Peacekeeping and Conflict Transitions: Background and Congressional Action on Civilian Capabilities [Updated January 30, 2008]   [open pdf - 197KB]

"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." As in the various iterations of the Lugar-Biden legislation, these mechanisms consist of (1) a discretionary Conflict Response Fund and (2) some variation of a response corps that would include an active force of federal employees, a standby force, and a large civilian reserve of individuals (other than currently employed federal employees) with the skills necessary for stabilization and reconstruction, analogous to the military reserve, as mentioned in the President's 2007 State of the Union address."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL32862
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