Since 2006, Center for Civilians in Conflict has successfully engaged with warring parties who show a commitment to, and maintain a successful track record of, civilian protection efforts in armed conflict. Our work provides troops and their leadership with a modern, strategic, and moral view of civilians in the battle space—as well as the right tools to avoid and properly address harm. We advocate for these principles and provide advice, training, and guidance on better civilian-centric planning of operations, protection of civilians during operations, and practical ways to track and respond to civilian harm.
We do not contract with warring parties (i.e. we do not take money from warring parties themselves) preferring to remain independent from their missions and funding streams. We function in a neutral advisory role, as advocates for civilians caught in armed conflict.
- Work with US military academies, pre-deployment training centers, and advanced schools to train the military leaders of tomorrow. The Center participates in training exercises that explore civilian protection and harm responses at US bases including Fort Belvoir, Fort Leavenworth, the Marine War College, and Fort Myer as well as at the Marine War College and West Point.
- Proactively engage with other militaries around the world that are willing to prioritize civilian protection and harm response in their training, including NATO and African Union nations. We’ve trained thousands of officers in the Afghan National Security forces utilizing our seven-step process for addressing civilian harm through programs at both the National Military Academy of Afghanistan, and the Afghan Command and Staff College.
- Develop a full array of best practices on civilian protection issues. At the Center, we work to institutionalize lessons learned on civilian protection, tracking and analysis, and making amends for civilian harm. These best practices have been used, for example, by the US military in developing various doctrinal materials shaping the future of military operations. Most recently, we were the only NGO on the drafting committee of the US Army’s first handbook on the protection of civilians The US Army Civilian Casualty Mitigation ATTP (Army Tactics Training Procedures), published in July 2012. We are working with the Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate, the US Army’s Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, and the Joint Center for Operational Analysis to insert civilian protection concerns and amends throughout all relevant publications. Outside the US, Center advisors have helped draft international doctrine to protect civilians in conflict, including a three-part Indirect Fire Policy for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
- Develop specific tactical guidance and frameworks for civilian casualty tracking and harm response—what we call "amends." These are two emerging issues in the international community and among several warring parties with which the Center has taken a lead advisory role, including with AMISOM in Somalia.
In the next two years, the Center will expand its military engagement program as needed.