The U.S. Institute of Peace’s Office of Strategic Stability and Security was established in 2020 to provide research and analysis on the growing impact of global powers on peace and stability. Housing USIP’s Russia program, and with plans to work closely with the Institute’s China program, the office convenes experts and local actors to develop an understanding of how the reemergence of major power competition is shaping the prospects for peace—with a special focus on Ukraine.

The office seeks to understand the role of military, diplomatic, and economic activities of major powers in fragile regions and countries and to build local capacity and awareness around these issues. The office will focus on emerging, collective issues such as arms control and strategic stability. Where possible, the office seeks to build transparency among local, regional, and global actors to advance peace and avoid confrontations between major powers.

Gorbachev and Reagan
President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev signing the INF Treaty in the East Room of the White House. December 8, 1987

The Office of Strategic Stability and Security is engaged in the following efforts:

Arms Control and Strategic Stability

The office seeks to strengthen arms control and strategic stability among the world’s most powerful nuclear-armed states. A confluence of factors is weakening the safeguards that have helped to secure the world against nuclear war for decades. Cold War-era arms agreements are deteriorating while accelerating technological advances have enabled the use of new cybernetic and hybrid weapons. These changes threaten strategic stability and have created the need for new concepts of arms control—an issue that was at the center of USIP’s initial years of work during the Cold War. The office works to examine these challenges and to develop new concepts for peacebuilding. USIP’s expertise and experience—in facilitating unofficial dialogues, in research and analysis with U.S. government partners on strategic stability problems, and in productive dialogue with Russian interlocutors—enable the Institute to equip policymakers with the tools to preserve a stable and peaceful world.

Russia’s Role in Fragile Countries

The office leverages its expertise and convening power to examine Russia’s impact on conflict dynamics in USIP-priority countries and other states worldwide, with the goal of advancing research and providing policy recommendations to the U.S. government and other relevant actors, as well as on-the-ground experts and local authorities. This work improves the prospects for peace through transparency and dialogue in USIP-priority countries. In conjunction, the office works with USIP’s extensive regional programs to build the capacity of local policymakers and civil society to acquire the tools, knowledge, and resources needed to avoid or manage conflict.

Ukraine’s Peace Process

Russia’s illegal attempt to annex Crimea in 2014 and its ongoing military intervention in Ukraine’s eastern oblasts of Donetsk and Luhansk—which has killed over 14,000 Ukrainians and counting—represent the gravest challenges yet to the order that has kept the peace in Europe among major powers since World War II. The international community has been trying to resolve the war, but to no avail thus far. The office will seek solutions to this conflict through unofficial dialogues, both at the senior level among former policymakers from Russia and Ukraine and at the citizen level among Ukrainians on both sides of the line of contact in Donbas.

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