As a board member of the World Policy Institute I heard my SheSource colleague Patricia DeGennaro, an expert on National Security issues, describe recent efforts to improve civilian-military cooperation in Afghanistan. She outlined a comprehensive update of the “whole of governance” philosophy and practice that integrates defense, diplomacy and development as integral, inter-related components to achieving effective foreign policy objectives. Her analysis of the impact this has on foreign policy was striking and it reinforced my experience-based perspective on all for- and not-for-profit capacity-building efforts local, national, regional or global. I have been a staunch advocate of cross-sector collaboration for decades, yet I still was jolted by DeGenarro’s stark statistics. Multiple indicators show positive progress in those areas with provincial reconstruction teams led by nations that follow whole government principles. Juxtapose that to the areas with PRTs supported by countries whose presence still primarily is military-driven where only violence has steadily increased.
The UN-Security Council-mandated International Security Assistance Force ISAF calls for the type of coordination practiced by nations like the Netherlands, where we can measure success. In the US, we face myriad obstacles to achieving this balance of civilian and military engagement that requires increased cooperation among federal agencies with long histories of mutual distrust and wildly disproportionate budgets. Add congressional district politics to those difficulties and you get a sense of the daunting challenge. Nonetheless, DeGennaro is championing just such an effort and, according to her first-hand accounts, many of the most senior US Generals believe it is the only way for any type of “victory.” See also: Leon Furth on “Forward Engagement” and “Anticipatory Governance”; Gabriel Marcella on “Lessons from Colombia”; Lamont Hempel on Environmental Governance: Global Challenge.
By serendipity, I addressed the Leadership Forum at about the same time DeGennaro addressed WPI and one of my central themes was how critical it is to get leaders from different sectors to recognize their mutual self-interest in collaborating. This has been an area that I have pioneered since initiating multi-sector partnerships in the 1970s. I worked with Nelson Mandela bringing together divergent constituencies for reconstruction and development in South Africa. I brought together environmentalists and extractive companies to develop renewable resources in the US and abroad. I helped multi-national corporations collaborate with nations and NGOs on improving their HIV/AIDS prevention, protection, testing and treatment.
You can watch this one-minute clip in which I briefly describe critical skills of carefully listening to divergent views and acting as a translator to help seeming adversaries grasp that they have much to gain from become allies. You can learn more about how I do this work globally by contacting beCause Global Consulting and you can follow me on Twitter @NadineHack.