Research and Development


Governance is seemingly an intuitive process—the act of governing—but its conceptualization and its measures are complicated by the dynamic variation of modern societies.  To date, no universally accepted definition of the assessment of governance exists.  Even more contentious are the explanations of how governance interacts with the processes of security and development.  Nevertheless, governance is recognizably the most critical issue for, not only social sciences, but also the entire international development community.

In recognition of the pertinence of governance, the Naval Postgraduate School, the Stanford Peace Innovation Lab, and the US Army Special Warfare Center and School are collaborating to better understand governance and identify how governance can build peace and uplift communities.

Understanding Governance

First and foremost, GISD will open the dialogue and explore ideas on the subject of governance—what causes actors to behave cooperatively toward their collective benefit and why do they often work against their own common goals.  We will discuss such as the direction of state formation, the linkages between political and economic institutions in human development, rule of law through state and non-state judicial institutions, and the role of authoritarian state leaders and violent non-state actors as community stakeholders.  We will also pore over the mechanics and the efficacy of current innovations in governance, such as Problem Driven Iterative Adaptation (PDIA), Community-Driven Development, Deliberative Democracy, Multistakeholderism, and Participatory Budgeting.

Tools to Empower Communities

From there, we will develop a framework to utilize stable governance—provision of essential services, political moderation and accountability, stewardship of state resources, and civic participation and empowerment—as a means to promote both peace and standards of living.

In doing so, GISD will also draw from a wide breadth of the international development community, including scholars and practitioners, and develop improved analytical methodologies and technological tools toward the study and promotion of governance.  Particularly, we are interested in improving “persuasive technologies” to facilitate diplomacy in conflict areas and geospatial tools to assess the effectiveness of governance projects in deterring conflict.