Peacekeeping and Conflict Transitions: Background and Congressional Action on Civilian Capabilities [Updated January 22, 2007] [open pdf - 191KB]
"The State Department's Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) was established to address longstanding concerns, both within Congress and the broader foreign policy community, over the perceived lack of the appropriate capabilities and processes to deal with transitions from conflict to stability. These capabilities and procedures include adequate planning mechanisms for stabilization and reconstruction operations, efficient interagency coordination structures and procedures in carrying out such tasks, and appropriate civilian personnel for many of the non-military tasks required. Effectively distributing resources among the various executive branch actors, maintaining clear lines of authority and jurisdiction, and balancing short- and long-term objectives are major challenges for designing, planning, and conducting post-conflict operations, as is fielding the appropriate civilian personnel. President Bush referred to the latter in his January 23, 2007 State of the Union address, calling for Congress to work with the Administration 'to design and establish a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps.' […] The issues for the 110th Congress include whether to increase funding for S/CRS and provide a permanent authorization and whether to authorize and fund new mechanisms that would 'operationalize' the State Department. As in the original and subsequent iterations of the Lugar-Biden legislation, these mechanisms consist of (1) a discretionary Conflict Response Fund and (2) a readiness response corps that would include an active force of federal employees, a standby force of active duty and retired federal employees, and a large civilian reserve corps of individuals with the specialized skills necessary for stabilization and reconstruction, analogous to the military reserve, as mentioned in the President's 2007 State of the Union address. The State Department is expected to present a proposal for such a corps to Congress in early 2007."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32862