PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCYASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICTPREVENTIONWorking Paper for the Asia Pacific Civ...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONDistributionCopies         Recipient...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONCONTENTSEXECUTIVE SUMMARY .............
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONEXECUTIVE SUMMARY1.   Conflict preve...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION3.   The model is based on the assum...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION7.   Summary of key findings:     Co...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONPROJECT OVERVIEWIntroduction1.   The...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION       strategic level but link to e...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION10. A third and final workshop was h...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONBEST PRACTICES MODELIntent of the Mo...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONChallenges Facing Conflict Preventio...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION    (recognising that conceptions of...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION 28. One critical best practice draw...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION32. Both government and non-governme...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION36. The rationale for investing in c...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONPROCESS STEP 3: DEFINE MECHANISM TO ...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION       development of synchronised a...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION    materials have played an increas...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION     of transnational crime, terrori...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION    government to senior decision ma...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION    level, these interactions in for...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION63. Comprehensive planning to simult...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION    wider community. In addition, it...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION    operation, but attaining local o...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION77. Creative or counterintuitive met...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION83. The U.S. Department of Defense i...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION89. While the big thinkers in a part...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION       than are usual in the establi...
PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION    response, and renewing cooperati...
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention
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Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention

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Conflict prevention is difficult to define, measure, and conduct, but nonetheless it is critical in the
pursuit of certain strategic goals. Furthermore, given the breadth of expertise needed and the
complexity of issues involved, engagement in conflict prevention operations should be undertaken
within a multiagency framework. This paper presents the case for two concurrent approaches:
promoting recognition of conflict prevention as a foreign policy imperative, and expanding effective
multiagency collaboration initiatives for conflict prevention.

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Project to develop a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention

  1. 1. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCYASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICTPREVENTIONWorking Paper for the Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre ofExcellenceNoetic CorporationSeptember 2011
  2. 2. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONDistributionCopies Recipient1 Asia-Pacific Civil-Military Centre of ExcellenceThis document was prepared for the sole use of the Asia-Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence.Distribution of this report is at the discretion of the Asia-Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence.AuthorsRole NameManaging Director Mr. Ben FitzgeraldPrimary Author Ms. Pia WanekContributors Mr. Scott Brady, Ms. Alexandra Singer, Ms. Paula HanaszRevision LogRevision date Ver Revision description Clarify language and structure, expand executive summary and23 September 2011 2.0 conclusion, consolidate external actors sectionNoetic Corporation1900 L Street N.W., Suite 525Washington DC 20005United StatesPhone +1 202 296 4260Fax +1 202 204 1666Web www.noeticgroup.comNOETIC CORPORATION PAGE ii
  3. 3. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONCONTENTSEXECUTIVE SUMMARY ........................................................................................................ IVPROJECT OVERVIEW ............................................................................................................. 1 Introduction......................................................................................................................................... 1 Project Methodology ........................................................................................................................... 2BEST PRACTICES MODEL ..................................................................................................... 4 Intent of the Model .............................................................................................................................. 4 Defining the Concept of Conflict Prevention ......................................................................................... 4 Challenges Facing Conflict Prevention................................................................................................. 5 Making the Argument for Conflict Prevention........................................................................................ 5 Conflict Prevention Assessment and Planning Process [the Model] ...................................................... 7THE ROLE OF CULTURE ...................................................................................................... 16 Acknowledging the Impact of National Culture ................................................................................... 16 Acknowledging the Impact of Organisational Culture .......................................................................... 17 Australian Culture ............................................................................................................................. 18 Reflections from the American Perspective ........................................................................................ 18 The Role of External Actors ............................................................................................................... 21COMPLEMENTARY PROJECT FINDINGS ............................................................................ 23 Strong Institutional Leadership .......................................................................................................... 23 Conflict Prevention Funding............................................................................................................... 24 Deployable Government Civilian Capacity.......................................................................................... 25CONCLUSIONS ..................................................................................................................... 26ANNEX A. LITERATURE REVIEWEDANNEX B. ORGANISATIONS CONSULTEDANNEX C. WORKSHOP SUMMARIES C.1. Concept Development Workshop, Washington, D.C. C.2. Concept Validation Workshop, Washington D.C. C.3. Concept Validation Workshop, CanberraNOETIC CORPORATION PAGE iii
  4. 4. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONEXECUTIVE SUMMARY1. Conflict prevention is difficult to define, measure, and conduct, but nonetheless it is critical in the pursuit of certain strategic goals. Furthermore, given the breadth of expertise needed and the complexity of issues involved, engagement in conflict prevention operations should be undertaken within a multiagency framework. This paper presents the case for two concurrent approaches: promoting recognition of conflict prevention as a foreign policy imperative, and expanding effective multiagency collaboration initiatives for conflict prevention.2. These approaches have been synthesised into a proposed model for conflict prevention assessment and planning. The model outlines the critical components of a proactive, multiagency approach to conflict prevention. It does not imply that that none of these interactions occur already or that existing mechanisms are dysfunctional. Rather, the model serves as an attempt to clarify understanding of where the necessary interactions occur and their relationships to each other in the context of shared conflict prevention goals. It is intended to inform initiatives to improve or refine conflict assessment and planning.NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE iv
  5. 5. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION3. The model is based on the assumption that a full spectrum of international assistance (from a single nation, regional bodies, and the international community writ large) in addition to the activities initiated domestically can work to improve conditions and potentially avert conflict in a host nation. Therefore, promoting recognition of conflict prevention as a foreign policy imperative, including explicit recognition of conflict prevention objectives, is important to define the policy space and facilitate resource allocation and unity of effort.4. The model is presented in a linear fashion for clarity, but the process it defines is dynamic rather than linear. The model highlights the importance of aligning conflict prevention planning to a broader strategy. Substantial and frequent multiagency input is important to both the broader strategy, and to the intelligence assessment priorities that inform strategy development. A defined mechanism for identifying fragile or conflict-affected countries to invest in should be created or refined, and a multiagency approach to assessment undertaken that balances numerous factors that would impact planning and the eventual response. These include the ability for the intervening country to influence the situation being targeted, the national interest in investing in that country or region, the priorities and challenges facing the particular agencies that are involved in the assessment, and the critical role and existing activities of the host nation and host society.5. The model is the product of a research project that synthesised the lessons and best practices of governments and non-government actors engaged with the problems of unstable or conflict environments. The best practices focus on the strategic level but also link to existing operational and tactical tools and guidance. They reflect the reality of operating with existing policy, funding, and structural challenges that can often impede the development of comprehensive, multiagency crisis and conflict prevention and management activities. A summary of these key points can be found in the text boxes below.6. This research paper and does not make prescriptive recommendations, nor advocate one standardised approach to conflict prevention and management. Instead, it offers a notional model based on relevant contemporary defence, development and diplomatic engagement principles. The focus is on a relatively narrow aspect of conflict studies, reflecting primarily on conflict prevention rather than more broadly on the actual implementation of conflict management activities, which are often supported by peace-building and other measures. Nonetheless, this paper informs discussion on the topic of international interventions and the model is a timely addition to the developing practice of conflict prevention.NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE v
  6. 6. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION7. Summary of key findings: Conflict prevention: Multiagency collaboration: · Conflict prevention is complex and · Multiagency conflict prevention begins erroneously implies that conflict can with a shared diagnosis of the situation. and should be prevented in all · A multiagency approach should build on circumstances. existing organisational structures that · Conflict prevention is an investment, have been vetted and are in place, even not a purchase. when a high-profile crisis hits. · There is no cohesive multiagency · A multiagency group works best when approach to conflict prevention despite there is strong and deliberate political the broad recognition that international leadership and interest in a particular development and diplomacy, including end-state. capability building initiatives, education, · The full range of capabilities across governance and rule of law programs government should be evaluated in each and stabilisation activities can be context for appropriateness and considered conflict prevention tools. potential effectiveness in an unstable · Conflict prevention must be promoted environment. as a foreign policy imperative, including · The multiagency approach is already explicit recognition of conflict prevention partly utilised in Australia, but needs objectives. improvement. · Conflict can be prevented or mitigated · Multiagency collaboration should be through a multi-pronged, multiagency expanded, experimented with and approach. critiqued.NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE vi
  7. 7. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONPROJECT OVERVIEWIntroduction1. The last decade has brought increasing recognition by the Government of Australia, other governments, the United Nations and other international bodies of the importance and benefits of preventing conflict, and of managing or stabilising violence. Conflict is categorised in many ways including through a geographic lens, such as conflict between states or internal conflict within states by groups indigenous to that region, with or without external or diaspora support. Conflict is motivated by many factors, including structural and root causes, competition over increasingly scarce resources, particular triggers such as a coup d état, ideological or political movements, etc. Conflict is destabilising regardless of its motivation or structure.2. The Australian Government has robust experience, significant expertise, and a range of ongoing initiatives aimed at preventing and managing conflict overseas. Recent experiences of Australian and allied governments in Iraq and Afghanistan have highlighted an urgent need for effective whole-of- government approaches to preventing conflict and responding to escalating or continuing crises abroad. However, the nature and range of expertise relevant to comprehensive conflict prevention is scattered across various agencies. Competing agency priorities, national and organisational cultures, and budgetary constraints have curtailed the development of widely accepted concepts and a 1 comprehensive model for multiagency conflict prevention. Inadequate coordination of a multiagency response can result in the inefficient use of limited resources. In terms of strategy and planning uncoordinated approaches will be unsuccessful in both determining and reaching appropriate multiagency goals in conflict prevention and management, and could produce detrimental effects on the ground.3. This working paper is one effort to address the need for greater multiagency coordination, and to understand how interventions may be undertaken earlier in the conflict cycle. Its emphasis on conflict prevention recognises there are significant strategic, resource, and humanitarian imperatives to early action. The paper is the culmination of a project undertaken by Noetic Corporation (Noetic) which was 2 commissioned by the Asia Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence (the Centre). The project sought to identify current best practices in assessment and planning for conflict prevention and management in a multiagency context, in order to support strategic decision-making and effective operational outcomes.4. This paper synthesises the lessons and best practices of governments and non-government actors engaged with the problems of unstable or conflict environments. The best practices focus at the1 The term multiagency is descriptive of more than one government agency, department, or office working together. Inthe American context, interagency is the more common term. However, the term the multiagency in the Australiancontext is not used in the way that the interagency is used in the U.S. to describe the broad interactions betweenvarious government entities. For simplicity s sake, the term multiagency is used in this paper to describe both theAustralian and American contexts.2 The project is part of the Australian Government s broader Multiagency Peace and Stabilisation Operations Project(MAPSOP), which aims to strengthen Australia s comprehensive approach to peace and stabilisation operations.NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 1
  8. 8. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION strategic level but link to existing operational and tactical tools and guidance. They reflect the reality of operating with existing policy, funding, and structural challenges that can often impede the development of comprehensive, multiagency crisis and conflict prevention and management activities. The paper does not make prescriptive recommendations, nor does it advocate one standardised approach to conflict prevention and management given the complexity of the environments and actors in emerging or ongoing crises. Instead, this paper offers a notional model based on contemporary general defence, development and diplomatic engagement principles. The focus is on a relatively narrow aspect of conflict studies, reflecting primarily on conflict prevention rather than more broadly on the actual implementation of conflict mitigation activities, which are often supported by peace-building and other measures.5. The model has been developed in an organisationally-agnostic manner , based on a civil-military construct that is broadly applicable to the Australian and other contexts. The model is particularly relevant to internal decision making on how to prioritise and engage in conflict prevention in government. It is but one contribution to the broader discussions within Australia and more widely in the sphere of conflict prevention and management.Project MethodologyProject Design6. The information and concepts presented in this paper are the products of desktop research and of interviews and workshops with a number of relevant agencies conducted by Noetic s Washington, D.C. and Canberra offices between April and June 2011. All discussions were non-attributable. The project team also reviewed a selection of literature from government (Australian, U.S. and others) and 3 international non-governmental sources.7. Subsequently more than thirty high-level policymakers and practitioners from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, and other non-governmental organisations were interviewed and asked to share their best practices from first-hand experience in home capitals, host nation capitals, and field locations.48. A Concept Development Workshop held in Washington, D.C. on 23 May 2011 brought together subject matter experts to define the scope and explore the critical elements of a multiagency model. The project team facilitated a lively discussion that addressed strategic and operational considerations for engaging and operating in a conflict environment.9. The project team presented its preliminary findings at a Concept Validation Workshop on 10 June 2011 in Washington, D.C. Australian, British and U.S. Government and non-government stakeholders were invited to critique the candidate model s effective principles,consider counterintuitive practices, and offer views on what a useful model should comprise. The candid discussions served to validate and further refine the best practices and lessons learned.3 See Annex A for a full list of documents consulted during this project4 See Annex B for a full list of organisations consulted during this projectNOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 2
  9. 9. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION10. A third and final workshop was held in Canberra on 21 June 2011. This half-day workshop gathered senior leaders from the Australian multiagency environment, including representatives from the Department of Defence, Joint Operations Command, Military Strategic Commitments, Australian Federal Police, AusAID, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Parliament, and the World Bank. The participation of these organisations ensured the model was vetted for its viability in the Australian context.11. The goal in adopting this approach was to ensure the production of a robust, contemporary, organisationally-agnostic, strategically relevant and practical model for the Australian Government and other actors.Structure of the Paper12. There are three parts to this working paper. + This part introduces the project methodology. + The next part presents a notional multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention and management, building on an exploration of critical considerations and select best practices learned through the research phase of the project. This section initially defines the concept of conflict prevention, reflects on the challenges facing the discipline, and then explores the importance of making the case for conflict prevention. The notional model is then presented with best practices from the project woven into the explanation of its constituent parts. This is followed by a discussion of underlying organisational cultures and how national culture(s) can motivate, hinder, or simply not encourage investment in conflict prevention. Specific reflections and best practices are drawn from Australian Government dynamics and culture, the U.S. Government and U.S. multiagency dynamics, and from limited engagement with the United Nations and other multinational actors. Finally, three far-reaching challenges that surfaced during the research are explored in more detail, with best practices defined and offered for each. These challenges include ineffective leadership, funding restrictions, including a discussion of the still controversial concept of pooled funding for conflict prevention, and determining effective deployable civilian government capacity for conflict response work. + The final part of the paper presents the conclusions from the analysis.Best Practice Definition13. A best practice is a method or process that has consistently achieved desired impacts better than other methods or means. The best practices in this paper reflect the lessons that have been identified over combined decades of efforts at conflict prevention and management in the select literature, and by the individuals and agencies consulted in this project. They are necessarily open to refinement, and their suitability and utility will depend on the circumstances to which they would be applied. They are offered here to provide valuable, tested information for those engaged in similar environments.NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 3
  10. 10. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONBEST PRACTICES MODELIntent of the Model14. The purpose of the model is to present, primarily to government audiences, a notional method for initiating assessment and planning for conflict prevention. It could be applied in Australian, American, or other contexts.15. The model is intended to inform the development and/or improvement of more detailed processes or mechanisms at, and between, each step identified. It also provides a context for understanding the application of identified best practices. Clearly, its graphical representation is but a simplified interpretation of a very complex set of issues.16. A number of issues are important to acknowledge in developing a multiagency assessment and planning model for conflict prevention and management. These critical considerations are themes that influence why a nation decides, or should decide, to invest in conflict prevention and management, and when.17. The model: + Proposes a set of basic, practical organising principles needed to more effectively bring a multiagency approach to the conduct of conflict prevention and management. + Identifies the necessary elements in a comprehensive multiagency approach; + Recognises that existing mature bureaucracies such as in the United States and Australian Governments currently possess numerous relevant tools, specific approaches, 5 and frameworks that could be used at different points along the stages of the model , and should be incorporated where possible.Defining the Concept of Conflict Prevention18. The Centre has defined conflict prevention in its Multiagency Peace and Stabilisation Operations Project (MAPSOP) literature as follows: [Conflict prevention] involves the application of structural or diplomatic measures to keep low-level or long-festering tensions and disputes from escalating into violent conflict, but it can also apply to efforts to limit the spread of violence if it does occur, or to avoid the reoccurrence of violence. Ideally, it should build on structured early warning, information gathering and a careful analysis of the factors driving the conflict. Conflict prevention activities may include the use of the Secretary-General s good offices, early warning systems, confidence-building measures (hotlines, notification of troop movements), preventive deployment, and sanctions. Conflict Prevention is sometimes also referred to as preventive diplomacy. (UN Capstone Document 2008 and USIP Peace Terms Glossary 2011)5 An example is the potential use of the State/CRS Interagency Conflict Assessment Framework (ICAF) at Step 4NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 4
  11. 11. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONChallenges Facing Conflict Prevention19. Conflict prevention is a complex discipline. In the Australian and U.S. contexts, there is not an agreed upon theory of change, or change model, for incorporating a conflict prevention mindset into the business of government. During the project process, a universal comment noted that there is a critical need to promote the recognition of the importance of conflict prevention across the multiagency context, and Government, and with it the commensurate processes and policies to support it. It is recognised that international development and diplomacy, including capability building initiatives, education, governance and rule of law programs and stabilisation activities can be considered conflict prevention tools, but there is not currently a cohesive multiagency approach to conflict prevention. Clearly, the levers that could cause positive change towards a more robust whole-of-government focus on conflict prevention are unique to each government and organisation, and may differ within the constituent parts of each.20. Secondly, the term conflict prevention makes the assumption that conflict is to be prevented in all circumstances, which is a mischaracterisation. From a geopolitical standpoint, the initiation of conflict may achieve a particular changed end-state that may sometimes coincide with a potential intervening government s interest and support their strategic goals. For example, the U.S. and most Western partners have presented the spread of democracy as a global goal. Each democracy is unique, and in seeking to become one, it is important to note that the process of democratisation is inherently destabilising and can be a preceding factor to violent conflict. Not attempting to stop a conflict is sometimes a pragmatic option as evidenced in the civil war in Angola that brought the demise of Jonas Savimbi, which led within six weeks to a cessation of violence and UNITA rebels laying down their arms. More recently the civil uprising in Tunisia in early 2011 led to the ousting of long-time President Abidine Ben Ali.21. From a broader perspective, the assumption that the actions of one actor have a direct, causal impact on another is inherently precarious. It is difficult to conclude that one actor s preventative initiatives were the deciding factor in preventing violent conflict from escalating or occurring. The number and effect of different, overlapping or interlinking factors are not predictable or absolute. In other words, it is difficult to prove that an intervention prevented or stopped something that didn t happen. However, this is perhaps something in which it is worth investing. Certainly it was noted that investments in baseline assessments (followed by periodic reviews) allow for the measuring of trends in at-risk or conflict affected situations. Increasingly sophisticated, system-wide Monitoring and Evaluation Frameworks for interventions that include of a range of data sources can also provide meaningful information about actual and perceived levels of stability, security and development in countries and societies.Making the Argument for Conflict Prevention22. Participants in the project shared many motivations for supporting conflict prevention assessment and planning. National security concerns were raised as reasons for seeking to stabilise volatile regions overseas that could become hot beds for terrorists. In some cases, political leadership and related investment in conflict prevention was seen to hinge on personal interest on the part of senior leaders. A more nebulous moral obligation was raised as a factor to make the case for conflict preventionNOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 5
  12. 12. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION (recognising that conceptions of morality and ethics are unique down to the individual level), noting the imperative to provide assistance and to mitigate the loss of life wherever and whenever possible. While international response for relief or humanitarian purposes will inevitably continue, intervention abroad is consistently aligned with the foreign policy objectives of a particular nation. Each interviewee or workshop participant brought a different perspective to the table on why a nation, or organisation, should invest in conflict prevention.23. The oft-cited CNN effect may also be a motivator for a nation to attempt to stabilise another, as public or global outcry demands action to stop violence. Along the opposite track, many commentators note that a lack of media coverage and international interest in an escalating conflict scenario can be the deciding factor for international actors not to intervene and respond, which can result in more intense and prolonged crises.24. Elected officials (as almost universally referenced by the U.S. based interviewees) are swayed by the demands of their constituencies. Elected representatives will be cognisant of the need to manage the expectations of constituents in terms of what can actually be achieved in a particular place, and in the decision to intervene at all. Should public outcry or extensive constituent pressure grow to a strong degree, political decision makers may be motivated to support or not support conflict prevention and, more often, conflict or crisis action responses.25. Deterrence is a fundamental objective of any intervention overseas, including conflict prevention. As such, the importance of investing in intelligence gathering, including financial intelligence, and information technology such as an offensive cyber capability, particularly in light of growing links between criminal elements and irregular threats, is increasingly important. Demonstrating national interest, presence and capability (overtly or by suggestion, particularly in those previously listed) in unstable regions or nations can conceivably contribute to deterring activity by destabilising forces as well as those who seek to capitalise on a lack of indigenous capacity. Just as with conflict prevention generally, however, proving causation, or at least correlation, between deterrence and the absence of conflict or instability is problematic.26. Unfortunately, once a particular approach has been defined, there is a tendency to apply the same formula to every circumstance or environment. Instead, for an effective conflict prevention approach, the full range of capabilities across government should be evaluated in each context for appropriateness and potential effectiveness in an unstable environment that has also been defined as strategically or politically important.27. Conflict prevention requires both an immediate perspective, in terms of understanding how short-term reactions to current events prompt long-term impact, as well as a long-term strategy over decades. It is, in brief, an investment, not a purchase. Long-term state-building focuses on governance and requires reducing pockets of exclusion, ensuring mechanisms for political mediation (national and local level) exist and are used, investing in education and wide-ranging skills-training, while building the legitimacy of and confidence in the custodians of the state. According to many project interviewees, the role of outsiders should be to assist through facilitation and development of local solutions, mentoring and/or training rather than to transplant and impose external (and sometimes alien) solutions.NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 6
  13. 13. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION 28. One critical best practice drawn from the research highlighted the importance of linking a clear national interest to any investment in conflict prevention activities. Whether the strategy is to promote regional stability, act in order to invest in a stable world order, or promote economic stability for business development purposes, the investment in conflict prevention assessment and planning will necessarily be motivated by national interest. Conflict Prevention Assessment and Planning Process [the Model] 29. The following graphic describes the proposed conflict prevention assessment and planning process. The model explores the particular steps, in an ideal circumstance, of an effective multiagency assessment and planning for conflict prevention and management activities. Institutional Goals 30. The findings of this project indicate that, in order to facilitate success and to ensure conflict prevention assessment and planning attracts appropriate resources and support two overarching institutional goals should be promoted. 31. These goals are as follows: Goal #1:Promote recognition of conflict prevention as a foreign policy imperative NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 7
  14. 14. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION32. Both government and non-government stakeholders reflected that many development, security, economic and rule of law activities, among others, may prevent conflict even if conflict prevention was not the specific end state identified when they were planned and implemented. The spectrum of international activities from external countries, regional bodies, and the international community writ large, in addition to the activities initiated at the host country level, can work to improve pre-conflict and post-conflict conditions. Promoting recognition of conflict prevention as a foreign policy imperative, including explicit recognition of conflict prevention objectives, is important to define the policy space and facilitate resource allocation and unity of effort. Goal #2: Expand effective multiagency collaboration initiatives33. While there is continued recognition that working in a multiagency environment is, simply put, both the reality and the ideal, there are few examples of multiagency collaboration initiatives to serve as best practice models. In order to develop the necessary organisational trust, and warrant decision-makers to expend political capital in changing bureaucratic structures and incentives to support change, multiagency collaboration should be expanded, experimented with and critiqued, with the lessons diffused widely and applied to future multiagency initiatives.Process34. The conflict assessment and planning model is not bound as a linear process. It is represented as such in the graphic for illustrative purposes only. For example, a multiagency plan or a standing coordination mechanism for supporting that plan may already exist for a particular scenario (process step 7a.) If so, efforts may commence at this stage, with single agencies developing their plans (process step 7b.) and then moving into continual evaluation and review (process step 8) and the process can circle back to clarifying and articulating the government strategy (process step 1) and ensuring alignment with the plan. In addition, depending on organisation and country or area of proposed intervention, the entry point into the process will not necessarily be the proposed process step 1. A refrain from the project participants noted that there is no one, single multiagency or intra- agency assessment tool that is perfectly appropriate for every situation. Therefore, relevant assessment and coordination mechanisms should be utilised and brought together as needed.PROCESS STEP 1: CLARIFY AND ARTICULATE GOVERNMENT STRATEGY35. In order to determine whether or not a case can be made for initiating conflict prevention assessment and planning, it is important for planners and others involved in the process to understand the overall government strategy. For example, if the predominant government focus is on a major, domestic crisis, or leadership has clearly stated during election campaigning or in recent policy documents that there are limited resources or interest in new foreign affairs endeavours, it is important to be aware of this broad contextual reality.NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 8
  15. 15. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION36. The rationale for investing in conflict prevention and management is derived from security concerns, strategic ambition, inherent moral interests and the many different factors within each which exert influence at the strategic, operational, or political levels of government. Practical considerations of decision makers include having the opportunity, the political will, the resources to act, while being mindful to do no harm . According to many project participants, governments should exert discipline in standing back from interventions overseas that are not aligned with defined strategic political objectives.37. In Australia, there are clearly defined national strategic objectives to contribute to stability and security in Australia s immediate neighbourhood6. Even so, in the model, the initial clarify and articulate government strategy step is one that is not often well understood in both the Australian and US contexts. A process of clarifying and articulating government strategy involves marrying stated, enduring strategic interests with the domestic and foreign policy priorities of the day to contextualise specific issues and problems in an appropriate political framework. The model provides for a clear articulation of government strategy to form the necessary foundation for effective engagement across the multiagency community and with the government in the assessment and planning of conflict prevention activities.PROCESS STEP 2: PROMOTE MULTIAGENCY INPUT TO NATIONALINTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENT PRIORITIES38. Determining appropriate areas of focus for conflict prevention (and management) activities will be influenced by the credibility of the information available about a particular region or country. In order to attempt to promote a particular area for attention, it would be important to be aware of, and ideally influence, the data sets that are analysed by the official intelligence community. Given that different internal organisational cultures, priorities and mandates exist within governments, multiagency input into these priorities would help to ensure that all drivers and dynamics of violent conflict are reviewed. This is expanded on further below in process steps 6 and 7.39. One senior level official during the U.S. interview process noted with concern that in the present American system, there is a fundamental lack of synchronisation between intelligence support (based on a Cold War system as the predominant lens and entrenched structure to understand the threats facing the American state) and crisis action planning. As such, the weighting of open source, near- impossible to verify social media streams may be overlooked as a result of the focus on the reporting from existing classified mechanisms. Similar concerns were raised in the Australian context, particularly highlighting a need for greater multiagency input into national intelligence priorities. Some participants also recognised the limitations on sharing information given that open source data is often classified once incorporated into intelligence analysis. Communication with the broader international community and the analyses presented by the UN, World Bank, non-governmental organisations, among other diverse groups, would be useful in order to gather balanced information about a fragile conflict-affected area.6 Australian Government, Department of Defence, Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030 ,Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra, 2009, p. 54 (para 7.10)NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 9
  16. 16. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTIONPROCESS STEP 3: DEFINE MECHANISM TO IDENTIFY COUNTRIES TOCONSIDER FOR MULTIAGENCY CONFLICT PREVENTION40. Each area of government will have unique ways of identifying the factors and prerequisites for increasing focus on a particular region, country, or trend. However, in order to ensure that there is in fact multiagency (as opposed to individual agency) assessment and planning, a mechanism should be defined for coordinating information and allocating appropriate roles and responsibilities. The mechanism may differ depending on the geopolitical strategic focus on the country (or region) in question, and/or its relative weight to other political priorities. As noted above in defining a key, underlying institutional goal, to expand effective multiagency collaboration initiatives, defining the identification mechanism would benefit from existing multiagency collaboration initiatives and exercises. The National Security Staff could be expected to play a robust role in defining and endorsing these mechanisms in the U.S. context. In Australia, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet could also play an essential convening role.41. An important finding from the project indicated the importance of committing to retain existing organisational structures that have been vetted and are in place, even when a high-profile crisis hits. Wasting time and resources to create entirely new organisations and coordination mechanisms when some already exist is not logical or recommended. The key question then is not whether existing organisations, capabilities and mechanisms should be dramatically changed or replaced, but how they can operate with greater coherence and complementarity for conflict prevention and management. One interviewee noted that current U.S. program and funding mechanisms are unable to sufficiently support the complex, multidimensional requirements of pre- and post-conflict environments. A collaborative model for organising multiagency assessment, planning and implementation was offered where individual agencies plug into a conflict centre with a discrete funding line and staffed not by development or rule-of-law specialists, but rather by conflict specialists who know when and how to draw on development, rule-of-law, security and diplomacy expertise when planning and responding to instability and conflict.42. In order to effectively assess the pre-conflict environment, the project findings note three areas that are recommended in developing a functional model. These are described as process steps 4, 5, and 6 in the model.43. It is worth stating that the term assessment differs in traditional meaning between the military and civilian arenas. Often, a civilian understanding of assessment, typically relating to programmatic assessment, is to evaluate measures of effectiveness and performance, though this is not to suggest that civilian programs lack contextual analysis as a basis for program planning. A prominent interpretation of assessment in the military is in the context of intelligence, as the information and contextual understanding of a situation, event, group and/or other entity.PROCESS STEP 4: CONDUCT ASSESSMENTS DRAWING ON MULTIAGENCYEXPERIENCE44. Best practice multiagency or multinational assessment starts with a shared diagnosis of the situation by the agencies or nations involved. A collective appraisal of relevant issues facilitates theNOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 10
  17. 17. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION development of synchronised and complementary assessments and plans, while the process of analysing the problems together enables a shared vision and vocabulary to be developed.45. The particular bias of any one office or personality can impact the findings of an assessment. Therefore, it is critical to draw on multiagency experience to mitigate the threat of any one opinion or perspective gaining undue dominance. For example, a stereotypical criticism has been that any expert in rule of law will determine the most critical conflict prevention approach to be a rule of law, security sector assistance response, or that a public health officer will determine that the most stabilising factor in an unstable environment would be to bolster the health service in a particular area. Bringing together multiagency perspectives would ideally mitigate these types of concerns by ensuring competing views and perspectives are addressed and mitigated early on in the process. In addition, the use of conflict specialists who have a comprehensive, interdisciplinary and inherently multidimensional understanding of conflict and its precursors can assist in the development of balanced, comprehensive assessments. A range of tools already exist in the assessment space and should be utilised as appropriate to the context and the actors involved, though few represent holistic, multidimensional assessments combining multiple levels of assessment.46. An essential part of assessment involves the incorporation of relevant early warning systems pulled from both inside government, and from external multinational actors. Many organisations within the 7 international community evaluate the drivers of conflict in existing early warning type systems. Key drivers include factors such as political polarisation, economic elitism, widespread or uncontested corruption, recruitment of militia, and a noticeable change in criminal statistics.47. Unfortunately, some of the current literature still refers to the possibility of there being one or multiple pre-defined triggers that can be predicted to spark widespread violent conflict. There is rarely a predictable, singular trip point that initiates an increase in violent conflict. The underlying assumption 8 reflects a linear interpretation of events that would be better described as wicked problems.48. The interviewees in the U.S. context were chosen due to their extensive understanding of and work in conflict prevention or related activities. The majority of them emphasised the importance of nuanced analysis of the drivers of conflict and expressed concern with the oversimplification of complex problems by bureaucrats and especially elected officials in the United States.49. Early warning is undertaken in different ways by different parts of government. For example, in the defence context, early warning systems could be understood as the standard intelligence tools that analysts draw on in order to assess security and political conditions on the ground in a particular area. Diplomatic and government international development personnel would also use intelligence tools and analysis to better understand the changing dynamics of a fluid situation on the ground. Open source7 Some examples include Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments (MPICE), TCAF, ICAF, etc.8 The phrase "Wicked problem" was first used in social planning to describe a problem that is extremely challenging orimpossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that impact the problem space.These requirements and the related impact from them are often difficult to recognise. It is possible that the effort to solveone aspect of a wicked problem may highlight or create other problems. (Paraphrased from Ritchey, Tom; "WickedProblems: Structuring Social Messes with Morphological Analysis," Swedish Morphological Society, last revised 7November 2007.) An additional resource on wicked problems can be found athttp://www.apsc.gov.au/publications07/wickedproblems.pdfNOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 11
  18. 18. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION materials have played an increasingly important role over the past ten years. Non-governmental and international organisations including the World Bank and the United Nations evaluate different indicators on the ground to assess the timing and level of direct assistance. Commercial entities including multinational, regional and national corporations are also cognisant of changing conditions in the areas where they invest, and adapt their actions and reactions accordingly.50. Therefore, it is important for decision makers and individual agencies or offices to refrain from making simplistic causal linkages between pre-conflict factors and the escalation of violent conflict. Mainstream media can feed into this dynamic of limited assessment and analysis in favour of overblown news stories. A critical element of effective assessment is to incorporate different types and sources of information into any early warning and assessment process.PROCESS STEP 5: ASSESS AGAINST KEY FACTORS51. There are multiple factors that a department, agency, or office should assess against when determining how best to develop, and contribute to, a multiagency assessment and planning process. Determining that there is, in fact, an ability to influence a particular sector, society, country or region is a critical element. This includes understanding the financial, human, and political resources available. The assessment should weigh the current and expected national interest in planning for, and then responding to, an area or country in pre-conflict conditions. The internal policies or circumstances of each department, agency or office may impact the ability of that entity to respond due to factors such as the legislated authorities vested in that office, or in the funding streams appropriated to it. It is highly beneficial for any actor in a pre- or post-conflict environment to honestly assess the unique capability that it brings to bear and any restrictions on their capacity to act. Further, the willingness of actors to discuss, frankly, those capabilities and restrictions with other actors in a multiagency forum facilitates both a clear understanding of what capabilities and capacity exists, and complementary planning for the most effective and efficient use of limited resources.52. In addition, the host society and host nation should not be assumed to be a homogenous entity. The host opinions are central to a comprehensive assessment of conditions on the ground and host views are vital to the success of any conflict prevention plan. It is important to be aware of, and incorporate, local contextual knowledge and understanding into any assessment and planning efforts in conflict prevention and management. Power dynamics in the host government and society, as well as between the intervening and host actors are important to understand when incorporating local information and views. Engagement across host governments, other political actors, civil society and the general population is required for a comprehensive picture of a host perspective, and critically important in understanding both the factors and dynamics that destabilise the environment as well as those that have the capacity to produce or support stability. An accurate assessment of what is often described as the human terrain in a potential target area, country or region will impact the level and focus of investment in longer-term, sometimes hard-to-define conflict prevention and management objectives.53. In general terms, assessments should include local, country, and regional levels of analysis in order to account for actors and activities taking place further afield than affect the environment in focus. Assessment should be both contextual and thematic in focus areas, such as incorporating the impactNOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 12
  19. 19. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION of transnational crime, terrorism, and trafficking. The traditional conception of the nation-state and the structural design and culture of governments to operate within those confines constrain effective engagement on issues that cross borders and involve significant non-government actors. This is particularly concerning in light of the prevalence of terrorists and criminals operating across national borders, as well as the rising influence of non-state actors within nations. National borders of fragile and unstable states tend to be sparsely populated, unmonitored by law enforcement, far from the bases of foreign intelligence actors, and provide opportune access to multiple markets, thus making them favoured by those with insalubrious intent.954. According to a number of experienced practitioners, assessments should be led by those with a strong multidisciplinary background, and supported by experts (or subject matter experts, to include so-called conflict specialists). Those with the multi-disciplinary background are sometimes referred to as generalists who have a broad understanding of the context or area being evaluated, but are not specific experts in any one field. Civilian participants should be experienced in working in unstable environments in the field, and with marginally or non-functioning bureaucracies. Each office, agency, or department has its own interests, experts, and funding pools, and in order for an assessment report to be actionable, it requires the full support of its host office. If feasible, each office may decide to gather the information in the manner it sees fit in the field, and then participate in the cross-walk of assessment findings at headquarters. An alternative might be a multiagency assessment team conducting in-country assessment and engagement, supported by conflict specialists.PROCESS STEP 6: ADVISE GOVERNMENT AND REQUEST GUIDANCE55. While it may seem self-evident that there would need to be a particular decision point in an assessment and planning process, given the concern noted by many during the project that there are insufficient or nebulous decision points in when and how to plan in the multiagency context, it is important to highlight where one is most usefully situated. A number of participants noted that while there is an overall perspective that conflict prevention (and stability more inherently) is important as a part of an overall foreign policy goal, there are few mechanisms or structures through which senior level leadership can or do specifically demand increased investment in this area. This decision point is necessary so that the diverse multiagency actors are vested in the outcomes of planning, and are also held accountable to the overall success of the eventual plan. Recommendations from one area of9 The U.S. Government s Regional Strategic Initiative was an attempt at overcoming the structural constraints toeffective management of cross-border problems. It was under-pinned by principles that more agencies are notnecessarily better. A shared diagnosis of the problem is highlighted as the most useful starting point for multiagencyactivities. It argues that host nations fare better when dealing with actors unified in their analysis of the issues. In thisinitiative, the U.S. Embassy hosts representatives of relevant government agencies from the countries affected by thecross border activity. The first set of meetings consists of agency briefings leading to the development of a shareddiagnosis of the problem, the identification of programs and needs, and negotiations to decide who will be responsiblefor what action. Subsequent to the meeting one report (in cable form) agreed to by all the agencies party to the meetingis sent back to Washington with joint action recommendations. If Phase One is successful, the group meet again,typically a few months later, to again diagnose the problem and identify priorities. Representatives of the countriesaffected by the cross-border activity are invited to the table in order to join the process of dividing responsibilities. A thirdphase prescribed by the initiative has seldom been undertaken but brings together the governments of affected nationsat a high level to work through a similar process.NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 13
  20. 20. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION government to senior decision makers, be they on the policy side such as the National Security Council or from external lobbyists to the Congress in the U.S. context, may prompt further study and analysis before planning is made a multiagency priority. This is conveyed by the link back to the Promote Multiagency Input to National Intelligence Assessment Priorities step of the process.56. Assessment and planning should not be construed as sequential processes. Instead, it is an iterative process, with information feeding back and forth between processes. A holistic concept for planning begins with assessment, ideally with the relevant, action-oriented stakeholders involved throughout the process, and it extends through to review and evaluation. There are three areas in the process model that focus predominantly on planning: developing the multiagency plan and establishing a standing coordination mechanism; facilitating single agency plans to support the multiagency one; and instituting a perpetual monitoring, evaluation and review process. The following three sections discuss this in more detail.PROCESS STEP 7A: DEVELOP MULTIAGENCY PLAN AND ESTABLISHCOORDINATION57. A standing coordination mechanism for evaluating conflict related activities occurs at multiple levels within the U.S. Government. Often, when an expected crisis environment begins to deteriorate, increasingly senior levels of the government bureaucracy are brought in, culminating with a Deputies Committee (Deputy Secretaries of State and Defense, for example) meeting regularly at the National Security Council level. It is important to establish parameters such as the appropriate roles and responsibilities of participants and the venue and frequency of meetings to effectively coordinate the many different actors in the chaos of an escalating conflict situation. One useful coordination mechanism example is a joint leadership effort, such as an empowered Special/High Representative focused on political issues, a Pro Consul with responsibility for overall coordination of all civilian and military activities in a particular country or area of responsibility, with a senior in-country military commander reporting to the Pro Consul. These processes and mechanisms may vary, or require modification, from case to case.58. The relatively small size of the multiagency community in Australia means personnel are reasonably likely to interact repeatedly with other agencies (and, in many cases, the same people) over the years, building relationships and mutual understanding of roles, working cultures, and capabilities. The close physical proximity of some agencies enables much informal communication and chance meetings that further enhance cooperation. On the other hand the small size of Australian bureaucracies is an oft- cited reason for being unable to provide or spare personnel for participation in and contributions to multiagency collaborative forums, particularly those with a more deliberate, conflict prevention rather than conflict response focus. Certainly the strength of the Australian arrangement is derived from the network of personal relationships and hence is vulnerable to the loss of any one of those critical relationships.59. Additionally, there are relatively few individuals who work in the multiagency sphere on a regular basis. Therefore when agencies are engaged in multiagency interventions in a conflict situation a great number of staff members tasked with working on a response effort are often much less familiar with other agencies roles, responsibilities, programming and funding mechanisms, etc. At a higherNOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 14
  21. 21. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION level, these interactions in formal mechanisms such as Inter-Departmental Emergency Task Forces (IDETFs) primarily serve as opportunities for sharing information and, to a lesser extent, coordinating activities of separate agencies. They are not tasked with or used for development of an overarching multiagency plan or planning guidance. Furthermore, such mechanisms are currently activated in response to a crisis, not to consider conflict prevention.PROCESS STEP 7B: SINGLE AGENCIES DEVELOP PLANNING TO PLUGINTO/SUPPORT THE MULTIAGENCY PLAN60. At the same time that the overarching multiagency plan is developed and socialised, each of the relevant departments, agencies, and offices will also need to develop detailed plans to enact their contributions to the multiagency effort. These would be directly in support of the broader planning process, but may also include particular elements that are unique to that agency. There may be funding ramifications across different funding lines that require modifications at a variety of levels and impact multiple agencies. In the U.S. context, these would then involve the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In Australia the Treasury and Department of Finance and Administration play a vital role in costing and funding for contingencies and could conceivably contribute to a stronger basis for costing and funding multiagency endeavours. This starting point for any plan in determining the institutional baseline of each contributing actor is critical.61. Defining the essential core functions of each agency and office is crucial so that all actors are aware of what others are bringing to the negotiation and response table. While there may be a lot of representatives at the planning table, it should be acknowledged that not every agency can or should make the same level of contribution. A well-documented best practice in planning indicates that any conflict prevention or mitigation plan should be informed by, and where appropriate link to, existing planning processes such as U.S. Department of Defense, Combatant Command-led theatre campaign planning, Department of State Mission Strategic Resource Plans etc. In an Australian context multiagency conflict prevention plans should be informed by AusAID Country Strategies & Plans, DFAT engagement priorities, Defence International Engagement Programs and operational engagements and other Australian Government agency programs that have an international engagement element. It should be noted that the relationship between a multiagency and individual agency plan is a two-way interaction, with multiagency efforts likely resulting in efficiency and effectiveness dividends at the agency level, while individual agency specialisation and focus can provide the necessary nuance and detail to overarching multiagency approaches.PROCESS STEP 8: EVALUATE AND REVIEW62. Planning is a constantly evolving process across all levels of a response. The commitment to, and mechanism for, continual monitoring, evaluation and review should be built into the process. More importantly, the learning from the evaluation should be deliberately indoctrinated and internalised where relevant in order to improve the process for future iterations. Depending on the circumstance, it may be more effective to develop plans that propose scalable interventions, and be broadly defined to allow for minor and, when needed, major revision in reaction to frequently changing on-the-ground dynamics. What is valid on day one of an assessment in a pre-conflict, post-conflict or transitional environment will not be valid on day sixty.NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 15
  22. 22. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION63. Comprehensive planning to simultaneously support foreign policy and foreign aid objectives, military- to-military security sector assistance (SSA), justice, rule of law and policing assistance and other security and governance engagement , is a distinctly complex and difficult task. Best practice indicates that it is important to understand these broader strategies and their specific objectives in order to design a conflict prevention and management plan that stands in complement rather than competition to these other plans.THE ROLE OF CULTURE64. The role of culture arose as a critical, central point to any discussion regarding conflict prevention. The activities that encompass conflict prevention as a discipline, as well as its methods, motivations, and effectiveness measures, are not strongly defined and are therefore susceptible to ongoing change and interpretation. In addition to lacking a substantial, theoretical and policy grounding, conflict prevention sits in an institutional grey area, with no widely understood structural home (foreign affairs versus development versus civil-military stability operations). As a result, the impact of individual and organisational cultures greatly (and possibly, disproportionately) influences the interpretation of appropriate conflict assessment and planning, as well as the metrics to build accountability into these processes.Acknowledging the Impact of National Culture65. Cultural baggage gives context to common differences such as diagnosis of a problem and approaches to problem solving but is often disregarded or underestimated in the assessments and planning for external engagement. The Australian and U.S. Governments, among others, tend to assume and automatically default to creating foreign institutions broadly in their own image, assuming that Australian and U.S. normative concepts of public good, social contract, and the purpose of government are, or should be, the same in all cultures. The research affirmed that there is also no one, uniform Australian or American culture or one, homogenous Australian or U.S. Government. These terms are used for simplification purposes here in order to articulate a fundamental point.66. A frequent American sentiment indicates support for the quick fix in foreign engagements, rather than long-term, institutional or structural investment. Nations (and institutions) need to be aware of what cultural baggage they bring to understand how that influences decisions, approaches, and interactions internally and with external partners. In order to do so, and to mitigate quick fix solutions obfuscating longer-term strategies, continuous review and evaluation of assessment, planning, and response should be built into multiagency initiatives and structures.67. A predominantly Western or Northern perspective raised during the interview phase indicated that informal systems are perceived to be less legitimate, sophisticated, or adequate than formal structures. This attitude can lead to a disinclination to try ideas suggested by host nationals. Nevertheless, clearly the West does not have the monopoly on knowing what will work best for others, and indigenous programs may have equal possibility of having a positive impact. If the goal is ultimately for local populations to manage their internal conflict in a way that is acceptable to the donors, their ideas and methods for doing so should be heard, evaluated, and incorporated into plans. Even marginally effective indigenous-inspired programs can add value for both the host nation and theNOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 16
  23. 23. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION wider community. In addition, it can be expected that the host culture will impact to varying degrees how compatible, and likely to succeed, the systems and approaches of external actors are.Acknowledging the Impact of Organisational Culture68. Within governments there are unique subcultures among the military, police, diplomatic, and development areas and each of these does not represent a homogenous group. In recent years, there has been a growing body of literature and commentary on the role of individual cultures within the multiagency government structure. Overcoming the assumptions and preconceptions of where one sits, and the impact that these have on action or inaction requires honest reflection and bureaucratic structures to support behaviour change. Even when these implicit differences are acknowledged (such as between military infantry and civil affairs officers, relief and long-term development workers, field-based and headquarters staff) incentives and disincentives need to be in place that support coordination and cooperation.69. A culture of risk aversion permeates many bureaucracies, which limits creativity and can inhibit effectiveness in program design. The project research validated this sentiment in both the U.S. and Australian Government contexts. In order to achieve broad consensus, or at least tacit acceptance of the role of conflict prevention, it is important to incentivise working in a multiagency environment. Bureaucrats are promoted within the bureaucracy for protecting their turf and being effective advocates of their agency perspective or position, not for playing nicely in the multiagency sandbox .70. Investments in conflict prevention will always be confined by national interests, and periodically in politically sensitive cases, motivated by the humanitarian imperative. A comprehensive focus on conflict prevention encourages a view of national interest across a longer timeframe, and thus would require significant political courage to challenge a risk-averse system that currently incentivises a much shorter-term planning time horizon.71. The organisational culture of the host nation and host society is equally important to the potential for effective conflict prevention strategies. Ideally, the host nation s government (and potentially non- government actors) inputs into the priorities, and the international community generally supports them. There will be circumstances, however, wherein a supposedly legitimate central government is not widely supported and there are active popular dissident factions, or where supporting the government is not in an external actor s best interests. Though this complicates matters it does not preclude effective conflict prevention. In fact it further reinforces the notion that governments methods and approaches for conflict prevention need to broaden beyond government to government interaction and do more to understand how to leverage and engage local actors and capacities in civil society and the non-government sector.72. Working with and through local capacities for peace is critical. This demands a detailed understanding of local dynamics to be able to seek the opportunities that may be present with local structures and systems, and not contribute to further instability. People will bring to bear different ethics, values, and leadership needs. Engaging with host nations and host societies requires the development of relationships across the spectrum of a multiagency and multi-actor environment. Not only is investment in the host nation and society needed in the assessment and planning of any kind ofNOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 17
  24. 24. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION operation, but attaining local ownership is also a pre-condition for reducing or withdrawing external assistance.Australian Culture73. The above points regarding the impact of organisational culture are generally applicable, but there are also some differences between the Australian and U.S. organisational cultures and dynamics that need to be noted. The principle of ministerial responsibility inherent within the Australian system of government shapes the environment within which multiagency collaboration occurs. This means that individual ministers are accountable for all actions undertaken by their department and, hence there is a limitation on how much agencies can be bound by decisions taken below ministerial level.74. Yet Australia is no stranger to the multiagency approach. There are already many areas, such as in the response to natural disasters and conceptualising contributions to peace and stabilisation operations that are conducted on a multiagency basis. This is partly due to the relatively small size of Australia s bureaucracy, which is conducive to productive interpersonal relationships and the broad awareness among agencies of what direction other agencies are heading. However, as previously noted the lack of depth within most Australian Government bureaucracies tends to focus personnel on core business and limits the capacity for agencies to collaborate as a multiagency community outside of crises.75. The Australian military has demonstrated a greater willingness than their U.S. counterparts to work under civilian direction in the operational environment. A unique example of this approach, frequently cited during the Australian-based interviews for this report, has been the Regional Security Assistance Mission in Solomon Islands (RAMSI). In the case of RAMSI, direction comes not only from a civilian, but one who is also formally a representative of a multinational regional forum. This was determined as the approach in response to a unique set of demands and circumstances, which may or may not be repeated in the future when the next Special Coordinator is announced.Reflections from the American PerspectiveU.S. Government Culture76. Expanding further on the culture of risk aversion permeating most U.S. Government agencies, entrenched structural disincentives have led to a prevailing perspective among civilian U.S. Government personnel that they have everything to lose and nothing to gain from taking risks. Ambassadors are not incentivised to take bureaucratic risks often in fear of the ramifications of a negative review from the Accountability Review Board. As a system obsessed with checks and balances, mid to senior level U.S. Government personnel actions are routinely scrutinised internally by multiple oversight bodies such as the Government Accountability Office, Accountability Review Board, Special Inspectors General, and externally by savvy media. Absolute success is expected with little acceptance of nuanced results. A cultural shift is required within government to accept a measure of risk taking, and recognition that in complex pre-conflict and conflict environments, initial failures are not only likely, but sometimes the necessary precursors for success.NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 18
  25. 25. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION77. Creative or counterintuitive methods for designing programs are limited given budget appropriation and allocation constraints, rendering mechanisms such as multi-year contingency funding improbable in the near term. Operational risk has been routinely devolved downwards. Often, decisive responsibility for taking chances rests on individuals on the front line, who are ironically often those who have the most to lose professionally and personally from taking chances. The effect of this institutional reluctance to take risks is a continuation of the status quo, even if that means that mediocre, possibly wasteful and occasionally counter-productive programs endure.78. During candid reflection at the DC Concept Validation Workshop, U.S. Government civilians noted that, unlike DOD, civilians typically do not see themselves bound, or constrained, by defined plans. Civilian agencies make plans but do not always feel obligated to follow them. Furthermore, they often note that it is important to constantly question plans that have been made when situations change. Historical reflection notes that once a crisis occurs, often plans are discarded and new ones devised by whoever is leading the effort in situ. However, once changes to plans are put in place, DOD is often better equipped than civilian agencies to adapt to those changes.79. For the U.S. Government, investment in long-term conflict prevention and management would require a fundamental paradigm shift in how it typically perceives its role oversees. There remains in government the view that the U.S. should be ready and willing to intervene and assist overseas in nearly every circumstance with diplomacy, money, and troops, and particularly those that flash across international global media. However, the long timeframes and large number of exogenous factors at play mean that it is difficult to identify tangible outcomes from conflict prevention activities. This is a major factor preventing greater funding for conflict prevention.80. The project research indicated that a forward or field-based assessment, planning, and coordination process when working in either a multiagency and/or a civil-military context proved more effective in reaching the strategic and operational goals outlined in the project implementation plans than a headquarters-driven process. In addition, the earlier civilians are involved in military planning improves the odds of having effective non-military engagement and commitment later on.U.S. Multiagency Dynamics81. The diverse and sometimes conflicting cultures of U.S. Government agencies mean efforts for personnel within those agencies to work together are inherently challenging, but not necessarily incompatible. As evidenced in everything from resource allocation to defining national security objectives, each actor does not have an equal voice in the multiagency environment.82. The military is effective at planning for a military engagement, when it has near full control of almost all aspects of a situation. In contrast, the military has not proven successful in planning for, and implementing, effective conflict prevention engagement such as in state-building. In Stability Operations which are akin to conflict prevention activities, there is some doctrine and operational experience but their evaluation is limited. The recent institution of Theater Campaign Plans at U.S. Geographic Combatant Commands seeks to increase the emphasis on the achievement of long-term stability, including through increased interaction with other agencies. The effectiveness of implementation of these structures, however, has been mixed.NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 19
  26. 26. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION83. The U.S. Department of Defense is a cohesive and highly structured organisation that, by necessity, has a rigid chain of command. As has been expanded upon extensively in other literature, this rigidity can make it difficult for the U.S. military to work with and in different cultural environments.84. In the U.S. the lack of coherent whole-of-government planning reflects a tendency in the Government to constantly be in crisis response mode and incrementally develop policy rather than proactively addressing issues. In addition, the absence of critical reviews of policies means there is little opportunity to identify gaps and understand how divergent policies might impact one another or how innovations in one area could diffuse elsewhere.85. The National Security Council is considered by many to be the ideal coordination point for U.S. multiagency efforts because of its unrivalled authority and effectiveness in getting things done politically and strategically. However in reality the NSC is persistently focusing on the latest issue and lacks the capacity to do complex strategic or operational planning, a challenge intensified by the tendency for NSC staff to be lacking in experience and often motivated by political agendas.86. The whole of government approach currently only happens in the immediate and medium term. However, agencies such as State Department, often USAID, and certainly DOD, have long-standing relationships and ongoing programs in nations where a conflict prevention effort is needed. The real imperative for these actors to come together to act is generally driven by conflict or crisis however, and is generally characterised as an entirely different form and structure of intervention. After an initial investment in conflict resolution and management, USAID for long-term economic development, the State Department, for ongoing diplomatic engagement, and DOD for military capacity building and engagement will resume separate and largely unsynchronised programs and plans. Any attempts at developing a consensus, or mutually beneficial focus on conflict prevention and management should be pragmatic and take into consideration the history and the resiliency of surviving structures.87. For example, the U.S. Department of State s Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) model of being interagency in a box was, not surprisingly, rejected by incumbent regional bureaus who perceived that S/CRS was duplicating existing skills already present without the Department of State and USAID structures. Building anything new runs the risk of being bureaucratically threatening or disempowering to existing structures. In another, equally detrimental tactic, if a designated agency on conflict prevention is created, other agencies could react by deferring responsibility to that agency entirely rather than analysing the skills they each bring to bear in conflict prevention, or aligning conflict prevention with overall agency or organisation strategies.88. In the civilian domain, the functional lines of government will default to reporting up their respective chains of command, even if individuals are seconded or assigned to an interagency assessment, planning, or response team. This is in contrast to the military where being seconded to augment a joint mission frequently occurs and is accepted. In order for robust multiagency assessment and planning to occur, these unique approaches should be acknowledged and managed either pragmatically in that all actors support a joint goal or in that individual lines of government define goals that can be reinforced among all lines.NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 20
  27. 27. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION89. While the big thinkers in a particular field, such as conflict studies, are important, it is also important to find the good enough solutions that work across and within extant structures and the target host nation, and within the broader international community.The Role of External ActorsMultinational Actors90. Given the scope of the project, exploration into the role of other multinational actors was relatively limited. However, project interviewees, particularly those that have spent substantial time in the field, noted the importance of not making the assumption that an external actor is the only, or primary, effective actor when planning for conflict prevention and planning. The role of international, regional multinational and international and indigenous non-governmental organisations, community based organisations, and other civil society, grass-roots entities can be critical in the sustainability of all planned activities, be they externally or internally initiated.91. There are different configurations of entities that are present within the society facing conflict and from the outside that play a role in conflict prevention. These include governments and non-state actors including international organisations such as the United Nations, the World Bank Group, and the International Monetary Fund. Non-governmental organisations in humanitarian response and advocacy, universities, independent foundations, and individuals can also be involved in conflict prevention. Each entity brings a particular set of benefits and disadvantages to preventing conflict, depending on the context and other factors working together or in opposition.92. Regional economic and political organisations also play a role in conflict prevention. These include the African Union, the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the ASEAN Regional Forum, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Asia Development Bank, among others. Any government multiagency conflict prevention plan would benefit from discovering and acknowledging the aims and impact of these organisations where they are relevant to the context being analysed.United Nations Culture93. The United Nations plays a unique role in conflict prevention and management overseas as compared to the initiatives of individual governments. Often the UN Country Team on the ground is well versed in the local and regional dynamics that contribute to the escalation of violence. The Resident Representative /Humanitarian Coordinator should be aware of the overall dynamics at play, and play a coordinating role among the many UN agencies and offices in country, while maintaining close contact with other international, non-governmental, civil society, and governmental actors. The UN may in some scenarios be the best equipped to lead in the analysis of a conflict environment, and conflict prevention measures but may not in others.94. According to a number of interviewees, the structure and nature of the UN system unfortunately constrains the Department of Peacekeeping Operation s ability to effectively plan for conflict prevention and management. Effective, integrated, and strategic planning requires longer timelinesNOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 21
  28. 28. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION than are usual in the establishment of peacekeeping operations. The stove-piped nature of the United Nations system presents similar challenges to collaboration and cooperation that governments face.95. Political sensitivities of member countries may limit the UN s ability to plan effectively, particularly should national actors object to certain contingencies for which the UN wants to plan. However, the United Nations is a representative of the international community, and possesses tools such as leveraging sanctions and asserting Security Council resolutions to support international action. As an entity, it is a critical player in conflict prevention and management and can often provide nearly universally accepted legitimacy to the actions of individual states.96. The peace-keeping and peace-building communities play a unique role in conflict prevention and in state-building, wherein a variety of tools and structures support these aims. UN Special Envoys, should be used carefully, but also can play a pivotal role in supporting conflict prevention initiatives, working either in a lead or a supporting role to country-led activities.97. The rigidity of the World Bank s timelines and limited interaction between peacekeeping personnel, World Bank, and Country Teams compound the challenges of developing and implementing a comprehensive approach.WORLD BANK98. The World Bank plays a dynamic role in conflict prevention through support to fragile and conflict- affected countries. These activities include coordinating donor contributions and managing multi-donor trust funds (such as in Afghanistan and Sudan), and supporting community development, social services, public administration, education and other initiatives. The World Bank has called for a paradigm shift in how the broader, international development community works in fragile and conflict- affected environments given the Bank s conclusion that violence and related conflict cannot be solved by short-term or partial solutions in the absence of institutions that provide people with security, 10 justice, and jobs.99. The World Bank has researched the fundamental differences between violent, fragile environments as compared to those that are stable and developing, and has recommended different approaches to supporting institutional transformation and promoting good governance in each. One of the tenets articulated by the World Development Report 2011 supports one of the main findings in this small study; that in fragile transitions or situations of rising risk, successful reforms have [ ] taken time [and] [t]he task of transforming institutions and governance is slow. Historically, no country has transformed its institutions in less than a generation, with reforms taking from 15 to 30 years. In brief, the World Bank links the crucial importance of short-term confidence building activities to this long- term change through bottom-up state-society relations in insecure areas, security and justice reform programs that link policing with civilian justice, basic job creation, the pivotal involvement of women, and anti-corruption efforts. These are along a track of refocusing assistance on confidence building through a prevention lends. In addition, reforming of international agency involvement, regional10 World Development Report 2011NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 22
  29. 29. PROJECT TO DEVELOP A MULTIAGENCY ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING MODEL FOR CONFLICT PREVENTION response, and renewing cooperation among lower, middle, and higher income countries are central recommendations.COMPLEMENTARY PROJECT FINDINGS100.During the project, three subject areas arose that have played a role in the development of the model described herein, and warrant further discussion in order to capture the best practices gathered during the discussion of these three themes.Strong Institutional Leadership101. A best practice throughout the project research that had a positive impact on assessment and planning, not only for conflict prevention but from the perspective of any initiative, was the central importance of strong institutional leadership. In the U.S. context, this was presented in examples from both Washington and field contexts wherein the commitment and focus of key individuals directly affected the multiagency buy-in to a particular process or response. A multiagency group works well together when there is strong and deliberate political leadership and interest in a particular end-state, such as reportedly in the U.S. Government community in response to the Haiti Earthquake in January 2010, or in response to violence in Kyrgyzstan.102. Within the U.S. Government there are different leadership training models. The particular commitment and training of U.S. Military personnel has been very effective in building a cadre of strong leaders whose strong willed resolution in crisis situations is exceptional. Civilian counterparts rarely have exposure to professional development of leadership skills. One recommendation from project participants focused around the need to develop the leadership skills in both the civilian and military spheres to respond to the modern challenges facing all actors in the foreign affairs arena, including diplomacy, international development, and foreign military deployments in support of a variety of missions but in particular, stabilisation and reconstruction activities and humanitarian assistance. The opportunities for cross-training are few and far between. The confidence to work well together comes with practice.103. One entirely new structural solution proposed by U.S. stakeholders during the project was presented by the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR): the creation of a U.S. Office for Contingency Operations (USOCO). A SIGIR lessons learned report from February 2010 (Applying Iraq s Hard Lessons to the Reform of Stabilization and Reconstruction Operations) recommended the establishment of this new entity, which would be responsible for the management of all aspects of U.S. stabilisation and reconstruction operations. The planning, staffing, funding, execution and accountability measures would be housed in this office. The idea for USOCO was presented at the U.S. validation workshop, sparking lively discussion among participants weighing both the benefits and disadvantages of a new, stand-alone structure. The mere suggestion for a radical new coordination office highlights the fragmented nature of how the multiagency environment in the U.S. context in these activities is currently managed.NOETIC CORPORATION PAGE 23

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