from Center for Preventive Action

Deadly Conflicts

Anticipation, Assessment, and Presentation

January 31, 2001

Report

Read an excerpt of "Deadly Conflicts."

Overview

On January 31st, the Center for Preventive Action held a workshop that gathered scholars and practitioners to examine the issue of early warning and conflict prevention. Important points that emerged from the discussion are the following:

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Conflict Prevention

  • A workable system for Early Warning is indispensable to making conflict prevention a credible foreign policy option.
  • The challenge of early warning does not reside in the lack of information but in its adequate processing, and the adequate link to policy-making and politics.
  • A number of approaches were considered: the U.S. government uses a list process to flag potential crises, the U.N has created a "framework for coordination team" to encourage departmental interaction and monitor potentially troubled regions.
  • Tools are being developed by governmental agencies and private contractors using new technologies to build models and software to help decision-makers anticipate, assess and address conflicts.
  • Policy makers stress two principal functions for early warning: avoiding surprises and identifying possible policy options.
  • Establishing a dialogue between relevant interlocutors in the intelligence and the policy-making community is of crucial importance.
  • The difficulty of relating early warning to policy making results from policymakers' time constraint and their aversion to acting on indeterminate events; in addition, the intelligence community maintains an institutional aversion to suggesting policy-options.

More on:

Conflict Prevention

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