The Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations (CSO) anticipates, prevents, and responds to conflict that undermines U.S. national interests. We implement our mission by deploying stabilization advisors, harnessing data analytics, and implementing policy and programs on conflict prevention and stabilization.
CSO focuses on three lines of effort that reflect different aspects of the conflict cycle: strategic prevention, conflict resolution, and security sector stabilization.
Strategic prevention is the deliberate effort to reduce fragility, strengthen institutions, and increase cohesion in priority countries by disrupting likely pathways to violent conflict, instability, and/or political subversion. Prevention focuses on fragile states, which are most vulnerable to the spread of terrorism, non-state-armed groups (NSAGs), mass refugee flows, and exploitation by malign actors. CSO’s strategic prevention work has helped mitigate violence before, during, and after the elections in Ethiopia (2020), prevent the radicalization and recruitment of terrorist fighters in the southern Philippines, Kenya, and Niger, and enhance civilian security in Nigeria, Mozambique, and Tanzania. Strategic prevention is an integral part of CSO’s efforts to implement the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018 and the Global Fragility Act of 2019.
CSO supports initiatives to resolve armed conflicts by providing technical assistance to peace processes. The Bureau’s programs promote best practices in conflict resolution, and emphasize the critical role of women and resilient local communities in achieving positive outcomes. In Colombia, CSO supports the Kroc Institute to monitor the 2016 Peace Accords. The program connected over 200 civil society groups with Colombian government agencies, and doubled the Colombian government’s implementation rate of priority provisions.
Security Sector Stabilization
CSO identifies, maps, and analyzes NSAGs and supports defections, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of former fighters into society. These efforts create the minimum security conditions for longer-term security sector reform. In Iraq and Venezuela, CSO’s advanced NSAG network analysis improved U.S. and partner-nation strategies to address armed actor financing and activities. In Niger, CSO helped remove over 240 former fighters from the battlefields and reduced the capacity of Boko Haram and ISIS-WA to threaten U.S. persons and interests.