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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.


  • The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018: The Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018 (The Act) reaffirms U.S. government commitment to preventing atrocities and holding perpetrators of these horrific acts of violence accountable. The Act requires an annual report to Congress describing U.S. government actions in support of atrocity prevention, and mandates atrocity prevention training to equip Foreign Service Officers covering countries experiencing – or at risk of experiencing – atrocities. CSO serves as the State Department’s lead for atrocity prevention policy, and is the Secretariat of the White House-led Atrocity Early Warning Task Force (AEWTF), which coordinates whole-of-government atrocity prevention and response efforts.
  • The U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability:  The U.S. Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability sets forth a framework for U.S. government efforts to prevent conflict, stabilize conflict-affected areas, and address global fragility, in line with the Global Fragility Act of 2019.  America’s prosperity and security depend on peaceful, self-reliant, U.S. economic and security partners. By breaking the costly cycle of conflict and instability, the United States advances its own security.
  • Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Early Warning of Violence and Conflict: A Global Framework  Early warning systems can save lives. Gender norms and identity invariably impact how individuals experience conflict – and their roles in perpetuating or resolving violence. Despite evidence linking gender inequality and a country’s risk of conflict and instability – gender-sensitive early warning efforts have been inconsistent. To address this gap, CSO partnered with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) to create an interactive Story Map detailing practical tools for integrating new gender-sensitive indicators with recommendations for implementers and international donors. Watch the launch event .
  • 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.
  • A Pathway to Defections: An Assessment Framework for Processing Defectors and Disengaged Fighters: [787 KB] 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