Conflict Resolution Studies Faculty Articles

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United States Institute of Peace


Resolving conflict, no use of force

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Over the past decade, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) has trained members of police and military forces around the world to prepare them to participate in international peacekeeping operations or to contribute to post-conflict stabilization and rule of law interventions in their own or in other war-torn countries. Most of the training takes place outside the United States, from remote, rugged bases to centrally located schools and academies, from Senegal to Nepal, from Italy to the Philippines. Training Programs for International Security Personnel Today's crisis, conflict, and post-conflict contexts are characterized by complexity, multiple parties, blurred boundaries, blurred distinctions between combatants and civilians, and greater numbers of civilian casualties than combatant casualties. There are often many interveners attempting to manage the conflict, including international, regional, national and community-level state and nonstate actors. Intervening security forces – international military and police-are required to assume responsibilities for which they were not prepared, and to operate in domains in which they were not trained. Military forces may find themselves carrying out activities traditionally conducted by police forces, and police may find themselves carrying out their traditional activities in combat zones. Both may find themselves supporting or actually implementing activities associated with the full range of tasks associated with nation-building or state-building, or tasked with managing conflicts in contexts far outside their routine responsibilities. At the same time, international peace operations, stabilization and reconstruction initiatives face shortages of well-trained security forces to meet their requirements for effective conflict management. Training for these types of operations involves skills not addressed in training for conventional military or police activities. Security forces in these contexts must be prepared to support humanitarian operations, contribute to economic and political development activities, and engage in peacebuilding and conflict resolution. They must also be prepared to communicate, coordinate, and collaborate with national and community level elected officials, business leaders, international and local non-governmental organizations, traditional leaders, religious leaders. In addition, they must work in tandem with the security forces of host countries and those of dozens of intervening countries. During the past decade and a half, a number of international, regional, and national training institutions and training programs have been established to prepare security personnel for working in complex crisis, conflicts, and post-conflict environments. These include the African Contingency Operations