The Peace Operations Policy Program (POPP) was established in January 1994 with a functional approach to the study of intervention and the challenges third parties face in trying to bring relief, security, and stability to people in crisis. It views peace operations as encompassing what the U.S. Government considers stability and reconstruction operations, the UK peace support operations, NATO crisis response operations, the UN peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations, and the relief community complex humanitarian emergencies.
POPP is composed of three pillars. The first involves education. The program has offered a masters degree in peace operations since the fall of 1997. Over 140 individuals form our alumni body and another 75 are currently matriculating. Our students are challenged to tackle a wide range of issues such as similarities and differences between operations to address conflict versus natural disasters; provision of humanitarian assistance; repatriation or resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons; conducting elections and building democracy; establishing the rule of law; and demobilization, disarmament, and reintegration of ex-combatants. The program is particularly interested in promoting positive working relations between military and civilian actors engaged in these operations so the role of diplomats, international and non-governmental organizations, and military forces figure prominently in readings and classroom discussion. Many of our graduates are now working for the U.S. Government.
Application serves as the second pillar, as faculty members and associates conduct programs around the globe aimed at managing conflict and promoting development of governmental and civil institutions. POPP field programs have helped facilitate decision-making in developing African nations, taught principles of good governance and market economics in transitional states, and monitored elections in newly democratized states.
Finally, research constitutes the third pillar. POPP faculty and associates conduct original, objective, rigorous research that contributes to the body of useful knowledge on peace operations, which is reported in scholarly journals and professional publications. Our most recent endeavors have included an investigation into the presence, duration, level of occurrence (strategic, operational, or tactical), and importance of 500 tasks accomplished by civilian and military actors in 13 post-Cold War peace operations for U.S. Joint Forces Command; an assessment of the effectiveness of disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration programs in Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea Bissau—with an eye toward future efforts in Côte d’Ivoire—for the National Defense University’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies; evaluating the “International Institutes Cooperation Program” for the United Nations University for Peace in Costa Rica; collecting data related to Afghanistan and Haiti to validate and test the expert opinion methodology proposed by the “Measuring Progress in Conflict Environments” (MPICE) framework on behalf of Logos Technologies; and modeling pro-active humanitarian assistance activities for SAIC and the U.S. Navy. Past sponsors have also included the U.S. Department of State; the U.S. Agency for International Development; U.S. Pacific Command; the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Program Analysis & Evaluation; the U.S. Army’s Peacekeeping Institute; NATO; the Institute for Defense Analyses; the Institute for Technology of Intelligent Systems, Bundeswehr University, Munich; the U.S. Institute of Peace; and World Vision International.
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