AfP Q&A: USIP chief of staff—Peacebuilding Central to National Security
Friday, March 23, 2012
Posted by: Emily Mallozzi
AfP Q&A: USIP chief of staff—Peacebuilding Central to
March 21, 2011
There is much discussion in the halls of Congress, the
Pentagon and the State Department these days about the role of peacebuilding in
national security. Paul Hughes, Chief of
Staff at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), shared thoughts on the
issue in a recent interview with the Alliance for Peacebuilding (AfP), focusing
especially on the theme that "Preventing
conflict is central to 21st century national security.”
USIP’s chief of
staff, Col. Paul Hughes (U.S. Army, ret.), sat down this month with AfP to
discuss peacebuilding’s role in the national security framework. Hughes is responsible
for keeping peace operations, training and analysis on task for the small
previous assignments, Hughes led the stand-up of peace and stability operations
for USIP in Iraq as director of Iraq programs.
He was the executive director of the Quadrennial Defense Review
Independent Panel and for the Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture
of the United States. Additionally, he
also served as a staff director for the Iraq Study Group.
Prior to joining
USIP, Hughes served nearly 30 years on active duty with the Army. Among his assignments, he was a senior staff
officer for the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance and later
with the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. From 2000 to 2002, he was director of national
security policy on the Army staff. From
1996 to 2000, he led U.S. landmine policy, the DOD response to Hurricane Mitch,
the Turkish earthquakes, and the Mozambique floods for the Office of the
Secretary of Defense (OSD) as deputy director of the Office for Humanitarian
Assistance and Anti-Personnel Landmine Policy. He has been awarded numerous campaign and
service medals, including three Bronze Stars.
in his remarks that, in many ways, USIP is leading the new national security support model: USIP is small,
nimble and generates high impact for low cost, with just a $39 million
budget. With a staff of about 300 professional
international conflict mediators, trainers and analysts, its operating model is
simple: three centers for conflict management, innovation and training.
How Should We Think
about Peacebuilding in a National Security Framework?
In response to our questions about how to think about
peacebuilding in a national security framework, Hughes elaborated on how Congress
structured USIP to work alongside the Departments of Defense and State. To ensure cooperation and coordination on
national security matters, the Secretary of Defense (SECDEF), the Secretary of
State (SECSTATE), and the active duty military general or flag officer serving
as the National Defense University president are members of the USIP Board of
Directors. "The Defense and State departments and USIP work together on
planning and executing international conflict management and peacebuilding
dimensions of national security strategy and policy,” Hughes said. USIP mediates conflicts, delivers joint, interagency and
whole-of-community training in peacebuilding tradecraft, and conducts conflict research
and analysis. The training is
provided at its headquarters, Joint Professional Military Education and foreign
affairs schools, military bases, colleges and universities, and in conflict
zones around the world. The past three
Administrations have called on USIP to support the nation’s peace and security
goals with innovative post-conflict reconciliation and stabilization
operations, most notably in the Balkans, the Philippines, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan,
South Sudan, and Libya.
What is USIP’s Role
in Preventing Conflict?
Conflict prevention has become a topic
of intense interest across the government and military over the past year. In response to our question about USIP’s role
in preventing conflict, Hughes responded that, "Preventing conflict in the
first place saves lives, reduces the government’s costs and enhances national
security." He added, "USIP’s operations in Libya are the most
recent example demonstrating the capabilities that make the Institute so
effective.” Hughes related that ADM James
Stavridis, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, visited USIP to thank the Institute
for deploying its peacebuilders shortly after the NATO decision to intervene to
protect Libyan civilians. Working behind
the scenes, USIP served as one of the bridges between the rebels and both the
State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).
"The day Tripoli fell, the
Institute was on the ground training over a hundred Libyans to work as
post-conflict mediators and facilitators. They were able to rapidly respond throughout
the country to prevent community-level violence. USIP remains there now,
helping address post-conflict challenges. USIP is the only foreign actor
with a seat on Libya’s ruling National Transitional Council’s stabilization
team.” The Institute is actively
supporting several situations with Track 1.5 dialogue, including countries
involved in the Arab Spring and U.S.-China-North Korea.
What is USIP’s Role
in Training for Conflict Management Skills?
Since 9/11, USIP’s role has grown in advancing U.S.
through working with military, the State Department, other civilian agencies,
nongovernmental and international organizations, and institutions of higher
education and research. "To be effective
in modern conflict,” Hughes said, "military and civilian personnel need to
design and implement operations across institutional and national boundaries
and work together in rapidly changing, insecure environments. USIP’s Academy for International
Conflict Management and Peacebuilding targets professionalizing the peacebuilding
community. This means practical training in peacebuilding skills, the
development of expert leaders, and building quality partnerships.” The Academy gives the government the ability
to prepare interagency and whole-of-community participation for today's
conflicts and tomorrow's conflict management challenges.
What Role Does USIP
Play in Innovation for Peace?
Hughes said that USIP’s
status as a quasi-independent agency with both the Secretary of Defense and the
Secretary of State on its board of directors "enables agility, flexibility, and
the ability to be innovative.” Inspired by Congress’s vision of a service
that could independently collate, analyze and apply data and information
relevant to conflict management and peacebuilding from open sources and all
departments of the federal government, "USIP’s applied research capacity provides the government
a formidable resource.” Staffed
with professionals from many disciplines—economists, political scientists,
anthropologists, lawyers, national security specialists, peace operations
experts, historians, military, diplomats—USIP’s roster includes a Who’s Who of innovators
in international conflict management and peacebuilding.
Hughes said "USIP is a hub for increasing collaboration
in whole-of-community peacebuilding.”
He cited the role of USIP interagency professionals in residence
(IPRs)—selected military officers and civilians drawn from across the
government—working together at USIP to support and improve peacebuilding in joint, interagency, non-governmental,
and multinational environments. Two
of USIP’s Army fellows went on to earn their general’s stars and apply their
skills in conflict management for the nation through service in both Iraq and
Afghanistan. Incoming IPRs include staff
representatives and liaisons from DOD, State, AID, the Department of
Agriculture, the Marine Corps, Air Force, Army, and Navy.
"One of USIP’s most important
national security contributions has been its joint collaboration with the Army
on the first strategic ‘doctrine’ ever produced for civilian actors involved in
peace operations,” Hughes said. Guiding
Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction captures the hard-won
lessons of whole-of-government interventions in a practical guidebook for
adaptive, creative conflict leadership at a critical time in our history. Through this analysis, the Institute supported
the planning framework for Libya’s post-conflict stabilization
preparations. The Institute facilitates the Working Group on
Civil-Military Relations in Non-Permissive Environments, the nation’s
only regular working group of the major U.S. humanitarian assistance NGOs, the
Defense and State departments, and USAID.
This group negotiated and oversees guidelines approved by SECDEF and
CJCS to coordinate the relations and combined efforts of the military, civilian
agencies and humanitarian NGOs in peace and stability operations.
What Effects Would Reductions
in Funding Have on USIP?
USIP provides cost savings to the US government through
its prevention programs. Preventing and
ending conflict clearly saves lives, reduces the government’s costs, and enhances
Hughes said. As evidence, the reconciliation USIP mediated in Mahmoudiya,
Iraq, served as the model for the strategy that dramatically reduced American
military and Iraqi civilian casualties. GEN David Petraeus, currently
Director of Central Intelligence and CENTCOM’s commander at the time, called
the mediation a "striking success.” According to Stephen Krasner, the
State Department’s director of policy planning at the time and currently Stanford
University professor of international relations: "USIP's
successfulinterventionbecame the cornerstone of peace in the
infamous ‘Triangle of Death.’ The value of the lives saved, American and
Iraqi, cannot be calculated.” This one operation saved
taxpayers over $2 billion, or three times all of the funding USIP
received during its history and sufficient to fund USIP operations for 60 years.
Hughes said that USIP
is doing its part to control federal spending, working closely with the
Administration and Congress in "prioritizing and
positioning peacebuilding for tomorrow.”
USIP has already been cut significantly—20 percent in the past
year. The Institute achieved $10 million in
savings, through prioritization, efficiency and productivity gains, and a 16 percent
reduction in the workforce since 2010—"at a time when civilian agencies are
being tasked to do more in zones of conflict.”
These cuts "reflect economic reality” and reduce the USIP budget
baseline by $169 million through FY 2021, Hughes said.
The cost to America is declining preparedness and capabilities to respond to
crises, decreasing American influence in conflict outcomes around the globe,
and diminished capacity critical to international operations where federal
leadership cannot be replaced and is most needed. "We make every penny count that we receive.”
Hughes advises "against
hasty action that would weaken our international peace and security capacities
during this time of global turmoil.
Understanding that preventing conflict in the first place saves lives
and money is the first step.” Funding USIP pays national security dividends that far exceed the costs. In stark monetary terms, USIP's budget is
equivalent to less than four hours of the cost of the war in Afghanistan. The military cost of Afghanistan for a month,
about $7 billion, would fund USIP for 172
years. USIP’s role in Libya, at
$100,000, contrasts with the first ten minutes of military action in
establishing a no-fly zone that carried a $100 million price tag. The nation’s Founding Fathers would be proud that this part of their
"proper Peace establishment" is providing national security benefits at a
most modest expenditure, Hughes said.
AfP thanks Paul Hughes for his insights into USIP, and
for the federal voice and support USIP ensures for all of us in the