Moving American Foreign Policy from Military to Civilian Leadership

Thursday, February 24, 2011
4:00pm to 6:00pm

Richard Solomon, President of the congressionally established and funded United States Institute of Peace, will propose that American institutions responsible for foreign relations and national security, particularly the Department of State, are struggling to adapt to the multi-faceted challenges of today's post-Cold War and post-9/11 world.

It is not enough to send in troops and expect the military to build democratic nations where there is political turbulence driven by long-standing ethnic and religious hatreds and political rivalries. New approaches to managing conflict, including cross-cultural modes of negotiation, are required for effective international diplomacy. If Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' call for civilian leadership of US foreign relations is to be realized, our diplomats need training in new skills; and our institutions of diplomacy and their congressional funding need to be restructured. These are some of the issues that the Institute of Peace, under Dr. Solomon's leadership, is trying to change in the management of international conflict. The work of the Institute is gaining significant recognition and support, as evident in its construction of a dramatic headquarters facility at the Northwest corner of the National Mall – in the shadow of the Department of State.