"One of the challenges in our world, now and for many years to come," said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, "will be to deal with weak and poorly governed states." States on the verge of failure create environments of anarchy and conflict where violence and oppression can spread; where arms traffickers and other transnational criminals can operate with impunity. Failed states also create havens for terrorists and extremists.
"It is clear that managing the problems of state failure," said Secretary Rice, "will be a feature of U.S. foreign policy for the foreseeable future." Over the past several years, the U.S. has been assisting countries at risk of or emerging from conflict, countries like Haiti, Liberia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. For too long, reconstruction and stabilization efforts have been borne principally by the military. But experience has demonstrated that such missions are best led by civilian government organizations.
This is why President George Bush has proposed a Civilian Response Corps, to be composed of three parts. The first is an active component made up of two-hundred fifty civilian experts who can deploy rapidly to the scene of a crisis. These individuals will support foreign leaders and citizens as they stabilize and rebuild their states.
In addition, the U.S. will train up to two-thousand standby members of the Civilian Response Corps. These are regular federal employees, including doctors and lawyers, engineers and agronomists who volunteer for additional training and will be available in the event of a crisis.
Finally, President Bush has called for a group of two-thousand private citizen experts to make up a reserve component of the Civilian Response Corps.
The ultimate goal of the Corps, said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, "is to enable countries in crisis to transition as quickly as possible to governing themselves, sustaining themselves, and securing themselves -- without U.S. or international assistance."