Department of Peace: A Conceptual Framework

Here is an idea that's time has come.  We should also have a Department of Peace in every country:

U.S. Department of Peace: A Conceptual Framework
E-mail Comments to the author
Rep. Kucinich:
Congressional Democrat from Ohio


As the clock struck midnight, in country after country, the new millennium
was ushered in. Whether we participated in gatherings of hundreds of
thousands, even millions of people in city centers, or we watched on
television, many of us felt a sense of amazement and joy at experiencing not
just a mark in time, but of witnessing a collective celebration of great
exuberance evidenced by colorful, peaceful celebrations around the world.
Although the advent of a new millennium was rife with predictions of a
technical apocalypse and other grim portents, all around the world, the new
millennium began on a profoundly energetic, hopeful note.

What follows is a proposal to continue that same energy and hope. In an
effort to promote a more peaceful approach to American foreign and domestic
policy, I plan on introducing legislation which would establish a Department
of Peace, which would act as a facilitator of peace both domestically and
internationally.  What follows is a conceptual framework. I am asking people
everywhere to participate in the formulation of this bill. Below you will
find draft language of what will ultimately be introduced as the Department
of Peace Act in the House of Representatives. You can join this effort by
making comments or offering suggestions that you feel can improve this new
framework for peace here at home and around the world.

A Concept For Peace

Whereas, on July 4, 1776 the Second Continental Congress unanimously
declared the Independence of the thirteen colonies, and in the enactment the
conclusion of Peace was recognized as one of the highest duties of the new
organization of free and independent states; and

Whereas, in declaring "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all Men
are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of
Happiness," the drafters derived the creative cause of nationhood from "the
Laws of Nature" and the entitlements of "Nature's God"; such referrals in
the Declaration of Independence thereby serving to celebrate the unity of
human thought, natural law and spiritual causation; and

Whereas, the architects of the Declaration of Independence "with a firm
Reliance of the Protection of divine Providence" spoke to the connection
between the original work infusing principle into the structure of a
democratic government seeking to elevate the condition of humanity, and the
activity of a higher power which moves to guide the nation's fortune; and

Whereas, the Constitution of the United States of America, in its Preamble,
further set forth the insurance of the cause of Peace in stating: "We the
People of the United States, in Order to Form a more perfect Union,
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common
defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to
ourselves and our Posterity..." and

Whereas, the Founders of this country gave America a vision of freedom for
the ages and provided us with a document which gave this nation the ability
to adapt to an undreamed of future; and

Whereas, it is our sacred duty to receive the living truths of our founding
documents and to think anew to develop institutions which permit the
unfolding of the highest moral principles in this nation and around the
world; and

Whereas, during the course of the Twentieth Century, over 100 million people
perished in wars, and now, at the dawn of the 21st Century violence seems to
be an overarching theme in the world, encompassing personal, group, national
and international conflict, extending to the production of nuclear,
biological and chemical weapons of mass destruction which have been
developed for use on land, air, sea and in outer space; and

Whereas, such conflict is often taken as a reflection of the human condition
without questioning as to whether the structures of thought, word and deed
which we have inherited are any longer sufficient for the maintenance,
growth and survival of this nation and the world; and

Whereas, we are in a new millennium and the time has come to review age-old
challenges with new thinking; wherein we can conceive of peace as not simply
being the absence of violence, but the active presence of the capacity for a
higher evolution of the human awareness, of respect, trust and integrity;
wherein we all may tap the infinite capabilities of humanity to transform
consciousness and conditions which impel or compel violence at a personal,
group or national level towards creating understanding, compassion and love;
to create a "shining city on a hill" whose light is the light of nations;

Now, therefore, be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives
of the United States of America in Congress assembled:

Title I: Department of Peace. There shall be established a Cabinet-level
Department of Peace, which shall be of the Executive Branch of the
Government. The Department of Peace shall hold peace as an organizing
principle, coordinating service to every level of American society. It shall
be oriented toward the development of human potential. It shall be enabled
to strengthen non-military means of peacemaking. It shall endeavor to
promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights. It shall
seek to create peace, to prevent violence, to divert from armed conflict, to
use field-tested programs and to develop new structures in non-violent
dispute resolution. The Department of Peace shall be charged with taking a
proactive, strategic approach in the development of policies which promote
strategies for conflict prevention, non-violent intervention, mediation,
peaceful resolution of conflict and structured remediation of conflict. It
shall address matters both domestic and international in scope. It shall
endeavor to derive its strength from a structure which encourages the
development of initiatives from local communities, religious groups and
non-governmental organizations. A Secretary of Peace shall be appointed by
the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

Peacemaking. The Department of Peace shall be dedicated to peacemaking and
the study of conditions which are conducive to peace. It shall be empowered
in all matters pertaining to conflict resolution, including observation,
analysis, control, cooperation and prognosis of the dynamics of conflict at
all levels, personal, interpersonal small groups, organizational and mass
conflict. It shall work proactively and interactively with all branches of
government on all policy matters relating to conditions of peace. The act
shall provide for the transfer of appropriate agency functions to the Peace

Responsibilities. It shall be charged with the responsibility for monitoring
and analyzing causative principles of conflict and to make policy
recommendations for developing and maintaining peaceful conduct. It shall
determine whether and which conditions call for peacemaking and shall be
empowered to be proactive.

Administration and Policy Development. The Department of Peace shall call on
the intellectual and spiritual wealth of the nation and seek participation
in its administration and in its development of policy from civil rights
leaders, religious leaders, labor leaders; non-government organizations;
active duty enlisted military personnel and retired veterans of the
military; educators, semanticists, and linguists; business executives;
holistic practitioners, including those in medicine and nutrition; family
physicians, school nurses, psychologists, and scientists; philosophers,
anthropologists and sociologists.

It shall further enlist the participation of writers, artists, including
performing artists, coaches from high school, college and professional
athletics, motivational speakers; and others at community levels, including
neighborhood leaders and law enforcement personnel whose involvement in
society has provided experience as to which conditions create peace or the
absence of peace, and how peace may be maintained as an individual,
interpersonal, small group, large group and mass construct.

Domestic Application. The Department of Peace shall be empowered to develop
policies which address domestic violence, including, but not limited to,
spousal abuse, child abuse, and mistreatment of the elderly. It shall
endeavor to create new policies which are responsive to the challenges of
drug and alcohol abuse, and of crime. It shall analyze present policies,
employ successful, field-tested programs; and develop new approaches for
dealing with the implements of violence, including gun-related violence and
the overwhelming presence of handguns in our society, school violence,
gangs, racial or ethnic violence, violence against gays and lesbians, and
police-community relations disputes. It shall be charged with making policy
recommendations to the Department of Justice regarding civil rights and
labor law. It shall assist in the establishment and funding of
community-based violence prevention programs, including violence prevention
counseling and peer mediation in schools. It shall counsel and advocate on
behalf of women victimized by violence. It shall provide for public
education programs and counseling strategies concerning hate crimes. It
shall promote racial and ethnic tolerance.

Education. The Department of Peace shall develop a peace education
curriculum, and, in co-operation with the Department of Education, it shall
commission the development of such curricula and make available to local
school districts, to enable the utilization of peace education objectives at
all elementary and secondary public schools in the United States. Such
curriculum shall include studies of the civil rights movement in the United
States and throughout the world, with special emphasis on how individual
endeavor and involvement have contributed to advancements in peace and
justice. Peace educations shall equip students to become skilled in
achieving peace through reflection and meditation and instructed in the ways
of peaceful conflict resolution. Peace education shall include the study of
peace agreements and circumstances where peaceful intervention has worked to
stop conflict. The Department of Peace, in cooperation with the Department
of Education, shall offer incentives in the form of grants and training to
encourage the development of state peace curricula and to assist schools in
applying for such curricula.

The Department of Peace shall maintain a Web page for the purposes of
soliciting and receiving ideas for the development of peace from the wealth
of political, social and cultural diversity. It shall call forth America's
youth, for the purposes of creative peacemaking, and shall proactively
engage the critical thinking capabilities of grade school, high school and
college students via the Internet and other media. It shall issue periodic
reports concerning such submissions. The Department of Peace shall provide
for the funding of Peace Studies Departments in colleges and universities
across the country and for the creation of a Peace Academy which shall
become co-ordinate in structure and in resources with existing military
service academies.

International Application. The Department of Peace shall be coordinate and
complementary to the Department of Defense and the Department of State on
all matters relating to the national security, including the protection of
human rights and the prevention of, amelioration of, and de-escalation of
unarmed and armed international conflict. It shall provide for the training
of all U.S. personnel who administer post-conflict reconstruction and
demobilization in war-torn societies. It shall sponsor country and regional
conflict-prevention and dispute resolution initiatives, create special task
forces, and draw on local, regional and national expertise to develop plans
and programs for addressing the root sources of conflict in troubled areas.

The Department shall provide for citizen exchanges and for exchanges of
legislators. It shall encourage the development of international sister
cities programs, pairing US cities with cities around the globe for
artistic, cultural, economic and educational exchange. It shall be
authorized to administer the training of civilian peacekeepers to support
civilian police who participate in civilian peacekeeping. Together with the
Department of the Treasury, it shall strengthen peace enforcement through
hiring and training monitors and investigators to help with the enforcement
of international arms embargoes and sanctions against terrorists and human
rights abusers.

Human Security. It shall address issues of human security, wherever that
security is threatened by conflict, whether said conflict be geographic,
religious, ethnic, racial or class in its origins, derives from economic
concerns including trade, maldistribution of the wealth, or whether the
conflict initiates through disputes concerning scarcity of natural
resources, such as water and energy resources, food, trade or environmental

Consultation. In consultation with the Department of State, the Department
of Peace shall be called upon to develop strategies for sustainability and
to manage the distribution of international funds established for that

There shall be established a formal process of consultation of the
Department of Peace by the Department of State and the Department of
Defense, prior to the initiation of any armed conflict between the United
States and any other nation, or by the United States for any matter
involving the use of State Department or Defense Department personnel within
the United States.

In the case where conflict is ongoing or recently concluded, the Department
of Peace shall conduct independent studies of diplomatic initiatives
undertaken by the United States and other parties to the conflict. The
Department of Peace shall be consulted in the drafting by the Executive
Branch of all treaties and peace agreements.

It shall be required to submit to the President annual reports making
recommendations for reductions in conventional, nuclear and space-based
weapons, as well as to make annual reports on the sale of arms from the
United States to other nations, with analysis of the impact of such sales on
the defense of the United States and analysis as to how such sales affect
peace. In the interests of the economy and efficiency, it shall be charged
with the responsibility of conducting economic analyses of the activities of
the Department of Defense.

The Department shall finance local community initiatives which can draw on
neighborhood resources to create peace projects which serve to facilitate
the development of conflict resolution at a local level and thereby inform
national policy. The Department shall facilitate the development of Peace
Summits at local, regional, national and international levels, where people
may gather under carefully prepared conditions that permit communication and
learning without violence.

Peace Day. The first day of each year, January 1, shall be designated as
Peace Day in the United States and all citizens should be encouraged to
observe and celebrate the blessings of peace and endeavor to create peace in
the coming year. The day shall include discussions of the lives of

Media. Respecting the First Amendment, and the requirement for a free and
independent media, the Department of Peace shall seek assistance in the
design and implementation of its policies from professionals in the print
and the electronic media of radio, television, motion pictures and the
Internet. It shall study the role of the media in the escalation and
de-escalation of conflict at domestic and international levels and make
public its findings on its Web page. It shall make recommendations to
professional media organizations in order to provide opportunities to
increase media awareness.

Financing. The Department of Peace shall be financed based on a formula
which is indexed at one percent of the total annual budget of the Department
of Defense.

What Can You Do To Help

  1.. Hold "Teach-Ins" on the Issue of Peace. Holding a public "Teach-In" on
the issue of peace and non-violence is a great way to get your community to
debate the issues. You can do this by inviting a public official, religious
leaders, educators, heads of organizations or local community leaders who
have contributed to promoting peace and justice.
  2.. Contact your state representatives, city council, mayor and ask them
to sponsor a resolution that promotes peace and justice on the local,
national and international levels.
  3.. Write an opinion-editorial for your local paper and get it published,
emphasizing the importance of local communities making efforts towards
encouraging peace, tolerance and understanding.
  4.. Join an organization that has a campaign on the issue of peace and
work with them, or start your own organization.
  5.. Circulate a petition to a local leader encourage them to keep the
issue of peace and understanding on the local agenda.
  6.. Organize a peace rally to bring the issue of peace to the forefront of
local community leaders and elected officials.
  7.. Organize a booth or a display case at local events. Your local library
or community center are great places to set up an eye catching display about
an issue that is important to you. Or you may want to reserve a booth at a
highly attended event such as a concert, local sports event, rallies or
community picnics.

Linking People to Peace

American Friends Service Committee

Center for Defense Information

Peace Action

Friends Committee on National Legislation