In areas of the world affected by violent conflict, the U.S. military and civilian government agencies are working more closely with non-governmental and international organizations to achieve peace and security. While coordination has improved, better integration is still needed to increase the success of these efforts. On September 14, the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum at the U.S. Institute of Peace held a discussion of how professionals from across the diverse civilian-military community can work together to achieve better results and reduce violent conflict.

Partnerships between civilian and military communities are not new. But they come with a broad set of challenges. How, for example, do peacebuilding and development professionals sustain the perception of neutrality when they engage with the military? How do NGOs ensure that engagement with government allies doesn’t undermine their efforts to promote peace and equality? What strategies can military planners and their interagency peers employ to better adapt to one another’s culture, systems and professional beliefs? 

This event of the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum (CPRF) expanded on the work of USIP’s Civilian-Military Working Group and the USIP Interorganizational Tabletop Exercise (ITX), a tool that brings civilian and military planners together to work on shared challenges. Building on key tenets that emerged from these discussions, panelists offered lessons from efforts to increase and improve civilian and military engagement in peacebuilding on the ground. Panelists focused particularly on strengthening alliances, aligning priorities and achieving common goals. 

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #CPRF

Confirmed Speakers

Stéphane Bonamy
Deputy Head of Regional Delegation for the United States & Canada, International Committee of the Red Cross

Robert Jenkins 
Acting Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance (DCHA)

Alina L. Romanowski
Acting Principal Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State

James A. Schear
Senior Political Scientist, the RAND Corporation

Monica Shephard
Vice Director for Joint Force Development, Joint Force Development Directorate J7, Joint Chiefs of Staff

Carla Koppell, Opening Remarks
Vice President, Applied Conflict Transformation, U.S Institute of Peace

Michael Shipler, Moderator
Regional Director, Asia, Search for Common Ground

The Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum (CPRF)

Since 1999, the Conflict Prevention and Resolution Forum has provided a monthly platform in Washington for highlighting innovative and constructive methods of conflict resolution. CPRF’s goals are to (1) provide information from a wide variety of perspectives; (2) explore possible solutions to complex conflicts; and (3) provide a secure venue for stakeholders from various disciplines to engage in cross-sector and multi-track problem-solving. The CPRF is traditionally hosted at SAIS and organized by the Conflict Management Program in conjunction with Search for Common Ground and is co-sponsored by a consortium of organizations that specialize in conflict resolution and/or public policy formulation.

Forum Principals:
Search For Common Ground
Alliance for Peacebuilding
George Mason University – School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution
Georgetown University – Conflict Resolution Program
Johns Hopkins University – Nitze School of Advanced International Studies Conflict Management Program
Partners Global
U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

On Veterans Day and Every Day, U.S. Veterans Are Peacebuilders

On Veterans Day and Every Day, U.S. Veterans Are Peacebuilders

Thursday, November 9, 2023

By: James Rupert

The Veterans Day that Americans observe this week is rooted in hopes for peace that burst in 1918 from a train parked in a French forest: Allied and German military officers had signed a halt to humanity’s deadliest war ever. One hundred five years later, warfare in Ukraine, Israel-Gaza and dozens of countries have heightened both bloodshed and Americans’ concerns about whether humankind can fulfill our hopes for a world governed through laws rather than armed might. Still, the building of peace continues, even amid violence — and its builders include those who know best the horror of wars for having fought them.

Type: Blog

Civilian-Military Relations

Can Algeria Help Niger Recover From Its Army Coup?

Can Algeria Help Niger Recover From Its Army Coup?

Thursday, October 5, 2023

By: Kamissa Camara;  Donna Charles

Democracies and democracy advocates should welcome this week’s tenuously hopeful sign in Algeria’s announcement that the 10-week-old military junta in Niger has accepted Algiers’ offer to mediate in a transition to civilian, constitutional rule. Still, Algeria’s government and the junta left unclear the extent of any agreement on mediation, notably disagreeing on a basic element: the duration of a transition process. Algeria can bring significant strengths to a mediating role. In stepping forward from what most often has been a cautious posture in the region, Algeria creates an opportunity that international partners should seek to strengthen.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Civilian-Military RelationsDemocracy & Governance

Pakistan’s Parliamentary Period Ends as Election Uncertainty Looms

Pakistan’s Parliamentary Period Ends as Election Uncertainty Looms

Thursday, August 10, 2023

By: Asfandyar Mir, Ph.D.

A five-year parliamentary term just concluded in Pakistan, marking the third such term since the country's 2008 transition from military rule. These past five years were marred by domestic political tumult and an outsized — at times decisive — military role in politics. During this period, Pakistan witnessed two ruling coalitions with different prime ministers: the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and allied parties from August 2018 to April 2022, followed by the Shehbaz Sharif-led Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and allies from April 2022 until this week. Top political leaders also faced legal issues — most recently, Khan was convicted for illegally selling state gifts and disqualified from contesting the election.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Civilian-Military RelationsDemocracy & Governance

Five Things to Know About China’s Armed Forces

Five Things to Know About China’s Armed Forces

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

By: Andrew Scobell, Ph.D.;  Alex Stephenson

The People’s Liberation Army, which celebrated its 96th birthday on August 1, is one of the largest, most potent and fast-growing militaries in the world. Chinese leader Xi Jinping has made it a goal for the PLA to “modernize” by 2035 and to be a “world-class” military power by mid-century. In 2014, China’s Navy overtook the U.S. Navy to become the largest military fleet in the world — although the U.S. Navy is still considered to be more powerful. While China is notoriously opaque about its level of defense spending, it is widely believed that China has the largest defense budget in the world other than the United States.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Civilian-Military RelationsGlobal Policy

View All Publications