Peacekeeping/Stabilization and Conflict Transitions: Background and Congressional Action on the Civilian Response/Reserve Corps and other Civilian Stabilization and Reconstruction Capabilities
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS WASHINGTON DC CONGRESSIONAL RESEARCH SERVICE
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The 111th Congress will face a number of issues regarding the development of civilian capabilities to carry out stabilization and reconstruction activities. In September 2008, Congress passed the Reconstruction and Stabilization Civilian Management Act, 2008, as Title XVI of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009 S. 3001, P.L. 110-417, signed into law October 14, 2008. This legislation codified the existence and functions of the State Department Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization SCRS and authorized new operational capabilities within the State Department, a Civilian Response Corps of government employees with an active and a standby component, and a Civilian Reserve Corps. SCRS was established in 2004 to address longstanding concerns, both within Congress and the broader foreign policy community, over the perceived lack of the appropriate capabilities and processes to deal with transitions from conflict to stability. These capabilities and procedures include adequate planning mechanisms for stabilization and reconstruction operations, efficient interagency coordination structures and procedures in carrying out such tasks, and appropriate civilian personnel for many of the non-military tasks required. Effectively distributing resources among the various executive branch actors, maintaining clear lines of authority and jurisdiction, and balancing short- and long-term objectives are major challenges for designing, planning, and conducting post-conflict operations, as is fielding the appropriate civilian personnel. Since July 2004, SCRS has worked to establish the basic concepts, mechanisms, and capabilities necessary to carry out such operations.
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