USIP is helping develop metrics for measuring progress in reconstruction and stabilization operations. This effort is a partnership between USIP, the U.S. State Department (Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization), the Fund for Peace, the U.S. Army’s Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, and US Army Corps of Engineers.

All too often, lofty and politically attractive goals have been proclaimed for peace and stability operations that are then rendered unattainable by unrealistic assessments of the underlying sources of conflict, unreasonable timeframes, inadequate resources, and constrained authorities. To bring goals and resources into better balance and to provide feedback on the efficacy of strategies being implemented, policy makers require an objective system of metrics that will enable them to take stock of the magnitude of the challenges before intervening and to continuously track the progress of their efforts toward stabilization.

In 2005, a Working Group on Measuring Progress in Reconstruction and Stabilization that resulted in a Special Report establishing a framework for measures of progress. This framework conforms to the strategy for conflict transformation developed in The Quest for Viable Peace and addresses the five end states of the “Framework for Success for Societies Emerging from Conflict.”

Working in collaboration with the US Army Corps of Engineers, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and PKSOI, we completed drafting the framework for Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments (MPICE) and a User’s Handbook in February 2008. The MPICE framework was used at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) and the Army War College (AWC). At FSI, classes in the Integrated Conflict Analysis Framework (ICAF) are part of courses that aim to build an interagency community of professionals trained to participate in reconstruction and stabilization operations. ICAF incorporates USIP’s conflict transformation framework, which tracks drivers of conflict and institutional performance. At the AWC, a recent workshop used USIP’s measurement framework for a hypothetical scenario on Chad.

Dennis Skocz, a specialist on strategic planning and professional development, lauded the USIP framework. "The concepts are clear, intuitive, and flexible. Aspects of a conflict that might be ignored using a stove-piped approach to lining up tasks come out through the analysis, allowing for a holistic response to situations that typically involve many 'moving pieces,'" he said. "As for the metric framework, it's an idea whose time has clearly come. It combines the sophistication that comes from almost two years of development along with a foundation in the conflict analysis that USIP has pioneered."

The MPICE framework was approved by the Reconstruction and Stabilization Policy Coordinating Committee in July. The initial field application of the MPICE framework took place in mid 2008 in support of the Haiti Stabilization Initiative (HSI) in the formerly gang-infested Port au Prince slum of Cite Soleil.

USIP is currently working on publishing the Metrics Framework and Handbook and supporting the operational application of the MPICE Framework.  A current copy of the Framework is available on the "Resources and Tools" tab of this page.

Related Publications

Six Challenges for the Biden Administration’s China Policy

Six Challenges for the Biden Administration’s China Policy

Thursday, February 18, 2021

By: Jacob Stokes

Last week, President Biden held a call with General Secretary Xi Jinping, China’s paramount leader. They reportedly talked for more than two hours, a length that, combined with the call readouts, suggests a weighty and potentially heated conversation. Ties between Washington and Beijing have become strained in recent years as the world’s two biggest powers locked horns over geopolitics, technology, economics, and values. Bilateral relations have entered a new and more difficult phase—even as the global environment is characterized by many pressing issues that would benefit from cooperative efforts to address them. In this context, U.S. policymakers will face six major challenges in dealing with China.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

What is Russia’s Endgame in Syria?

What is Russia’s Endgame in Syria?

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

By: Mona Yacoubian

Five years into Russia’s military intervention in Syria, understanding Moscow’s endgame could provide critical insights into the decade-long conflict’s trajectory, as well as Russia’s posture in the Middle East and beyond. Although still evolving and subject to internal debates, Moscow’s Syria strategy appears to be centered on a “spheres of influence” model. In this model, Syria is divided into distinct realms under the sway of competing external patrons.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Five Ways to Set Up a Special Envoy for Success in the Horn of Africa

Five Ways to Set Up a Special Envoy for Success in the Horn of Africa

Thursday, February 11, 2021

By: Judd Devermont; Colin Thomas-Jensen

When in doubt, dispatch an envoy. That’s become an old diplomatic standby, and it is currently under consideration for the Horn of Africa, where a civil war rages in Ethiopia and has ensnared neighboring Eritrea, Somalia, and Sudan. The conflict, which broke out in November 2020, has left millions in dire need of lifesaving humanitarian assistance. The U.N. special adviser on the prevention of genocide recently warned that “the risk of atrocity crimes in Ethiopia remains high and likely to get worse.” If the crisis continues to fester, it will have grave consequences for U.S. interests in a region situated on the crossroads between Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Biden and Washington’s Perennial Pakistan Problem

Biden and Washington’s Perennial Pakistan Problem

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

By: Richard Olson

Among the many challenges facing the Biden administration will be addressing the infamously dysfunctional U.S.-Pakistan relationship. Anyone familiar with how Islamabad and Washington have interacted over the last 74 years will resort to tired metaphors: a roller-coaster ride, a sine wave, the dynamic between an overbearing mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law. These clichés reflect the reality that the relationship has rarely been stable and usually is either declining precipitously or accelerating unsustainably. The challenge for the new administration will be to find a way to work productively with Pakistan without oscillating between peaks of enthusiasm and depths of cynicism.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & Prevention; Global Policy

View All Publications