May 1, 2016

A Competing Risks Approach to Security Sector Assistance for Fragile States

Helping other countries' militaries and intelligence services is a vital part of whatever we're calling the war on terrorism these days. These programs, however, are often seen as one of two extremes: a panacea or an afterthought. Steve Watts of RAND calls for treating these programs with the analytic seriousness they deserve. He notes the range of potential problems and recommends using risk assessments to think about security sector assistance in a more sophisticated way.

March 7, 2016

Time for Transparency in overseas military aid and financing

The U.S. can't be everywhere at once: We need a way to build partners overseas who can tackle military problems on their own. Therefore, since 9/11, Congress has increased the authorities and programs under which the Department of Defense (DOD) can engage other militaries. It's time to start tracking that money and evaluating what's working, and what's not.

March 1, 2016

All the Elements of National Power

Such is the diversity and proliferation of threats to the security of the United States and its allies that all the elements of national strength must be mobilized to meet the challenge. As we confront this onslaught, in a time of fiscal constraint, it is especially imprudent to tap only 50 percent of our population in support of national and international security. Failing to realize the human capital represented by women and other frequently excluded constituents weakens our ability to provide for the common defense and protect our interests around the world. Two of our authors write, “Politically and militarily we have consistently drawn from less than half of our available talent.” Noteworthy, and noted by authors in this issue of PRISM, our adversaries, including Boko Haram and ISIS, do not make the same mistake.

March 1, 2016

Inclusive Security for the Muslim World

At 1.6 billion, Muslims comprise one-fifth of the world’s population. By 2050, that number is expected to rise to 2.76 billion. Sixty percent of the world’s Muslims fall between the ages of 15 and 59 years, with the median age being 24 years. 317 million of the world’s Muslims live in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) and 344 million in India and Pakistan. The security of the Middle East and South Asia is inextricably linked with Muslim views of self and the world.

March 1, 2016

Engendering Responses to Complex Emergencies: Lessons from South Sudan

Like so many before it, the current crisis in South Sudan is a classic example of what humanitarians term a “complex emergency”—a major humanitarian crisis that was not caused by a single natural disaster, but by a combination of political and ethnic conflict, social inequality, poverty, and many other interrelated factors. As such, those looking to end the emergency and pave the way for long-term peace in South Sudan have a range of dynamics to consider, from the causes of the conflict and the protection of civilians to addressing basic humanitarian needs and building a foundation for a stable society. Yet, whether they are delivering security assistance or food aid, national and international organizations frequently overlook another dynamic that runs through all of these areas: the gender dynamic.

March 1, 2016

Innovation in the Prevention of the Use of Child Soldiers: Women in the Security Sector

Of all the characteristics that define contemporary conflict, the use of child soldiers presents one of the farthest-reaching and most disturbing trends. As of 2015, according to the United Nations Special Representative for the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict, of the 59 countries identified by the organization’s Secretary General for grave violations against children in war, 57 are named for the recruitment and use of child soldiers. The deliberate use of child soldiers by armed forces and armed groups “is a way to overcome their weak starting point as far as recruiting, organization, and other state-centered systemic barriers to growth.

March 1, 2016

Brazil and UN Security Council Resolution 1325: Progress and Challenges of the Implementation Process

Emerging powers have recently become significant players in promoting peace and stability in unstable settings affected by conflict and violence. These countries have the experience, capabilities, and legitimacy to support counterpart governments seeking to build security and safety in their societies. What is more, the High Level Independent Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (HLP) has emphasized the need for peace operations to become more people centered. This is an important capability that emerging powers—some of the top troop-contributors to UN peacekeeping missions—have arguably developed in the last few years.2 Peacekeepers from many emerging countries, including Brazil, have been widely recognized for their professional conduct and empathy—which many attribute to their own experiences with economic, social, and political crises.

March 1, 2016

Inclusive Security and Peaceful Societies: Exploring the Evidence

Traditional approaches to ending wars—where armed groups meet behind closed doors to hammer out a truce—are falling short in the face of 21st century conflicts. The number of armed conflicts has been increasing over the past decade. In 2014, the world witnessed the highest battle-related death toll since the Cold War.2 Belligerents increasingly target civilians, and global displacement from conflict, violence, and persecution has reached the highest level ever recorded.3 As new forms of conflict demand innovative responses, states that have emerged from war also persistently relapse. In the 2000s, 90 percent of conflicts occurred in countries already afflicted by war; the rate of relapse has increased every decade since the 1960s.4 Empirical analysis of eight decades of international crises shows that peacemaking efforts often succeed in the short-term only to fail in the quest for long-term peace.

March 1, 2016

We Are Not Helpless: Addressing Structural Gender Inequality in Post-Conflict Societies

The causes of state fragility are of pressing concern to U.S. foreign policymakers. The concept of state fragility denotes “a fundamental failure of the state to perform functions necessary to meet citizens’ basic needs and expectations… [including] assuring basic security, maintaining rule of law and justice, [and] providing basic services and economic opportunities for their citizens.”2 The stabilization of fragile societies has become an important emphasis of U.S. national security policy—so much so that our most recent National Security Strategy asserts that: “within states, the nexus of weak governance and widespread grievance allows extremism to take root, violent non-state actors to rise up, and conflict to overtake state structures. To meet these challenges, we will continue to work with partners and through multilateral organizations to address the root causes of conflict before they erupt and to contain and resolve them when they do. We prefer to partner with those fragile states that have a genuine political commitment to establishing legitimate governance and providing for their people.”

March 1, 2016

The Secret Driving Force Behind Mongolia’s Successful Democracy

Twenty-five years after Mongolia’s first free and democratic election, the country is commemorating the peaceful revolution that radically changed this country. Throughout these celebrations, we are reflecting on both the result of the changes of the past 25 years and the means by which those changes occurred. Not only are Mongolians marking the occasion, the nation is finally being heralded by the international community as an example of peaceful democratization. In my role as a member of the State Great Hural (parliament) of Mongolia, I am often asked, “How did you manage to do it?” Or, less frequently now, “How did we never notice Mongolia’s democracy before?” Hearing these queries so frequently prompted me to seriously reflect upon the process by which Mongolia transformed from a Soviet satellite state into a robust and thriving democracy.