Peace & Stability Journal Peace & Stability Journal, Volume 6, Issue 4 - Page 24

At the 2016 PSOTEW, the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) tested sections from a new course being developed for the institute’s on-campus curriculum titled “Dealing Effectively with Uncertainty: Civ-Mil Relations in Shared Spaces”. The new course is designed to develop the knowledge and skills necessary for mid-level practitioners in the U.S. Government (USG), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), and International Organizations (IO) to work more effectively with each other and with host country actors. Since 2001, civilian and military actors have been required to operate together through all stages of the conflict cycle to a degree unheard of since post World War II reconstruction. The results have been mixed at best. Nevertheless, this interaction is only likely to increase, even as resources diminish, underscoring the importance of improving common understanding, effective communication, and when desirable, collaboration. Background The USIP Civilian-Military Relations team, part of the Academy for International Conflict Management and Peacebuilding within the Center for Applied Conflict Transformation, has spent years developing relations and increasing understanding among civilian and military actors. 22 In a comprehensive needs assessment of knowledge and skills required to work effectively in peacebuilding, many respondents cited the importance of improved interagency and interorganizational coordination, communication and relations. We then undertook a review of existing civ-mil courses to ensure that any new USIP course would not duplicate efforts, but rather fill remaining gaps in knowledge and training. An examination of over 80 courses held at 16 different institutions including civilian government agencies, military institutions, IOs and NGOs revealed that the majority of courses surveyed (55%) were only available to internal audiences. The remaining were available to external students; however, only one explicitly sought to ensure a balanced roster from both civilian and military entities. Approximately half of all courses surveyed were aimed at entry-level professionals or practitioners unfamiliar with civ-mil issues. From these findings, we concluded that a new course directed at mid-level practitioners across the peacebuilding community was needed. At the 2015 PSOTEW, USIP facilitated a discussion on whether or not others in the peacebuilding community saw this need, and if so, what would the contents and appropriate audience of such as course be. Participants agreed that such a course was