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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Innovative Solutions to Violent Conflict

Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations
January 9, 2014


The Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) is a vital part of the ambitious U.S. effort to be more effective in preventing and responding to conflict. CSO advances U.S. national security by working with partners to break cycles of violent conflict, strengthen civilian security, and mitigate crises in priority countries. CSO supports the State Department by providing analysis, strategic planning, and on-the-ground operations.

Where We Work

CSO is working in more than a dozen countries, deploying a wide range of civilian talent quickly to address the causes of conflict. Our initiatives include:

  • Syria: Providing Syrian opposition groups the skills, knowledge, networks, and equipment to strengthen civil administration, community security, independent media, and other vital parts of a peaceful society;
  • Honduras: Building civil society capacity to promote public security reform and reduce violence;
  • Burma: Supporting efforts to reduce violence and build community relations, especially in Kayah and Rakhine, and fostering trust between ethnic groups and the government through humanitarian mine-action initiatives focused on victim assistance and risk education;
  • Nigeria: Reducing the likelihood of mass violence in the oil-rich Niger Delta related to the 2015 elections and the end of amnesty for ex-militants, through a multi-media campaign to expand non-violent problem-solving by Nigerians and their institutions;
  • Bangladesh: Working with new coalitions, including faith-based organizations, minorities, youth, entrepreneurs, and others to promote legitimate political discourse and encourage Bangladeshis to develop messages that promote peaceful engagement and counter violence; and
  • Central Africa: Weakening Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) by working closely with the four LRA-affected nations, the U.S. military, UN, AU, and NGOs to increase defections among LRA fighters, improve civilian protection, and streamline the disarmament and reintegration process.

Past Efforts

  • Kenya: Before the March 2013 elections, CSO helped Kenyan civil society strengthen community-police relations, engage potential spoilers, and respond to security threats. Secretary Kerry said these investments “helped prevent a repeat of the violence we saw five years ago.”
  • Afghanistan: From 2007 to 2014, more than 130 CSO personnel served in Afghanistan, focusing on improving civilian-military coordination, integrating the efforts of Americans and Afghans, and promoting greater rights for girls and women.
  • South Sudan: Between 2010 and 2012, CSO supported the transition to independence, with more than 50 stabilization officers engaging in conflict mitigation with local leaders in all 10 states. 

“We value security and stability in other parts of the world, knowing that failed states are among our greatest security threats, and new partners are our greatest assets.”

– Secretary of State John Kerry

CSO Is Committed To:

  • Supporting interagency focus and coherence
  • Making a strategic impact quickly
  • Developing leaders, including women and youth
  • Building on local initiatives and partnerships
  • Testing and evaluating innovative approaches

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