Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Programs for Military Practitioners

Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reintegration Programs for Military Practitioners serves as a guide for organizing, planning, preparing, and executing activities in support of such operations. As the book underscores, the military’s supporting role is not passive; instead, it practices active engagement by incorporating the experience and expertise of DDR partners. Achieving a sense of teamwork among diverse organizational cultures requires creative thinking. While recognizing that DDR is essentially a civilian-led venture, the military can furnish key enablers that enhance performance and effectiveness. PKSOI regards this book as a valuable reference for military and civilian organizations coming together to implement meaningful DDR.

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Maintaining Stability in International Space

By Dr. Raymond A. Millen and Travis Bolio

Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute

The purpose of stability in international orbiting space is to create and sustain an environment for the peaceful pursuit of international interests, namely science, technology, exploration, and commerce. While international competition and cooperation in international orbiting space have continued for decades, no country has pursued military conquest as a means to gain dominance in this domain or to gain a military advantage over other states. The growing investment and presence in space presage the need to ensure stability and accessibility for peaceful expansion.

The Eisenhower administration’s hallmark space policy (NSC 5814/1) sought to reserve outer space for peaceful and scientific purposes. Notably, the policy proscribed the militarization of space, that is, no permanent placement of weapons in orbit. The exploration and use of space have progressed since the Eisenhower administration created the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). By the first two decades of the 21st century, multiple countries have placed satellites in orbital space for global communications, global positioning systems (GPS), surveillance, the internet of things, and cyber physical systems (CPS).[1] Multinational involvement in space is progressing exponentially, which also portends greater complexity and perhaps, instability unless judiciously managed.

Reinforcing US space policies, the United Nations’ Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies (19 December 1966) emphasized international peaceful cooperation in outer space. Specifically, the treaty outlined international cooperation, exploration, and scientific research of outer space and celestial bodies. As important, the treaty prohibited national claims of sovereignty, establishment of military bases and weapons, and the placement of weapons of mass destruction in orbit or on celestial bodies.[2] Together with US space policies, the UN space treaty established the basis for peaceful international activities in space.

Space exploration, along with a greater understanding of the universe, has continued with orbital telescopes, manned space stations, manned space missions, and unmanned space exploration systems. The utility of space is not limited to the physical domain but extends into the electromagnetic and the internet domains.  As the leading pioneer of space exploration, the United States should continue developing space systems with the purpose of enhanced space stability and exploration. Additionally, US leadership should encourage more nations to participate jointly in space efforts, as cooperative burden-sharing and mutual benefits. This paper explores development mechanisms to enhance space exploration, research, and stability: normalized space terminology; near-term stability; mid-term stability; and long-term stability. The intent is to provide broad recommendations for mankind’s expansion into outer space in a logical manner.

Normalized Space Terminology

The domain of space encompasses three distinct dimensions: physical, network, and cognitive. The physical dimension comprises the orbital area and proceeds out to the moon, outer space and other celestial bodies. The network dimension includes the interconnected systems and processes that permit command and control of data and information around the world. The cognitive dimension covers the range of mental and conceptual processes needed to understand and operate in the space domain.[3]

The characterization of the space domain is broader in scope, as it is not limited to geographic or physical borders. This paper identifies four sub-domains as a basis for discussion: near Earth orbit, travel vectors, outer space, and the electromagnetic spectrum. All sub-domains operate in the three distinct dimensions; however the electromagnetic spectrum can have some unique interactions with the physical dimension.  A clear, mutual definition of these domains helps to establish authorities and regulations for abiding stability in space.

Near Earth orbit is the area closely surrounding the planet, in which gravity has a proximate attraction on objects. This domain is commonly used for satellites and is filled with decades of space debris. It serves as a strategic gateway for spacecraft passing through Earth’s atmosphere. As such, administration and management of space travel within near Earth orbit shall become a growing challenge.

Travel vectors are identified pathways for outer space destinations and interplanetary travel, as well as returning traffic. Travel vectors vary in terms of time and space as planets and other bodies orbit the Sun. Interplanetary traffic-peaks would correspond with planetary orbits passing closest to Earth. Similar to sea lanes and air corridors, as space traffic becomes more congested, administration and management of travel vectors become a safety issue.

The outer space domain is the vast frontier for exploration, research, and discovery of wondrous phenomena. While outer space exploration and colonization may serve to unify human efforts, they may also spur economic competition and potential disputes. Establishing stability mechanisms and a sense of multinational cooperation prior to inhabiting outer space serves to foster comity.

Exploration may expose humans to exotic viruses, so medical systems must be integral to stability practices. Medical protocols for returning space travelers, such as quarantine, detection, and disinfection, are needed to preclude potential pandemics. Similarly, standard protocols for contact with or discovery of other life forms are prudent to minimize mishaps. Creating a system of shared knowledge and best practices would promote a predictable exploration of the outer space domain. Standardized protocols would also enable standardization and interoperability of systems and infrastructure.

The vastness of space naturally presents unforeseen challenges and opportunities to inhabitation and exploration. As technological advances project humanity deeper into space and enhances an understanding of the electromagnetic spectrum, attentive governments would need to adapt. Leading governments need to deepen national and international space policies and processes to ensure technology does not outpace management and administration of space ventures. New discoveries may fundamentally change mankind’s understanding of the universe and create astounding innovations. For example, the discovery of new energy sources may solve current energy dependencies and pollution on Earth, as well as improve space vessel propulsion. However, new energy sources might pose a threat to contemporary energy providers, prompting resistance. Creating systems of systems that are dynamic enough to accommodate these changes will help prevent destabilizing effects.

The electromagnetic spectrum constitutes the waves and electromagnetic energy that is currently utilized and radiates throughout space. This sub-domain has a large impact on the network dimension. It could be the photonic energy coming from the Sun to the Earth. It can be all the communication frequencies between satellites and Earth stations, as well as among satellites and space craft. Establishing regulatory practices for the electromagnetic spectrum is necessary as space activities become more prevalent. As the electromagnetic spectrum usage increases, it can affect Earth-based activities, such as solar power and photosynthesis. Increased electromagnetic spectrum media may also interfere with communications from Earth to space vessels and celestial bases.

Maintaining stability in space would require a dynamic, iterative evaluation of challenges and potential areas of friction as mankind establishes a greater presence, commerce, and economic competition in space. The internet has connected the world and accelerated globalization to such an extent that instability in a remote country can now reverberate far beyond its borders. Similarly, space inhabitation may spawn “galaxation,” where instabilities in space may have global ramifications.

 Near-Term Stability

Before addressing future endeavors in space, the United States must face contemporary realities. Stability in near Earth orbit currently rests on a foundation of deterrence. Effective deterrence requires the capability and national will to retaliate against potential attacks emanating within, from, or through near Earth orbit (e.g., weaponized satellites and intercontinental ballistic missiles). Seemingly innocuous, orbiting objects can serve as weapons as well. For example, a large, dense object guided for the purpose of plunging onto the Earth’s surface can wreak regional or even global devastation, as large meteorites in the past have demonstrated.  Deterrent capabilities require an arsenal of Earth-based retaliatory systems, such as weaponized satellites and missiles, held in launch readiness. National will is established through a declaration of retaliatory capabilities and assured response to threats vis-à-vis near space orbit. The dyad of national capability and will ensures potential aggressors do not misstep by misjudging US resolve and readiness.[4]

A “No First Use” policy assures the international community that the United States will not conduct preventive attacks in response to perceived or potential aggression. US deterrence policy should not attempt to define what is considered aggression, keeping the issue ambiguous (i.e., physical attack, cyberattack, blinding attack, and electronic warfare). The essence of deterrence places the onus of action on potential aggressors and fosters uncertainty in regards to what types of actions will trigger a US response.

To mitigate fears concerning the militarization of international space, the United States should consider changing the name of Space Force to something less provocative, perhaps Space Service. As the organization evolves, it may predominantly comprise robots, computers, scientists, engineers, and ultimately space vessel crews. At some point, the United States should consider offering membership to qualified candidates from other countries. Foreign membership in the organization would increase a unified endeavor, as well as maintaining US leadership and guidance for space service.

According to the Space Force, Space Domain Awareness is the “effective identification, characterization and understanding of any factor associated with the space domain that could affect space operations and thereby impact the security, safety, economy, or environment of our Nation.”[5] The Space Force should continue extending this vision for future expansion into space and the economic ramifications to the global economy, so as to ensure the stability in space.

In anticipation of future space exploration and enduring presence, the United States should consider promoting international space agreements which foster cooperation and partnership. This anticipatory approach would address stability issues in near Earth orbit and build on them over time. Specifically, the United States should begin the process of international economic agreements for space exploration and commerce. Public and private commercial interests shall become more prominent as access to space becomes open to all countries and business corporations. Economic drivers, rather than security issues, have the potential to create instability as countries and corporations vie for orbit positions, travel vectors, and planetary exploitation.

Human expansion into space will likely create opportunities for illicit and subversive activities. To address smuggling, piracy, sabotage, pilferage, and other criminal activities, establishing a rule of law framework and common legal jurisdictions should occur prior to inhabitation of space. All of these issues are addressed in national and international laws, so expanding them to include illicit activities in space should present fewer problems.

Mid-Term Stability

Near Earth orbit shall inevitably serve as global gateways to the frontier of space. An international gatekeeper agreement is needed since access to space shall impact all national and commercial enterprises interested in space exploration and commerce. The current sharing of near Earth orbit and the advantages it provides for public and private sectors are already a source of global competition and cooperation. While few countries currently possess the capability to establish a presence in space orbit, all countries are impacted by national space programs and policies, so an international space agreement is prudent to avoid future disputes. As near Earth orbit becomes more accessible, countries and companies will begin to invest in space enterprises, likely at an exponential rate. Hence, developing policies and agreements now will mitigate potential conflicts in the future.

Creating an environment that is beneficial for international economic development in space will be a key driver of activity and advancement. Currently, the physical barrier limits space activities, but this barrier will lessen as technology improves. Current trade laws do not account for the scope of space activities and investments. Through advancements and improvements in processes, regulations need to be dynamic enough to adapt to these changes. Transparent regulatory practices would enable the improvement of the international economic environment.

A revenue system to fund the orbital federation or system would be a necessary component of space activities. Transparent and consensual funding legislation promotes the equitable administration of orbital activities. The largest barrier to participation in space will be the financial demands on funding and maintenance of space endeavors. International financial policies and regulations to make space ventures more economically viable for countries and corporations would provide opportunities for increased infrastructure development in the space domain.

The administration of orbital gateways requires thoughtful management to ensure that access is equitable, fair, and open for all future national and private enterprises in order to avoid monopolies by early pioneers. International enterprises over orbital gateways, travel vectors, planets, moons, and asteroids should become the norm. Accordingly, the United States should consider the establishment of a space governing council that is scalable and diverse enough to allow for the continued expansion of the space domain. Initial administration of orbital gateways is within Earth-based government structures, but leading governments involved in space will need to think about the future establishment of quasi-independent or autonomous governments away from the immediate vicinity of Earth.

Long Term Stability

Global gateways to space could take the form of mega space ports in near Earth orbit. Mega space ports assume both technical and human dimensions. Technically, the construction of mega space ports would facilitate the reception and servicing of space vessels for exploration, transportation, commerce, salvage, and mining. Construction of mega space ports would be more economical and practical in a near-zero gravity environment than from Earth-based launch missions with construction crews and materials.

Construction of a space port would require modularization for expansion, with robotics and computers performing manufacture, construction, and design modifications. The initial and core module would be for the smelting of metal and the manufacture of material for modular expansion. Construction robotics and computers would be indispensable in the harsh environment of space. Automated repair and maintenance facilities for robotics and computers would obviate the need for direct human involvement and would minimize the use of Earth-based launch missions for the purpose of replacement parts and repairs. 

Conceptually, automated salvage vessels could focus initially on recovering space debris orbiting the Earth and delivering it to the core module for smelting and manufacture of modular components. Salvage work would serve to clean up space debris in orbits and travel vectors, which will increasingly become hazards to orbiting satellites and traffic. Hence, salvage work would be more economical than launching construction materials from Earth to the space ports.

The salvaging of space junk alone would not meet the material needs of space ports. In view of their low gravitation fields, the Moon and nearby asteroids are more economical for the mining and transportation of ore to space ports. Mining may require some human labor, so international agreements on mining contracts, bases, and operations would become necessary. Of course, mining would require the construction of bases and equipment, thereby becoming a major project in itself.

In view of economy and freedom from Earth’s gravity, separate space manufacturing facilities would be needed for the construction of large space vessels. As with mega space ports, these facilities would need core modules for smelting and manufacture of modular components, and for the manufacture of space vessels. In addition to robotics and computers, administrators, scientists, engineers, and laborers would be devoted to the construction of large space vessels.

The design, shielding, computers, communications, and propulsion of large space vessels should be built for upgrades and new innovations. Until more effective means for propulsion are developed, nuclear reactors would likely remain the most practical. Since crews of large space vessels would experience long tours of duty, amenities, such as living quarters, dining, entertainment, and relaxation become more important. Such vessels should be intended for exploration and scientific discovery. These vessels should not have weapons unless a threat materializes.

The human dimension would evolve over time. At some point, mega space ports and spacecraft manufacturing facilities could become capable of life support and artificial gravity. In addition to robotics and computers, administrators, scientists, engineers, and laborers would be required for maintenance and management of the space ports and manufacturing facilities, as well as scientific work. At a minimum, space ports would comprise facilities for space traffic control, port administration, constabulary, commerce, science research, passenger terminals, maintenance, living accommodations, dining, and exercise.

International participation in this program would reap benefits in terms of cooperation, diverse innovation, and a commitment to stability in space. Further, international ownership and administration would preclude the establishment of national monopolies in near Earth orbit and celestial bodies. A small governing space council, a constabulary, and a judiciary would serve to maintain the rule of law in each space port. Corporations will likely vie for commercial enterprises in space, so the port commerce office would administer regulatory policies designed to prevent corporate monopolies and predatory practices.

As other planets, moons, and asteroids become more accessible for commerce, exploration, and possible colonization, governance will eventually become an issue. Setting precedents on rule of law governance, authorities, administration, and so forth in the early stages of habitation of near Earth orbit would set the stage for later expansion. Accordingly, a space governing body should operate as a democracy with checks and balances to guarantee universal rights and representation. Executive, legislative, and judicial bodies may serve as the model for good governance of orbital space. Representation from governments and corporations active in space, with room for expansion, would serve to protect rights and interests. A formal constitution describing the political structure, electoral process, term limits, and criteria for office would provide for long term stability in space governance. As habitation of space expands farther from Earth, the need for autonomous government bodies will assume greater import.


The development of the space domain promises vast technological advances, new energy discoveries, and enormous wealth creation. The investment in space ventures would reap benefits far above overhead costs. Nevertheless, expansion into space should be based on a comprehensive plan with built-in stability mechanisms. Beginning the process now would prevent a haphazard evolution of space enterprises.

As mankind expands into the solar system, sovereignty claims and governance of the space commons shall become issues as more countries and commercial enterprises begin interplanetary operations. The regulation of space traffic would require the assignment of space vectors to mitigate congestion and accidents. A space communications agency would be needed to regulate communications traffic. An international sovereignty policy would be needed for private and international bases in space, on planets, on moons, and on asteroids.

All of the complexities, challenges and opportunities from the development of space domains cannot be anticipated. However, US leadership and international collaboration can begin laying the groundwork for eventual expansion and habitation of space. As with any human interaction, stability issues will remain abiding. Establishing stabilization mechanisms from the onset will create an environment of cooperation and healthy competition as economic and scientific advances develop the space domain.

[1] For an archival history of US administrations’ space policies, see https://aerospace.org/space-policy-resources

[2] 2222 (XXI). Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, Office for Outer Space Affairs, 19 December 1966, https://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/spacelaw/treaties/outerspacetreaty.html, 17 August 2020.

[3] Spacepower, Space Capstone Publication, Headquarters United States Space Force (June 2020), 5-8, https://www.spaceforce.mil/Portals/1/Space%20Capstone%20Publication_10%20Aug%202020.pdf, 14 August 2020.

[4] Coercion theory (i.e. deterrence and compellence) remains relevant in near Earth orbit and likely beyond. Thomas C. Schelling, Arms and Influence (New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, revised edition, November 5, 2008).

[5] Spacepower, 34, 38-39.

Crippling Insurgencies with National Reconciliation Programs: A Primer for Military Practitioners


This primer on reconciliation programs serves to complement counterinsurgency strategies. While such programs require a fair amount of organization, resources, funding and manpower, the key distinction is they are predominately managed by host nation governments. This requirement means that US military and government officials must focus on advising and the provision of resources to support a reconciliation program. The purpose of this primer is to inform US advisors on the salient features of a reconciliation program. This task is by no means simple because host nation governments are unlikely to pursue a reconciliation program without US persistence and guidance.

This primer provides a methodical approach to inducing surrender among common insurgents and providing ways for them to become productive citizens. Effective reconciliation programs have the potential to shorten the length and costs of an insurgency. Such programs serve to accelerate the healing process in the midst of an insurgency. In the aftermath of an insurgency, reconciliation programs provide the requisite infrastructure for the implementation of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) programs. As such, reconciliation programs lay the groundwork for enduring stability in an affected country.

Scot N. Storey
Colonel, Director
US Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute

To read Crippling Insurgencies with National Reconciliation Programs: A Primer for Military Practitioners Click Here

Establishing Security during Pandemics

16 July 2020

By Dr. Raymond A. Millen and the PKSOI Team

Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute

Photo Credit: U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Nicholes T. Holmes

Since pandemics are global by definition, the United States must choose where to intervene when national interests and strategic objectives are threatened. As the 28 April 2020 PKSOI paper, US Global Stabilization Strategy for the COVID 19 Pandemic avers, sharing the response burden with partner nations, international organizations, and NGOs is pragmatic. Burden-sharing is a time-honored tradition among great powers and makes good strategic sense.

Domestic security and rule of law are generally the greatest challenges for fragile states. The added stressor of a pandemic can trigger a collapse of both. Fragile states should receive the highest priority when considering where to intervene. If the United States must intervene in a country devastated by an epidemic, establishing security becomes imperative.

As a critical joint stability function, the ability to maintain security during an epidemic is a key indicator of a country’s resiliency. Aside from medical services, the police are the most vulnerable to epidemics because of their close association with the public. If the police services are incapacitated due to illness or death, law and order becomes paralyzed, and hence the fabric of society can quickly unravel.

Law and order is largely psychological stemming from the tacit consent of the populace to obey laws. Criminal elements are normally the first to exploit the breakdown in police authority, resulting in a spike in crime. Once disorder and panic become widespread, a state of anarchy occurs with general mayhem infecting the populace. Without basic law and order, comprehensive rule of law principles become meaningless. At this point, the police cannot regain control, and thus martial law under a military occupation is a normal recourse.

In the immediate onset of a pandemic, the reinforcement or establishment of security is a preventive measure to uphold the integrity of society. This paper addresses the essential activities to preserve security: 1) re-establishing the police; 2) securing critical facilities; 3) protecting emergency services; and 4) combatting detrimental tendencies. Hence, preserving the psychological component of law and order becomes the overriding objective.

Re-establishing the Police

As with any devastating disaster, people become paralyzed by fear and the enormity of the event. Afflicted governments normally mobilize the police and military forces in response. If they prove inadequate (or fall victim to the epidemic), an intervention with international police is the ideal choice to support the police. However, if the environment is non-permissive or access is limited, then US military forces would be the first responders. If available, expeditionary police (e.g., NATO carabinieri and gendarmerie) should accompany military forces.  These police have a mandate to police civilians and are the best choice. However, in the absence of such deployable police, US military police would be the next best option.

As an organizational technique, small civil affairs (CA) and police teams (8 personnel) should accompany military tactical units into affected urban areas to establish transitional public security. Only those urban areas experiencing pronounced insecurity require a tactical sweep to establish immediate authority. Otherwise, the CA/police teams may enter alone.

Upon entering an urban area, the CA/police team immediately locates the political authorities and chief of police, or appoints new ones if needed. Since the authorities may be paralyzed by the chaos, the team’s initial task is to spur the community into restorative action. The guiding principle of the team is to govern indirectly, supervising the activities of established authorities.

The CA/police team distributes the joint commander’s proclamations and ordinances to the political authorities to disseminate to the populace (e.g., bulletin boards, all media, and town hall meetings). The proclamations inform the local populace of the reason and intent of the intervention, assuring them that existing laws, customs, and institutions shall remain unchanged. The ordinances serve to restore public order (e.g., curfews and prohibited areas). Generally, they include temporary prohibitions on movement and activities that may interfere with military operations. The establishment of martial law is a senior political decision and is used only in extreme circumstances.

The CA/police team directs the chief of police to recall all police, including retired police, for accountability and security assignments. If needed, the team authorizes the police chief to deputize responsible citizens as auxiliary police, providing the list of enrolled police for team review. Local militias, neighborhood watches, and private security for businesses are acknowledged as emergency security measures. The team may need to provide salaries for the police and auxiliary police, so the military chain of command must provide guidance or funds for this purpose. As an alternative, the team may use existing municipal funds at the bank for salaries, but due care is required to ensure financial accountability is strictly maintained.

Securing Critical Facilities

The police chief is directed to deploy the police immediately to secure: financial institutions, post offices, government facilities (e.g., city hall, courts, and revenue collection), jails/prisons, cultural centers, and key utilities. Critical facilities are the first places looted and destroyed, so they receive priority. In extreme cases, the teams may request the temporary deployment of tactical units to the urban area if situation warrants.

Financial institutions (e.g., banks, insurance, and depositories) should remain open but with increased security as a deterrent to robbery and burglary. Temporary closures may trigger a financial panic, which must be avoided at all costs. The prevention of looting signals that wanton behavior is not tolerated, thereby curbing disorder early. Clear rules of engagement are required to protect property with the minimum use of force.

The protection of post offices ensures money orders and related financial documents remain safe. The preservation of government and legal documents is to prevent their destruction by criminal elements. As a public safety, preventing the release of incarcerated criminals or political prisoners staunches future instability. Safeguarding works of art, monuments, and similar national treasures thwarts illicit trading.

While wanton damage and ransacking of public utilities is a self-inflicting wound to the community, it happens so frequently that protection is a security necessity. Disruptions to electrical grids, power stations (e.g., nuclear, hydroelectric, solar, and wind), waterworks, and waste disposal quickly affect health, so security, repair, and maintenance are required. If local utility workers cannot repair damaged utilities, the CA/police team alerts the chain of command for the deployment of technical specialists.

Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Nicholes T. Holmes

Protecting Emergency Services

Fire and medical services are essential to rescue and health care. The police must protect fire equipment, medical facilities, and medicines from theft and damage. Stolen medicine quickly becomes a black market commodity, so securing medical storage units is both a medical and criminal prevention necessity. The prompt implementation of emergency services reassures the populace that their safety is foremost, thereby mitigating possible upheavals due to frustration, anger, and panic.

Since epidemics result in inordinate death rates, emergency services must visit all homes to recover bodies for burial. Teams may need to request assistance and equipment for mass burials from the chain of command. In the interim, the CA/police team may hire local labor for burial details. Similarly, medical services may become overwhelmed by mass casualties, so additional military medical support would be required.

Heightened police or neighborhood patrols serve to protect vulnerable houses and businesses from burglary or ransacking. An epidemic may so devastate the population, that several houses and businesses become vacant. Immediate response to even small criminal activities is necessary to maintain public confidence in law enforcement.

Local and supplemental medical services establish quarantine measures to isolate and care for infected people. Medical services advises the CA/police team on the most vulnerable groups for isolation. Those groups most resilient to the disease may continue daily activities to generate herd immunity. Additionally, the team must remain vigilant to outbreaks of other diseases. Virulent viruses often exhaust antibodies and cause weakened autoimmune systems. In such cases, people become susceptible to pneumonia because the body cannot combat the introduction of ordinary germs. 

Combatting Detrimental Tendencies

Aside from looting, hoarding results in critical shortages of commodities and fuels the black market. Farmers and other food providers may resort to hoarding in order to raise the price of commodities. Police must actively seek information on hoarding activities and storage locations. Police raids and anticorruption operations are generally an immediate remedy.

The police chief should provide the CA/police team with information on local criminal bosses or warlords. The team should establish a polite but firm dialogue with them. The idea is not to ignore them but acknowledge their presence and come to a working understanding. Gaining their cooperation for security may not be possible, but talking with them reduces potential tensions.

Although militias are often instrumental in providing immediate security, over time they can become a public threat, preying upon the populace. The CA/police team must address any acts of drunkenness, theft, or intimidation with the militia leaders. Once the crisis subsides, the team may seek an informal disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) of the militia, but this often takes a great deal of persuasion. DDR discussions may serve to identify potential candidates for recruitment in the police and military forces. Accordingly, the police chief and host nation military commanders may enlist qualified militiamen to replace losses.


Epidemics generally do not infect an entire country evenly. Some areas are impacted harder and faster than others. Logically, intervention forces deploy into the high-threat areas first and attend to the other areas later. The immediate objective of establishing immediate security in an urban area is to staunch disorder before it turns into widespread mayhem. Often, the presence of police suffices to deter criminal behavior and reassure the populace. The presence of corrupt and incompetent police is likely, but the exigencies of the crisis require their continued employment. CA/police teams should identify them in situation reports for host nation government awareness and action after the crisis.

Small CA/police teams are an appropriate instrument to prompt restorative action during an epidemic. Once security is restored in one community, a CA/police team may expand its area of responsibility by conducting maintenance visits to other nearby communities. This method frees up other CA/police teams for deployment to other communities showing signs of the epidemic.

Transitioning responsibility to international police, civilian organizations, or the host nation should occur from the lowest levels and then progress upwards. This approach enhances local capacities and ensures central government capacity is not overwhelmed by the enormity of the disaster. In line with global interests and strategy, the United States should optimize the use of stabilization partners for most affected countries. When US military intervention is necessary, the approach as outlined in this paper provides the requisite security for the prompt recovery of the afflicted country.

Death by a Thousand Cuts


Death by a Thousand Cuts explores the application of national reconciliation programs to undermine insurgencies from within and lay the groundwork for stability in the post-conflict period. Dr. Raymond A. Millen presents three case studies—Malaya, South Vietnam, and Iraq—for his examination of national reconciliation programs. Such programs have received little attention after the Vietnam conflict, so this study provides insights of particular interest for US assistance to countries suffering from an insurgency.

The insurgency in Malaya served as a testbed for a national reconciliation program, providing astute observations on the character of the insurgency. In this case, the British and Malayan authorities studied insurgent motivations for surrendering and adapted information operations and the reconciliation program accordingly. In time, they incorporated the reconciliation program into the counterinsurgency strategy, which ultimately proved efficacious. The allies employed the voluntary services of former insurgents in information operations, intelligence collection, and military operations, with great success. Of interest to enduring stability, reconciliation allowed former insurgents to atone for their misdeeds and reintegrate into society.

As most Americans are aware, the Vietnam conflict was an acute threat to South Vietnam’s sovereignty. Following the example and advice of British efforts in Malaya, US and South Vietnamese authorities adopted a national reconciliation program called Chieu Hoi (Open Arms). Also noting Viet Cong disaffection in the ranks, the allies designed information operations and the Chieu Hoi program to encourage surrenders. Moreover, the Republic of Vietnam government established scores of reintegration centers throughout the country, which provided care, education, and vocational skills for ralliers. As in Malaya, the allies employed former Viet Cong in extensive information operations, intelligence exploitation, military operations, and local security. While former Viet Cong successfully reintegrated into society, the long-term effects are unknown, in view of the North Vietnamese invasion and occupation of South Vietnam in 1975.

The insurgency in Iraq is relatively fresh in most American minds. Fortunately, a number of books and the official history of the conflict provide detailed observations of the conflict. From these sources, it appears that US officials initially focused on trying to avert an insurgency, which proved unavailing. Despite the lack of a formal national reconciliation program, Sunni insurgents (and some Shi’a) began making overtures to coalition commanders in 2005, which bore fruit in 2007. Of interest to this study, the use of reintegration programs in detention facilities provides insights for including reconciliation opportunities for incarcerated insurgents.

As Dr. Millen reveals in this study, some telling observations from these case studies are worth noting. First, insurgent cohesion is more friable than assumed, so a reconciliation program must provide a way out for the insurgent’s predicament. Information operations and national reconciliation programs must be designed to inform insurgents of the program, help them surrender safely, assure them of good treatment, and provide opportunities to reenter society as a productive citizen.

Second, host government commitment to the reconciliation program is imperative. Since long-term legitimacy and credibility of reconciliation rests on the host government’s buy-in, allied patrons must devote considerable energy early to that end. Host nation management, resources, and linguistic/cultural acuity make the reconciliation program viable. While a counterinsurgency strategy without a reconciliation program is possible, long-term stability with such a program will not likely endure.

Third, a national reconciliation program requires time, resources, and funding. For counterinsurgency strategists, such an effort may appear inappropriate given the exigencies of the emergency. However, by their nature, insurgencies average ten years, so they are marathons, not sprints. In terms of potential military costs, casualties, and damage, the benefits of a national reconciliation program are worth the investment. The construction of reintegration centers during the insurgency can serve the same purpose for disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs in the aftermath of conflict. Again, the value of the investment provides a variety of dividends.

Death by a Thousand Cuts provides a roadmap for assistance to countries embroiled in prolonged insurgencies. The Malayan and South Vietnam case studies provide practical details for the establishment and implementation of a national reconciliation program. The Iraqi case study adds to this knowledge with the use of reconciliation programs as part of detention operations. The defense community would find this PKSOI study profitable for extending global stability.

Scot N. Storey
Colonel, Civil Affairs Director, Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute 29 April 2020

To read more or to download this document please click on the link or button below.

US Global Stabilization Strategy for the COVID 19 Pandemic

Delaware National Guard assembling COVID-19 Test Kits
Photo by Sgt. Laura Michael

8 April 2020

By Dr. Raymond A. Millen and the PKSOI Team

In the wake of the COVID 19 pandemic, the United States should continue to confirm its global leadership. As a global power and largest contributor of foreign aid ($47 billion to 212 countries), the United States possesses the international prestige and trust to provide direction in the aftermath of the pandemic. Accordingly, the United States must inspire worldwide action, provide strategic guidance for international responses, and coordinate the effort through various organizations, such as USAID.1 This paper, which is the second in a series focused on issues 0F surrounding COVID-19, addresses recommended US international messaging, planning considerations for global recovery, in order to utilize the core stability functions to engage the stabilization activities for countries impacted by the pandemic.

This PKSOI paper recommends that the US response to the pandemic, employing the existing integrated approach to stabilize areas most affected by COVID-19. As stated in Joint Publication 3-07 Stability, the five joint stability functions are security, foreign humanitarian assistance, economic stabilization and infrastructure, rule of law, and governance and participation. These functions reflect the US whole of government approach and are easily adjusted from a traditional response to one that focuses on the destabilizing factors caused by the virus and its effects on fragile nations. In order to optimize the effectiveness of US global leadership and stimulate global action, international messaging is essential.

International Messaging

U.S. international messaging must make the case for global cooperation in the recovery. As a global leader, the United State must adhere to the facts, not conjectures, regarding the origins of the pandemic. Through the international community, the United States should stress Chinese government accountability for its mishandling of the epidemic, its lack of transparency in warning the world, and its attempts to deflect blame. Since honor is a cultural imperative to China, the Chinese government can save face by making amends for its behavior. As such, the UN should advise the Chinese government to provide humanitarian assistance, financial relief, and/or debt forgiveness to countries affected by the pandemic.

US international messaging should encompass senior administration officials conducting interviews, news conferences, speeches, and other media platforms to underscore the facts behind the pandemic. US messaging should recount the continuing stabilization efforts of the US government, agencies, and NGOs before and during this pandemic and previous epidemics in other countries. Nonetheless, US messaging should stress that recovery requires international engagement and should include a request for the assistance of partners and donors (e.g., specific countries, international organizations, regional organizations, and NGOs). The US president and secretary of state should personally address the UN General Assembly for Chinese government accountability and a US proposal for international cooperation through a UN resolution. The crux of the UN resolution is not censure or sanctions against China, but direct compensation for the global harm it has inflicted. Since countries affected by COVID 19 suffered economically and expended large sums of money in response to the pandemic, they must demand financial compensation and direct humanitarian assistance from China. If China does not respond appropriately, injured countries can unilaterally nullify their debts to China, citing the UN resolution as the legal right.

UN Decontamination of Public Spaces in Mali.
    Photo by Harundune Dicko

Planning Considerations for Global Recovery.

The US stabilization strategy must be pragmatic, focused, and measured. Developed countries with resilient medical services, infrastructure, and government institutions can handle the epidemic with available resources. If extra assistance is required, regional organizations can provide it: EU/NATO, Organization of American States, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations, African Union, etc. Nations should offer assistance to afflicted countries, with which they have historic relations (e.g., colonial or traditional). From a global stability perspective, the United States should focus its assistance to geostrategic-important countries hit by the pandemic. In order to minimize redundancies and untapped resources, the United States and global partners should address a division of responsibility concerning unique capabilities (e.g., logistics, medical, organizational, transportation, and humanitarian assistance/disaster response). These actions should complement and strengthen extant UN resolutions and plans regarding the COVID 19 pandemic.

The United States should encourage charities, clubs, and associations to donate needed supplies, funds, and people, perhaps in coordination with USAID and other government agencies. These organizations may be of greater use after the emergency to help stricken communities recover. It is important to stress that continued charitable assistance is required after major government measures cease. Charitable donations and government assistance to NGOs working in debilitated countries are efficient ways to provide immediate and continued care to suffering people.

Overview of Shifts in Stability Functions

Assisting countries and organizations should focus on specific stabilization activities for fragile countries affected by COVID 19. Deploying personnel must receive relevant immunizations and influenza tests prior to departure, as well as training on proper techniques to prevent viral spread. The United States and partner countries should make a collective effort to insure these items are available during preparation for overseas deployment. Deployed personnel must be tested before returning to their home countries and isolated for the entirety of the possible incubation period as well.

Assisting nations should conduct a stabilization assessment of each country (embassy country teams should provide the data) in order to tailor the response: security, foreign humanitarian assistance, economic stabilization and infrastructure, rule of law, and governance and participation. The priority and level of assistance for each stabilization task is predicated on the degree of damage to individual states and their economic development prior to the pandemic.

Joint Stability Function One

Establishing or maintaining security is imperative to prevent looting and immediate crime. Military forces and international police may need to support local police and military services devastated by the pandemic. For most emergencies, the host nation government may need to impose curfews and other restrictions. The host nation government should only impose martial law as the last resort. The local police must devote particular attention to the prevention of hoarding and the black market. Failure to do so not only undermines the rule of law, but also impedes economic recovery. The main focus is to minimize criminal activity and corruption (black market of need supplies).

Task force medical conducts operations in responce to COVID-19.
Photo by: Staff Sgt. Ryan Getsip

Joint Stability Function Two

Resuming essential services requires a prioritized response, which can be accomplished through foreign humanitarian assistance. Medical assistance is the highest priority to prevent societal collapse. While support to existing hospitals and clinics is recommended, assisting countries should be prepared to establish field hospitals and testing sites in order to lighten the burden on host nation medical services. Assistance personnel need to organize body recovery, transportation, and burial details for victims. Since many victims often die in their homes, this activity will take time. In areas experiencing high numbers of deaths, mass burials may be required to prevent the spread of disease. Assistance personnel must test and purify water to prevent water borne diseases, such as cholera and dysentery. The resumption of waste disposal is required to prevent rodent infestation and vector diseases. The provision of food and shelter may be required, depending on the extent of breakdown to the local communities. The resumption of energy (e.g., electricity, gas, coal, and wood) is needed for the cooking of food and purification of water. Assistance personnel should optimize existing transportation, perhaps organizing transportation pools, to include POL points and maintenance, to assist in the resumption of essential services.

Joint Stability Function Three

Economic recovery requires prioritization as well, through economic stabilization and infrastructure. Assistance for food production may vary depending on the local circumstances. Farmers may need assistance with harvesting and transportation of products to the market. At times, host governments may order the killing of livestock, such as chickens and pigs, since they may be influenza carriers, so providing replacements and veterinary assistance will preserve that market. Fishermen may need assistance with fuel and equipment repairs (nets, engines, and boats). With these basic needs attended as well, economic recovery in other sectors will proceed in due course.

Joint Stability Functions Four and Five

Advisory assistance to governance and civil control is indispensable. Advisors must work through the local officials to maintain their authority with the populace. While assistance personnel may need to provide funding and resources, the local authorities should dispense them. Indirect governing is the most effective way to interact with political, police, fire, medical, and other essential personnel. In order to preserve self-worth and dignity, assistance should never appear as charity. Hence, working through local government is paramount. This action provides legitimacy to the local, regional, and national government structures.

Delaware National Guard supports COVID-19 testing.
   Photo by: Capt. Brenda Mackie


U.S. international prestige rests on encouraging international cooperation and direction as a global leader. The United States must demonstrate that even in a pandemic, it continues to display empathy to all inflicted countries and strong resolve in meeting this crisis. US actions speak louder than Chinese disinformation. Everyone matters, or no one matters. Shifting the five joint stability functions permits the United States to use existing infrastructure to empower desires end states: specifically, to achieve security, provide humanitarian assistance, ensure economic stabilization, promote rule of law, and encourage good governance and participation. This targeted systematic response to the pandemic not only allows the United States to use existing infrastructures but also to continue to be the global leader.

As a global leader in the pandemic recovery, the United States understands that concerted response bolsters global security. Global recovery ensures that US security cooperation activities continue unabated to ensure fragile states do not collapse from internal or external threats. The United States must ensure that both fragile states and trade partners recover quickly in order to maintain stability in critical regions and preserve the rights of states to freely transit the global commons (Preparing for the National Security Strategy 2020 and Beyond).

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