Smart Power in Action

Posted by John Herbst
March 1, 2010

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.

Comments

Comments

Eric
|
New Mexico, USA
March 2, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:

John,

I'm wondering if you'll entertain a hypothetical notion in regards to the "reserve component"?

What if at the point you had the "active" and "standby" stood up and were presenting to congress request for funding the "reserve", you already had a waiting pool of volunteers that had recieved on-line orientation and training provided through public diplomacy and outreach funding?

Those of us not having experienced government employment are going to have a steeper learning curve otherwise, and you don't need funding to get volunteers if they are getting educational benefit from the training provided on top of orientation.

Let's say the equivilent of an associate's degree, just for kicks because it may take folks two years worth of training to get up to speed.

Then there's the scary thought of having some rather aged interns hanging about as "graduate students" I suppose, being looked upon as "too old and slow" by all those 20-something's with a fourty year carreer in the Foreign Service ahead of them, but oh well, I'm sure they'll be greatful for the help and advice of their elders on occasion.

So there you have it in a nutshell.

If I were to add one thing to any domestic jobs and retraining bill before Congress, I'd think this might be seen as a creative use of such funding, if "earmarked".

You might just get what you ask for.

Hope you'll take the question, if you need to seek "direction" from on high, that's ok, I'm patient.

Best,
EJ

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