Military and civilian agencies have worked more closely in recent years to prevent or reduce violent conflict, build the capacities of governments and strengthen national security. Still, lessons from the field show that more needs to be done to improve mutual understanding and cooperation among the array of organizations providing assistance. Lack of understanding has led to duplication of effort, inefficient use of limited resources and unintended consequences. The Civ-Mil program of the U.S. Institute of Peace includes education, training, working groups and exercises to advance information-sharing and coordination. These efforts inform professionals on how they can work together to build peace more effectively in complex conflict environments. Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on Work in Civ-Mil Relations.
U.S. military and civilian agencies frequently deploy on complex missions that require them to operate in the same environment, whether in humanitarian disasters, fragile states or violent conflicts. The success of these operations depends in part on each agency’s understanding of the objectives, resources and authorities of the others. While coordination has improved in recent years, enhanced cooperation is still needed to accomplish the primary goals of these critical missions: saving lives and stabilizing areas in turmoil.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis yesterday urged combatants in Yemen, including Saudi Arabia and Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi faction, to negotiate a cease-fire in that war within 30 days while speaking to diplomats, military officers and conflict-resolution specialists at the U.S. Institute of Peace. In a webcast conversation moderated by former national security advisor and USIP Chair Stephen J. Hadley, Mattis also discussed global security challenges facing the United States—from Russia and China, to North Korea—cybersecurity and the need for the developed world to help fragile states improve their governance and address the root causes of extremism.
A string of violent crises since the 1990s—from Somalia to Iraq to others—has underscored America’s need to coordinate better among military forces, relief and development organizations, diplomats and other responders, retired Marine Corps General Anthony Zinni said this week. The United States should consider creating a standing “interagency command” for such crises, Zinni told listeners at USIP.
The Interorganizational Tabletop Exercise (ITX) is a vehicle by which the civ-mil community can converge around a common issue or challenge to better understand different approaches and coordination mechanisms as well as explore opportunities for greater information sharing and joint planning/initiatives to provide more effective assistance.
Since 2005, the Civilian Military Working Group (CMWG) has served as an informal body that meets periodically to discuss policy and operational issues relevant to civilian and military personnel involved primarily in international humanitarian crises, relief and recovery. The group also shares information about education and engagement opportunities.