Events

Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Enhancing U.S. Capabilities

July 10, 2002 // 12:00am

The Post-Conflict Reconstruction (PCR) Project explores the needs of societies emerging from armed conflict and works to improve the efforts of key actors in post-conflict operations by identifying gaps within the current capabilities of the international community and offers ways to improve effectiveness and timeliness of response. On July 10th, the Conflict Prevention Program of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars joined with the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) for the second time to discuss “Post-Conflict Reconstruction: Enhancing U.S. Capabilities.” This session focused on ways to improve security, justice & reconciliation, social & economic well being, and governance & participation issues in post conflict situations, and discussed the PCR framework being developed to identify and organize the range of tasks common to reconstruction efforts.

Building security capacity in PCR is necessary in order to allow other forms of reconstruction, such as judicial and economic ones to take place. Scott Feil addressed the issue of building security capacity by focusing on the following three recommendations: 1) Improve integrated planning on the regional combatant level by making sure the Joint Task Force command center is organized, staffed and equipped to include interagency process and NGOs in the initial planning stages. 2) Integrate security forces and examine the viability of creating a middle range security force to fulfill roles falling between police and military forces (i.e. border patrol, customs support, weapons collection, demobilization, etc.) 3) Centralize the capacity to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate combatants and enhance the ability to process and return IDPs and refugees.

The subsequent discussion focused on the integrated security forces proposition and the prospects of using the military to fill this need. Mr. Feil noted that good organizational decisions could mitigate problems faced by creating a middle range security force. The task force considered the idea of using the military police as a constabulary force, but it set aside due to two main concerns. First, there were some doubts to the practicality of it because of the notion that “soldiers can make good peacekeepers, but peacekeepers do not necessarily make good soldiers.” Second, the increased mobilization of reserves might cause demoralization among those activated, and subsequently hurt recruitment and retention efforts. Traditionally reserves were called up for large-scale war and assaults on the homeland. Increasingly they are used for small-scale contingencies such as Afghanistan, Kosovo or Bosnia.

Michèle Flournoy discussed the importance of supporting post-conflict justice and reconciliation. Her recommendations in the policy and strategy area included developing and implementing a National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) on post-conflict reconstruction addressing U.S. strategies, capabilities, and interagency responsibility in the area of post-conflict justice and reconciliation assistance and the establishment of a Policy Coordination Committee for post-conflict reconstruction under a Senior Director at the NSC. Further the paper recommends rapidly deployable capabilities included supporting the implementations of the Brahimi report as well as examining the practicality of creating a federally led police reserve system that would help build international civilian police (CIVPOL) capacity. The task force supports long term justice capacity-building through enhancing International Criminal Investigations Training Assistance Programs (ICITAP) significantly by increasing funding and revising Section 660 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to encompass new legislation outlining available authorities. Key suggestions on improving international courts and commissions include amending legislation to extend USG drawdown authority to justice and reconciliation institutions based upon certification by the president, establishing interagency agreements between the DOS, DOJ, and DOD to provide a team of forensics and evidence-collection experts in support of international atrocity documentation, and improve the USG process to rapidly declassify records on human rights violations in other countries if requested from international judicial institutions and commissions, assuming this does not threaten U.S. national security. Her final recommendations fell under the category of “critical enablers” or actions that can be taken in advance to improve the speed and quality of response. They consisted of the development of interim legal codes for ongoing post-conflict reconstruction.

Post-presentation discussion included suggestions on how to better articulate the need for justice and reconciliation considerations in PCR to Congress and the Bush Administration, which would in turn more effectively translate policy recommendations into actions. Furthermore, participants called for broader examination on the role of justice, including the norms themselves, and noted that reconciliation efforts are an integral component to the healing process in PCR situations.

Johanna Mendelson Forman led the discussion on achieving socio-economic well being in post-conflict settings with five recommendations. First, the president should create an Office for Economic International Security to facilitate the coordination of international financial institutions and U.S. agencies. Second, she recommended the Treasury Department set up a better licensing and bonding system for foreign remittances. Next, she called for the creation of a trust fund as part of a natural resources revenue strategy to help manage resource driven conflicts. Another recommendation was for USAID to develop a long-term flexible funding mechanism to provide micro-credit at the community level. Lastly, in dealing with the post-conflict reconstruction problem of HIV/AIDS, she recommended the prioritizing of PCR situations in HIV/AIDS funding, and the enhancement and expansion of military to military prevention programs led by DoD. This is especially important because AID’s is a spreading global pandemic and not an isolated epidemic. In fact, the region with the 2nd highest per capita AID’s rate in the world is the Caribbean.

Discussants urged that development and capital responses be infused earlier and advocated for more attention to linkages on social infrastructure and justice. Another comment illustrated the clear linkages between economic growth, and the chances at successful reintegration of a PCR situation (5% increase for 5 years), though others noted the difficulty of achieving such a great rate of growth. Finally, it was noted that better economic assessments of the targeted area, including those regarding natural capital, needed to be made.

The final section of the PCR discussion was based on a paper written by another PCR co-director Dr. Robert Orr, and presented by Michèle Flournoy. The paper outlined the following five recommendations on ways to achieve better governance and participation in PCR settings: 1) It called for the support of “constituting processes” by creating “Director of Reconstruction” posts within the U.S. Government responsible for directing U.S. efforts in specific countries in which the United States intervened, who would implement large multidisciplinary U.S. government programs after an agreement had been reached. 2) It called for the mobilization of the disenfranchised sectors of the population by supporting quick-disbursing community-based approaches and by charging OTI with ensuring linkage of these local processes to a national peace implementation strategy. 3) Build a sustainable civil administration capacity by creating a mechanism for fielding U.S. civil administration experts and for assembling interagency, interdisciplinary teams that specialize in building civil administration capacity. 4) Address corruption by developing a set of procedures with international financial institutions, NGOs and the UN for collectively monitoring and sanctioning corrupt entities while developing resources within USAID’s anticorruption programming specifically designed for post-conflict countries with little infrastructure. 5) Craft an appropriate system of conditionalities as a part of the Millennium Challenge Account for post-conflict and institutionally weak countries, and tightly coordinate this through country teams composed of major donors, multilateral development banks, and UN representatives.

The governance discussion produced several suggestions, including the possible enhancement of public service as a remedy to corruption. Transparency and better overall leadership were also stressed. Finally, participants stressed the need for international cooperation. In response, the co-directors said there was an assumption that the United States should first reorganize its own capacity in post conflict reconstruction efforts. The project will initiate the international phase of the PCR framework in December of 2002. For more information on the PCR project, please see www.pcrproject.org

Written by Edwin Onaga with Anita Sharma, Deputy Director, Conflict Prevention Project
Contact: 202-691-4083

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