Accountable state security institutions are a cornerstone of good governance. For civilian victims and survivors of harm, accountability can reaffirm their humanity, promote healing, and reduce the likelihood that harm will recur in the future. Yet all too often, accountability for harm remains elusive.
“(Un)Accountable: Rethinking US Security Sector Accountability Across the Domestic-International Divide” explores how shortcomings in the accountability practices of US security institutions, from domestic law enforcement to military operations abroad, can both enable harm and undercut the credibility of democratic governance.
The report, produced by Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) in partnership with the Stimson Center, is based on in-depth research and interviews with impacted communities, civil society leaders, academics, and policymakers. The report details the shared causes and consequences of unaccountability across US security sectors, as well as recommendations for improving accountability practices. The report addresses but also goes beyond questions about criminal accountability for individual unlawful conduct in order to reimagine what comprehensive accountability for harm might and should entail, regardless of legality or perpetrator and with victims and survivors at the center.
As part of the research, CIVIC and the Stimson Center also commissioned YouGov to conduct a nationally representative survey of attitudes around accountability based on a sample of 1,000 Americans. Download the survey findings here: