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Home > News & Policies > Press Secretary Briefings

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
June 5, 2008

Remarks by National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley at Lunch in Honor of the United States Institute of Peace
Kennedy Center
Washington, D.C.

MR. HADLEY: Senator Daschle, thank you very much for those kind words. I'm very grateful. Ambassador Solomon, members of the board of the U.S. Institute of Peace, distinguished guests, I want to thank you for inviting me to join you for lunch today. This is a great day for the United States Institute of Peace. Today we celebrate the new permanent home of this truly remarkable organization. Once your new facility is complete, the Institute will be able to expand its efforts toward accomplishing its urgent mission: to prevent and resolve violent conflicts; to promote post-conflict stability and development; and to increase peacebuilding capacity, tools and intellectual capital.

This morning the President discussed the surest way to prevent conflicts and promote the long-term stability in the world -- and that is to help more people live in freedom and to help more nations build the institutions of liberty. The President renewed America's commitment to help nations build these institutions. And he also identified a new challenge: nations struggling to build these institutions while under fire from terrorists and other transnational threats. The President spoke about some of the ways the United States and our partners are meeting this new challenge, and this afternoon I'd like to expand a bit more on those efforts.

In the 20th century, most of the security challenges we faced were rooted in the behavior and ideology of states, especially those states darkened by fascism and communism. In the 21st century, we face transnational threats that operate in many states, but that call no single state home. These threats include terrorist networks, organized crime, and traffickers in drugs, weapons, money, and even human beings. These threats operate like parasites within the body of the state, and the simple truth is that many states are simply too weak to fight them off.

These parasites have considerable resources while their hosts have few. Well-armed terrorist groups, well-funded often by drug money, defend their safe havens with brutal violence, while the governments under siege by these groups often struggle just to stand up basic police protection for their people. It's a mismatch. And of course, governments are weakest during post-conflict upheavals -- after wars or the collapse of brutal dictatorships.

Regrettably, in a post-9/11 world we must see these weak states as potential incubators for terrorists and other transnational threats -- threats that could reach our homeland or the homelands of our friends and allies. So we have a vital national security interest in helping these states strengthen themselves and fend off these threats.

The challenge is to help post-conflict states or failing states or states under siege to transition to a place where their people are secure, democratic institutions are functioning, and development assistance can help speed them along the path to prosperity.

We are trying to meet this challenge in a comprehensive way. First, we're making clear our goals; second, we're helping to provide security; third, we're developing greater civilian capacities; fourth, we are building stronger international partnerships; fifth, we are strengthening our partnerships with non-governmental organizations; and sixth, we are helping more states invest in their people. Let me go through these one at a time.

First, we're making clear our goals, by defining the institutions of liberty that are necessary for success. As the President said this morning, these institutions include a democratic system of government, a vibrant free press, an independent judiciary, a free enterprise system, and places of worship where people are free to practice their faith.

Helping nations strengthen the institutions of liberty does not mean imposing our own form of these institutions upon them. In many nations, these institutions will look quite different from those in the United States. They will reflect the unique history and culture of the nations themselves. Yet these institutions are necessary to give the people of these nations the realistic hope of a better life and to help strengthen the resistance of those nations to the transnational threats of the 21st century.

Second, to build the institutions of liberty we are helping weak and failing states provide security for their people. As the President said this morning, the biggest lesson learned in Iraq and Afghanistan is that a basic level of security is required for progress in building the institutions of liberty. The United States and our partners are helping states under siege improve security in several ways.

We are helping to improve security by training and equipping other nations' security forces. In Lebanon, the United States has provided vehicles, arms, and communications equipment that can strengthen the Lebanese Army in fighting terrorist groups and resisting armed militias. Some of this equipment is required very quickly and there is a continuing need for training assistance to these countries. Secretaries Gates and Rice want to be able to offer this type of assistance in a timely way to more nations, but we need the help of Congress to extend and expand the authorities that make this type of assistance possible.

We are helping to improve security by training other nations' police forces. The United States co-founded the Center for Excellence for Stability Police Units, located in Italy. This center helps "train the trainers" who then train stability police units to deploy to conflict areas around the world. Through this initiative, we have helped train 1,400 trainers from 26 countries since 2004.

We are helping to improve security by training international peacekeepers. Through the U.S. Global Peace Operations Initiative, the United States has helped train more than 41,000 peacekeepers from 45 countries, and more than 35,000 of them are already deployed in 18 peacekeeping operations around the world.

Third, to help build the institutions of liberty, we are developing greater civilian capacities. Providing security requires several different skill sets, and building the institutions of liberty requires even more. To help local leaders strengthen the rule of law, we need judges and prosecutors. To help them rebuild infrastructure, we need civil engineers. To help them advance social justice, we need health care workers and teachers. These skills are found in civilian government agencies and in the private sector. Yet they must be able to operate in dangerous environments and to cooperate with security forces, whether they are the nation's own forces, international peacekeepers, or the military forces of the United States and our allies and partners.

We can help develop this civilian capacity by building a Civilian Response Corps. As the President described this morning, a Civilian Response Corps would include 250 full-time civilian government experts able to deploy within 48 hours, 2,000 more U.S. government employees able to leave their regular jobs and deploy within 60 days, and 2,000 civilian experts outside the government pre-cleared and pre-trained to deploy quickly as well. Building a Civilian Response Corps is a priority for the President, and we urge Congress to make it a priority and to act quickly so this force can become a reality.

To help develop civilian capabilities for the long term, we must strengthen the State Department and other federal agencies such as the United States Agency for International Development. The President has approved the expansion of the Foreign Service by 1,100 officers and USAID by 300 officers. We're also strengthening these agencies by increasing the number of officers trained in key languages. Strengthening these agencies also means expanding exchange programs that allow students and professionals to share their experiences. And strengthening these agencies means making our foreign assistance programs as effective as we can in helping nations build the institutions of liberty.

Fourth, to help build the institutions of liberty we are strengthening our international partnerships. Other nations have created organizations to tap into their civilian expertise, including Britain's Post-Conflict Reconstruction Unit and Canada's CANADEM. As more nations develop their civilian capabilities, multilateral organizations must step forward with planning and coordinating mechanisms that will allow all our nations to work together in the field. Interoperability must become as central a concept for our civilian capabilities as it is for our military.

One encouraging sign is the establishment of the United Nations Peacebuilding Commission. The Commission was created to help convene all the actors committed to help a particular country and work with them to develop a common strategy. This approach has been used in Sierra Leone, Burundi, and Guinea-Bissau, yet it has much more potential. By fusing more of its planning on -- by focusing more of its planning on building the institutions of freedom and democracy, the Commission can become even more effective in helping to prevent conflict and instability.

Fifth, to help the institutions of liberty, we are strengthening our partnerships with non-governmental organizations. NGOs are some of the most dynamic and energetic partners we have, and they are helping build free institutions in Iraq, Kosovo, and around the world. Our challenge is to ease the culture shock that many NGOs and security forces experience when they must work closely together. The U.S. military recognizes the value added by partners who are not in uniform, and is getting used to working with NGOs that chart an independent course to achieve common objectives. In turn, we must find a way and more ways for NGOs to be able to accept the security support offered by the military, without feeling they are compromising their independence.

Sixth, to help build the institutions of liberty, we are encouraging nations to invest in their people. As security grows and governments begin to function more effectively, they will take more responsibility for the future of their people. We have an obligation to help as these governments make the choices and investments that will lead their people to enduring peace and prosperity.

Our nation's development strategy includes historic commitments to fight HIV/AIDS, malaria and neglected tropical diseases. It also includes the innovative approach of the Millennium Challenge Corporation. By signing a compact with the MCC, a nation commits to specific goals to improve health and education, fight corruption, and expand political and economic freedom. The United States, in turn, agrees to help and back projects that can produce transformational change in the countries that receive those grants. We urge Congress to recognize the value of this approach, and fully fund the President's request for the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

Our development approach also includes helping nations expand the role of women in society. This is a matter of morality and a matter of basic math. No nation that cuts off half its population from opportunity will be as productive or prosperous as it should be.

Finally, our development approach includes a commitment to open markets by lowering barriers to trade and investment, and rejecting the protectionism that keeps millions in developing countries stuck in poverty. We are working to open global markets by concluding an ambitious Doha Round agreement this year that will allow trade to lift millions out of poverty.

As states build effective and accountable institutions for their people, they need the help of the United States Institute of Peace. Each nation making this journey can benefit from your resources, and each nation in turn can become a resource for you as you evaluate results, develop best practices, enrich the literature of the field, and promote greater understanding of what actually works in the real world.

The work of the Institute is already making a difference, but your greatest impact is yet to come. Your new home will include a Public Education Center that will draw students from across the nation and around the world. These students will learn what can be done to help prevent conflicts and advance peace in our world.

By broadening minds and opening hearts, the United States Institute of Peace will help inspire future generations to find even more ways to serve the cause of peace and freedom. And they in turn will help create a better world.

Thank you very much.