Beth Ellen Cole

Special Advisor, Violent Extremism, Conflict and Fragility

Beth Cole is a special advisor on violent extremism, conflict and fragility. Previously, she was the director of the Office of Civil-Military Cooperation at USAID, and had worked earlier at USIP as director of intergovernmental affairs where she coordinated USIP's external relations with U.S., foreign state, regional and international organizations. She is also a lecturer at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

Cole is lead writer of the first civilian doctrine for building sustainable peace, Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction (2009). She led USIP's Afghanistan Security Mapping Project and co-chairs the USIP-hosted Working Group on Civil-Military Relations in Non-Permissive Environments, a forum for the U.S. armed forces, government agencies and humanitarian assistance organizations. Cole also serves on the Civil-Military Cooperation Working Group of the Advisory Committee on Voluntary Foreign Assistance for the U.S. Agency for Internationl Development, and is an adjunct professor at the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

Prior to joining USIP, Cole was director of the Congressional Roundtable on Post-Cold War Relations in the U.S. Congress and a senior fellow at George Mason University’s Program on Peacekeeping Policy. She is co-author of the RAND book The Beginner’s Guide to Nation-Building (2007). She also co-authored a number of USIP Special Reports including "Transitional Governance: From Bullets to Ballots" (2006) and "Building Civilian Capacity for U.S. Stability Operations: The Rule of Law Component" (2004), as well as the Peace through Law Education Fund’s A Force for Peace and Security: U.S. and Allied Commanders Views of the Military’s Role in Peace Operations and the Impact of Terrorism on States in Conflict (2002).

Cole also served in positions at the Congressional Research Service and the U.S. Department of State working on arms control treaty issues and was executive director of several nongovernmental organizations, including the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and the Peace Through Law Education Fund.

Cole received a B.A. in political science and French from the University of Vermont and completed Kent State University’s program on international organizations in Geneva, Switzerland.

Expert In the News

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The United States Institute of Peace, the Simons Center for the Study of Interagency Cooperation and the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center got together to discuss challenges and lessons learned from more than a decade of stability operations.
April 11, 2011
USIP’s Beth Ellen Cole testified before the Commission on Wartime Contracting about civilian-military relations and USIP-facilitated dialogue between the military, U.S. government agencies and nongovernmental organizations.
November 1, 2009
The Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction (S&R) manual presents the first strategic “doctrine” ever produced for civilians engaged in peacebuilding missions. It is a practical roadmap for helping countries transition from violent conflict to peace.
October 23, 2009
USIP’s Beth Cole presents ideas for military and civilian cooperation to increase security and stability in Afghanistan and Iraq to a House Armed Services subcommittee.