Presidential Decision Directive 71 directed the State Department to establish a new program that would train civilian police for international peacekeeping missions around the world. The State Department would be the lead agency in the training of police for duty in places such as Kosovo and East Timor. The administration has asked Congress for 10-million dollars to fund the effort, which will bring together several US Government agencies. The United States currently has about 700 civilian police officers taking part in UN peacekeeping operations. Under the new plan, that number would be about two- thousand and the police would be trained ahead of time so they could be deployed quickly to trouble spots. The recent slowness in deploying civilian police to Kosovo provided evidence that present international capabilities are not adequate. And the ongoing deployment of CIVPOL (US civilian police) teams to East Timor and Sierra Leone showed that the need will not soon diminish.
Civilian police provide a sense of security and perform tasks that heavily armed troops are not well trained to handle. The units would be able to control crowds, deter vigilante actions, prevent looting and disarm civilian agitators, while at the same time winning the trust of the communities where they are deployed. In addition to encouraging other countries to develop similar programs, US officials are hoping for greater coordination with the United Nations. The goal is to develop training programs that will get local police and criminal justice systems functioning once stability has been restored by peacekeeping forces.
PDD 71 is the third in a series of PDDs designed to promote US interests by improving the ability to effectively manage or resolve inter and intra-state conflict. The other two documents, PDD-25, US Policy on Reforming Multilateral Peace Operations and PDD-56, Managing Complex Contingency Operations, and this new directive will be applied together.
The promulgation of PDD/NSC-71 highlights the extent to which, over time, the Presidential Directive series has declined as an instrument of Clinton Administration policy-making. This decline became particularly acute in the later years of the Clinton presidency.