Command Arrangements for Peace Operations


With the end of the Cold War and the emergence of the United States (US) as the only remaining superpower in a world increasingly characterized by disorder, the US has found itself involved in a number of "peace operations." These are complex, non-traditional missions that areas much political as they are military. Moreover, their successful conduct requires the US military to work with a wide variety of institutions and organizations; including foreign governments, non-national political actors, international organizations, and private voluntary organizations(PVOs), as well as the variety of US government agencies and foreign military forces who are typically part of a peace operations coalition.

The debate regarding the wisdom of and the conditions under which the US should engage in such peace operations continues unabated. However, the reality for the defense establishment is that these operations will remain important for the foreseeable future. The consequences of failure to perform them effectively cannot be over-emphasized. Massive human rights abuses in Haiti, starvation in Somalia, genocide in Rwanda, persecution of minorities in Iraq, bitter ethnic warfare in the former Yugoslavia, and continued civil war in Cambodia are all too obvious examples.

While there are many differences between these non-traditional operations and more customary combat missions, they share the requirement for effective command and control (C2). Indeed, because overwhelming force can often overcome C2 problems in warfare, but cannot be counted on in peace operations, command arrangements may be more important in peace operations.

By almost any measure, the US experience shows that traditional C2 concepts, approaches, and doctrine are not particularly well suited for peace operations. This paper (1) explores the reasons for the mismatch between traditional US C2 and peace operations, (2) examines alternative command arrangements approaches, and (3) describes the attributes of the command arrangements needed to manage peace operations effectively.

The approach is to, first, briefly examine the key concepts - C2, command arrangements, and peace operations - needed to compare peace and war missions; second, review the command arrangements employed in a variety of recent coalition warfighting and peace operations and lessons learned from those experiences; third, review state-of-the-art knowledge for designing ideal command arrangements; and finally, posit a system for assessing the adequacy of command arrangements in peace operations. This allows the US experience in peace operations to serve as an empirical basis for the development of improved approaches, concepts, and designs for command arrangements.

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