This bill — the Department of Peacebuilding Act of 2019 — would establish a Dept. of Peacebuilding in the executive branch, to be headed by a Secretary of Peacebuilding. This department would be dedicated to peacebuilding, peacemaking, and the study and promotion of conditions conducive to both domestic and international peace and a culture of peace.
This bill would set forth a mission for this department that includes the cultivation of peace and peacebuilding as a strategic national policy objective and the development of policies that promote national and international conflict prevention, nonviolent intervention, mediation, peaceful conflict resolution, and structured conflict mediation.
The Secretary of Peacebuilding would sponsor conflict prevention and dispute resolution initiatives, facilitate peace summits between conflicting parties, encourage community policing, and support efforts by local community and religious groups to reduce gun violence, racial and ethnic violence, and prevent violence against women and LGBT Americans.
The following offices would be established within the Dept. of Peacebuilding, with Assistant Secretaries to be appointed by the president to head each one:
- Office of Peace Education and Training, charged with creating and implementing peace education and training curricula at the pre-kindergarten, elementary, secondary, university, and postgraduate levels.
- Office of Domestic Peacebuilding Activities, charged with developing new policies and building on existing proven programs to assist in crime prevention, previously incarcerated individuals’ re-entry into communities, creating strong and healthy families, providing restorative justice programs, training and deploying prevention and peacemaking personnel to neighborhoods of nonmilitary domestic conflict, implementing community-based policing to break down barriers between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve, and encouraging and facilitating the formation of locally administered citizen’s boards to recommend appropriate training for working compassionately and effectively with local populations.
- Office of International Peacebuilding Activities, charged with developing new programs and promoting existing proven programs to provide for the training and deployment of graduate of the Peace Academy (described below) and other nonmilitary conflict prevention and peacemaking personnel, supporting national and regional conflict prevention and dispute resolution initiatives in countries experiencing strife, providing training for the administration of post-conflict reconstruction and demobilization in war-town societies, addressing the root causes of violence, eradicating extreme hunger and poverty, achieving universal primary education, and empowering women and girls, and supporting the creation of a multinational non-violence peace force.
- Office of Technology for Peace, charged with making grants for the research and development of technologies in transportation, communications, agriculture and energy that are nonviolent in application and which encourage the conservation and sustainability of natural resources in order to prevent future conflicts over resource scarcity.
- Office of Arms Control and Disarmament, charged with advising interagency discussion regarding the reduction and elimination of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) around the world, assisting in assessing the locations of nuclear arms and WMD buildup, developing nonviolent strategies to deter the testing or use of nuclear weapons and other WMDs, and providing technical and legal support for the implementation and saving of contracts, agreements, and treaties addressing the elimination of nuclear weapons and other WMDs.
- Office of Peacebuilding Information and Research, charged with commissioning or compiling studies on the impact or war and other types of violence, compiling information on effective community peacebuilding activities and disseminating that information to government and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) both domestically and abroad, commissioning or compiling research on the effect of violence in the media, commissioning or compiling research on the effects of gun violence in the U.S., publishing a monthly journal of the Dept. of Peacebuilding’s activities, and sponsoring conferences throughout the U.S. to create awareness of the Dept. of Peacebuilding’s research.
- Office of Human Rights and Economic Rights, charged with furthering the incorporation of the principles of human rights into all agreements between the U.S. and other countries, consulting with appropriate parties to gather information on and documenting domestic and international human rights abuses, providing trained observers to work with NGOs to create a climate conducive to respect for human rights, conducting economic analyses of resource scarcity as a source of conflict and making recommendations for the nonviolence prevention of such scarcity, assisting in developing strategies to promote full compliance with domestic and international labor rights law, conducting policy analysis to ensure that U.S. international development investments positively impact recipient countries’ peace and stability, and disseminating policies and research in consultation with appropriate State Dept. entities.
- Intergovernmental Advisory Council on Peace, charged with providing a forum for representatives of all levels of government to discuss peace issues, promoting intergovernmental relations and offering professional mediation services to ameliorate and resolve intergovernmental and intragovernmental conflict and as needed, and submitting an at least biennial report to appropriate parties reviewing federal peace activities’ impact on all levels of U.S. government.
A Federal Interagency Committee on Peace would also be established to coordinate the Dept. of Peacebuilding’s actions, as well as its actions with other federal agencies.
This bill would also establish a U.S. Peace Academy, which would act as a sister organization to the military service academics. The Academy would research and teach cutting-edge techniques for the reduction of violence both domestically and globally. It’d also join the military service academies in providing assistance to the military in international conflict resolution. The Academy’s faculty would be derived from well-established practitioners known for best practices in the field of violence reduction and conflict resolution.
The Dept. of Defense (DOD) and the State Dept. would be required to consult the Dept. of Peacebuilding concerning nonviolent means of conflict resolution when a conflict between the U.S. and any other government or entity is foreseeable, imminent, or occurring.
Finally, the Dept. of Peacebuilding would encourage citizens to observe and celebrate the blessing of peace and endeavor to create peace on Peace Days, which would include discussions of the professional activities and achievements of peacemakers.