Summer 2010 Civilian Response Newsletter
- A Look Back: Ambassador Herbst Retires
- Presenting Credentials
- Professionalism. Respect. Ethics: Adopting a Code of Conduct
- Civilian Response Corps Member Profile: Wendy Webb
- Partner Profile: U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Affairs
- Partners in the Pacific: S/CRS Signs MOU with the Australian Civilian Corps
- Conflict Assessments from the Field: Cambodia and Timor Leste
- Seeking Lasting Peace in Sudan
- U.S. Stabilization Capabilities: Lessons Learned from Kyrgyzstan
- Civilian Response Corps Reaches Milestone at Two-Year Anniversary
- Advise, Assess, Coordinate... Training the Civilian Response Corps
- Fit to Exercise: S/CRS and AFRICOM's Judicious Response Exercise
- The Three D's Talk Dollars: The May 2010 1207 Conference
- What's in Your Backpack?
A Look Back: Ambassador Herbst Retires, Reflects on Four Years as Coordinator
After a long and rewarding career, I have decided to retire from the Foreign Service, and move on to other challenges. In parting, I wanted to take a look at the beginning of the Office and discuss what a difference we have made in just a few short years.
The Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) has come a long way since its creation in the summer of 2004. The mandate was to organize the civilian side of the U.S. Government to run large stabilization operations such as Iraq and Afghanistan effectively and to create a pool of civilian experts with the right skills to deploy in such operations.
Thanks to the exceptional work of the first Coordinator of S/CRS, Carlos Pascual, by the summer of 2006, when I took over, the Office had already developed clear and sensible plans for organizing the U.S. Government and for creating a Civilian Response Corps of federal employees and the public to use in stabilization operations. S/CRS also had a strong staff of 68 talented people with a grand vision, but a small annual budget of just under $6 million. It also faced enormous institutional challenges within the State Department and the broader interagency in carving out its proper place in the implementation of national security policy. While senior policymakers understood that there were serious flaws in our civilian operations in Iraq, few in the bureaus of the State Department or in other agencies saw the need for a new entity to manage the civilian side of such operations.
In short, in the summer of 2006, we had an excellent concept and staff, but little budget or buy-in from the rest of the government. Our first challenge, therefore, was to reach agreement within the State Department and with other cabinet agencies on how to conduct stabilization operations. Through hundreds of hours of negotiations we first enshrined the principle that S/CRS would take on no function performed by other actors. Instead, the role of S/CRS would be to plan, organize and coordinate the activities of the different agencies under the policy guidance of the National Security Council and the Secretary of State.
In early 2007, the State Department and seven other agencies (USAID, and the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, and the Treasury) agreed to build a Civilian Response Corps and to establish procedures – collectively called the Interagency Management System – for running future stability operations. The Corps would be comprised of federal employees from the eight civilian agencies mentioned above split into three groups. There would be 250 Active members, whose full time job would be to deploy in foreign crises, and 2000 Standby members, who have full time jobs not related to stabilization operations, but who would be available to deploy in a large crisis. The original concept of the Civilian Response Corps also called for a third element of 2000 Reserve members outside of the federal government who would enlist for four years and be available for deployments of up to one year in a large operation.
The next challenge was to persuade Congress to authorize the creation of the Civilian Response Corps and to fund it. This occurred in stages in 2008 and 2009. In the 2008 war supplemental, $55M was appropriated to begin building the Active and Standby elements of the Civilian Response Corps. Next, the Corps was authorized under the Reconstruction and Stabilization Civilian Management Act enacted in October 2008. The first funding under the Civilian Stabilization Initiative (CSI) – an additional $75M to continue to build the Active and Standby components -- was provided in the FY 09 omnibus appropriations act, which passed early in the Obama Administration. In FY 10, $80M was provided under CSI. The receipt of this funding and the authorization was Congress' way of saying the Civilian Response Corps was here to stay.
Once the first funding for the Corps was received, we began to build toward a Corps of 200 Active and 1000 Standby members. While building the Corps has taken longer than originally anticipated, as this goes to print we have 129 Active and 1012 Standby members, and our numbers grow weekly. With this growth in capacity has come growth in reach. With a Corps of just over a thousand, we can now continuously deploy nearly 200 people. This is not enough to staff the civilian side of a mega operation like Afghanistan, but it can certainly handle small and medium-sized missions, in addition to contributing to major operations. At the moment, we have 63 personnel deployed in 11 countries.
S/CRS and the Civilian Response Corps represent not just a capacity to surge experts on a problem, but comprehensive expeditionary qualities not previously seen on the civilian side of the U.S. Government. The Corps and our procedures for running operations are completely interagency, utilizing nearly the full capacities of the U.S. Government. Our staff has the planning capacity to organize a large operation, and the training and equipment to deploy to the world's most remote and dangerous places and to be self-sustaining.
Even while building the Civilian Response Corps from scratch over the past two years, we have begun to demonstrate its capabilities. In U.S. Embassy Kabul, we stood up the civ-mil planning group that produced the overall country strategy approved by Ambassador Eikenberry, and the National Security Council. When Ambassador Holbrooke asked for a team to work on the Afghan elections in the spring of 2009, we deployed within three weeks. When Secretary Clinton reached agreement with DRC President Kabila on the need for the U.S. to send out five assessment teams to look at different areas of life in the DRC, we provided the teams and overall coordination.
In recent months, growing Civilian Response Corps capacity has begun to illustrate what this new national security tool can do. When an earthquake struck Haiti last January we assembled – overnight – a team of 50 from across the interagency to staff a State taskforce. The upcoming referendum in South Sudan may prove to be our first signature operation, using most of our capacities and concepts. Under the policy direction of Special Envoy for Sudan Scott Gration and Africa Bureau Assistant Secretary Johnnie Carson, S/CRS planners joined the Special Envoy's office and prepared plans for U.S. Government operations in this contingency. To help gauge and manage problems, S/CRS deployed Corps members from across the interagency to provide conventional diplomatic capacities and conflict management skills through at least July of 2011. Under the direction of Chargé d'Affaires Bob Whitehead in Khartoum and Consul General Barrie Walkley in Juba, S/CRS staff in Sudan are also helping identify additional needs and the personnel to address them. S/CRS has pioneered the creation of “fly away' teams to work in the more remote areas of South Sudan and is conducting surveys that may lead to the deployment of Corps members to state capitals across South Sudan. Civilian Response Corps members are deploying with their own open and secure communications equipment, transportation (fully armored vehicles and air support) and security.
The outcome of the South Sudan operation will certainly influence the future development of S/CRS and the Civilian Response Corps. So will the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), which has devoted a great deal of attention to how the U.S. Government should organize to handle conflict prevention and stability operations. The QDDR is looking at how to better lash up State Department and USAID capabilities in all areas of crisis response. It is also seeking to address S/CRS's institutional weaknesses: while the growth of S/CRS's budget and capacity has bestowed it with a much larger place in U.S. Government crisis response over the past two years, that role has still not been formalized. By recommending necessary changes in organization and empowering the end product, the QDDR can make a vital contribution to institutionalizing the Corps and the other operational capacities that S/CRS has developed over the past six years.
In moving on from S/CRS and the State Department, I'm delighted to be leaving an office that is poised for tremendous success in the future under the leadership of my successor, Ambassador Robert G. Loftis. In its short existence, S/CRS has built a robust civilian surge capacity from scratch, become fully functional to deploy to some of the most austere conditions our world knows, and gained the respect and support of key stakeholders, and helped make the world more stable and the U.S. safer. S/CRS is filled with people who have a true vision for the future. I am honored to have had the opportunity to work with each and every one of them.
Under Ambassador Herbst's leadership, the Civilian Response Corps grew from a pilot of 14 members in 2006 to over 1,100 in September 2010.
Brought together seven U.S. Departments and Agencies for whole-of-government response to reconstruction and stabilization
First civilian training curriculum developed for reconstruction and stabilization missions.
The Reconstruction and Stabilization Civilian Management Act of 2008 was passed, establishing
The Interagency Management System for managing complex reconstruction and stabilization engagements was approved by the Deputies Committee in July 2007; elements of the system have been successfully applied to reconstruction and stabilization operations in Sudan, Georgia, and elsewhere.
Funding increased from $6 million in FY 2006 to $80 million in FY 2010. Since 2006, S/CRS managed the review process for $442 million in 1207 program funds, which support whole-of-government stabilization, conflict prevention, and security efforts.
Provided integral leadership for U.S. participation in the development of the International Stabilization and Peacebuilding Initiative (ISPI), an innovative network of governments and international organizations aimed at enhancing civilian capability globally and increasing interoperability among international actors.
In July 2008 the Interagency Conflict Assessment Framework (ICAF) was approved by the Reconstruction and Stabilization Interagency Policy Committee led by S/CRS and the National Security Council; the ICAF is a systematic and collaborative interagency assessment tool that facilitates a deeper understanding of conflict and stability dynamics; it has been applied in over 20 countries.
S/CRS welcomes two new members of the office: Ambassador Robert Geers Loftis who will serve as Acting Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization and William A. Jeffers, our new Deputy Coordinator.
Ambassador Robert Geers Loftis
Acting Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization
Ambassador Loftis becomes Acting Coordinator for S/CRS when Ambassador Herbst retires on September 24 th . As Acting Coordinator, Ambassador Loftis will work to build and maintain the Civilian Response Corps to prevent conflict and to conduct reconstruction and stabilization efforts in areas of conflict.
Amb. Loftis has had a longstanding career in foreign affairs. He led the initial negotiations for the status of forces agreement with Iraq in 2008, taught at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces, negotiated base access agreements and served as Ambassador to Lesotho. His most recent position with State Department was as Special Representative for Avian and Pandemic Influenza in 2009. Ambassador Loftis joined the Foreign Service in 1980. He received a B.A. in Political Science from Colorado State University.
William A. Jeffers
William A. Jeffers became Deputy Coordinator for S/CRS in late July. Deputy Coordinator Jeffers is jointly appointed by both the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
The Deputy Coordinator has a long career with USAID that spans 26 years. He will provide a key interface needed to enhance S/CRS's already strong, collaborative relationship with USAID on important conflict prevention, reconstruction, and stabilization efforts. Deputy Coordinator Jeffers holds a Masters in Economics from Columbia University in New York as well as a B.A. from California State University, Stanislaus.
Professionalism. Respect. Ethics: Adopting a Code of Conduct
By Joe Pickerill, member of the Civilian Response Corps, Active component
Professionalism. Respect. Ethics. These are the principles that underpin the values of the Civilian Response Corps. With missions in some of the most dangerous, austere and remote parts of the globe, the Corps recently paused to reaffirm its values, both to provide clarity to its members as well as to demonstrate to the world that the United States Government will continue to conduct itself with the utmost integrity.
The Corps, as it is known to many, represents the very best of intra-government cooperation. Seven departments (Department of State; U.S. Agency for International Development; and Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Justice) are now working together across the interagency. Indeed, just last month, the Corps hit another milestone when it surpassed its interim goal of having 1,000 members in its ranks. With momentum growing behind this expeditionary force of diplomats and experts, the Civilian Response Corps, under the direction of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, recently published its Code of Conduct. Incorporating the three core principles of Professionalism, Respect, and Ethics as its driving ethos will ensure that this unique group maintains its sense of purpose as it represents the United States around the world. Read the full Code of Conduct.
Civilian Response Corps Member Profile: Wendy Webb
Gwendolyn “Wendy” Webb serves in the Active component of the Civilian Response Corps in the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization. A career Foreign Service officer, Wendy joined the Corps in July 2009. Wendy is currently deployed to Regional Command – East in Afghanistan where she is supporting civilian-military planning.
Wendy's experience with reconstruction and stabilization efforts began well before she joined the Civilian Response Corps. In her most recent assignment, Wendy was stationed in Suriname where she provided humanitarian assistance, facilitated rule of law development, and coordinated foreign internal defense training. In 2006, she assisted in the evacuation of American citizens from Lebanon, heading the special cases unit, and providing support and assistance to evacuees. From 2002-2003, she worked with warring factions in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to develop a transitional government.
Prior to joining the State Department, Wendy served as a firefighter and emergency medical technician with the Marin County Fire Department in California where she responded to safety and medical emergencies throughout the district. Hopefully, she will not need to use these skills when deployed, but having this background makes her an even more valuable addition to the Civilian Response Corps.
Wendy earned a Masters of Military Operational Art and Science degree from the Air Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama. She received a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from The University of Texas at Arlington. She also holds an Associate of Arts degree in Foreign Language from Tarrant County College and a degree in Fire Science from the College of Marin (California).
Partner Profile: U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement Affairs
The need for law and order - as well as justice and respect for human rights - is paramount in a world of growing transnational threats including terrorism, crime, porous borders, and violent internal conflict. Unfortunately, many nations around the world lack capable police forces and transparent criminal justice systems to counter these growing threats in a manner that upholds Rule of Law principles.
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) plays a critical role for the U.S. Government in this area. As one of the largest programming entities in the Department of State, it oversees the implementation of billions of U.S. foreign assistance dollars. Led by Assistant Secretary David T. Johnson, INL is tasked with advising the President, Secretary of State, other bureaus in the State Department, and other departments and agencies within the U.S. Government on the development of policies and programs to combat international narcotics and crime.
Over the past two decades, INL has also played a growing role in planning and implementing post-conflict civilian police and criminal justice assistance programs. Today, it manages dozens of programs globally, including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mexico, Pakistan, Sudan, and other countries emerging from – or threatened by – conflict. Since 1994, INL has deployed over 7,000 U.S. law enforcement personnel to 14 post-conflict missions. After assessing needs in the field, available funding, and required expertise, INL uses a range of implementation means to provide U.S. foreign assistance, including contracts, grants, cooperative agreements, inter-agency agreements, and funding to multilateral organizations. Many of the Bureau's programs bring whole-of-government expertise, and often work side-by-side with the U.S. military, the United Nations, the European Commission and European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. INL offers unique technical expertise in the areas of counternarcotics and law enforcement as well as in international corrections, judicial, border security, and police assistance. These are the very issues with which many countries affected by instability must wrestle. Given INL's expertise, the bureau was a logical addition to the Civilian Response Corps.
Because of the important role that Rule of Law plays in reconstruction and stabilization crises, INL is a close partner to the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization and is a Civilian Response Corps participating office within State. Over the past year, INL has brought seven post-conflict criminal justice experts into its Civilian Response Corps Active Component. In addition, INL has four standby members. Civilian Response Corps team members from INL have been active in a host of reconstruction and stabilization engagements and activities including deployments to the Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, the Kyrgyz Republic, and Sudan. INL Corps members have also participated in major exercises including Austere Challenge 2009, Judicious Response 2010, and Austere Challenge 2010. In addition, INL Corps members have been detailed to the S/CRS Conflict Prevention Office and to the January 2010 Haiti Forward Planning Task Force.
When not engaged in active deployments or training, INL's Civilian Response Corps experts are assigned to a newly-formed Office of Criminal Justice Assistance and Partnership (INL/CAP), where they support the Bureau through field-based assessments, in-country program management assistance, and Washington-based program design and advice. This provides Corps members with a solid grounding in Department of State and INL policy and programming, in preparation for future deployments.
Partners in the Pacific: S/CRS Signs MOU with the Australian Civilian Corps
On July 20, 2010, the Secretary's Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, Ambassador John E. Herbst, and the Australian Ambassador to the United States, Kim C. Beazley, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in which the Australian Civilian Corps (ACC) and the United States' Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) agreed to deepen their existing collaboration, recognizing the importance of enhancing interoperability among civilian reconstruction and stabilization organizations and strengthening civilian capabilities across the globe.
“There are over 40 failing or failed states in the world today and global trends indicate that instability is likely to pose greater, and perhaps more numerous challenges in the years to come,” said Ambassador Herbst. “To address this growing challenge to global security and stability, the international community will have to commit to collective action and shared lessons learned in order to ensure future mission success. Our agreement today with the Australian Civilian Response Corps is a crucial step in making this commitment a reality.”
In order to strengthen capacities of the two countries and to lay a foundation for building sustainable peace, the MOU states that S/CRS and ACC intend to collaborate in field operations and deepen their dialogue on civilian conflict prevention, reconstruction, and stabilization efforts.
The agreement includes provisions on collaborative training, discussions on civil conflict prevention and recovery, and an exchange of lessons learned and performance measurement methodologies. It also invites experts from both countries to participate in each other's crisis response exercises and proposes closer coordination to respond to potential needs for future peacebuilding activities in the Pacific Rim.
The MOU, which stipulates annual meetings to discuss progress, will be reviewed after three years.
About the Australian Civilian Corps
In October 2009, former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the creation of the Australian Civilian Corps (ACC) at the East Asia Summit in Thailand. Its purpose is to enable the rapid deployment of civilian specialists to countries affected by natural disasters or conflict, thus building on Australia's history of providing technical assistance in times of crisis. Located in the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID), the ACC is a whole-of-government initiative. Its roster will include civilian experts coming from Australia's Commonwealth, State, and local governments as well as from the private sector. The ACC will be fully operational early in 2011. You can find more information about the ACC at www.ausaid.gov.au/acc.
Conflict Assessments from the Field: Cambodia and Timor Leste
By Cynthia Irmer and Nicole Goodrich, Conflict Prevention Officers
This summer, the Interagency Conflict Analysis Framework (ICAF) celebrated its second anniversary as a U.S. Government tool for generating a shared understanding of the social dynamics that both drive conflict and promote indigenous resilience in regions of instability.
Since the ICAF's inception in July 2008, the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) has led or co-led 20 applications of the ICAF in a variety of circumstances from post-war situations to pre-violent or latent conflict.
Two recent ICAFs in Cambodia and Timor Leste highlight the benefits to Washington- and field-based staff of participating in the systematic gathering and analysis of information relating to conflict and stability and the development and implementation of conflict prevention and mitigation activities.
Post-War: Timor Leste
A recent ICAF occurred in Timor-Leste, which is recovering from two incidents of post-independence violence. In early 2006, several hundred “petitioners” left the Timorese armed forces (F-FDTL) alleging discrimination based on their regional origin. Subsequent protests in April 2006 led to a conflict between the “petitioners” and armed groups of civilians which then degenerated into broader unrest and violence that lasted almost a year. Civil unrest and low-level violence erupted once more in connection with the 2007 national presidential and parliamentary elections.
The Timor-Leste ICAF was a follow-on to a previous report completed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2006. The ICAF centered on the need to address both security sector reform and the country's growing population of disaffected and unemployed/underemployed youth as the UN Police (UNPOL) and the International Stabilization Force (ISF) prepare for the 2012 drawdown.
A five-person interagency team deployed to the country to conduct interviews with Timorese government officials, NGOs, UN officials, AusAID, NZAid, the Prosecutor General, Asia Foundation, the Police Commander for the Timor-Leste National Police (PNTL), trainers from the Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS), and a trainer from the Australia-led Police Academy.
The ICAF revealed progress since 2006. Three prior drivers of conflict – leadership divisions, the East-West divide, and widespread absence of reliable information – were no longer viewed as potential factors of instability. Additionally, two other drivers of conflict from 2006 showed marked improvement. There was an increase in successful dispute resolution for property rights, as well as positive gains in strengthening the judicial system and law enforcement institutions.
The Timor-Leste ICAF workshop was the first to include locally employed staff from both the U.S. Embassy and the USAID mission to gain greater local insight.
Preventing Violence: Cambodia
An ICAF was conducted in 2009 for Cambodia, based on concern at that time that the economy's dependence on external trade for growth and sensitivity to fluctuation in commodity prices could lead to some internal tension amid changes in the global economy.
An 11-person interagency team led by S/CRS and USAID and comprised of U.S. Embassy Phnom Penh staff, conducted interviews in ten Cambodian provinces. These interviews allowed the teams to better understand existing tensions and local resilience that might become pivotal should global economic conditions continue to worsen. Over 400 local citizens participated in the interviews including garment workers, students, local non-governmental organizations, military officers, fishermen, unemployed youth, national ministry officials, market vendors, and government officials.
A major focus of the ICAF application in Cambodia was potential conflict between the Khmer (Cambodians in the red and white checkered headscarves) and the Vietnamese (conical hats). One of the authors, Cynthia Irmer, talks with a mixed group of women at a market in southeast Cambodia.
The resulting ICAF demonstrated that the risk for conflict or instability in Cambodia is low because key actors in Cambodian society are mobilizing resilience, not grievances. The current resilience and stability of Cambodia (from a political, economic, and social perspective) rest on a culturally rooted, but modern version of a “patron-client” relationship.
The ICAF implementation in Cambodia also utilized locally employed staff. This practice was found to be successful and resulted in improved results. Locally employed staff will continue to play important roles in upcoming ICAFs.
New requests for ICAF applications from U.S. Embassies, State Department Regional Bureaus, the National Security Council, and the Department of Defense Combatant Commands have resulted in a tentative fall 2010 ICAF schedule that includes countries in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Southeast Asia.
As demand for ICAF applications grows, S/CRS continues to increase the U.S. Government's capacity to lead these assessments by providing official training courses and apprenticeships. S/CRS constantly monitors and responds to changing conflict assessment needs. A new conflict prevention approach to applying ICAF findings on “Social & Institutional Resilience” and “Mitigating Factors” will be pilot tested this fall.
Seeking Lasting Peace in Sudan
By Eythan Sontag, Africa Regional Coordination Team Leader and member of the Civilian Response Corps, Active component
The United States continues to support international efforts to build a lasting peace in Sudan, while promoting justice and accountability, respect for human rights, and fair and equitable development.
Illustrating the United States' commitment to Sudan, President Obama appointed Major General (Ret.) Scott Gration as U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan in 2009. That same year, the Administration released its Sudan Strategy, which seeks to achieve three primary objectives: definitively end conflict, gross human rights abuses, and genocide in Darfur; implement the North-South Comprehensive Peace Agreement, resulting in a peaceful post-2011 Sudan, or an orderly path toward two separate and viable states at peace with one another; and, ensure that Sudan does not provide safe haven to international terrorists.
The Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) and the Civilian Response Corps have been engaged in reconstruction and stabilization activities related to Sudan since 2005. Today, that mission continues with the Corps currently engaged in its most robust deployment to date.
Current efforts in Sudan reflect the full range of the growing strategic and operational surge capabilities within the U.S. Government in support of U.S. foreign policy goals for Sudan.
S/CRS planners are working directly in the Office of the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan (S/USSES) in advance of the January 2011 referendum on self-determination in Southern Sudan to help develop whole-of-government strategies and action plans that will contribute to peaceful pre- and post-referendum periods. These planners are facilitating coordination across the interagency and helping to identify key gaps in resources and diplomatic efforts required to mitigate the chances that Sudan will slide back toward widespread conflict.
The Civilian Response Corps is deployed in Southern Sudan in support of the new U.S. Consulate General in Juba and a re-invigorated push to enhance the U.S. Government's understanding of the stabilization and reconstruction environment on the ground. These efforts are aimed at supporting implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and preventing a return to conflict by supporting local actors and ensuring host country capabilities to ensure peace. Corps members are providing both traditional diplomatic support, including management and political analysis, as well as conflict-specific expertise, such as Security Sector Reform (SSR).
The Civilian Response Corps personnel deployed in the field supporting the U.S. Embassy, S/USSES, and the Department of State's Africa Bureau, are also doing so with the full range of unique expeditionary capacities – including robust mobile communications systems, personal field kits, armored and unarmored vehicles, and a range of other logistical support needed to operate in the relatively austere environment of Southern Sudan. These capabilities ensure Corps members are able to go out into these challenging areas to meet with local leaders and civil society.
Following the 2005 signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, S/CRS led a whole-of-government planning effort focused on key tasks for implementation of the peace agreement. In mid-2006, after the conclusion of the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA),
S/CRS launched its first operational deployment, which resulted in the establishment of a field office in El Fasher, Darfur, and the creation of “Peace Secretariats” in El Fasher and Khartoum to facilitate implementation of and broaden support for the DPA.
S/CRS remained in Darfur until mid-2008, when worsening security conditions necessitated that U.S. Government personnel cease their full-time presence in the region.
U.S. Stabilization Capabilities: Lessons Learned from Kyrgyzstan
By Claire Sneed, Conflict Prevention Officer
In April 2010 a popular uprising brought down the Government of Kyrgyzstan President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. The Provisional Government that filled the power vacuum was soon put to the test when ethnic violence erupted in the south of Kyrgyzstan in early June, creating a fragile environment for an inexperienced Provisional Government in a country of strategic importance to the United States. To support the efforts of U.S. Embassy Bishkek and the U.S. Government to ensure the stability of the Provisional Government and prevent further violence, S/CRS deployed an interagency team of Civilian Response Corps members to provide technical and administrative support to the embassy in areas critical to the country's stability.
Following the uprising in April 2010, senior leaders from the budget, planning, and assistance coordination offices of the State Department's Bureau for Europe and Eurasia, USAID's Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and Humanitarian Assistance, and the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) agreed to send a multi-office team to Kyrgyzstan to help the U.S. Embassy develop a Six-Month Stabilization Strategy for U.S. assistance to the Provisional Government to help lay the groundwork for a Constitutional referendum and Parliamentary elections in the fall of 2010. Three Civilian Response Corps members participated in the State-USAID assessment, which set broad objectives for the 6-12 month period, assigned U.S. Government resources to these objectives, and identified critical technical areas, such as elections, security, and economic and trade policy, which the Provisional Government identified as key to achieving peaceful transition. To meet the objectives set forth in the assessment, an expanded team of Civilian Response Corps members was selected and deployed in May and early June.
In early June, however, the situation worsened as ethnic violence erupted in the southern cities of Osh and Jalalabad, resulting in hundreds dead and thousands wounded, the destruction of public infrastructure and entire neighborhoods, and the expulsion of tens of thousands of minority ethnic Uzbeks into neighboring Uzbekistan, creating a grave humanitarian and refugee crisis. The Civilian Response Corps team responded quickly to the changed circumstances. A small assessment team deployed to Osh to assess security, damage, and humanitarian need and to evaluate timing to stand up a temporary U.S. Assistance Coordination Unit in the south. The team also increased U.S. Embassy reporting and provided technical advice to the U.S. Embassy and local officials on key stability issues such as assistance coordination, security, economic policy, and elections. An additional S/CRS representative was assigned to CENTCOM to help coordinate efforts between the Civilian Response Corps; DOD; USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance; State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration; and other U.S. offices participating in the humanitarian response.
Several valuable lessons learned have come out of this engagement and will be useful for future U.S. efforts to respond to complex stabilization challenges. First, U.S. Government stabilization efforts and plans to address conflict and instability should be based on a shared understanding of changing dynamics on the ground, ideally through a robust interagency assessment. Only through collaboration at the very beginning of an engagement can a full picture of the situation on the ground be achieved. The second lesson is that, where appropriate and feasible, a civilian surge effort must be based on a detailed concept of operations developed jointly with the U.S. Embassy and key Washington offices to ensure a coordinated response. Third, U.S. civilian stabilization efforts can only be successful with clear and accepted mandates, roles, and responsibilities, and clear processes for communication and decision-making. Finally, all of these requirements for successful U.S. stabilization response are achievable if stabilization resources, goals, and plans account for those that already exist and are ongoing, not only those of the U.S. Government in-country, but those of our host nation partner and counterparts as well.
The work of the Civilian Response Corps continues in Kyrgyzstan, with the deployment currently scheduled to end in December 2010. Support to the U.S. Embassy will remain a high priority with S/CRS and the Civilian Response Corps standing ready to provide assistance to help ensure peace and stability in this area important to U.S. national
Civilian Response Corps Reaches Milestone at Two-Year Anniversary
"The Civilian Response Corps puts smart power into action every day. Your efforts help reduce conflict and prevent weak and failing states from becoming havens for terrorists.
In just two years, your ranks have grown to over 1,000 civilian responders – you in effect have become an army of peacebuilders."
-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
This July the Civilian Response Corps celebrated an important milestone, reaching 1,000 members on the second anniversary of its first Congressional appropriation. To honor Corps members' accomplishments and devotion to peace-building operations overseas, the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) and USAID hosted a two-day, esprit-building training workshop with an opening address from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The first-ever Civilian Responders' Workshop offered Corps members the rare opportunity to come together under one roof to share lessons learned from deployments as well as best practices. The Workshop began with a plenary session consisting of an informational briefing by Dr. Anne Marie Slaughter, Director of Policy Planning, on the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), and a briefing on current S/CRS engagements by teams deployed in the Near East and Africa regions.
The Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, Ambassador John E. Herbst, delivered an invigorating speech describing the growth and evolution of the Corps since its creation.
To further cultivate Corps members' reconstruction and stabilization skills, attendees participated in working group sessions. Led by subject matter experts, these highly participatory breakout groups offered detailed information, instruction, and activities on: mission planning with Diplomatic Security; executing Interagency Conflict Assessment Frameworks (ICAFs); planning techniques in the field; and key tips for leading engagements.
Day Two of the event featured outdoor exercises and training sessions, including satellite communication operations, medical training, team-building activities, and land-navigation exercises. All courses were designed around existing readiness training required of all deployable Corps members.
Since its inception, members of the Civilian Response Corps have deployed to 28 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, Sudan, Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and others, to carry out activities related to conflict assessment and prevention, whole-of-government crisis planning, and local capacity building.
Advise, Assess, Coordinate... Training the Civilian Response Corps
By Judy Filip, Training Division Chief
"How are the training requirements for the Civilian Response Corps determined?"
"What changes to the training program are expected in FY 2011?"
"Which exercises will I participate in?"
If you have been asking these questions, you need to hear from the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization's Training unit about steps being taken to better identify and meet the needs of the Corps. All good training must begin with the answering of two questions: “Who is the audience?” and “What do they need to know and be able to do?”
Two major lines of effort inform our responses to these two questions: the Competency Matrix and a Requirements Study. Here we will concentrate on the Competency Matrix. We will address the Requirements Study (work tasks and level of qualifications requested) in a future edition of Civilian Response.
The Competency Matrix
Beginning in the spring of 2010, a group of interagency partners has been meeting to outline the primary tasks that Civilian Response Corps members typically perform during overseas deployments or in Washington. (This analysis did not include sector-specific tasks which are being updated separately.) During the five-month process, participants included several members of the Active component of the Corps, Response Corps Coordinators (RCCs), training and other staff from S/CRS and USAID, as well as representatives from some of our current training providers. A draft list of tasks were compiled and grouped into the following eight functional areas: Advise, Assess, Coordinate, Evaluate, Implement, Lead, Manage, and Plan
This draft list, circulated for review and comment through the Training, Education, Exercises, and Experimentation (TE3) Sub-IPC, will result in a set of Essential Competencies, which will be finalized in mid-October 2010.
Once both the Competency Matrix and the Requirements studies are complete we expect the following results:
- A set of training standards (the level at which training will produce competent performance) will be developed;
- An updated and more comprehensive set of overall learning objectives will then be created from those standards;
- At that point, the experiences the Corps needs to have during training can be defined;
- Course objectives and content can be identified, revised, or created to provide those experiences; and
- The most appropriate methods of assessing learning can be incorporated into the training.
Another line of effort in training is exercises. Exercises, both Civilian-Military (civ-mil) and Civilian-Civilian (civ-civ), are developed to rehearse and practice learned knowledge and skills in a controlled environment. During FY 2011, in addition to the Talisman Sabre exercise with the Australian Civilian Corps and Parts 3 and 4 of the Judicious Response exercise with U.S. African Command, we expect to begin carrying out our plan to conduct quarterly “validation exercises.” These civ-civ exercises will help ensure that information and expertise gained in courses such as Foundations for Interagency reconstruction and stabilization (R&S) Operations, Whole of Government Planning for R&S, and Security for Non-traditional Operating Environments (SNOE), have been retained. These training experiences help create the right “muscle memory” to ensure Civilian Response Corps personnel carry out their duties successfully in a reconstruction and stabilization environment, whether with the military or in conjunction with civilian counterparts.
Annual Training Requirements
The ultimate goal of the activities described above is an updated set of requirements for annual training, which will be finalized for implementation in FY 2011. These requirements will outline the courses and exercises that all Corps members must complete before the end of their second year. The current requirement, established by the TE3 Sub-IPC, is eight weeks of annual training for Active members and two weeks for Standby. Comprehensive evaluation data will help determine which aspects of the training program are most valuable and effective for achieving program objectives for the two components of the Corps. Both the program and annual training requirements will be adjusted accordingly on a regular basis.
For questions or comments, please email us at SCRSTraining@state.gov. Preparing the Civilian Response Corps to achieve its mission is our mission.
Fit to Exercise: S/CRS and AFRICOM's Judicious Response Exercise
By Matt Treadgold, Planning Officer
As Civilian Response Corps member Susan Vogelsang assesses key factors affecting stability in an African country, a breaking news story flashes across the television screen. The news anchor confirms her worst fear: the country's leading opposition political figure has been killed, and it looks like the ruling government is to blame. Subsequent news articles, Embassy cables, and situation reports begin to paint a grim picture of conditions on the ground. Thousands are displaced. Over 1,500 are killed in 48 hours. Susan knows the U.S. will need to quickly develop a response strategy to the emerging crisis and that she and the team gathered before her will be asked to help.
This was the scenario facing 28 individuals, representing seven civilian agencies and the Department of Defense, who participated in U.S. Africa Command's (USAFRICOM) civilian-military exercise Judicious Response 2010/2011 Part 2 this summer. The Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization
(S/CRS) began working with USAFRICOM in September 2009 to develop a joint concept for an exercise focusing on how the military would support a civilian-led stability operation overseas.
“The civilian focus of the exercise was a first,” said Lt. Col. Charles Preston, Joint Force Headquarters Exercises Branch Chief at USAFRICOM. “There were six members of the military and 22 civilians in this exercise, so it really examined how the military could best support civilian agencies in this kind of crisis. These events are critical to building mutually supporting processes and relationships between the civilian agencies and the military before the crisis happens.”
Overall, the engagement was designed to help train Civilian Response Corps personnel, build civilian planning and operational capacities, strengthen civilian interagency partnerships with AFRICOM, and foster better civilian-military integration practices.
The exercise was developed with several objectives in mind, the most important of which focused on applying knowledge, skills, and abilities gained during classroom training in a simulated crisis situation. Exercise participants used their planning and assessment skills to develop key documents to inform senior decision makers in Washington. These documents provided a comprehensive, whole-of-government analysis of the operating environment in the country in crisis and made recommendations regarding potential courses of action for the U.S. Government. The group also looked at ways to mitigate and/or eliminate the current and future threat of conflict by developing strategies to leverage resiliencies already present in the country's society.
Judicious Response Part 2 was a unique, first-of-its kind exercise in several ways. The exercise represented the first time a civilian-military reconstruction and stabilization exercise scenario had been led and developed by civilian agencies with support from military commands (USAFRICOM and U.S. Joint Forces Command). In the end, 18 individuals from across the Interagency assisted in the design and development of the exercise. The focus on conflict prevention was also a first for a major geographic combatant command or interagency exercise. Finally, this event marked S/CRS's first attempt to host a large-scale exercise using its own resources, including providing the exercise location, administering all IT requirements, and ensuring all other logistics were properly managed.
“Being able to build and conduct our own exercises is a big win for the Interagency,” said Eric Halzel, Lead Evaluator for Judicious Response and a staff member of S/CRS's Training Division. “We learned important lessons to make these exercises even better the next time around.”
With Part 2 of the exercise complete, efforts are now focused on identifying exercise strengths and areas for improvement. Best practices from the exercise will be reinforced while recommendations on ways to do things better will be used to refine reconstruction and stabilization (R&S) policies, doctrine, training, processes, and procedures.
Lessons learned will also inform the development of Judicious Response Part 3, scheduled to occur in February and March 2011. Part 3 will be a continuation of the exercise scenario from Part 2, focusing on planning and operational design at the Washington and geographic combatant command levels. Part 3 will provide Susan and others another opportunity to “flex” their R&S muscles, while continuing to build the U.S. Government's capacity to respond to complex R&S crises in the future.
The Three D's Talk Dollars: The May 2010 1207 Conference
By Kristina Aronson, Program Assistant
At the end of May 2010, more than 50 U.S. Government officials convened in Washington for the “1207 Coordinators Workshop on Conflict Prevention and Post-Crisis Stabilization: An Integrated Approach,” hosted by the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization.
The workshop focused on issues of conflict prevention and post-crisis stabilization that S/CRS helps the U.S. Government address via a whole-of-government, interagency approach. “Section 1207” funds that the Department of Defense transfers to the State Department under the Fiscal Year 2006 National Defense Authorization Act, as amended, are used to supplement U.S. conflict prevention and stabilization, security, and reconstruction response efforts in regions where violence, state failure, or regional instability could affect U.S. national security interests.
To date, $350 million of 1207 funds have been directed toward 25 projects in 23 at-risk or post-conflict countries, such as Georgia, Lebanon, and Bangladesh, among others. Today, conflict and instability watch lists identify over 40 countries at risk of conflict within the next two years, with nearly half of recovering countries falling back into conflict within a few years. The scope of this growing problem of instability around the world underlines the pressing need for the U.S. to engage in conflict prevention activities to establish long term stability and security.
In addition to the 25 workshop participants who flew in from U.S. Embassies that carry out stability projects using 1207 funding, all three “Ds” – diplomacy, development, and defense – were represented at the conference by officials from the Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Department of Defense.
Opening remarks for the first day of the workshop were given by Ambassador John Herbst, Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at the Department of State; Neil Levine, Director of USAID's Office of Conflict Management and Mitigation; and Michael Coulter, Principal Deputy Director for Joint Staff Strategic Plans and Policy at the Department of Defense. Ensuing panels over the two day conference discussed Congressional perspectives on conflict prevention, implementing the whole-of-government approach in Washington and in the field, and lessons learned over the past several years of developing and implementing 1207 projects. Additionally, members of the Civilian Response Corps presented their expertise and provided key insight into why the Corps is an important component of the U.S. government's civilian response in at-risk and post-conflict environments.
The event closed with a dialogue about the upcoming Complex Crisis Fund (CCF) and Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), and a review of how the scope and range of the 1207 projects have expanded over the last couple of years to help meet the complex challenges of at-risk and post-conflict countries.
What's in Your Backpack?
Civilian Response Corps members tell us what they took with them on deployment – both practical and fun!
“I took a SpongeBob toy, cigars, pipe and tobacco with me to Kinshasa. I left the SpongeBob there with an office mate who loved the gift.”
– Bob Brennan
"I've always got my mp3 player with me, and it's gotta have some Black Keys [band] on it. Deodorant, polarized sunglasses, and trailmix are the other must-haves."
- Clint Fenning
“I always take my Wanderer Smurf with me – he has his own little backpack and is holding a compass. He was a gift from my Foreign Service Entry Class Secret Santa, and reminds me that I'm an explorer at heart.”
– Rebecca Steward
“Pens to make notes, because there are never enough where you're going.”
– Susan Vogelsang
“Two blue extra fine point Pilot ‘V5 Precise' rolling ball pens- they're the only pens I've used since high school. I was able to keep and use the same two pens through six months deployed in Afghanistan.
I also always had a couple of condiments with me. My two staples were whole-grain brown mustard and balsamic vinegar.”
– Aaron Teeter
“A must have in my backpack is Jujyfruits, Swedish Fish and a Snickers bar, the latest copy of ESPN The Magazine, and an extra fully charged Blackberry battery. I cannot leave without at least two challenge coins – you never want to get caught off guard.”
– Jean Pierre DeBarros