Command Arrangements for Peace Operations

Key Concepts

Command and Control

Command and control is the military term for management of personnel and resources. Because warfare is qualitatively different from other aspects of society, C2 concepts both pre-date, and have evolved separately from industrial management. Few human endeavors have either the time criticality or the high cost of error of warfare. These two crucial characteristics have shaped thinking about C2.

The official US definition of C2 is provided in a Joint Chiefs of Staff Publication (JCS Pub. 1, Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms), "The exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned forces in the accomplishment of a mission."This includes the militarily crucial term, command, which is formally defined (also in Pub. 1) as,

Several things are worth noting about these definitions. First, C2 involves the exercise of authority over assigned forces. Second, the term C2 is quite encompassing, including personnel arrangements, procedures, systems, and facilities. Third, C2 extends well beyond decision making and issuing orders, to include the full cycle of decision making activities, from situation assessment, planning (anticipatory decision making),and gathering the information needed to assess the effectiveness of the actions taken, back to assessment of the situation resulting from those actions and of enemy responses to them. C2 also includes taking responsibility for the health, welfare, morale, and discipline of the military organization. In other words, C2 includes responsibilities that are associated with motivation, leadership, team building, management, and control.

The term "command and control" did not come into use until after World War II (WWII). Prior eras referred only to command. While no one knows why the language changed, two of the explanations offered are worth noting. One argues that it derives from the proposition that, "One commands men, while one controls machines." This approach recognizes the increasing reliance on hardware and technology on the battlefield. The other explanation suggests that when a situation reaches a certain level of complexity (or chaos), people must concentrate on control. Hence, tacking the word "control" onto command gives it the proper emphasis. Derivatives from this theory have brought us C3 (adding communications), C3I (adding intelligence), and C4I (adding computers). For purposes of this paper, C2 is taken to imply all these dimensions.

Some authors have stressed the difference between command and control. For example, Bolger (1990) notes the difference between the leadership role of the commander and the more quantitative control processes that are largely undertaken by the staff. More recently, LTG Schoffner(Commander, Combined Arms Center, US Army), stressed that same difference, which is shown graphically in Figure 1.

Van Creveld (1985) adds an important perspective by stressing that command is an effort to deal with uncertainty and that command and control systems exist to support that effort. From this perspective, the leadership component of C2 helps by creating own force capability and ensuring that those forces perform effectively. The systems that provide information about the war-fighting environment and communicate that information and the commander's directives throughout the command are also crucial for success.

Command can take three very different forms in peace operations: Combatant Command (COCOM), Operational Control (OPCON), or Tactical Control (TACON). Combatant Command means owning the forces. The commander has the full range of authority and responsibility inherent in the concept of military command. Because governments will almost never surrender sovereignty and aspects of command, such as force structure, promotion, and discipline, commanders in peace operations seldom have genuine COCOM over forces not from their own nation.

Operational Control allows for maximum control without full command or the burden of support. Some officers describe this as the equivalent of long-term leasing. The Clinton Administration policy on reforming multilateral peace operations, embodied in Presidential Decision Directive 25 (PDD-25) indicates that the US President will, "on a case by case basis, consider placing appropriate US forces under the operational control of a component UN commander to achieve specific military objectives."It notes that,

Tactical Control is equivalent to short-term rental. A commander is allowed to use forces without the burden of supporting them, but also knows that they may be reassigned at any time. JCS Pub. 1 does not recognize TACON as an official term, but notes that in NATO it means, "the detailed and, usually, local direction and control of movements or maneuvers necessary to assign missions and assigned tasks."

Note, also, that when a commander has OPCON or TACON of forces, they retain their linkage to another military organization which retains a range of authorities over and responsibilities for them. As forms of control, OPCON and TACON do not convey the full set of command responsibilities and prerogatives.

Major US military operations are now almost always "joint." This simply means that forces from more than one Service participate under a single commander. In addition, as the size of US forces has been drawn down and US military posture has evolved from one based on large, forward-deployed forces toward one of expeditionary forces based in the continental United States (CONUS), the likelihood that any one unified CINC will have COCOM of all the forces required for a large operation has declined. To permit optimal use of important, scarce resources, new unified and specified commands such as TRANSCOM (the Transportation Command) and SOCOM (the Special Operations Command)have been created to support the more traditional geographic CINCs such as CINCPAC (Commander in Chief, Pacific) or CINCCENT (Commander in Chief, Central Command).

Current doctrine for US war-fighting C2 is shown in Figure 2, "Typical Joint C2." The National Command Authority (NCA), which consists of the President and his advisors (including the Joint Chiefs of Staff),provides overall strategic guidance. One CINC, usually a theater commander such as CINCPAC or CINCCENT, provides the operational guidance inclose cooperation with the commander of the CJTF (Combined Joint Task Force). Supporting CINC efforts are directed by the NCA (CINCs are equals and do not direct one another's efforts) and coordinated at all appropriate levels. The CJTF is usually made up of force components that are functionally differentiated - air, ground, maritime, logistics, and so forth. The CJTF is seldom the unit with COCOM for all these forces. Indeed, CJTF's are often ad hoc organizations made up of a commander and a rapidly assembled staff. Ideally, however, they include a commander of appropriate rank and experience with an existing staff, perhaps augmented to ensure adequate capacity and appropriate expertise to manage the assigned forces effectively.

Command Arrangements

While military systems can be understood in terms of C2, this language is too narrow to describe the organizational and institutional arrangements necessary for peace operations. As is discussed in detail below, peace operations are qualitatively different from war-fighting and involve political relationships as much or more than military ones. US forces engaged in operations other than war (OOTW) are, for example, sometimes one component of the US country team, which is led by the US ambassador. Often coordination must also be effected with other parts of the US Government. In many cases, US forces in peace operations are part of a coalition, working in partnership with host country or other foreign forces, but not having direct command over them. Most peace operations also involve working closely with a variety of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and/or private voluntary organizations (PVOs)such as the Red Cross or Doctors Without Borders, whose humanitarian or other functions make them important to overall mission accomplishment. In some cases, such as Somalia or Haiti, US forces must also work directly with local political or traditional leaders (tribal or clan chiefs, etc.). Effective military C2 depends on organized, effective, and efficient interactions with the entire range of relevant actors.

Relationships with these actors are anything but military command relationships. Indeed, few of them will take direction from military leaders. Yet, the ability to achieve military missions during peace operations depends on dealing with them effectively. Information must be exchanged with this diverse group of players. They must be taken into account when the situation is assessed, when alternative courses of action are developed and considered, when decisions are taken, when actions are being coordinated, and when directives for military forces are developed. This broad set of relationships needed for success is more properly understood as "command arrangements" than as any relationship found in the military C2 literature. To be successful in peace operations, a system of effective command arrangements must be developed.

Peace Operations

The last key term needed to understand this analysis is "peace operations."Even the language for describing peace operations remains unsettled, at least partly because the explosion of relevant experience continually introduces new interpretations and distinctions. Wiseman (1983) notes the distinction between operations carried out under Chapter VI of the UN Charter, dealing with the pacific settlement of disputes, and those carried out under Chapter VII, dealing with enforcement measures. He credits former UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold with creating the phrase, "Chapter VI and-a-half" to describe situations that fall between the two categories. However, Hammarskjold was referring to the absence of UN Charter references to armed peace-keeping missions rather then the current UN experience of inserting combat troops to impose the international will on belligerents. The key distinctions are illustrated on Figure 3, "Spectrum of Recent United Nations Peace operations." Note that wars are not peace operations. When the international community, or one or more nations acting on behalf of the international community, enters a war to reverse aggression, as was the case in the Korean Conflict and Operation Desert Storm, the goals are classic warfare goals - imposition of your will on the enemy by force of arms- and the proper command arrangements and C2 systems are best derive from the history, theory, and relevant technological state-of-the-art in warfare. Note, also, that many cases move between situations. October 1994, US and coalition partner troop movements to the Iraq-Kuwaiti border, for example, could have deteriorated from a Chapter VII situation into war-fighting had the Iraqis not backed down.

Classic peacekeeping operations (Chapter VI) assume that the parties to a conflict want peace and desire the presence of the peace operators. Hence, the military missions implied are really quite minimal - monitoring and reporting on the maintenance of cease-fires and demilitarized areas or providing a buffer force in zones of disengagement between the belligerents. Only minimal force is required. In fact, Mackinlay (1989)identifies "use of force only in self- defense" as one of the principles of UN peacekeeping during the Cold War era. Moreover, the normal response by the United Nations was to retreat whenever consent was absent or overwhelming military force was encountered (Wiseman, 1983). However, the withdrawal of UN peacekeeping forces under pressure has been long considered a very serious step, inviting the recurrence of conflict. Indeed, one of defining events of the UN peace-keeping tradition was the withdrawal of the United Nations Emergency Force (UNEF) from the Middle East in May of 1967, which was followed in June by the Six Day War. Whether withdrawal stems from a lack of will on the part of the UN, participating countries, or public opinion, it removes the direct international sanction from the situation. Moreover, the threat to withdraw peacekeepers is often a powerful incentive for the parties to control their actions and forces and thus maintain the peace.

The maintenance of stable conditions under which peace can flourish is the primary goal in peacekeeping operations. Successful peacekeeping operations can be sustained for years, or even decades (as they have in Cyprus, for example), because they represent a stable political situation, bloodshed is avoided, and the costs of observer forces are modest. Other examples of straight-forward, Chapter VI peacekeeping, include the Sinai and Golan missions in the Middle East and deployments in Macedonia to monitor embargo compliance and border crossings.

By contrast, the use of military force to protect international peace and order, which belongs under the self-defense provisions of UN Charter, is international war. The Korean Conflict and Operation Desert Storm were major regional conflicts fought under United Nations mandates to deny success to international aggressors. The purposes of these UN- sanctioned military operations extended beyond creating or maintaining a peaceful state of affairs in the regions where they were fought to include preservation of the principle that military aggression is wrong and must not become an accepted way for states to settle their disputes. This view is an extension of the feeling that the international community has a responsibility for checking naked aggression and should come to the aid of countries that are threatened or attacked.

Both the Korean Conflict and Kuwait invasion situations were converted from wars to Chapter VII peace imposition operations when the hostilities were concluded and UN forces and Chapter VII mandates were converted to the use of force to ensure that peace terms were obeyed by unwilling aggressors. Similarly, the UN mandates that limit Iraqi military activities in border areas in order to protect minority populations are peace imposition operations, because force is maintained along the borders to impose the international community's will on Iraq, even within its own sovereign territory.

Hence, just short of international war lies the region where the international community becomes involved because the consequences of allowing a conflict to continue are unacceptable. Widespread starvation in Somalia led to conversion of a Chapter VI peacekeeping mandate(1992) into Chapter VII peace imposition operations in 1993 by a US dominated coalition of UN forces under the command of a Turkish general. Initial success based on the overwhelming US force presence encouraged the UN to convert the Somalia mission to a peace enforcement one, with considerably less military force available. However, this mission failed and the peace operators have been withdrawn, as they were in the earlier UNEF operations, leaving Somalia to resolve its own conflicts. In these cases of peace imposition, the parties are in active conflict and the international community uses force or the threat of force to halt the bloodshed.

Somewhat less dangerous situations, also under Chapter VII, call for peace enforcement operations designed to hold the parties to an agreement that not all of them endorse strongly, to buy the time needed to raise the level of trust between the belligerents and to create an atmosphere in which they can participate in peaceful resolution of problems. These enforcement operations are likely to involve one party that does not believe that peace is the most favorable state of affairs. Sometimes, as in the many-sided conflicts in and around Bosnia-Herzegovina, peace enforcement deals with several parties unhappy with the existing arrangements by which the peace is maintained.

When the international community takes the decision to intervene in a situation where the parties do not have consensus on the terms of peace, whether in the form of peace imposition or peace enforcement, the military elements of the peace operators have been assigned an extremely difficult mission. On the one hand, the physical risk is great, which means that the peace forces must be armed at least well enough to protect themselves. In many cases, their effectiveness depend on the perception that they have the military capability to take the offensive and impose their will on those who violate the established peace arrangements. At the same time, creation of an atmosphere of trust is essential. The peace forces cannot be seen as taking sides, lest they become participants in the conflict. Withdrawal is nota realistic option because it is a sign of weakness and/or a signal that the international community has failed to create the conditions necessary for peace. Finally, while the onus for failed peacekeeping operations falls on the belligerents who break their own peace arrangements and force peacekeepers to withdraw, the public "blame" for failure of peace imposition or peace enforcement operations falls on the peace operators and their governments.

In essence, the act of intervening makes the peace operators responsible for the outcome, despite the fact that they do not have full or direct control over the situation. For example, Somalia's apparent return to political and economic chaos is seen as a failure of the US and the UN, even though the political culture there is the root cause of the problem.

Key Relationships Between Types of Peace Operations

The distinction between traditional peacekeeping operations and the more active roles of peace enforcement and peace imposition were explored in detail at a workshop sponsored by the Center for Advanced Command Concepts and Technology (ACT) of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University in the summer of 1994 (ACT,1994a). The insights derived from the workshop are summarized in Figure 4. Beyond the very different nature of the peace operators in Chapter VII as compared with Chapter VI operations, the nature of the command and control arrangements they imply is also striking.

The most important single insight from the ACT Workshop on Combined and Coalition Peace Operations was, however, that peace operations close to the Great Divide represent the greatest challenge and account for the vast majority of troubled situations in the Post-Cold War era.

In the words of the Workshop report,

Indeed, the most difficult peace operations are those close to this dividing line. The closer the situation is to war (as often in the initial steps of peace imposition) the more useful are classic military command arrangements and practices. However, it is very difficult to transition to peacekeeping from active peace imposition or from even peace enforcement. Perhaps more importantly, peacekeeping operators who are faced with substantial active resistance may lack the force to defend themselves, the capacity to transition to more active military missions, or both. The tensions between the basic missions of peace-keeping and peace enforcement are a major challenge in designing C2 arrangements.

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