officer for the Middle East and Africa, U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Ezzat al-Shebander
    Member of Council of Representatives
  • Nada al-Juburi
    Member of Council of Representatives

This event was hosted jointly by the U.S. Institute of Peace, the National Defense University, and the Iraqi American Community Center.

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Articles & Analysis

Fred Strasser

The peace process in Myanmar, which seeks to end decades of conflicts between the country’s army and an array of rebel groups, is progressing fitfully but could still face a reversal, experts on the Southeast Asian nation said in a discussion at the U.S. Institute of Peace. To drive it forward will require that the country’s new democratic leadership to skillfully manage relations with the still-powerful military while pushing negotiations and building confidence with the nation’s diverse armed movements.

Rachel Sullivan

On a cool Friday morning in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, the conference room is silent for the first time in days. Expert presentations on disarmament and security sector reform, followed by lively debates, had filled the room since Wednesday afternoon. Now, only the air conditioning hums as a diverse group of mid- and-senior level officials and civic leaders—gathered by the U.S. Institute of Peace—pore over findings from citizen consultations held in communities around the country. They are men and women, Muslims and Christians. Their positions in ministries and...

Nancy Lindborg

For 35 years, the International Day of Peace on September 21 has served as a rallying point for governments, organizations and ordinary people working to help end violent conflict around the world.

Videos & Webcasts

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Shuja Nawaz
Based on interviews with civil and military officials and politicians, this report details the poor governance and imbalance of power in Pakistan and offers key recommendations for the military, civilian institutions, parliament, and civil society to achieve the goals and objectives outlined in Pakistan’s National Action Plan (NAP). The need for an assessment of the National Internal Security Policy and subsequent NAP became evident as the heightened military action under Operation Zarb-e-Azb entered its second year. Much remains unclear due to the lack of transparency in operations of both civil and military institutions and the absence of active parliamentary oversight.
Rachel Kleinfeld
The Fragility Study Group is an independent, non-partisan, effort of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Center for a New American Security and the United States Institute of Peace. The chair report of the study group, U.S. Leadership and the Challenge of State Fragility, was released on September 12. This brief is part of a series authored by scholars from the three institutions that build on the chair report to discuss the implications of fragility on existing U.S. tools, strategic interests and challenges.