Military and civilian agencies have worked more closely in recent years to prevent or reduce violent conflict, build the capacities of governments and strengthen national security. Still, lessons from the field show that more needs to be done to improve mutual understanding and cooperation among the array of organizations providing assistance. Lack of understanding has led to duplication of effort, inefficient use of limited resources and unintended consequences. The Civ-Mil program of the U.S. Institute of Peace includes education, training, working groups and exercises to advance information-sharing and coordination. These efforts inform professionals on how they can work together to build peace more effectively in complex conflict environments. Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on Work in Civ-Mil Relations.
From Lebanon, Osama Gharizi shares his analysis about the clarity of U.S. objectives after retaliatory missile strikes targeting the Assad regime’s suspected chemical weapons facilities. Gharizi says these strikes sent a signal to Assad and his allies that there are limits to U.S. and coalition intervention in Syria. In turn, these limits strengthen Russia, Turkey, and Iran’s roles as the diplomatic arbiters to negotiate a peace deal. Separately, Gharizi addresses the risks associated with the suggestion of setting up an Arab force in Syria that could create further obscurity in terms of U.S. intent and objectives versus those of Arab countries forming such a force.
The alleged Russian use of a chemical weapon against a former Russian spy turned double agent in the United Kingdom led to scores of Russian diplomats being sent packing from the United States and Western Europe. Ambassador Taylor discusses the strong showing of unity among Western nations, and its effect on Russian intelligence gathering efforts and additional U.S. and international economic sanctions.
As peacekeeping missions continue to evolve to meet the demands of complex conflict environments, skills such as communication, negotiation, and mediation will continue to be critical in meeting the operational demands of modern peacekeeping missions, including protection of civilians (PoC) mandates, which have proliferated in the last decade.
Over the last decade, the U.S. government (USG) has undertaken efforts to prevent or mitigate crisis in some of the world’s most vulnerable regions. As a follow on to the tripartite Fragility Study Group, this project aims to learn from recent experience in specific complex crises where prevention and mitigation efforts by defense, development and diplomatic (3D) institutions may have had some success. Its goal is to develop corresponding programmatic and operational lessons that may help inform preparation of the workforce to be better able to succeed in today’s complex operating environments.
The Interorganizational Tabletop Exercise (ITX) is a vehicle by which the civ-mil community can converge around a common issue or challenge to better understand different approaches and coordination mechanisms as well as explore opportunities for greater information sharing and joint planning/initiatives to provide more effective assistance.
Since 2005, the Civilian Military Working Group (CMWG) has served as an informal body that meets periodically to discuss policy and operational issues relevant to civilian and military personnel involved primarily in international humanitarian crises, relief and recovery. The group also shares information about education and engagement opportunities.