CSO’s mission is to anticipate, prevent, and respond to conflict that undermines U.S. national interests. Our three lines of effort (LOEs) support this mission by focusing on different aspects of the conflict cycle: 1) strategic prevention; 2) conflict resolution; and 3) security sector stabilization. We implement our LOEs through three key functions; 1) deploying Stabilization Advisors; 2) harnessing data analytics; and 3) leading, informing, and implementing policy and programs on conflict prevention and stabilization.


  • Instability Monitoring and Analysis PlatformCSO launched the Instability Monitoring & Analysis Platform (IMAP) in 2019 to harness data-driven decision-making and implement the Foundations for Evidence Based Policy Making Act of 2018.  IMAP’s innovative use of technology tracks global conflict trends and informs U.S. strategies, policies, and programs on conflict prevention and stabilization.
  • Stabilization Assistance Review: In early 2018, Department of State, USAID, and Department of Defense approved the Stabilization Assistance Review (SAR) as a new framework to best leverage our diplomatic engagement, defense, and foreign assistance to stabilize conflict-affected areas.  The SAR captures lessons learned from previous stabilization contexts and details a framework to optimize interagency efforts.
  • Ukraine Story Map: In the wake of Ukraine’s 2013-2014 Revolution of Dignity, Russia illegally seized and occupied Crimea and started an armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. Five years on, Russia continues to arm, train, lead, and fight alongside the anti-government forces in eastern Ukraine, while falsely insisting it is not a party to the conflict. The resource provides the chronology of events from the occupation of Crimea and the beginning of the war on the Donbass in 2014 until Russian seizure of Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea in November 2018. Ukraine Interactive Dashboard»
  • Northern Triangle and Mexico Country Conditions and the Highest And Lowest Municipalities: Country conditions drawing on reported data from the governments of Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. Northern Triangle and Mexico Interactive Dashboard»
  • A Pathway to Defections: An Assessment Framework for Processing Defectors and Disengaged Fighters: This report is the culmination of a joint project between the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations in the U.S. Department of State and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Stabilisation Unit. Its purpose is to provide planners and practitioners with an analytical and evidence-based framework for building an effective and sustainable defections plan. The report presents optimal conditions for encouraging disengagement but emphasizes that not all elements will be present in a given context and that the defections pathway is not linear or static in any way. Nevertheless, there are good reasons for taking calculated steps to encourage voluntary defections even when conditions are not optimal. Successful defection programs depend on several critical enablers: detailed analysis for understanding fighters’ incentives and motivations, lines of communication and political offers built on the analytical and contextual findings, and a defection ‘pathway’. The report highlights several critical factors in the analysis—key actors, structural capacities and programmatic provisions, as outlined below—and provides guidance to planners and practitioners for implementing the defection plan.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future