Peace & Stability Journal Volume 7, Issue 1 - Page 13

or punish those involved in corruption, the system will become increasingly illegitimate. While it is widely recognized that corruption is detrimental to the health of a political system, the economy, or an organi- zation, there is no clear course of action. Currently, the U.S. government, along with many others, do not have a universal framework for building a corruption-free system or identifying corruption. So, when the U.S., in any capacity, is involved in state building activates, such, as providing financial aid, it is dif- ficult to ensure that there is limited opportunity for corruption to hinder its efforts. Therefore, it is essential that the U.S. and the international community come to consensus on a standard definition of corruption, and a general set of guideline and best practices for both anti- and counter-corruption efforts. Case Studies The following is a series of case studies that exemplify the importance of building a corruption definition, acknowledging corruption in both the public and private sectors, and a sugges- tion for anti-corruption training. 1. ACT: A New Game-Based Methodology for Anti-Cor- ruption Training Corruption does not discriminate. It can negatively affect any- one, from government workers to corporate employees; from those with strong morals to those we would normally consider “the bad guys.” Petruzzi and Amicucci argue that corruption is a psychological problem that impedes economic and social evolution. 13 According to the researchers, corrupt practices are often unconscious, the individual does not realize their actions are illicit, but something that is justified and out of their con- trol. Nor are these actors usually those we would perceive as “criminals,” but those who are upstanding citizens and respected members of their community. Any individual, when faced with a morally difficult question, can succumb to rationalization and socialization of the dilemma, leading to corrupt behavior. 14 Therefore, in an attempt to weed out corruption, it is imperative that anti-corruption training be mandatory for all personnel. In order to prevent corruption in both public and private sec- tors, training must be used to “spread ethical values and prin- ciples of ethically and legally appropriate behavior.” 15 A new understanding of correct behavior can be instilled by dissemi- nating knowledge of law and regulations, as well as highlighting processes and activities that enable corruption. For example through training and simulations, personnel who may have been prone to corrupt behavior would learn to identify inappropriate practices and behavior that could lead to corruption. In this way, the individual can modify those processes and specific behavior to deter corruption and increase accountability and transparency. However, this adoption cannot be coercive. That’s where gaming and experiential learning comes in to play. Gam- ing does not trigger a person’s defenses, but still allows them to exercise “free will” in a controlled way. In a simulation, they will be able to make free choices and experience the positive or neg- ative impacts that follow, while learning the most appropriate actions for the situation. Upon completion of the training, they will have developed an innate framework for making uncorrupt decisions that will overpower the mind’s desire to rationalize inappropriate behaviors. As Petruzzi and Amicucci argue, when developing any plan to stop or prevent corruption from degenerating an organization, it is important to consider human psychology. What behaviors, lines of thinking, and rationalization process can lead to corrupt behavior, and how we can re-wire the brain to avoid them? 16 Based on this research, gaming is an effective way of changing cognitive processes without leading the trainees to feel targeted or accused. A morally correct organization may evolve if simu- lations are implemented as recurrent training for all organiza- tional personnel, taking into account cultural differences and implementation over time. 2. SIGAR: U.S. Anti-Corruption Efforts: A Strategic Plan and Mechanisms to Track Progress Are Needed in Fighting Corruption in Afghanistan 17 A major aspect of nation-building is providing funds to help that nation secure its borders, build reliable agencies, eradicate public health issues, and more. Over the years, the U.S. has provided billions of dollars in assistance to Afghanistan to help rebuild the war-torn country into a democratic society, which furthers U.S. policy, as well as national and regional differenc- es. However, the U.S. government, at the time of this report, did not have a “comprehensive anti-corruption strategy that (1) clearly linked specific program goals and objectives to the U.S. strategic goals and objectives for combating corruption in Afghanistan, (2) aligned necessary interagency resources to achieve those strategic goals and objections, and (3) described the performance measures that will be used to assess the efficacy of anti-corruption activities and their outcomes against strategic objectives.” 18 Furthermore, corruption is a widespread problem in Afghanistan, where “more than two-thirds of Afghans view corruption as a major problem in their government.” 19 While Afghan culture accepts petty corruption, which is not usually a threat to governance, it perceives grand corruption as a threat to good governance. However, it is an impossible task to identify all corrupt practices, petty or grand. As a result, the funding allotted for reconstructing Afghanistan, was more often than not improp