Beth Ellen Cole

Special Advisor, Violent Extremism, Conflict and Fragility

In September 2015, Ms. Cole joined the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) as special advisor on Countering Violent Extremism, Conflict and Fragility.  Ms. Cole has served in leadership positions in and out of government for more than 30 years working on conflict and security issues.  Prior to rejoining USIP, Ms. Cole was appointed by President Obama as the director of the Office of Civil-Military Cooperation at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) where she was responsible for managing the relationship between USAID and the Department of Defense.

Ms. Cole has led pioneering initiatives including the USIP-hosted Working Group on Civil-Military Relations in Non-Permissive Environments where she helped negotiate the landmark, “Guidelines for Relations Between U.S. Armed Forces and NGHOs in Hostile or Potentially Hostile Environments.”  She was lead writer of the first “interagency” doctrine for stabilization operations, Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction.  She has authored and co-authored numerous books and publications and speaks widely on issues related to conflict. Ms. Cole is currently an adjunct professor at the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

Expert In the News

Articles & Analysis from this Expert


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.