U.S. military and civilian agencies frequently deploy on complex missions that require them to operate in the same environment, whether in humanitarian disasters or in violent conflicts. The success of these operations depends in part on whether each agency understands the resources, purposes, and authorities of the others. While coordination has improved, better integration is still needed to accomplish the goals of these critical missions—saving lives and stabilizing areas in turmoil.

USIP's Work

The U.S. Institute of Peace advances thinking and practice on key national security challenges. One way is to foster broad, effective cooperation to curb violent conflict. Through education and training and by convening working groups and other forums, USIP urges a comprehensive approach across government agencies as well as non-governmental and international organizations.

The Interorganizational Tabletop Exercise (ITX) represents one such effort.

What is an ITX?

  • In a 2-3 day exercise, civilian and military personnel jointly work through real-world challenges of communication and coordination—the kind of problems that arise from operating in the same complex environment.
    Participants may include the State Department, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the military’s Combatant Commands, non-governmental organizations, international organizations, and multinational organizations.
  • Lessons from the exercise improve preparation and future field work of each participating agency.

Why an ITX?

  • An ITX promotes and develops relationships, mutual understanding, knowledge-sharing, and cooperation among civilian and military personnel to increase their effectiveness as they work—and cross paths--in the same crisis situation.
  • The exercise allows senior leaders to discuss shared and potentially conflicting objectives and operating requirements that might arise.

What Makes an ITX Unique?

  • The ITX format places civilian organizations in the lead. They develop and implement an exercise that reflects certain priorities, both thematic and geographic.
  • The objectives of each participating organization are given equal weight, demanding a maximum degree of cooperation.
  • The theme and geographic focus of each exercise, as well its goals and measures of success, are determined collaboratively by the participants. The exercise includes facilitated dialogue and work by small groups on scenarios, all of which helps build civilian-military relationships.

What Results Does ITX Achieve?

  • Senior leaders of the participating civilian and military organizations are briefed on ideas for collaboration, and they may take relevant recommendations back to their agencies for action.
  • A typical ITX produces after-action reports, publications, data from participant surveys and interviews, and actionable recommendations.

 

Related Publications

Frank Aum on the Korean Peninsula After the Olympic Games

Frank Aum on the Korean Peninsula After the Olympic Games

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

By: Frank Aum

Frank Aum discusses the Korean Peninsula, and whether there is a pathway to keep the peaceful momentum going after the Olympic Games. Aum also tells us about the effect of international sanctions on North Korea and China’s interests.

How Can U.S. Better Help Tunisia to Curb ISIS Recruitment?

How Can U.S. Better Help Tunisia to Curb ISIS Recruitment?

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

By: USIP Staff

As Tunisia last month celebrated the 2011 overthrow of its dictatorship, thousands of young Tunisians protested in streets nationwide, often clashing with police. Young Tunisians widely voice an angry despair at being unemployed, untrained for jobs, and unable to build futures for themselves. The single democracy to have arisen from the Arab Spring uprisings is undermined by the feelings of hopelessness among many youth, and by their exploitation by extremist groups linked to ISIS and al-Qaida. To help Tunisian, U.S. and other efforts to build hope for Tunisia’s youth, a small, USIP-funded project is measuring which kinds of programs are actually effective.

Violent Extremism; Youth

South Sudan’s Pitfalls of Power Sharing

South Sudan’s Pitfalls of Power Sharing

Friday, February 16, 2018

By: USIP Staff; Susan Stigant; Aly Verjee

This week, a new proposal for a power sharing government was tabled at the ongoing Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) High Level Revitalization Forum (HLRF) peace talks for South Sudan. An earlier, 2015 peace deal also contained a formula for power sharing; that arrangement failed and the civil war re-ignited a year later. Power sharing arrangements are appropriate if certain conditions are met, but not enough has been done to ensure the latest proposal will overcome the obstacles present in South Sudan, according to Susan Stigant, USIP’s director for Africa programs and Aly Verjee, a visiting expert at USIP and a former senior advisor to the IGAD mediation, who comment on the proposal and suggest how it could be improved.

Democracy & Governance; Fragility and Resilience; Global Policy

Redefining Masculinity in Afghanistan

Redefining Masculinity in Afghanistan

Thursday, February 15, 2018

By: Belquis Ahmadi; Rafiullah Stanikzai

Following more than three decades of political instability, violent conflicts, and foreign invasions, Afghanistan is home to nearly two generations that have grown up knowing only conflict and war. As a result, violent and aggressive behavior—particularly from young men—has become an accepted norm of...

Gender

View All Publications