For Immediate Release

Contact: Paula Burke, 202-429-4778
Steven Ruder, 202-429-3825

(Washington)—In a new book Where Is the Lone Ranger? America’s Search for a Stability Force, published by the U.S. Institute of Peace, Robert M. Perito recommends that the United States establish a U.S. stability force to swiftly address civil disorder and promote secure environments in complex international stability and peace operations.

Countries experiencing political, ethnic, or religious turmoil pose significant threats to global interests, and these states often face disruptions from violent demonstrators, armed gangs, militias, looters, and insurgents. These situations require more firepower than that of a civilian police force but also demand training in civilian relations and skill in controlling a situation with a minimum amount of force.

“The answer to the problem of creating sustainable security in postconflict environments is straightforward,” says Perito. “In addition to robust military forces, an effective U.S. stability force must include public order and law enforcement components to fill the inevitable security gap that opens between the cessation of hostilities and the emergence of a democratic government. This type of force can create a foundation for the rule of law upon which the other aspects of political, economic, and social reconstruction can build.”

Although the United States has a storied history with constabulary forces, they have recently emerged as a potential asset in foreign interventions. This volume examines the experience of using allied and indigenous forces in the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan to explain the evolution of security forces and draw lessons from their successes and failures.

The withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan does not signal an end to the need for security and the rule of law in conflict environments. The United States will continue to face significant challenges from conflicts, such as those under way in Libya and Syria. As Where Is the Lone Ranger makes clear, it is more important than ever for the United States to codify the lessons learned in counterinsurgency operations and build a multidisciplinary stability force that can respond to future contingencies, whether they are from intrastate conflicts or natural disasters. A U.S. stability force would bring together a wide range of capabilities for the first time and provide the United States with capacities it needed but did not have in past conflicts. It could also provide a less costly response than inserting traditional military forces, which are not trained for this work.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Robert M. Perito is senior program officer in the Rule of Law Center of Innovation at the U.S. Institute of Peace. He has also directed the Institute’s Haiti Program. Previously, he was a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State and deputy executive secretary of the National Security Council. Perito also led the International Criminal Investigative Training Assistance Program at the U.S. Department of Justice.

ABOUT THE UNITED STATES INSTITUTE OF PEACE

The United States Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict through nonviolent means. USIP saves lives, increases the government’s ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduces government costs, and enhances national security. USIP is headquartered in Washington, DC. To learn more, visit www.usip.org.

Where is the Lone Ranger? America’s Search for a Stability Force, Second Edition
United States Institute of Peace Press
July 2013 • 248 pp. • 6 x 9 • $24.95 (paper) • ISBN: 978-1-60127-153-2

Contact:  

Paula Burke
Marketing Coordinator
Publications Office
United States Institute of Peace
2301 Constitution Avenue, NW
P: 202-429-4778
F: 202-429-6063
E-mail: pburke@usip.org

Steven Ruder
Public Affairs Specialist
Public Affairs and Communications
United States Institute of Peace
2301 Constitution Avenue, NW
P: 202-429-3825
F: 202-429-6063
E-mail: sruder@usip.org

###

The United States Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict through nonviolent means. USIP works to save lives, increase the government’s ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduce government costs, and enhance national security. USIP is headquartered in Washington, DC. To learn more, visit www.usip.org.

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