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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By:Uzair Younus

There was an air of optimism in May 2021, when Pakistan’s finance minister, Shaukat Tarin, told Bloomberg that his government would spend almost $6 billion to create jobs and stimulate growth. The aim, he argued, was to achieve a GDP growth rate of over 5 percent. Fast forward to October and the tone has significantly changed, with the finance minister informing an audience in Washington that growth had to be moderated to prevent macroeconomic risks from materializing, meaning that Pakistan cannot afford to grow too fast. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Keith Mines on Secretary Blinken’s Trip to Colombia

Keith Mines on Secretary Blinken’s Trip to Colombia

Thursday, October 21, 2021

By:Keith Mines

As Secretary of State Antony Blinken travels to Colombia, USIP’s Keith Mines notes there is still work to be done in implementing and expanding the 2016 peace agreement with the FARC insurgency, saying that “consolidating the peace in a place like Colombia was almost as hard as fighting the war itself.”

Type: Podcast

Global Policy

Iraq’s Election Raises More Questions Than Answers

Iraq’s Election Raises More Questions Than Answers

Thursday, October 21, 2021

By:Dr. Elie Abouaoun

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Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

 Une ville du Sahel conçoit un moyen d'améliorer les réformes – et l'aide internationale

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Friday, October 15, 2021

By:Jasmine Dehghan ;Sandrine Nama

La recrudescence cette année des troubles violents dans le Sahel en Afrique – des attaques djihadistes élargies, des coups d'État ou des tentatives militaires dans quatre pays, ainsi que le nombre constamment élevé de victimes civiles – souligne que des années de travail pour renforcer les forces militaires et policières n'ont pas réussi à réduire l'instabilité. Pour réduire l'extrémisme et la violence, les pays doivent améliorer la gouvernance, et des analyses récentes soulignent le besoin particulier de renforcer le sentiment des gens que leurs gouvernements peuvent assurer la justice et trouver des résolutions équitables aux griefs populaires. Un tel changement est une tâche extrêmement complexe et une ville du Burkina Faso a élaboré un plan de réformes locales avec un processus pour gérer cette complexité.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue;Democracy & Governance

A Sahel Town Builds a Way to Improve Reforms—and Foreign Aid

A Sahel Town Builds a Way to Improve Reforms—and Foreign Aid

Thursday, October 14, 2021

By:Jasmine Dehghan;Sandrine Nama

This year’s escalation of violent turmoil in Africa’s Sahel—widened jihadist attacks, military coups or attempts in four nations, and continued high civilian casualties—underscores that years of work to reinforce military and police forces have failed to reduce instability. To undercut extremism and violence, countries must improve governance, and recent analyses underscore the particular need to build people’s confidence that their governments can provide justice and fair resolutions of popular grievances. Such change is an immensely complex task—and one town in Burkina Faso has shaped a plan for local reforms with a process to manage that complexity.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Mediation, Negotiation & Dialogue;Democracy & Governance

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