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Get to Know the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations

Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations
May 23, 2012


In this video, Secretary Clinton and other State Department officials talk about the creation of the Bureau of Conflict of Stabilization Operations  (CSO) and provide testimonials on the Bureau's work.

Secretary Clinton, January 26, 2012 Town Hall Meeting on the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review

SECRETARY CLINTON:  Because we recognize that it’s more important than ever to address the problems of fragile states, we are strengthening our capacity to prevent and respond to crisis. We rolled out our new Conflict and Stabilization Operations Bureau. And in the past year, CSO has deployed more than 175 Civilian Response Corps members to hotspots in more than 30 countries around the world. They come from nine different agencies and bureaus, including USAID, which has expanded its own work in this area. They’re working everywhere from Afghanistan to South Sudan to Timor-Leste, often in some of the most remote and least governed places on earth. They can be found camped alongside special forces, sleeping under mosquito nets in campsites hacked out of the jungle by machete, eating MREs, hitching rides in the back of pickups to meet with local leaders – not the common image of a diplomat. But they are among the hundreds of State and USAID employees practicing a tradecraft that now lives at the intersection of diplomacy, development, and security.

Larry Memmott, Deputy Chief of Mission, U.S. Embassy Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan

LARRY MEMMOTT:  The role that Washington has played in sending a team out to work with the Embassy has been crucial. It’s interesting: often in a crisis situation you talk about drawing down and sending people out of the country, but at the same time, what you really have is a need for a different set of people with a different set of capabilities than what you have during normal times, and the team that came out to help the embassy filled that slot. 

One of the important roles that the team played was in working with the Embassy and Embassy personnel in order to coordinate- when you’re in the middle of a crisis, it’s very easy for people to go their own directions and deal with their own issues and having people there who can bring everybody together, sort of enforce the interagency cooperation that’s necessary at a time like that, can be very important. 

Joe Pickerill, Civilian Responder, South Sudan

JOE PICKERILL:  Based primarily in the field, in one of the ten states, I spent most of my time in Western Equatoria and Central Equatoria as well, initially providing the Consulate, now Embassy Juba with an extended reach, both in terms of diplomatic relations but also in terms of building a network of new contacts for the first time. Additionally, our primary role was also to provide a conflict lens. Now what does that actually mean? It means that we were able to network with people at the state, local, community, traditional level and better understand the conflict dynamics at play in a country that has been faced with civil war and other turmoil for most of the last 50 years.

Scott Decker, Civilian Responder, Afghanistan

SCOTT DECKER:  We as civilians don't do governance in a vacuum, nor does the military do security in a vacuum. And so there were a lot of programs and activities that we both do and so being able to synchronize and integrate those efforts into one common plan so that both the military and the civilians have the same focus strategically, and by extension then as you move down into the provinces, operationally, have the same focus so that all of our efforts are concerted and concentrated together to achieve the results that we're trying to achieve as a U.S. national priority.

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