The U.S. Civilian Response Corps hit an important milestone this April. After only 18 months in operation, the Corps is up to 100 active members. The Corps brings together specially trained civilian federal employees who are equipped to rapidly deploy to fragile states in order to prevent conflict or assist in the stabilization of countries either in or emerging from crisis.
A case in point is Haiti. Just hours after the January 12th earthquake there, the Corps was working with U.S. government personnel already stationed in the country for development projects. The Corps is also on the ground in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A dozen corps members are at the forefront of U.S. efforts to help deal with one of the world's deadliest conflict of the past decade. The team is trained to address the country's most severe crises, which include rape as a weapon of war and food security.
The Corps has also deployed twenty people to Afghanistan, the largest on-going deployment of Corps members. Last year, Corps members set up a team to help with the organization of Afghanistan's national elections. They also established a team to focus on strategic civilian-military planning, as the U.S. effort in Afghanistan will continue to be largely a military operation.
The Civilian Response Corps is able to do what it does thanks to an innovative partnership that leverages a wide range of expertise and experience from eight federal departments and agencies. Members in the active component can deploy within 48 hours notice in order to focus on critical immediate needs in the field, including logistics and resource mobilization.
Supplementing this full-time expertise, the Corps also has a standby component of more than 800 full-time federal employees who can mobilize, when necessary, to support reconstruction and stabilization operations, expanding the Corps expert pool to over 900 members.
Failing and post-conflict states pose one of the greatest national and international security challenges of our time. Struggling states have become breeding grounds for terrorist activity, violent crime, trafficking, and humanitarian catastrophes. It is into these situations that the Civilian Response Corps is uniquely prepared to go and act as a force for peace, reconciliation, and reconstruction.