As postconflict stabilization, reconstruction, and peacebuilding efforts draw to a close, foreign actors and their host nation counterparts undergo a “transition” period of shared responsibility or mutual support to one in which host nation institutions assume self-reliant administrative control over the full range of state functions.

These “postconflict transitions” pose multiple challenges including dilemmas over timing and sequencing; sovereignty, political legitimacy, local ownership, and dependence on foreign assistance; and constructive societal reform. As such, postconflict transitions pose a critical node for the planning and execution of postconflict stability and reconstruction operations and a topic in need of closer examination.

While many PCR studies and field reports routinely refer to postconflict transitions as a significant milestone, no attempt has been made to systematically examine the underlying social processes and mechanisms at work. Additionally, practitioners have struggled with creating a conceptual framework and adequately operationalizing activities inherent to transition. In collaboration with the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI) at the US Army War College, ISPL is examining postconflict transitions as a crucial process during recovery from internal crisis or conflict.