The Civilian Response Corps is a group of civilian federal employees who are specially trained and equipped to deploy rapidly to provide conflict prevention and stabilization assistance to countries in crisis or emerging from conflict. The Corps includes members from nine federal departments and agencies, leveraging a diverse range of expertise for conflict prevention and stabilization.
One of the countries to which Civilian Response Corps members have been deployed is Afghanistan. In an effort to help Afghans improve the rule of law in their country, a U.S. civilian-military group known as Combined Joint Interagency Task Force 435 advises Afghan officials on modernizing their justice and detainee systems.
Ambassador Robert Loftis is the acting Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at the State Department. He said the U.S. Department of State has learned that it needs to have the ability to call on other parts of the federal government to help in places like Afghanistan where the Corps is supporting Task Force 435’s desire to transition military detainees to Afghan control:
"We have the Department of Justice as a major partner in this and providing training to the Afghans on how to manage prisons; on how to run prosecutions; on how to manage courts; on how to protect their high-level judicial appointees. . . .These are not skills resident within the Department of State. They are resident within the U.S. government and they need to be part of that overall effort."
The Task Force also includes the US Agency for International Development, or USAID, and the Departments of Agriculture, and Homeland Security, among others. Corps members work in partnership with numerous Afghan ministries to support improvements to the justice system and support rehabilitating Afghan insurgents for reintegration into society. For example, the task force has helped create detainee review boards, developed educational programs and ensured that U.S. detainee systems align with the Afghan criminal justice system. Corps members from the Department of Justice provided corrections support and prosecutorial expertise, USAID Corps members met with local leaders to prepare communities to receive detainees, and Department of Agriculture Corps members provided farm training programs at the detention facility.
The Civilian Response Corps, comprised of nine U.S. agencies, is uniquely qualified to partner with countries like Afghanistan to address issues of political and economic instability.