Command Arrangements for Peace Operations

Recent US Experience with Command Arrangements

Ideal command arrangements or C2 have not been achieved in recent US experience, particularly when coalition forces have been used for peace operations. Even when the US has been organizing its own forces, either as independent military organizations or as part of a coalition, US joint doctrine has not always been followed. For a variety of reasons, largely related to the political situations surrounding the peace operations, C2 and other command arrangements have tended to evolve over time and be shaped by factors far removed from the key goals of organizing, deploying, or employing an effective force.

An Example Coalition Peace Operation: Somalia

Real-world peace operations are complex. Their organizational structures and command relationships evolve over time as a function of the missions assigned, the situation on the ground, both as the mission is first undertaken and as it evolves over time, the national governments involved, the forces each contributes, and the institutions that participate, such as the United Nations. Figure 5 shows, for example, the organizational structure of United Nations Forces in Somalia (UNOSOM) in the summer of 1993. Eighteen different nations contributed forces. Fourteen of them reported directly to the Force Commander, General Bir from Turkey. These ranged in size from companies to brigades and represented a myriad of different levels of military competencies and languages. All the national forces except those of the US were nominally under combatant command (COCOM) to UNOSOM - they were UNOSOM's forces to command and UNOSOM was responsible for their logistical support.

In fact, these forces operated under a variety of employment restrictions and maintained direct contact with their national governments. Missions were negotiated with them, not assigned to them. Three countries (Morocco, Zimbabwe, and Botswana), sent their forces under COCOM to the French brigade commander. However, these forces also retained direct ties to their home governments and participated actively in defining their own military missions and roles. Thus, the traditional military command prerogatives implicit in COCOM could not be fully exercised. Logistics support was often dependent on US forces, though the civilian UN procurement system was also active on some logistics matters.

In fact, both the UN mission and the role of US forces in that mission developed over time and across changing circumstances. ACT was fortunate enough to host a workshop that reviewed the evolution of the coalition and its mission with the senior US officer who participated (ACT, 1994b). These events are also reviewed from the perspective of the US central command in a recent account of Operation Restore Hope (Freemanet. al, 1993) by the US Deputy CENTCOM.

US forces were nominally under the tactical control (TACON) of UNOSOM, but only when committed. As a practical matter, they were controlled by MG Montgomery, US Army, who was both the Deputy UNOSOM commander and the commander of all US forces in Somalia (USFORSOM). The structure reporting to him is shown in Figure 6. The main fighting elements were organized into a Quick Response Force (QRF) which was available for TACON to UNOSOM when MG Montgomery felt it was needed, a decision on which he consulted the US CINC responsible for the region, CINCCENT. The US Logistic Support Command was continuously under MG Montgomery's OPCON in his role as Deputy UNOSOM commander. (As noted earlier, OPCON provides for longer-term control over the forces than TACON, while both relieve the commander from providing logistics support to the force.) This was the logical relationship for the Logistics Support Command because UNOSOM (a) had very limited independent ability to support forces under his command, and (b) relied on the US Logistic Support Command to support most of the national forces for which UNOSOM had nominal COCOM. Other US forces in and near Somalia reported to USFORSOM. Special Forces are, by US doctrine, provided by SOCOM as a supporting CINC. Both US doctrine and practice prevent the assignment of military intelligence organizations to UN or other non-US commands, so the Intelligence Support Element (ISE) assigned in Somalia reported to USFORSOM. Smaller US military elements not assigned to the Quick Reaction Force also stayed within the US C2 network and were subject to US command arrangements.

UN command arrangements were also in accordance with standard UN structures and practices. Figure 7 shows the major features of that UN system. The design is functional and heavily administrative. The"legislation" of the Security Council provides the mandate for action, which is the responsibility of the Secretary General. His Undersecretary for Peace-keeping is supported by military advisors, a situation center, a policy and analysis unit, and an executive (administrative) office. None of these is in the direct military C2 system or network or have any formal command relationship with military forces. The geographically organized Office of Operations coordinates regional activity, but does not play any military command role. Support comes from two separate divisions - one for Planning and one for Field Administration and Logistics. UN logistics sup-port for military peace operations has been continually and heavily criticized as too slow, too cumbersome, and too expensive to support military operations. The major role of the US Logistic Support Command in Somalia was partly an effort to get around the costly, time-consuming, and often ineffective UN procurement processes.

Direction and guidance for the UN force commanders in the field(UNOSOM in this case) come from the Secretary General, the Undersecretary, and the UN resolutions themselves. In fact, MG Montgomery and analysts of the Somalia experience agree that the UNOSOM commander and his head-quarters were guided heavily by the text of the UN resolutions themselves. This presented two different but related problems:

Not surprisingly, the UNOSOM command arrangements were not perceived as working well, and the UN had great difficulty in conducting successful peace operations in Somalia.

Each of the individual elements of the command arrangements in Somalia make perfect sense when looked at in isolation and from the perspective of both the national governments and the United Nations. However, taken together, they made force management cumbersome and ultimately ineffective. The UNOSOM case is an important and instructive situation, particularly for the dangerous "Chapter VI and-a-half operations."

War-fighting Coalition Structures

Peacekeeping operations are not all that unusual in their complexity. Typical war-fighting command arrangements for coalitions also evolve on the basis of international precedent and national practices and priorities; they change over time as the situation changes. Figure 8 shows the US ideal "combined force structure with national integrity."At its top is the multinational alliance or authority from which legitimacy and guidance are derived. The US Government (USG) does not accept this multinational authority except in the form of coordination unless the commander is an US officer, thus preserving sovereign control over US actions and forces.

The international authority (UN, NATO, etc.) provides strategic direction to the combined command. This may be, but does not have to be, headed by a US officer. The US has a Unified Command (one of our CINCs) who has COCOM of all US forces assigned to the combined command. The terms of the combined command's relationship to the US Unified Command and his subordinates will vary with the mission, US role, and the nationality of the combined commander.

Operation Desert Storm provides a practical example of how this theory was implemented in a real case. The Desert Storm coalition operated under the terms of a UN resolution, but was a case of UN sanction and enforcement where individual member nations were free to contribute and define their own roles. The three major western force contributors(the US, the UK, and France) each provided a theater commander, as did the Saudi Arabians on behalf of the Arabic and Islamic nations(see Figure 9). While the US CINCCENT was considered the first among these equals, his leadership did not take the form of "command," but rather of vigorous personal leadership and coordination reinforced by the size of US forces and the superior C2 systems they brought to the theater. Indeed, a special coordinating center, known by the unfortunate acronym of C3IC (Combined Coalition Coordination and Intelligence Center), had to be created to ensure integration and coordination among these four major organizations. Beyond this, McCausland(1994) reports that CENTCOM created 109 three- and four-man coordination teams to focus on particular issues. This practice mirrors one of the major tools employed by Eisenhower to manage the Operation Overlord coalition and the subsequent fighting in western Europe during WWII. Each of the four theater force commanders had at least nominal COCOM of the national forces reporting to him. As Figure 10 indicates, the Joint Forces Command was in turn made up of elements from the armed forces of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and other (largely Arabic or Islamic) nations. National linkages and consultations with National governments were routine throughout the structure, often as an explicit part of the agreement to participate.

US commanders had to remain aware of the need to maintain the coalition throughout the campaign. Indeed, several important decisions were influenced by the relatively looseness of the bonds of the coalition. For example, US assistance to Israel against the Scud threat was seen as necessary to keep Israel out of the conflict and thereby preserve Arab participation. Similarly, the decision to end the war without attacking toward Baghdad was heavily influenced both by the limits of the formal UN man- date for the Gulf War and by the need to maintain the coalition.

The four-part substructure both made cultural and national relationships easier to manage and also assisted the span-of-control issue, although it also complicated the decision process. The illustrations are somewhat misleading in that they do not show the myriad of countries that made limited contributions of medical personnel, single vessels, or goods. Each of these countries coordinated their activities with one or more of the major and subordinate military organizations, with close attention both to national agendas and to international political considerations.

The Desert Storm coalition also employed the time-tested procedure of assigning geographic and functional missions consistent with force capabilities and political objectives. For example, air elements with inferior night flying capability were assigned daylight missions. Similarly, the relatively light French ground forces were assigned an area of operations where they were unlikely to encounter heavy armor. When the British Tornado aircraft experienced disproportionate losses because of their high-risk mission (cratering Iraqi runways), both the mission and the tactics used to accomplish it became serious issues for the coalition. At the same time, great care was given to ensuring that the Arab forces, particularly those of the Saudis and Kuwaitis, were given meaningful roles in both ground and air fighting. In some cases this meant assigning other, highly capable forces to support them or back them up. For example Saudi and Kuwaiti fighter aircraft sometimes formed the first-line air defense for the coalition forces, but never the last line. Similarly, the sectors assigned to Arab force on the ground were selected so that heavier coalition forces could assist them if the fighting became heavy.

Overall, the coalition command arrangements for Desert Storm were very consistent with those employed by the Western allies in World Wars I and II or by the UN command during the Korean Conflict. Keytools, besides physical separation and assignment of roles and missions consistent with the capabilities of each force, included exchange of liaison officers, continuous coordination among senior political and military leaders, use of functionally specific coordination teams, and development of a repertoire of adaptive contingency plans so that the coalition minimized the need for rapid decision making on novel problems. Key problems remained lack of linguistic (both professional and vernacular) and doctrinal consistency as well as maintenance of sovereign control over all national military forces.

Then There Are The Messy Cases: The UN in Yugoslavia

While the US experience in coalition and peace operations is complex, it pales in the face of situations such as the UN operations in the Former Republic of Yugoslavia (Figure 11). UN authority comes from resolutions in the Security Council but is exercised through the UN Secretary General. He, in turn, has a Special Representative who acts as the direct link to the peace operators but is also an active part of the process of attempts to limit the conflict and negotiate genuine peace arrangements among the parties. That representative has played a direct military role, at times calling for or blocking specific military actions such as NATO air strikes because of their impact on the political situation.

None of the senior UN military commanders in this force are US officers, nor are they drawn from a single country. The United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) includes elements from twenty-three different countries(including Russia), many of which have units on the ground. Three major subordinate commands have been organized: one in Croatian, one in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and one in Macedonia. US force elements are included in the UNPROFOR Macedonia, which is a peacekeeping organization that monitors military movements and shipments of supplies across the border of the Macedonian province of the former Yugoslavia. UNPROFOR Croatian is somewhat closer to the "Great Divide" than UNPROFOR Macedonia; it largely monitors peace arrangements that have been in place for some time. Bosnia-Herzegovina, however, is constantly in turmoil, with the Sarajevo sector sometimes a relatively quiet place for peacekeeping and sometimes a bloody mess where peace enforcement is essential. Bosnia-Herzegovina is the general area where peace imposition may prove necessary, although the forces that would be required are far larger than those the current participants (including the US) have been willing to provide. The command arrangements with national forces are all dependent on sovereignty issues, so the UN commanders have COCOM of few of their forces' elements.

At least two other outside organizations are also very important in the former Yugoslav area. On the one hand, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is conducting large-scale humanitarian efforts throughout the region. Those on UNHCR missions must be protected and escorted, as well as considered whenever military activities are contemplated. Actions by UNPROFOR that complicate UNHCR operations are considered somewhat counter-productive. At the same time, NATO is deeply involved in the area, providing "teeth" in the form of:(1) a naval embargo designed to reduce arms availability and to punish those parties seen as violating UN resolutions or peace arrangements, as well as (2) NATO air power to strike symbolic targets when cease-fire violations occur or UN personnel are threatened. The US provides the communications backbone for these UN forces, which also connect through Lt. Gen. Rose, who is "double-hatted" as a UNPROFOR and NATO officer. The US and the other NATO partners also provide the bulk of the Logistics support to UNPROFOR.

If one of these coalition peace forces is examined in greater detail, the cost of all this complexity is thrown into relief. Figure 12 shows the command relationships active in Operation Deny Flight, which is only one of UNPROFOR's working missions. Operation Deny Flight is the name used to cover US and NATO air support to the UNPROFOR Area of Responsibility (AOR). In addition to the overall complexity inherent in any air operations (for example, having Search and Rescue available on call), several other points should be noted.

Figure 12 shows only military command arrangements and makes no effort to display the myriad political and functional relationships that surround and constrain the military system. Given this, the true complexity of peace operations becomes even clearer.

Humanitarian Operations in Rwanda

US involvement in Rwanda illustrates: (1) the way peace operations evolve, rather than occurring as the result of deliberate planning and design, (2) the intimate relationship between humanitarian and peace issues, and (3) a very different set of command arrangements than those previously depicted. The UN became involved in Rwandan peacekeeping during 1993 as part of the settlement of a civil (tribal)war. A few hundred peacekeepers (about 700 in June of 1994) were deployed under the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR) commanding what was perceived to be a minimal-risk situation. A number of NGOs and PVOs were involved in humanitarian operations to help care for the victims of the civil war. Schroeder (1994) provides a description of this operation and lessons learned from the perspective of USCINCEUR.

When the leadership of the unity government was killed by a surface-to-air missile, tribal violence erupted overnight, resulting in massacres across the land, as well as creating hundreds of thousands of refugees. The French, acting as the traditional colonial power and with motives many found questionable (their support for the ousted government was widely known), sent in troops and created a safe area for many refugees in one sector of Rwanda. Huge numbers of other refugees fled across international borders, overwhelming the humanitarian efforts to care for them and creating vast camps of sick, starving, and dehydrated individuals. The two key issues became closely linked: (1) unless the bloodshed could be stopped and people's confidence restored, they would not leave the camps to go home, but (2) those still in the camps required immediate relief, which encouraged them to stay in the camps. Many found themselves choosing between the threats of death from disease and tribal enemies at home.

US involvement, in the form of Operation Sup- port Hope (Figure 13),came relatively late, after the initial crisis and exodus were largely complete, when inadequate food, water, and sanitation were beginning to make disease a major factor in the refugee camps. From the US perspective, C2 arrangements were relatively simple: USCINCEUR was the responsible Unified Commander. He created JTF Support Hope with a three-star commander(the Deputy CINCEUR) who had the rank and experience necessary to deal with the national leaders and international organizations active in the region. US forces were largely support elements and were organized geographically, with a flag-rank JTF-Forward commander to integrate their efforts. TRANSCOM, responsible for long haul airlift, acted as a key supporting CINC.

The US C2 arrangements were generally reported to have worked well, though the commanders and their staffs "met on the ramp" rather than being a team with experience at solving problems together. This slowed activities in the first several days. US presence was largely confined to support troops, with just enough combat elements to ensure physical security. US combat elements did not go into Rwanda except as limited security escorts for engineers, airport specialists, and other technical personnel.

Command arrangements with the broader set of actors were much more chaotic. UNAMIR elements sought to create and maintain peaceful areas, but lacked the mandate or force to intervene and were themselves sometimes targets of rampages. The NGOs and PVOs sought to protect the population, particularly at orphanages and hospitals, and to provide relief for the refugees both on the road and in the camps. They sought security and logistic support from the peace operators. The French followed their national agenda, both when inserting their troops and later in withdrawing them despite the UN's and other's pleas to leave them in place. Other nations tended to work directly with the UN but often requested US logistic support.

The UNHCR sought to coordinate efforts and ensure logistic support, but its procurement bureaucracy made this difficult. At one point, for example, the US set up a number of water generation units, only to discover that the UN had not made provision for trucks to haul the bottled water from them to the refugees. The initial UN public affairs position was that the US should have brought in trucks as well as water generation plants. Like other identified problems and bottlenecks, this one was resolved, but people suffered while it was being worked out.

Lessons from Recent US Experience with Command Arrangements

While reviewing the empirical experience is somewhat discouraging, some very clear lessons can be gleaned by thoughtful comparison of these recent US experiences. If performance is to improve, both positive and negative aspects of the experience must be understood. Moreover, the analysis should not stop with description but should explore the implications of the observed patterns.

One obvious pattern is that the need for the broadest possible coalition participation and issues of sovereignty combine to create cumbersome networks of military command, far exceeding the ideal span of control for effective management. The unwieldy structures of the 23-nation UNPROFOR and the 18-nation UNOSOM are prime examples. Strategies for combating this problem include clustering smaller national force elements under senior commanders from "natural leader" countries, as was done with the Saudis in Desert Storm and the French in UNOSOM. At the same time, the lack of common language and doctrine in these multinational coalitions could be addressed by establishing:

The US would greatly benefit from these developments and should, base on its experience in peace operations, encourage their development and adoption by international organizations like the UN and regional organizations such as the Organization of American States (OAS) and the Organization for African Unity (OAU).

Second, decision making through the types of cumbersome command arrangements that tend to emerge is also inherently slow. Elements of the peace force are constrained by the mandates pro-vided by the UN or other authority for the operation, by considerations affecting the safety of their forces, and by national political agendas. Moreover, they are almost never fully COCOM to the peace operation commander, which means that, whenever unanticipated situations emerge, considerable discussion will be required before effective action is possible. Consensus-creation, which is required for unified action, takes time.

Failure to offset the inherently slow decision making of consensus systems will surrender the initiative to those who oppose peace.

The time-tested techniques of geographic separation, small teams created to coordinate or trouble-shoot specific functions, and assignment of functions that reflect the capabilities (political, military, and logistic) of the elements of the peace operations force remain valuable. While some improvement in the quality of forces might be generated by programs of standardization, training, and multinational exercises, overall levels of competence and equipment will continue to vary widely. Moreover, national political agendas will impact mission assignments. Organizing for success will require consideration of all these issues. Some patterns of success appear in this area.

Regardless of other command arrangements, the classic technique of exchanging liaison officers has also proven valuable. In Desert Storm this extended in some cases to having more capable military forces provide trainers (often US Special Forces) who stayed on in an advisory capacity during hostilities. Similarly, liaison officers were often the key to effective working relationships in Somalia.

Insights from the Available Evidence

1. Peace operations into the 21st Century will remain dominantly"polyglot," in that multiple nations will participate; the military elements of peace forces will vary widely in competence, doctrine, organization, and level of modernization; and a wide range of actors will participate (national governments, inter-national organizations, NGOs, PVOs, local and regional officials, traditional authorities, and ethnic/religious groups).

2. Military command and control (C2) will remain part, but only apart, of the larger set of command arrangements necessary to conduct peace operations, because peace operations will remain at least as much political as they are military activities. However, military C2 for peace operations cannot be planned or judged outside the larger context of command arrangements.

3. The command arrangements found in past coalition and peace operations were all cumbersome and highly decentralized at the strategic and operational level, but heavily centralized in terms of tactical C2 relationships. The senior commander in typical coalition peace operations:

The forces themselves did not share common military doctrine, language, or standards.

4. Successful peace operations require an under-standing of the definition of success. For peacekeeping operations, this means creating and maintaining arrangements by which the parties can live peacefully while they develop trust and seek to work out long-term political stability. However, for peace imposition or peace enforcement, the measure of success is material progress toward and across the "Great Divide" to peacekeeping. The cost in blood and national treasure of extended peace operations where violence is not controlled means that these operations cannot be sustained over time. Hence missions, objectives, and orders must be proactive toward creating stability so that peacekeeping can achieve more active roles, promptly.

5. When peacekeeping fails, the belligerent parties take the blame because they have destroyed their own set of agreements. When peace imposition or peace enforcement fails, the peace operators get the blame and risk casualties. They have failed to control a situation they explicitly sought to control, even at high risk.

6. Operations near the Great Divide are the most difficult. Peace operators must be perceived as neutral to be successful, which is very difficult if they are engaging one of more of the parties in the name of peace. Equally important, the peace operations forces are at greatest risk when the situation is unstable.

7. UN procurement systems have proved too cumbersome and bureaucratic to support fast-moving peace operations. They need reform, and Peace operators need an independent set of procurement officials, particularly individuals with military and disaster relief experience.

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