An open letter published last week argues against the elimination of the U.S. Army War College’s Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI). Secretary of the Army Mark Esper has called for the elimination of PKSOI, and Secretary of Defense James Mattis is expected to make a decision on the matter as early as this week.
PKSOI was established in 1993 to respond to the changing post-Cold War geopolitical situation, and according Dr. Tammy S. Schultz, professor of strategic studies at the U.S. Marine Corps War College, “PKSOI is just as critical in today’s geostrategic environment as it was in the 1990s…”
In the twenty-five years since its establishment, PKSOI has acted as a bridge between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and has facilitated cooperation among the U.S. military, civilians, non-government organizations, international organizations, and other militaries throughout the world.
Secretary Esper’s proposal to eliminate PKSOI comes with the release of the Stabilization Assistance Review, which examines past challenges the U.S. government has faced in previous stabilization efforts, and aims to streamline U.S. government stabilization efforts and provide a framework for USAID, DoD, and State to better work together in the future.
The letter in defense of PKSOI was signed by over 50 current and former national security professionals, including:
- General David H. Petraeus, U.S. Army (ret.), former commander of coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and of U.S. Central Command and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency;
- Ambassador (ret.) Ryan Crocker, former ambassador to Afghanistan (2011–2012), Iraq (2007–2009), Pakistan (2004–2007), Syria (1998–2001), Kuwait (1994– 1997), and Lebanon (1990–1993);
- the Honorable Sarah Sewall, former undersecretary of the Bureau for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, U.S. Department of State;
- the Honorable John Herbst, former ambassador to Uzbekistan and Ukraine, and former coordinator for reconstruction and stabilization, U.S. Department of State; and
- Ambassador (ret.) Ronald Neumann, former ambassador to Afghanistan (2005–2007), Bahrain (2001–2004) and Algeria (1994–1997), and president of the American Academy of Diplomacy.
Those interested in adding their name as a signatory can find more information here.
For more information about this movement, please follow the links below.
Save the U.S. Army’s Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute: An Open Letter, War on the Rocks
Tool of Peace and War: Save the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, Council on Foreign Relations
Defense Department wants out of stability operations, The Hill