About the Author: Ambassador John Herbst serves as Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization.
In January, when Secretary Clinton marked her first year at the helm of the State Department, she reiterated her commitment to conducting foreign policy through the lens of “smart power.” This concept entails leveraging the full range of U.S. government tools -- diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural -- in a tailored mix to address each unique situation America faces abroad.
Today, the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS) demonstrates in our 2009 Year in Review report that we have come to embody Secretary Clinton's vision.
In 2004, the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization was established to assemble formalized, collaborative, and institutionalized foreign policy tools which could address the diverse stabilization needs of the global community by drawing upon the civilian sector's wide-range of expertise.
Over the last five years, S/CRS has developed an effective and proven combination of tools, equipment, and expertise, created the Civilian Response Corps, a pool of qualified and trained civilians from several agencies of the federal government ready to support overseas reconstruction and stabilization operations, and deployed these experts all over the world to address and prevent conflict.
Just a small sampling of examples from the report illuminates the contributions of this whole-of-government effort. In Central Asia, we support the implementation of the President's Strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan by conducting integrated planning, action, and evaluation. In Africa, the Civilian Response Corps continues to play a major role in the U.S. Embassy's assessment effort to create a plan to achieve Secretary Clinton's goals of peace and prosperity in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In Central America, we helped create an integrated and coordinated strategy, utilizing both civilian and military capabilities, to address challenges to Panama's stability. Throughout 2009 and throughout the world, S/CRS has been able to help the U.S. government increase global stability and security.
As this Year in Review report underscores -- and the last five years have made clear -- S/CRS and the Civilian Response Corps have put smart power into action, and today we are just at the beginning.