William Durch

Distinguished Fellow

Global Governance, Justice & Security

William J. Durch is a Distinguished Fellow with the Stimson Center. Prior to joining Stimson in 1990, Durch served as a Foreign Affairs Officer with the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, as a Research Fellow at the Harvard Center for Science and International Affairs, and as Assistant Director of the Defense and Arms Control Studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Since joining Stimson, he has been seconded as a Scientific Adviser to the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, and served as Project Director for the landmark Panel on United Nations Peace Operations (the Brahimi Report, August 2000). Durch also serves as a consultant to the International Forum on Challenges of Peace Operations and for the United Nations on projects focused on improving the effectiveness of peacekeeping at headquarters and in the field. He has taught courses on international organization and peacekeeping at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University; at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University; and the Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University.

Durch holds a Ph.D from MIT (Political Science/Defense Studies), an M.A. from George Washington University, and BSFS from Georgetown University.

Selected Publications

UN Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections (Stimson Center, 2014)

Understanding Impact of Police, Justice and Corrections Components in UN Peace Operations (Stimson Center, 2012)

“Exit and Peace Support Operations” (in Exit Strategies and State Building, Oxford University Press, 2012)

Supporting Peace: The End” (PRISM 2, no. 1, December 2010)

“The Economic Impact of Peacekeeping: An Update” (Economic Impacts of Crisis Response Operations, Vienna and Geneva: Schriftenreihe der Landesverteidigungsakademie, in cooperation with the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, 2010)

United Nations Police: Evolution, Present Capacity and Future Tasks” (Prepared for Organizing Police Forces in Post-Conflict Peace-Support Operations, Tokyo: Graduate Institute of Policy Studies, 2010).

Enhancing United Nations Capacity to Support Post-Conflict Policing and Rule of Law (Stimson Center, 2007, revised/updated 2010)

Improving Criminal Accountability in United Nations Peace Operations (Stimson Center, 2009)

The Purposes of Peace Operations, Annual Review of Global Peace Operations 2009 (Center on International Cooperation, 2009)

Post-Conflict Borders and UN Peace Operations: Part II, A Phased Approach to Post-Conflict Border Security (Stimson Center, 2007)

Twenty-First-Century Peace Operations (USIP, 2006)

Who Should Keep the Peace? Providing Security for Twenty-First Century Peace Operations (Stimson Center, 2006)

The Brahimi Report and the Future of UN Peace Operations (Stimson Center, 2003)


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Research & Writing
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Building Back Together & Greener

Executive Summary “The COVID-19 pandemic once again reminds us: Global crises require global solutions. We must act together to end the pandemic. And we must not forget those who are affected by extreme poverty and hunger. The UN Sustainable Developmen…

Beyond UN75: A Roadmap for Inclusive, Networked & Effective Global Governance

Beyond UN75 considers the new kinds of tools, networks, and institutions, combined with enlightened global leadership, required to take forward the twelve commitments at the heart of the UN75 Declaration

Coping with New and Old Crises

Revitalizing the global governance system for charting a durable, green, and broad-based recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic

Policy Memo
Improve UN Civilian Capacity to Build Back Swiftly in the Aftermath of Conflict

Establish standing and reserve capacities to meet UN needs for rapidly deployable civilian specialist skills in conflict prevention and peacebuilding efforts worldwide.

UN 2.0: Ten Innovations for Global Governance 75 Years beyond San Francisco

Improving prospects for a global governance architecture that is more inclusive, effective, and just during and beyond UN75

Project Note
Dialogue Summary: UN75 Regional Dialogue for the Americas (20 March–26 April 2020)

An open conversation about on the future of multilateralism and its impact at the global, regional, and national levels in the Americas.

Issue Brief
Reinvigorating Global Governance Through “Just Security”

2019 is an opportune moment to reflect on the current “anti-multilateralist turn” in international politics and the growing array of global problems that can only be managed multilaterally

Reforming the UN to Address 21st Century Threats

Building a “smart coalition” of state and non-state actors dedicated to engendering global governance reforms.

Press Release
Dialogue on Conflict, Fragile States Marks Anniversary of Albright-Gambari Commission Report

To mark the one-year anniversary of  the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance report that concluded that the U.N. must reform to address modern threats, UAE Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador Lana Nusseibeh and form…

Stimson in the News
Global Commission Update

In 2015, world leaders agreed to bold, results-driven United Nations action plans at the Addis Conference on Financing for Development in July, the New York Summit on Sustainable Development in September, and the Paris Climate Change Conference in Dece…

Press Release
Albright, Gambari Urge UN Reform at Columbia World Leader’s Forum

As the U.N. General Assembly convenes this week for its 70th session, the Co-Chairs of the Commission on Global Security Justice & Governance – former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Madeleine Albright and former Nigerian Foreign Ministe…

Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance, Washington D.C. Launch

As the Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance marks the U.S. launch of their new report Confronting the Crisis of Global Governance, Stimson Senior Associate William Durch discusses the significance of its recommendations.  The re…

Since The U.N.’S Organizational “Reboot”

In 1988, the great powers rediscovered the United Nations as an instrument of international security. In 1990, Stimson began its work monitoring and assessing the U.N.’s organizational “reboot” as an element of the emerging new framework for global pea…

UN Global Focal Point for Police, Justice and Corrections

The United Nations (UN) Global Focal Point on Police, Justice and Corrections (GFP) is the most recent initiative in a decade of efforts to improve the coherence and quality of the UN’s rule of law support to crisis- and conflict-affected countries. It…

Boots on the Ground

By William J. Durch and James A. Schear: Will U.S. peacekeepers be heading to the West Bank? Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recently stirred controversy when he suggested that a U.S.-led NATO force might backfill Israeli soldiers as they withdraw…

Stimson in the News
Bill Durch and Jim Schear’s Op-Ed on Peacekeeping in West Bank is Published in Foreign Policy

Will U.S. peacekeepers be heading to the West Bank? Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas recently stirred controversy when he suggested that a U.S.-led NATO force might backfill Israeli soldiers as they withdraw from Palestinian areas under a two-state…

Forceful Peacekeeping: Shared Risk, Sustainable Engagement

UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) recently knocked down a nasty militia called M23 with a political-military punch that may become a model for dealing with rights-abusing armed groups elsewhere in Africa. The political punch com…

Police in UN Peacekeeping: Improving Selection, Recruitment, and Deployment

By William J. Durch and Michelle Ker: In the past two decades, United Nations police have become an increasingly visible and important part of UN peacekeeping. As their roles have evolved from observing and reporting to training, reforming, operat…

UN Police, Justice and Corrections Programming: Summarizing Recent Practice

Case studies for nine UN complex operations and special political missions were developed by Stimson at the request of the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI) of the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations. They are descriptive…

Supporting Peace: The End

Stimson Senior Associate William Durch contributed an article, “Supporting Peace: The End,” to National Defense University’s journal Prism. This article focuses on exit strategies for peace support operations (PSOs) but addresses other elements of the…

Policy Paper
Challenges of Strengthening the Protection of Civilians in Multidimensional Peace Operations

Over the last decade, UN peacekeeping operations have more frequently been deployed into complex environments where there is little but an unstable peace to keep and where former belligerents and other armed groups regularly visit violence upon civilia…

Enhancing United Nations Capacity to Support Post-Conflict Policing and Rule of Law

Revised and updated in 2010 by editors William Durch and Madeline England This report provides an overview of recent trends in the use of police in UN peacekeeping missions, assesses chronic challenges, and lays out a series of proposals aimed at impro…

Post-Conflict Borders and UN Peace Operations

  This border security study from the Future of Peace Operations (FOPO) program is in two parts. For part one, author Kathleen A. Walsh surveyed more than 100 international border assistance and training programs. Her report, Border Security,…

Security Sector Reform Best Practices and Lessons Learned Reference Spreadsheet

FOPO, at the request of the Security Sector Reform (SSR) Unit in UN DPKO’s Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions, has collected and analyzed good practices in six key areas of security sector reform. As part of the process, FOPO produced a un…

Issue Brief
International Police: Improving Effectiveness and Responsiveness

The growing numbers of international police authorized by the Security Council to serve in UN peace operations attest to a recognition of the importance, and challenge, of fostering the rule of law in post-conflict environments. To date, however, the U…

Issue Brief
Ending Impunity: New Tools for Criminal Accountability in UN Peace Operations

One of the most challenging problems for building the rule of law in post-conflict states has been establishing effective criminal accountability for personnel serving in UN peace operations. While military personnel are covered by national military co…

Improving Criminal Accountability in United Nations Peace Operations

In 2004, major problems of sexual exploitation and abuse by UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other operations became a public scandal for the United Nations. Before that story broke, the Future of Peace Operations Program…

Policy Paper
The Purposes of Peace Operations

Fifteen years ago, peacekeeping was doctrinally and operationally segregated from war-fighting by major powers, but recent evolution of major power doctrines suggests that the old walls that initially segregated the two are crumbling. The distinction i…

Peacekeeping Dues and Don’ts: A Checklist for the Next President

By Dr. William J. Durch The Challenge While America can act on its own in many matters of peace and security, even a superpower has finite resources as the cases of Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated. The next administration must answer serious que…

Issue Brief
From Timor-Leste to Darfur: New Initiatives for Enhancing UN Civilian Policing Capacity

As peacekeepers have deployed at unprecedented levels worldwide, the demand for police to serve in such missions has swelled.The United Nations (UN), for example, has increased the use of police from two percent of its peacekeeping forces in 1995 to mo…

Mapping and Fighting Corruption in War-Torn States

A new Future of Peace Operations Program (FOPO) study, Mapping and Fighting Corruption in War-Torn States, examines corruption in war-torn states and summarizes best practices for fighting it. The study reviews and consolidates, from the…

Twenty-First-Century Peace Operations

Edited by William J. Durch “The publication of William J. Durch’s third in a series of books on peacekeeping is a much-anticipated event. The carefully researched case studies, tied together by crisp introductory and concluding chapters, represent the…

Who Should Keep The Peace?

Maintaining peace has traditionally been the job of nations but, as populations grow, distances shrink, borders leak, and belief systems clash, it has increasingly become a multinational, collaborative task. As evidence, consider the number of peace su…

Economic Impact of Peacekeeping

FOPO co-director William Durch is the co-author of Economic Impact of Peacekeeping, a ground-breaking and detailed study of peacekeeping operations’ effects on the war-torn economies into which they deploy.  The first multi-mission study of its ki…

Policy Paper
Building a Better Peace Operation: Lessons from the Brahimi Report Process

Prepared for the United Nations Foundation by William J. Durch As the work of the UN’s High-Level Panel on Threats Challenges and Change began in early 2004, Durch was invited by the United Nations Foundation to pen a brief essay on the experience of r…

The Brahimi Report and the Future of UN Peace Operations

Three years ago, the Panel on UN Peace Operations challenged the international community to strengthen and revitalize UN peace operations. The landmark “Brahimi Report” recommended sweeping changes in the way that UN peacekeeping and associated post-co…

Picking Up the Peaces: The UN’s Evolving Postconflict Roles

This article, which uses Iraq to illustrate UN capabilities in post-conflict settings, was sent to press one month before the truck-bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad. It is dedicated to the memory of Sergio Vieira de Mello, Nadia Younes, and the ot…

Issue Brief
Security and Peace Support in Afghanistan: Analysis and Short- to Medium-Term Options

This briefing applies to Afghanistan the strategic lessons learned from international peace implementation efforts in nearly twenty war-torn countries around the globe over the past two decades. Its purpose is to fill an analytical void and stimulate d…

Policy Paper
Searching for National Security: Threat and Response in the Age of Vulnerability

This paper looks at national security perceptions and policy in an age where well-known interstate threats have faded away. In their stead are a growing array of vulnerability-based, worst-case scenarios where murky groups turn modern society’s highest…

Alternating Currents: Technology and the New Context for U.S. Foreign Policy

Brian Curran, William Durch, and Jolie Wood discuss how the forces of technology (in information, military affairs, the environment, and public health/emerging diseases) are placing new demands on U.S. foreign policy while offering new opportunities at…

UN Peacekeeping, American Policy, and the Uncivil Wars of the 1990s

Edited by William J. Durch This book evaluates American policy toward peacekeeping in the mid-1990s, and presents detailed case studies of UN operations in Angola, Cambodia, El Salvador, the former Yugoslavia, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Somalia. Each of t…

The Evolution of UN Peacekeeping: Case Studies and Comparative Analysis

Edited by William J. Durch This is the first comprehensive post-Cold War assessment of this important tool of conflict containment, its rapid growth and development, the factors that make it work, and the new pressures that place the whole concept at r…

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