‘Stability Operations and Development in a New Era: Making the Whole of Government Approach Work’

News_SD  U.S. Southern Command Admiral James Stavridis and the U.S. Department of State Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization Ambassador John Herbst, were among the leading military, political and development experts who addressed nearly 200 of their counterparts at a Creative Associates and Lockheed Martin sponsored symposium on Feb. 12, 2009.

The symposium, “Stability Operations and Development in a New Era: Making the Whole of Government Approach Work,” is being hailed as a breakthrough in the debate and dialogue about the increasingly coordinated roles that government and civilian agencies must take on in development initiatives in support of U.S. national security and foreign policy goals.

“For us, as contractors of the United States to really be able to succeed, we needed to have a unity on effort,” said M. Charito Kruvant, President and CEO of Creative Associates International, Inc. in her opening remarks at the Ronald Reagan Building Rotunda Room.

As a minority woman who has worked for more than 32 years to advance human prosperity through peace building, education and civil society development, she found that her work could complement that being carried out by military men.

“The work that those in military uniforms were doing was very complex work … and they would have and could have benefited from our knowledge of the community,” Mrs. Kruvant told the audience.”We know how to build latrines. We know how to rebuild schools. We know how to do community work. We also know how to entice women to become leaders in their own communities.

“Throughout the years … we have been committed to that mission. And today’s event is particularly important to us because we can now be more open about our eagerness to team up with the big boys,” Mrs. Kruvant said.

Mike Dignam, President of Lockheed Martin Readiness & Stability Operations, said today’s challenges require new and innovative solutions. “It requires a mix of what people call hard power and soft power, which we are mainly here to talk about, the increasing and critical role of stability operations in our national security environment today,” he said. “So in order to achieve…hard power and soft power and that mix, a term that’s now being used a lot is smart power. And smart power requires strong leadership.”

In the morning keynote address, U.S. Southern Command Admiral James Stavridis, gave a regional perspective of the whole of government approach and referred to a slide showing an iceberg as a metaphor for coordinated efforts.

“I think that this process of getting our ideas together is a little like an iceberg, in that the military is really just a little tip on this iceberg,” Admiral Stavridis said. “The power in the ability to launch these ideas is all of you, frankly, all of you who are in civilian clothes. It’s the interagency, as I’ve said endlessly this morning. It’s USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development). It’s OFDA (Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance). It’s State doing development, doing disaster relief, doing diplomacy. It’s also the private sector. It’s people like Charito and what they are doing at Creative Associates. … It is all of these international, interagency and private/public actors coming together. That’s the mass of the iceberg. That’s what’s under the waterline. And the military is simply the tip of this iceberg.”

In addition to Mrs. Kruvant, Mr. Dignam, Admiral Stavridis and Ambassador Herbst, speakers included Andrew S. Natsios, former Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and currently Distinguished Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service; Colonel Christopher Thomas Mayer, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Global Security Affairs; Dick McCall, Senior Vice President for Programs at Creative Associates; Dr. Janet Ballantyne, Senior Advisor U.S. Agency for International Development; James Schmitt, Vice President of the Creative Center for Stabilization and Development; James “Spike” Stephenson, Senior Advisor at Creative Associates and former USAID Mission Director in Iraq and Lebanon; Jeffrey (Jeb) Nadaner, Director of Strategy Information Systems & Global Systems at Lockheed Martin; Dr. John A. Nagl, Senior Fellow, Center for a New American Security; Margaret Daly Hayes, Ph.D. Vice President and Principal of EBR Associates; Ambassador (Ret.) Timothy M. Carney; Beth Tritter, Vice President of Government Relations, The Glover Park Group; Daniel Madden, Legislative Assistant in the Office of Rep. Vic Snyder; and Jessica Lewis, Senior Foreign Policy Advisor, Office of Sen. Harry Reid.

Panelists also examined policy priorities, best practices, and lessons learned to help explore the question of how development and stability operations can be pursued to achieve sustained progress.

For more information about Creative’s Center for Stabilization & Development, contact Creative Senior Associate Jessica Kruvant at Jessica@CreativeDC.com.