From Idea to Implementation: Standing up the Civilian Response Corps

On October 14, 1960, President John F. Kennedy laid out his vision for the Peace Corps in a speech at the University of Michigan. Less than 5 months later, on March 1, 1961, the President signed an Executive order creating the Peace Corps. Using funds from mutual security appropriations, Peace Corps programs moved quickly through the design phase and into implementation. It was an example of how nimble government can be when political will is married with idealism and a willingness to improvise and take action. On September 22, 1961, 11 months and 1 week after Kennedy’s speech, the 87th Congress passed Public Law 87–293, formally authorizing the Peace Corps. […]During my 17 years in Congress, I have worked tirelessly to enhance our government’s capability to deal with failed and failing states. The work culminated in July 2008 when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice officially unveiled the Civilian Response Corps, designed to help stabilize and rebuild parts of the world facing conflict and distress. Congress followed with official authorization in October 2008. The creation of the CRC was modeled on my own legislation, the Reconstruction and Stabilization Civilian Management Act of 2008, which passed out of the House in March 2008. In that legislation (H.R. 1084), I laid out the creation of a Response Readiness Corps, including active and reserve components, which would later become the Civilian Response Corps.