Save the U.S. Army’s Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute: An Open Letter


As people who have dedicated our careers to national security issues, we are deeply concerned about the Army’s imminent decision to eliminate the Department of Defense’s forces’ joint proponent for complex operations — the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI).

For two and a half decades:

PKSOI has been the chief coordinating organization infusing doctrine, training, education, and operations with best practices needed to effectively conduct complex missions in states and regions threatened by, or currently experiencing, conflict, terrorism, and other grave threats to security. In doing so, PKSOI saves U.S. servicemembers’ lives.

PKSOI has been a critical bridge between the Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development , and the vast U.S. military structure, ensuring U.S. national security goals are managed with greater harmony and effectiveness.

PKSOI has been an important conduit between the U.S. military and civilians, to other militaries and international organizations throughout the world who join to conduct complex operations. Indeed, PKSOI is the approved NATO Partnership Education Training Center (PTEC) for NATO on behalf of the United States.

PKSOI has acted as a key interlocutor between non-governmental organizations and the military; preparing our forces to understand key, large actors in these operations.

Even in an era of great power competition, complex operations will not go away and may actually become more crucial. To consolidate hard-won victories and secure the peace, all elements of national power must work together across a wide range of operations. We need PKSOI to continue to support our troops and civilians in harm’s way. With 42 billets at a cost of $3 million per year, this is a worthy investment that the military and nation will need as we continue to pivot to the future.

Sincerely yours,

John C. Acree, former director, Civil-Military Cooperation, U.S. Agency for International Development (8/9/2018)

Wendy R. Anderson, former Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of Defense

William C. Banks, founding director, Institute for National Security and Counterterrorism, professor of law and professor of Public Administration and international affairs emeritus, Syracuse University College of Law, Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs (8/9/2018)

Lt. Gen. David W. Barno, U.S. Army (ret.), U.S. and coalition commander for Afghanistan, 2003 to 2005

Amb. (ret.) Robert M. Beecroft

Dr. Nora Bensahel, visiting professor of strategic studies, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (8/9/2018)

Amb. (ret.) Ryan Crocker

Beth Cole, former director of Civilian-Military Cooperation, U.S. Agency for International Development

Joseph J. Collins, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability operations (8/9/2018)

Melissa Dalton, former senior advisor for force planning, Department of Defense (8/9/2018)

Hon. Janine Davidson, former undersecretary of the U.S. Navy

Dave Dilegge, editor-in-chief, Small Wars Journal (8/9/2018)

Brig. Gen. Kimberly Field, U.S. Army (ret.)

Dr. Johanna Mendelson Forman, senior advisor and co-founder, Office of Transition Initiatives, U.S. Agency for International Development

Volker Franke founding director of the Ph.D. program in international conflict, Department of Political Science & International Affairs, Kennesaw State University (8/16/18)

Linnea Gavrilis

Col. (ret.) James K. Greer, former director of the School of Advanced Military Studies and leader of peacekeeping troops in the Balkans and stability operations in Iraq (8/9/2018)

Maj Gen. (ret.) William Grimsley,  former DCG Operations for MND-B, Iraq; former DCG Operations III CORPS  (8/9/2018)

Joseph P. Gregoire, coordinator for security governance initiative at the U.S. embassy in Mali and retired foreign service officer (8/16/18)

Todd Harvey, former acting secretary of defense for strategy, plans, and capabilities

Hon. John Herbst, former ambassador to Uzbekistan and Ukraine, and former coordinator for reconstruction and stabilization, U.S. Department of State

Hon. Kath Hicks, former deputy undersecretary of defense for policy

Lt. Gen. (ret.) Ben Hodges, Pershing Chair, Center for European Policy Analysis; partner, Berlin Global Advisors (8/9/2018)

Bruce Hoffman, former director of the Center for Security Studies and a tenured professor at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service

Sarah Holewinski, senior fellow, Center for a New American Security

Victoria K. Holt, former deputy assistant secretary, International Organization Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Neal Keny-Guyer, chief executive officer, Mercy Corps

David Kilcullen, former senior counterinsurgency advisor, Multinational Force Iraq

Rachel Kleinfeld, co-founder of the Truman Security Project, and senior fellow at the Conflict and Governance Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

James R. Kunder, former acting deputy administrator at USAID, former director of the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance; former assistant administrator for Asia and the Near East at USAID (8/16/18)

Scott E. Jacobs, president and chief executive officer, New Century US, and former senior executive service (ret.), executive assistant director, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (8/16/18)

Mark R. Jacobson, U.S. Army veteran and former deputy NATO senior civilian representative in Afghanistan (8/9/2018)

Seth Jones, former representative for the commander of U.S. Special Operations Command to the assistant secretary of defense for special operations

Emily Knowles, programme director in the Remote Warfare Programme, Oxford Research Group (8/16/18)

Harvey Langholtz, Ph.D., executive director, Peace Operations Training Institute (8/9/2018)

Col. Steven Leonard, U.S. Army (ret.), former assistant chief of staff, Combined Arms Center, Ft. Leavenworth

Maj. Gen. Alphonso E. Lenhardt, U.S. Army (ret.), former deputy administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development, former ambassador to Tanzania, former sergeant at arms, U.S. Senate, former commanding general, U.S. Army Recruiting Command (8/16/18)

Amb. (ret.) Dawn Liberi

Howard R. Lind, president and executive director, International Stability Operations Association (8/9/2018)

Clare Lockhart, director, Institute for State Effectiveness (8/16/18)

Amb. (ret.) Robert Loftis, former acting coordinator for reconstruction and stabilization, Department of State

Mark V. Lonsdale, director, operational studies, Specialized Tactical Training Unit (8/9/2018)

Jahara “Franky” Matisek, Department of Military and Strategic studies, Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences (8/16/18)

Col. Christopher T. Mayer, U.S. Army (ret.) (8/16/18)

Amb. (ret.) Stephen G. McFarland (8/16/18)

Amb. (ret.) Sherwood McGinnis, Ph.D., former professor at the Army War College (8/16/18)

Brian McKeon, former deputy under secretary of defense for policy and acting under secretary (8/9/2018)

Tom McNaugher, former director, RAND Arroyo Center retired senior visiting professor at Georgetown’s Center for Security Studies (8/16/18)

Dr Jerry Meyerle, principal research scientist, strategic advisor to U.S. Central Command (8/9/2018)

Hon. James Miller, former undersecretary of defense for policy

Amb. (ret.) Ronald Neumann

Michael E. O’Hanlon, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution

Col. Mark A. Olinger, U.S. Army (ret.), former director of operations for the Defense Energy Support Center and former commander, Defense Energy Support Center–Middle East (8/9/2018)

Beth Paige, retired career minister, U.S. Agency for International Development

Francis J.H. Park, former policy and strategy advisor in the International Security Assistance Force and at Combined/Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (in Afghanistan and Iraq respectively) (8/9/2018)

Gen. David H. Petraeus, U.S. Army (ret.), former commander of coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan and of U.S. Central Command and former director of the Central Intelligence Agency

Eric G. Postel, former associate administrator, former assistant to the administrator for Africa, former assistant administrator, E3 Bureau, USAID (8/9/2018)

Susan Reichle, former counselor, U.S. Agency for International Development

Nadia Schadlow, former deputy national security advisor

James D. Schmitt, former chairman of the executive board, International Peace Operations Association (8/16/18)

Hon. Sarah Sewall, former undersecretary of the Bureau for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, U.S. Department of State

Ms. Jordan A Slopey, NATO Special Operations Headquarters (NSHQ); commander’s representative & liaison Officer to NATO HQ (8/9/2018)

Brig. Gen. Paul Gregory Smith, former land component commander of the Massachusetts Army National Guard (8/9/2018)

Leanne Smith, former chief of policy and best practice for UN peacekeeping, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (8/9/2018)

Jenny Taw, associate professor of government and international relations at Claremont McKenna College

Maj. Gen. Hugh Van Roosen, deputy military advisor, Office of Military Affairs, UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (8/9/2018)

Jodi Vittori, fellow in the Conflict and Governance Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (8/16/18)

Lt. Gen. Keith Walker, U.S. Army (ret.), former director, Army Capabilities Integration Center

William F. Wechsler, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for special operations and combating terrorism and former deputy assistant secretary of defense for counternarcotics and global threats (8/16/18)

David Whetham, PhD, professor of ethics & the military profession, Defence Studies Department, King’s College London (8/16/18)

Garland H. Williams, PhD, Colonel, U.S. Army (ret.) (8/9/2018)

Paul D. Williams, George Washington University (8/16/18)

Anne A. Witkowsky, former deputy assistant secretary of defense for stability and humanitarian affairs

Sam Worthington, chief executive officer of InterAction

Gen. Anthony Zinni, U.S. Marines (ret.), former commander of U.S. Central Forces Command (1997 to 2000)

If you would like to add your name as a signatory, please email Beth Cole at


Image: Capt. Keith E. Thayer, 4IBCT PAO