The Heritage Foundation

Issue Bulletin #81

April 15, 1982

April 15, 1982 | Issue Bulletin on

The Peace Academy (S.1889 - H.R.5088)

(Archived document, may contain errors)


April 15, 1982

THE PEACE ACA}{\insrsid13266995 DEM}{\insrsid13266995 Y (S. 1889, H.R. 5088) INTRODUCTION

S. 1889, introduced on November 24, 1981, by Senator Spark Matsunaga (D-Hawaii) and fifty-two co-spo nsors, and H.R. 5088, introduced on November 21, 1981, by Representative Dan Glickman (D-Kansas) and fifty-two co-sponsors (104 co-sponsors as of April 14, 1982), would establish a United States Academy of Peace. The proposed academy would be administered as a national, non-profit, independent institution. Its objective would be to promote "peace learning" and conflict resolution by offering degree- granting programs, awarding and receiving grants and contracts, commissioning and sponsoring research and st udies, and disseminat- ing information.


The notion of a national academy devoted to the study of peace and conflict resolution dates back to the United States, early years. George Washington himself has been reported to have expressed an inter est in such a federal institution. Legislation proposing the creation of an academy was introduced in Congress as recently as a decade ago but has never been enacted.

The proposals currently before Congress date back to the Elementary and Secondary Educat ion Act of November 1978, which authorized the creation of a "COMMBBion on Proposals for the National Academy of Peace and Conflict Resolution." Members of the National Peace Academy Campaign were largely responsible for this authorizing language, and sub sequently launched a further effort to persuade Congress to fund the commission.

By July 1979, Congress had approved the appropriation of $500,000 to fund a one-year study of proposals for a U.S. academy of peace and conflict resolution. President Carter signed the appropriation in the fall.

The Commission was appointed, according to the legislation, by the President pro tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the President. Its members were:

Senator Spark M. Matsunaga (D-Hawaii), Chairman;

Dr. James H. Laue, Director, Center for Metropolitan Studies and Associate Professor of Sociology, University Of MiBBouri-St. Louis, Vice Chairman;

Representative John M. Ashbrook (R-Ohio);

Mr. Arthur H. Barnes, President, New York Urban Coalition;

Dr. Elsie Boulding, Chair, Sociology Department, Dartmouth College;

Hon. John R. Dellenback, President, Christian College Consortium and Coalition;

Mr. John P. Dunfey, Founder and President, Dunfey Hotels Corporation;

Representative Dan Glickman (D-Kansas); and

Mr. William F. Lincoln, Director, Center for Collaborative Planning and Community Services.

With the exception of Boulding and Dellenback, none of the commission members had professiona l background in international affairs or in peace-keeping and conflict resolution. In fact, in line with the premise that the resolution of family or community conflict is analogous to that of international conflict, the commission was dominated by member s selected for their expertise in sociology, community-based mediation, and related fields. This premise was eventually dropped from the conceptual framework of the study, and the final report focused on international matters. However, the commission membe rship remained unchanged.

From March to July 1980, the commission traveled the United States. They held hearings in twelve different locations and recorded testimony from hundreds of individuals. An "interim" report, supporting the establishment of the aca demy, was delivered to President Carter and other government officials on September 11, 1980. Commission staff devoted the next year to writing the final report, which was delivered to the Reagan Administration in November 1981, following which bills were introduced in Congress by Senator Matsunaga and Representative Glickman.

S. 1889 was referred to the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources, and on April 21, hearings will be held by its Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and the Humanities, chai red by Senator Stafford (R-Vermont). H.R. 5088 was referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and subsequently to its Subcom- mittee on International Security and Scientific Affairs and its Subcommittee on International Operations. On December 9, 1981, an "executive comment" was requested from the Department of State. Joint hearings of the two House subcommittees are planned for sometime in May.


Although their wording varies slightly and the Senate bill is longer than that of the House, the pending bills are nearly identical. They cite, at Section 2(a), the dangers of war, the need for options to armed conflict, the value of developing new techni ques, and the conclusions of the commission. At Section 2(a)(6), they emphasize the need for federal leadership as well as for a national institution devoted to "peace learning" and conflict resolution.

Both bills would authorize, at Section 4, creation of The United States Academy of Peace (in the House bill named The United States Academy of Peace and Conflict Resolution). The principal office would be in Washington, D.C., as stated in Section 4(c), but other locations could be established as long as the y supported the general purposes of the academy.

Section 4(6) would create an "Endowment of the United States Academy of Peace" and Section 5(b)(1) would authorize the academy to establish a "Center for International Peace" for research projects and independent study.

Sections 5(b)(2) through 5(g) would authorize the academy to establish schools with degree-granting programs, foster relation- ships with existing institutions, issue publications, award a "Medal of Peace," make research grants, and to sponso r other activities. According to Section 5(h), the academy would be permitted to accept grants, gifts, and contracts. Although principally dependent on federal financial support, the academy could thereby augment its budget through contributions from foun dations, corporations, individuals, or other entities, includ- ing foreign governments.

Section 6 defines a Board of Directors to be chosen from the public and private sectors, and Section 7 deals with the appoint- ment of the academy's president and other officers. The proposed legislation specifies that these officers would not be considered employees of the federal government (except for purposes of life insurance, annuities, and the like), presumably to maintain the "independence" of the academy. Likew ise, Section 9(a) states that the academy would not be considered a department, agency, or instrumentality of the federal government.

Section 10 of the Senate bill requests authorization for appropriations of $15,000,000 immediately for the purposes of buying land and constructing buildings; and $6,000,000 in fiscal year 1983 and $10,000,000 in fiscal year 1984, both for operating funds. The House bill, by contrast, authorizes simply "such funds as necessary."


A proposal to establis h a "peace academy" is bound to be politically popular. No Congressman would want to be on record opposing peace. The co-sponsorship of these two bills, which numbered 156 Congressmen and Senators as of mid-April 1982, reflects this fact.

A chief argument used by the supporters of these bills is that 11 ... the cost of establishing the academy and running it for the first three years would be ... less than one-tenth the price tag of a single B-1 bomber, based on moderate cost estimates." similarly, propon ents reason that "any nation devoting so many millions to [military) service academies should be willing to devote a relatively small sum to a peace academy."

These arguments cloud the central issues. The more important questions deal not with the value of training and research in peace and conflict resolution, but with the most efficient and productive ways of going about it. While the basic contentions of the commission, the legislation, and the supporters of the academy regarding the need for training a nd research are sound, the actual creation of a peace academy could, in fact, be contrary to the best interests of the federal government, the American taxpayers, and the cause of world peace.


The proposal to establish an academy of peace ignores the existence in the United States of dozens, if not hundreds, of "academies of peace." Such educational institutions as Harvard, Stanford, Lewis and Clark, Spelman, and Tufts have departments of inter n ational relations, political science, and government, many of which address issues of peace and conflict resolution. Then there are the many professional schools of international affairs (for instance, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts Uni v ersity, the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown, and the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University). "Think tanks" (such as the Institute for Foreign Policy Analysis, Brookings, the American Enterprise Instit u te for Public Policy Research, and the Foreign Policy Research Institute); operating foundations, such as the Stanley Foundation, the Kettering Foundation, the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, and the Compton Foundation; and many other analogo us organizations such as the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the many World Affairs Councils nationwide -- all have had longtime commitments to study in the area of peace and conflict resolution.

For de cades war and peace have been considered essential subjects of study by undergraduate and graduate students, interna- tional affairs professionals, and concerned citizens. As a consequence, these many institutions have developed tremendous resources and i nternational frameworks for such training and research.

The proponents of the U.S. Academy of Peace argue that since the federal government spends billions to "teach the arts of war" at the service academies, the national war colleges, the national defense university, and other institutions, it owes the American people this (relative) pittance to "teach the arts of peace." This argument fails to mention that these institutions also "teach the arts of peace." It is not true, for example, that the curriculum of the Naval War College contains nothing of relevance to conflict resolution. The reality is quite the contrary, as is the case at the other service academies and war colleges.

A U.S. Academy of Peace could only duplicate work currently being conducted at campuses and institutions across the country, yet little cognizance was given by the commission and the proposed legislation to these widespread, ongoing research efforts.

Proponents of the new academy argue further that a federal institution is needed because private efforts to date have failed to find a workable solution to the problems of war and interna- tional conflict. This argument takes no account of the actuality that peace and conflict resolution are fundamentally elusive and will continue to be so; they will probably not be resolved by the all-out attack of a federal institution.


The commission's report and the resulting legislation intro- duced into the House and Senate err fundamentally as to the nature of " peace studies," to wit, that peace can be considered a "discipline" separated from existing scholarly disciplines, and studied by itself. In reality, peace can be studied only within the context of a dozen or more disciplines and perspectives. For example , no study of conflict resolution can exclude the history of the international law efforts to restrict and regulate the use of armed force. From the Leiber Code to the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaties, international law is a crucial element in any study of peace. Similarly, attention must be paid to the role of economics in causing and resolving conflict. History, diplomacy, politics, culture, communications, development, and even psychology all figure in the putative discipline known as "peace studies."

The great research institutions of this country have spent years building up the capability to deal with the complexities of such inter- and multidisciplinary studies and training. Is it realistic to expect a new federal institution to marshal the resou rces (library as well as human) that would place it in a position to add anything to the work of existing institutions?

While such facile assumptions about the nature of peace studies make possible the appealing suggestion that a federal academy will some how reduce great complexities to solvable tasks, they are misleading and potentially harmful. Only partial solu- tions may come, over many years, through interdisciplinary contri- butions by many scholars and practitioners from their various specialties.


The commission recommended a four-year budget of $66,000,000 with an open-ended commitment thereafter at a level in excess of $20,000,000 annually. The Senate bill would authorize an initial $31,000,000 for start-up costs associated wi th buying land, constructing a building, and paying for the first two years' operating costs. The House bill would simply authorize such funds as might be "necessary" to carry out the purposes of the legislation. In any case, authorization of funding to b u ild and operate the U.S. Academy of Peace would cost the taxpayers substan- tial sums. In this era of budgetary crisis, high interest rates, and high taxes, any proposed federal bureaucracy must make a case much more carefully than in the past, but the co sts associated with establishing a U.S. Academy of Peace are difficult to justify.

It is instructive to compare the proposed costs with the costs for institutions now performing many of the same functions. For example, Title VI of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, supports training and research in international affairs. This year, ninety "National Resource Centers" across the country are funded under this title through an appropriation of only $10,500,000. Many of these centers engage directly i n peace studies while others engage in training and research that contri- bute to the knowledge necessary to conflict resolution internation- ally. Thus, nationwide, ninety institutions are now supported at half the projected cost of one Washington-based peace institution. If Congress sincerely believes in the validity of training and research in peace and conflict resolution, it should appropriate funds for this title and use the existing infrastructure of the educational system more efficiently.

The Publ ic Service Fellowship Program located in Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, is another case in point. What could be more in the "public service" than fellow- ships to develop experts in resolving international conflicts? And yet, un til 1980, this program, now funded at $4 million, specifically excluded students in international affairs. If in

fact the U.S. needs more individuals better trained in the arts of peace, how can a new federal bureaucracy, costing $66,000,000 over its first four years be considered, when this existing mechanism could accomplish many of the same goals at lower cost?

Again, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency was founded in 1961 for the implementation and coordination of research and the public dissemi nation of information about arms control -- two of the "new" functions envisaged for the U.S. Academy of Peace. If the federal government desires a role in training, research, and the dissemination of information to the public on topics related to peace a nd conflict resolution, it need go no farther than many of the laws now on the books and many existing bureau- cracies now widely ignored or simply unknown.

In light of the many educational institutions that engage in training and research on peace and con flict resolution, and in light of federal legislation and agencies that could and do fund such training and research, there seems little reason to create a new federal bureaucracy, in the form of a U.S. Academy of Peace, which would simply duplicate exist ing programs and cost signifi- cantly more taxpayer dollars.


Probably the most compelling argument against a U.S. Academy of Peace lies in the American tradition of pluralism in education. While the federal government has created service academies, war colleges, and the like, it has never created any other federally- run institutions of higher education. one reason is that the American educational establishment is the strongest and most efficient means of education in the world, and has been for centuries. Another reason is the American aversion to dogma. The U.S. has never instituted a "Ministry of Information" because Americans reject the notion that the government should regulate the information its people receive. Simi l arly, the U.S. has never created an academy for the training of individuals entering any government service but the military because Americans have always believed that the best civil servant is not a product of a government-regulated education, but of a liberal education in the free marketplace of ideas.

The United States has never created a Foreign Service academy because the private educational system has been considered a good training ground for generalists. With its traditional liberal arts approach to undergraduate education, the American collegiate system has been justifiably perceived as doing the necessary job with the proper distance from the federal government. Nothing would violate the American tradition of pluralism in education more than the creation of a federal academic institution, especial- ly designed to prepare individuals for service in the public sector. For the first two centuries of U.S. history, the educa- tional system has grown and flourished with a commendable restraint on the part of the federal government. A new Academy of Peace would contradict this sound educational tradition.


The campaign to establish a U.S. Academy of Peace has received a great deal of support, as evidenced by the large number of co-sponsors of S. 1889 and H.R. 5088. Advocates argue that the cause of peace is critical to Americans and that a federal insti- tu t ion would afford the best means of progress toward peace and conflict resolution. Opponents of these bills agree on the import- ance of these issues to all Americans, but disagree with the contention that an expensive federal institution is the answer. Th ey argue that more can be accomplished through reinforcement of existing efforts by private institutions as well as through federal title programs.

Since the establishment of a U.S. Academy of Peace presumably is politically popular, the proposal must be d ebated on its merits. When hearings are held on S. 1889 on April 21, and if hearings are held on H.R. 5088, the substantive issues so often overlooked by proponents should be carefully reviewed.

Prepared at the request of The Heritage Foundation by Jeffrey A. Sheehan

Jeffrey A. Sheehan is Assistant Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.

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