Category Guides, Handbooks and Case Studies


This framework, Defense Support to Stabilization (DSS): A Guide for Stabilization Practitioners, was developed over the past two years by PKSOI in cooperation with the Office of the Secretary of Defense—Counternarcotics and Stabilization Policy (OSD-CNSP), and in coordination with a wide-ranging planning team involving members from across the joint force and the interagency.

Created in fulfillment of Task 1.1.5 of the December 2020 Secretary of Defense’s Irregular Warfare Implementation Plan, this framework serves as a reference guide that outlines how the Department of Defense, in support of U.S. Government (USG) strategy and interagency partners, supports USG stabilization efforts, missions, and activities.

As this is a DoD framework, it begins by highlighting DoD policy for DSS outlined in DoD Directive 3000.05 Stabilization, before providing an overview of US strategy including the 2022 National Security Strategy, 2018 Stabilization Assistance Review, 2022 National Defense Strategy, 2020 Strategy to Prevent Conflict and Promote Stability, and 2019 Strategy on Women, Peace, and Security. Following a review of other pertinent policy and doctrine, this framework outlines how the US Government in general, and DoD in particular, is organized to achieve US stabilization goals. The framework then details how the USG implements, and DoD supports, stabilization efforts.

Two appendixes detail the law governing Defense Support for Stabilization Activities (DSSA) and DoD implementation guidance for this important Security Cooperation program. Finally, there are twenty-three annexes of the U.S. strategies, policies, programs, and doctrine that comprise the USG and DoD framework for stabilization.

PKSOI, in coordination with OSD-CNSP, is committed to periodically updating this DSS Guide for Stabilization Practitioners as key strategies, policies, and doctrine are published.

To read or download this guide please click on the links below:


Maritime Stability Operations: A Foreign Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Case Study

Photo by: Ensign Joseph Painter U.S. Navy

Maritime stability operations are a subset of larger stability operations which take advantage of the freedoms that operating from the sea and operating under maritime law provide.  Maritime stability operations are divided into two types, steady state and crisis response.  Steady state stability operations are typically conducted by geographic combatant commanders in the form of exercises, port visits, or peace operations.  Crisis response stability operations come in the form of civil support operations, Foreign Humanitarian Assistance (FHA), and disaster response.  Whether operations are conducted by U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard units, alone or along with allied maritime forces, each agency follows a list of tenets set forth for maritime stability operations planning.  This case study presents a FHA crisis response mission which was small in scope but demonstrates planners effectively and efficiently employing the tenets of maritime stability operations to ensure mission effectiveness.

Click on the link below to read the full Case Study or click the button below to Download.

Training Scenarios: Preparing to Prevent

November 26, 2014

Editor: Dwight Raymond, PKSOI

This handbook was developed by PKSOI at the U.S. Army War College in Sept, 2014 – a product of the U.S. AFRICOM conference on Women, Peace, and Security. The handbook contains training scenarios to help military leaders and trainers address conflict-related sexual violence in the context of peacekeeping missions. It begins with an overview of conflict-related sexual violence, then provides situational information as background for the eight training scenarios. Users of this document are encouraged to modify the material as appropriate to support their particular training requirements.

MAPRO: Mass Atrocity Prevention and Response Options

March 6, 2012

This Handbook is designed to be a reference for policy makers to monitor, prevent, and if necessary respond to genocide and other mass atrocity situations. It addresses topics promulgated in the August 2011 Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities (PSD-10) as well as recommendations contained in Preventing Genocide, the 2008 study published by the Genocide Prevention Task Force (GPTF).

BCT-PRT Unity of Effort

September 15, 2011

This is not a “how-to” manual. Rather, this guide is designed to provide BCT and PRT leaders and staffs a set of tools, approaches, and observations — gathered from recently deployed personnel — which, if properly coordinated, communicated, and planned for during BCT/PRT “Road to War” training, will help improve conditions for “unity of effort.”

Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments (MPICE)

June 4, 2010

MPICE provides a system of metrics that can assist in formulating policy and implementing strategic and operational plan to transform conflict and bring stability to war-torn societies. These metrics provide the content for baseline operational and strategic-level assessments allowing policymakers to diagnose potential obstacles to stabilization prior to an intervention.

MARO: Mass Atrocity Response Operations

May 20, 2010

The Mass Atrocity Response Operations (MARO) Project seeks to enable the United States and the international community to stop genocide and mass atrocity as part of a broader integrated strategy by explaining key relevant military concepts and planning considerations. The MARO Project is based on the insight that the failure to act in the face of mass killings of civilians is not simply a function of political will or legal authority; the failure also reflects a lack of thinking about how military forces might respond. States and regional and international organizations must better understand and prepare for the unique operational and moral challenges that military forces would face in a MARO.

Guide to Rebuilding Public Sector Services

October 9, 2009

In this guide, the authors provide a set of principles and operational guidelines for peacekeepers to help the country restore public infrastructure and services. The extent to which public sector reconstruction takes place is a function of the mission, the level of resources, expertise of the troops, and the host country context. The guide provides courses of action to both planners and practitioners in executing these operations and supplements existing and emerging documents. The material here draws from both theoretical and analytical frameworks as well as from the experience and lessons learned from practitioners.

Guiding Principles for Stabilization and Reconstruction

October 5, 2009

The manual focuses on host nation outcomes, not programmatic inputs or outputs. It is focused primarily on what the host nation and international actors are trying to achieve, not how they are trying to achieve it at the tactical level. It is not about how to conduct an election or disarm warring parties—it is about the outcomes that these activities support. Excellent “how-to” guides already exist across the U.S. government and partner institutions. These should be accessed regularly and used diligently in the conduct of these missions.

Guide to Rebuilding Governance in Stability Operations

June 3, 2009

This guide focuses on the military’s role in rebuilding and establishing a functional, effective, and legitimate nation-state; one that can assure security and stability for its citizens, defend its borders, deliver services effectively for its populace, and is responsible and accountable to its citizens. Neither a handbook nor a checklist, the document provides a comprehensive approach to planning and implementing a program to rebuild governance by U.S. peacekeeping forces during stability operations.