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GerardLucius SebastiaanRietjens


Interaction in
Peace Operations
Theory and Practice
Effective Civil-Military Interaction in Peace
Gerard Lucius Sebastiaan Rietjens

Effective Civil-Military
Interaction in Peace
Theory and Practice
Gerard Lucius Sebastiaan Rietjens
Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs Netherlands Defense Academy
The Hague, The Netherlands Breda, The Netherlands

1 (NL) Civil and Military Interaction

Apeldoorn, The Netherlands

ISBN 978-3-319-26804-0 ISBN 978-3-319-26806-4 (eBook)

DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4

Library of Congress Control Number: 2016933029

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

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Foreword by James G. Stavridis

Civil-military interaction is a crucial factor for todays missions to succeed as so

many of them take place in highly complex environments that are characterized by
insecurity, weak governance structures and the most dire socio-economic circum-
stances. Afghanistan, Colombia, the Balkans, Syria, Iraq, Libya and Rwanda are all
examples of such difficult operating environments. In most mission areas, a multi-
tude of different actors present themselves. These actors are military as well as
civilian, international as well as local and public as well as private. Interaction
between these actors is simply inevitable, but is not without its challenges.
During my long military career, I have witnessed a growing recognition of the
importance of civil-military interaction. I saw this first in Haiti and the Balkans in
the early 1990s, where no simple military solution could possibly solve the myriad
of challenges. It was further reinforced during deployments to the Middle East,
especially in the Arabian Gulf during the mid-1990s, and especially in Latin
America and the Caribbean in the mid-2000s. Most recently, we have all watched
events in Iraq and Afghanistan. As in other countries in conflict purely military
solutions are not feasible in these countries. Where Western military leaders show
an overreliance on kinetic solutions, it leads to failures.
In all of these settings, we can identify four crucial elements of successful civil-
military interaction:
First is international cooperation, which unlocks the building of bridges. Too
often, in seeking to solve security problems, we build walls to protect ourselves as
individual nations against interference by others. But it is necessary to work together
across national lines to bring different perspectives to the table, to garner political
support worldwide and, importantly, to generate sufficient forces, materiel and
other resources for the effort. Modern operations involve large groups of countries.
In Afghanistan, for example, there were 50 nations in the coalition; in todays work
against the Islamic State, we see over 60.
Next, we need interagency cooperation within the countries contributing to the
effort. In the case of the United States, this means not only the State Department and
the US Agency for International Development (USAID), but everyone else: the FBI,
Department of Justice, Department of Agriculture, CIA, Coast Guard and so on. No

vi Foreword by James G. Stavridis

one department, no matter how large, can solve all problems on its own. We should
work to foster cooperation between the different government agencies of each of the
nations. It will help us find cleverer solutions and to speak to other partners with one
Third, we need effective private-public cooperation. For example, if we want to
overcome literacy problems which we know helps in the achievement of better
security we have to have non-governmental organisations participate. And there
are countless other issues that present themselves to a deployed force, many of the
issues that the military are not necessarily willing or able to address themselves. Or
there may be demands of neutrality, impartiality and independence that the military
find difficult to meet, as in medical support, humanitarian operations and disaster
relief. Without resolving this myriad of challenges, the modern, multifaceted mis-
sion will not fulfill its mandate and become a success. It takes non-military partners,
governmental and non-governmental, to achieve that.
Lastly, all of these needs to be done in an atmosphere of effective strategic com-
munications: we have to tell the story, win the narrative and succeed in creating a
sense of momentum towards conflict resolution.
If we do these things well, we can succeed as we have, generally speaking, in
places like the Balkans and Colombia. If we fail, as we have in Iraq and Libya, we
will not be able to create the desired effects. Civil-military relations are thus at the
very core of successful operations!
At the center of the concept stands the communication between military and
civilian actors. This book dissects the concept by, first of all, explaining what we
mean by civil-military interaction or CMI and subsequently the civilian people and
organizations that are involved in it. It then provides insights for the planning and
preparation phases of operations, to move on to a set of chapters on civil-military
interaction in specific fields, including engineering, manoeuvre, medical and what
CMI is possibly best known for: Civil-military cooperation, or CIMIC, projects.
You will also find chapters on cultural differences, corruption, human rights and
humanitarian law. One chapter focuses on the type of leaders that effective CMI
requires and another one provides a gender perspective to the subject.
As an academic and military leader, I have always stressed the importance of
rigorous research to ultimately achieve more effective operations. Two contribu-
tions in this book explicitly address this. One talks about the importance of system-
atically evaluating operations, feeding back lessons learned into new ventures and
another concerns itself with training and education in the field of civil-military
By confronting theory with empirical data, the book throughout provides insights
as well as practical tools that politicians, military leaders, development and humani-
tarian workers and the people of the host country can use to work together more
effectively. It is written by an impressive mix of scholars, subject matter experts and
experienced reserve and active duty military officers from a variety of countries
who share the lessons of operations around the globe. Whether you are only being
introduced to CMI, or are a battle-hardened practitioner, this book should be of
value in preparing for the next operation.
Foreword by James G. Stavridis vii

It is my hope that todays and tomorrows military leaders will profit from the
knowledge brought together in this book and its central thesis, that mutual respect
among all actors, military and civilian, is a sine qua non for the interaction that will
define the success of modern peace operations.

Retired Admiral of the US Navy and Supreme James G. Stavridis

Allied Commander Europe at NATO, 20092013
Mons, Belgium
The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy
Tufts University, Medford, USA
Foreword by Bert Koenders
A Comprehensive Approach

This books editors argue that todays complex emergencies demand that interre-
lated political and security questions in fragile states be addressed simultaneously
with economic and developmental challenges. It is an argument I wholeheartedly
support as a minister for Foreign Affairs of a NATO, OSCE and EU member state.
Development policy has, in the past decade or so, come to include security consid-
erations, and security policy specialists recognize the necessity of including devel-
opmental concerns to achieve sustainable solutions for conflict.

Development Policy

The millennium development goals drive has been successful in many ways. The
first MDG was to halve the percentage of people living on an income of less than 1
USD per day. This goal has been achieved; in 1990, 47 % of the worlds population
lived in extreme poverty. In 2015, the number is 22 %. Many countries in Asia,
Latin America and Africa have become middle-income countries and we see a ris-
ing flow of funds from developing countries to Western banks. Spread over the
globe, however, is a group of countries where conflict, crime and a fundamental
lack of perspective for new generations persist.
There is an understanding that long-term development cannot be achieved with-
out durable peace and security. For this reason, development programs nowadays
often include activities in such fields as rule of law, security sector reform, disarma-
ment, demobilization and reintegration, and community security, in addition to
more traditional projects in water and sanitation, healthcare and agriculture.

x Foreword by Bert Koenders

Security Policy

The nature of international conflict is changing. Terrorism, cyber warfare, organized

crime and regular warfare can be seen simultaneously in the same theatre, with their
perpetrators forming coalitions of varying duration and intensity, sometimes receiv-
ing foreign assistance from countries engaged by proxy. Battlefield tactics are
increasingly asymmetric, with civilians being targeted away from the front line,
mass rape and abductions employed to achieve military victory, and human rights
for all put under intense pressure.
Some of these developments are seen in Europes immediate vicinity. The
Crimea has been annexed, and in Eastern Ukraine, a civil war is ongoing. In
Northern Africa and the Middle East, unrest is the order of the day, with open con-
flict in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Further afield, countries like the Central
African Republic, Mali, Nigeria and Somalia suffer from radical groups that chal-
lenge the state and threaten its territorial integrity.
In addressing these complex situations, both the immediate symptoms and the
causes of instability, be they political, ethnic, social or economic, must be addressed.
Our experience has been that the issues need to be addressed at all levels, i.e.
between countries, within the stricken country, within the supporting countries and
within missions.
1. Internationally, when looking at specific countries in conflict, foreign actors
should be ready to partner with other international players, choosing among
them the best mix of diplomatic, security and development instruments for the
2. Within the country at risk, all relevant groups should have a seat at the table
when developing strategies to improve security and stability. The youth, whose
future hangs in the balance, and women, who are so often excluded from conflict
resolution and peace processes, should be actively involved. The future of the
security services, police and armed forces should be addressed, as should the
position of any armed groups, perhaps leading to specific programs of support.
3. Within countries contemplating active support, a Whole-of-Government
Approach should be the norm. In the Netherlands, we attempt to analyze early
and as best we can the social, political, economic and security aspects of the
conflict. The particular mix of instruments deployed will depend on the specific
context, whereby we, as a member state of an international organization, a donor
and a troop contributing nation, strive to improve the cohesiveness of the inter-
national response. We continuously ask ourselves what our added value can be,
what capacities the mission at hand requires, which gaps and niches present
themselves in terms of expertise and means, in other words, how we can best
contribute to a long-term solution of the conflict.
4. Within missions, both preparing and executing them, we speak of the
Comprehensive Approach. The Netherlands and other countries have gained
experience using this multidisciplinary method in Afghanistan, South Sudan,
Mali and other countries. Cooperation between state and non-state civilian actors
Foreword by Bert Koenders xi

in the country on the one hand, and foreign troops, development agencies and
NGOs on the other, is an essential element of the Comprehensive Approach. If
their interaction is less than optimal, everybodys mission will suffer.
As Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN in Mali, I headed
the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated and Stabilization Mission in Mali
(MINUMSA). As the title of the mission already indicates the Comprehensive
Approach is being applied to this UN-mission. It entails both political (peace talks),
military and civilian dimensions and the security that the mission should bring will
enable other organizations to provide humanitarian assistance and development.
It is my belief that to implement our shared vision of effective cooperation
between countries, within our own governments, in countries at risk and within
peace operations, we must first show a willingness to engage with each other with-
out prejudice. I hope that this book will contribute to the success of the Comprehensive
Approach by providing military and civilian partners with in-depth knowledge of
each others organizations and the many opportunities for effective interaction.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Bert Koenders

The Hague, The Netherlands

1 Getting Better at Civil-Military Interaction ......................................... 1

Sebastiaan Rietjens and Gerard Lucius
2 Civil-Military Interaction: Rationale,
Possibilities and Limitations .................................................................. 11
Cedric de Coning
3 Who Are They? Encountering International
and Local Civilians in Civil-Military Interaction ................................ 29
Georg Frerks
4 Civilians in Military Operations: Blue on Blue? .................................. 45
Jeannette Seppen and Gerard Lucius
5 Preparation Starts at Home: Education
and Training for Civil-Military Interaction.......................................... 61
Kelisiana Thynne and Gwen Cherne
6 Obtaining Population Centric Intelligence: Experiences
of the Netherlands Military Presence in South Afghanistan ............... 77
Martijn Kitzen and Willem Vogelsang
7 Civil-Military Planning .......................................................................... 89
Philip Shetler-Jones
8 Just in Time: Civil-Military Logistics ................................................... 103
Maggie Heraty
9 Reconstructing the Infrastructure of Damaged Societies ................... 123
Garland H. Williams
10 Civil-Military Interaction During Infantry Operations ...................... 137
John Melkon, James Embrey, Harry Bader, and Brian Mennes
11 Militarys Engagement in Civilian Healthcare..................................... 153
Sebastiaan Rietjens and Myriame Bollen

xiv Contents

12 CIMIC Projects: Divergent Interests, Convergent Action? ................ 169

Gerard Lucius
13 Dealing with Cultural Differences ......................................................... 191
Paula Holmes-Eber
14 Fighting Corruption in Conflict Areas .................................................. 205
Saad Mustafa, Tobias Bock, and Mark Pyman
15 Human Rights and Refugee Protection:
The Interface with Humanitarian Actors ............................................. 221
Christine Mougne and Fedde Groot
16 Leadership and the Comprehensive Approach .................................... 237
Peter Olsthoorn and Joseph Soeters
17 Civil-Military Interaction, CIMIC
and Interacting with Gender.................................................................. 249
Gunhild Hoogensen Gjrv and Toiko Tnisson Kleppe
18 Improving Evaluation of Civil-Military Cooperation ......................... 263
Peter Essens and Thom de Vries
19 Civil-Military Interaction: From Practice to Theory .......................... 275
Sebastiaan Rietjens

Index ................................................................................................................. 291


Harry Bader Univerisity of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA

Tobias Bock Transparency International, London, UK
Myriame Bollen Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, The Netherlands
Gwen Cherne Australian Civil-Military Centre, Queanbeyan, NSW, Australia
Cedric de Coning Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), Oslo,
Thom de Vries University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
James Embrey Peace Keeping and Stability Operations Institute, Carlisle, PA,
Peter Essens TNO, The Hague, The Netherlands
University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
Georg Frerks Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, The Netherlands
Gunhild Hoogensen Gjrv University of Troms, Troms, Norway
Fedde Groot International consultant, Amsterdam, The Netherlands/Cape Town,
South Africa
Maggie Heraty Humanitarian Logistician, and Trustee-Director of the
Humanitarian Logistics Association, London, UK
Paula Holmes-Eber University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
Martijn Kitzen Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, The Netherlands

xvi Contributors

Toiko Tnisson Kleppe Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for
Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC),
Geneva, Switzerland
Gerard Lucius Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague, The
1 (NL) Civil and Military Interaction Command, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
John Melkon United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, USA
Brian Mennes United States Army, Washington, DC, USA
Christine Mougne OCHA/UN Women, Bangkok, Thailand
Saad Mustafa Former Research Lead at Transparency International, London, UK
Peter Olsthoorn Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, The Netherlands
Mark Pyman Transparency International, London, UK
Sebastiaan Rietjens Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, The Netherlands
Jeannette Seppen Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague, The
Philip Shetler-Jones Honarary Research Fellow, University of Sheffield, UK
Joseph Soeters Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, The Netherlands
University of Tilburg, Tilburg, The Netherlands
Kelisiana Thynne International Committee of the Red Cross, Kuala Lumpur,
Willem Vogelsang University of Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands
Garland H. Williams Academic Dean, College of Security and Criminal Justice,
University of Phoenix, Tempe, AZ, USA
About the Editors

Gerard Lucius obtained a Masters degree in

Sociology from the University of Amsterdam and
joined the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in
1997. Working at headquarters as a senior policy offi-
cer and a diplomat in Zambia, Afghanistan, Sudan and
Qatar, he developed a professional interest in the nexus
between peace and development. In 2001, Gerard was
commissioned into the Army Reserves and he is now a
Senior Political Consultant to 1 (NL) Civil and Military
Interaction Command. He served as Counselor and
Deputy Head of Mission of his countrys embassy in
Baghdad from 20122014 and currently works on
Antiterrorism and National Security issues at the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
in The Hague.

Sebastiaan Rietjens engineer by training, is an asso-

ciate professor at the Netherlands Defense Academy,
and a reserve major in the Netherlands army. He has
done extensive fieldwork in military operations and
has published accordingly in international journals and
books. His main focus of interest is on civil-military
interaction, effectiveness of military operations as well
as logistics, information management and military
intelligence. Sebastiaan has spoken at numerous international conferences and
(research) institutes including the Australian Defence Forces Academy, Texas State
University, the European Committee on Security and Development and the US
Marine Corps University. He is a member of the editorial boards of Armed Forces &
Society and the Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management,
the editor of a volume on civil-military interaction (Ashgate, 2008), a special issue

xviii About the Editors

on defence logistics (International Journal of Physical Distribution and Logistics

Management, 2013) and the Routledge Handbook of Research Methods in Military
Studies (Routledge, 2014).
About the Contributors

Harry Bader is an Associate Professor of Security Studies at the University of

Alaska. Prior to his academic appointment, he was the co-leader of the joint civilian-
military Natural Resources Counterinsurgency Cell operating in eastern Afghanistan.
He has more than 20 years of experience in civil/military operations conducting
unconventional warfare, counterinsurgency, and non-lethal community mobiliza-
tion in Latin America, the Balkans, Middle East, and Central Asia.

Tobias Bock joined TIs global Defence and Security

Programme (DSP) in 2010. As Deputy Director, he
manages the programme and its budget. Two of DSPs
major practical tools include the Defence Companies
and the Government Defence Anti-Corruption Indices
(defenceindex.org). Tobias led on TIs efforts to ensure
anti-corruption measures in the UN Arms Trade Treaty
(ATT). He also led on securing funding that enabled
the programme to more than double in size, as well as
the introduction of a monitoring, evaluation, and learn-
ing system recognised as good practice in the sector.

Myriame Bollen is a full professor in civil-military

interaction at the Netherlands Defence Academy and a
member of the Board of the Faculty of Military
Sciences. From 2004, she is a visiting professor at the
Baltic Defence College, Tartu, Estonia. From 2012,
she takes part in the European consortium led by
Frontex for the development of a joint European
Master in Strategic Border Management. She pub-
lishes on civil-military cooperation and management
of change and, amongst others, co-edited the volume
Managing Civil-Military Cooperation: A 24/7 Joint
Effort for Stability (Ashgate, 2008).

xx About the Contributors

Gwen Cherne is currently a contractor for the

Australia Civil-Military Centre focusing on capability
projects. Her career working in the US, Afghanistan,
Africa, Central & South America, and the Caribbean
has focused on stability, relief, and development for
youth, women, and families living in crisis and extreme

Cedric de Coning (South Africa) heads the Peace

Operations and Peacebuilding Research Group at the
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI),
and he is also a Senior Advisor on Peacekeeping and
Peacebuilding for ACCORD. Cedric has a PhD from
the Department of Philosophy at the University of
Stellenbosch. His main research focus is on AU, EU
and UN peacekeeping and peacebuilidng policies and
practices. He has a special interest in the implications
of complexity theory for the planning, management
and evaluation of peace missions.

Thom de Vries is a post-doctoral researcher at the

University of Groningen and junior scientist at
TNO. He received his research master of science
degree in business administration from the University
of Groningen (cum laude) and completed (2014) his
PhD dissertation on Interteam Coordination. His scien-
tific work has been published in the Academy of
Management Journal, as well as in the best paper pro-
ceedings of the Annual Academy of Management
Meetings. He has presented his work at conferences in
the Netherlands, USA, Switzerland, and Italy. At TNO,
he worked on applied research projects for organizations such as the Netherlands
Ministry of Defence, ProRail (National Rail Network), and Verslavingszorg Noord
Nederland (Addiction Care North Netherlands).
About the Contributors xxi

James Embrey is the Professor for Stability

Operations, Peacekeeping and Stability Operations
Institute. A former Colonel of Infantry, his command,
and staff positions include peace keeping and stability
operations in Kuwait, Somalia, Bosnia, Albania,
Macedonia, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. As a pro-
fessor at the Army War College, he served as the
Director for Joint Advanced Warfighting Studies and
the General Pershing Chair for Military Planning and

Peter Essens is Principal Scientist at TNO and

Advisor Science in Practice at the University of
Groningen. He studied Pedagogics and Experimental
Psychology at the University of Groningen and
received his PhD in Social Sciences from the University
of Nijmegen. He has over 25 years of experience in the
military and civil security and safety domain. His sci-
entific focus is on how people work, organize, and col-
laborate to address complex problems in
inter-organizational, multi-national operational set-
tings (civil-military cooperation; multiteam systems).
He is the leader of several key investigations of TNO into innovations in team effec-
tiveness and cooperation between teams and organizations in military and civil
domains and is area leader Human Effectiveness of the Human Factors and Medicine
Panel of the NATO Science and Technology Panel.

Georg Frerks holds a chair in Conflict Prevention

and Conflict Management at Utrecht University and a
chair in International Security Studies at the
Netherlands Defence Academy. Frerks served for
nearly 20 years in the Dutch Foreign Service both at
headquarters and abroad and was head of the Conflict
Research Unit of the Netherlands Institute of
International Relations Clingendael. His research
focuses on contemporary conflicts and international,
national and local conflict responses and policy inter-
ventions, including civil-military relations. He has car-
ried out extensive fieldwork in conflict-affected
countries, including Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the DRC,
and Uganda, and conducted numerous policy studies
and program evaluations for international donors and NGOs. He (co-)authored and
(co-)edited 15 academic books, over 60 journal articles and book chapters, and 70
reports and monographs. Work on civil-military interaction includes Principles and
xxii About the Contributors

Pragmatism. Civil-military Action in Afghanistan and Liberia. (2006, Co-authors:

Bart Klem, Stefan van Laar and Marleen van Klingeren. Utrecht / Amsterdam:
Universiteit Utrecht / Bart Klem Research); Tsunami Response in Sri Lanka: Civil-
Military Cooperation in a Conflictuous Context in: S.J.H. Rietjens and
M.T.I.B. Bollen (eds.) Managing Civil-Military Cooperation, A 24/7 Joint Effort for
Stability. 6779. 2008. Aldershot: Ashgate and Civil-military cooperation: a bal-
ancing act under precarious conditions, in: Molier, G. and E. Nieuwenhuis (eds)
Peace, Security and Development in an Era of Globalization. The Integrated
Security Approach Viewed from a Multidisciplinary Perspective. 207223. 2009.
Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

Gunhild Hoogensen Gjrv is Professor of Political

Science (specialization international relations) at the
University of Troms The Arctic University of
Norway, as well as Research Associate at the
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI).
She is also a member of the Norwegian Royal
Commission on Afghanistan investigating the
Norwegian efforts in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2014.
She writes about international relations theory, secu-
rity theory, security in the Arctic, and civil-military
interaction (both in Arctic as well as international
operations settings, such as Afghanistan). She is the
author of International Relations, Security and Jeremy
Bentham (Routledge 2005) and Understanding Civil-Military Interaction: Lessons
Learned from the Norwegian Model (Ashgate 2014) as well as lead co-editor (and
contributing author) to Environmental and Human Security in the Arctic (Routledge
2013). She has also written articles in Review of International Studies, Security
Dialogue, and the International Studies Review, among other journals.

Fedde Groot (Netherlands 1951) has 35 years experi-

ence in the field of refugees and migration particularly
in the planning and management of humanitarian oper-
ations. After his studies (Social Anthropology), he
worked with the Dutch Refugee Council before joining
UNHCR where he served in various countries in
Africa, Central America, the Balkans and Asia, as well
as in Geneva. He currently works as an independent
About the Contributors xxiii

Maggie Heraty was for 13 years a Senior Logistics

Officer with UNHCR in large refugee operations
mostly in Africa, alongside UN, ECOWAS and national
militaries. Now freelance, she provides a logistics
response to displacement emergencies and natural
disasters (e.g. the Haiti earthquake), while also train-
ing, mentoring and public speaking. She is a Director
of the Humanitarian Logistics Association and has
been a role player in seven NATO CiMiC exercises.

Paula Holmes-Eber PhD is the author of five books

and numerous scholarly publications on culture and
conflict, including: Culture in Conflict: Irregular
Warfare, Culture Policy and the Marine Corps
(Stanford University Press), Operational Culture for
the Warfighter: Principles and Applications;
Applications in Operational Culture: Perspectives
from the Field and Case Studies in Operational
Culture. From 2006 to 2014, Dr. Holmes-Eber men-
tored and taught thousands of senior level military and
government officials on the cultural aspects of conflict as Professor of Operational
Culture at Marine Corps University. She is currently a Visiting Scholar in the Middle
East Center at the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of

Martijn Kitzen (1978) is Assistant Professor of War

Studies at the Netherlands Defence Academy. His
research and teaching focus on irregular warfare and
more specifically on counterinsurgency in fragmented
indigenous societies. In addition to his scholarly work,
he has been conducting pre-deployment training for
Dutch troops and worked as in theatre counterinsur-
gency advisor for the Netherlands Task Force Uruzgan
in Afghanistan. Mr. Kitzen is a former military officer
with experience in NATO and UN missions and
received his education at the Royal Netherlands Military Academy and the
Department of Political Sciences at Leiden University.
xxiv About the Contributors

Toiko Tnisson Kleppe is a gender, peace and secu-

rity expert with experience in policy work and imple-
mentation, including gender mainstreaming of the
security sector and civil-military interaction. She has
among other articles written Gender training for
Security Sector Personnel good practices and lessons
2008). She has worked at the United Nations in
New York, Italy, Fiji and the Dominican Republic, for
the womens rights organization FOKUS in Norway,
and as a Norwegian diplomat in Afghanistan. She has a
BA in Human Rights and International Relations from
the University of Padua, Italy, and a MSc in Violence, Conflict and Development
from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK.

John Melkon leads the Center for the Study of Civil-

Military Operations at the United States Military
Academy at West Point. Prior to his service at CSCMO,
Mr. Melkon served as a Strategic Operations Officer
for the Department of Defense from 2006 to 2012 with
multiple tours in OPERATION ENDURING
FREEDOM and additional service throughout Africa
and the Middle East. Prior to his civilian service, he
was an Army Special Forces Officer who served in
multiple overseas assignments for over 13 years before
retirement. He holds a BA from Princeton and an MBA
and MPIA from Texas A&M.

Brian Mennes Colonel Mennes commanded the 1st

Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR),
82d Airborne Division in Afghanistan. He then com-
manded 1st Ranger Battalion and deployed to both
Afghanistan and Iraq. During his last operational assign-
ment, COL Mennes commanded the 4th Brigade, 82nd
Airborne Division in Afghanistan. He is a graduate of
the Command and General Staff College and a US
Army War College Fellowship at the Institute of World
Politics and the United Kingdoms Higher Command
and Staff Course. He is a West Point graduate and holds
an MA in Military Art and Science from CGSC.
About the Contributors xxv

Christine Mougne is a British social anthropologist

with more than 30 years experience in the humanitar-
ian field focusing on refugees and migration, child pro-
tection, community development, demographic
change, family planning and conflict resolution. She
has worked extensively in Southeast Asia, Central and
West Africa, Iraq and the Middle East serving with the
UNHCR, UNICEF as well as with a number of NGOs
and UK Government departments.

Saad Mustafa is a Senior Policy Analyst at Ofgem,

where he leads on the development of policy and rec-
ommendations in relation to electricity transmission
networks. From May 2011 until June 2014, he was the
Research Lead at TIs global Defence and Security
Programme (DSP). Apart from leading on original
DSP research work on integrity building and counter-
corruption reform in defence and security, he also
encouraged others to carry out research in this space,
through collaboration with researchers, universities,
and relevant thinktanks and academies.

Peter Olsthoorn is Assistant Professor Civil-Military

Interaction at the Netherlands Defense Academy. He
teaches on leadership and ethics, public administra-
tion, and armed forces and the media. He has written
several articles on leadership and military ethics, as
well as the monograph Military Ethics and Virtues: An
Interdisciplinary Approach for the 21st Century
(Routledge 2010).
xxvi About the Contributors

Mark Pyman is a leading practitioner and authority

on countering corruption. His knowledge and experi-
ence comes from 11 years as Programme Director of
Transparency Internationals ground-breaking global
Defence and Security Programme, working with mili-
taries in many countries. He was previously one of
Shell Internationals senior executives in West Africa,
in China and elsewhere. He is currently a member of
the Afghanistan Independent Anti-Corruption

Jeannette Seppen is a graduate in political sciences

from Leyden University in the Netherlands and did a
short stint at the New York Film Academy in the
USA. She joined the Netherlands Foreign Service in
1992 and has since served at bilateral and EU-missions
as well as NATO-operations in London, The Hague,
Sarajevo, Kigali, Pristina, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Tarin
Kowt, Bujumbura, Brussels and Mazar-e-Sharif. She is
currently the Netherlands Ambassador to Iraq.

Philip Shetler-Jones has worked in the field of peace

operations since serving as a military observer in
Bosnia in 1995. After service in the UK Royal Marines,
Philip worked in various positions with the UN
Department of PKO in the field and at UN Headquarters.
In between, he pursued academic studies in security
policy, with an area focus on East Asia and Japan. His
PhD examined the relationship between security and
globalization. He has spent recent years as an indepen-
dent contractor doing policy and research work with the UK Government, the EU,
NATO and ASEAN. He is currently employed as senior analyst in the EU Monitoring
Mission in Georgia.

Joseph Soeters holds the Chair of Management and

Organization Studies at the Netherlands Defense
Academy. He is also a part-time Professor of
Organization Studies at Tilburg University. He has
published extensively on issues related to multina-
tional military cooperation, international management,
and effectiveness of military action.
About the Contributors xxvii

Kelisiana Thynne is a regional legal advisor for the

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and covering South
East Asia. She was previously the Director of Capability
and Research Manager at the Australian Civil-Military
Centre. She has held legal positions in Afghanistan,
Sydney, the Pacific, Canberra and The Hague dealing
with international humanitarian law, international
criminal law, human rights and international legal

Willem Vogelsang (PhD Groningen 1990) has been

engaged with Afghanistan since 1978, when he worked
as an archaeologist at Kandahar in the south of the
country. In the 1980s he visited Afghanistan again, as a
freelance journalist. From 9/11, he returned to
Afghanistan many times, in the role of Museum cura-
tor; as a military officer engaged in CIMIC activities;
and finally working as the regional and cultural adviser
for the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in
Uruzgan, between mid-2008 and early 2011. He pub-
lished extensively on Afghanistan, including the mono-
graph The Afghans, updated version 2008. At present,
he is the institute manager of the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden,
the Netherlands.

Garland H. Williams COLONEL (ret) a graduate

of Auburn University and the Duke Graduate School,
is a US Army retired engineer officer who commanded
at all levels from platoon through brigade, with opera-
tional deployments to Kuwait, Egypt, Bosnia, Kosovo,
and Albania. He served for almost 4 years as the
Associate Regional Vice President for the Military
Division at the University of Phoenix and now serves
as the Dean of Operations for the University of Phoenix
Colleges of Humanities & Social Sciences.
Additionally, he is the author of Engineering Peace:
The Military Role in Postconflict Reconstruction.
Chapter 1
Getting Better at Civil-Military Interaction

Sebastiaan Rietjens and Gerard Lucius

1.1 The Importance of Studying Civil-Military Interaction

and the Rationale of this Book

Todays complex emergencies demand that interrelated political, economic and

developmental as well as security problems be addressed simultaneously (De
Coning and Friis 2011; Rietjens and Bollen 2008). As a consequence, international
efforts increasingly focus on integrating approaches of military and civilian actors,
including government agencies as well as non-state actors such as Non Governmental
Organizations (NGOs) and International Organizations (IOs). Mission effectiveness
depends on combining military expertise on security with civilian expertise on gov-
ernance, human rights, rule of law and economic development. To realize this, civil-
military interaction is of crucial importance.
In many operations over the past 20 years such as those in the Balkans, Iraq and
Afghanistan, the approach to civil-military interaction was essentially improvisa-
tional, pragmatic and ad hoc. Meeting on the ground in theater, personnel from vari-
ous organizations worked out solutions and overcame differences to achieve the
common good. As a result, the appropriate coordination mechanisms evolved over
time in response to specific needs on the ground. There is merit and appeal to this
approach because, as some commentators and practitioners argue, every crisis is
occasion-specific and circumstance-specific. Its unique characteristics mean that
strategies and structures for civil-military interaction need to reflect the specific and
dynamically evolving circumstances (Gourlay 2000).

S. Rietjens (*)
Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, The Netherlands
e-mail: basrietjens@gmail.com
G. Lucius
Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague, The Netherlands
1 (NL) Civil and Military Interaction Command, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 1

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_1
2 S. Rietjens and G. Lucius

Ad hoc approaches, however, have their limitations. Looking at the military, at a

local level, an enormous level of responsibility devolved on the battalion command-
ers and their junior officers, as a result of the gap between the designated mission
and the requirement to establish order on the ground. These commanders had to
tailor much of their operations to the unexpected challenges they faced, rather than
execute the sort of mission they were tasked, organized, and trained to perform
(Vogelaar and Kramer 2004). Overall, civil-military interaction depended strongly
on the personalities involved and the qualities they brought to the table, rather than
on planning and standard operating procedures (Brocades Zaalberg 2005). Many
differences occurred within and between rotations and contingents including priori-
ties, budgets, and the level of involvement of host nation actors (Hynek and Marton
2011; Maley and Schmeidl 2015). Such an approach yields inefficient use of limited
aid resources, delays humanitarian relief efforts, breeds inconsistency between rota-
tions, and fails to address conflicting objectives in the (post-) conflict environment
(Peabody 2005).
Equally, many civilian representatives of International Organizations and NGOs
have met with challenges in the interface with foreign military units. As a result, IOs
and NGOs have taken varied stances towards interaction with the military varying
from pragmatic cooperative behavior towards principled non involvement (Frerks
et al. 2006).
This reluctance to cooperate is exacerbated by the different opinions between
headquarters and field levels on the appropriateness of interacting with the military
as well as different personal opinions and the constant rotation of personnel, in par-
ticular at the military side of the equation.
During the last few years we have seen increased numbers of representatives
from western government ministries, other than the ministries of Defence partici-
pating in peace operations. These include personnel from ministries of Foreign
Affairs (e.g. political advisors), Development Cooperation (development advisors,
cultural advisors) and Justice (rule of law advisors, counter narcotic advisors).
Initially most of them functioned solely as an advisor to the military commander.
However, the gradual but significant growth in independent resources and continued
accountability to their respective departments (see also Chap. 4 by Seppen and
Lucius) back home caused a change in priorities. Many came to see their advisory
role as secondary. This put a strain on the interaction with the military units in
which they were embedded.
Also from the perspective of nationals of the host country (Donini 2007) there
are many different ways in which they interact with western military troops (Kitzen
2012). In accordance with the altruistic self-interest principle (Seiple 1996), many
look favorably on interaction with the military to the extent they expect this to serve
their best interest.
It is clear that there are good reasons for all involved to make the civil-military
interface function better. There is no single solution to improve civil-military inter-
action, but there is logic in attempting to learn from past operations in a systematic
manner. The logic of improved lessons learned is expected to lead to efficiency
gains, greater respect for the comparative advantages of civilian and military actors,
1 Getting Better at Civil-Military Interaction 3

and enhanced mission effectiveness. Currently, lessons learned regarding civil-

military interaction are happening on an individual or rotational level, but not at an
institutional level. While some learn and apply lessons, others repeat old mistakes
(Noll and Rietjens, 2016). Personnel involved in civil-military interaction feel
forced to reinvent the wheel, because little communication and knowledge transfer
takes place from earlier rotations and other missions.
Many scientific manuscripts are published on this topic, but these tend to not find
their way to the (military) practitioner. They are either too abstract, too theoretical
or simply not accessible to most soldiers. At the other end of the spectrum, many
personal stories are published based on individual experiences. Although informa-
tive, such stories often only contain episodic knowledge (Alavi and Leidner 2001).
They are bounded by personal experiences and their lessons are difficult to transfer
to other circumstances.
Then there are doctrines and guideline documents in the domain of civil-military
interaction - such as NATOs Allied Joint Publication on Civil-Military Cooperation
(AJP-3.4.9) and Comprehensive Approach Planning Directive (COPD) or the UNs
Civil-Military Guidelines and Reference for Complex Emergencies but many find
them impractical in the field because they are general and principled in nature and
not geared to operational needs (see e.g. Save the Children 2004). As a result, many
practitioners in the field find it difficult to match the doctrine with the harsh reality.
In short, soldiers and civilians who want to learn about effective civil-military
interaction, for instance when preparing and executing a mission, may not find the
right material to support their learning needs. This book intends to help fill this gap.
It has collected many firsthand experiences of both military and civil practitioners
and scientists dealing with civil-military interaction processes in peace operations.
The contributors are trusted authors who bring the latest from academic research
and operational experience. The experiences they share are not heavily bounded but
taken from a variety of situations. Both NATO-led operations and UN Integrated
Missions are discussed and geographically, the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan and
Africa provide lessons learned. As such, the book contributes to making knowledge
on civil-military interaction more explicit and more widely applicable to profes-
sionals with current or future responsibilities in the civil-military interface.
In the study of civil-military interaction at various hierarchical levels, over a
period of time and in different operational circumstances, patterns emerge that point
to the consistencies and inconsistencies and strengths and weaknesses in current
policies and the theory of civil-military interaction. This book also aims at contrib-
uting to discussions on policy and theory and proposes several strategies for
strengthening the theoretical framework in this field.
Having introduced what this book is about, it is equally important to stress what
it is not. This book does not deal with civil-military interaction in response to natu-
ral disasters such as earthquakes (e.g. Haiti, 2010), hurricanes (e.g. Philippines,
2013) or floodings (e.g. Pakistan, 2010). For this we refer to Wiharta et al. (2008)
and Tatham and Rietjens (2016). Nor does the book deal with civil-military interac-
tion within the framework of emergency management or homeland security. As
such civil-military interaction in response to emergencies like chemical or nuclear
4 S. Rietjens and G. Lucius

disasters (e.g. Fukushima, Japan, 2011) or oil spills (e.g. platform of British
Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico, 2010) are not being studied. Finally, the book does
not deal with private military firms (e.g. Singer 2005). These organizations have
become numerous1 which has led to several unforeseen consequences for the armed
forces. For an excellent overview of the role of private military firms and the conse-
quences these have led to, we refer to Heinecken (2013).

1.2 Predecessors

Due to its multidisciplinary character, civil-military interaction finds itself on the

crossroads of several different professional domains. These domains include, but
are not limited to counterinsurgency, stabilisation operations, disaster studies,
sociology and anthropology. Each of these domains has a long history in which
civil-military interaction has played a greater or lesser role. We will not address
each of these domains separately but highlight some of the most important studies
that have been carried out on civil-military interaction in peace operations up to now.
Although it can be argued that civil-military interaction has been of great impor-
tance throughout the centuries, we will start this brief review after Cold-War period.
As a result of the many peace operations in areas such as the Balkans, Rwanda
and Cambodia, research into civil-military interaction took a steep flight in the
1990s. From a historical counterinsurgency perspective, US-based professor
Thomas Mockaitis (1998, 2004) was one of the first to analyse the struggle to come
to grips with civil-military interaction. Based on extensive studies in and Bosnia and
Kosovo he concluded that defining Cimic [civil-military cooperation] is like
nailing jello to a wall. According to Brocades Zaalberg (2008), much of the debate
in that period revolved around the question whether civil-military cooperation is a
support function facilitating military operations or if military activities in the
civilian domain may become a purpose on their own. In short: Should the military
engage in nation-building and venture into the murky arena of civil administration,
humanitarian relief, political and infrastructural reconstruction and public secu-
rity? (Brocades Zaalberg 2008).
From a civilian perspective, Hugo Slim (1996), Larry Minear (see e.g. Minear
et al. 2000; Minear and Guillot 1996) and Thomas Weiss (e.g. Weiss and Collins
2000) were amongst the first to emphasize the topic of civil-military interaction and
to stress the drawbacks of military personnel being involved in civilian activities.
Meinrad Studer, a representative of the ICRC, took this view even further and outlined
the principled rationale of his organization with respect to civil-military interaction
(Studer 2001). This study was later used as a reference point for the ICRC to draft
its code of conduct on civil-military relations.

At the height of operations in Iraq there were an estimated 190,000 employees of PMFs working
for the American Ministry of Defence alone (Heinecken 2013).
1 Getting Better at Civil-Military Interaction 5

A second wave of increased attention for civil-military interaction materialized

early this century as a result of the deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. During this
period much of the military research into civil-military interaction draws upon and
refers to counterinsurgency classics such as the works of Galula (1964), Kitson
(1971) and more recently Kilcullen (2006, 2009). As a result, such research primarily
focuses on the way foreign military forces engage with the local population and key
leaders (see e.g. Kitzen 2012). In doing this, the studies take as their starting point
the basic principles of counterinsurgency such as that the populace is the center of
gravity for both the insurgent and the counterinsurgent. The counterinsurgency
approach to civil-military interaction, in particular the execution of aid projects, was
heavily criticized by leading scientists in the domain of international development.
Based on their research in five Afghan provinces, Fishstein and Wilder (2012) con-
clude that:
While in some areas aid projects may have had some short-term positive security effects at
a tactical level (e.g., intelligence gathering and limited force protection benefits for international
forces), and may have helped to facilitate creating relationships by providing a platform
or context to legitimize interaction between international and local actors, there was little
concrete evidence in any of the five provinces that aid projects were having more strategic
level stabilization or security benefits such as winning populations away from insurgents,
legitimizing the government, or reducing levels of violent conflict.

Moreover, from a civilian perspective, in particular in Afghanistan, the establish-

ment of Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) joint teams of international
civilian and military personnel, operating at the provincial level evoked much
discussion. In their report, Save the Children (2004) critically analysed the implications
of the PRTs on humanitarian agencies and humanitarian assistance in Afghanistan.
They identified many challenges facing the PRTs, including a lack of sufficient
military strength to address insecurity, the potential for compromising the role of
civilian agencies and insufficient involvement of local stakeholders in PRT activities
(see also Lucius, Chap. 12 in this volume).
A third and most recent wave of research into civil-military interaction has
revolved around the concepts of the comprehensive, integrated, 3D (Defence,
Diplomacy and Development) or whole-of-government approaches. One of the first
leading studies that was published here is Patricks and Browns (2007) Greater
than the sum of its part?: Assessing whole-of-government approaches to fragile
states. This study as well as others extended the civil-military interface with other
government departments, including ministries of Finance, Interior, Justice, Trade
and Health. They focus on coherence between the wide array of participating actors.
More recent studies that fall into this category include De Coning and Friis (2011),
Wendling (2010) and Smith (2012).
This book builds upon the work of many of these predecessors and intends to
provide an overview of the most important issues in the field of civil-military
interaction in peace operations today from the perspectives of both academics and
practitioners. The next section addresses the structure of the book and its chapters
and provides an overview of the most salient issues.
6 S. Rietjens and G. Lucius

1.3 Structure of the Book

The book consists of 19 chapters, each describing the state of affairs in a particular
area of civil-military interaction, including aspects that hinder the effectiveness of
the civil-military interface. Most of the chapters contain one or more brief case stud-
ies illustrating how, in different operations since the 1990s, interaction in the field
took shape. The case studies describe the apparent success factors as well as the
practices that led to failure and frustration. Connecting the theory with the practice
in their area, authors conclude with suggestions for improvement in the civil-
military interface.
The chapters are organized in 5 clusters. The first cluster sets the stage. In Chap. 2,
Cedric de Coning outlines the rationale, possibilities and limitations of civil-military
interaction. He provides a model containing 24 different types of civil-military
interaction, thereby illustrating the breadth and width of the domain. The next two
chapters describe the civilian actors that foreign military are likely to interact with
in operations, including their typical backgrounds and professional mandates. These
include IOs, NGOs and local civil society groups (for this see Chap. 3 by Georg
Frerks), as well as civilian representatives of Ministries such as Foreign Affairs,
Development Cooperation and Justice (see Chap. 4 by Jeanette Seppen and Gerard
Lucius for a detailed account on this).
The remainder of the book broadly follows the regular project cycle of prepara-
tion, execution and evaluation.

Preparation Phase

The second cluster focuses on assessment and planning. Chapter 5 by Kelisiana

Thynne and Gwen Cherne zooms in on training and education for civil-military
interaction, stressing the need for confronting soldiers at all levels with civilian
organizations and their needs at an early stage in their formation. In the next chapter
Martijn Kitzen and Willem Vogelsang provide insight into obtaining information on
the local population, so-called population-centric intelligence. Philip Shetler-Jones
in Chap. 7 describes similarities and differences between planning processes of civil
and military organizations that will help to achieve smoother joint civil-military
planning processes.

Execution Phase

The third cluster addresses the implementation of civil-military interaction and

zooms in on several operational functions that are found within military units.
Chapter 8 by Maggie Heraty illuminates what actors and which tasks may be
1 Getting Better at Civil-Military Interaction 7

encountered in the logistics field in operations. In Chap. 9, Garland Williams points

out what engineering capabilities can contribute to the work of civilian actors, while
Melkon, Embrey, Mennes and Bader in Chap. 10 address the importance of a focus
on conflict transformation instead of transition and termination by the officers
leading regular manoeuvre units. The use of military medical capacity offers many
opportunities for beneficial interaction, but not without some limitations, as
Sebastiaan Rietjens and Myriame Bollen discuss in Chap. 11. Chapter 12, by Gerard
Lucius, shows how carefully designed Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) projects
have the potential to serve the interests of all stakeholders, but also what is to be
avoided in their execution.
The fourth cluster extends the execution phase to address several cross-cutting
issues. Paula Holmes Eber, in Chap. 13 on cultural differences, aims to empower
soldiers by helping them recognize cultural differences and consider responses that
work. Chapter 14 by Saad Mustafa, Tobias Bock and Mark Pyman describes corrup-
tion in deployment areas, how it is relevant to military operations, and provides a
toolkit for preventing and fighting against corruption. Military forces need to be
aware of elements of human rights law and humanitarian law and Chap. 15 by
Christine Mougne and Fedde Groot provides insight into what it means to them. It
also explains how soldiers and humanitarians can work together successfully, and
what are limitations in that effort. In Chap. 16, Peter Olsthoorn and Joseph Soeters
discuss what type of leadership seems best suited for the comprehensive approach
and how it may be achieved. Chapter 17 by Gunhild Hoogensen and Toiko Tnisson
Kleppe provides the gender perspective to civil-military interaction, aiming to raise
awareness of gender issues as a means to achieve broad-based and effective

Evaluation Phase

The fifth and final cluster contains two chapters. Chapter 18 by Peter Essens and
Thom de Vries focuses on evaluations, arguing for a more systematic look at past
operations and a stronger feedback loop to todays and tomorrows military efforts.
In the final chapter, the editors identify the recurring patterns in the practice of
civil-military interaction. They conclude that in all phases of preparation, execution
and evaluation, research and experience point to important conceptual and practical
difficulties. So much so, that the validity of theory as well as policies and doctrines
in this field have to be called into question. A more adequate theory is needed, and
suggestions are provided to develop it. It is proposed that more work be done in
compiling and comparing empirical datasets and case studies. More generally, the
chapter argues, a more evidence-based approach is needed, in which results from
systematic research are combined with the individual expertise and experiences of
practitioners. In this effort multiple academic disciplines have a role to play.
Importantly, it seems time to challenge the seemingly compelling logic of all stake-
holders working towards a single set of goals. It may need to be replaced by a
8 S. Rietjens and G. Lucius

mutual recognition of the fundamental independence of the actors in the political,

legal and budgetary senses. Slow, but thorough and broad-based, such an approach
is perhaps the best way forward towards an improved theory of civil-military
interaction that will in turn inform doctrine and policy and ultimately lead to more
effective peace operations.

1.4 Readership

This book is especially geared towards the needs of the military involved in peace
operations. Whether working in intelligence, logistics, engineering, operations,
planning, personnel or as a Commanding Officer, readers will find information tai-
lored to their specific needs. As such, the book is particularly suited to study while
preparing for new missions or reflecting on passed ones. Politicians responsible for
the militarys deployment may also find the book helpful as it provides valuable
lessons on effective civil-military interaction.
For civilian practitioners, whether representatives of IO and NGO or working in
government administration, the book provides insights on the militarys modus
operandi and the various issues they face when interacting with civil actors in peace
Finally, due to the combination of theory and practice, we feel the book will be
suited for academic education as well as vocational training and will prove to be a
source of inspiration for further research.


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Chapter 2
Civil-Military Interaction: Rationale,
Possibilities and Limitations

Cedric de Coning

Civil-military interaction is now accepted as a central part of all international peace

operations. It is no longer seen as just another aspect of managing the environment
within which the military mission functions. It is now understood as critical to
successful operations.
In this chapter I aim to improve our understanding of why civil-military interac-
tion has become so important and how it is perceived to be linked to mission suc-
cess. This chapter will look into the rationale behind civil-military interaction, and
will analyse the different levels at which civil-military interaction takes place. I will
also look into different ways in which the civil-military interaction manifests itself.
Consideration will be given to the limits of civil-military interaction: how much
coherence can one realistically expect to achieve, and what factors would influence
these limits? The chapter ends by looking at the possibilities of civil-military inter-
action and why it has become such a central part of all contemporary peace
As coherence is a key term throughout this chapter lets start by offering a defini-
tion for it. In the context of this volumes topic, coherence is the effort to ensure that
the political, security and development dimensions of the civil-military interaction
in a particular crisis are directed towards a common objective.

C. de Coning (*)
Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), Oslo, Norway
e-mail: cdc@nupi.no

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 11

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_2
12 C. de Coning

2.1 What Is the Rationale(s) of Civil-Military Interaction

During Peace Operations?

It is now widely recognized, for instance in the highest-level policy statements of

the United Nations (UN), European Union (EU), African Union (AU) and NATO,
that managing conflict requires a multi-dimensional-, comprehensive-, whole-of-
government- or integrated civil-military approach. All these forms of civil-military
interaction share a broad aim: to achieve greater harmonization and synchronization
among the activities of the international and local actors, as well as across the analy-
sis, planning, implementation and evaluation phases of the programme cycle.
For instance, at a high-level international conference in March 2009 in
Switzerland, where more than 300 delegations representing states, the AU, the EU,
the UN, NATO, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD), and a number of international non-governmental organizations were pres-
ent, the following principle was adopted:
A coherent, coordinated and complementary (3C) approach is needed to improve the effec-
tiveness of support to countries and communities affected by conflict and fragility.
Coherence, coordination and complementarity require both whole-of-government and
whole-of-system approaches. 3C is understood as collaborative and mutually reinforcing
approaches by international actors and partner countries, including civil society, to
increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their support to peace, security, and develop-
ment in situations of conflict and fragility (3C Conference 2009: 5).

This kind of statement is indicative of the degree to which the policy community
agrees that there is a cause-and-effect relationship between coherence and effective-
ness. The UN Secretary-Generals High-Level Panel on UN System-wide Coherence
(UN 2006b: 32), explains this causal link as follows: Through consolidation,
priority-setting and the elimination of duplication, a reconfigured development sys-
tem will improve performance and increase cost effectiveness. The Panel sum-
marises the coherence challenge as follows. It describes the UNs work:
as often fragmented and weak. Inefficient and ineffective governance and unpredictable
funding have contributed to policy incoherence, duplication and operational ineffectiveness
across the system. Cooperation between organizations has been hindered by competition
for funding, mission creep and by out-dated business practices (UN 2006b: 1).

In response to these problems, it recommends that by overcoming systemic

fragmentation the UN could deliver better focus on performance, efficiency,
accountability and results within the UN system (UN 2006b: 1). The panels cen-
tral recommendation is for One UN and Delivering as One:
[T]he UN needs to overcome its fragmentation and deliver as one through a stronger com-
mitment to working together on the implementation of one strategy in the pursuit of one set
of goalsWe recommend the establishment of One UN at country level, with one leader,
one programme, one budget and, where appropriate, one office (UN 2006b: 2).

The theory of change that the UN Panel applies thus holds that improvements in
organisational efficiency will translate in greater operational effectiveness. For
2 Civil-Military Interaction: Rationale, Possibilities and Limitations 13

instance, the Panel argues that performance, funding and accountability of UN

organizations are integrally linked. Funding must follow performance and
reward results, but it also says that the purpose of linking funding to perfor-
mance is to improve outcomes not to reduce funding (UN 2006b: 4). The Panel
believes that it is possible to make this clear link in practice, and it recommends
system-wide agreement on results-based management as well as independent UN
system-wide evaluation and common evaluation methodologies and benchmarking
(UN 2006b: 5).
Although the specific recommendations of the Panel was focussed only on the
development, humanitarian assistance and the environmental dimensions of the UN
system, the UN has also applied the concept of system-wide coherence to the inte-
gration of the peace, security and development dimensions of its work, most notably
in the formulation and operationalization of the so-called Integrated Approach. The
UNs Integrated Approach refers to a specific type of operational process and
design, where the planning and coordination processes of the different elements of
the UN family is integrated into a single country-level UN system, when it under-
takes complex peacekeeping operations (UN 2008). UN Secretary-General Kofi
Annan described the concept as follows:
An Integrated Mission is based on a common strategic plan and a shared understanding of
the priorities and types of programme interventions that need to be undertaken at various
stages of the recovery process. Through this integrated process, the UN system seeks to
maximize its contribution towards countries emerging from conflict by engaging its differ-
ent capabilities in a coherent and mutually supportive manner (UN 2006a: 4).

The notes of the Secretary-General on integrated missions (UN 2006a & UN

2008), establishes the Integrated Approach as the guiding principle for the design
and implementation of UN peace operations in post-conflict situations and for link-
ing the different dimensions of peace operations (political, development, humani-
tarian, human rights, rule of law, social and security aspects) into a coherent support
strategy (UN 2006a: 4). UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon has reaffirmed the
Integrated Approach as the guiding principle for all conflict and post-conflict situa-
tions where the UN has a Country Team and a multidimensional peacekeeping
operation, or a political or peacebuilding office, regardless of whether these mis-
sions are structurally integrated or not (UN 2008). The logic of the Integrated
Approach is that a more coherent model that manages to produce a comprehensive
and coordinated UN system-wide effort will have a more relevant, effective, effi-
cient and sustainable impact on the peace process (de Coning 2008).
The two UN examples cited here the High-Level Panel on System-wide
Coherence and the Integrated Approach should not be seen as isolated. As the 3C
Conference statement quoted earlier indicates, policy statements at the highest level
and across a broad spectrum of international and regional organizations present
coherence, often in the form of the comprehensive approach, as the key to success-
ful peace operations (Donini et al. 2004: 2). For instance, Anders Fogh Rasmussen,
in his very first statement as NATO Secretary General (NATO 2009), declared: We
need a comprehensive approach, a reinforced interaction between our military
14 C. de Coning

efforts and our endeavours with regard to civil reconstruction. Similarly, ex-British
Prime Minister Gordon Brown, referring to Afghanistan, has argued that what is
needed is a comprehensive approach including better governance, economic devel-
opment such as a single financing mechanism, and when necessary appropriate
military pressure (Brown 2009).
All these policy statements and documents thus share a common argument,
namely that overcoming the fragmented nature of past interventions by pursuing
coherent civil-military interaction among the political, development, governance,
economic and security dimensions of international interventions is one of the most
promising ways in which the effectiveness and sustainability of international peace
operations can be improved (Stedman et al. 2002: 89).
This assumption is also shared by the leading evaluation reports (Cutillo 2006;
Dahrendorf 2003; Donini 2002) and research studies (Dobbins et al. 2005; Paris
2004, and Stedman et al. 2002) that have analysed the record of post-Cold War
peace operations. These studies and reports have all identified significant problems
with coherence and coordination, and they have argued that this has contributed to
the poor rate of sustainability of these operations (Paris and Sisk 2009: 53).
For example, the Joint Utstein Study of peacebuilding, that analysed 336 peace-
building projects implemented by Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom
and Norway has identified a lack of coherence at the strategic level, what it terms a
strategic deficit, as the most significant obstacle to sustainable peacebuilding (Smith
2004: 16). The Utstein study found that more than 55 % of the programmes it evalu-
ated did not show any link to a larger country strategy.
These panels, conferences, studies and reports thus share a broad consensus that
inconsistent policies and fragmented programmes entail a higher risk of duplica-
tion, inefficient spending, a lower quality of service, difficulty in meeting goals and,
thus ultimately, of a reduced capacity for delivery (OECD 2003). They thus agree
that incoherent civil-military interaction results in inefficient and ineffective peace
In this section I have shown that there is a widely held view in the international
peace operations policy community that there is a causal link between coherent
civil-military interaction and improved operational effectiveness. The argument is
that more coherence leads to more effectiveness, and this has resulted in pushing the
issue of civil-military interaction to the front of the international peace operations
agenda. In the next section I will try to further refine our understanding of coherence
by offering a typology of civil-military interaction that distinguishes between four
spheres of interaction where policy coherence matters.

2.2 What Are the Levels of Civil-Military Interaction?

Coherent civil-military interaction can be analyzed among a broad range of agents,

across various dimensions, and at various levels. The levels, dimensions and agents
often get mixed-up, for instance with agents in one context being compared to
2 Civil-Military Interaction: Rationale, Possibilities and Limitations 15

dimensions in another, and this causes confusion. In this section I propose a typol-
ogy that distinguishes between four spheres of coherence, namely: agency coher-
ence, whole-of-government/organization coherence, international coherence and
international/local coherence. The aim of the typology is to assist us with maintain-
ing a meaningful distinction between the agents, the dimensions and the levels of
civil-military interaction.

Agency Coherence

Agency Coherence refers to consistency amongst the policies and actions of an

individual agency, including the internal consistency of a specific policy or pro-
gramme. Examples could be the internal coherence of a ministry of foreign affairs,
a military campaign or an agency such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Consistency in this context refers to avoiding one agency working at cross-
purposes with itself. Coherence in this context does not imply that there should not
be room for differences and debate during the policy formulation and review pro-
cess, but it is understood to imply and understanding that once a policy position has
been adopted, it needs to be implemented in such a way that all the different ele-
ments of the agency contribute to the overall objective in a complementary fashion.
There is thus understood to be a distinction between implementing an approved
policy and the evaluation and revision of such a policy. Whilst there may thus be a
process underway to review a given policy, and whilst such a process may invite
critical reflection whilst the policy is still in place, it is expected to be implemented
as approved until it is replaced or revoked.
Most studies that deal with coordination focus on inter-agency or inter-
organizational relations (e.g. Stockton 2002; Eriksson et al. 1996 & Porter 2002).
However, my argument is that internal agency coherence lies at the root of many of
the factors that inhibit, constrain and undermine coherence (de Coning 2012). I am
particularly concerned with the tension between those parts of an agency that sets
medium to long-term goals and objectives, and that measures achievement on the
basis of the effects of such a policy over time; and those parts of an agency that is
responsible for managing programming on a day-to-day basis and that manages
results on a short-term basis, for instance those reporting on financial expenditure
and motivating for new budget allocations according to annual budget cycles. I
argue that this tension between short-term, mostly internally driven efficiency-based
management processes, and longer-term results-based policy processes that aim to
influence complex systems, lies at the root of the coherence dilemma.
16 C. de Coning

Whole-of-Government and Whole-of-Organization Coherence

Whole-of-Government Coherence refers to consistency among the policies and

actions of different departments and agencies of the same government, e.g. among
the ministries of defence, foreign affairs and international development assistance
of the United Kingdom. The Canadian Governments so-called 3D (diplomacy,
development and defence) concept is the classical example and is aimed at ensuring
that its peace operations are supported coherently by all the relevant arms of govern-
ment (Patrick and Brown 2007: 56).
The Whole-of-Government Coherence effort is thus typically a national effort
that involves several governmental departments or agencies. There is a given
commonality, i.e. the different departments and agencies all serve the same govern-
ment and that all share the same national identity. Coordination typically takes place
both at the national level and, once deployed, through some kind of in-theatre
coordination mechanism (De Coning et al. 2009). However, various tensions exist.
The different government departments and agencies compete for funding and
national prestige and do not have a tradition of coordinating international opera-
tions, nor co-deployments (OECD 2007b). Another important tension is between
national commitments and international cooperation (Picciotto 2005). The more
effort that is devoted to adopting national priorities and plans prior to deployments,
the less room there is for these agencies to coordinate and adapt to the priorities and
plans of their counterparts in the countries that host international operations and
with other international partners (De Coning et al. 2009).
At the multilateral level the UN, EU, AU and NATO are each engaged in various
initiatives aimed at improving their own internal Whole-of-Organization Coherence.
In the UN context, as discussed earlier, examples of these efforts include the work
of the High-Level Panel on System Wide Coherence and the adoption of the
Integrated Approach model. The Secretary-General, in his comments on the Report,
called for a plan that can help the different parts of the UN system to work together
to develop country-specific peacebuilding strategies that are coherent, flexible and
field driven (UN 2003).

International Coherence

International Coherence refers here to consistency among the policies pursued by

the various international or external actors in a given country context. International,
in a country-specific context distinguishes the international agents from the local
agents. An example of International Coherence in the peace operations context
could be the way in which NATO, the EU and the UN each had a defined role in
the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) pillar system, and the way in which those
2 Civil-Military Interaction: Rationale, Possibilities and Limitations 17

combined roles were supposed to generate a coherent mission-wide response

(Berdal and Wennmann 2010: 54).
International Coherence is regarded as necessary and desirable because it is
assumed that the various international agents share a common peacebuilding goal in
any given context. If they are pursuing common objectives, relate to the same inter-
nal actors, and if they are reliant on the same international donors, it makes sense
for them to coordinate their policies and actions (Porter 2002). As argued in the
previous section, these external actors also share the same policy assumptions about
the role of coherence and it linkages with effectiveness and sustainability (OECD
At the same time, however, some of these international agents are in competition
with each other for donor funding and international prestige, and whilst they are
usually engaged in a range of coordination efforts, they are also typically in compe-
tition with each other at other levels (Patrick 2000). Those international agents that
represent states also primarily driven by their own national interests, and they will
only coordinate to the extent that such coopertation helps them to achieve those
national interests.
One area that is particularly relevant for International Coherence is the relation-
ship among donors, both bilateral and multilateral. Coherence in this context address
the need for donors to harmonize their policies and practises, among other things,
so that they can limit the transaction costs associated with their support. This effort
is known amongst donors as harmonization. In this context, transaction costs
refer to the additional cost or burden that donor assistance places on donor recipi-
ents. For instance, a country like Tanzania may have to report to several donors,
each according to a different template and time-scale, as opposed to, say, one annual
report that all the donors can accept as sufficient for their purposes (OECD 2003).
Despite their cooperation in forums such as the OECD, the UN and the EU, donor
countries are also in competition with each other for influence and prestige and they
often take decisions in pursuit of their national interests that end up undermining
international coherence.

International/Local Coherence

International/Local Coherence refers to consistency between the policies of the

local and international agents, in a given country context. In the context of donor
and aid recipient relations, this is also known as alignment. International/Local
Coherence in the peace operations context typically relates to the perceived need for
a clearly articulated overall strategic framework that can provide the various inter-
national and local agents with a common frame of reference. Examples here could
be an agreed national strategic framework or compact between the international
community and host government, such as the 20082011 Lift Liberia Poverty
Reduction Strategy of Liberia (Liberia 2008).
18 C. de Coning

The importance of an overall strategic process is widely recognized and accepted

in policy and research circles (Dahrendorf 2003). However, as the Utstein (Smith
2004) and other studies cited earlier have pointed out, the lack of a clearly articulated
overall strategy has been identified as a critical shortcoming in most past peace
The introduction of this coherence typology is not meant to suggest that coher-
ence is pursued exclusively in one or another of these four spheres of coherence.
Quite the contrary, actors are likely to pursue coherence in all the spheres where
they are active. For instance, an actor like the Foreign Ministry of the Netherlands
will be concerned with coherence in connection with its policies towards, for
instance Afghanistan, and is likely to pursue coherence simultaneously at all four
spheres foreseen in this typology. Firstly, among the various units within the Foreign
Ministry; secondly, in a whole-of-government context with other government agen-
cies; thirdly, in the inter-agency context among donors or as a member state of
NATO, the EU, and the UN; and lastly, in the international/local coherence context
in its bilateral relations with Afghanistan and its participation in collective efforts at
international-local coherence, such as at international donor conferences. The typol-
ogy is thus meant as a tool to assist us in distinguishing between civil-military
interaction in different spheres, or at different levels, but it does not suggest that
these spheres are not closely inter-connected.

2.3 What Types of Interaction Can Be Distinguished?

The most important factor that determines the degree of coherence that any
civil-military interaction can aim to achieve is the context within which it operates
(de Coning 2012). De Coning and Friis (2011) have proposed a typology of
relationships that represent differing degrees of coherent civil-military interactions,
depending on the context within which these relationships emerge. Pursuing a
comprehensive approach need not imply that all the actors involved must have the
same degree of coherence towards each other, or towards an agreed common strategy.
Although the context is crucial to shaping the climate within which relationships
function, there are also many other factors that determine relationships such as
perceived roles and responsibilities, legitimacy, credibility and mandates. De
Coning and Friis (2011) has suggested that the types of relationships that influence
the degree of coherence that can potentially be achieved can be represented on a
scale ranging from unity to competition:
Agents are United: Agents voluntarily agree to establish a unified structure and
undertake joint action directed by a joint leadership and command arrangement,
e.g. a multi-national coalition of the willing. This level of coherent action will
typically require an agreed strategic vision and specific aims and objectives
formulated in an official mandate and/or campaign plan. In the military context
this is often termed unity of purpose. Unity of purpose is a prerequisite for
2 Civil-Military Interaction: Rationale, Possibilities and Limitations 19

unity of effort. This level of coherence will require a unified organizational structure
with a high degree of discipline and clear command and control arrangements
that determine and direct joint assessments, joint planning, joint implementation
and joint monitoring and evaluation. However, in the real world, such level of
coherence is rare between independent agents. It is thus likely to occur only in
certain unique circumstances and cannot be sustained for long. Examples include
the US-led multi-national coalition that undertook the 1991 Gulf War (Operation
Desert Storm) and the Australian-led multinational coalition INTERFET that
stabilized East Timor in 1999. In both these examples there was a strong lead-
nation role that the other contributors welcomed and around which they could
converge. In the military, and perhaps most other peace operations contexts, a
unified effort is thus likely to require one clear center of gravity around which
other agents can situate themselves.
Agents are Integrated: Agents agree to seek ways to integrate their approaches and
activities, but without giving up their individual identities or their right to take
independent decisions about the allocation of resources. In other words, the indi-
vidual agencies come together to undertake joint assessments, joint planning,
and even some degree of joint implementation and monitoring and implementa-
tion, but they implement separately, each using their own resources and own
organizational means. The UNs Integrated Approach would be a clear example,
with the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) perhaps representing an example at
the successful end of the scale.
Agents Cooperate: Agents with complementary and/or overlapping mandates and
objectives may choose to cooperate, including at times joint or collaborative
action. They retain their organizational independence, but are willing to go rather
far in organizing activities together with others, although such arrangements are
typically temporary, context-specific and may need to be renegotiated on a case-
by-case basis. The collaboration between the EU and the UN in Chad and the
Central African Republic (CAR) may exemplify this kind of opportunistic, prag-
matic and ad-hoc cooperation.
Agents Coordinate: This would describe an activity aimed at sharing information
and acting on that information with a view to avoiding conflict, duplication or
overlap, so as to ensure a more coherent overall undertaking. It takes place
between independent actors with different mandates, or between those who
require strong organizational independence but who nonetheless share some
similar interests or strategic vision, and thus see the need for a degree of coordi-
nation with others. Typically, there will often be a network of coordination mech-
anisms some more densely connected than others, some operating in hierarchies
at various levels between the same actors, whilst others are only loosely con-
nected. An example of a standing arrangement in this category would be the UN
humanitarian coordination system; it is pre-arranged and agreed, but allows for
maximum independence and voluntary participation. An ad hoc arrangement
would be the coordination between military and humanitarian actors in a natural
disaster like an earthquake or a major flood. The difference between coordination
and cooperation is that, in the latter category, coordination results in joint action,
20 C. de Coning

whilst in the former it results in independent, but coordinated, action. In both

cases, the behaviour of the agents has changed as a result of the coordination that
has taken place, but cooperation implies that they have reached agreement on
and actually implemented joint action. Coordination, on the other hand, may be
limited to merely sharing enough information to stay out of each others way, or
it may extend to specific agreed actions, but it falls short of joint action. For
instance, in the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, at times the UN
peace operations military units and some humanitarian actors have agreed to
focus on a few commonly agreed hot spots, but this did not mean joint action:
each set of actors continued to act independently of the others, but the logic of
their coordination implied that their overall combined efforts should result in a
preventing those communities targeted from lapsing into violent conflict.
Agents Coexist: This would describe the relationship between agents that are forced
to interact, typically because they share the same theatre, but that have very lim-
ited ambitions concerning coordination. For example, humanitarian actors will
limit their coordination with military and political actors to informing them of
where they operate and what kinds of assistance they provide. It could also
describe the relationship between unaligned political and military forces: they
may not be directly hostile to each other, but they may still want to avoid coming
across each other unexpectedly. In these circumstances a certain amount of
communication and de-conflicting may take place, as well as some opportunistic
or pragmatic cooperation, but the normal state of their relationship can be cate-
gorized as coexistence, i.e. respecting the other agents presence. For instance,
humanitarian and military actors operating alongside each other in a complex
emergency may, under normal circumstances, follow a policy of deliberately
maintaining separate identities; but when the humanitarian agencies come under
direct attack they may seek shelter in military compounds, or be evacuated under
military protection.
Agents Compete: This category would describe the relationship among agents that
have competing values, visions and strategies. It may, for example, describe the
relationship between an NGO committed to non-violence and an international
military force with a mandate to use force; or it can refer to groups that politi-
cally, or even violently, oppose the presence of an international operation in their
By combining the four levels of coherence introduced in the previous section
with the six different types of relationships introduced here, de Coning and Friis
(2011) has generated a matrix of 24 different types of civil-military interaction
(Table 1).
In the previous three sections I have discussed the rationale that drives the civil-
military interaction debate and have proposed a typology of various levels of coher-
ence as well as a range of potential civil-military relationships. However, the
challenges facing the civil-military interface are not merely related to the structural
and spatial differences outlined above, but are also informed by the different prin-
ciples and mandates that various sets of agents adhere too, as well as the different
2 Civil-Military Interaction: Rationale, Possibilities and Limitations 21

Table 1 Civil-military interaction matrix that compares levels of coherence and types of
Intra-agency government Inter-agency Internal-External
Actors are Various Various Canadian Members of the International
united sections of the government coalition Operation agencies and
Swedish agencies Desert Storm, 1991 national IEC work
Foreign Gulf War together to organize
Ministry elections in DRC in
Actors are Various UK Stabilisation UN Peacekeeping Liberia 2009:
integrated components of Unit, or Canadian mission and UN International
a UN Stabilization and Country Team in, agencies and local
Peacekeeping Reconstruction e.g. Liberia, 2009 actors agree to use
mission Task Force PRS as common
(START) framework and
action plan
Actors DPKO and Civilian and Afghanistan EULEX and the
cooperate OCHA (both military pillars of Bonn-process Kosovo
UN Secretariat) USA PRT in 2003; government, 2009
work together Afghanistan, UN-EU cooperation
on UN 2009 in Chad, 2008
Protection of
Actors DPKO and Civilian and Humanitarian UN and Sudanese
coordinate OCHA in the military pillars of cluster approach to Independent
field Norwegian PRT coordination; Electoral
in Afghanistan, Kosovo UNMIK Commission in
2009 pillars; April 2010
Bosnia Peace elections
Council (PIC)
Actors Various parts DFID and MOD Humanitarian UNAMID and
coexist of EU in Chad fail to agree on community and Government of
in 2008 common MONUC in Sudan in Darfur,
evaluation criteria Eastern DRC, 2009 2008
for UK PRT in
Actors Various US State Humanitarian Taliban and ISAF/
compete sections of a Department, US agencies and UNAMA;
ministry Department of UNMIL disagree Government of
compete for Defense and CIA on movement of Chad and
funding in Afghanistan, IDPs from MINURCAT, 2010
2007 Monrovia, 2005
Source: de Coning and Friis (2011)
22 C. de Coning

roles and responsibilities agents may have, even if they are in the same agency or
organization. In the next section the focus is on the limits of coherence. An analysis
of the limits of coherence will help us to further delineate the space for civil-military
interaction that can realistically be expected within a peace operations context.

2.4 What Are the Limitations of Civil-Military Interactions?

This section is focussed on improving our understanding of the factors that limit,
inhibit or constrain our ability to achieve coherent civil-military interaction. For
instance, some civil and military agents may have inherently contradictory values,
principles and mandates and these typically manifest in fundamentally different
theories of change, and result in disagreements with regard to, for instance, prioriti-
sation and how to measure progress. Another constrain is that the tension between
impact and output, between what is good for the system as a whole as measured
over the long term, and what is in the best interest of an individual agency as mea-
sured in the short to medium term, consistently undermines coherence. There are
also tensions in peace processes because of the inherent power imbalance between
international and local agents. These factors are inherent in all civil-military interac-
tions and depending on the specific situation will constrain or limit the scope for
coherence. By saying they are inherent I mean that there are structural or built-in
constrains that cant be resolved, only managed. How we manage them can make a
big difference, but it is important to differentiate between managing an acknowl-
edged difference in, for instance, values, mandate or principles, and trying for forge
coherence on the assumption that all the agents are pursuing a common objective.
However, in this section I want to focus on the context within which civil-military
interactions take place, and especially the degree to which instability in the system
determine the possible scope for coherence. Coherence is not about seeking consen-
sus or harmony as an end-in-and-of-itself. Coherence, rather, should be about seek-
ing the optimal level of cooperation among agents in a given context. In situations
where violent conflict is likely to disrupt the peace process, the actors engaged in
peace operations, as well as those international and local agents they interact with
in the rest of the conflict system, feel the need to have an independent capacity to
respond to a wide range of possible futures. The more violent a situation, the more
turbulent or dynamic it is likely to be. As a result, the agents feel the need to have a
high degree of freedom and independence, so that they are able to respond quickly
to changes in the system, without first having to seek consensus within a group on
which actions to take. This may not apply to all agents, but there are typically
enough agents in unstable contexts that require a high degree of independence, to
result in a situation in which there is less room for coherence. Less than if the situ-
ation was not violent or more stable, for instance in situations where the risk of a
relapse into violent conflict is low, such as in Liberia or Sierra Leone once the peace
processes in these countries were sufficiently consolidated.
2 Civil-Military Interaction: Rationale, Possibilities and Limitations 23

Trying to force a diverse set of agents in a highly unstable situation to adopt a

coherent approach to the crisis is likely to increase, not decrease, the tension among
the agents. In response to such pressure, they may adopt clearer official positions
regarding the types of cooperation they are willing to engage in, and this is likely to
hinder the level of unofficial and informal exchange of information and tactical
cooperation that would otherwise have pragmatically taken place. It may also force
them to accept compromises based on the power relations among the agents, and
this may leave those agents that had to make the compromises more frustrated. The
net result of pursuing coherence beyond context appropriate limits may thus actu-
ally be less sustainable cooperation and coherence (de Coning 2012). This does not
imply that specific agents cant find pragmatic ways of cooperating operationally
and tactically, even in volatile situations, but such cooperation is usually undertaken
outside officially stated positions and policies. However, what I am referring to in
this section is pressure on agents to adopt an official position, e.g. agreeing to a joint
conflict analysis of the situation, a common needs assessment, or a strategic policy
framework that contains specific goals, objectives and priorities.
However, if a more appropriate level of coherence is pursued, one that is designed
to recognize the need for the agents to be independent and one that is limited to
encouraging the exchange of information, the result may be that the agents, whilst
acting independently, will nevertheless have meaningful enough information about
the positions and actions the other agents in the system are taking, so that they can
adapt their own actions accordingly. The overall system will thus be able to self-
organise more optimally at a level appropriate for that context. For instance, instead
of pursuing a joint conflict analysis where there is an expectation that all the agents
will sign-off on one agreed narrative, there could be a shared conflict analysis,
where different agents come together to share their assessments with each other,
without the expectation that this will result in one agreed narrative. However, the
process of learning of several different perspectives on a common subject will help
all the stakeholders to have a more rich understanding of the context they are operat-
ing in, and it is likely that many will adjust their own analysis to try to accommodate
some of the new information and insights they have gained in the process. This
approach thus recognize that it is natural for there to be a number of perspectives on
any given subject, that these can coexist without having to be always synthesized
into one narrative, and that the coexistence of several different perspectives result in
a more rich understanding of the topic.
Pursuing more coherence than is optimal in a given context may thus lead to a
decrease in overall effectiveness, because agents are likely to respond to the pres-
sure to coordinate by taking steps to emphasize their independence, and this will
result in even less sharing of information in the system than was the case before
more (than optimal) coherence was pursued. Based on these constrains, I offer a
refined definition of coherence, namely as a process aimed at achieving an optimal
level of self-organisation among interdependent agents in a given context. The
degree of coherence in a given context can be enhanced by facilitating the exchange
of information and modulating feedback among the agents so that the decisions that
the various agents take independently are better informed and can thus contribute to
24 C. de Coning

more effective system-level adaptation and self-organisation. In this new definition,

coherence is aimed at pursuing the most effective and efficient level of self-
organisation taking into account the nature of the participating agents and the envi-
ronmental context, including the pace at which the system is likely to have to cope
with, and adapt to, change (de Coning 2012: 317).
The definition requires an understanding that optimal here implies the need to
take the specific context into account and that what is thus regarded as optimal
cannot be universal, i.e. it will differ from context to context. Each context is also
subject to change, and what is optimal can thus never be a pre-determined ideal
state. Optimal refers to the outcome of the totality of transactions among agents
up to that point in time, given that the system remains dynamic and non-linear. What
is optimal in a given context is thus an emergent property, generated by the systems
interactions, and influenced by its environment. It cannot be determined in advance,
but it can be encouraged, facilitated and pursued by modulating the exchange of
information among the agents, with a view to trying to ensure that as many of the
agents as possible have access to information about what is happening in the
environment and elsewhere in the system itself. This approach to coherence thus
shifts the focus from coherence being a goal to coherence being a process. Coherence
is not something we can achieve, but it is something we pursue in order to achieve
optimal effectiveness and efficiency.
There are thus inherent limits and constraints that determine the scope for coher-
ence. The exact limits are context specific and have to be transacted on a case-by-
case basis. But not recognizing and addressing the fact that these limits exist, by for
instance blindly pursuing the more coherence leads to more effectiveness maxim,
regardless of context, is likely to result in such efforts ultimately generating per-
verse effects. In the next section I conclude by looking at the possibilities or promise
of civil-military interaction, i.e. the so what question. What can we realistically
expect from investing in civil-military interactions? How does it contribute to peace

2.5 What Are the Possibilities of Civil-Military Interactions?

Civil-military interaction thrives on the inherent capacity of complex systems to

self-regulate. In complex peace operations, the success of each initiative, and thus
the success of the individual civil or military agencies that undertake them, is related
to the contribution that initiative makes to the achievement of the overall mission
objective. If a particular peace process fails and violent conflict resumes, the time
and resources invested in each individual effort, e.g. in DDR and training new police
officers or soldiers, or organizing elections, or adopting new laws, have been wasted,
even if a particular initiative appear to have achieved its own objectives. It is only if
the combined and sustained effort proves successful in the long term that the invest-
ment made in each individual effort can be said to have been worthwhile. All the
2 Civil-Military Interaction: Rationale, Possibilities and Limitations 25

initiatives undertaken by the various civil and military agents in a complex peace
operation are thus interdependent.
When this linkage between individual agency effort and the successful imple-
mentation of the overarching objective is understood, coordination will be recog-
nized as a crucial tool to achieve operational coherence. In this context coordination
is transformed from being perceived as an action that threatens the independence of
an individual agent or agency, to a process that ensures operational coherence.
Coordination is the process that ensures that an individual agency is connected to
the larger operational system of which it is a part and without which it cannot
succeed (on its own).
A key feature of a complex systems is that there is a relationship between the
level of coherence and the quality and flow of information in the system. There is no
known optimal ratio, but complex social systems emerge when a critical mass of
interacting elements form a network. The network is maintained through the
exchange of information. Too little information will cause it to starve and disinte-
grate. In other words, in the peace operations context agents are likely so start coor-
dinating only in their military or civilian silos and not as an integrated mission. On
the other hand too much information may cause an overload and overwhelm the
system. However, most complex systems can manage a large degree of redundancy
in order to remain flexible to changing needs in their environment. An important
function of coordination mechanisms and processes are that they should act as mod-
ulators that identify useful information and direct it to those areas where it is needed
in the system.
Feedback, meaning conveying information about the outcome of any process or
activity to its source, plays a critical role in this process. In essence the flow of infor-
mation needs to produce a feedback effect, i.e. it should convey data that will enable
the various agents to judge their performance against the performance of others and
the operational system as a whole. They need to share best practices and alert each
other to emerging problems, set-backs or delays.
In practice, however, most peace operations are burdened by institutional cultures
and traditional management and command structures that discourage information
flow. They block, hinder or distort the flow of information and thus starve the
operational system from the information it requires to self-organize. This causes the
system to break-up into smaller components. If this tendency is not managed, peace
operations tend to develop information silos that operate, at best, isolated from each
other, or at worst, against each other.
To counter this tendency we need coordination mechanisms and processes that
are designed to create linkages (connections) among the various agencies and pro-
grammes to ensure that the flow of information through the operational system is
facilitated, supported and maintained. The most effective coordination mechanisms
seems to have two things in common: the first is that they devolve the responsibility
to coordinate to each agency, and the second is that they have enabling coordination
mechanisms at various nodes in the system, that help to modulate the flow of infor-
mation in the system.
26 C. de Coning

By not concentrating the responsibility for coordination at the centre, and by not
making it a specialized function, each agency and agents becomes empowered to
take responsibility for their own coordination, and in this way coordination is
distributed across the system. This increases the ability of a complex systems to
self-organize. Self-organization is the ongoing process whereby individual agencies
voluntarily synchronize their plans and operations with each other and with the
operation as a whole. For the self-organization process to work optimally, each
agency must adjust its own actions in response to progress or setbacks experienced
elsewhere in the operational system. As this process unfolds over time, the various
agencies coordinate their plans, policies and operations with others in the same sec-
tors, clusters and dimensions and the overall cumulative and collective effect results
in improved system-wide operational coherence.
The effects of self-organization can be suppressed and inhibited, or it can be
modulated and enhanced in many ways. It would thus make sense to develop
mechanisms and processes that would speed-up the desired feed-back effect. This
can be achieved by creating coordination mechanisms and processes that encour-
age, facilitate and support the flow of information at various positive nodes within
the system. At the same time one needs to identify and remove or adjust operating
procedures, rules and regulations that hinder or block the flow of information.
Positive nodes are points in a network where information is concentrated and by
connecting these nodes between different networks one encourages the flow between
networks and thus within the system itself. This coordination process recognizes the
self-organizing nature of complex systems and facilitates this process by establish-
ing links between various networks in the system. This modulation approach to
coordination differs from the traditional approach to organization, namely establish
a mechanism responsible for coordination close to the centre or core of the opera-
tion. The modulation approach is counter-intuitive to the traditional tendency of the
military to organize everyone and everything into a single structure under unified
command. The key difference is firstly to recognize that the system we are discuss-
ing is not a military organization, but a multiple agent system in which there is
significant independence among the agents in terms of e.g. mandates, funding and
accountability. Secondly, re the nature of coordination in such a system, we need to
understand that coordination does not happen at, or because of a coordination
mechanism(s), but rather that coordination is distributed throughout the system
whenever agents exchange information. The role of coordinating mechanisms are
merely to modulate this process. They should encourage, facilitate and increase the
flow of information. The worst thing a coordination mechanism can do is to become
a gate-keeper that tries to manage or direct the flow of information, because that
kind of role will always result in bottlenecks that will slow-down and decrease the
efficiency of information flow. In other words, in a system that is dependent on
information, and that has a complex network structure, coordination should act as
pump that increases the rate of flow, not as a filter that acts as a constraint. The
agents should ultimately decide what to do with the information. Coordinating
mechanisms, and other agents in the system may add analyses or in other ways
add value to the flow of information, but this should not inhibit or limit the flow of
2 Civil-Military Interaction: Rationale, Possibilities and Limitations 27

information, but rather compliment it by adding more layers to the information in

the system.
One can support and encourage the self-organization process by establish
linkages between the most positive, in information terms, nodes in each network (in
programmes, in agencies, in sectors, in clusters, in dimensions and ultimately at the
operational management and strategic planning levels). The challenge is to develop
processes and methodologies that can identify and bind these nodes together. The
objective is to encourage agencies to pursue coherence and synergy in every phase
of the project cycle (through combined assessments, integrated planning, joint
operational coordination and cooperative monitoring and evaluation), to facilitate
these processes through establishing nodes where liaison and coordination can
take place, and to ensure that there is an enabling environment where managerial
practises, organizational rules and regulations and financial management systems
encourage coordination and coherence.
The military component is especially inclined to isolation because its baseline
culture is designed to protect its command, control and communication systems
from external threats. However, in the peace operations context it is vital that the
security dimension is connected to the overall framework. The civil-military inter-
face is thus a critical node that helps to connect the military agencies with the rest
of the peace operation system.


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Chapter 3
Who Are They? Encountering International
and Local Civilians in Civil-Military

Georg Frerks

3.1 Introduction

Civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) or civil-military interaction (CMI) as some

would prefer to say less ambitiously, involves encounters by the military with many
different civilian actors.1 These include first of all the civilian population and
authorities in the host country and national civil society organizations (CSOs),
including non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community-based organi-
zations (CBOs). As most of the countries concerned have had longer or shorter
histories of conflict, humanitarian crises or post-war trajectories, usually there is
also a variety of international non-governmental organizations (INGOs) present that
may have their own local offices and staff next to headquarters in their countries of
origin. Most of the countries where militaries operate also can reckon with the pres-
ence of an assortment of United Nations (UN) agencies and specialized programs
and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). These broad categories
of civilian partners usually display an enormous variety and diversity in and among
themselves, so that generalizations are difficult to make. This is further compounded
by the different nature of the respective conflict settings and the diverging overall
socio-political, economic and cultural characteristics of the countries concerned.
Generally, military support to civilian authorities and aid by military personnel
to the victims of natural disasters are politically uncontested, even though its qual-
ity, speed and effectiveness have frequently been subject to severe critiques, such as
fairly conspicuously in the case of hurricane Katrina (US House of Representatives

In this article I use the more generic term civil-military interaction when talking in general about
the civil-military relations and the notion of civil-military cooperation when I specifically refer to
NATO practice.
G. Frerks (*)
Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, The Netherlands
e-mail: g.frerks@uu.nl

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 29

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_3
30 G. Frerks

2006: 201231). Interventions in conflict, in contrast, often turn out to be highly

controversial, due to the political nature of such interventions and doubts that may
exist among recipients as well as outsiders about the interests and intentions of the
intervening parties, irrespectively whether it concerns a stabilization or post-conflict
peace building operation. The operations in Afghanistan and Iraq are a clear case in
point in this regard. Criticisms have varied from simple incompetence and lack of
local awareness to accusations of imposing a western-inspired neo-liberal order or
outright imperialism.
In this chapter I shall describe the nature of the international and local civilian
presence in peace operations and what possibilities and constraints arise for differ-
ent forms of civil-military interaction. In this respect special attention will be paid
to the role of the classical humanitarian principles vis--vis the evolving integrated
peace operations or whole-of-government approaches that now tend to dominate
international intervention practice. I also highlight the dynamics and changes these
new approaches have engendered for the different stakeholders and their mutual
interaction. I shall finish with a set of conclusions looking at the future of
CMI. Before doing so I like to spend a few words on the nature of CMI itself.

3.2 Understanding CMI from Different Angles:

The Classical Positions

CMI means different things to different people. It all depends from which position
you talk and argue. This in itself already complicates CMI in practice. Opinions,
perceptions and discourses both at individual and group level play an important role
in the debate and they often overshadow facts or evidence-based data.
Borgomano-Loup devotes a whole section of her report on NATO-NGO relations to
reciprocal accusations and concludes as follows:
Some of these criticisms are linked to specific circumstances or only apply to certain
NGOs. Others arise mainly from different enterprise cultures. Some criticisms are the
result of sheer mistrust or unhappy experiences. Nevertheless, the fundamental clashes
regarding mandates and priorities should not be ignored (2007: 36).

From a sociological point of view perceptions are as important as hard facts

and I shall consequently refer below to some of the major existing narratives in
order to explain the positions taken by the parties involved in CMI. However, in the
limited scope of this chapter I cannot perform a full narrative or discursive analysis
of the different ways in which CMI has been constructed by the different parties and
how this has led to a different positioning and performativity. Yet by highlighting
some definitions as commonly used by some major actors, some of the differentials
can be grasped already easily.
Let us first look at the military who generally use the notion of CIMIC rather
than CMI. CIMIC as an articulated notion has been prevalent since the Second
World War. It started as a purely military concept that aimed at helping the
3 Who Are They? Encountering International and Local Civilians 31

commander to achieve his military objectives. CIMIC facilitates cooperation

between a NATO commander and all parts of a civilian environment, including
(I)NGOs, within its Joint Operations Area. NATOs Military Committee defines
CIMIC as follows:
The immediate purpose of CIMIC is to establish and maintain the full cooperation of the
NATO commander and the civilian authorities, organizations, agencies and population
within a commanders area of operations in order to allow him to fulfill his mission. . The
long-term purpose of CIMIC is to help create and sustain conditions that will support the
achievement of Alliance objectives in operations (MC 411/1, paragraph 9, quoted in
Borgomano-Loup 2007).

CIMIC is aimed here at acquiring host nation support. The provision of ser-
vices to the local population is done to boost the troops popularity rather than
providing aid to those in need per se. Winning the hearts and minds of the popula-
tion contributes to force protection and force acceptance. Hearts and minds oper-
ations are often highly visible and symbolic. Textbox 3.1 provides a typical example
of such a hearts and minds initiative carried out in 2005 by the Dutch Election
Support Forces in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan.

Textbox 3.1: Hearts and Minds in Ali Chupan

At the Abdul Ali Mazaai school in Ali Chupan, a small Hazara village close
to Mazar-i-Sharif, the forces donated 700 colourful plastic chairs and some
carpets for the remaining classrooms. They also bought pens, notebooks, vol-
leyball nets and balls. The Hazara people have long been and continue to be a
repressed ethnic minority. This is one of the reasons the commander of the
ESF chose to support the village. In contrast to other schools in the region, the
Abdul Ali Mazaai school had not received aid from NGOs. The school was
selected by university students at the request of the forces. The forces visited
the school prior to the donation to determine the exact needs (Source: Frerks
et al. 2006: 47).

CIMIC may also be used for intelligence gathering (info-ops), while psychologi-
cal operations (psy-ops) are carried out to influence the population or to break the
morale of the enemy by the provision of information or disinformation. Sometimes,
CIMIC has extended to veritable development work, where infrastructure and other
services are delivered to the local population in order to increase the acceptability of
military interventions. In all those modalities CIMIC obviously serves to further the
military goals. In Afghanistan, the United States (US) characteristically hoped to
co-opt NGOs as force multipliers (Stapleton 2004). The initiative in this type of
CIMIC is with the military and observers point out that there is little mutuality in
this military conception of CIMIC. Typically, one NGO representative told during
an interview that CIMIC was in essence not civil-military cooperation but rather
civil-military operation, where NGOs were simply manipulated for military gain.
32 G. Frerks

The United Nations does not talk about civil-military cooperation but about civil-
military coordination, abbreviated as UN-CMCoord. It is defined as:
The essential dialogue and interaction between civilian and military actors in humanitarian
emergencies, that are necessary to protect and promote humanitarian principles, avoid com-
petition, minimise inconsistency, and when appropriate, pursue common goals (UN 2003: 5).

There are a number of salient differences with NATOs definition. First of all, the
rationale is to protect and promote humanitarian principles and avoid overlap and incon-
sistency, and perhaps pursue common goals. The Inter-Agency Standing Committee,
which is the primary interagency coordination mechanism for humanitarian assistance
involving UN and non-UN agencies, phrases the UN viewpoint as follows:
All humanitarian action, including civil military coordination for humanitarian purposes in
complex emergencies, must be in accordance with the overriding core principles of human-
ity, neutrality and impartiality. [.] Any civil-military coordination must serve the prime
humanitarian principle of humanity i.e. human suffering must be addressed wherever it is
found (Inter-Agency Standing Committee 2004: 8).

Clearly, the UN agencies do not want to be seen as a sidecar for military action
and the interaction is a more balanced one between equal partners rather than a one-
sided, military-driven affair.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) finally talks about Civil
Military Relations, defined as:
Interactions between military and non-military organisations and actors, generally in the
context of a peace operation, or more rarely in a combat operation or during occupation;
operational coordination and interaction between military, local authorities, population,
non-governmental humanitarian, development and civil society organisations and wider
society (Studer 2001).

Studer describes ICRCs classical point of view as isolationist. The isolationist

position demands strict observance of the humanitarian principles and the Code of
Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in
Disaster Relief (see annex 1). For the ICRC the principle of humanity defined as
the desire to prevent and alleviate human suffering wherever it may be found .... to
protect life and health and to ensure respect for the human being is paramount. In
addition, it adheres to the humanitarian principles of independence (in a political,
religious or other sense), impartiality (to provide aid according to need alone,
regardless of race, creed, nationality, and without adverse distinction of any kind)
and neutrality (ideological neutrality or non-alignment, and non-participation in
hostilities). The humanitarian principles are embedded in the law of armed conflict,
international humanitarian law, the Geneva conventions and a series of other international
conventions and agreements (Weiss and Collins 2000: 1837). Most large INGOs
also follow the humanitarian principles and Code of Conduct for the International
Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs in Disaster Relief.
This position effectively implies that direct contact with the military at the opera-
tional level is usually avoided. In reality, however, sometimes a more pragmatic
stance is taken (Studer 2001: 384386). The wording of interaction and coordina-
tion therefore may indeed imply the existence of some type of relations, but hardly
3 Who Are They? Encountering International and Local Civilians 33

ever of full cooperation, let alone subordination, of the ICRC and these INGOs in a
military endeavor, as this would be at loggerheads with their humanitarian princi-
ples and Code of Conduct.
In all these debates, it is important to keep in mind the voluntary nature of civil-
military relations. In the absence of an overarching regime, both the military com-
mander and aid agencies have independent decision power. Coordination is thus
driven by mutual interests and steered by a consensus-building model. Mutual inter-
ests may be vested in the complementarity of military and nonmilitary actors, char-
acterized by Lilly as a more accurate description of the relationship than
co-operation which presupposes a desire to integrate approaches to achieve a com-
mon goal (2002: 2).
Apart from these differences at the level of principles, mandates and doctrines,
mutual stereotypical images among soldiers and NGO workers are rife, as demon-
strated in our case studies in Afghanistan and Liberia (Frerks et al. 2006: 5664 and
8796). Many soldiers (and local observers and recipients as well) would, among
others, consider the work of NGOs vague, slow, cumbersome, inefficient and not
transparent. Borgomano-Loup adds that from a military perspective the large amount
of NGOs in crisis areas leads to unpredictability. Since they do not have a single
command, their actions are not monitored and they have not been trained to operate
in dangerous areas, they can pose security problems for military forces. Many NGOs
are, moreover, felt to be ideologically hostile to the military (2007: 36).
NGOs on the other hand, feel that the military lack a nuanced understanding of
local realities, and often act in a top-down, heavy-handed and culturally insensitive
manner. They are also considered largely ineffective and expensive (Frerks 2009).
They have neither been exposed to the realities on the ground nor accumulated long-
term experience as NGOs did, often over many years of hard development and
humanitarian work prior to the military intervention. NGOs are afraid that military
presence leads to a blurring of lines called by Studer (2001: 374) the contagious
effect resulting from association. This would undermine the very essence of
humanitarian action (Studer 2001: 367) and jeopardize the required unimpeded
access by aid agencies to the suffering population. Operational dependence on mili-
tary logistics might have a similar effect. Close association with peacekeepers
would obviously be particularly problematic, if the military mission is not perceived
as impartial. This would lead to an increased insecurity for NGO staff as well as a
disrespect for the humanitarian principles. The Afghan Coordinating Body for
Afghan Relief (ACBAR), moreover, observed that short-term political and military
agendas and the quick rotation of military personnel undermined proven best prac-
tice (Stapleton 2004).
Several studies have been devoted to the differences of organization and culture
that beset civil-military relations. In a review of largely Canadian experiences
Donna Winslow identified five areas of organizational difference and points of ten-
sion: (1) organizational structure and culture; (2) tasks and ways of accomplishing
them; (3) definition of success and time frames; (4) abilities to exert influence and
control information; (5) control of resources (Winslow 2002). Franke (2006: 1318)
also reviews a set of cultural, organizational, operational and normative factors
affecting CIMIC.
34 G. Frerks

Militaries are usually organized as hierarchies, with chains of command and the
giving and receiving of orders. NGOs, in contrast, are organized horizontally with
empowered, independent and self-reliant employees. These differences would amount
to institutional incompatibility. The two groups would also have fundamentally differ-
ent values, e.g. with regard to time, efficiency, ambivalence, violence etc. (Ankersen
2004: 78). Whatever their base in reality, mutual perceptions and stereotypes certainly
risk getting reinforced by the fairly limited contacts and interaction between the two
groups even when they are together in the field, and they continue to influence rela-
tions up to now. In our studies on Afghanistan and Liberia, we have identified 15
common, mutual false assumptions and misconceptions (Frerks et al. 2006: 107).

3.3 Changing Warfare and Peace Operations

Due to the complex and multi-layered nature of current conflict, the earlier relative
importance of fairly straightforward military aspects and armament in the explana-
tion of Cold War rivalry has given way to an emphasis on more intricate and dynamic
historical, political, socio-economic and environmental processes in explaining and
approaching conflicts. By consequence, the present challenges are less amenable to
simple remedial action by classical military or diplomatic, state-centered instru-
ments, but require the initiatives of a variety of governmental and non-governmental
actors and organizations at different levels. Since the notion of peace building
became coined by the Agenda for Peace in 1992, the idea that development coopera-
tion could contribute to peace operations became increasingly accepted, though not
completely uncontested. Anyhow, the incorporation of peace building in UN opera-
tions paved the way for what would become known as the second generation of UN
peacekeeping missions. These operations encompassed a broadening of mandate
not only to maintain the military status quo, but also to build durable peace.
Operations started to include demobilization and reintegration of combatants,
humanitarian assistance to returning refugees, the training of police and election
monitoring as well as the promotion of human rights, becoming much more civil in
nature. The second-generation operations were strikingly more intrusive and inter-
ventionist than the classical peacekeeping operations.
Over the years interventionist policies and practices became characterized as
being comprehensive and integrated (Fitz-Gerald 2004; Prime Ministers
Strategy Unit 2005; Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defense and Economic Affairs
2005). Efforts of the Ministries of Defense, Foreign Affairs and Development
Cooperation were combined in the so-called 3-D approach incorporating diplo-
macy, defense and development simultaneously. This approach implies that eco-
nomic and development aid policies explicitly focus on peace and conflict issues
and are mobilized to contribute to conflict resolution and peace building. They must
focus on conflict and peace and therefore be conflict-sensitive. Within the OECD
this integrative tendency has led to the so-called whole-of-government approach
(OECD 2007). More recent trends include the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile
States (briefly called the New Deal). The New Deal comprises the use of Peace
3 Who Are They? Encountering International and Local Civilians 35

building and State building Goals (PSGs) to enable progress in fragile and conflict-
affected states (IDPS 2011). Similarly as earlier, the realization of the PSGs requires
the use of various instruments in combination.
This shift towards comprehensiveness started in the international donor commu-
nity, but was also followed to a certain degree by the larger INGOs. Due to pressures
of efficiency and scale, but also in response to the changing conflict-scape, several
of those organizations have expanded or merged and now may encompass humani-
tarian, rehabilitation, peace building and reconciliation, development, political
advocacy and human rights tasks. By this process they have evolved into so-called
multi-mandate organizations somewhat comparable to the whole-of-government
approaches in the donor world. It also means that their work is often not anymore
only strictly humanitarian, but involves political aspects or even outright political
activity as well. Development work generally has a more interventionist or intrusive
agenda than pure humanitarian relief aid and aims at effecting qualitative changes
in societies by modifying unjust and inequitable relationships and power differen-
tials. Their poverty-reduction and emancipatory agendas are in effect explicitly
political, even if they are articulated in technical or economic language.
Overlooking the current situation one could posit that comprehensive and inte-
grated approaches have now become widely accepted in policy circles, though it is
still debated among a (decreasing) number of (I)NGOs and civil society organiza-
tions that are fearing that they would simply turn into an extension of official poli-
cies, if not military schemes (Frerks et al. 2006). This would imply that humanitarian
and development aid would become militarized and politicized. Pugh comments in
this regard, for example, that CIMIC is hierarchical and hegemonic and a signifi-
cant challenge to an ethical humanitarian politics, [and] that states and their mili-
tary forces set the agenda of civil-military relations According to Pugh this
draws humanitarian action in a statist and realist framework and closes off a more
value-based, cosmopolitan alternative (Pugh 2001: 353). Also academics have
pointed out the ambiguous relationship between conflict and development (see for
example: Frerks 2007), including the possibility of doing harm (Anderson 1999,
2004). Nevertheless, we see gradually important changes occurring in the classical
viewpoints sketched above, and positions vis--vis CMI now seem to have become
more nuanced as compared to earlier, as further elaborated in the next section.

3.4 Current Viewpoints and Practices

International Civilian Actors2

Throughout the past 15 years, there have been marked changes in the humanitarian
domain. The changing nature of conflict and warfare and the ensuing disrespect for
international humanitarian law and humanitarian principles by warring parties and

The most important categories of international NGOs include: Conflict prevention and early
warning organizations, Mediation and conflict resolution organizations, Human rights (monitor-
36 G. Frerks

states, the limitation of and intrusion upon humanitarian space, the abuse of human-
itarian aid and the perceived need to protest and act against gross and systematic
violations of human rights have put the classical system of humanitarian action and
of the associated humanitarian principles under pressure. In the field, the key principles,
namely that there are boundaries to war, noncombatant immunity, rules to follow
and an accountable state and army, no longer hold. Post-cold war trends and the
concomitant growth of the humanitarian aid industry have pushed the aid agencies
onto the political stage and are leading to a renegotiation of humanitarian principles,
where the rigid distinctions between humanitarian and security actors have become
less pronounced. In line with the interwoven nature of the development and security
aspects of contemporary conflicts and the emergence of integrated policies, security
has become part of the humanitarian scene and vice versa (see for the impact of
security on humanitarian aid Frerks 2008).
As a consequence of the changing nature of conflict and associated peace
operations, the original viewpoints of (I)NGOs also started to move from their
earlier isolationist position to a more pragmatic stance. Above I already noted the
existence of multi-mandate (I)NGOs. Agencies today acknowledge that they inevi-
tably become part of the context they operate in. By consequence, their work has,
intentionally or unintentionally, an impact on the conflict and the other way around.
Conflict sensitivity the need to be aware of the context and of conflict-related side-
effects, and the aim to minimize potential negative impacts (do no harm) has
become a widely accepted principle, but as indicated above, actions in the field may
include attempts to more explicitly influence the conflict by focusing aid on addressing
the causes of conflict, and peacemaking, peace building and reconciliation
activities, as recognized in Goodhands term working on conflict (Goodhand
2001). The requirement to operate in a conflict-sensitive manner nearly automatically
moved (I)NGOs in the security and, hence, military domain.
Another issue was that their back-donors in their own countries also demanded
them to start working explicitly on conflict issues. This was also attractive in view
of the new and often generous funding opportunities that came with those new inte-
grated policies. Often these funds were earmarked for activities such as Security
Sector Reform, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration programs and a
variety of peace making and peace building tasks. Examples of such funds include
the British Conflict Prevention Pool and the Dutch Stabilization Fund.
At a more discursive level is was also questioned what the value and relevance of
neutrality really is when facing cruel dictators who are suppressing or exterminating
their own populations? Is choosing sides not more humane than staying neutral and
doing nothing, apart from distributing relief aid? Many observers indeed considered
it bizarre to maintain the traditional notion of neutrality in the face of outrageous
violations of human rights or outright genocide. Many humanitarian agencies felt
they had to speak out, if not actively support interventions, against murderous
regimes such as those led by Slobodan Milosovic, Saddam Hussein, Charles Taylor

ing) and advocacy organizations, Democracy promotion and election monitoring organizations,
Humanitarian aid organizations, Development and Reconstruction organizations.
3 Who Are They? Encountering International and Local Civilians 37

and Mobutu Sese Seko. Many agencies argued that joining forces with political and
military actors to curb human rights perpetrations by such regimes was the only
right thing to do. Most of them also felt that tackling root causes of conflict and
contributing to peace building represented worthy causes even though they consti-
tuted strictly speaking political objectives.
In fact, the principles of independence and neutrality and the overall notion of
non-interference are being revisited in light of the developments as outlined above.
Leader (2002: 2021) discerns three positions with regard to neutrality, namely
neutrality elevated, where not taking sides becomes an absolute principle that
agencies impose upon themselves. This position is usually accompanied by a strong
emphasis on human rights and protection, and the provision of humanitarian life-
saving aid. The second position is neutrality abandoned. As humanitarian action has
such significant political consequences at the present juncture, humanitarians are
obliged to articulate and contribute to political objectives. From this perspective,
humanitarian action needs to be part of a political strategy to manage conflict and
promote peace building, including the use of conditional aid and of coercion
(violence) if required. It would boil down to eradicating the dictators mentioned
above. A third approach is called third-way humanitarianism and tries somehow to
accommodate the two earlier positions. It wants to be involved in constructive social
change without really taking sides, but of course it is clear that this nevertheless
implies a level of political choice. Many donor agencies verge towards the second
or third position in their attempts to do some good, by shifting from relief to devel-
opment, and by promoting conflict resolution, for example by focusing on social
justice and addressing root causes of conflict. All this goes beyond the classical
humanitarian mandate and moves towards a more explicit political stance.

Local Civilian Actors

Many observers have welcomed and applauded the roles and contributions of local
civilian actors in conflict contexts, especially in those cases where the structures of
the state either themselves have been a party to the conflict or else have become
debilitated or even completely stopped working due to the devastation wrought by
the conflict. Strengths of local organizations are that they possess local knowledge
that external parties miss. Consequently, NGOs and CBOs are well placed to collect
data for early warning due to their proximity to the local level and their availability
of local knowledge. This can also be used for advocacy towards the government, in
case there is a lack of political will on the side of the government to act and take its
responsibilities. In this way NGOs and CBOs can represent local constituencies and
exert upward pressure. In local political terms, they may represent actors and views
that overcome conventional and elitist domains of power.
But at the same time, the very conflict and resulting state fragility may also
undermine or eliminate local civil society. Displacement, flight, disorder, violence,
human rights violations and the closing of humanitarian and civilian space are
38 G. Frerks

frequently concomitants of intra-state conflict. Though most of the states concerned

may be weak in many senses, they still can be very repressive and authoritarian, and
often seem to focus their energies on suppressing or controlling NGO or CBO activ-
ity which they deem harmful, oppositional or steered by foreign interests and fund-
ing. Even if local organizations defy state suppression and are able to continue their
efforts, fear, hate, suspicion, paranoia, trauma, intimidation and the emergence of
enemy images and demonization may seriously affect their work. Needless to say
that in a conflict context mobility and access to target groups are compromised,
while these organizations have to manage unpredictability, disturbances and discon-
tinuities in both personnel and funding.
Despite such limitations, local CBOs and NGOs have made significant contribu-
tions in different areas. First of all they have been able to defend, maintain or recap-
ture humanitarian space and the civilian domain, thereby protecting or re-establishing
civil society itself. In terms of immediate tasks, their efforts to provide humanitarian
relief aid are perhaps the most conspicuous ones, but they have carried out many
more tasks: from early warning and conflict prevention, conflict mediation, the
monitoring and defense of human rights, democracy and political freedom, and
peaceful conflict resolution to providing localized human security, social service
delivery and development and reconstruction work. In the post-conflict trajectory
they deal among others with reconciliation and war trauma (see for more details on
NGO contributions: Aall 2001; Chigas 2007; Frerks 2005). All these tasks belong
obviously to those of a well-functioning governance state, but were in effect never
executed by the state in many conflict-affected countries to start with. This leads to
the paradox that in reality non-state action is needed to counteract state weakness.
On the other hand, working with local CBOs and NGOs, whether in relation to
CMI or in a different context, involves considerable drawbacks and problems. In the
first place, they are a very heterogeneous group of actors (in terms of expertise,
political stance, principles of (humanitarian) action, management styles, funding
etc.). They vary from local governments and authorities, traditional chief and coun-
cils, such as the Afghan jirgas and shuras, unions, churches, mosques and temples,
to womens associations and local savings and credit societies. This differentiation
and variability among local CBOs and NGOs leads to significant differences in
quality, experience, financial and project management capabilities and effective-
ness. As said above, this is understandable because of the conflict context, but also
may hamper a smooth interaction or cooperation with other parties. There are also
no easy solutions for this lack of capacity: they in fact need institutional develop-
ment support and capacity building, while at the same time they are asked to carry
out demanding tasks under highly complicated conditions on their own.
In the second place it is not easy to distinguish good or professional local
organizations from the rotten apples (Frerks 2005). Some CBOs or NGOs may in
fact be conflict protagonists or front organizations of warring parties and help
distribute ethno-nationalist views, hate speech and propaganda, or support those
conflict parties in other material and immaterial ways. For outsiders, including military
actors, it may be quite difficult to exactly gauge the nature and political standing of
their potential counterparts in CMI.
3 Who Are They? Encountering International and Local Civilians 39

A third challenge includes issues of representativeness, accountability and lead-

ership: Who are exactly those guys? Who are these leaders? Where do they come
from?. Many NGOs seem to have originated informally and were not based on
democratic procedures or elections. In fact, even when there is a semblance of dem-
ocratic procedure this may simply be a formality hiding a factual democratic deficit.
Often NGOs and CBOs are family businesses, based on nepotism and co-optation,
distributing goods and services among their own networks or their ethnic or reli-
gious identity groups (cf. the nicknames of Bongo: Briefcase Only NGO and
Mongo: My Own NGO). Perverse or corrupting effects of post-conflict aid bonan-
zas and the post-conflict criminalization of society have compounded this tendency,
as described by Astri Suhrke (2013) for Afghanistan, which she dubs a rentier
state based on corruption and patronage. Many NGOs became in fact sub-
contractors in the large and heavily funded peace missions and post-conflict reha-
bilitation operations, often at the cost of their initial identity, if any at all.
Textbox 3.2 tells how the Dutch special forces went about the rehabilitation of
traditional water basins in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan and tackled a number of
such problems.

Textbox 3.2: Nawar Rehabilitation

Dutch special forces operating in the deep south of Kandahar Province
observed that the traditional water basins (nawars) were defunct in many vil-
lages. During the rainy season, the nawars are supposed to fill up, thus provid-
ing the community and their cattle with drinking water in the drier periods of
the year. Defunct nawars are therefore considered a severe impediment to the
peoples welfare and livelihood. Although the basins have traditionally been
constructed by the local population using very basic means, now the people
had to leave them in poor condition. It did not lie within the abilities of the
forces to go into each of these villages and fix up the nawars, but the CIMIC
budget enabled them to get something done anyhow. On the basis of Shura
meetings, a limited number of villages was approved for assistance. A con-
tractor was sought to take on the reconstruction work. Finding a suitable can-
didate was difficult, according to the responsible officer. It was hard to rule
out that an agency is incapable or simply corrupt. Effective communication
with the counterparts was tricky as well. Eventually an Afghan NGO was
selected to do the project. Much of the work was done by the villagers them-
selves (Source: Frerks et al. 2006: 53).

A fourth challenge is the relation and positioning of these CBOs and NGOs to
wider structures and programs. They may easily become isolated islands that fail to
achieve a broader impact or replication. How can such activities be linked to wider
sustainable development initiatives by adopting longer time frames and a certain
unity of effort or coordination structure? Coordination in conflict-affected or crisis
areas is generally a big problem, even among international actors only (see: Paris
40 G. Frerks

2009; Coning and Friis 2011), and working with a multitude of small local actors
only tends to confound this problem.
In the context of CMI and despite some of the problems mentioned above, close
cooperation with local partners is still very attractive for the military. It gives them local
legitimacy contributing to force acceptance and protection, it helps winning hearts and
minds, it provides them access, and a local avenue for info-ops and psy-ops as well as
for the delivery of socio-economic services. Textbox 3.3 shows how the military
observers working for the UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) collect their information.

Textbox 3.3: Milobs, the Eyes and Ears of UNMIL

As their name suggests, UNMILs 205 military observers (generally abbreviated
to Milobs or UNMOs) operating in 13 multinational teams around the country
are tasked to assess the security situation on the ground. They conduct com-
munity assessments and list activities of NGOs, UN agencies and UNMIL in
their area of operation. Their findings are reported daily on Patrol Report
Forms to the Milobs HQ in Monrovia, from where they are sent to the Force
Commander and the SRSG. Military Observers are the eyes and ears of the
SRSG and the force commander, an information officer at the Milobs head-
quarters stated. When entering a village, the observers normally start out by
speaking to the town chief. After introducing themselves and explaining the
purpose of their visit, they go through a standard list of questions to assess the
living conditions and needs of the community, the aid received so far,
possible security threats, and so on (Source: Frerks et al. 2006: 77).

Our research in Liberia and Afghanistan showed that the civil-military debate
has invoked a fair bit of controversy and discussion among both international and
local NGOs, but also has remained rather inconclusive. In our study we distin-
guished three types of (I)NGOs at field level. The principled neutralists try to stay
away from the military, to preserve their humanitarian principles and to prevent
adverse security effects. They fear politicization of aid and subordination to a mili-
tary logic. The pragmatists weigh the pros and cons of co-operation and when the
context allows, they take a more flexible stance. In our field studies this was particu-
larly the case in Liberia and in northern Afghanistan (where the UN and allied
operations were applauded or at least less controversial). Finally, the supporters
consider the whole civil-military debate a secondary matter. They feel the needs of
the people should be the overriding priority. They also opine that dwelling on
sophisticated principles and artificial concepts of neutrality does not contribute to
security, the attainment of peace or effective aid delivery (Frerks et al. 2006: 104
105). They deem this a luxury that only the well-to-do organizations can afford. We
also noted something of a rift between local and international agencies on these
issues. Most international agencies tended to refer to the humanitarian principles
and the ICRC/NGO Code of conduct, while most local Afghan and Liberian orga-
nizations by and large fit under the latter headings of pragmatists and supporters.
3 Who Are They? Encountering International and Local Civilians 41

This does not warrant the conclusion, however, that international agencies repre-
sent the moral high ground, while local NGOs are unprincipled and money-driven.
Firstly, the INGO position is not just a principled one, but also a material one: they
can afford to keep their distance from the military and function in relative auton-
omy. Secondly, many local agencies are not unprincipled, but differently principled.
Unlike INGOs, which they see as thinking poetry and philosophy, they feel
humanitarianism is primarily about helping people as much as you can. Similar
views can be found among some of the field workers of international agencies. Not
surprisingly perhaps, these views resonate among the population. In many cases
(though not all) the people in need care little about who provides them with aid. Not
rarely they tend to be pleased with the military because they provide security, work
fast and generally do what they promise. Hence, NGO attempts to stay away from
the military meet with astonishment rather than appreciation. Collaboration with
peacekeepers and armed protection are considered normal and defensible, as
textbox 3.4 demonstrates.

Textbox 3.4: Views on Cooperation with the UNMIL Peacekeepers in

None of the respondents saw any problems with regard to collaboration
between NGOs and the peacekeeping troops. Some in fact laughed loudly at
the assertion that some NGOs prefer to stay away from UNMIL, because they
want to remain neutral. If theres no protection, no work will be done, this
person said. How will you do your work if youre not protected? (Source:
Frerks et al. 2006: 77).

Southern Afghanistan and increasingly other parts of the country as well,

however, differ in this regard, because the war continues there. It is in this region
that more people are resentful towards the military intervention. It is also in this area
that targeted security threats to NGOs by the Taliban are an everyday reality and
people cannot express their appreciation for foreign initiatives openly.

3.5 Conclusion: The Future of Civil-Military Interaction

The most topical developments in the international arena, such as the reform of the
UN and the emergence of integrated approaches have made that security, political
and development instruments are increasingly employed in unison. This is also an
outcome of the changing nature of warfare and adjustments that have been made to
global military interventions. It is closely related to some of the changes in humani-
tarian and development field itself, too. All these trends have led to rather drastically
changing discourses and practices in CMI as well.
42 G. Frerks

In my view, the question is not whether, but how, to redefine and attune military
and development responses to conflict situations and towards each other.
Contemporary integrated approaches and the resulting civil-military interfaces are a
vivid reality and future policy and practice will have to be tuned in with these
realities. Many of the more isolationist discussions on the topic of civil-military
interaction therefore seem to be something of a rear-guard action, especially as in
practice pragmatic forms of collaboration are already being tried and even tend to
become salient especially at the local level. All stakeholders, aid agencies, donors
and the military alike, thus need to remain aware of these contextual developments
and to reflect on the implications for themselves.
In the field we witnessed an expanding assortment of civil-military activities,
ranging from the earlier fairly minimalist use of military-civil defense assets
(MCDAs) (see: UN 2003) via training, advocacy, the exchange of security-related
information, protection and escorts, to the more maximalist joint programming and
execution of programs and projects. Our CMI review in Afghanistan and Liberia
showed that all those variants already existed in practice and that at the lower levels
the immediate needs for aid and support tend to outweigh more principled discus-
sions and viewpoints (Frerks et al. 2006: 3234). The increasing scope of collabora-
tion induces a need to rethink classical humanitarian principles: whether and how to
apply them in current contexts. An open debate between principled neutralists,
humanitarian pragmatists and supporters is needed to overcome hardened stand-
points, accusations and recriminations among (I)NGOs and to find a sense of direc-
tion for practice.
As increased collaboration in the field seems to be the order of the day, it makes
sense that a more strategic understanding between military and civilian partners be
reached prior to deployment, one that permits enough flexibility to those in charge
of local missions. Such multi-level thinking in advance of the mission could resolve
many implementation issues that otherwise would arise in the field.
Finally, many agencies already seem to take a rather pragmatic approach, weighing
up context-specific opportunities and risks. This course of action makes sense, but
in order not to leave it merely to coincidence this approach needs to be further
conceptualized, developed and harmonized in policy and practice. What is also
required is a further reflection on the nature and quality of local partners. How can
their capacities be assessed and strengthened if needed? Are they sufficiently demo-
cratic and representative of local audiences? How can opportunistic or protagonist
organizations be distinguished from the good ones. These issues are of relevance
for proper CMI whatsoever, but have acquired an added urgency due to the dysfunc-
tional aid bonanzas witnessed in a number of post-conflict situations.
If this chapter has shown one thing, it is that that increasing levels of CMI are to
be expected and that it will evolve into new directions. The established, original
viewpoints need to be reconsidered if the future challenges are to be met. A
discussion with an open mind is needed beyond the doctrines and dogmas of the
past at both sides of the civil-military interface.
3 Who Are They? Encountering International and Local Civilians 43

Annex 1: The Code of Conduct for the International

Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and NGOs
in Disaster Relief

1. The humanitarian imperative comes first.

2. Aid is given regardless of the race, creed or nationality of the recipients and
without adverse distinction of any kind. Aid priorities are calculated on the
basis of need alone.
3. Aid will not be used to further a particular political or religious standpoint.
4. We shall endeavour not to act as instruments of government foreign policy.
5. We shall respect culture and custom.
6. We shall attempt to build disaster response on local capacities.
7. Ways shall be found to involve programme beneficiaries in the management of
relief aid.
8. Relief aid must strive to reduce future vulnerabilities to disaster as well as
meeting basic needs.
9. We hold ourselves accountable to both those we seek to assist and those from
whom we accept resources.
10. In our information, publicity and advertising activities, we shall recognize
disaster victims as dignified humans, not hopeless objects.
Source: www.icrc.org


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Chapter 4
Civilians in Military Operations:
Blue on Blue?

Jeannette Seppen and Gerard Lucius

In the past decade or so, observers and interlocutors of NATO operations in areas
such as Afghanistan and Iraq have seen an increasing participation of a wide range
of civilians in such operations. This chapter is about who these civilians are and why
they are there. The chapter shares some experiences of civilian practitioners and
ends with a few recommendations on how to improve the inevitable cooperation
between the military and civilians in military operations.

4.1 Types of Civilian Staff

Civilians within military operations include at one end of the spectrum the local and
at times international support staff, including catering and maintenance, while at the
other end, civilians may be leading pre-dominantly military units together with
military officers or even command sub-units. This section addresses three different
groups of civilians, namely (1) civilian staff as service providers, (2) civilian staff as
interpreters and translators and (3) civilian staff in advisory and leadership

J. Seppen
Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague, The Netherlands
G. Lucius (*)
Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague, The Netherlands
1 (NL) Civil and Military Interaction Command, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
e-mail: gerardlucius@gmail.com

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 45

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_4
46 J. Seppen and G. Lucius

Civilian Staff as Service Providers

Providing services to military operations is increasingly being outsourced to a lim-

ited number of large, specialised international companies (Heinecken 2014). These
companies mostly employ local nationals and nationals from third countries, that is,
nationals of neither the country contributing the troops, nor the host country. These
companies provide hundreds if not thousands of meals per day, launder bedding,
towels and uniforms and ensure the maintenance, including the cleaning, of the
military base.

Civilian Staff as Interpreters and Translators

Moving further along the spectrum in terms of civilian staff, most of the interpreters
and translators (often local, but also international) engaged by military forces are
either civilians or staff temporarily militarised for the operation. The interpreters
and translators in particular play a crucial role in enabling the military to communi-
cate with the local security forces, in particular where operations are carried out
jointly or in case of training missions. The interpreters are also the key connection
to the local authorities and other interlocutors of the operation, who very often dont
speak English, NATOs working language. The additional contribution of the inter-
preters is that they provide interpretation in the broadest sense of the word, since
they not only know the local language, but are also much more aware of the social
and cultural dimensions of the country in which the operation is deployed. The
civilian interpreters of the military furthermore provide a bridge to the local authori-
ties, who in most cases are civilians, even though some may have a background as
a regular or irregular soldier. In addition, communication with the population of the
area of operation where the international troops are deployed will also require inter-
pretation services. The translators play an essential role in ensuring that for instance
training manuals are available in the local language and that letters and documenta-
tion are accessible to both the international military and their local partners.
For the most part, interpreters and translators will be nationals of the country
where the troops are deployed. They often are, or were before the conflict started,
students at local universities or have a bachelors if not masters degree from a local
university. Very often, interpreters have seen their studies or careers interrupted by
the conflict or have been attracted to the military operation by the relatively good
salaries that are being paid. In working for military operations, local interpreters and
translators take considerable personal risks, in particular when the military opera-
tion is seen as an occupying or enemy force by (a part of) the local population.
Interpreters and translators may also be dual nationals, returning to their countries
of origin which they have often left as refugees and seeking to pay a service to their
countries of origin and of refuge simultaneously. If recruited through a Ministry of
Defence, they are usually outfitted with military uniforms and if through for instance
a Ministry of Foreign Affairs, they wear civilian clothes.
4 Civilians in Military Operations: Blue on Blue? 47

Civilian Staff in Advisory and Leadership Positions

Staffs of military operations often include at least one international political adviser,
commonly known as POLAD. However, in recent years, there has been a significant
increase in the numbers and types of civilian staff, in particular in NATO operations.
Other than political advisers, military operations increasingly include such as devel-
opment advisers, Security Sector Reform advisers, Rule of Law advisers, tribal or
cultural advisers, gender advisers and communication advisers.
Advisers would typically be nationals of the troops contributing countries and
civilian experts in one or the other field. His/her responsibility would be above all to
ensure the inclusion of other than kinetic elements in the planning and decision
making process of the (Deputy) Force Commander. A POLAD would be someone
with a bachelors or masters degree and either with experience in the country,
through a diplomatic or development mission or an international (non-governmental)
organisation and/or experience with comparable environments, and focus on politi-
cal affairs, not only at the provincial or regional level, but also national level. A
POLAD would normally also ensure that the activities of a military operation are
compliant with the policy or policies of the contributing state(s). Development
advisers (DEVADs) in general have a comparable educational and background pro-
file, but focus primarily on development aid projects and programmes and ensure
that these are complementary to or build on (the activities of) the military operation.
Development advisers should also ensure that military operations do not undermine
sustainable development activities initiated by the local government and/or interna-
tional donors. Security Sector Reform (SSR) advisers are mostly former military or
police, who have reinvented themselves as civilians with an expertise. Rule of Law
advisers (ROLADs) focus on projects and programmes that would contribute to the
reconstruction of the judiciary chain and ensure e.g. that the training of the local
military and but in the local police does not happen in a vacuum. Tribal or cultural
advisers are meant to ensure that a military operation does not happen in a cultural
void, gender advisers ensure that the activities of a military operation are e.g. com-
pliant with UNSCR 1325 and gender sensitive (e.g. inclusion of women in the
armed forces or police of country, which also requires that there are separate facili-
ties for the women). Communication advisers are roughly spokespeople of the civil-
ian mission within the military operation.
The NATO operation in Afghanistan has also led to the emergence of a new type
of civilian staff: Civilian Representatives. NATO was the first, and to date only,
organisation to appoint a high-ranking civilian as part of the leadership of a military
operation, the Senior Civilian Representative (SCR), based at the ISAF headquar-
ters in Kabul. This SCR is part of the NATO chain of command and reports to the
NATO Council in Brussels. This in turn has led to the nomination by several NATO
troop-contributing countries of provincial and regional (Senior) Civilian
Representatives. These are mostly diplomats heading a larger civilian team or a
Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT, overwhelmingly staffed by military) within
a regional or provincial military operation. They are normally at the same time their
48 J. Seppen and G. Lucius

countrys most senior diplomat in the part of the host country they operate in.
Contrary to the military commanders, the regional or provincial (senior) civilian
representatives are neither part of the NATO chain-of-command nor are they subor-
dinate to the NATO SCR at ISAF headquarters in Kabul.

4.2 Reasons to Include Civilian Personnel in Military


The increase in civilian staff in military operations is very much a NATO phenom-
enon. In UN and EU military operations, for the most part because of parallel politi-
cal or assistance missions, the number of civilian staff is very limited and in general
does not include more than one or two political advisers.
Why are civilians included in military operations in the first place? A distinction
can be made between support civilian staff as service providers, as interpreters and
translators and in advisory and leadership positions. For tasks subordinate to the
military operation, such as catering and maintenance, the answer lies in reasons of
cost-effectiveness (it would cost way too much to fly in and out cleaning staff and
to pay on mission salaries). For language services, the reasons are twofold and are
on the one hand part cost-effectiveness, and on the other hand because an organisa-
tion that may be deployed anywhere in the world cannot afford to permanently keep
interpreters on the payroll for every single language.
Advisers and civilians in leadership positions for their part are engaged for
another reason. They provide an expertise not traditionally available within military
organisations. The adviser will not only act as the (Deputy) Force Commanders or
the (S)CRs guide on the different fields of expertise, but also provide liaison with
(at times only semi-) civilian parties at the various levels of government and outside
of government circles in the host country. Provincial and regional civilian represen-
tatives provide high-level access to the high-level local authorities. The absence of
the uniform in many instances allows political and other advisers as well as civilian
representatives access to people and organisations that would be wary of military
interlocutors. With situations of conflict and post-conflict becoming more complex
and the increasing realisation that such situations cannot be addressed with military,
kinetic, means only, the inclusion of civilian expertise imposes itself.

4.3 Civilian Staff in Practice

An interesting demonstration of the organic growth and increasing variety of civil-

ian capacity is the contribution of the Netherlands to ISAF in Afghanistan. The
Netherlands, in its contribution to this NATO operation, initially focused on the
province of Baghlan in northern Afghanistan, then moved to the province of
4 Civilians in Military Operations: Blue on Blue? 49

Uruzgan in southern Afghanistan for 4 years and in 20102012 deployed a police

training mission in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan.
In both Baghlan and Uruzgan, the only non-support staff civilian to be part of the
operation was a political adviser. The political adviser shared an office with the
Commander of the Task Force and was closely involved in the daily business of the
operation. The political adviser would also have access to the operations room of
the Task Force Command and take part in Task Force planning meetings.
In Uruzgan, like everywhere else in Afghanistan, tribal issues played an impor-
tant role and the need was felt for a tribal adviser, later called cultural adviser or
CULAD (cool-ad in endearing terms). The CULAD was to support both the Task
Force Commander and his subordinate units, the Battle Group and Provincial
Reconstruction Team (PRT). The CULAD also liaised with the Special Forces units
that were present in Uruzgan, but reported to the Commander of the Regional
Command South in Kandahar directly. He would advise on the intricacies of
Uruzgans tribal society including on how to read and deal with the elders and other
leaders of the tribes.
In parallel, there was growing recognition that the mission, that was meant to
bring not only stability but also development, could not do without a professional
DEVAD. The Provincial Reconstruction Team had been manned with personnel
extensively trained in civil-military cooperation (CIMIC) and focussed on gaining
support (or winning the hearts and minds) for the operation among the local popula-
tion through projects such as the reconstruction of a school or mosque or the instal-
lation of water wells and small bridges. While often relevant for the regions
development, these projects did not of themselves constitute the series of sustain-
able development interventions that the Directorate-General for Development
Cooperation under the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs was aiming for and
the DG thus initiated the inclusion of development advisers in the staff (Rietjens,
2015). Textbox 4.1 illustrates the Dutch view on the role of CIMIC versus develop-
ment activities.

Textbox 4.1: The Dutch View on the Role of CIMIC vs. Development
[]CIMIC has as its objective to support the implementation of the operation
by maintaining contact with civil parties. This contact will help improve
acceptance of the presence of military personnel among the local population
and thus contributes to the security of the mission. By this characteristic,
CIMIC is fundamentally distinct from activities aimed primarily at the (re-)
construction of the civil environment. In reality however, CIMIC and recon-
struction activities may overlap or connect. The CIMIC Policy Framework
[] therefore provides room to anticipate reconstruction activities. []
Quoted from: TK 20052006 29 521 nr. 21: Letter by the Minister of
Defence to the Second Chamber of the States General, 29 December 2005.
50 J. Seppen and G. Lucius

Further arguing for the need of dedicated aid/development cooperation

professionals was the allocation by the Netherlands government of large-scale
development funds for Afghanistan and Uruzgan in particular (so-called earmarked
funds). These funds were dedicated to the support of health, education, agricultural,
sub-national governance and other Afghan government programmes. Implementation
of these programmes required monitoring, a task that the PRT with its CIMIC
(i.e.: military) focus had neither the mandate nor the expertise for. Tasking the PRT
with monitoring the local implementation of Dutch-funded national programmes
would have created other difficulties as well: recipients of international aid in
Uruzgan were at risk of being targeted by anti-government forces. People in direct
contact with ISAF forces took even bigger risks and would hence avoid it as much
as possible.
The military command of the Task Force from the outset communicated that the
strategic aim of its security operations was to prepare the ground for international
governmental and non-governmental organisations to initiate their operations in
Uruzgan and provide essential services. Together with the intended improvement of
services by the Afghan authorities themselves, this would enable the withdrawal of
foreign troops within a limited timeframe. A long-term involvement such as the
Dutch Army had seen in Bosnia, where troops had been deployed for a total of 12
years (19922004) was not intended, as the government had also made clear in its
communication to the Netherlands parliament that spoke of a 2-year contribution.1
Some national and international governmental organisations and NGOs were
already present in the province and maintained that, as a matter of principle, the
military had no role to play in the reconstruction effort, and in fact frustrated the
efforts of impartial and neutral players. At the same time, security and logistical
challenges to their operations meant that many civilian organisations made use of
air transport, medical and other facilities that ISAF offered. It was to be a complex
relationship throughout the entire Dutch deployment to Uruzgan.
In short, the military were interested in a solid civilian presence within the mili-
tary organisation, who could act as a bridge not only to the civilian organisations
that would take over over from the military, but also local government and the
governor in particular and representatives of local NGOs. Early work by the PRT
CIMIC activities that aimed at winning hearts and minds quickly and often after a
military intervention did not take sustainability issues into account, had little ear
for the non-security needs as perceived and/or expressed by the local government
and to an extent undermined the central governments (admittedly, weak) attempts
to build up some authority as a provider of basic services to the population. This led
to initiatives to increase the number of civilian staff in Task Force Uruzgan, and to
position them differently. In addition to the political adviser and a development
adviser, a civilian representative (CIVREP) was appointed. The latters task was not
only to ensure together with the DEVAD more sustainability of the civilian

TK 200502006 27 925 nr. 194 Combating International Terrorism: letter to the Second Chamber
of the States General by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, of Defence and for Development
Cooperation, 29 December 2005.
4 Civilians in Military Operations: Blue on Blue? 51

interventions, but also to ensure a higher level interlocutor for the civilian counter-
parts and the governor in particular.
Whereas the first civilian representative was co-located with the Provincial
Reconstruction Team, the PRT that was subordinate to the Task Force Commander,
the successor shared an office with the Task Force Commander (as the political
adviser had done all along) and the successor of the successor was the first civilian
leader of the PRT (Mathijssen and Mollema 2008).
To ensure a permanent presence of a Civilian Representative, a Deputy Civilian
Representative was added as well as a Deputy Political Adviser, a second
Development Adviser and an Assistant Cultural Adviser.
The inclusion of the Civilian Representative in the office of the Commander of
the Task Force and the appointment of a civilian Head of the Provincial
Reconstruction Team ensured a closer involvement of civilian staff in TFUs day-to-
day operations and its long-term military, political and development planning.

4.4 Differences Between Civilians and Military

in Operations

Regardless of the quality of the working relationship between the military and the
civilians in a military operation or even an integrated mission, the worlds of military
and civilians are often wide apart. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule,
including civilians with a military background, such as reservists, soldiers with a
civilian profession and militarised civilians. This section will describe some typical
differences in academic and professional backgrounds, task orientation and profes-
sional behaviour between civilians in military operations and their military counter-
parts. By their nature, these generalisations do not do justice to either group. They
may however serve to assist the practitioner in finding her or his way in the relation-
ship with the professionals of the other persuasion.
For the purpose of the comparisons below, we will juxtapose two groups: on the
one hand, people with a non-military professional background who become part of
the staff of a military operation on the basis of their expertise and who perform
essentially civilian tasks, and on the other, people who have followed military train-
ing, pursue a career in the armed forces and are placed in the staff of the military
operation in a military role.
Students choices in early adulthood determine part of the differences later in
life. Training at a military academy or a civilian institution of learning (academic or
higher vocational training) will provide students not only with different tool sets but
also with different outlooks on life. In training and in the working environment,
military are often preparing for high intensity conflict with the risk of death and
injury among their own, the opposition and others. The willingness in extremis to
engage in violent conflict and the readiness to incur casualties distinguishes the
soldier from the civilian at a fundamental level.
52 J. Seppen and G. Lucius

Civilians in theory train for activities that need to happen. As an example, a

student of medicine hopes to be confronted with the illnesses they have studied.
This is not because the doctor wishes an unfortunate thing to happen to the patient,
but rather because they wish to apply what they have learned. In the civilian profes-
sions, there is a premium on the avoidance of conflict, a fortiori of violent conflict,
the occurrence of which will have negative connotations.
Also the organisational cultures of the military and civilians are very different.
Describing them in broad strokes, the military environment favours a direct approach
to problem solving (Meeuwsen, 2009), focussing on solutions using the existing
Civilians tend to comprehensively analyse a problem and then develop an array
of solutions, whereas soldiers tend to move quickly to capturing what seems the
problems essence and then move to see which tool in the box might provide the
necessary solution. This may be explained by the fact that in a typical operational
environment, decisions often have to be taken under time pressure, and the capabili-
ties that are under your command are the only ones available for the job.
By contrast, the policymaking environments that many of the CIVREPs,
POLADs etc. come from favour the utilisation of time and ambiguity, and the ability
to develop new tools that were not available before is the essence of the job.
Creativity is valued, risk taking discouraged.
Military also tend to rely more on hierarchy than civilians. This is logical, since
a military operation could not work without a clearly established hierarchy. One
cannot imagine troops moving forward and a number of soldiers deciding on the
spot to move otherwise. The military also seem more prone to following certain
patterns or pre-established approaches, e.g. in the form of Standard Operating
Procedures. Standard procedures enable the organization to arrive at decisions
quicker and to have different persons perform the same tasks in the same manner
simultaneously (e.g. officers of subordinate units will provide comparable reports to
the next level) or consecutively (e.g. standing regulations will allow a staff officer
succeeding another staff officer to do so relatively easily). Reliance on standardiza-
tion may however lead to less room for creativity and flexibility in the face of new
factors or a changing environment.
Another difference often observed is a great imbalance in personnel and finances.
While 99 % of the personnel tends to be military, only 1 % is civilian. With regard
to the financial resources the division is just the opposite. Here civil representatives
often have control and direction of greater financial resources than military person-
nel (Rietjens 2014). Related to the control of funds is the connection with political
accountability. Whereas in the military, political accountability is left to the civilian
side of the higher echelons of the Ministry of Defence, civilians working within a
military unit may be directly involved in accounting for their organisations actions,
e.g. by dealing with the media and drafting answers to questions from parliament.
4 Civilians in Military Operations: Blue on Blue? 53

4.5 A Case Study: Regional Command North, ISAF,


The Regional Command North (RC North) of NATOs International Security

Assistance Force for Afghanistan, which covered the nine northern provinces, from
Faryab to Badakshan, had Germany as a lead nation in the period 20122013. RC
North at the time consisted of more than 7,000 military from 17 nations, all formally
under German command. The offices of the Commander and his team were found
in what was known as Headquarters (HQ). The Senior Civilian Representative
(SCR) of RC North equally of German nationality and his international team
were equally housed there, but in a different building, at the other extreme of the
At HQ, RC North, the United States were also represented, both with military
and civilian staff. The highest US military was the Deputy Commander of RC
North, the highest US civilian was also called Senior Civilian Representative (SCR).
In contrast with the German SCR, the team of the US SCR was composed of
Americans and local, Afghan, staff only.
Both the Regional Commander and his deputy reported formally to the ISAF
Commander in Kabul, but were also under strict command of their national military
headquarters. The two SCRs were German and American diplomats, who both also
acted as heads of the regional diplomatic representations of their respective coun-
tries, the US with the title of Consul-General and the German as leader of the
German station (until Germany opened its Consulate-General in summer 2013).
The staff of the SCR RC North was international and consisted of a Deputy SCR
(a German diplomat), a Director Development (a representative of the German
Development Ministry), a Director Governance (a Dutch diplomat), two Political
Advisers (a representative from the Finnish Ministry of Defence and a Croatian
diplomat), a Cultural Adviser (a German expert, recruited through the German
Development Agency), some administrative staff from the German Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, a local political assistant/interpreter and a local driver. The man-
dates of the so-called directors and advisers varied a great deal. For instance, the
Director Development, in charge of monitoring the very substantial funds allocated
by the German Ministry for Cooperation to some of the northern provinces, and the
Political Advisers primarily held national mandates and reported to their respective
capitals, while for instance the Cultural Adviser provided the SCR RC North with
advise on social and cultural relationships in the northern provinces.
Cooperation between the military and the civilians formally consisted of rela-
tively short daily morning meetings of the principals, which included the Force
Commander and his deputy, but also the SCR RC North and US SCR. Furthermore,
the Commander RC North, (team members of) the SCR RC North and the US SCR
attended the daily morning and evening briefing for all heads of sections and others,
which were important moments to share information, but not to discuss. In spite of
these meetings and briefings the cooperation between the (teams of) of the
54 J. Seppen and G. Lucius

Commander RC N and the Senior Civil Representative RC N were not as close as

the complexity of the environment demanded.
One reason for the absence of close cooperation was the fact that the offices of
the Force Commander and the SCR were physically separated, which hampered
spontaneous consultation of each other. Furthermore, structural coordination was
not part of the Standard Operating Procedures and hence a less evident thing to do.
There was no joint plan of operations or mission statement. The military and
civilians teams also differed in that the civilians would stay for a year or two, but go
on leave for 2 or more weeks every 610 weeks, whereas most of the military would
stay for 6 months and go for a short break only once. Networks had to be (re-) estab-
lished over and over again. Also for most of the military and the civilians, the RC
North responsibilities were only part of their mandates. For instance, the Commander
of RC North was also the commander of the German troops in the North and the
international team members of the SCR were also in charge of carrying out their
duties vis--vis their sending states. A last but not least reason for limited coopera-
tion was the fact that the military had little insight in what the SCR RC North and
his team were actually doing. Attempts to provide insight into the doings of the
team were undertaken through briefings on the work of the team to those present at
the daily evening briefings, but did not suffice to bridge the gap.
There was no lack of willingness on the side of the Commander and the SCR to
work closely together, but it depended more on the attempts of individuals and was
less the result of an agreed policy. Successful cooperation between the military and
civilians did for instance take place in the run-up to the elections. The team of the
SCR encouraged the J9 (CIMIC) branch to engage with the Afghan Security Forces
(ASF) to establish if it needed support from ISAF regarding the security of the elec-
tions. This resulted in close cooperation between the CIMIC branch and the SCR
team and an open exchange of information that the SCR team received from, for
instance the provincial election commissions and NGOs active in the field of elec-
tions and insights that J9 (CIMIC) obtained from its regular contacts with the ASF
in general and on electoral issues in particular. Another instance of close coopera-
tion was when parts of Balkh province were flooded and the CIMIC branch and the
team of the SCR worked closely to ensure that the information from the affected
population reached the J9 branch. J9 worked to investigate options for military-to-
civilian support to be provided within the limited means and responsibilities
of ISAF.
However, opportunities were also missed to address issues together and thus find
better solutions to challenges in the AOR. An interesting case in point was when the
Opposing Military Forces attacked transports of the Afghan Security Forces (ASF),
killing several Afghan soldiers and gradually retaking visible control of a certain
valley in Badakshan. The ASF asked ISAF for help, which ISAF following transi-
tion of authority to the ASF initially had to refuse. A few weeks later, the military
command of RC North reversed that decision and deployed a battalion in a province
from which it had withdrawn just several months earlier.
4 Civilians in Military Operations: Blue on Blue? 55

Regrettably, the military command hardly engaged with the team of the SCR and
seemed to have to consider other options to address the situation than kinetic ones,
which were insufficient for a longer-term solution to the challenges in the valley.

4.6 Added Value of Civilians to Military Operations

Section 4.5 showed one arrangement of civilians and soldiers working together in a
military operation. Improving this cooperation is worth striving for if the civilians
contribution adds value to the effort. But what is their added value?
The most important contribution of civilians to integrated or comprehensive
military operations may simply be that they provide the civilian perspective.
Contemporary military operations are no longer purely kinetic operations and hence
cannot be planned and conducted by military only (Smith 2005). CIMIC or civilian
affairs military are still military, regardless of their background, by the simple fact
that they wear a uniform and since they are part of a military operation have an
obligation to act and operate along military standard operation procedures and often
within a tactical plan. The environment of an average military operation consists
mostly of civilians, both national and international, who are not familiar with such
operational procedures.
For example, for the Netherlands troops in Uruzgan, Afghanistan, the prime
interlocutor was the governor of the province. The governor did not have a military
background, let alone a military outlook. Although he needed the Task Force to gain
control of the province and start providing government services to the people and
the PRT was tasked to support him in that effort, conversations between the PRT
commander and the governor directly were difficult in that they involved people
with very different outlooks, roles and responsibilities.
Task Force Uruzgans civilian staff were mostly trained diplomats who would
take more time to elaborate on any issue and focus on developing a plan to resolve
it that involved the perspectives of the civilian implementers and the intended ben-
eficiaries. Policy people themselves and formally part of the staff of the Netherlands
Embassy in Kabul, they would be able to link developments in the province to policy
debates in Kabul and the roll-out of parts of the National Development Plan to
Uruzgan. The connection with Kabul and The Hague also enabled them to actively
support the Governors own efforts to get more funds, personnel and political atten-
tion for his province, for example by advising to earmark a proportion of the
Dutch development funds for Uruzgan specifically.
Themselves involved in accountability for these funds, the diplomats had a
keener sense of the political situation the Governor had to contend with, including
the crucial need for local support for his plan. In contrast, many military officers felt
under pressure to show visible results within the timeframe of their own deploy-
ment, their organisation favouring speed over thoroughness and ignoring those
options that required resources that it did not control itself.
56 J. Seppen and G. Lucius

In a similar vein, technical meetings with the directors of provincial departments

of for example agriculture and the CIMIC colleagues were fraught with difficulties.
The provincial directors had a long-term focus and sought support from ISAF for
their tasks while CIMIC staff, especially in the early days, were focussed on short
term results that would reflect positively on ISAF, not necessarily on the local
The military for obvious reasons wanted to see some results during the duration
of their deployment, that is, within 6 months, whereas the technical staff of the pro-
vincial administration had a very different concept of time brought about by cultural
differences as much as by their professional perspective.
Summarising, the added value of civilians in military staffs would seem varied.
Civilians will bring the political and development perspectives that modern peace
operations mandates demand be incorporated in the strategic objectives of the mili-
tary effort. Civilians often have a policymaking background, which will facilitate
contact with the civilian authorities of the host country, who have different perspec-
tives of security, development and politics than most foreign soldiers, because as
politicians they have to account for their actions locally, seek local political support
for any initiatives and carry responsibility stretching far beyond the period that the
foreign troops intend to be present. Embedded civilians are part of larger networks
within the host country and beyond and will be able to utilise those to support the
objectives of their interlocutors at the local level. Lastly, civilians bring expert
knowledge of development and political processes that is not, as a rule, available
within the military.

4.7 Opportunities for Improved Civil-Military Cooperation

The previous section lists a significant number of reasons to include civilians in the
staff of a military unit. As earlier sections have shown however, introducing civilian
expertise in itself does not mean it will be understood or utilised. What can be done
to improve smooth interaction between civilian and military colleagues in the field?
Opportunities for improvement may be limited. Military operations will be mili-
tary operations, and regardless of their aim will be dominated by the military by
their sheer numbers. Civilians often form no part of planning exercises because they
are not invited or when they are, because they are unwilling to provide sufficient
capacity for effective participation. Military staff are unfamiliar or uncomfortable
with the inclusion of civilians in their planning processes and when it is done, the
different policy outlooks, concepts of time and lack of understanding of the value of
the others professional contribution to the success of the mission may make joint
planning a frustrating affair.
In operations with a relatively simple task, the number of civilians in the staff
may be small and interaction simple. For example, the presence of one Political
Adviser within the African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) is probably suf-
ficient, since AMISOM is a very kinetic mission, operating in collaboration with the
4 Civilians in Military Operations: Blue on Blue? 57

political/civilian UN mission that functioned initially out of Nairobi and later, par-
tially, from within Mogadishu.
When the military and the civilians represent two legally distinct organisations,
very close and successful interaction becomes more challenging. ISAFs Afghanistan
operation in theory operates closely with the UN mission in Afghanistan, but in
practice the mission and the operation lead two parallel lives; although NATO
appointed a Senior Civilian Representative partly to improve the connection, the
UN and NATO remain separate organisations at the highest level.
Even within NATO, the civilian and military bodies are distinct and while the
military will take orders from the civilian side, this does not equate truly integrated
civ-mil policy development, planning and implementation.
There would seem to be more opportunities to improve civil-military coopera-
tion within operations if we focus on the bilateral level. Within a country, a whole-
of-government approach can help ensure that the various government departments
involved in preparing and implementing a peace operation work together at all
levels, from government ministers down to the professionals working side by side
in a war-torn country. In other words, the split between the civilians and the military
may be overcome if at the highest level the command is one.
The Netherlands Police Training Mission to Kunduz, Afghanistan, shows a
glimpse of what can be done. The mission was conceived jointly by the following
ministries: Foreign Affairs, Development, Defence as well as Security and Justice.
To a large extent, the few civilians and the many military went through the mission
specific training together, which allowed them to get to know each other and to
understand each other better. The command in Kunduz was a truly joint command,
with the Military Commander and the Civilian Representative in one and the same
office. All had their own tasks, but the responsibility for the running of the mission
was a joint responsibility.
Apart from the influence of personal characteristics on the success of the col-
laborative effort, much will depend on the actual circumstances of the operation. A
mission operating in relatively peaceful circumstances will be very different from
one that has to cope with situations of insecurity, opposition to the mission or the
outbreak of actual hostilities. If the security situation deteriorates, the role of the
military commander may gain in prominence, whereas in a situation of relative
peace, or when redeployment is near, the civilian contingent will come to the fore,
in particular if there are longer term development projects and programmes that will
continue after the military have redeployed.

4.8 Recommendations

Much progress has been made in the cooperation between civilians and military in
the past decade. This is no doubt in large part due to an increase in the number of
large scale missions since 9/11, in particular NATOs in Afghanistan. Lessons have
been learned, both by the military and the civilians. The awareness has grown that
58 J. Seppen and G. Lucius

military cannot do without the civilians and civilians have learned that they cannot
do without the military. Where conflicts themselves are caused by political and
developmental inequalities and injustices, conflict resolution cannot rely on military
means and kinetic approaches alone.
Conflict resolution starts with conflict analysis, that needs to be done thoroughly,
taking account of all conceivable viewpoints and positions. This demands an effec-
tive mix of civilian and military expertise within the group of analysts, including
political scientists, anthropologists, gender specialists and development experts.
Once the political decision to deploy an operation is taken, the planning and
design of the operation should also be done by civilian and military experts together.
Planning meetings must to be joint meetings and not parallel ones. Assuming that
authority to proceed will lie with different authorities (and participants are account-
able to different authorities), decision making procedures will have to be synchro-
nised. Decision making at the top level is preferably joint as well, e.g. at ministerial
level, so as to ensure balanced civilian and military inputs at all levels.
Joint pre-deployment training is crucial, since it allows the military and the civil-
ians to get to know each other and develop a deeper understanding of the others
background, current position and objectives for the planned operation. Building on
those insights, a common operational picture can be developed, that can form the
basis of a common plan that brings together the best of what the various participants
can bring to the table. If civilians and soldiers that are meant to work together only
meet in the actual conflict zone, much time will be lost and much opportunity.
Once deployed, it is important that any operation that has significant, perhaps
predominantly, political and development objectives, is led by soldiers and civilians
together, or in practical terms, by a command group of one military officer and one
civilian representative. These two should have equal access to information from
higher military headquarters and civilian ministries in capitals and should ideally
share an office and if not, at least meet once a day. Sharing of offices of military
commanders and civilian representatives has been proven to have a strong positive
impact on the cooperation, and conversely, physical distance between the military
and civilian leaders of operations has been shown to hamper and harm it.
Examples from many operations show that there are good reasons to incorporate
civilian experts in staffs of deployed military units. Their varied non-military exper-
tise is needed to operate successfully in todays challenging operational environ-
ments. Case studies, including the ones in this chapter, suggest that cooperation
between civilians and soldiers is confronted with many challenges. Some of these
are brought about by the great differences between the groups in educational back-
ground and professional training, task orientation and concepts of time. These views
in turn dictate behaviour once deployed. In deployment, the groups sometimes
choose to either ignore each other or to clash over priorities, rather than to cooperate
productively. It is before deployment that the basis for productive cooperation must
be laid: joint civilian-military conflict analysis, decision making, planning and
pre-deployment training all provide opportunities to develop on a common view of
the task ahead. Once deployed, joint leadership of the operation or at the least,
4 Civilians in Military Operations: Blue on Blue? 59

co-location and permanent and comprehensive coordination between those heading

the civilian and the military efforts, will enable both groups to make the best use of
each others capabilities, thus providing the greatest chance of success.


Heinecken, L. (2014, October). Outsourcing public security: The unforeseen consequences for the
military profession. Armed Forces and Society, 40(4), 625646.
Meeuwsen, B. (2009). Three clusters of actors in Dutch Provincial Reconstruction Teams. MBA
thesis, Leidse Onderwijsinstellingen University. Leiden, Leidse Onderwijs Instellingen.
Mathijssen, K., & Mollema, P. (2008). De civiele organisatie in Task Force Uruzgan: Het
Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) van de Task Force Uruzgan onder civiele Leiding [The
civil organisation in Task Force Uruzgan: The Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) of the
Task Force Uruzgan under civil command]. Tarin Kowt: TFU.
Rietjens, S. J. H. (2014). The comprehensive approach: From Theory to practice to theory. Paper
presented at NATO HFM 236 conference on governing the comprehensive approach,
Stockholm, 79 April, 2014.
Rietjens, S. J. H. (2015). Civil-military interaction: The Uruzgan experiment. In W. Maley, &
S. Schmeidl (Eds.), Reconstructing Afghanistan: Civil-military experiences in comparative
perspective. London: Routledge.
Smith, R. (2005). The utility of force: The art of war in the modern world. London: Allen Lane.
TK 20052006 29 521 nr. 21: Letter by the Minister of Defence to the Second Chamber of the
States General, 29 December 2005.
TK 2005-2006 27 925 nr. 194 Combating international terrorism: Letter to the Second Chamber of
the States General by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, of Defence and for Development
Cooperation, 29 December 2005.
Chapter 5
Preparation Starts at Home: Education
and Training for Civil-Military Interaction

Kelisiana Thynne and Gwen Cherne

5.1 The Australian Approach to Civil-Military Education

and Training

This chapter is written from an Australian perspective,1 using examples and the
context of education and training in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).2 As a
result of the Australian experiences of conducting peace operations where military,
civilians and police all play key roles, Australia has started developing policy and
tools to better coordinate civil-military responses. The Australian Civil-Military
Centre (ACMC) was established in 2008 and is tasked to support the development
of national civil-military capabilities to prevent, prepare for and respond more
effectively to conflicts and disasters overseas, including facilitating education and
training programs that develop an effective national civil-military capability.
Since its establishment, the ACMC has contributed to increasing the civilian
component in military training and exercises and contributing to military specific
education on civil-military interaction, in Australia and New Zealand. However, the
task of assessing the need for coordinated civil-military responses is relatively new

Australian perspectives are drawn from contemporary experiences over the last decade while
operating in Timor Leste, Banda Aceh (Indonesia) and the Solomon Islands, as well as the more
hostile environments of Iraq and Afghanistan.
The authors derive many of the examples in this chapter from their experience working with the
Australian Civil-Military Centre on whole-of-government education, training, lessons, and
research, including data collected and observations made from exercise after actions reviews,
workshops, evaluations and internal reports.
K. Thynne (*)
International Committee of the Red Cross, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
e-mail: kelisiana@yahoo.com
G. Cherne
Australian Civil-Military Centre, Queanbeyan, NSW, Australia
e-mail: gmcherne@gmail.com

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 61

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_5
62 K. Thynne and G. Cherne

Fig. 5.1 Defence skilling

model (VCDF 2012: 9)

in Australia and therefore the education and training examples given in this chapter
are constantly under review and consideration.
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) uses a four-step cyclical process to ensure
that both education and training for all ADF personnel is effective and practical.
These four steps are demonstrated in Fig. 5.1 and are useful when applied to all
environments in which ADF personnel will be interacting including civil-military
interaction in peace operations (VCDF 2012: 9). All education and training deliv-
ered must be demanding, relevant, realistic and safe, and aim to replicate the envi-
ronment in which personnel will be operating.
It is important that all military personnel have a full understanding of the learn-
ing outcomes required in order to deliver capability, that the learning outcomes are
constantly updated to reflect ongoing changes in operational capabilities, and that
they take into account the diversity of operational environments in which defense
capabilities may be deployed: joint and inter-agency, coalition and alliance, warf-
ighting and stability, and humanitarian (Australian Department of Defence 2002:
1415). Training and education must be as comprehensive as the approach itself
(Menhinick and Gregory 2011).
Increasingly in Australia, internet-based learning and simulation optimizes the
reach of civil-military education and training. Field and command post exercises in
which all key stakeholders interact are also very important. In a highly charged and
rapidly developing environment, innovative ways of providing training quickly and
effectively are used. The simulations replicate the operating environment in which
the military will find themselves and encourages them to react quickly but effec-
tively to any problems they may encounter.
Self-analysis and reflection are important steps in the training process to con-
sider whether lessons have been learned and to ensure defense capabilities are
improved. The evaluation and the conclusions reached will inform the first step in
the process specifying what learning outcomes are required in order to achieve
5 Preparation Starts at Home: Education and Training for Civil-Military Interaction 63

defense capabilities and constantly updating those outcomes and inputs. Operational
lessons from a range of sources military, civilian, police, NGO, the UN, other
international organizations should be used to inform new capabilities and reflect
changes in doctrine. There has been a notable increase in the level of operational
experience for people attending courses, and it can no longer be assumed that course
instructors have more operational experience than their students. The range of
ideas and different perspectivescannot be replicated by any amount of reading or
study (Menhinick and Gregory 2011: 173).
This chapter identifies why education and training in civil-military interaction
for the military in peace operations is important, how training requirements are met
in the Australian context, and identifies some of the challenges to meeting those
requirements. Despite the Australian context, the examples given should provide
some guidance to other countries and their militaries as to the need for preparation
at home to meet challenges of civil-military interaction in the field.

5.2 The Need for Military Education and Training in Civil-

Military Interaction

Peace operations ensue from the immediate aftermath of the conflict (or indeed
while the conflict is still ongoing),3 to the period after the signing of a peace agree-
ment and complete cessation of hostilities. A useful definition of conflict is found in
Prosecutor v Tadic (1995; para 70). As other chapters have discussed, the strategy
used for civil-military interaction can depend on the type of organization and the
level of security in the specific environment and can vary not only from one peace
operation to another, but also within the life span of a particular peace operation.
Nonetheless, peace operations will always require interaction between the military
and civilians (non-government, government or international organization represen-
tatives). Importantly too, transition to a civilian lead will always occur at some point
on the peace operation continuum, so planning for that civil-military coordination is
essential. Part of that planning and indeed the very interaction itself requires the
military to have education and training in how to interact with civilians.
As Fig. 5.2 demonstrates, the level of cooperation and coordination between
civilians and the military changes depending on how close to real peace the environ-
ment has reached. However, no matter where on the cooperation-coexistence con-
tinuum the situation is located, the key issue is for the military to find ways to work
with, coordinate activities, or at a minimum coexist with civilian stakeholders, so as
to not duplicate efforts, waste resources or work against one anothers efforts. At
least, if the continuum swings to coexistence, there should be recognition by the
military as to why civilians on the ground merely want to coexist, and not interact

For example, the peace operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has peacekeeping and
warfighting as its mandate: see, e.g. UN Security Council Resolution 2098 (2013), 28 March 2013.
64 K. Thynne and G. Cherne

Fig. 5.2 The civil-military relationship (UNOCHA and IASC 2008)

(whether for neutrality or other reasons), otherwise key humanitarian or develop-

ment activities may be unintentionally impeded.
Basic strategies for civil-military interaction also range from coexistence to
cooperation. The United Nations (UN) has recognized that [c]oordination is a
shared responsibility facilitated by liaison and common training. (UNOCHA and
IASC 2008). The UN has a number of publications outlining the need for civil-
military coordination (e.g. UN 2012), but no guidelines on the requirements for
education and training, although they are working to develop some requirements for
peacekeeping training more broadly (DPKO 2008). Such guidelines for training and
education will be useful for contributing countries to ensure personnel are prepared
for deployment. Generally the UN relies on troop contributing countries to provide
the required training meaning that standards vary, potentially impeding the mission
and operational requirements (IPI 2013: 1). Of course, education happens at an
earlier stage and would remain the responsibility of each troop contributing coun-
try. Pre-deployment training is essential; meetings, presentations, and regular dia-
log with civilian stakeholders once on the ground are also very effective in helping
military personnel at all levels better understand and navigate complicated relation-
ships (Rietjens et al. 2013).
Each stakeholder has responsibility for specific contributions related to its man-
date and must take into account the mandates and constraints of the various other
agencies and organizations, as no single agency is capable of dealing with the
recovery effort alone (Menhinick and Gregory 2011: 162). It means that decision-
making and responsibility often rests with each agency or organization and that
coordination is the only way to ensure that each part of the whole is working toward
5 Preparation Starts at Home: Education and Training for Civil-Military Interaction 65

security, stabilization and good governance, and ultimately establishing the condi-
tions or end state needed to facilitate drawdown and exit of the military. In addition
to UN agencies and NGOs it is recognized that a wide range of actors in other gov-
ernment agencies play increasingly important roles in supporting military led peace
operations. These include justice advisers, development advisers, human rights
advisers, among others. Civilians are in lead roles in the governance, rule of law and
reconstruction and development lines of operation, such as civilian-led provincial
reconstruction teams (PRT) in Afghanistan and civilian-led post-conflict reconstruc-
tion teams, as seen in the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon
Islands (RAMSI) (ACMC 2012: 27). The RAMSI mission ended in 2013 with a well-
planned exit strategy of the military, leaving some civilian and police components for
further development (Australian Government Department of Defence (2013)).
A commander will generally have a CIMIC officer4 whose role is to work with
the civilian population specifically in support of the military mission, and who is
often the conduit of contact for civilian agencies and organizations operating in the
same environment. Specific training is required for CIMIC officers and is discussed
below. However, all military personnel should have a grounding in a whole-of-
government approach to security whether national security or security in another
country to which they are deployed and an inherent understanding that the mili-
tary is a contributor to security, rather than its sole provider, in concert with the host
nation. Australias national security strategy is outlined in a public document
(Australian Government Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (2013)).

5.3 Types of Civil-Military Education and Training


Military education is the starting point to understanding the whole-of-government

approach. In the early days of military personnel education it is important that they
are exposed to wider aspects pertaining to their likely roles in peace operations,
learn how to utilize military skills in that environment and understand how to coop-
erate, coordinate and/or co-exist with civilians and other organizations. Those with
greater responsibility and specific skillsets will require a more in depth understand-
ing of the contemporary operating environment and the numerous stakeholders, in
particular the host nation and its own civil and military contributions.
Education implies a long term commitment to development that allows for the
growing of skills, knowledge and aptitude, whereas training focuses on measurable

The ADF defines CIMIC as The coordination and cooperation, in support of the mission,
between the Force commander and civil actors, including national population and local authorities,
as well as international, national and non-government organisation (NGOs) and agencies. (ACMC
and ACFID 2012). CIMIC in this context should be differentiated from the UN definition of UN
Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination (UN-CMCoord) which provides the interface between
the military component of a UN peace operation and the political, humanitarian, developmental,
human rights, and rule of law components of the mission (UNOCHA and IASC 2008).
66 K. Thynne and G. Cherne

deliverables and should be mission specific encompassing the broader political

mission, and the narrower military mission. Education will necessarily concentrate
on principles, policies and best practice for warfighting, peacekeeping and specific
skills at which officers, non-commissioned officers (NCOs) and other ranks (ORs)
must excel. Training for civil-military interaction at the pre-deployment stage gives
military personnel the ability to apply civil-military interaction principles to a spe-
cific mission (Australian Land Warfare Doctrine 70 2009: 1.27). Ideally, a specific
subject of civil-military interaction should be included in early career education
programs for all military personnel. These courses should be comprehensive and
include presentations from NGOs, United Nations and other international organiza-
tions about their role in conflicts and how they interact with the military. (Menhinick
and Gregory 2011: 174) These courses should then be followed up at key points of
promotion for officers.
In Australia, at the officers level, education incorporates civil-military interac-
tion at different points in the education cycle. Accordingly for officers, a good
grounding in civil-military interaction principles early on in military education will
lead to a greater understanding of the key stakeholders involved in peace operations
and their roles, responsibilities, mandates, and agendas in the field. The Australian
Defence Force Academy (ADFA) and Royal Military College are the foundation
institutions for officer training in Australia. Throughout ADFA courses civil-
military interaction is touched upon, most particularly in the Law of Armed Conflict
class where students are taught about the International Committee of the Red Cross
and the United Nations and how the military interacts with these different organiza-
tions and agencies. However, in the more military skills focused courses for cadets,
the complexities of the civil-military space are incorporated into the exercises that
span their three year academic program.
Senior career education for officers includes the Defence and Strategic Studies
course on Civil-Military Engagement at the Australian Centre for Defence and
Strategic Studies. This is a year-long program for colonel or equivalent officers (and
Defence civilians of equivalent level) to progress to promotion. The Civil-Military
Engagement course is a short component of the program, but ties in effectively to
the desktop exercises that the Centre runs as part of the course assessment.


In Australia, NCOs and ORs rarely receive civil-military education, or rather their
education usually does not include civil-military interaction concepts, as their edu-
cation is focused on developing skills for their careers in the military. This gap is
thought to be remedied by training and exercises which teach the practical skills
required in the field. In general terms, training (the how) versus education (the why)
builds on the broad education received at the operational and strategic levels.
Training in the pre-deployment phase helps military personnel recognize and
prepare for differences in each environment. It is also useful in keeping military
personnel updated on the constantly evolving practices in peace operations.
5 Preparation Starts at Home: Education and Training for Civil-Military Interaction 67

Training exercises are designed to incorporate lessons from the classroom into
the practical environment. Training should therefore include desktop and live role-
play scenarios that enable military, civilian and police counterparts to interact
together through the responses and actions they are likely to encounter in the field
(exercises are discussed below). Training should also be held as close as possible to
pre-deployment so that lessons learned can be put into practice immediately in the
There are two levels of training for civil-military engagement that occur within
the ADF. There is specific CIMIC training for CIMIC officers (recognizing that
CIMIC officers have different deployable capabilities than regular officers who are
all trained in civil-military interaction), and more general education and training for
understanding civil-military interaction that is delivered to the wider ADF.
The aim of CIMIC training is to ensure selected officers can liaise with and assist
in planning for the ADFs interaction with agencies in a whole-of-government con-
text and with coalition partners. The CIMIC staff officer provides a key interface
between the military commander and civilian actors. CIMICs goal is to minimize
civilian interference with military operations while at the same time reducing any
negative impacts of military operations on the populace. This interface is a critical
role to the success of any military operation. Australia has consistently deployed a
CIMIC capability on operations (off-shore and domestic) for the past decade. For
example, in the wake of the Philippines typhoon in November 2013, the ADF sup-
ported the Australian Medical Assistance Team at Tacloban Airfield and provided
airlift support to relief efforts in the region working closely with the Philippines
Armed Forces, US Expeditionary Forces, UK, NZ and Canadian Forces to ensure
assistance was in accordance with Philippine Government priorities and coordi-
nated between partners. The role of the CIMIC officer (major level) was to support
the liaison and multiagency coordination for the Commander of the ADF deploy-
ment with foreign militaries and with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Assistance for International Development Recovery Team.
The broad subject matters taught in CIMIC training are: understanding the con-
temporary all-agency, complex, co-operational environment, understanding the
CIMIC inputs to the ADF planning process, applying civil-military operations plan-
ning considerations for the ADF contribution to whole-of-government crisis
response options, developing measures of effectiveness within a whole-of-
government comprehensive framework and understanding the civilian humanitar-
ian emergency response and development organizations operational parameters.
More general training on civil-military interaction allows the knowledge sharing
of other agencies capabilities and mandates and how to work across and with
different agencies. Training also includes skills in management and how to work
cross-agency and with a range of other actors. General leadership training in later
career training for the military is important for civil-military interaction because it
teaches adaptability, pragmatism, and the ability to garner and have respect from and
for others. Interaction and coordination will not occur without effective negotiation
and de-confliction and dialogue. Therefore, the majority of courses on civil-military
interaction in peace operations should be targeted at captain to lieutenant colonel
68 K. Thynne and G. Cherne

level (or equivalent) middle-ranking officers. These officers will be responsible for
planning and conducting operations in the field.
The one or two-week training courses that military personnel attend are most
effective when they have either returned directly from operations or are about to
deploy. They can then use the practical experiences to reinforce the training or will
shortly be able to put the training into practice. For example, each brigade sent
overseas to a peace operation from Australia must be certified as having had civil-
military interaction training. Australian Defence Force (ADF) pre-deployment
training for the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands focused heav-
ily on the civil-military space and was reinforced with in-country training on cul-
tural awareness and the role of different actors on the ground. A lack of
understanding and confusion over stakeholder roles, responsibilities, cultures and
terminologies can impede communication and coherency in [operations] leading to
reduced effectiveness in meeting the needs of the host population (ACMC and
ACFID 2012). The military will be on the ground meeting and interacting with a
range of actors, and the military needs to know who they are, what they are doing,
and their objectives so that they understand and respect each others roles and coor-
dinate where necessary.
Similar to those presentations in educational courses, training in civil-military
interaction in Australia includes the sharing of experiences by NGOs, the United
Nations and other civilian agencies to familiarize the military with the wide variety
of roles civilian agencies and organizations can play in the contemporary operating
environment (Menhinick and Gregory 2011: 176). In order to incorporate opera-
tional lessons, training also includes presentations from recently returned officers
and other military personnel tasked with civil-military interaction to prepare offi-
cers, non-commissioned officers and junior non-commissioned officers for how to
interact with civilian stakeholders. This training draws on real life case studies and
lessons learned from interaction in peace operations, such as UN operations in
Sudan or expanding coalition activities to move towards a post-conflict state in
Military forces earliest training in military and security skills must be framed in
the context of a whole-of-government approach to security. Such training must con-
tinue as military personnel rise to officer rank and progress in their careers. Officers
are then tasked to pass this learning on to subordinates. Training for highest ranked
officers becomes more strategic and builds on experiences in operations that they
will have already. Such training requires an in-depth understanding of the chal-
lenges of civil-military interaction, developing policy on civil-military interaction,
and learning how to grapple with the operational and strategic imperatives associated
with the contemporary operating environment and not just the tactical implications
5 Preparation Starts at Home: Education and Training for Civil-Military Interaction 69

Military Exercises: Including a Civil-Military Component

Ensuring effective military engagement in all contexts is not just about sitting in a
classroom. Studies show that 70 % of competency on the job comes from job expe-
rience; 20 % comes from relationships with peers, managers and mentors; and the
remaining 10 % comes from formal learning programs (Lombardo and Eichinger
1996: iv). The theoretical and analytical knowledge of civil-military interaction is
important, but for practical operations in which the military is engaged, there must
be a practical component that prepares the military for the physical and psychologi-
cal environment of the contemporary operating environment. Interaction with civil-
ians can provide an uncertain environment in peace operations where the military
understandably has no control over those outside the chain of command, but identi-
fying problems that military and civilians may have in interacting, both in the doc-
trine and process phase (Rietjens 2008: 199) as well as at the exercise phase can
reduce this uncertainty.
The Australian Civil-Military Centres experience working in exercises since
2008 and the feedback from the participating ADF members and Australian civilian
agencies has proven that preparation for peace operations can only be effective if
civilians are included in the process. It is through this civilian participation that a
realistic framework is simulated for the participants. If civilians have not been
included in military training and exercises, the military will not have had the full
experience that is required in their broader mission deployment experience. For
example, the military will not necessarily understand that airports and ports have
dual strategic and humanitarian functions, or be aware of the needs of internally
displaced persons or the capability of civil society.
One challenge is encouraging civilian agencies to become more willing to engage
with military training and to conduct their own civil-military training. In Canada,
the military recognized that training is important to mission success, and also that
they had the greatest capacity to undertake civil-military training, so they invite
whole of government partners to attend training such as Exercise Maple Guardian,
a three-week pre-deployment training activity (Thompson et al. 2010: iii). Having
surveyed the participants in 2010, it was found that, overall, they felt that they
learned a great deal from the training exercise about the military, and participation
enabled them to develop useful relationships with the military and other personnel
with whom they would be working in theatre. However, civilian participants found
that their own understanding of Afghan culture and people was still low, and this
was to be addressed in future exercises (Thompson et al. 2010: iv). As was found in
the Canadian example, exercises that deliver learning outcomes for military, civilian
and police participants are a key tool in cultivating a collaborative culture, building
trust and understanding among the different actors, and in developing cooperative
planning and implementation processes for peace operations. Exercises assist the
military, civilians and police in overcoming organizational and human challenges
related to the implementation of a collaborative culture that leverages organiza-
tional and cultural diversity. Australia is now moving to a mission rehearsal model
to bring past and future members of civilian agencies involved in peace operations
70 K. Thynne and G. Cherne

provincial and other types of reconstruction teams to participate, making the

rehearsal more realistic. This involvement also ensures that civilians engaged in
such teams in the near future can learn from their predecessors.5
The ADF does mission specific training for each deployment. Civilians from
government agencies and representatives of international NGOs are invited to per-
form specific roles that they might play in the environment to which the units will
be deployed. This involvement often includes presentations explaining the organi-
zations mission, mandate, roles and responsibilities, and an introduction as to how
they are likely to interact with the military in the operational environment.
The ADF also partners with other countries such as Indonesia, New Zealand and
the United States to conduct large military exercises. Civilians are increasingly
included in the planning and conduct of these exercises. As active participants in
exercises, civilians provide a wide range of expertise, such as roleplaying govern-
ment officials, assisting in operational planning, and also leading elements of the
exercise. NGOs and the United Nations are also included in these exercises and cre-
ate clusters that replicate those in the humanitarian space. Civilians are also drawn on
to represent the civilian population in the host country. For example, the ADF regu-
larly invites members of the Afghan diaspora or imams to pre-deployment training to
ensure that a relatively realistic perspective of cultural differences is experienced by
troops, similar to that described in the Canadian Exercise MAPLE GUARDIAN. All
of this interaction familiarizes the military with the intricacies of engaging civilians
on a day-to-day basis while conducting peace operations. Participation in these activ-
ities also allows civilians an insight into the way that the military plans and conducts
operations, which, if fed back to planning for their own civilian pre-deployment
training, can encourage better understanding of interaction with the military.
The majority of the courses that are compulsory for promotion in the military
also include exercises with a large civilian component. With the increasing number
of stabilization operations and post-conflict engagement, the majority of these exer-
cises focus on how to conduct joint peace operations. The Australian Command and
Staff College runs an exercise over one week towards the end of a year-long course
that leads to promotion from major or lieutenant colonel or equivalent to higher
ranks, to which civilians (government, Red Cross and NGOs) are invited to partici-
pate and contribute to scenarios. Exercise EXCALIBUR uses a fictional scenario
which draws on a mixture of Australias experiences in overseas operations, mostly
in the Pacific. Students have the opportunity to make tactical decisions and explore
a range of issues such as detention, prisoner exchanges, humanitarian assistance,
internally displaced peoples camps, and dealing with humanitarian, development
and UN agencies at check points, airports and in other situations. For example, a
representative from the United Nations often attends to demonstrate the type of
engagement that they might have with the military in a peace operation about refu-
gee camp locations or other similar issues. The scenario ensures many opportunities
arise over the course of the exercise for coordination, cooperation or information
sharing with civilians.

This was also a recommendation of the USAID in a review of PRT pre-deployment training
(USAID 2006: 17).
5 Preparation Starts at Home: Education and Training for Civil-Military Interaction 71

5.4 Challenges of Designing and Conducting Education

and Training to Prepare Military for Civil-Military

Whether it is a practical need to interact with civilians in a peace operation directly,

with NGOs and the United Nations or in the community, or a need to factor in civil-
ian operations in the field to meet military objectives effectively, civil-military
interaction must be the subject of specific education and training and be incorpo-
rated into military exercises so that the military is prepared for the level and require-
ments of interaction with civilians. Direct contact with another group generates
mutual learning about that group, changes behaviors towards that group, generates
person-to-person empathetic ties and reshapes both groups appraisal of the world
(Pettigrew 1998: 6585). There is substantial evidence that intergroup interactions
given certain conditionswill lead to improved understanding and a broader orienta-
tion toward the diversity of the actors. These findings support a strong argument for
organizing inter-agency interactions in training and preparation exercises (Rietjens
et al. 2013: 20). Despite the acceptance at the highest level in most modern militar-
ies of the importance of understanding and possessing skills in civil-military inter-
action, there are still considerable challenges to conducting effective education and
training programs.
It remains a challenge to include civil-military interaction in education for mili-
taries. Military forces are educated in strategy, tactics, intelligence, and warfighting,
and national security. They are also educated in their own particular skills, such as
engineering, law, aviation, or mechanics. Incorporating civil-military interaction in
a practical sense to this education does not sit naturally in many cases. In Australia,
the Australian Defence Force Academy does not have specific civil-military inter-
action education programs (although the National Security College at the Australian
National University caters to post-graduate civilians and military with specific civil-
military interaction courses). Some civil-military interaction is incorporated, as
mentioned above, into the military education aspects of this broad program, but it is
just one of many other courses. This is not necessarily a bad thing civil-military
interaction is only one part of learning to become a professional military force, but
enough emphasis should be placed on this one topic so that officers can build on that
knowledge of civil-military interaction throughout their career.
Incorporating civil-military interaction into training courses for peace operations
where so many other aspects have to be covered remains a challenge. If presenters
do not constantly refer back to the requirements for civil-military interaction in the
broader thematic areas, such as rule of law or protection of civilians, presentations
can often be quite military-centric. Civilians are tasked with providing civil-military
interaction presentations about the role of their organization. They are seldom fol-
lowed with presentations by military personnel who have recently returned from the
field and who can provide further experience and context to reinforce the relevancy
of the civilian brief. Therefore, civilian presentations and lectures can be easily
dismissed as not as relevant as other aspects of operational training.
72 K. Thynne and G. Cherne

Whole-of-government civil-military centers such as the ACMC play a crucial

role in raising the profile of civil-military interaction training and continue to advo-
cate for and ensure greater civilian input into military exercises. Support from the
highest levels of a defense force ensures that such messages are listened to and
incorporated into training. This has been demonstrated in Australia by the fact that
the ACMC is placed within the responsibility of the Vice Chief of the Defence
Force who is also responsible for all education and training in the military.
Even when there is strong support from the highest levels of leadership for civil-
military interaction education and training, creating education courses, training pro-
grams and particularly exercises that incorporate civil-military interaction principles
represents a huge logistical challenge for all militaries. Educational courses on
civil-military interaction need to be scheduled into existing curricula. Entirely new
training packages must be created which meet different requirements at each level
of training and for the environments in which the military in question generally
operates. Exercises require extensive, detailed planning and coordination of sce-
narios, and the gathering of all appropriate actors and resources.
Ensuring civilians are consulted and participate in the planning stage of an exer-
cise is a challenge. Militaries generally are not used to sharing the planning space
with civilian actors. Likewise, civilians do not often understand the need to become
involved in military training exercises each agency will have a different view
about what they want to get out of it or indeed what they will get out of it, and many
NGOs are resistant to interacting with the military, just as the military may be resis-
tant to interacting with NGOs. However, it is only by having those actors around the
table that the military can carry out an exercise effectively with realistic scenarios.
An effective way to overcome this challenge is to appoint a civilian focal point who
can balance contending civilian views and also look at the civil-military whole-of-
government objectives and ensure that this is given the highest priority. This exter-
nal facilitator role is also important for building relationships across civil-military
relations. The person selected should ideally be a civilian, but one with extensive
experience in working with defense.
Another of the challenges with civilians being involved in military training is that
civilian organizations have few similar courses for civilians to be trained in how to
interact with the military. In 2009, Emergency Management Australia (EMA), part
of the Australian federal Attorney-Generals Department, adopted a whole-of-gov-
ernment resilience-based approach to disaster response, crisis management and
recovery efforts. In Australia, the Department of Defence, Department of Foreign
Affairs and Trade, Emergency Management Australia, and the Australian Federal
Police all conduct civil-military training. The Australian Civilian Corps6 also has
civil-military components to their training (Australian Civilian Corps, Aid Program,
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2013)). However, there is lim-
ited pre-deployment training for foreign affairs officials or UN civilians deploying

The Australian Civilian Corps deploys civilian specialists to countries experiencing or emerging
from natural disaster or conflict. The ACC comprises of a register of 500 prescreened and pre-
trained specialists ready to rapidly deploy (Australian Civilian Corps, Aid Program, Australian
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (2013)).
5 Preparation Starts at Home: Education and Training for Civil-Military Interaction 73

with the military. Consideration should be given to creating training courses that
would effectively prepare civilians to interact with the military.
Military planning, even for exercises, is often conducted in a classified environ-
ment. This is not conducive to including civilians in the planning and the exercises
themselves, particularly when the civilians are not government representatives. It is
therefore important for the military to identify points of interaction when sharing
and cooperation should occur, and to incorporate these into training activities. The
classified environment also makes it difficult for civil-military interaction to take
place in the field, as civilians do not necessarily have the same security clearances
as the military and certainly not when those civilians are NGO representatives, and
not government.
Once the planning has been completed, gathering the right participants, includ-
ing sourcing representatives from civil society groups, can be a challenge. Not only
should civilian agencies attend and participate with meaningful roles, but they
should participate in those roles representing their actual agency. A foreign affairs
officer should represent the foreign affairs ministry, and a humanitarian NGO
should represent humanitarian NGOs, where possible. Military personnel should
not be required to put on civilian clothing and role-play the part of an NGO repre-
sentative they will not have the right understanding of the nuances and responses
of the NGO, particularly where there is little or no understanding of the real role
such an organization plays in the field. Often civilian agencies, NGOs, and civil
society groups lack the human and financial resources to contribute to these exer-
cises. The lack of ability of civilian counterparts to participate in these exercises is
a continuous challenge and one that is not easily overcome. Building cross sector
views of the need to involve civilians and military in all stages of planning and
training is a long term goal, but small steps can be put in place to start achieving
better civil-military interaction through education and training.

5.5 Conclusion

Specific and tailored education and training is needed to prepare for civil-military
interaction and cooperation in order to raise awareness in the military of the com-
plex operating environment in peace operations. This preparation should expose
militaries to the range of actors who they will meet in the field, and give them tools
to interact with those actors. As this and other chapters have outlined, it is not neces-
sarily intuitive for military personnel to engage with the civilian community of a
host nation or NGOs in a peace operation. Education and training on civil-military
interaction is required to ensure that civilians are factored into and included in plan-
ning processes and engagement. Education should occur at the early stages of a
career and at key points of promotion, to ensure grounding in the principles and
theories of civil-military interaction. That education can then be built on by tailor-
ing training courses on civil-military interaction and in pre-deployment training so
74 K. Thynne and G. Cherne

that forces are able to apply their learning immediately to the context in which they
are deployed.
Effective civil-military interaction is required to achieve the military missions
objectives and the overall objectives of an operation. In that respect, education and
training is needed on how to effectively interact with civilians (government and UN
officials) in the same mission alongside military in order to ensure a collaborative
approach toward a common goal. However, government and UN civilians are not
the only ones that militaries will come across in the field. It is important to develop
a good grounding in the different civilian agencies, including NGOs and other orga-
nizations that militaries will encounter in the field, how to practically interact with
them and what to expect during that encounter.
Moving that grounding into practical exercises is also essential to ensure that real
life examples and experiences are shared and understood for future operations.
Militaries are increasingly recognizing the need for shared and learned understand-
ings between the military and civilians in order to ensure a smooth and effective
operation, but there are many challenges to providing education and training in
civil-military interaction for peace operations, just as there are challenges for real
life civil-military interaction which cannot be easily overcome as outlined above.
However, as upcoming leaders in militaries it is important that officers, non-
commissioned officers and other ranks experience the real challenges of civil-
military interaction and recognize the benefit of education and training in this field.
Only then can such training become normalized, incorporated into curricula and
factored into training exercises, so that civil-military interaction may become even
more effective.


Australian Civilian Corps, Aid Program, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
(2013). Available via http://aid.dfat.gov.au/acc/Pages/default.aspx. Accessed 17 Mar 2014.
Australian Civil-Military Centre. (2012). Partnering for peace: Australias peacekeeping and
peacebuilding experiences in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea,
and in Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. Canberra: Australian Civil-Military Centre.
Australian Civil-Military Centre, & Australian Council for International Development. (2012).
Same space different mandates: A civil-military guide to Australian stakeholders in interna-
tional disaster and conflict response (SSDM). Canberra: Australian Civil-Military Centre.
Australian Department of Defence. (2002). Future warfighting concept: Force 2020 ADDP D.02,
December 2002: Available via http://www.defence.gov.au/publications/fwc.pdf. Accessed 17
Mar 2014.
Australian Government Department of Defence. (2013, July 29). Defence congratulates RAMSI
on 10 years of operations. Defence News. Available via http://www.defence.gov.au/defence-
news/stories/2013/jul/0729.htm. Accessed 17 Mar 2014.
Australian Government Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. (2013). Strong and secure: A
strategy for Australias National Security.
Australian Land Warfare Doctrine 70. (2009). Fundamentals of education and training. Canberra.
Integrated Training Service of the United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations.
(2008). UN peacekeeping training strategy. New York.
5 Preparation Starts at Home: Education and Training for Civil-Military Interaction 75

International Peace Institute. (2013). Enhancing European military and police contributions to UN
Lombardo, M. M., & Eichinger, R. W. (1996). The career architect development planner.
Minneapolis: Lominger Limited Inc.
Menhinick, R. T., & Gregory, N. R. (2011). Educating and training for a comprehensive approach:
An Australian perspective. In D. J. Neal & L. Wells (Eds.), Capability development in support
of comprehensive approaches transforming international civil-military interactions (p. 161).
Washington, DC: Center for Technology and National Security Policy Institute for National
Strategic Studies, National Defense University.
Pettigrew, T. F. (1998). Intergroup contact theory. Annual Review of Psychology, 49, 6585.
Prosecutor v. Tadic, Decision on the Defence Motion for Interlocutory Appeal on Jurisdiction,
Case No. IT-94-1, A.C., 2 Oct. 1995.
Rietjens, S. J. H. (2008). Provincial reconstruction team in Afghanistan; managing civil-military
cooperation: Experiences from the Dutch. Armed Forces & Society, 34, 173.
Rietjens, S., van Fenema, P. C., & Essens, P. (2013). Train as You Fight revisited: Preparing for
a comprehensive approach. PRism, 4(2), 17.
Thompson, M. M., Febbraro, A. R., Blais, A. R. (2010). Interagency training for comprehensive
operations: Government partners perceptions of exercise maple guardian. Defence R&D
Canada technical report. Toronto: Defence R&D Canada.
United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations and Department of Field Support (2012).
Civil affairs handbook. New York: UN Publications.
UNOCHA, & IASC. (2008). Civil-military guidelines and references for complex emergencies.
New York.
USAID. (2006, June). Provincial reconstruction teams in Afghanistan an interagency
Vice Chief of the Australian Defence Force. (2012). Planning guidance: Transforming defence
education and training. Canberra: Australian Defence College.
Chapter 6
Obtaining Population Centric Intelligence:
Experiences of the Netherlands Military
Presence in South Afghanistan

Martijn Kitzen and Willem Vogelsang

6.1 Introduction1

Stabilization and counterinsurgency are the dominant themes of many of todays

military interventions. Such campaigns are generally understood as a contest for
control of the population, for winning their hearts and minds. It is regarded as a
struggle between on the one hand destabilizing actors, such as insurgents, and on
the other hand the official government that is assisted by the intervening military
force. This concept is reflected in the resulting prevalent strategies. They are aimed
at outmaneuvering the opponent through denial of what is regarded, rightly or not,
as his most vital support base and sanctuary, namely the local population.2 Gaining
control over the local people, thus, is generally regarded as the key to success.
Todays doctrines consider the desired population control as the result of suc-
cessful collaboration between the government and the local residents (see e.g.
United States Institute of Peace et al. 2009; UK Ministry of Defence 2009; US
Department of the Army 2008). The rationale of so-called population-centric cam-
paigns, therefore, is that the more successfully the government succeeds in

This chapter contains edited material from Martijn Kitzen, Close Encounters of the Tribal Kind:
the Implementation of Co-option as a Tool for De-escalation of Conflict The Case
of the Netherlands in Afghanistans Uruzgan Province, Journal of Strategic Studies 35:5 (2012).
The situation in Afghanistan, with the Pakistan border areas providing a safe haven for the Taliban
in Afghanistan, would in this framework partly explain the mixed results of the military interven-
tion in Afghanistan and the failure of the population centric approach in the eastern parts of the
country. Afghanistan (or any other part of the world) is not an island isolated from the rest of the
world, and the population centric approach is affected by open borders, media contacts, mobile
phones, digital information streams etc.
M. Kitzen (*)
Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, The Netherlands
e-mail: MWM.Kitzen.01@NLDA.NL
W. Vogelsang
University of Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 77

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_6
78 M. Kitzen and W. Vogelsang

effectuating collaboration, the stronger the control over the population, and, conse-
quently, the weaker the position of the destabilizing actors. As such, enhancing
collaboration between the government and the population is regarded to be the main
mechanism for stabilizing a country.
Against the background of this population-centric approach, the campaigns in
Iraq and Afghanistan have shown that modern military forces often find themselves
operating in an extremely difficult human terrain. They are, literally, foreign, or
even alien actors who are assisting host nation governments, often with a questionable
administrative and humanitarian record, in the quest for control of highly fragmented
societies. These complicated circumstances urge for a customized approach, in
which a strategy to enhance collaboration takes the local situation as its starting
point. During both the intervention campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, the local
arena proved to be dominated to a large degree by local power holders, including
tribal elders, religious leaders, militia commanders and warlords, but also govern-
ment appointed functionaries, often with a local background. Therefore, the applied
collaboration strategy focused on these local power holders, who commanded the
high ground of the human terrain at grass roots level. By effectively engaging such
key leaders, the intervening forces were often able to influence and, to a certain
degree, control the people supporting or depending on these agents.3
This chapter addresses the challenges of practicing a collaboration strategy in
modern military interventions. More specifically it focuses on the way international
armed forces gather intelligence in order to better understand local power holders.
As the ramifications of this highly localized approach can best be understood by
studying its application within a specific locale, the authors focus on the implemen-
tation of this policy by the Netherlands Task Force Uruzgan (TFU), which operated
between 2006 and 2010 in South Afghanistans Uruzgan province. This mission
was from its very beginning, clearly within the context of the theme of population-
centric strategies, aimed at fostering stability and security through augmenting
the local populations support for the Afghan authorities, while diminishing support
for the Taliban and related groups through non-kinetic (i.e. non-violent) engagement
of the population predominantly.4

6.2 The Need for Incorporating Population-Centric


A broad knowledge of the operational environment is a prerequisite for attaining

and promoting the local populations collaboration. A thorough insight in local
society allows the intervening forces to identify the main problems, the potential

Although this straightforward depiction of local power holder collaboration is highly simplified,
the limited scope of this article does not permit a wider elaboration on the background of this logic.
A theoretical exploration of the validity of the local power holder collaboration hypothesis is
included in Kitzens forthcoming doctoral dissertation.
Tweede Kamer, Kamerstuk 20052006, 27925, no. 193.
6 Obtaining Population Centric Intelligence: Experiences of the Netherlands 79

social and political opportunities and tensions, and the key leaders who exert control
over the population, or those who are thought to be able to do so. But the actual
engagement with the local people, and more specifically their leaders and spokesmen,
requires not only an insight into the specifics of local political relations, but also the
skills to influence these politics, a realization of the strengths and weaknesses of the
intervening forces in achieving this objective, and a monitoring process of the effect
of the engagement activities on local developments.
Defining military interventions within the terms of collaboration with the local
population is, on paper, relatively straightforward and understandable, but in
practice it is wrought with some often unexpected challenges, which often relate, as
briefly outlined above, to the knowledge and skills of the engaging actors and those
of the intervening forces in general. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the Netherlands
military were engaged in complex campaigns, which sought to obtain control over
the local population through a threefold approach of enhancing security, stimulating
economic and social development, and thereby mobilizing political support for the
counterinsurgency.5 For the traditional military, trained to fight an enemy on the
battlefield, the population-centric approach required not only a different mindset,
but also a change in operational concepts and the required organization.
It is evident that with the population as the centre of attention of the military
intervention, intelligence should also focus on the local people. Modern military
interventions thus require population-centric intelligence, rather than exclusively
enemy-centric intelligence (although the latter is certainly needed in support of
security operations). Todays soldiers as well as deployed civilians have to know
the indigenous people in a way not required by conventional operations (Zeytoonian
et al. 2006). Thus, in many contemporary military interventions, intelligence equals
a population-focused, detailed understanding of all aspects of the environment
(Kilcullen 2010). This typically encompasses information on various cultural
aspects of daily life, demographics, social and political networks and other forms of
organizations, local religions and languages, the perception held by the local people
of the outside world, the school curriculum, their history and their understanding of
their history, and even the likes and dislikes of, and among various important
leaders in the area. Much of this required information can be obtained through a
thorough ethnographic study of local culture and the local population. Much is also
cumulative, and the longer the intervening forces, and some of their representatives,
stay in the same area, the more knowledge may be obtained. It is this local intelli-
gence that serves to solve the first puzzle of the collaboration strategy, namely
identifying local power holders who might enhance the governments control over
the population.
To illustrate the complex environment in which military forces operate nowadays,
we will next introduce the context of Uruzgan province to which the Dutch military
were deployed from 2006 to 2010.

The term 3D (defence, development, diplomacy) approach is also commonly used.
80 M. Kitzen and W. Vogelsang

6.3 The Context of Uruzgan Province

Uruzgan is a very isolated province in South Afghanistan with a population of some

400,000, all living in a rural environment (Van Bijlert 2009). Physical contacts with
the outside world have always been limited, but in recent years contacts via radio
and television, and especially the mobile phone, have brought the people of Uruzgan
into a much closer contact with the outside world. The vast majority of the people
belong to the ethnic group of the Pashtuns (91 %), with Hazaras (8 %) and others
making up minority communities (Schmeidl 2010). As the Dutch task force was
deployed in the almost exclusively Pashtun inhabited southern part of the province,
this chapter will focus on the Pashtun population. The Uruzgan Pashtuns belong to
two major, loose confederations, namely the Durranis and the Ghilzais, of whom the
Durranis are furthermore split into two, namely the Zirak Durranis (57.5 % of the
total population, including the influential Popalzai, Barakzai, and Achakzai tribes),
and the Panjpai Durranis (18.5 %) (TLO 2010).6 Originally Uruzgan was dominated
by the Hazaras, who in the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were
largely replaced by Ghilzais, who in turn were pushed aside by Durrani Pashtuns at
the end of the nineteenth century (Schmeidl 2010). This resulted in the Ghilzais, not
to mention the Hazaras, being marginalized. The Ghilzai-Durrani divide still forms
an important source of tension in the province, as the former tend to consider
themselves victims of years of Durrani oppression.
Another ethic fissure is that between the Zirak and Panjpai Durranis. The latter
group (and in particular the tribe of the Nurzais) often ( and they may well be cor-
rect) describes itself as originally being Ghilzai, and therefore they are often consid-
ered, by the Zirak Durranis, as second-class Durranis. Especially in Uruzgans
western district of Deh Rawud this divide is hot, as the Panjpais constitute the
majority of the districts population, while provincial rule has traditionally rested
with the Zirak Durranis. Against this broadly described background, it may come as
no surprise that the current Taliban insurgency has found fertile soil in the Ghilzai
and Panjpai Durrani areas, although, and we will come back to this below, tribal
affiliation does not explain every aspect of local peoples behaviour and their
Within the broader framework of the Durrani/Ghilzai opposition, there are other
forms of solidarity between the Pashtuns of Uruzgan. These may reflect historical
alliances, marriage relationships, village communities, but also even old-boy net-
works. Often they reflect tribal solidarity groups within the much broader frame-
work of the Durranis and Ghilzais. These tribes, sub-tribes or clans often define
patterns of loyalty, conflict and obligations of patronage (Van Bijlert 2009). The
historical development in forming or strengthening these networks is of great
importance: When the communist government came to power in 1978, it soon
sought to establish control over Uruzgans population by eliminating traditional
tribal leaders. The elders were subsequently often, during the civil war, replaced by

The percentages are estimates in relation to the total population.
6 Obtaining Population Centric Intelligence: Experiences of the Netherlands 81

much younger fighting men. They became the local mujahedin commanders who
actively fought the communist regime and their Soviet allies. The local people, with
the demise of the State of Afghanistan and the civil war, was forced to turn to these
local commanders for their own protection. Since the fall of the communist regime,
these commanders, who are often, but certainly not always, organized along tribal
or sub-tribal lines, have become very influential power holders in the province. As
the different commanders each controlled specific areas and maintain their own sup-
portive networks, Uruzgans society suffered from a large degree of fragmentation.
The result was a chaotic situation in which commanders fought against or alongside
each other depending on what best served their interest. The period of Taliban rule,
between 1994 and 2001, much restricted the power of many commanders, but the
fall of the Taliban soon led to their rise to power again. This situation has improved
during the last few years, but still prevails in many parts of the province.

Local Commanders

The rise to power of local militia commanders is illustrated by former Uruzgan

governor and Karzai trustee, Jan Mohammed Khan. Albeit of humble descent, Jan
Mohammed became a prominent (Zirak Durrani) Popalzai (also President Karzais
tribe) militia commander during the communist era. After the fall of the communist
regime, Jan Mohammed was just one of the many mujahedin commanders that
stepped into the power vacuum when he claimed his position as a Popalzai leader.
Within the boundaries of the Zirak Durrani confederation, Jan Mohammed suc-
ceeded in neutralizing the numerically superior (equally Zirak Durrani) Barakzai
and Achakzai tribes, while the Ghilzais and Panjpai Durranis were subjected to
suppressive measures (Giustozzi 2008; Dam 2009). He thereby effectively secured
political leadership for the Popalzais, who only account for 10.5 % of Uruzgans
population (Schmeidl 2010). Jan Mohammed functioned as provincial governor
until 1999 when he was imprisoned by the Taliban regime; he resumed his position
of provincial governor in 2003 with the use of the same methods that had brought
him to power before. But his position was stronger than ever before as he enjoyed
the support of President Karzais government. US special forces subsequently
fought alongside his militia against what Jan Mohammed labelled the Ghilzai and
Panjpai Durrani Taliban (Van Bijlert 2009). Thus when the Dutch TFU deployed
to Uruzgan in 2006 they were confronted with a Popalzai dominated provincial
government that had alienated a substantial part of the local population by exploit-
ing traditional tribal grievances as well as tribal conflicts in order to secure its posi-
tion. The next section explores how the TFU tried to obtain information on this
complex operational environment.
82 M. Kitzen and W. Vogelsang

6.4 The Dutch Efforts to Obtaining Population-Centric


Local Knowledge Before Deployment

The Netherlands military and civilian leaders understood the political dynamics of
Uruzgan province as they successfully lobbied for Jan Mohammed to be replaced
before the start of TFU operations (TLO 2010).7 When the Dutch first deployed to
Uruzgan in March 2006, a new governor was installed while Jan Mohammed
was removed from office and appointed advisor to President Karzai in Kabul.
The insights that enabled this move were mainly obtained through the work of the
Netherlands embassy in Kabul. In order to enhance the understanding of the
province the embassy had hired an Afghan NGO, the Tribal Liaison Office (TLO),
to conduct ethnographic field research in May and June 2006 (De Jong 2007).8 This
work culminated in the Civil Assessment of Uruzgan province, which includes a
detailed context analysis of the local social and political environment (Royal
Netherlands Embassy in Kabul 2006). The reports contains fine-grained informa-
tion on the tribal divides, sources of conflict in the different districts and individual
power holders. The TFU was therefore informed to some degree about Uruzgans
societal landscape upon their deployment in 2006. An early report by the Dutch
military intelligence service concurred with the civil reports and clarified not only
the divide between Ghilzais, Panjpai Durranis and Zirak Durranis, but also contains
information on tribal and other conflicts, and warns of the influential Popalzai
network of (former) governor Jan Mohammed (MIVD 2006).

Applying Information

Proper intelligence of Uruzgan was important, but using this intelligence properly
was even more pivotal. Here problems emerged. Despite the fact that the first TFU-
commander, Colonel Vleugels, stressed the need for a population-centric approach,
the intelligence section was still optimized for gaining and processing enemy-
centric intelligence (Smeenk et al. 2007). Also the emphasis of TFU daily affairs lay
on kinetic operations against the Taliban, a situation that would last until 2007
(Arins 2010a). The potential of the Civil Assessment and other reports on
Uruzgans societal context remained largely unexploited. The Dutch military needed
time to adapt to the challenges of population-centric counterinsurgency warfare.
With the benefit of hindsight the conclusion can be made that the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, which took the initiative for the Civil Assessment, could have
accelerated this process by adding a sufficient number of civilian experts to the TFU

See also: Tweede Kamer, Kamerstuk 20052006, 27925, no. 213.
See also: Tweede Kamer, Kamerstuk 20052006, 27925, no. 221.
6 Obtaining Population Centric Intelligence: Experiences of the Netherlands 83

staff. Initially, however, only two diplomats, a political and development advisor,
were dispatched to support the military in Uruzgan.9
The integration of an understanding of local society in the military intelligence
process and operations took a positive turn when a civilian tribal advisor was
appointed at the end of 2006. This advisor, with years of experience in Pakistan and
Afghanistan, however, sometimes perceived stiff resistance when trying to change
the military mindset.10 The adaptation process was catalyzed by the so-called Battle
of Chora in June 2007, when Barakzai and Achakzai tribal militias joined the Dutch
military in deterring a massive Taliban attack. This was partly the result of advice
from the staff of the TFUs Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) and the tribal
advisor and clearly proved the benefits of collaboration with local power holders.11
Meanwhile civilian and military capacities were subjected to a process of further
integration and the civilian staff was gradually increased. In 2008 the total number
of civilian staff was increased to 12 (including the replacement of the tribal advisor
by two cultural advisors, a Leiden University scholar with a long experience in
Afghanistan, and a Dutch-Afghan national (Arins 2010a)) and it was also decided
that the TFU from then on would be commanded by a duumvir of the highest ranking
diplomat, the senior civil representative, and the military commander. This
guaranteed integration of military planning with social and political analyses, and
enhanced the understanding of the operational environment.12 The consequences of
these measures were illustrated by Michel Rentenaar, who served as TFU senior
civil representative from August 2009 until January 2010, when he stated that the
emphasis of TFU operations had indeed shifted to non-kinetic operations and that
engagement of local power holders in order to secure the populations collaboration
had become a common practice for TFU soldiers and civilians (Arins 2010b). The
Dutch task force gradually learned to appreciate and use the population-centric
intelligence that had already been available in 2006. Moreover, in addition to the
civilian experts also military intelligence officers became more proficient in the use
of ethnographical data and methods.13 The identification and monitoring of local
leaders and solidarity networks, necessary for cooption of those power holders, thus
became embedded in TFUs overall intelligence picture.

Tweede Kamer, Kamerstuk 20052006, 27925, no. 201, 46.
Anonymous tribal advisor interviewed by author, The Hague, March 1, 2010.
Commander PRT-3, Colonel Gino van der Voet interviewed by author, The Hague, March 9,
2010, and Anonymous PRT-3 staff officer interviewed by author, Wezep, September 21, 2009.
Tweede Kamer, Tussentijdse Evaluatie ISAF 2008, annex of Kamerstuk 20082009, 27925, no.
357, 3334.
It has to be mentioned that throughout the mission there was only one dedicated military human
factors analyst in the TFU staffs vast intelligence section. Typically this would be an academically
schooled junior officer. When the awareness on the importance of population-centric intelligence
grew, also other intelligence officers became involved with so-called white plate (population-
centric) intelligence.
84 M. Kitzen and W. Vogelsang

6.5 Challenges to Obtaining Population Centric Intelligence

Adjustments to Local Circumstances

It has already been made clear that in order to attain the intervening forces military
objectives, a proper understanding of local society is an absolute necessity. But this
knowledge should also lead to proper conduct. Stories in Afghanistan abound,
although perhaps sometimes apocryphal, about the foreign military conducting
themselves in a manner that completely goes against local norms and values.
Military using abusive language, drinking alcohol, contacts between men and women,
women going around scantily dressed (in the eyes of local people), are conduct that
does not always help the peace keepers/enforcers to attain their objectives. But there
is far more than that: as said, knowledge of local culture, history, religion, the
languages, but also societys perception of the surrounding world, peoples interpre-
tation of their history (which may be very different from what the non-local military
has been taught at school), are all very important in understanding society at large.
When talking with representatives of the area of deployment, one should know the
meaning behind the words that they are using. The word democracy, for instance,
reminds many elderly Afghans of the military from various peoples democratic
republics that supported the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Democracy, to them, has a
very different meaning than it has for the European or American soldier.

More Than Winning Hearts and Minds

Understanding and adjusting to local culture is one thing; it is also absolutely vital
to understand the local perception of the intervening forces. Not only to win the
hearts and minds, but it is vital to step into the shoes off the local people, to try to
understand the world from their position. Does local society see the intervening
forces as liberators, occupying oppressors, land grabbers, do-gooders who can be
cheated, and want to be cheated? Often local society is divided in their perception
of the outside forces, so the question arises as to which part of local society regards
the foreigners as what? Equally important is the realization, with the local people,
that the intervening military may not always be a homogeneous group. In the
perception of local society, the foreigners may at first be all identical, but very
soon they will realize that the various nationalities that make up the (mostly)
international peace keeping/enforcing forces, are themselves very different, and
may have their own rules of engagement, their own particular backgrounds, and
different approaches to the challenges that are being faced. In other words, just like
the foreigners have to learn about local culture, local society is also faced with a
military with different backgrounds and different cultures. In Afghanistan, the
British were often regarded by local society against the background of the so-called
Great Game in the nineteenth century, when the British and the Russians vied with
each other for control of the Afghanistan mountains. Hence some Afghans regarded
6 Obtaining Population Centric Intelligence: Experiences of the Netherlands 85

the British after 9/11 with some suspicion, thinking they intervened in the country in
order to exact revenge for three wars that they fought with the British many years ago.


There are of course many ways of communication with the local population: radio
and television can, and will play a role, but there is also the direct interaction
between the military patrols and the local residents. The boots on the ground, and
this should never be underestimated, play an important role in the perception of the
local people of the intervening forces. But there is also direct, and more organized
interaction with representatives of local society. This may also take different forms.
There may be direct interviews, casual meetings, telephone conversations. There
may be meetings with traditional leaders, warlords, state installed functionaries,
farmers and craftsmen, but also local civil society, including NGOs, doctors, nurses,
teachers, judges etc. There may be meetings with men, women and children. There
may be meetings with different ethnic groups from within local society, with rich
and poor, young and old, with people long settled in the region and with people
whose family only recently immigrated into the area. In talking with all these differ-
ent people, it is very important always to bear in mind their background, their role
and position. This helps to understand what they are saying. It often helps to observe
how the interviewees behave, how they are dressed, whether they come alone or in
the company of others, whether they come armed or not.

Transparency in Communication

Anyone directly engaging representatives of a local society in a non-violent manner

should be aware of the overall objectives and the specific situation of the military
operation. Mostly, the professed objective of Western military forces that intervene
in whatever way in a foreign country will be to bring and/or strengthen democracy.
This general objective, we can be sure, will always be used, but it will not contribute
much to understanding the real tasks and the direct goals of the military interven-
tion. There is a large difference between the military having to separate two local,
opposing groups or communities, or being asked to maintain law and order in a
severely fragmentized society. Are they deployed to combat violent extremism or to
guide a country towards democratic elections? Are they ordered to stay for a
predetermined period of time, or is their stay indefinite and depending on political
decisions and the current situation? Knowing the overall objectives may seem an
obvious prerequisite, but they are not always crystal clear; they are often dependent
on international agreements, internal political developments in the home country,
and they may change over time. Yet it remains of paramount importance in dealing
with a local society that the interviewer is aware of the objectives, although they may
sometimes remain rather vague. Transparency is an important key to working together.
86 M. Kitzen and W. Vogelsang


In most situations the intervening forces will make use of interpreters. In many
cases they are locally recruited; in other cases they may derive from elsewhere,
sometimes from the same country as the intervening force. They often constitute the
connecting link between the local representatives and the military forces. They not
only translate words, but they are, ideally, in doing so also interpreting the meaning
of words, phrases and gestures (see e.g. Van Dijk et al. 2010). What is important
though is that the role and position of the interpreter are made very clear right from
the start. Unless otherwise agreed, he/she should be translating and interpreting, but
not actively partaking in the conversation. Of course sometimes the interpreter may
give his/her own views of the situation, but care should be taken that this does not
occur during the interview, but before or afterwards. Again, everything is percep-
tion, and the background of the interpreter, whether locally recruited or not, does
affect the communication with representatives of local society. In Afghanistan, with
its many ethnic groups, an interpreter from another ethnic background than the
interviewee, may seriously hamper the atmosphere of the interview. And even with
the best of intentions, the interpreter may also harbour his or her own perceptions of
the interviewee, and consciously or not, this may affect the translation and the out-
come of the conversation.

Know Yourself, Know the Other

With or without interpreters, it should always be born in mind that communication

is a two-way process. The interviewer and interviewee are exchanging words,
phrases and gestures, and on both sides these are always understood, or not, on the
basis of a much broader perception. When you are the interviewer, never forget who
you are, and how the interviewee will see you: you are, most of the times, simply
speaking, a representative of the intervening forces. Vice versa, always realize that
you are observing people, including your interviewee, from your own background
and perspective. Some people we instinctively like or dislike, and whether or not we
appreciate people may very much depend on our own character. It is sometimes said
that you only start to understand the other if you have learnt to understand

Key Leader Engagement

In modern practice and literature, the concept of what came to be called key leader
engagement has played an important role in modern peace keeping and peace
enforcement operations. The idea, as outlined earlier in this chapter, is that certain
6 Obtaining Population Centric Intelligence: Experiences of the Netherlands 87

people in local society play an important role, be it because of their prestige and
ancestry, their wealth, their (armed) following, their education, their official status,
etc. By engaging these key leaders, the intervening forces hope to have an efficient
and direct way to communicate with the people at large. Within this concept, it
should be realized that such an approach often goes against the Western concept
of what we regard as democracy; the key leaders are often not elected functionaries;
they sometimes base their importance on antiquated concepts of ancestry. Or they
are important simply because they are warlords or militia leaders who know how to
use violence, and often do not hesitate to do so. They may also be distinctly unlike-
able, corrupt, or otherwise unfavourably viewed by outsiders. So by engaging these
key leaders, the intervening forces may act against what often is their main objec-
tive, namely bringing and strengthening democratic structures. It should also be
realized that by engaging key leaders, the interviewer may raise the prestige of the
interviewee, and this may not always be the desired outcome. Talking with a key
leader with a bad reputation, will also not enhance the prestige of the intervening
forces, and may even have a negative effect on the general course of events. In other
words, developing a key leader engagement programme requires a carefully
balanced and discussed policy. Sometimes not talking is also an option.

6.6 Conclusions

In this chapter we have tried to outline the importance of a population-centric

approach in modern military interventions. We have also indicated the various
challenges to and pitfalls in this approach. What is felt to be most important however
is the necessity to try to understand local culture and peoples perceptions of the
surrounding world. With this knowledge it is possible to start building bridges
between the foreign troops and local people, whether they are key leaders or not.
These bridges are made of understanding the other, showing respect for local culture
(for after all: the intervening forces are guests in the country), and talking with
people horizontally, as equals. In this manner a climate can be created that is conducive
to further cooperation between the local people and the official government, and
hence will help reduce the attraction of the opposing forces.


Arins, H. (2010a). Dutch Approach klinkt nogal zelfvoldaan [Dutch approach sounds kind of
smug]. Internationale Samenwerking [International Cooperation], 201001.
Arins, H. (2010b). Interview Michiel Rentenaar. Internationale Samenwerking [International
Cooperation], 201003.
Dam, B. (2009). Expeditie Uruzgan, De weg van Hamid Karzai naar het paleis [Expedition
Uruzgan, Hamid Karzais road to the palace]. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij de Arbeiderspers.
88 M. Kitzen and W. Vogelsang

De Jong, A. (2007, April 7). Het Schijngevecht met de Taliban [The appearance of a fight with the
Taliban]. NRC Handelsblad.
Giustozzi, A. (2008). Koran Kalashnikov, and laptop, the Neo-Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
New York: Columbia University Press.
Kilcullen, D. (2010). Intelligence. In T. Rid & T. Keaney (Eds.), Understanding counterinsur-
gency, doctrines, operations and challenges (pp. 141159). London: Routledge.
Militaire Inlichtingen en Veiligheidsdienst (MIVD). (2006). SupIntrep Afghanistan, Stamverhoudingen in
Uruzgan [SupIntrep Afghanistan, tribal relations in Uruzgan]. Unpublished report. The Hague: MIVD.
Royal Netherlands Embassy in Kabul. (2006). Civil assessment. Kabul: Royal Netherlands
Embassy in Kabul.
Schmeidl, S. (2010). The man who would be king: The challenges to strengthening governance in
Uruzgan. The Hague: Clingendael.
Smeenk, B. J. E., Gouweleeuw, R. W. G., & Van der Have, H. C. (2007). Effect gebaseerde aanpak
in Uruzgan. Van het schaakbord naar een bord spaghetti [Effects based approach in Uruzgan:
From chess-board to plate of spaghetti]. Militaire Spectator, 176(12), 550559.
The Liaison Office (TLO). (2010). The Dutch engagement in Uruzgan: 20062010. Kabul: TLO.
United States Institute of Peace, U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute.
(2009). Guiding principles for stabilization and reconstruction. Washington: United states
Institute of Peace Press.
UK Ministry of Defence. (2009). Joint doctrine publication 340, security and stabilisation: The
military contribution. Shrivenham: The Development, Concepts and Doctrines Centre.
US Department of the Army. (2008). FM 307, stability operations. Washington: Department of
the Army.
Van Bijlert, M. (2009). Unruly commanders and violent power struggles. In A. Giustozzi (Ed.), Decoding
the new Taliban, insights from the field (pp. 155178). New York: Columbia University Press.
Van Dijk, A., Soeters, J. M. M. L., & de Ridder, R. (2010). Smooth translation? A research note on
the cooperation between Dutch service personnel and local interpreters in Afghanistan. Armed
Forces & Society, 36(5), 917925.
Zeytoonian, D., et al. (2006, SeptemberOctober). Intelligent design, COIN operations and intel-
ligence collection and analysis. Military Review, 3037.
Chapter 7
Civil-Military Planning

Philip Shetler-Jones

the assertion that a major military development, or the plan for one, should be a matter
for purely military opinion is unacceptable and can be damaging. Clausewitz VIII: 6B.

7.1 Introduction

Planning is merely thinking ahead. All organizations plan, but not in the same way.
Mostly differences in the approach to planning reflect differences in organizational
type, specialist function, working culture and resourcing. Some of the differences in
how civilian and military1 organizations approach planning can complicate interac-
tion, but engaging with civilians on planning can also be one of the most rewarding
areas of civil-military interface. This is because planning when it is done prop-
erly opens peoples minds to the wider context. Planning forces us to clarify what
we really want and understand how our organisations objectives relate to higher
intent and subordinate activity. Planning compels us to accept factors that limit our
activities and their impact, prompting us to explore partnerships that offer a way
around obstacles.
Recent doctrinal innovations such as Effects Based Operations, Systemic
Operational Design and the Comprehensive Operations Planning Directive (COPD)
that have informed military approaches to planning in recent years require a better

For the purposes of this chapter civilian is shorthand for civilian employees of the three institu-
tions you are most likely to come into contact with in the field: (i) government (e.g. foreign service,
development agencies); (ii) the UN, both the Secretariat departments dealing with peacekeeping
and political affairs, and the UN specialized agencies dealing with development, human rights, etc.
and; (iii) Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other organizations like the Red Cross,
Red Crescent.
P. Shetler-Jones (*)
Honarary Research Fellow, University of Sheffield, UK
e-mail: philipshetlerjones@gmail.com

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 89

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_7
90 P. Shetler-Jones

understanding of non-military factors (e.g. Vego 2009; NATO 2010). Thinking

about similarities and differences in how others plan, and understanding how to
engage on planning can unlock these benefits.
Because planning is often first contact in the civil-military interface, getting off
on the right foot in the planning phase will repay the initial investment many times
over. Then again, get relationships wrong in the planning phase and you might not
get a second chance. Mutual understanding is the key to unlocking the benefits of
civil-military interface.
This chapter uses a comparative approach as a way of exposing similarities and
differences between civilian and military planning. The purpose of this is not to
stage a beauty contest but to improve understanding. Civilian and military planning
styles reflect such different organizational purposes that a simple contest of quality
would be like (fruitlessly) comparing apples and oranges. That said, we should not
exclude the possibility that we can learn from each another. We begin in Sect. 7.2
with a general assessment of the characteristics of civilian and military planning
style before focusing in on the differences and similarities, in Sect. 7.3. Section 7.4
investigates the comprehensive approach from the point of view of the practical
ways in which it may help us to achieve better planning results. Section 7.5
concludes the chapter.

7.2 General Characteristics of Military and Civilian

Planning Processes

Military Planning

Military planning has evolved into a form that fits a very specific functional niche:
the attainment of victory in war. The demands of its evolutionary context explain
some of the characteristics described below.
Military planning prioritizes the enemy as an object of understanding, influence
and coercive action.2 Considering that the status of the enemy largely determines the
success or failure of the military operation, this focus is hardly surprising. However,
it can narrow down the appreciation process such that the planner seeks to under-
stand the various aspects of the environment only in terms of how they relate to the
enemy and his critical vulnerabilities. Fixation on the enemy can hinder a full
understanding of the other factors that have the potential to deliver defeat.
By acknowledging (enemy) human agency, military planning is structured to
take account of uncertainty particularly in terms of the developments that stem

Military action is based largely on denying or degrading the options available to the enemy, but
civil-military cooperation and the need to be people centric must be based on the reverse it needs
to be based upon opening up the options available to civilians, not just the beneficiary communities
but also allies such as UN agencies or NGOs (Shirreff 2010: 78).
7 Civil-Military Planning 91

from the enemys vote.3 Perhaps because of this acceptance of uncertainty, military
planning is less an organizational process for producing a plan, in the sense of a
document that narrates a linear problem-solving approach, and more an intellectual
activity for exploring and rehearsing ways to manage uncertainty and adapt to a
dynamic situation. This principle (sadly not always observed in practice), is recorded
in a famous military maxim on planning attributed to General Dwight D. Eisenhower
that the plan is nothing; planning is everything.
The military invests time and resources in training and practicing planning as a
distinct skill-set, and has developed a standardized planning process. While this
standardization is highly effective in achieving collaboration across military organi-
zations, it may lead to a conservative and exclusionary mind-set that is not condu-
cive to smooth interaction. If a sense of military superiority in planning feeds a
derogatory attitude toward or rejection of non-military approaches, it becomes a
form of elitism that hinders civil-military interaction.
In seeking advantage over a human object (the enemy), military planning deals
with gambits such as bluff and surprise. Consequently, it must preserve a degree of
secrecy, which can give it a somewhat exclusive character. Mechanisms designed to
ensure operational security (OPSEC) may have the unintended consequence of
blocking the flow of important information about the non-military world.
The desire to make use of surprise, the strain of sustaining intense effort and
other factors combine to create a sense of urgency around the initiation and comple-
tion of military action, and an equivalent sense of urgency around military planning.
Military planning is not unique in privileging speed. The same may be said of some
types of civilian planning, e.g. for emergency humanitarian response. However, in
general, military planning will always be driven to proceed briskly so as to give the
commander the advantage of responding faster than the enemy.

Civilian Planning

Civilian approaches to planning are largely a function of the operational, logistic,

and personnel factors that distinguish them from military organizations.
Many Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and United Nations (UN)
Agencies engaged in humanitarian and development activity rely on voluntary
donations from governments and other institutions to resource their programs.
Much of the time, this is discretionary spending for which the organization has to
compete with other bidders. This informs the purpose and style of their planning as
an instrument for convincing the donor that the proposed work is needed, and that
the method of carrying it out is effective and efficient. The planner is motivated to
produce evidence of value for money so as to increase the chances of being given
funding for future work.

The old adage no plan survives contact with the enemy is a reminder of essentially the same
92 P. Shetler-Jones

Given this concern for resources and efficiency, many civilian actors adopt a
style of planning that is strongly influenced by the science of business manage-
ment. This program management style is characterized by the following elements:
(i) goals of achievement are graduated against an assessment of needs factored
against assumptions of available resources; (ii) a theory of change is developed to
situate activity within a long-term narrative of cause and effect; (iii) continuous
measurement of progress to enable course correction (monitoring); (iv) an up-front
agreed system of evaluation (results-based budgeting, benchmarks, etc.) structures
efficiency and identifies completion. This approach is prominent in both NGO and
development agencies styles of planning.
When it comes to civilian planning in government, there is a growing movement
to enable cross-departmental planning, although much stove-piping remains
(Wittkowsky and Wittkampf 2013, 1). Some governments have established mecha-
nisms to support a more coordinated approach to over-arching national objectives,
such as a National Security Council. The UKs stabilisation unit serves in this
context to relate the planning of the Ministries of Defence, International Development
and Foreign affairs where their work overlaps. As with NGOs and UN Agencies,
budgetary factors and cycles are a strong influence on the motives and methods
for planning.
Early peacekeeping operations (PKO) that carried out truce supervision and
interposition were military operations planned by diplomats and former military
staff officers. Later, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) at UN
Headquarters in New York established a standing office of military planners, but
they are responsible only for planning the military aspects of a mission. The non-
military tasks that grew on to PKO (DDR,4 election monitoring, Policing and Rule
of Law, etc.) are planned by civilian staff who may have limited formal training as
planners. All of the various component plans are wrapped up into a Mission Plan
by UN civilian staff with varying levels of planning training and experience.
For most of the UNs history, the various departments and specialized agencies
that make up the UN family managed their own plans in isolation. The growth in
complex interventions in the 1990s (where the UN ran peace and security missions
alongside large scale humanitarian and development programs) led the UN to
develop an integrated approach to planning, similar to the comprehensive
approach in other organizations (NATO, EU). The original intention was to impose
a planning hierarchy under the lead of the UNs diplomatic and security offices.
However, by opening up mission planning to the wider UN family, the old military/
diplomatic style of planning has been influenced by the program management
approach favored by humanitarian and development organizations.
All across the UN and beyond, operational planning is increasingly being
conducted in the context of some kind of higher framework. These frameworks may
be scaled globally, as with the Millennium Development Goals,5 or regionally, as

Disarmament, Demobilization, Reintegration.
In September 2000, building upon a decade of major United Nations conferences and summits,
world leaders came together at UN Headquarters in New York to adopt the UN Millennium
7 Civil-Military Planning 93

with the UN or EU regional strategies (e.g. for the Sahel). These frameworks also
exist sometimes in competing forms on a national scale. Examples include the
UN Development Assistance Framework, the World Banks Poverty Reduction
Strategy Papers, and the UNs Integrated Strategic Framework or Peacebuilding
Strategies intended to foster peace consolidation. The impetus for these frameworks
comes from a desire for coherence and greater efficiency from the larger donors.
In order to overcome institutional self-interest and stove-piped planning they offer
the incentive that operational plans corresponding to these frameworks are more
likely to attract funding. What these frameworks all have in common is that they
provide a starting point and a guide for operational planning by presenting a broadly
agreed assessment of the situation, a list of priority areas for action and a framework
for measuring and communicating progress.

7.3 Similarities and Differences Between These Planning



The decline of state-on-state conflict means that the individual human being or
group (be they the enemy or the beneficiary) is increasingly the common denomina-
tor for military, as well as humanitarian and development action, and for planning
across the civil-military spectrum.6
Military and civilian planners both employ the concepts of ends, ways and
means, but dressed in different jargon. Civilian planning processes sometimes use a
theory of change in the form of a narrative describing the transformation that is
envisioned in the conflict or host society/economy, and programmed efforts are
justified on the basis that they make a contribution to this idealized process.
Actions (enabled by inputs) are linked to outputs, results and outcomes in a logical
framework or log-frame, with progress from a baseline measurement being
tracked by a set of indicators (see e.g. EU Integration Office 2011). Likewise, the
NATO standard military planning process produces a linear narrative punctuated by
a sequence of decisive conditions along lines of effort that converge in an end-
state. The theoretical supposition being that if we take actions to achieve the right

Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty and
setting out a series of time-bound targets with a deadline of 2015 that have become known as
the Millennium Development Goals.
This observation is related to the emerging concept of human security, which takes the human
being, rather than the state, as its referent object and conceives security as a combination of condi-
tions (freedom from want, freedom from fear) experienced by the human being. The UN General
Assembly offered a definitive description of Human Security in Resolution A/RES/66/290 (25
October 2012).
94 P. Shetler-Jones

supporting effects, the decisive conditions will be met and we will arrive one day
at the end state.
Both military and civilian planning at the tactical and operational level are
nested in higher-level planning frameworks. Whereas military planning is tightly
nested in a hierarchy with formal guidance cascading down each level of command,
civilian planning is more loosely connected to overarching strategies and frame-
works mentioned above. Plans at the local or country level may take the analysis
and objectives identified in the higher plan as a point of departure, gaining coher-
ence and attracting donor approval as a result. Individual organizations will then do
their own plans for discrete sets of action that refer back to these higher levels of
Both military and civilian processes are secretive, meaning that they take care to
keep the process and sometimes the product of planning out of the public eye. While
the intention of military secrecy is (ostensibly) to preserve the element of surprise,
civilian planning may be similarly guarded in order to maintain the independence
and objectivity of the process and protect it from the corrupting influence of external
interests on the organizations norms and identity. In either case, legitimate motives
for secrecy may also be mixed with a less honorable desire to avoid accountability
(in case the plan goes wrong).
Generally, both civilian and military organizations have a desire to only present
the conclusions of the planning process, so as to encourage a rigorous exchange of
views within the organization while ensuring unity and clarity once the course has
been set.


While both forms of planning focus on the human element, military planning is
mostly about finding ways to remove from the enemy the will or capability to resist,
and most civilian action is aimed at restoring material conditions and freedoms to
the individual. No surprise then that friction arises in civil-military relations when
planning objectives are in contradiction over differential treatment of an individual
or group that has been designated as the enemy.
Civilian efforts to address the cause or the symptoms of deprivation will take a
considerable amount of time and involve dealing with a vast range of actors whose
cooperation may not be readily forthcoming, and so need to be persuaded. Military
actions are planned on the expectations of achieving a decisive result as quickly as
possible. Speed and consent are therefore related issues in producing some of the
differences between military and civilian planning styles:
The reality is that the decision-action cycle of a military headquarters is tighter, faster, more
efficient but more short-term than both the political/diplomatic decision-action cycle
which sets the context in which the military operate and must therefore serve and the devel-
opmental aid and reconstruction decision/action cycle which will ensure the long-term and
durable success of the mission. (Shirreff 2010: 7)
7 Civil-Military Planning 95

Civilian planning is also slower because it takes time to build internal and external
consent. Civilians need for internal consent is greater to the extent that they have a
less authoritarian working culture. Because they cant rely on coercion they build
external consent the slow way using persuasion and compromise. This approach
calls for a more generalist, holistic kind of planner and a more drawn-out discursive
style that is a hybrid of planning and coordination. At its worst, it can look like
planning by committee.
Disciplined hierarchy is a part of the stereo-type of military organizations and
culture, but civilian organizations are rarely less hierarchical than the military, even
if it is not always apparent from the way they behave. More nuanced expressions of
rank and a general pretense of informality belie the fact that the members of civilian
organizations any hardly less aware than their military counterparts of who is in
charge of whom. There are some reasons for civilian organizations especially
when they are working together to avoid explicit markers of hierarchy. One stems
from a desire to avoid exposing differences in motivation and principles that guide
their work. For example, humanitarians are guided by the principle of need, and
development specialists by the imperative of bringing people out of poverty, while
the civilian actors in political affairs are concerned with stability or influence over
power relations. In such a situation, clear signs of an internal hierarchy might spoil
a comradely ethic that all are working to the same goal. Worse, finding a place in an
external hierarchy alongside partners would mean deciding that the identified
needs trump political expediency, or that the redress of Human Rights abuse could
somehow be subordinated to other goals. Explicit signs of hierarchy would under-
mine other cherished ethics that inform the identity of many civilian organizations,
such as egalitarianism, cooperation, volunteerism. These may be traced back to the
origins of many civilian organizations, which started as charities, volunteer groups
or faith-based organizations.
Differences in goals and orientation of values explain why many issues are best
dealt with by different organisations with different mandates. Only when confront-
ing these issues with each other, as in the UNs Integrated Planning Concept, does
it become apparent that there can be no absolutes in the political reality. In the
military, this issue is avoided by presenting the organisation as a neutral toolbox, to
be used by the political leadership for whatever purpose it sees fit. The suggestion
given is that the military and their actions are inherently neutral. Differences of this
sort are often related to more mundane divergence (or even competition) in sources
of funding and authority. Taken together, these factors may go some way to explain-
ing why civilian actors prefer the language of cooperation and coordination to
that of command and control. A tacit recognition of the actual hierarchy may be
accepted only on the condition that all collude in a face-saving act that down-plays
it as much as possible.
The role of the commander in the military approach to planning is perhaps one
area where the military form of hierarchy has a distinct effect on the planning pro-
cess, even if the nature of this effect depends a lot on the talents of the commander
in question. In some cases, a staff may find their commander does not like to be
second-guessed, with the result that their planning becomes rather linear and rigid.
96 P. Shetler-Jones

On the other hand, the position the commander enjoys can offset the hazards of
standardization by enabling the injection of a healthy dose of intuition and creativity
into what can be a rather mechanical process.
Many military organizations have adopted a common or very similar approach to
planning, and reproduction of the NATO model through training and exchange is
widespread. Civilian planning is more functionally diverse and contingent on its
own unstable variables (e.g. donors and implementation partners such as govern-
ment or NGOs). Civilian entities are likely to employ an intuitive style of planning,
that relies more on the qualifications of the staff involved than on a common system
or doctrine of planning that would require shared experience in training and exer-
cises. There is reluctance (related to points above on hierarchy) to impose a one
size fits all approach onto a diverse range of partners and broad acceptance of the
level of knowledge and planning experience that people bring to the task at hand.
The military spends a considerable amount of time and effort on training and
exercises, including planning, but civilian agencies hardly ever do either (Rietjens
et al. 2013). Comparing planning in the UN and NATO offers a representative con-
trast. Planning in NATO evolved on a tradition of preparing for an operation that
never happened (resisting Warsaw Pact aggression). Planning in United Nations
Peacekeeping is built on a tradition of constantly launching operations for which
no-one had prepared. So while the UN relies on experience, for a long time NATO
had no choice but to rely on exercises. In order to avoid political sensitivities,
NATO often develops imaginary scenarios instead of practicing on real places.
This requires the elaborate construction of fake countries, complete with maps and
quantities of other information describing friendly and unfriendly armed forces, the
people, their culture, economy, society, history, etc. Unlike a real life situation,
knowledge about these things cannot be found in a normal way. You cant call up a
regional expert from a university or go on Google or Wikipedia to find answers to
your questions on Redland. You need a database. The military planner whose
training has always been supported by a database will approach a real operational
planning experience in a similar way and expect to use a database. There is there-
fore a tendency when it comes to the early stages of planning real operations, for
military planners to ask is where is the database? Databases contain a fixed
quantity of factual information. Unlike in real life, you will not get contested
information (Professor A believes this, but Professor B believes the opposite. Who
is correct?). A database-dependent planning culture is useful for things like targeting
data, but it can have less capacity to deal with uncertainty when it comes to more
complex issues like political sympathies and third-order effects in societies.
The education and training of military planners differs in several ways from their
civilian counterparts. For example, what is the background of UN staff that become
PKO planners? Some of them have a military background, but most will not.
Their academic background is often at the level of Masters degrees in the social
sciences, with political science and international relations, languages, area studies
7 Civil-Military Planning 97

well represented. University education at this level was designed to train junior
academics, and develop qualities such as critical thinking, argument, communication
and peer review. These habits influence the way people from this background do
planning. To say that academia rewards critical thinking is an understatement you
could almost say it rewards criticism. Academia cherishes doubt as the wellspring
of continuing research. Academics are not expected to know anything with certainty,
and it is entirely possible to make a respectable career just by tearing holes in the
theories and conclusions of others. This has consequences whenever academically
trained planners predominate.7 For example, their instinct would be to question a
fundamental premise rather than make haste towards a conclusion, and this makes
their planning approach more circular than linear. This can be good in that it encour-
ages the interrogation of assumptions about what the mission or aim is, and repeated
testing of ways and means against it. Also, abstract thinking can be a powerful way to
gain an understanding of unfamiliar or unprecedented situations. Military planning
benefits from this because of the need to reconcile two truths about war: (i) Ne Cras:
Not like yesterday, a warning not to try and re-fight the last war (Krulak 2000) and
(ii) Clausewitz fundamental injunction to establish the kind of war on which one
is embarked, neither mistaking it for nor trying to turn it into something that is alien
to its nature.
Differences in how civilians and the military approach information handling can
also be relevant. While military organizations employ a sizeable intelligence staff
(and charge a database for planning), the knowledge used by the UN for planning is
available on the internet or in libraries, and contained inside the minds of its staff.
Due to the global coverage and wide range of functions and programming, UN staff
will have a long-term engagement with the communities and governance structures
in the target country. This gives UN planning teams access to a massive repository
of experience and first hand-knowledge of the countries where it operates and plans
operations. Colleagues across the UN family are a source of up-to date and con-
textualized information and have access to a pool of analysts and planners to draw
upon at short notice. This can be a major incentive driving the UNs integrated
Military organizations handling of information and knowledge is often condi-
tioned by an enemy/friend logic, which imposes restrictions on gaining, exchanging
and storing information. Civilian organizations are better at using open sources,
perhaps for the simple reason that they are almost entirely dependent on them.
In sum, the planning processes of military and civilian organizations show many
similarities as well as differences. These are depicted in Fig. 7.1.

Of course most officers and many enlisted personnel involved in planning are university graduates
or post-graduates, but their military training and working culture probably dilutes the habits of
their academic experience to a much greater extent than their civilian counterparts.
98 P. Shetler-Jones

Military Civilian

Enemy- centric
centric Human Slower,
Speed of element consent
delivery Ends-ways- based
Explicit means logic Implicit
hierarchy Nesting hierarchy
Jointness Discretion Coordination
Standard Present
approach Diverse
conclusions, approaches
Formal not process On the job
training and

Fig. 7.1 Similarities and difference of military and civilian planning processes

7.4 Integration and the Comprehensive Approach

There is growing acceptance of the utility of sharing background analysis, and shar-
ing some information to aid de-confliction between civilian and military operations.
However, joint or integrated planning is likely to remain a bridge too far except
within government planning and a few specialist areas like PKO or comprehensive
Crisis Management Planning as it is being developed in the EU. Having said that,
there is still a lot to be gained from improving interaction in the field of planning.
1. Dont try to control or influence civilian planning, expect to learn from it.
General Eisenhower famously said that the plan is nothing; planning is every-
thing. When it comes to Civil-Military interaction we could say that the integrated
plan is nothing (unfortunately this is sometimes close to being true); but the mutual
understanding and relationships developed through the planning process are
So long as separate command and control structures are the norm, it is highly
unlikely that you will plan in an integrated way with civilians. It is better to think of
your planning as associated rather than integrated with that of civilians. But
interaction does offer a priceless opportunity to gain a better understanding of your
Instead of thinking of a battle space shared with the enemy, we should consider a problem
space shared both with the enemy and a wider range of actors. Instead of approaching the
problem space in terms of what can we the military do, we need to ask the question: what
needs to be done? And you cannot begin to understand this question until you understand
the problem and trying to understand it when you deploy is almost invariably too late.
(Shirreff 2010: 8)
7 Civil-Military Planning 99

At worst, you can always see civilian planners as a kind of detached red cell,
which offers alternative perspectives on the situation and ways of addressing it.
2. Know yourself and know our enemy partners
Fears of competition and subordination can poison integrated or associated civ-
mil planning. The best antidote is a clear division of labour. Be clear about your
objectives, and do not stray into civilians field. If they were to pick up a gun and
start shooting, you might object; so will they if you appear to be veering into their
lane. It helps to look to your civilian partners higher planning frameworks for gain-
ing a better understanding of their motives and locating indications of potential
areas of common interest (they are normally publicized).
3. Dont forget the host nation and local authorities.
The integrated or comprehensive approach often pays lip service to the
importance of local ownership, but practice rarely lives up to this rhetoric.
Certainly, engaging with host nation normally civilian authorities carries costs
in terms of extra time, political risks around the legitimacy of local partners, opera-
tional security, pressures to compromise with the agenda of special interests, etc.
However, any attempt to avoid partnership in the planning stage will probably just
result in postponing these problems until a later date, by which time it will be even
harder to reconcile your needs with theirs. Handover to local authorities is almost
always part of an exit strategy, so find a way to engage with local actors early, if only
as a way of gaining some understanding of the problems you might have to face
together later on.
4. Rhythm
It is useful to consider the rhythm to civil-military interface in planning in three
broad phases: the beginning, middle and end of military operations. The two phases
where civil-military interface is most obviously helpful and of mutual benefit is at
the beginning and at the end of military operations. At the beginning, because that
is when the civilian planners already engaged will have a lot of information useful
to military planners. Also at this point, civilians have an interest in beginning a
relationship to the military because they will (if they are thinking strategically),
want to influence the military planning so as to reduce the chances of military oper-
ations getting in the way of their work. At the end of military operations, the plans
and activities of civilian entities become important again, because they are the major
factors in planning the militarys disengagement and exit, and hopefully entrenching
conditions that make it less likely that the military will have to go back again in the
short term. Interface may flag in the middle of operations, because of the tensions
that arise from operating in the same geographical space on the basis of different
imperatives and missions (Collinson and Elhawary 2012). Competition and interfer-
ence can make relations in this phase more difficult to engage as effectively on
planning. Finally, try to understand your partners decision-making cycle and
know when key decision-points are coming up for them (these often coincide with
funding or mandate renewal).
100 P. Shetler-Jones

5. Civilian interface with the military planning process

How might civilian perspectives contribute to the different stages in the military
planning process?
Assessment/Understanding In the planning of any operation the first imperative
is to gain an understanding of the environment. Civilians are an excellent source of
such information, because civilian entities will be present in the operational area
before (perhaps long before) the initiation of the military operation. This means that
they possess a wealth of information on the full Political, Military, Economic,
Security, Infrastructure, Information (PMESII) spectrum of issues. Much of their
information will be available in published form, though you might benefit from their
guidance on how to find it. Better still, try to arrange a briefing from them in person
to get at the unstated assumptions behind their analysis.
Do not restrict your inputs by only engaging with tame civilians from inside
trusted institutions. Unfriendly civilian actors or civilian actors with a different
agenda are a critical part of the broader context in which you will operate, so the
sooner you understand their perspective, the better your chances of having a plan
that survives contact with them later on.
Mission Analysis, Identification of End-State and Objective(s) When a military
organization asks itself what is our mission or what does the commander want?,
it often uses the concept of an end state to help define the desired outcome. At the
higher levels of planning, political/strategic or political/military campaign end-
states will be expressed in non-military terms. Civilian perspectives are therefore
a fundamental part of mission analysis. Diplomats and other kinds of specialist
civilian professionals can assist in interpreting the coded language that is used by the
militarys civilian masters to communicate the purpose of their mission. However,
patience and perseverance will also be needed from the military commanders side
to meet them half way.
A second reason to include civilians in your mission analysis is because of the
need for cooperation down the line. The military-strategic end-state is probably
only achievable if friendly civilian actors are successful in their activities. Just as
you need them to provide this input, they might need your help to achieve their
objectives in the desired time-frame and sequence.
Options Course of Action (COA) Development, COA Selection On the
tactical or operational level, end-states and objectives are frequently dependent on
non-military contributions. This is particularly likely in stabilisation operations,
the end-state is only reached by combining the achievement of military and civil
objectives. The inclusion of non-military factors in weighing the relative benefits of
Courses Of Action can therefore be a good way to make sure of strategic fidelity
i.e. that the outcome of the military action achieves the higher strategic aim.
7 Civil-Military Planning 101

Decisive conditions (DC) and supporting effects (SE) need to be expressed in a

way that reflects a good understanding of how civilian actions influence these
conditions and effects. If not, you may well end up with DCs and SEs that are a
blend of civilian and military activity, thus complicating the division of labor that
separates the tasks of each component.

7.5 Conclusion

Comparing caricatures of civilian and military planning styles presents some

obvious dichotomies: military style appears hierarchical, systematic, enemy-
focused, decisive and brisk. Civilian planning appears informal, intuitive, discursive,
de-personalized, incremental and slow. A closer look reveals more of a ying-yang
kind of balance. For example, civilian approaches are more hierarchical than they
like to admit. Military approaches are more intuitive and less linear than doctrine
might lead you to expect. Look for complementary strengths in differences and use
points of similarity to leverage planning as a productive medium for interface.
When it comes to the integrated or comprehensive approach, there will prob-
ably never be a full convergence between civil and military planning, but this need
not be a problem. Limited civil-military contact in planning has already improved
mutual understanding, which facilitates a degree of coordination, and the quality of
interdisciplinary relationships among planners is becoming more and more relevant
as military planning opens up to civilian perspectives. Indeed, because planning
deals with essentials (how do we understand the problem? what are we trying to do?
how do we define success?) it provides a unique opportunity to get into each-others
minds. After all, effective interface needs good relationships, and there is no better
guarantee of robust, low-friction relationships than deep and respectful mutual


Ankersen, C. (Ed.). (2008). Civil-military cooperation in post-conflict operations: Emerging theory

and practice. Oxon: Routledge.
Collinson, S., & Elhawary, S. (2012, April). Humanitarian space: A review of trends and issues
(ODI Report). http://www.odi.org.uk/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-
files/7643.pdf. Accessed 18 Dec 2012.
EU Integration Office. (2011). Guide to the Logical Framework Approach: A key tool for project
management cycle (2nd ed.). Belgrade: Republic of Serbia Government. http://www.evropa.
gov.rs/Evropa/ShowDocument.aspx?Type=Home&Id=525. Accessed 19 Feb 2013.
Krulak, G. C. C. (2000). Ne Cras: Not like yesterday. In R. Schultz & R. Pfaltzgraff (Eds.),
The role of naval forces in 21st century operations (pp. xixii). Washington, DC: Brasseys.
102 P. Shetler-Jones

NATO. (2010). Comprehensive Operations Planning Directive (COPD). Mons: Supreme

Headquarters Allied Power Europe (SHAPE).
Rietjens, S. J. H., van Fenema, P. C., & Essens, P. (2013). Train as You Fight revisited: Preparing
for a comprehensive approach. PRism, 4(2), 1730.
Shirreff, R. (2010). Unity of purpose in hybrid conflict: Managing the civilian/military disconnect
and Operationalizing the comprehensive approach. Commander NATOs Allied Rapid
Reaction Corps (ARRC), 23 March 2010, Chatham House Paper. Available at www.chatham-
Vego, M. N. (2009). Systems versus classical approach to warfare. Joint Forces Quarterly, Issue 52,
1st Quarter 2009. www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awgate/jfq/vego_systems.pdf. Accessed 21 May 2013.
Wittkowsky, A., & Wittkampf, U. (2013). Pioneering the comprehensive approach: How
Germanys partners do it, Zif Working Group on The Comprehensive Approach. http://www.
Briefing_Andreas_Wittkowsky_Ulrich_Wittkampf_Jan_2013.pdf. Accessed 4 Apr 2014.
Chapter 8
Just in Time: Civil-Military Logistics

Maggie Heraty


DDR Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration

ECOMOG ECOWAS Monitoring Group
ECOWAS Economic Community of West African States
ICRC International Federation of the Red Cross
INDBAT Indian Battalions of UNAMSIL
IDP Internally Displaced Person
OCHA The UNs Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
MSF Mdicins Sans Frontires
NGO Non-Governmental Organization
OAU Organization of African Unity
PAKBAT Pakistani Battalions of UNAMSIL
SRSG Special Representative of the Secretary General of the UN
UKRBAT Ukrainian Battalions of UNAMSIL
UN United Nations
UNAMIL United Nations Mission in Liberia
UNAMSIL United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone
UNOMSIL United Nations Observer Mission in Sierra Leone
UNHAS United Nations Humanitarian Air Service
UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
WASH Water, Sanitation and Hygiene
WFP The UNs World Food Program

M. Heraty (*)
Humanitarian Logistician, and Trustee-Director of the Humanitarian Logistics Association,
London, UK
e-mail: maggieheraty@yahoo.co.uk

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 103

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_8
104 M. Heraty

8.1 Introduction

Logistics is the backbone of humanitarian intervention in man-made or natural

disasters. In its totality (including procurement), logistics is often the largest ele-
ment of an aid agencys budget, and may comprise as high as 80 % of the relief
effort (Van Wassenhove 2006). Nonetheless, a shortage of both resources and skills
in the logistics area is common to many humanitarian agencies while being fre-
quently unrecognised or underestimated by the agencies themselves (Majewski
et al. 2010).
In practice, field logistics tasks conventionally procurement, storage and trans-
port expand to meet the needs of the operation, usually in proportion to the degree
of damage or underdevelopment of the country or region concerned. The transport
element covers the movement of people (staff as well as members of the affected
population) and cargo (aid goods for distribution to the beneficiary population and
materials needed for providing assistance, such as building refugee camps and
installing water supplies and support infrastructure, as well as office materials and
staff supplies). Road, bridge, seaport and airport repairs can be subsumed into the
logisticians brief. As a result, the logistics needs can rapidly outstrip the resources
and management capability of humanitarian aid agencies (Beamon and Kotleba
All aid agencies involved in an emergency, in whatever sector and of whatever
size, will have some logistics operations and staff, whether it is merely an office
manager looking after a couple of cars within a small national non-governmental
organization (NGO), or the massive food deliveries of the UNs World Food
Program (WFP) and the often large scale refugee movement and camp building
activities of UNHCR (the UNs High Commissioner for Refugees).
There is therefore considerable scope for, and major benefits from, involving
both the private logistics sector and the military, given the assets and expertise of
both groups.
This chapter outlines how logistics can be coordinated during the humanitarian
response to an emergency, and describes examples of civil-military interaction and
cooperation in one operation in West Africa. Finally, the lessons learned from this
and other similar operations in Africa and South Asia are summarized.

8.2 Coordinating Logistics for a Humanitarian Emergency

There is no typical emergency or disaster. Not only do the scale and nature of an
emergency vary, but exactly when it occurs in the cycle of on-going humanitarian
and development aid has an effect on the degree to which civil-military interaction
will take place, as the following examples demonstrate.
8 Just in Time: Civil-Military Logistics 105

In a major conflict or post-conflict emergency situation or a large natural disaster,

the number and variety of involved agencies can be bewildering.1 Most will be com-
peting for national staff, warehousing, and rental cars and trucks.2 The UN agencies,
the Red Cross/Crescent organizations, and the larger NGOs might have their own
vehicle fleets and pre-existing structures, but even these may be overwhelmed by
events in an emergency. Smaller NGOs, especially national agencies, rely on the
market for rental properties and vehicles, or request assistance from the larger orga-
nizations. The presence or arrival of a military force with all its resources will likely
lead to requests for assistance from all sides. The majority of requests for assistance
from the military are therefore likely to be logistics-related.
In large scale emergencies, especially natural disasters, the Cluster System (see
Textbox 8.1) will have been invoked in some or all sectors.3 This should provide an
efficient channel between the humanitarian actors and the military for information
exchange, especially on resources and unmet needs.
In smaller operations which nonetheless have an outside military presence, the
Cluster System will not necessarily have been put in place and a smaller number of
humanitarian agencies will be present. Nonetheless, these agencies will probably
have fewer logistics resources, thus requests for military assistance might still be
Post-conflict, many of the humanitarian agencies will be setting up for the first
time, or returning and re-constituting their programs, after leaving or significantly
reducing their activities during the period of hostilities. Conversely, humanitarian
programs may have been on-going for years, with all resources in place to carry
them out, when an event arises that leads to a need for civil-military cooperation.
This was the case in Liberia in 2010, when parallel operations to repatriate both
Sierra Leonean refugees (from Liberia to Sierra Leone) and Liberian refugees (back
to Liberia from other countries) had all but ended and humanitarian agencies were
therefore scaling down or moving into development work. UNHCR had redeployed
most of its remaining operational trucks to on-going operations elsewhere in West
Africa. An influx into Liberia of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing the conflict in
neighbouring Cte dIvoire was declared to be an emergency, swamping the
resources of the existing humanitarian program, and leading to calls for logistics
assistance from UN peace-keepers.
The logistics resources available to the different agencies in a natural disaster will
similarly vary greatly and will in part depend on whether there had been an ongoing

As response to the Sri Lankan tsunami grew, hundreds of international and foreign bilateral agen-
cies registered with the Government, in addition to thousands of local NGOs and other groups.
In rare cases, the opposite situation occurs: during the initial response to the tsunami in Sri Lanka,
there were so many air forces offering assets that humanitarian agencies almost felt obliged to fly
cargoes which could have been more efficiently trucked.
In a refugee-related emergency, the Cluster System is usually not activated formally because
UNHCR adopts the coordination role for emergency response. However, there may well still be a
set of inter-agency sector coordination committees and/or meetings which in reality carry out
many of the practical roles of a Cluster in information exchange, data collection, and channelling
106 M. Heraty

humanitarian program before the disaster. At the time of the Haiti earthquake in
January 2010, few agencies had large scale logistics operations or resources in the
country. Conversely, when the tsunami struck Sri Lanka in December 2004, UNHCR
had already been operating in the country for many years to assist people displaced
by the internal conflict, and had offices and warehouses of aid items in the capital
and in the affected areas on the north and east coasts, as well as some trucking capac-
ity. The agency was therefore able to start providing some assistance the same day.

Textbox 8.1: The Logistics Cluster

The Cluster System was set up in 2005 after the Pakistan earthquake, and fol-
lowed a major review and reform of humanitarian coordination, although it
draws on the General Assembly Resolution 46/182 (United Nations 1991).
The aim was to provide a platform in each of the (initially nine) main sec-
tors such as Logistics, Health, WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene) so
that humanitarian agencies may better coordinate their support for the national
authorities in the provision of humanitarian assistance, and better report back
to the UNs Humanitarian Coordinator and Humanitarian Country Team.
Clusters are designated by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee of UN
agencies and NGOs.
Each Cluster is led by a designated specialist UN agency, international
NGO or the International Federation of the Red Cross (ICRC), under the over-
all coordination of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA). Cluster meetings are generally open to any humanitarian
actors in the sector, to exchange information and discuss strategies, plans and
operations. The Logistics Cluster lead agency is the WFP.
Logistics Cluster Chairs and their staff maintain databases of the various
agency resources with other data (such as road conditions). They often act as
a clearing house for requests for trucking capacity, or bookings on aircraft and
ships, where surplus capacity is available from other sources. This might
include channelling requests for the use of military assets.
In major emergencies, Cluster meetings can start out being daily, then
gradually cut back to three times, twice and then once a week. In a protracted
situation, meetings might only be convened when there is something new to
Where the humanitarian assistance is being provided in a number of differ-
ent places, or far from the capital city, sub-Clusters can be convened in each
operational centre, usually where the Cluster Lead has offices. In some cases,
these sub-Clusters can be more active than those in the capital; for example,
by 2010 the Logistics Cluster in Sri Lanka was only operating in the northern

8 Just in Time: Civil-Military Logistics 107

Textbox 8.1 (continued)

town of Vavuniya, to cater for the reintegration of Tamil IDPs4 in their home
villages once hostilities had ended.

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are people who have been forced to leave their homes
but remain within their national boundaries; in contrast, refugees have left their own coun-
try to seek asylum and protection in another. UNHCR was established to provide protection
and assistance to refugees but increasingly has a mandate for IDP situations. See also Chap.
15 by Mougne and Groot, this volume.

8.3 Humanitarian-Military Interaction

In every situation where humanitarian organizations are providing assistance to the

local population while a military force is deployed, some form of interaction
between the humanitarians and the military will develop. It will often involve
requests by the IOs and NGOs to the military for help and we will discuss what
types of requests for assistance may be expected. Different humanitarian organiza-
tions have different attitudes towards cooperating with military forces. We will also
touch upon those.

Requests for Assistance

The likely demands for logistics-related assistance that can be made to the military
by the national authorities or the humanitarian actors, directly or through the
Logistics Cluster, include:
Security: physical security from the provision of troops for guarding establish-
ments (such as warehouses) and/or escorting convoys; in extreme cases, clearing
of mines and IEDs, both to safeguard movements and to facilitate the return of
displaced people to their homes;
Intelligence, where possible from both sides of borders: both with regard to secu-
rity issues affecting humanitarian operations and also relating to the spontaneous
movement of people (refugees or IDPs);
Data on the condition of roads, bridges, airfields, and seaports: this is an area
where established humanitarian agencies can provide newly arrived military
forces with information, with on-going information sharing as conditions change;
Aircraft handling for large airlifts: from the allocation of slots and air traffic
control, through to the physical management of the airport and supervision of
unloading; e.g. for the Haiti earthquake US forces took over management of Port
au Prince airport at an early stage. Such collaboration has become common in
major emergencies since the UN Mission to Bosnias management of the
Sarajevo airlift (Cutts 1999);
108 M. Heraty

The loan or sale of fuel for aircraft and/or vehicles and vessels, and the safe stor-
age and/or management of fuel owned by humanitarian agencies;
Engineering plant and personnel for rubble clearing, the construction or repair of
roads, bridges and airports, and site clearing for the construction of refugee and
IDP camps;
The temporary or sporadic loan of specialist plant, equipment and other resources:
this includes heavy lift equipment, especially for moving shipping containers,
water tanks, large tented warehouses, and heavy generators;
Assistance in accommodating and/or feeding humanitarian staff in areas where
the agencies do not yet have a presence;
Use of fixed and rotary wing aircraft and vessels for staff and cargo: this may be
on a sub-load basis (e.g. use of spare seats or tonnage on scheduled services) or
the loan of the assets for special flights or sailings for humanitarian purposes;
Trucking: this is the most common first call on military resources.
WFP and UNHCR in particular often have fleets of trucks (owned or on long
term contract), and perhaps ships and boats, or even air services, commonly oper-
ated by UNHAS (the UN Humanitarian Air Service) under the aegis of WFP. Such
resources are often made available to other UN agencies and NGOs, which may, for
example, have their cargoes carried on UNHCRs trucks, particularly where the
goods form part of a UNHCR-coordinated program. Some international NGOs have
their own small truck fleets or long term contracts with private truckers.

Attitudes Towards Requesting Military Support

Aside from differences in resources, agencies have different attitudes to using mili-
tary assets. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the MSF
(Mdicins sans Frontires) family of agencies, in particular, will generally not have
any involvement at all. There might be a Code of Conduct for Humanitarian
Agencies, specific to the country, which could address, for example, the use of mili-
tary escorts; nonetheless there is some discretion allowed to agencies senior man-
agement especially when the safety of aid beneficiaries and staff is at stake and the
use of military escorts can be deemed to be a last resort. The overarching princi-
ples for the use of military assets in disaster relief were first drawn up 1994 in the
Oslo Guidelines with later revisions (OCHA 2007), more recently summarised in
simple pamphlet form (OCHA 2013).
In insecure locations, UNHCR might request military escorts from the national
military (in the first instance) or foreign forces for convoys, especially those moving
people, while WFP might not request the same for their convoys of food. In no case
will armed elements be allowed to travel inside UN vehicles, and UNHCR would
generally prefer to carry people under its protection in its own trucks, even if it has to
use private or military trucks for other purposes such as baggage and other cargoes,
although one notable exception is described below. One important factor in this respect
is the difficulty of obtaining passenger insurance cover for non-UNHCR trucks.
8 Just in Time: Civil-Military Logistics 109

Liberian refugees in Sierra Leone boarding UNHCR trucks (Photo by UNHCR)

Sensitivities in this respect need to be recognized from the early stages of civil-
military interaction, especially in dealing with Logistics Cluster meetings where
many agencies with different philosophies may be represented (there were some-
times more than 100 agency representatives at Logistics Cluster meetings in Haiti in
the first couple of months). The Cluster Lead might ask if there is any objection to
military presence (if so, the Chair of the meeting will meet the military representa-
tive separately first or afterwards for briefing). The process of overcoming any prej-
udices is assisted if the military representative wears civilian clothes if possible.
It also needs to be recognized that the UN humanitarian agencies and ICRC can
and do operate in areas where the military cannot, such as rebel-held areas (e.g. in
Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone). The UN has to be discreet about what is fed back to the
military, where disclosure might impact its own operation. ICRC will almost never
disclose anything.

8.4 Case Study: Sierra Leone

This section discusses the interaction between humanitarians and the military in
Sierra Leone after 1999. It first describes the humanitarian situation, including the
disposition and operations of the aid agencies in the region. This is followed by an
explanation of the background, mandate and operations of UNAMSIL, the interna-
tional force that was set in place in 1999. The third section provides examples of
cooperation between the humanitarian actors and the UNAMSIL troops. The sec-
tion ends with a Conclusions section.
110 M. Heraty

Map UNHCR Sierra Leone Atlas Map 2004, Geographic Information and Mapping Unit,
Population and Geographic Data Section
8 Just in Time: Civil-Military Logistics 111

Aid Agencies Operations

At the end of 1999, after years of devastating civil conflict, over half a million Sierra
Leonean refugees were dispersed in other countries of West Africa, including
370,600 in Guinea, and 96,300 in Liberia (UNHCR 2000). By September 2001,
271,000 Sierra Leonean refugees had returned to and been reintegrated in their
areas of origin.
The work of the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, at the beginning of the 20002002
period included assisting a few thousand residual Liberian refugees, plus supporting
a slow trickle of Sierra Leonean refugees returning from asylum in neighbouring
countries. There was a build-up of several thousand refugees who had returned
spontaneously to Sierra Leone, mostly from Guinea, but could not be facilitated by
UNHCR to return to and resettle in their original villages, as these were still in rebel
hands; many were being supported as de facto IDPs living in hosting communities
in the south until they could finally start returning home at the end of 2001.
The regional context was extremely complex from both humanitarian and geo-
political points of view with successive foreign military interventions. Both Sierra
Leone and neighbouring Liberia had suffered protracted civil conflicts, which were
ongoing sporadically. Refugees from each country had crossed to the other, and
refugees from both had fled into Guinea, which borders both countries, as well flee-
ing by sea to as other counties along the West African coast (especially Ghana and
Nigeria). Large numbers of Liberian refugees had also crossed into Cte dIvoire
which had been a stable country until the first coup in December 1999. Since 1997
some Liberian refugees had been returning to Liberia from Guinea and, later, from
Cte dIvoire, in UNHCR-organised road convoys, and from further afield by a ship
chartered by UNHCR. By early 2001 the same ship was returning some Sierra
Leonean urban refugees from Conakry in Guinea to the secure areas of Sierra
Leone around Freetown, after spontaneous returns had started taking place in over-
crowded and unsafe private vessels. A small airlift was also arranged by UNHCR at
the request of the President to return the professional classes and their families
(teachers, police officers and the like) who wished to repatriate from refugee camps
in forest Guinea.
UNHCR was planning on opening offices in the north (Koidu in Kono province)
and north-east (Kailahun town in Kailahun province), the main areas of origin of the
refugees in forest Guinea, as well as two (Kambia and Zimmi) nearer the coast and
relatively close to the borders with Guinea and Liberia respectively. Once the offices
were established, the staff based there would organise reintegration works prior to
the return of the refugees, working with NGOs and other agencies to restore some
of the social infrastructure, which had been destroyed in the years of fighting.
The repatriation route from Guinea to Sierra Leone, using main roads from the
forest, passing close to the Guinean capital city of Conakry and entering Sierra
Leone near Kambia, was extremely circuitous and took 5 or 6 days by road, and
utilised enormous trucking capacity, although the refugee camps were very close
geographically to the refugees area of return. Thus one possibility was to devise new
crossings in very remote rural areas where rivers formed the national border, although
112 M. Heraty

the river areas, especially near Kailahun, were under the control of rebel forces.
Clearly a large amount of prior assessment and preparation would need to be carried
out, for which UNAMSIL was asked to provide assistance, as described below.
Shortly after the start of the eventual repatriation operation, an emergency arose
when an outbreak of hostilities in Liberia, around the capital, Monrovia, forced a
new influx of 60,000 Liberian refugees along the coast and into Sierra Leone. Many
crossed in the remote south-eastern corner, where there is a large river bridge with
a paved road into Liberias capital, albeit served by only a virtually abandoned dirt
road on the Sierra Leonean side, leading towards Zimmi. Additionally, significant
numbers of refugees crossed the river by canoe, at several scattered points further
upstream, and hid in the dense tropical rain forest.

Photo: Refugees arriving from Liberia after some temporary shelter had been installed at the
border Photo by UNHCR

There was an immediate need to locate and provide assistance to these new
Liberian refugees, to move them to transit centres for their temporary accommoda-
tion, and to build and equip refugee camps for their longer-term residence.
Sierra Leones infrastructure had been devastated by the protracted hostilities
and years of neglect, exacerbated by the effects of heavy rainy seasons, with dirt
roads making access to the Liberian border very difficult. Very few commercial
trucks were available for hire and few of these could or would venture up-country.
UNHCRs own fleet of four wheel drive trucks was old and clearly inadequate in
size for all the needs of the operation.
With this new emergency overlaid on planned operations which were already
stretching UNHCR logistics resources to near-breaking point, the decision was
taken to invoke the assistance of UNAMSIL which was by then well installed.
8 Just in Time: Civil-Military Logistics 113

Context for the UNAMSIL Operation

Sierra Leone was in civil conflict from 1991 onwards, first involving rebel groups
based in areas bordering Liberia, then followed by an army coup in 1992. The first
international military involvement, from 1991 onwards, was by ECOMOG, the
Military Observer Group of ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African
States), with the authorization of the UN Security Council.
After diplomatic efforts by the Special Envoy of the Secretary General of the UN
and the OAU (Organisation of African Unity), an election was held in 1996, in
which President Kabbah was elected. The rebels did not participate in the electoral
process, however, and fighting continued until the signature of a peace agreement,
the Abidjan Accord, later that year. Despite the Accord, in 1997 a second military
coup took place in which the army sided with the rebel forces and the President was
driven into exile.
ECOWAS troops were then empowered under a UN Security Council Resolution
to enforce an international oil and arms embargo, and in 1998 they overthrew the
military junta and drove rebel forces out of the capital, so that the President Kabbah
could return to power; the UN Observer Mission in Sierra Leone (UNOMSIL) was
established by the Security Council.
Fighting still continued, nonetheless, and in December 1998 most UNOMSIL
personnel (and UN agency international staff) had to be withdrawn from Freetown.
ECOMOG troops retook the capital but rebel forces remained in control of at least
half of the rest of the country. After further diplomatic efforts, the Lom Agreement
on a cessation of hostilities was signed in May 1999, and included a call from all
parties for an increased role for UNOMSIL.
Accordingly, UNAMSIL was established by Security Council Resolution
1289 in October 1999 with an initial force of 6,000 troops, a figure which was to rise
to 17,500 by March 2001, making it the then-largest UN peace-keeping mission in
the world. The augmentation of the forces followed a serious breach of the ceasefire
by the rebels in 2000 and their taking hostage hundreds of UNAMSIL peacekeepers
and military observers in Kailahun, resolved by unilateral British military
The UNAMSIL operation, which continued until 2005, is regarded as a success
story in modern peacekeeping. Its initial mandate, which focused on monitoring the
ceasefire and supporting governance, was expanded in February 2000 under Chapter
VII of the UN Charter to provide security at a wider range of key locations and to
incorporate peace-building measures. Throughout, it was tasked to facilitate the
delivery of humanitarian assistance, to assist the Government in its program of dis-
armament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of the rebel forces, and to sup-
port the electoral process. The DDR process dealt with 75,000 ex-fighters, while
half a million refugees and displaced persons were assisted to return home. Other
successful interventions led to better control of the diamond mining industry (which
had been producing blood diamonds to fund hostilities) and the construction of a
wide range of social infrastructure (hospitals, schools, and the like).
114 M. Heraty

Photo: UNAMSIL transport resources greatly outnumbered those of the aid agencies (Photo by
Raffael Ciriello)

Cooperation Between UNAMSIL and UNHCR

The UN Mission in Sierra Leone (UNAMSIL) provided massive support to the

work of UNHCR in the years 20002002.4 We will discuss the manner in which
requests for assistance from UNHCR to UNAMSIL were handled at the time, fol-
lowed by some examples of concrete cooperation that developed into standing,
although unwritten, agreements between the organizations.

Requests for Assistance

The first approaches from the UN community to UNAMSIL were informal and as a
matter of fact no formal agreement was drawn up throughout the period of collabo-
ration. There were disadvantages to this being the case, but at the same time it
allowed for greater flexibility. Each request was considered by the UNAMSIL Force

This was before the Cluster system had been put in place but the author initiated interagency
logistics meetings as more and more agencies returned to post-junta Sierra Leone. Initially the
UNHCR Regional Logistics Officer, later relocated to be the Senior Logistics Officer for Sierra
Leone, she was also informally designated UNHCRs military liaison officer, in which role she
requested assistance of all types from UNAMSIL for her own agency and on behalf of others.
8 Just in Time: Civil-Military Logistics 115

Commander and the SRSG (Special Representative of the Secretary General, to

whom the Force Commander reports) purely on the basis of immediate humanitar-
ian need and the availability of appropriate UNAMSIL assets, while the absence of
a formalized list of areas of collaboration meant that unexpected and unusual
requirements were not refused simply because they had not been itemized in an
earlier agreement.
UNAMSIL has been provided by the British Government, after its own forces
had withdrawn, with a Brigadier-General and six Lieutenant-Colonels from the
British Army as staff officers supporting the Force Commander. One of these
Lieutenant-Colonels was responsible for Logistics and became the focal point for
UNHCRs many and diverse requests for assistance.
At each stage, the formal request was sent by letter from the UNHCR
Representative (country director) to the UNAMSIL Force Commander, copied to
the SRSG, but only after it had been discussed informally with the Lieutenant-
Colonel and he had investigated the practicality with the national Battalion who
would be providing the resources. In this way, the official request could be couched
in terms which precluded any objections and avoided an exchange of questions and
answers. In practice, therefore, everything could be planned and put in place before
the formal agreement was received from the Force Commander a day or two later.
This proved very effective in a fast moving operation.

Photo: UNAMSIL truck in Sierra Leone (Photo by Panzerbaer)

116 M. Heraty

Some requests were driven by UNAMSIL having resources which UNHCR did
not, or in places where UNHCR was not yet operating, but many were due to short-
falls in UNHCRs resources due to lack of donor funding, especially with the
impossibility of funding any procurement of new trucks.
Example 1: Accommodation, Security and Engineering Support
The first request to UNAMSIL was for support for a 45 day inter-agency assess-
ment mission to Kono, co-led by OCHA and UNHCR. The mission of 2030
humanitarian agency and government officers would assess everything from the
remaining population in the area (including the numbers of teachers, medical work-
ers, and the like) to the condition of civil infrastructure including roads. UNAMSIL
agreed that the Indian Battalion INDBAT1 based in Koidu would provide accom-
modation for the mission, security escorts, and some of its own engineers and tech-
nical advisors to assist in the appraisal.
The mission drove up to Koidu, the provincial capital, in a convoy of 4WD UN
and NGO vehicles on roads secured by various UNAMSIL bases and patrols en
route. In the event, the convoy was blocked short of Koidu by a particularly muddy
stretch of road, only to find that INDBAT1 had already noticed this and sent out
graders to clear a diversion through a drier part of the forest for the missions pas-
sage. This was the beginning of long running collaboration with INDBAT and their
successors PAKBAT in both Kono and Kailahun.
The INDBAT1 base in Koidu was set up in and around a cluster of ruined build-
ings, where they had set up tents for the mission and provided meals in the impro-
vised officers mess. The missions success and achievements were partly due to
having a welcoming base to return to after long days in the field. INDBAT1 were
new to the area but had some insights to get the assessment off to a good start and
their engineers were of great value, especially with regard to roads and bridges.
Example 2: Rotary Wing Assets
Later missions up-country were carried out more easily using UNAMSIL helicop-
ters and included the identification of a site immediately adjacent to the UNAMSIL
base at Koidu for the installation of a tented office and residential camp for
UNHCRs use until a building could be identified and rehabilitated. In both the
clearing of the site and the installation of the tents, INDBAT1 were invaluable.
They, and PAKBAT1, subsequently provided on an on-going basis both security
and ad hoc assistance in the event, for instance, that the UNHCR generators or
water supply needed attention.
8 Just in Time: Civil-Military Logistics 117

The UNAMSIL MI8 helicopters operated an extensive scheduled service around

the country. This supplemented UNHCRs regional light aircraft which served the
airports at Kenema and Bo twice a week off an airstrip in Freetown which was more
conveniently located than the international airport. It also offered services to
Conakry (Guinea), Monrovia (Liberia) and Abidjan (Cte dIvoire). The booking
procedures for each service were opened up to other agencies on a seat-available
basis, although in total there was much more capacity on, and therefore more use
made of, UNAMSILs helicopters.
The Pakistan Air Force had provided two small Bell JetRanger helicopters to
their UNAMSIL mission and these proved an invaluable asset at the time of the
sudden influx of Liberian refugees. The author and two UNAMSIL Officers were
able to fly down to the Mano River Bridge, landing on the approach road, to talk to
border officials on both sides and to many refugees. There was just enough fuel left
to do a pass along the river to identify the canoe crossing points upstream. During
the refuelling stop at Kenema on the return journey, all the key facts could be passed
back by satphone to UNHCR in Freetown for transmission to an interagency meet-
ing that evening. Mobilization began immediately of water supplies, health care and
food, and planning began for the relocation of the refugees. A mission which would
have involved at least 2 days driving each way just to arrive in the area was com-
pleted in a day.
Having UNAMSIL present at the airports in Bo and Kenema meant that UNHCR
could position stocks of JetA1 fuel there in case of need for their aircraft, under
UNAMSILs security. An agreement was also reached that in an emergency,
UNHCR could draw on UNAMSILs fuel stock against future reimbursement in
Example 3: Trucking Capacity
UNHCR had already on occasion had the loan of a few trucks from UNAMSIL
Battalions for hauling cargo up-country from Freetown but the lack of trucking
capacity became a crisis with the arrival of the new Liberian refugees. There were
completing claims for the ongoing repatriation of refugees to Sierra Leone from
Guinea, since it was felt that to stop that operation would be destabilising and send
the wrong signals, as well as unfair to the returnees who had planned their return
around the agricultural seasons and school terms. Transport was needed for all the
materials involved in constructing new refugee camps and to deliver the domestic
items given to new arrivals (blankets, sleeping mats, jerrycans, soap and so on).
Discussions about using UNAMSIL trucks therefore began in the JetRanger during
the flight back to Freetown.
118 M. Heraty

Photo: Preparing to move from the border to a transit centre (Photo by UNHCR)

The Ukrainian Battalion (UKRBAT) had the greatest availability to assist but
could only drive in convoy, in part because of the need to be accompanied by an
English interpreter. It seemed therefore that, despite many reservations from
UNHCR and its partner agencies, the best use of UKRBAT would be to transport
the refugees from the point of arrival to the transit centre in Zimmi, a short distance
but a days work given the time to embark and disembark, and the state of the roads.
The Battalion immediately deployed and set up a camp in the forest near Zimmi.
They first transported all the refugees from the bridge while UNHCR staff went out
by car and on foot to ask the refugees in the forest along the river to walk the short
distance to the road; they were then also taken to the transit centre. As the new arriv-
als were processed in turn at the transit centre, after a few days stay they were taken
to one of two new refugee camps that were under construction further from the
border. This movement was effected in parallel by a second set of UKRBAT trucks.
There were practical problems: firstly, the Ukrainian trucks were Russian and
operating them required large amounts of gasoline. This was provided by UNAMSIL
but paid for by UNHCR, so the budgetary aspects were significant. Second, the
truck capacity was a maximum of 25 passengers, compared to UNHCR trucks
which could take 42, which further raised the cost per refugee. Thirdly, the NGO
providing the medical escort would not travel in a convoy with military personnel
and trucks; an arrangement was made that they would drive behind the convoy.
Then if a refugee needed medical attention, the truck would stop; the patient would
be transferred to a UNHCR escort car, which would then park until the NGO team
caught up with it.
8 Just in Time: Civil-Military Logistics 119

Lastly, and most significantly, the UKRBAT drivers, who were very enthusiastic
about assisting the refugees, would walk around during embarkation and debarka-
tion and watch the operation; being soldiers, they were carrying their weapons at all
times. Unfortunately, the refugees were fleeing conflict between the Liberian army
and paramilitary rebel groups, and so it was felt that the sight of the UKRBAT driv-
ers in uniform and carrying arms could be traumatising. The protests from some
humanitarian workers within and outside UNHCR, who had by then seen the new
operation, were vociferous. After only a few days, it seemed that UKRBATs
involvement would have to cease. The only alternatives from a logistics point of
view, however, were for the new refugees to be forced to walk to Zimmi, for several
days, or to stop the repatriation movement from Guinea to release UNHCR trucks.
Clearly the Ukrainian drivers could not leave their weapons behind, so a compro-
mise was proposed. The drivers were asked to stay out of sight in the cabs of their
trucks while parked at the pick-up and drop-off points, which they reluctantly did.
The humanitarian actors largely accepted this as the least bad option and the opera-
tion continued.
In parallel, other UNAMSIL Battalions had been involved in trucking cargos,
especially of building materials and domestic items for the refugees, from the sea-
port to the new camps, hauling and installing shipping containers to serve as tempo-
rary storage facilities, and other logistics efforts.

The Cooperation Firmly Established

As the country opened up, staff in UNHCR field offices got to appreciate that they
could rely on the resources of their local Battalion to help with small but essential
tasks such as repairing generators or moving shipping containers in short order.
UNAMSIL took over the maintenance of the airports, and main roads and bridges,
for everybodys benefit, but also usually responded positively to specific requests to
grade rural roads or repair small bridges serving refugee camps or providing access
to clinics. The earlier meeting with the rebel forces on river crossing points proved
invaluable when a temporary causeway was built with UNAMSIL assistance across
the river from Kailahun to Guinea, to allow direct repatriation during one dry

Case Study Conclusions

In a later independent review of the Sierra Leone program by UNHCRs Evaluation

and Policy Analysis Unit, it was concluded that While the Code of Conduct for
Humanitarian Agencies [in Sierra Leone] places limitations on active collaboration
with armed forces it was found in Sierra Leone that the support provided to UNHCR
by UNAMSIL was of truly life-saving nature. The fact that UNAMSIL forces were
generally welcomed by the local population and won many hearts and minds in
120 M. Heraty

reconstruction efforts in addition to their military duties meant that UNHCRs

humanitarian work was not compromised by occasional reliance on the support of
peace-keeping troops. (Sperl and De Vriese 2005: 20).
Throughout the period in question, the support of UNAMSIL for UNHCR and
its partner agencies hinged on good personal relations between individuals, initially
in Freetown and later up-country. Communication in Freetown was open and direct,
between logistics professionals with a mutual respect and a great deal of
The forces of all ranks seemed to enjoy this aspect of serving in Sierra Leone,
with new experiences outside of their usual formal duties. Some of the battalions
based up-country (especially INDBAT and PAKBAT in Kono and Kailahun) had
already been providing health services and building social infrastructure, but the
opportunity to assist refugees at their most vulnerable proved especially satisfying.

8.5 Conclusions

Civil-Military collaboration and especially logistics support by the military to

humanitarian operations is not without its drawbacks on both sides. This section
will mention some of the issues and provide suggestions for future operations.
Pre-disaster interaction between military and humanitarian actors is invaluable
in breaking down barriers of perception and communication, for example through
military exercises including civilian Engagement Cells, or reciprocal presentations
at Staff Colleges and civilian training courses. It has been suggested that the sense
of community between logisticians of all types could make them pathfinders in this
respect (Tatham 2011, also Thynne and Cherne, Chap. 5 and Shetler-Jones, Chap. 7
in this volume).
The ethos of military and humanitarian agencies, and more importantly of the
individuals who work with them, are sometimes poles apart and this can be reflected
in everything from style of dress to manner of speaking. In addition some military
forces have not been exposed to a variety of nationalities and cultures in the same
way as most aid agency staff; even national staff of aid agencies have generally
worked with expatriates from all over the world, while expatriates have often trav-
elled extensively. There are natural suspicions and prejudices to be overcome on
both sides, and this calls for inter-personal skills to be deployed to the full.
Maintaining a good sense of humor is a great help in this respect.
The key to successful collaboration is the management of expectations.
Humanitarian agencies need to recognise that the military might not have the
resources they need or, even if they do, the military assets might not be available.
Forces deploy with what they need for their own operations and little surplus. Thus,
even if the military has, for example, a grader or heavy lift equipment, they have
their own needs for this equipment and will not necessarily stop their work to do
something else for a humanitarian agency. It is too easy for aid agencies to view a
large military presence as having endless resources upon which they can draw, and
8 Just in Time: Civil-Military Logistics 121

then to expect that one favourable response sets a precedent for more assistance to
be provided in future. Even in Sierra Leone, where the collaboration was excellent,
about one request in four or five was turned down, albeit at the informal stage before
a written request had been submitted. It was helpful that UNHCR was usually
advised in advanced when troops would be moving in or out and all the respective
Battalions transport assets would be occupied in the process, and could try to plan
Open and transparent communication is essential on both sides. This is best
achieved by have clear liaison mechanisms. It is essential to facilitate smooth civil-
military interaction that a focal point for liaison be nominated both within the mili-
tary and within the Logistics Cluster and/or each of the larger humanitarian agencies.
To improve the chances of clear communication, liaison officers on both sides
would ideally be logisticians of some professional standing who can understand the
wider implications of each others operation. It is recommended that a specific mili-
tary officer be designated to attend liaison meetings, if only for information
exchange. Consistency in participation is important for good communication to
develop. UN agencies and some larger NGOs might have a nominated Military
Liaison Officer (MLO) either as a job description or as part of the function of a
broader job. Where a formal MLO is put in post, usually with a security back-
ground, either the person should also have a good appreciation of logistics, or the
senior ranking logistics officer should be closely involved in discussions. Over
time, extra military personnel may be designated for direct contact on routine issues
(e.g. bookings on military air services) but the Liaison Officer should deal in the
first instance with all non-routine matters. In a multi-force operation, each Battalion
will also need a similar Liaison Officer (with an interpreter if necessary).
Communication by radio is still the norm in some locations. While the security
of channels has to be respected, there should be the possibility for communication
during a field operation, such as by exchanging a programmed handset with a des-
ignated person in each category. This is especially vital in convoy movements and
has worked well in the authors experience, for example with national and UN mili-
tary escorts in Burundi, Cte dIvoire and across Mali.
Ideally formal agreements should be drawn up between the force and the leading
humanitarian logistics agency or agencies to cover issues of common concern and
specify responsibilities, including the modalities of payment for fuel for trucks on
loan, and other variable costs. Formal procedures should be put in place for booking
space on flights or shipping services. Standard operating procedures should be
shared and harmonized for issues such as convoy behavior, especially when carry-
ing vulnerable passengers.
Conversely, flexibility and lateral thinking on both sides is essential in the practi-
cal application of the agreements and procedures. If what is requested cannot be
provided, is there another way to achieve the desired result?
Some agencies will not welcome (or even accept) military involvement, so their
sensitivities need to be respected.
There are many positive outcomes on both sides to civil-military collaboration.
The humanitarian agencies will obviously benefit from the practical assistance,
122 M. Heraty

while their staff may build up increased respect for the military. The military forces
might deploy to a location where humanitarian agencies have years of experience
and can learn from that. The troops will broaden their experience and find new ways
of thinking, and seem to get considerable satisfaction from providing assistance to
the people of concern. In particular, the military forces can enhance their standing
in the eyes of civil society and therefore, aside from their formal mandate, contrib-
ute considerably to stability and therefore security in a benign manner.

Acknowledgement Many thanks are due to Harry Leefe and Mike Whiting for their ideas and
discussion during the preparation of this Chapter.


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Chapter 9
Reconstructing the Infrastructure of Damaged

Garland H. Williams

9.1 Introduction

The peace operation that requires only military forces or civilian agencies is rare.
Recent operations have become so multifaceted that the capabilities each organiza-
tion brings to the solution can become complementary to other organizations as
long as they can be focused on a coordinated solution. Despite similar objectives,
however, cooperation between these third parties is by no means inevitable.
Establishing cooperative relations among the various external players remains one
of the most challenging aspects of the international response to conflict and disaster
(De Coning and Friis 2011; Rietjens and Bollen 2008).
Peacekeeping efforts in the Balkans demonstrated that there is a period from
about 1 year to 18 months after the cessation of hostilities when the host nation is in
limbo (Toft 2001; Williams 2005: 10). In most cases, there is not enough operating
infrastructure to facilitate economic recovery, there are no internal assets in good
enough shape to provide that infrastructure, and there is no external force in place
that legally can provide the infrastructure help to promote the necessary economic
growth. For many recent operations, military actions in a peace operation had to
provide direct support to the military mission. Any infrastructure reconstruction that
had civilian only use was not covered and was viewed as mission creep and nation
building (Zinni 2001).
I will examine the complementary capabilities that civilian aid agencies and
military forces bring to a peacekeeping mission demonstrating that a combined
approach that meshes these capabilities should result in a more rapid reconstruction
timeline than one in which each is left to their own plans. Using the case of Bosnia
will illustrate the type of agencies that may be present in a peacekeeping operation

G.H. Williams (*)

Academic Dean, College of Security and Criminal Justice,
University of Phoenix, Tempe, AZ, USA
e-mail: Garland.Williams@phoenix.edu

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 123

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_9
124 G.H. Williams

and will further demonstrate arising issues when military and civilian forces are not
coordinated. I will further recommend how to merge the many organizations found
in a peace operation and how the establishment of defined roles in the early days of
the deployment will positively affect reconstruction completion.

9.2 Complementary Capabilities

Most peace operations are complex activities in which no one is completely in

charge, making it all the more important to ensure that all players function cohe-
sively. The various players in an operation may regard one another warily, prefer-
ring where possible to be in charge or to function independently. Almost as if they
were different countries, they speak different languages, sprinkling their documents
and conversations with terms and acronyms that mean little or nothing to the others.
Each has adopted its own philosophy, methods of operation, and organizational
culture and these may not merely differ but clash.

The Military Arm

The military brings certain characteristics to the theater of operations that cannot be
replicated immediately by the civilian agencies. In peace missions, military forces
are increasingly used in a variety of operations across the military continuum,
including observation, liaison, protection of relief convoys and refugees, infrastruc-
ture reconstruction for military purposes, support to civilian agencies, and humani-
tarian work. Above all, the military is prepared to transition immediately to actual
combat should the situation grossly deteriorate.
The key advantage that military forces bring to a peace operation lies in their
ability for quick response and decisive action. There is not a significant preparation
phase that military forces must undergo to bring peace enforcing and stabilization
forces to bear in a conflict situation. Long-term effects, however, must be realized
through a variety of other methods as the militarys focus is short term.

The Civil Agency Arm

Following the end of the Cold War, representatives of national governments

struggled with changes in the meaning and practice of sovereignty as both global
and sub-national forces challenged the status quo. National foreign ministries
played a central part, but developments such as the appointment of special envoys
and special representatives by heads of state and the United Nations (UN) Secretary
General brought a whole series of new actors into the official diplomatic process
(Aall 2000: 123).
9 Reconstructing the Infrastructure of Damaged Societies 125

The roles International Organizations (IOs) assume have taken on new importance
and more is expected from them to influence key state actors. By acting as a sounding
board and a discussion table for states, they have immediate legitimacy should
they determine crisis intervention is required. After many years of being ignored by
powerful states and impenetrable international organizations, Non-Governmental
Organizations (NGOs) were hailed as magicians of sorts, targeting their efforts of
reconciliation at the grassroots level of societies split by civil, ethnic, and religious
strife. In their desire to help the vulnerable and powerless, NGOs have responded to
conflict all over the world, sometimes as a function of their mission for humanitarian
relief or human rights, and sometimes as a deliberate attempt to intervene in the
conflict (Natsios 1997: 337341).

9.3 Roadblocks to Reconstruction

If the goal is to rebuild the physical infrastructure, to jumpstart the economy and
strengthen security immediately after the cessation of hostilities, the military
because of its organizational and logistical advantages is the organization most
suited to accomplish this task in the early stages of the mission due to long delays
in promised civilian aid. In the words of the World Bank,
Pledges are made, but commitment takes longer, and there is a considerable lag before
actual disbursement takes place. Sustainable transitions out of conflict take several years,
yet there is a tendency for donors to disengage once the conflict has receded from public
attention (The World Bank 1998: 21).

Despite all that the military brings to peace operations, there are procedural
roadblocks that have emerged that greatly limit the militarys effectiveness in post
conflict reconstruction. Most of these limitations derive from possessing no initial
national or international mandate that allows any military involvement in post
conflict reconstruction in the civilian sector. There is an argument that military
forces, because of their possible combatant status, should not become involved in
reconstruction; however, this becomes a downward spiral leading to limited recon-
struction funds, inappropriate troop strength, and absence of an organization for
combined civil-military reconstruction planning. The result is a lack of military
focus on the long-term benefits of immediate reconstruction in favor of a short-term
focus on security and stability operations.

9.4 The Rapid Response Gap

Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan highlight the cultural differences and inherent
capabilities found between the military and the international civilian community.
In all three cases, the international civilian community held early donor conferences.
126 G.H. Williams

The conferences verified the need to fund post conflict reconstruction, resulting in
large amounts of money pledged by interested governments and international
agencies. However, the donations were slow to materialize. Some money initially
pledged for reconstruction was later tied to specific projects hampering the local
governments ability to apply the money to its highest priorities for reconstruction.
Other pledges were never received affecting the IOs ability to organize and deploy
to execute the reconstruction mission. Because of a continuing uncertainty for
funding, the intense effort to organize for deployment will not begin until there is an
established requirement to deploy. This causes an immediate gap in the reconstruc-
tion effort once the conflict has ceased.
Many of the reasons for this rapid response gap go beyond a simple lack of
capability and involve a lack of clarity about the timeframe for such post conflict
assistance. Civilians in the diplomatic and development communities do not plan
for short-term contingencies, and often lack significant experience working with
military counterparts. Military planners, uncertain about missions that exceed tradi-
tional security functions, debate if the involvement of soldiers for such long periods
of time dilutes the warfighting capacity of the armed forces. Unless the international
community develops sufficient rapid civilian response capacity, the military will
continue to be the force available to accomplish civilian tasks, diverting finite
resources and greatly reducing its ability to redeploy quickly, potentially degrading
the ability to engage in high-intensity conflict and counterterrorism.

9.5 Bosnia Case Study

The NATO-led operation in Bosnias Operation Joint Endeavor was NATOs first-
ever ground force operation, its first-ever deployment out of area, and its first-ever
joint operation with NATOs Partnership for Peace and other non-NATO countries.
It was a demonstration that the Alliance had changed and adapted its forces and
policies to the requirements of the postCold War world while continuing to provide
collective security and defense for its allies. This first operation also brought
some inconsistency and some muddling through. NATO did not have policies
and procedures that covered every aspect of the planned operation, nor did it have
policies to use when unforeseen contingencies arose. Peacekeeping on such a grand
scale was not a commonplace occurrence and the roadmap for post-conflict recon-
struction was not fully developed.
Prior to the war, Bosnia had 3,700 km of main roads. After the war, about
2,500 km of roads required urgent attention to avoid catastrophic failure, and an
estimated 58 damaged bridges were considered a high priority to repair or replace
(ARRC 1996: 3). Damage blocked access to several important transportation
corridors, transport organizations divided along territorial lines limited freedom of
movement throughout the country, and companies were further weakened by the
loss of personnel, funds, and equipment.
9 Reconstructing the Infrastructure of Damaged Societies 127

The war made 90 % of the population in the federation at least partly dependent
on humanitarian foreign aid and extensively damaged the countrys water supply,
power generation, roads, and central telecommunications facilities. In terms of
physical losses, the government estimates the overall damages from the war at
$50$70 billion (World Bank 1996: 10). Health hazards existed from deteriorating
water and sewage systems; water supplies in many urban centers were grossly
insufficient for the growing number of people requiring services; sewage collection
systems and treatment plants did not operate; and solid waste collection and disposal
practically collapsed.
Of the 1,030-km rail network, 75 % of which was electrified, only about 300 km
were operational (Tindemans et al. 1996: 96). Additionally, all five of the major
airports in Bosnia sustained heavy damage and were mostly unusable. Large craters
were found in the Sarajevo runway from Serb shelling, all lighting and landing
assist systems were removed, and the terminal was heavily shelled (62d Construction
Royal Engineers 1996: 2029).
Finally, because Bosnia is virtually landlocked, with the exception of a small
spit of land near Metkovic, the primary port in Ploce in southern Croatia was the
only port available to the Bosnians to export goods by sea. However, Serb forces
damaged the overhead lift capacity and sunk several ships in the port blocking the
entrance to the facility. Without lift capacity the port was limited in its ability to
handle container traffic. The economy at the cessation of hostilities was at a stand-
still because of its devastated transportation sector, without a positive prognosis for
internal healing and improvement.

The Dayton Agreement and Its Implementation

The Dayton Agreement to end the conflict in Bosnia had two goals: to end the fight-
ing and to rebuild a viable Bosnian state. To accomplish the first goal, the agreement
detailed an elaborate calendar of commitments to separate and draw down the armed
forces of the Bosnian Serbs on one side and the Bosniac-Croat alliance on the other.
NATOs Implementation Force (IFOR) deployed rapidly along the ceasefire lines,
separated the three armies, and created a weapons-exclusion zone at the Inter-Entity
Boundary Line (GFAP 1995: Annex 1-A, Article IV, para 3(cd)). In accordance
with precise requirements and time-tables set out in the Dayton Agreement, heavy
weapons were destroyed or moved into cantonment sites and were subjected to
regular inspection by international forces. The three armies demobilized to peace-
time levels, and IFOR controlled their deployment and movement in the field to
reduce tensions.
The infrastructure needs, however, proved to be a greater challenge. It was obvious
that the long-term reconstruction program for roads, water supply, sewage, and solid
waste had to restore services to prewar levels rapidly or there would be a massive
outbreak of disease. Critical on-site repairs of water distribution and treatment plants,
128 G.H. Williams

unblocking and replacement of sewer lines, and developing landfills for solid waste
would be key elements of any post-conflict reconstruction program.
However, Minimum Military Requirement (MMR) is the phrase that governed
the militarys commitment of resources to Bosnias post-conflict infrastructure
reconstruction. If the project did not directly aid the military mission, monetary
resources could not be used for the project. Military engineers executed work on
designated military supply routes, conducted minimal repairs on airports and sea-
ports to facilitate the military mission, constructed headquarters facilities to house
military staffs and troops, and executed an extensive mine awareness and marking
campaign. For small humanitarian projects funded from other sources, troop labor
and military equipment could be used when not otherwise engaged in projects con-
tributing to the military mission. Any project outside these guidelines was mission
creep and was not authorized for execution.
Ironically, there were several military engineer units deployed to Bosnia that had
considerable civilian equivalent engineer capacity, most notably the Combat Heavy
Engineer Battalions from the United States Army, the Italian Railway Company
from Italy, and the 62d Construction Royal Engineers from Britain. The MMR
funding mandate, however, prevented each from exercising its full capabilities.
Consequently, the initial work pursued by IFOR rebuilt routes only to rough-terrain,
four-wheel-drive standardsthe standards minimally required of the vehicles
deployed by the military. Throughout the year, IFOR horizontal construction equip-
ment upgraded many roads with gravel allowing civilian cars, trucks, and buses to
transport both workers and economic products throughout the sector; however, this
was not the justification for the upgrade, nor was it a permanent upgrade, requiring
almost continual, daily maintenance. Instead, the justification for these upgrades on
Multi-National Division routes was to help stabilize the routes for military traffic,
and the gravel was added to save on maintenance costs for military vehicles.
The benefit to civilian traffic was officially deemed to be a collateral benefit.
After the end of the first year when IFOR transitioned to the Stabilization Force
(SFOR), SFOR continued to maintain the designated corps and theater route net-
works and the corps redeployment routes; however, SFOR reduced the total kilome-
ters under contract, expanding the number of kilometers of road not scheduled for
routine maintenance, exacerbating the already poor road network. SFOR bridging
repairs were couched in terms to support military freedom of movement; no perma-
nent civilian bridge reconstruction had occurred in the critical first year. Rail recon-
struction was projected to be even more dismal. The theater MMR was achieved in
1996. Activities in 1997 were above MMR to be executed based on funds and troops
available (IFOR/SFOR Engineer Staff 1996: 4). The emphasis here is on civilian
funds available. The Italian Railway Company (military unit) had rehabilitated
480 km of rail during the first year of IFOR using NATO Infrastructure Committee
funds, but that constituted only 5 % of the total network and only targeted lines that
would support IFORs deployment and redeployment needs (ARRC 1996: 3).
On the civilian side of the mission, the greater part of available resources was
to carry out the second goal of the Dayton Agreement rebuild a viable Bosnia
9 Reconstructing the Infrastructure of Damaged Societies 129

state and was specifically directed into physical reconstruction, driven by urgent
humanitarian considerations and the need to stimulate the economy. Jointly coordi-
nated by the World Bank and the European Commission (EC), the priority recon-
struction program attracted over $5 billion in international aid; however, much of it
was delayed or was tied strictly to humanitarian uses (European Commission and
World Bank 1999: Annex 61).
The World Bank organized the vast share of multilateral assistance to support
post-conflict reconstruction and economic transition in Bosnia through a series of
periodic pledging conferences. (Heric et al. 2000: 319). The pledging conferences
started well, with the first two conferences exceeding pledging expectations; how-
ever, the momentum quickly slowed. The first formal pledging conference occurred
in Brussels on December 2122, 1995, when donors were asked to support a 4-year
$5.1 billion Priority Reconstruction and Recovery Program (PRRP), prepared by
the government of Bosnia with the aid of the World Bank, the EC, and the European
Bank for Reconstruction and Development (Heric et al. 2000: 319). Fifty countries
and 27 IOs pledged $615 million, exceeding the conferences target by $97 million.
Its key objectives were to initiate a broad-based rehabilitation process that would
jumpstart economic recovery and growth, strengthen government institutions, and
support the transition to a market economy. Little actual long-term reconstruction
occurred as donors did not fulfill their commitments. According to Heric, Sapcanin,
and Woodward:
Much of the pledge gap in Bosnia reflected delays in delivery and implementation, not
nonfeasance or default. Causes of these delays could be found on both the donor side,
where inexperience created heavy start-up costs, and the recipient side, where host-
government procedures were woefully underdeveloped. Delay was exacerbated by the deci-
sion making procedures of the peace agreement itself, by the dominant role of political
conditionality in the use of aid, and by the complex coordination problems of so large an
operation as the Dayton mission (Heric et al. 2000: 359).

Disbursing this volume of international aid in such a short period of time was an
enormous operational challenge for the international agencies involved a chal-
lenge that was not met with success in the critical first year. Success required that
the responsible organizations make the rapid disbursement of funds their principal
objective; however, much of the funding was not available, nor was the organization
established to accomplish disbursement. The World Bank entered Bosnia on the
basis of a post-natural-disaster operational policy, which explicitly excludes
institution-building objectives; this policy would serve to have long-term negative
effects (Williams 2005: 115).
Finally, a massive problem that continued to impact all sectors of Bosnian life was
the residual mine threat. During the war, the warring factions placed half a million
mines in more than 17,000 minefields, largely around the lines of confrontation.
Because the lines of confrontation constantly moved during the 4-year war, the
exact location of all of the minefields was never known. Unexploded ordnance was
all over the sector, mostly a result of the NATO air campaign, which was just as
deadly as the recorded minefields. Dual-purpose improved conventional artillery
130 G.H. Williams

rounds and mortars that failed to detonate littered the countryside as well. To add
more confusion, the Serb Army gave every soldier 20 antipersonnel mines to use.
As infantry soldiers, the Serbs used these mines as point minefields, emplacing the
mines in front of the defensive position, but never properly recording the minefield
as an engineer soldier was trained to do.


The Dayton Agreement divided the overall responsibility for the implementation of
the civil and military tasks; however, no formal mechanism existed to develop the
unified political direction necessary to synchronize civil and military policy between
these two bodies. Under the Dayton Agreement, the Office of the High Representative
(OHR) was to coordinate the activities of the civilian organizations in Bosnia to
ensure the efficient implementation of the civilian aspects of the peace settlement,
and to remain in close contact with the IFOR commander to facilitate the discharge
of their respective responsibilities. The civilian implementation institutions man-
dated at Dayton, however, started the operation under considerable disadvantages.
These organizations were created, funded, and staffed on the ground after the military
deployment. This delay resulted in public pressure for IFOR to take on a larger role
in implementing civilian tasks.
This method of mission extension had problems, however. With no visible OHR
staff to tackle civilian infrastructure problems, there was considerable delay in
assessing what exactly required reconstruction. The locals continued to experience
life without drinkable water, reliable electricity, or safe heat. The High Representative
was not a UN Special Representative and his political guidance originated from the
steering board of the Peace Implementation Council, which was not a standing
internationally recognized political organization. As such, the absence of an organi-
zation with which the North Atlantic Council could coordinate policy hampered
synchronization of civil military implementation of the Dayton Agreement. Given
the United Nations reluctance to play a lead role, there was effectively no interna-
tionally recognized political organization providing overall direction.
For the most part, the responsibility for coordinating the vast array of implied
supporting tasks of the Dayton Agreement fell to a small, often unnoticed staff sec-
tion CIMIC/Civil Affairs. CIMIC (the NATO acronym for civil-military coopera-
tion) played an unprecedented role in achieving the objectives of the Dayton
Agreement. The implementation of the civil aspects of the agreement was essential
to IFORs exit strategy and the return to normalcy for the people of Bosnia, and
CIMIC became the vital link between the military and the civilian organizations
operating in theater. It took until August 1996, a full 8 months after the standup of
IFOR, before CIMIC completed a comprehensive assessment by obstina (county)
and even longer to mobilize funding and resources to begin solving many of these
9 Reconstructing the Infrastructure of Damaged Societies 131

The NATO force generation conference for Bosnia called for United States Civil
Affairs assets to deploy and augment each Multi-National Divisions (MND) head-
quarters. However, once the Civil Affairs deployment began, some nations (most
significantly France) neither planned for, nor needed, United States Civil Affairs
assets in their MND. Rather than revise the Civil Affairs manning requirements, the
excess U.S. Civil Affairs personnel were absorbed by the IFOR and ARRC head-
quarters resulting in an increase in these HQ CIMIC structures by two to three
times. While basic logistical support to this overflow was not provided, the main
impact was that the excess staff began to get involved in functions normally assumed
at lower levels of command. During IFOR, 352 CIMIC personnel deployed to
Bosnia from the United States, compared with 40 from France and a total of 50 from
all other nations (Landon 1998). The late mobilization of these assets, and the
resulting delay in their deployment into theater, placed the deploying lead ground
elements at a disadvantage. Lessons learned show that the early deployment of
Civil Affairs personnel in the theater of operations can be a great force multiplier,
setting the stage for the introduction of follow-on forces into an environment that
has benefited from specialized interaction with the local population.
Using the excess CIMIC personnel, IFOR created an informal Civil Military
Operations Center (CMOC) within the IFOR headquarters that included both civil-
ian and military members and served as an implementing and integrating body
designed to operationalize the terms of the peace accord. It was an extremely loose
structure, primarily staffed by United States Army Reserve Civil Affairs assets, that
worked through member inclusion rather than member exclusion. Formal members
of the CMOC drifted in and out as the specific members of the organization
depended on the focus of the reconstruction effort at the moment. No NATO budget-
ary amounts were allocated to the CMOC and, similar to the other finances in
Bosnia, the costs lay with each country that chose to expend resources. There was
no later attempt to balance the outlay among the countries and each individual
countrys expenditure was considered as a contribution to the NATO effort (Sweberg
n.d.: 11). According to United States Ambassador Robert Oakley:
The center (civil-military operations center) was an effective innovative mechanism, not
only for operational coordination, but to bridge the inevitable gaps between military and
civilian perceptions. By developing good personal relationships, the staffs were able to
alleviate the concerns and anxieties of the relief community (Sweberg n.d.: 12).

Admiral Leighton Smith, Commander of IFOR, added,

In November [1995], we had never heard of CIMIC, we had no idea what you did now
we cant live without you (Phillips 1998: 25).

IFOR was able to effectively link Civil Affairs personnel with the local popula-
tion, NGOs, and representatives from other governmental and supra-governmental
organizations. Additionally, the fact that 96 % of the U.S. Civil Affairs structure was
comprised of reservists, the military reserve members brought to the operation their
civilian perspective and transferable skills which further enhanced the military-
civilian cooperation (Landon 1998: 129).
132 G.H. Williams

9.6 Post-conflict Reconstruction Principles

Former UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghalis An Agenda for Peace

formally recognizes the peace consolidation activities that take place after conflict.
However, he provides only the following generic definition: Action to identify and
support structures which will tend to strengthen and solidify peace in order to avoid
a relapse into conflict (Boutros-Ghali 1992). This charge suggests a wide variety of
actions to promote a sustainable peace and facilitate the extraction of military
forces; however, Boutros-Ghali stops short of specifying the definitive steps that an
international peace keeping force should follow to reach a sustainable peace and has
left it to others to provide the required details.
A viable post-conflict reconstruction model should address the cultural differ-
ences and logistical capabilities found in the attending military and civilian organi-
zations as neither community can execute successfully a post conflict reconstruction
plan by itself. Because the mission requires military style short-term rapid response
capability and civilian style long-term development capability, post-conflict recon-
struction requires a path or a model that will successfully mesh the advantages and
mitigate the disadvantages of each organization. The intermediate goal is to return
the primary civilian tasks back to civilian implementation at the earliest feasible
opportunity, with the ultimate goal of building local capacity, local management,
and local control resulting in the redeployment of international peacekeepers.
With these goals in mind, there are many methods to achieve local authority control,
but I argue that each method must include some form of the following four
phases to effectively move from the initial devastation following conflict to a fully
functioning state.

Phase 1: Pre-conflict Planning and Strategy

What distinguishes rapid response from humanitarian aid is that it begins at the
cessation of hostilities and goes beyond saving lives to provide the foundation for
post conflict reconstruction of a war torn region. However, there is often an absence
of a clear timeline and planning process that bridges rapid response initiatives and
developmental initiatives. The cultural divide between short and long-term efforts is
exacerbated by archaic rules that provide flexible assistance on the front end of a
crisis, but cannot sustain it as the crisis matures. To mitigate these circumstances,
there needs to be a clear interagency process to ensure a seamless transition from
short-term rapid response to long-term reconstruction to meet the future needs of a
given country (Davidson et al. 1996: 42.).
One approach is to create two working groups. The first is external to the country
under reconstruction to coordinate planning, resources, international policy, and
logistical support. With numerous countries facing long-term, intractable conflicts,
such ongoing planning efforts would yield better interagency coordination and clear
understanding of standing capacities that each type of situation requires. During the
9 Reconstructing the Infrastructure of Damaged Societies 133

planning and the execution of post conflict reconstruction, the interagency process
would help integrate a combined effort by providing channels of communication
among relevant agencies that will work at all levels.
The second working group is formed within theater at the operational and tactical
levels and is the key to the effective use of diverse organizations and resources in
theater as well as to the conduct of the day-to-day management of conflict prevention.
The use of an organization similar to the CMOC in Bosnia, but under a more formal
charter, would serve as a positive model.

Phase 2: Emergency Response

In the immediate aftermath of hostilities, it is highly probable that an external body

will take the lead to establish a viable government in theater. However, the newly
established government will often not be able to provide for all, if any, of its own
recovery needs. With that assumption, external countries will play a crucial role in
the immediate restoration of the physical infrastructure that will be vital to the
development of the local government, economy, and security. Additionally, due to
the short response time involved, the military may take the initial lead as the execu-
tion agent. As in Phase 1, there are requirements that occur both outside and inside
the theater that should be addressed.
Previous reconstruction efforts, such as post Desert Storm, show that there are
many aspects of reconstruction that must occur that do not necessarily happen on
the construction site and for which there may not be the appropriate facilities in
most areas of the theater. One solution would be to create an international office
with personnel skill sets that would initiate agreements, process letters of assis-
tance, assist in international legal process reviews, coordinate explosive ordnance
removals in accordance with international law, assist in funding transfers and
processing, and coordinate overall program management.
Likewise, a locally developed organization within the theater rapidly can deter-
mine the scope of the emergency reconstruction effort by completing comprehen-
sive damage assessments of the critical infrastructure required to return life to some
sense of normalcy. This organization should assume membership status in the oper-
ations CMOC as it possesses the engineering expertise and knowledge necessary to
execute the assessment. The country assessment includes the evaluation of building
structural safety and pavement damage; completion of environmental baseline
studies to document hazardous sites; thorough evaluation of damage to power gen-
eration and distribution systems, water and sewage treatment facilities, ports, and
airfields; and determination of the reconstruction efforts for heat, communications,
medical facilities, and schools. To accomplish this task to extreme detail cannot
be overemphasized as this baseline will not only be used to determine the short
and long term construction mission requirements but will also serve as state of
the infrastructure documentation upon turnover of the facilities to the local
134 G.H. Williams

Phase 3: Subsequent Recovery and Project Management

As basic needs are met, emergency reconstruction management should shift to a

more traditional project management structure using a commodity centered struc-
ture based on regional analysis. There are numerous ways to execute this phase
using a combination of civilian and military capacities. Regardless of the chosen
structure, it should be able to administer large contracts and complete projects
to established quality standards. As the footprint of the aid agencies grows, the
importance of the military engineering effort diminishes and the local national
involvement can switch to assuming key roles in the internal ministries of the local

Phase 4: Transition to Local Capacity

The goal of the post conflict reconstruction strategy is to transition all reconstruc-
tion functions to the local capacity for construction and to the local ministers for
management. From the beginning, international policymakers must recognize the
need to hand over responsibility for the recovery of the local infrastructure to the
local government as expeditiously as possible. By incorporating local engineers into
all phases of reconstruction and giving them hands-on experience, the recovery
effort will encourage the development of improved facilities, expanded engineering
expertise, and stronger personal relationships. The reconstruction of a countrys
physical infrastructure will not guarantee long-term peace; however, the absence of
a viable infrastructure places a burden upon a fledgling government and people that
cannot be internally overcome and will prevent any chance of long-term peace from
developing to its full potential.

9.7 Conclusion

In their final chapter, the authors of the first Carnegie Report on the Balkans, writing
in 19131914, observed that the future seemed well-nigh hopeless. Such pessi-
mism was well warranted. Shortly after the publication of the report, Europe was
engulfed by World War I. Although as of now, no comparable catastrophe looms on
the European horizon, Bosnia and the Balkans region is now at a crossroads. IFOR
was able to stabilize the security situation in Bosnia with impressive efficiency
(Wentz 1998: 2830). IFOR deployed rapidly along the cease-fire lines, separated
the three armies, and created a weapons-exclusion zone at the Inter Entity Boundary
Line. In accordance with precise requirements and timetables set out in the Dayton
Agreement, heavy weapons were destroyed or moved into cantonment sites and
were subjected to regular inspection by international forces. The three armies were
9 Reconstructing the Infrastructure of Damaged Societies 135

demobilized to peacetime levels, and their deployment and movement in the field
were controlled by IFOR to reduce tensions.
On the civilian side of the mission, the greater part of available resources was
directed into physical reconstruction, driven by urgent humanitarian considerations
and the need to stimulate the economy. Jointly coordinated by the World Bank and
the European Commission, the priority reconstruction program attracted more than
$5 billion in international aid; however, much of it was delayed in its arrival or was
tied strictly to humanitarian uses. Disbursing this volume of international aid in
such a short period of time was an enormous operational challenge for the interna-
tional agencies involved a challenge that was not met with success in the critical
first year. It required that the responsible organizations make the rapid disbursement
of funds their principal objective; however, much of the funding was not available,
nor was the organization established to accomplish disbursement (European
Commission and World Bank 1999: Annex 61).
In short, the international community was able to effectively carry out the first
part of the urgent mission to stop the conflict using military peacekeepers. But the
coordination bodies and an effective recovery structure was not in place and pro-
longed Bosnias inability to fully rally after the cessation of their 4-year protracted
conflict. Again, Bosnia was NATOs first deployment and served as a crucial test
case for policies grounded in theory. Unfortunately, many of the theoretical con-
structs did not survive application and Bosnias long-term reconstruction suffered
for the lack of grounded practice. Each post-conflict reconstruction mission will
have its own unique challenges, but recognizing the operational phases of recon-
struction and creating sustainable planning and execution organizations to imple-
ment the international response will go far to create an effective and sustainable
recovery and potential long-term peace.


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Anthony C. Zinni. Berkeley: Institute of International Studies, University of California. Online
available: http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/conversations/Zinni/zinni-con2.html. Assessed 21
Nov 2013.
62d Construction Royal Engineers. (1996, May). Sarajevo airport assessment. Sarajevo.
Chapter 10
Civil-Military Interaction During Infantry

John Melkon, James Embrey, Harry Bader, and Brian Mennes

10.1 Introduction

International military intervention today often demands a complex set of goals that
integrates the objectives of defeating hostile forces, political reforms within the host
nation, civil society capacity building at the local level, and economic development
distributed across the populace. All of these objectives are intended to promote the
goal of stability and the eventual resolution of the conflict. Mission effectiveness,
therefore, depends upon combining the expertise of a suite of actors. These partici-
pants include not only the military forces deployed, but also a wide array of civilian
personnel. Though there is no single solution to creating an effective civil-military
effort, the discussion herein hopes to impart a few lessons that may be incorporated
by military officers into their own strategic plans so as to achieve the missions they
have been tasked. This chapter addresses three key areas that must be understood by
the field officer, in many cases an infantry officer, when operating within the context
of a civil-military operation. First, one must be cognizant of the actors involved and
understand the role, resources, and limitations of these actors. Second, the field
officer must be aware of the necessity for a consistent approach regarding unity of
effort. Third, the chapter offers a set of observations intended to serve as guiding
points for the field officer operating within civil-military structures in time of

J. Melkon (*)
United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, USA
e-mail: John.Melkon@usma.edu
J. Embrey
Peace Keeping and Stability Operations Institute, Carlisle, PA, USA
H. Bader
Univerisity of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK, USA
B. Mennes
United States Army, Washington, DC, USA

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 137

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_10
138 J. Melkon et al.

conflict. The chapter concludes by discussing a concrete example of civil-military

operations that was highlighted as a best practice by the U.S. Department of State
(Cable U.S. Department of State 2010), which adopted the principles discussed.

10.2 Participants

The five primary groups of actors incorporated into civil-military operations (to
some degree) are: (1) the intervening military elements, (2) civilian agencies from
the intervening countries, (3) international organizations and nongovernmental
organizations, (4) the host nation government, and (5) local civil society and gover-
nance structures which may be either formal or informal. Each of these actors brings
with them a host of expectations, institutional cultures, and separate systems of
internal management (see Chap. 2 by De Coning and Chap. 3 by Frerks).
Most military officers view the role of their forces as having two major compo-
nents. First and foremost is the defeat of adversaries and to ensure control and secu-
rity of people, terrain and resources. Second, the mission is to set the stage for joint,
interagency and multinational success in restoring or establishing effective host
nation governance and civil society. Often, both components are conducted simul-
taneously as security operations, governance capacity building, and socio-economic
development programs which are ideally executed in a coordinated and parallel
Civilian agencies from the intervening states such as USAID seek to achieve
transformation of local communities in a manner that enhances the reach and abili-
ties of the host government (see e.g.: United States Government Integrated Civilian-
Military Campaign Plan for Support to Afghanistan 2009; and Paul et al. 2010).
This simultaneous integration of different goals is quite different from traditional
diplomacy, development assistance, and conflict resolution. Indeed, the involve-
ment of civilian agencies extends to every aspect of local society, involving refor-
mation of education, judicial, medical, and economic systems, to name a few. Each
agency tends to seek to plan, lead, and coordinate those activities within its core
competencies, which holds the potential for divergent perceptions of mission goals
among the agencies and may pose inconsistencies with mission orders or a cam-
paign plan provided by higher headquarters. It is important for all to understand that
the expertise and resources of these agencies can serve as a force-multiplier that is
critical to mission success if effectively integrated.
International organizations (IOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)
generally attempt to maintain programming consonant with the NGO/IFRC Code of
Conduct. This Code of Conduct has several principles including neutrality and
impartiality. This requires that an IO/NGO operate within what is known as the
humanitarian space (United States Institute of Peace 2012). Humanitarian space
requires that local communities have reasonable access to those with assistance, and
that the necessary social, institutional, and security conditions exist for IOs and
10 Civil-Military Interaction During Infantry Operations 139

NGOs to carry out their own mission. Often, as a result of the need for humanitarian
space, such organizations are reluctant to be close participants in any civil-military
operation, though they are often funded by the civilian agencies of the intervening
states. Indeed, it is incorrect to perceive independent NGOs (even if government
funded) as force multipliers. At the same time, these organizations also require
security that is often tied to the protection that proximity to allied installations tends
to provide. Working with the IO/NGO community involves a complex set of consid-
erations that involve balancing these competing needs for the IO/NGO, the host
national government, and the intervening international forces.
The host nation, as a participant in a civil-military operation brings its own
agenda. Its primary objective is to establish sovereignty over its territory and its citi-
zenry in a manner that ensures stability and is sustainable. The need for establishing
security and building its capacity to perform central state functions drives its activi-
ties within the civil-military construct. For the host nation, transition to full auton-
omy and complete function may emerge as potential friction with the intervening
Local formal and informal governance structures and civil society organizations
typically are the most impacted by joint civil-military operations. These entities are
closest to the general population and are most likely to be the best barometers of
what is happening in a community. The benefit, as well as the risk, of cooperating
with any military effort falls most heavily upon these groups. Examples of these
groups may be tribal leaders, religious instructors, local unions, teachers and farmer
cooperatives. An over-generalized description of the goals of civil-military opera-
tions can be summed as the effort to win the hearts and minds of a population
(Kilcullen 2005). If that be true, then the local institutions are the most critical ele-
ment to military operations and often times present the most difficult element to
gain trust. However, these local participants are often overlooked or underutilized.
Prior to deploying an officer must seek information about all of the actors, and
once in the field, he must strive to gain situational understanding in order to unify
these diverse actors and attain an organizational structure that achieves unity of
effort. Therefore, the field officer must understand the concept behind developing

10.3 Unity of Effort

A lack of unity of effort springs from the dilemma created by a failure to reach a
common understanding of the challenges and an agreement on the combined actions
to take within the operational environment. This is often coupled with a lack of
common purpose and an agreed upon method for accomplishing goals. As the
Contemporary Studies Group observed in Iraq, the December 2002 decision to
give the DOD the lead role in postwar Iraq was in part an attempt to avoid the lack
of unity of effort that critics had pointed out in previous US missions in the Balkans
and Afghanistan. The potential benefits of that decision, however, were not realized
140 J. Melkon et al.

due to interagency friction and to lack of coordination within the DOD (Reese and
Wright 2008). Put more directly unity of effort is made virtually impossible where
unity of understanding and purpose are ignored in the initial design and planning of
civil-military integrated operations. Unity of effort too often devolves into some
kind of de-confliction of efforts exercise where no collaborative solutions emerge
across security, political reconciliation and development efforts.
Central to unity of effort is an understanding not only of who the enemy is, but
also understanding the reasons why violent conflict is the preferred option employed
by the belligerents for effecting change. Key also is an understanding of how each
of the civil-military participants can be brought together to transform the opera-
tional environment to end violence and prevent its return. Military doctrine gener-
ally focuses on conflict termination. Successful transformation to host nation
sovereignty and capacity depends upon sustainable changes in all aspects of civil-
military operations that touch simultaneously upon security, governance and local
economic conditions that move at the pace of the host nation and who ultimately
must own long term success (Rietjens et al. 2009).
In developing coordinated civilian military efforts, the key is to begin from a
point of mutual understanding of the operational environment. Fundamental to this
effort is to get the design for collaborative efforts accepted by all members of the
civil-military team. This includes a mutual agreement regarding principles and con-
cepts accepted across the different organizations and driven by a common purpose
and vision. This vision must be based upon goals established by the host nation civil
authorities and government. (for a detailed example of such a collaborative design
see Van Bemmel et al. 2010). In all, it is very unlikely that diverse agencies and
organizational cultures will ever have a single common plan with universally
accepted objectives, tasks, and metrics (see Chap. 7 by Shetler-Jones). What can
and must be achieved is an accepted operational framework, approved and bought-
into by senior leaders of the aforementioned entities who expect their staffs and
organizations to implement, collaborate, and coordinate with one another for mutual
success. So how do military leaders work to get the design right up front that then
guides effective operational planning and execution with others?
Before an effective civilian-military team can begin, field officers must recog-
nize that they are not the source of all the answers, and that a solution is contingent
upon support and ownership by the other actors described previously. Otherwise it
would be impossible to work to a common objective, pool resources, prevent dupli-
cation, identify gaps in programs, monitor and evaluate success, and apply lessons
learned. Also, it is important to understand that there are many different solutions to
the complex problems that will make a positive contribution to success. Seeking an
optimal solution before commencing operations may only serve to undermine the
potential evolutionary outcomes of inclusive cooperation.
First, the officer should start with the end in mind that all participants seek
together. Military leaders must think in terms of sustainable results beyond defeat
10 Civil-Military Interaction During Infantry Operations 141

and removal of threats. The vision must extend to long term success in terms of a
sustainable security environment that leverages and includes changes in governance
and development as well. This is more than just security end-states. Rather, it is
working early with partner actors, with particular attention paid to the host nation
civil and political entities, to identify factors of instability and define what generally
right will look like on the ground in realistic terms.
Second, civil-military operational design and planning efforts should consider
identifying Unity of Effort as the blue (Unified Friendly Team) center of grav-
ity during design and planning for operations. Habitually, military staff efforts early
on focus on identifying the red center of gravity the center of all power around
which adversary efforts revolve as a method to focus the use of force against
enemy weakness. Design and planning efforts on the blue side tend to spend less
time on thinking how to coordinate and synchronize the militarys resources. The
experiences of the authors in the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan point at the impor-
tance of such a blue center of gravity It proved important for the field officer to
devote great attention to identifying the critical capabilities, resources and vulnera-
bilities of positive change agents. This then led to early identification and prioritiza-
tion of efforts that contributed to reaching a common understanding and clear
purpose. This unity of understanding and purpose must be recognized by senior
mission leadership, that includes all members of the unified team; the political
chief of mission, the ground commander, and their supporting staffs.
Third, military officers should think in terms of conflict transformation and not
just conflict termination. This unity of understanding and purpose previously
described must form the basis of effort to transition from fighting to stabilization to
governance. At each phase, the blend of military and civilian assets and methods
evolves. This necessarily means that the role of the military diminishes over time as
security is obtained and transformational programming advances. In accomplishing
enemy defeat, military units are changing the operational environment by removing
kinetic threats. As this is being accomplished, an officer needs to keep in mind how
to retain and maintain this advantage to advance the desired end-state. This end-
state necessarily includes state governance capabilities and civil society develop-
ment. Thinking about how to use military gains for post-conflict considerations
requires close collaboration and cooperation among the various stakeholders, even
in the midst of lethal operations.
In all, each actors efforts produce a vital piece of the overall dynamic for ending
violent conflict, but none in and of itself provides the entire picture. As a result,
devising a preferred design or plan for how to win is a reflection of how each actor
can contribute to success from the military standpoint it identifies who must be
defeated and who must be protected; from the political standpoint who must be
engaged or marginalized to reach a political settlement; and from a development
standpoint what factors of poverty and human suffering must be changed to reduce
grievances and build resiliencies to end the use of violence as the preferred method
of achieving group ends.
142 J. Melkon et al.

10.4 Basic Observations Toward Coordinated and Successful

Civil-Military Organization

By reviewing infantry operations in diverse conflicts from the Balkans to present to

divine a methodological approach, a procedurally focused checklist emerges as a
useful tool in the initial stages of identifying the conflict context, defining goals and
developing metrics, structuring decision making and command, and assigning
resources. The steps in this check list seem almost intuitive and common sense. Yet,
in cases where civil-military efforts failed, it was often because of an omission in
performing one or more of these steps in the early design stage of the effort (see e.g.
Paul et al. 2010). Therefore, it is helpful to use these steps in much the same manner
as an aircraft pilot uses a pre-flight checklist. The checklist does not teach the pilot
how to fly. Rather the checklist ensures a standardized method of preparation that
prevents the types of mistakes or omissions which lead to catastrophic failure.
Likewise, this four-part checklist is not a recipe dictating the form for any one spe-
cific joint civilian-military operation, but rather it represents a set of general guide-
lines that help to prevent debilitating omissions or obvious mistakes.

Step One: Define a Common Operating Picture

of the Community and Context

A deep understanding of the community within which operations are occurring and
a clear vision of the civil-military mission is essential. In order to establish a unity
of effort, there must be a unity of understanding of the operational environment. In
other words, all parties must agree to a common operating picture.
An essential first task toward creating a common operating picture is to agree
upon what are the primary drivers of conflict. Drivers of conflict have six distinct
attributes (United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Office of
Conflict Management and Mitigation 2012a, b). These are:
1. Core grievances: a perception that an essential need or value is threatened by a
group or person with the power to effectuate the threat;
2. Identity cleavages: a group of people that can be defined by similarity of charac-
teristics such as race, ethnicity, language, culture, religion, political ideology,
economic activity, or nationality. Identity becomes a cleavage when the group
perceives that some intrinsic element that defines the group is jeopardized by
exogenous influences;
3. Mobilizing actors: a person or group capable of producing, perpetuating or
changing societal patterns. These changes can either precipitate or prevent vio-
lence within the community;
4. Resources available for mobilization: represent the suite of assets available to
mobilizing actors that provide the ability to change societal patterns. Resources
10 Civil-Military Interaction During Infantry Operations 143

can include money, weapons, moral authority, political influence, and personal
charisma. Included within the evaluation of resources is the mechanism by which
the resources are acquired and the system by which they are manipulated;
5. Aspirational goals: constitute affirmative desires held by the community and are
not the consequence of grievances or cleavages; and
6. Trigger points: the set of circumstances in which all of these various factors
come together to either create violence or to ameliorate against it.
Understanding the drivers allows one to understand why conflicting parties have
resorted to violence as a means for obtaining an envisioned end-state. It is essential
to recognize that economic advancement and material gain are seldom, in their own
right, the primary motivation to violent conflict (Berman et al. 2010; USAID 2010).
As part of the common operating picture, all members of a civil-military opera-
tion need to have a mutual understanding of the nature and context of the violence.
At the tactical level, this is often easier than at the strategic level because of direct
interaction among the various local community actors within a confined battle
space. It requires both long term study and an agreed upon mechanism to learn from
each other and from mistakes. For example, the Natural Resources Counterinsurgency
Cell (NRCC) operating in eastern Afghanistan from the start of 2010 through mid-
2011, accomplished this over the course of 6 months (see e.g. Kleinfeld and Bader
2014). Just as important, the field officer needs to have an understanding as to the
historic, institutional, and cultural context of the violence in order to appropriately
frame the contributions and viewpoint of the various actors within his area of opera-
tions. For example, an officer needs to be able to describe the degree, type and
extent of sanctioned violence within a particular social context.
Step one take-away points to remember are:
The causes of conflict are many and complex. An officer needs to develop a deep
understanding of the cultural, historical, social, and political dynamics that inter-
act to produce the violent conflict that is occurring within the area of operation
(see Chap. 13 by Holmes-Eber and Chap. 6 by Kitzen and Vogelsang).
Most international civil-military stabilization missions employ a reasonably
standardized process for conflict assessment. In the United States, the agreed
upon whole-of-government process takes the form of a Tactical Conflict
Assessment Planning Framework (referred to as TCAF)1 or the District Stability
Framework (referred to as DSF).2 This existing approach should form the foun-
dation for an assessment to ensure the ability for maximum information sharing
and understanding with partners.
It is important to instill in ones soldiers the need to be aware of the factors pre-
cipitating the conflict they find themselves in so that a soldier can have an
enhanced situational awareness and consequently perform a soldiers duties to be
in harmony with the larger operational picture, appreciate the second and third

TCAF is accessible at: http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/call/docs/10-41/app_a.asp
DSF is accessible at: http://www.usaid.gov/work-usaid/partnership-opportunities/us-military/training/
144 J. Melkon et al.

order effects of their actions and thereby understand how to achieve force protec-
tion better and more safely.
An officer should be aware that it is impossible to possess a perfect understand-
ing of the drivers of conflict in any one context and that indeed, the nature of the
interacting factors are always changing. An affirmative approach for continual
improvement in understanding and learning is necessary to avoid a static and
inflexible set of solutions to tactical challenges, this typically accomplished
through effective time management (Battle Rhythm).

Step Two: Establish Common Definitions for Mission Goals

and Metrics for Evaluating Success

To achieve unity of effort, it is essential for a civil-military team to possess a shared

set of goals and metrics. It is of the utmost importance in civil-military teams that
all partners agree to define goals as narrowly as possible, appropriate to the security
situation that is present. Narrow goals help to prevent mission creep that tends to
infect long term efforts. Most civil-military operations are long term affairs, so
despite the inherent dangers of mission creep, goals must be framed in a long term
perspective. There is a natural tendency that when engaged in goals formulation for
civil-military operations, teams concentrate on immediate, short term unit specific
objectives that can be measured in tangible terms (see Stephenson 2006b).
The cultures that distinguish civilian from military organizations during stabili-
zation and reconstruction missions are often the source of misunderstanding and
friction (U.S. Department of State National Foreign Affairs Training Center 2009).
Civilian agencies tend to be more informal and less rank conscious than their mili-
tary counterparts (see e.g. Scheltinga et al. 2005; Rubinstein et al. 2008). In addi-
tion, government agency civilians tend to be subject matter specialists for which
they have invested heavily through education and experience into a set of specific
technical skills. They also tend to operate by a system more akin to consensus than
a command hierarchy. Almost all civilian stabilization operations take a long-term,
community based approach that emphasizes local ownership and contribution rather
than the attainment of immediate tactical gains. Finally, civilian missions frequently
adopt an adaptive management style that values flexibility in pursuit of general
goals, rather than adherence to a formal campaign strategy. These differences in
culture can constitute friction in establishing common goals and metrics. In the
United States, these cultural aspects are enshrined in USAID doctrine that holds that
all programs must: (1) do no harm to the civilian population, (2) recognize that local
capacity building and governance process are as important as the product deliver-
able, and (3) pursue local sustainability and ownership as an essential outcome of
the program. These aspects are a part of what is commonly referred to in the USAID
as the Nine Principles of Development (see Natsios 2005).
10 Civil-Military Interaction During Infantry Operations 145

Civilian operational cultural attributes may clash with those of the military, par-
ticularly for company-grade and field-grade officers (Stephenson 2006a). Military
planners tend to prefer to develop goals and metrics that are immutable, while civil-
ian agencies are often comfortable with less precision and more subjective evalua-
tion. For example, in a semi-arid agricultural region, a military civil affairs team
may wish to consider increases in the potential for agricultural productivity as an
appropriate goal and define the creation of 50 new wells serving a population of
5000 people an effective metric. Civilian agency development teams would not gen-
erally consider the number of wells or the amount of people served as a true mea-
surement or a goal. Instead, most development professionals would consider the
process by which collective action was made possible to build the wells to be of
paramount importance. Therefore the metrics would include an evaluation of the
degree to which the drivers of conflict were surmounted. If the community process
resulting in the drilling of wells spanned across identity cleavages and involved key
mobilizing actors, then that too, would be a metric. The extent to which the process
could be sustained and local resources allocated to the development of capacity to
continue such processes would be deemed a most important metric in the stabiliza-
tion mission.
Step two take-away points to remember are:
Be aware that interagency partners and NGOs of all variety will typically have
arrived and operated in a field officers area of operation long before a military
deployment. Therefore humility on the part of the field officer must be a guiding
principal and the officer should be open to learning from the experience, connec-
tions, and knowledge these entities have accrued. While the military possesses a
great ability for rapidly deploying forces in to an area of operations, it generally
lacks a complete depth of understanding for the nuanced esoteric of the
Humanitarian organizations have the right and obligation to operate within the
internationally recognized humanitarian space and thus need not consult with
the military or civil-military structures in order to perform their functions. An
officer should not take offense from the discretionary acts of these humanitarian
agencies. Leaders should consider how to identify shared goals, which can help
inform the dialogue on the means by which each respective organization intends
to reach them.
Civilian agencies possess an operating culture quite different than that of the
military and this acknowledgment should inform the manner of communication,
allocation of responsibilities, and the execution of duties within the civil-military
mission. An understanding of the organization and mission of the associated
humanitarian organizations and some cross cultural competencies for interfacing
with them will aid in overall success.
Frank communication and shared responsibilities within the civil-military mis-
sion prevents a stove-piping effect and helps to identify assets and capabilities
within the civil-military structure for more effective programming. Seeking
146 J. Melkon et al.

perspectives from among the wide-array of actors will assist a leader in develop-
ing a wide optic and greater fidelity on the situation.

Step Three: Create Organizational Structure and Decision


Too often, civil-military operations are derailed by the laudable inclination for
inclusiveness and fealty to the whole-of-government process. However, a review
of past civil-military efforts found that over-inclusion of agencies and partners not
directly suited to a narrow mission goal became a critical flaw. Institutional frictions
erupted as partners perceived that they were tasked to perform functions outside
their areas of core competence. Also, invariably, an excessive inclusion of agencies
led inevitably to mission creep and dilution of focus as participating partners sought
to establish functions that were within their own expertise and utilize their resources
most effectively. This search for function led to diffusion of mission, expansion of
purpose, and devolution of vision to the detriment of the original goals of the opera-
tion. As the Harvard University Study of 2011 on Haiti noted, too many actors
failed to coordinate with each other and with the Haitian Government and differ-
ing goals from multiple constituencies often results in inefficient response (Harvard
Humanitarian Initiative 2011).
Before civil-military operations can commence, it is essential to decide the form
of internal decision making and the level of participation by the members.
Establishing clearly delineated authority and responsibility lines alleviates internal
competition among members. Unity of purpose within civil-military operations
does not translate well into unity of command. For while a disparate group of actors
may even share a common end state goal, they may lack the organizational structure
or common cultures to effectively work toward that goal. The relative role of mili-
tary and civilian partners is determined by the level of security in any given situa-
tion. The more kinetic the context the greater the command and control will rest
with the military and use of its resources. With greater stability, the civil capacity
and humanitarian assistance functions will dictate a greater command and control
with civilian partners. Key matters that must be resolved before operations com-
mence include issues of (a) information sharing; (b) common assessment approaches;
(c) personnel interaction and communication, resource allocation priorities, and
finally (d) planning mechanisms.
Step three take-away points to remember are:
Decision-making cannot be unilateral on the part of either the military or the
intervening nations. The host nation and local civil society actors must be part of
the civil-military process for crafting solutions and programs. There must be for-
mal mechanisms for communicating with the host nation and local institutions (to
include functional established work groups) as well as processes whereby local
participants provide both input and are an active partner in implementation.
10 Civil-Military Interaction During Infantry Operations 147

Keeping the mission focus narrow and avoiding the expansion of program goals
is a key step in preventing dissention within a diverse civilian-military structure.
Good campaign plans balance and weight lines of efforts but continue to address
each line throughout the various phases of the campaign.
An officer must be mindful of the limitations in resources, time, and space of his
command and deployment timetable within the context of the longer-term pres-
ence of civilian agency actors and NGOs. Program decisions need to take into
account long-term strategies, even if the deployment for the particular military
unit is relatively short-term from a stabilization perspective.
An officer should be prepared to change emphasis, and role, with a changing
security environment. While sometimes difficult, an officer should allow civilian
leadership to grow as the security situation improves.

Step Four: Ascertain Resources Available

The structure and scope of civil-military operations is constrained by the resources

available and the organizational needs to meet its goals and measure its success.
Thus, the effort must be tailored to fit the limitations of resources that are available.
Assessing the resources not only relates to the money that is at the disposal of the
civil-military team. It also includes the expertise that each partner brings to the
effort, the unique institutional flexibility as well as institutional limitations for each
partner. Moreover, the speed and the manner in which the financial, skill, equipment
and logistical assets can be employed is important.
Once the resources, or limitations thereof, have been identified a realistic course
of action with actionable goals and effective metrics can be fashioned.
Step four take-away points to remember are:
Defining the conflict in socio-political terms, rather than from only a kinetic
perspective, is the single most critical step in any military leadership approach.
Without understanding the social context of the conflict, an officer will be unable
to work effectively to find the suite of assets within the resources available to the
civil-military mission.
Once an officer understands the assigned tasks within a civil-military mission,
the operational environment and the source of instability, an officer can begin to
influence the distribution of resources among partners consistent with a shared
strategy. During initial operations the primary purpose, aside from confronting
the direct threat, is to test assumptions and positively engage legitimate host
nation and civil society partners.
The next section provides a concrete example of developing such a civilian-
military organization and addresses the formation and execution of the Natural
Resources Counterinsurgency Cell (NRCC) which operated in eastern Afghanistan
for 18 months from early 2010 through mid-2011 (Bader et al. 2013; Kleinfeld and
Bader 2014).
148 J. Melkon et al.

10.5 The Case of the US Natural Resources

Counterinsurgency Cell

As originally formed, the structure and command organization of the NRCC was
unique within the Afghanistan theater. Operations conducted by NRCC were
designed, planned and implemented by two designated co-team leaders: one from
the Department of Defense and the other from United States Agency for International
Development/Civilian Response Corps Active (USAID/CRCA). These two co-
leaders were responsible to, and took direction from the Brigade Civil Affairs
Officer. Also, its civilian constituents were simultaneously subject to both Combatant
Command (COCOM) and Chief of Mission (COM) authority. This shared com-
mand was the result of mutual agreement between the Senior State Department
Representative and Brigade Commander. The Brigade Civil Affairs Officer, in addi-
tion to commanding the NRCC, planned and synchronized the activities of all Civil
Affairs teams in the area of operations, managed the Commanders Emergency
Response Program (CERP) funds, and advised Provincial Reconstruction Teams
(PRT) and Agribusiness Development Teams (ADT) Commanders to ensure unity
of effort. At the height of its activities, the NRCC involved close working relation-
ships with Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Teams (CAAT), Special
Forces, USAID/CRCA, Human Terrain System (HTS), USAID/Office of Transition
Initiatives (USAID/OTI), Army Civil Affairs, and Military Intelligence.
Extensive interagency coordination in planning and execution, as well as dedi-
cated staff and other assets optimized the military-civilian collaboration. This also
allowed information to flow more quickly and accurately among cooperating agen-
cies and military counterparts and enhanced efforts to realize both strategic and
tactical objectives in an efficient manner.
The NRCC focused its projects in areas that were beyond the geographic and
social reach of conventional civil and military organizations and was tasked with
denying enemy insurgents access to financial and human capital derived from the
exploitation of natural resources. The NRCC methodologies were informed by its
own investigations that the various insurgencies, taken cumulatively, actually con-
stituted a force that enjoyed popular support among a plurality if not the actual
majority of rural residents within its area of operations. As a result of this finding,
programs of the NRCC sought to partner with and extend the capabilities of village
stability operations focused at a tribal level. As a consequence, much of what the
NRCC conducted may best be described as tactics that approximated unconven-
tional warfare more than conventional counterinsurgency.
As previously mentioned, the purpose of the NRCC was to deny the enemy
access to human and financial capital derived from the exploitation of natural
resources. The goal of this denial of access was to assist unconventional warfare
operations to destroy Al Qaeda and render other insurgent organizations incapable
of dictating political outcomes within the rural areas of Kunar, Nangarhar, and
10 Civil-Military Interaction During Infantry Operations 149

Nuristan provinces. Thus, the NRCC benefitted from a clear and narrow mission
that focused programs at the village level within a tribal context in kinetic districts.
The nature of this mandate allowed the NRCC to avoid the effects of mission creep
and the consequent dilution of effort.
The NRCC developed a shared vision across all of its elements summarized as,
advise, assist, and train the local population to strengthen their communities in
order to promote traditional values. This approach mirrored that of the unconven-
tional warfare strategy then operating in specific areas of Kunar. A local militia
approach was built through the programming of village stability operations on the
notion of tribal honor and loyalties, rather than on payment or allegiance to Afghan
government. It is the focus on community self-reliance that distinguished both the
NRCC and the parallel village stability operations activities from standard counter-
insurgency tactics.
To effectuate its mission, the NRCC designed specially crafted programs that
profiled and targeted those types of men sought by insurgent organizations for
recruitment as mid-level, local commanders. This was accomplished by creating
immediate opportunities for these talented and ambitious men to make socially
respected contributions which were valuable to their communitys long term future.
The NRCC approach also used small scale, locally based reintegration options for
mid-level insurgent officers when the appropriate conditions allowed. Personnel of
the NRCC, both civilian and military, accompanied small maneuver elements on
dismounted combat patrols in order to mentor junior officers to improve their tac-
tics, techniques, and procedures. This personnel provided guidance and field assis-
tance to special forces as well as analyses for CAAT. Finally, the NRCC supported
a unique program of small-scale socioeconomic development that integrated on-
the-job training opportunities as an augmentation to more conventional vocational
education projects. The start-ups engaged in local traditional trades and industries.

10.6 Conclusion

While civil-military operations are always complex and difficult, they are becoming
more prevalent as the primary means by which the international community
addresses internal conflicts of various states. It is important for the field commander
to understand that, though the general principles for joint civilian military opera-
tions will be decided at the strategic level, there remains much discretion available
to the individual field commander to implement civil-military operations at the tac-
tical level for which he/she is responsible. To be effective, then, the field commander
must understand the tenets of unity of effort, the institutional cultures of the part-
ners, and the basic elements of successful organization.
150 J. Melkon et al.


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Chapter 11
Militarys Engagement in Civilian Healthcare

Sebastiaan Rietjens and Myriame Bollen

11.1 Introduction1

The provision of health services is considered an important area in stabilising frag-

ile states (Jones et al. 2006; Waldman 2006, 2007; Waters et al. 2007). Not only do
many of the actors involved not least the medical professionals perceive ade-
quate healthcare as a basic service that the population in a country has a right to,
functioning healthcare services are also seen as supporting the credibility and legiti-
macy of the host national authorities. In Sierra Leone, for example, the government-
in-exile planned to reinstate selected health services as quickly as possible after the
war because of the importance of being seen as back in business (Eldon et al.
2008). According to the High Level Forum (HLF) on Health (2004) the existence of
some functioning health facilities are islands of dependability, which can be cru-
cial in maintaining trust in the health service. Equitable health systems and the
services they offer are core social institutions of democratic governments. A citi-
zens ability to successfully make claims on a functioning health system is concrete
evidence of good governance and a politically stable environment.
Another supportive argument is provided by the WHO (2007) which stated that
healthcare is supposed to greatly contribute to reconstruction and stability because
health is regarded a key determinant to economic growth, labour force, productivity
and poverty reduction. In addition, three out of eight Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs) are about health. Other MDGs such as poverty reduction, education
and sanitation interact directly with health outcomes.
It should be noted, however, that although improved population health is essen-
tial to long-term economic development there is hardly any empirical evidence that,

Parts of this chapter draw upon Bollen et al. 2012.
S. Rietjens (*) M. Bollen
Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, The Netherlands
e-mail: basrietjens@gmail.com

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 153

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_11
154 S. Rietjens and M. Bollen

as compared to assuring security, rule of law, jobs, and good government, health
services can contribute to reducing the potential for future conflict (Rubenstein
2009; Roberts et al. 2009; Babic et al. 2002). Finding very little research into the
causal relationships between health and state-building in fragile states, the HLSP
Institute observes: This is surprising given that historical experience suggests that
responding to social expectations can be central to long-term state survival, and that
demands for improved social services, including health, can be key (Eldon et al.
2008). There are no indicators in health programs and neither in state-building
programs- that show whether or not the provision of improved health services con-
tributes to a populations willingness to view its government more favourably
(Waldman 2007).
The military deploying during complex peace operations are confronted with a
void as to the provision of basic public services. In this context, for reasons of logis-
tics and security, military health assets may seem well placed to meet local needs.
As a result, although the military healthcares primary role is to conserve force
strength, activities in the domain of medical assistance to the civilian population
have become a significant component of current military operations (Neuhaus 2008;
Ford 2001). In fact, over the past decade, the majority of casualties treated by inter-
national armed forces have been civilian patients (Kenward et al. 2004; Neuhaus
2004, 2008; Grosso 2001). However, since international armed forces are only
deployed for a limited period, the provision of military healthcare to civilians can
only be extended temporarily and, consequentially, is not sustainable.
In addition, providing citizens with better (health) services can take away -some
of- their grievances both against the international armed forces as well as against
the local authorities thereby decreasing the influence and power of the opposing
military forces (Nagl 2005; Smith 2005). Along this line of thought, operations in
Iraq and Afghanistan have created a controversial renaissance of counter-insurgency
thinking in which the winning of hearts and minds to increase the legitimacy of the
host nation authorities features prominently (Egnell 2010).
When looking at the militarys engagement in civilian healthcare from the per-
spective of winning hearts and minds of the local population another set of con-
cerns emerges. Not in the least because this concept may be built on false causal
assumptions regarding the links between stabilisation and aid (Wilder 2008), such
as: reconstruction and modernisation efforts have stabilising effects on conflict; aid
projects help win the hearts and minds and thereby increase support for the host
government and the international presence or even, extending the reach of the
Afghan government contributes to stabilization (Egnell 2010; Wilder 2008).
In view of the above it will come as little surprise that, military engagement in
civilian healthcare is the subject of an intense debate (Gordon 2010; Rubenstein
2009; Neuhaus 2008; Rietjens and Bollen 2008; Wilder 2008). Against this back-
ground, this chapter attempts to investigate the engagement of the international
military in Afghanistans health sector and to identify the concerns this evokes. To
do so, based on an extensive literature study, Sect. 11.2 outlines the concerns that
surface when military units engage in civilian healthcare. Section 11.3 subsequently
describes the most prominent ways in which ISAF troops were engaged in providing
11 Militarys Engagement in Civilian Healthcare 155

civilian healthcare. Section 11.4 confronts the concerns with practice in Afghanistan.
The final section concludes the chapter and offers recommendations.

11.2 Concerns Surrounding Military Engagement in Civilian


Recent experience shows that instead of being quick fixes, indeed, complex peace
operations constitute long-term processes of recovery challenging national and
international institutions. In particular, this applies to health. In a working paper on
aid effectiveness and health (WHO 2007) the problems in health are found to be
exacerbated by
the large number and diverse nature of development partners active in health, the large
unmet needs, the dependency on multiple sectors to achieve health outcomes, the major
roles of the private sector in both financing and delivery, and the long-term recurrent nature
of most health needs.

Despite the positive tone in a 2006 report on Afghanistans health system the
Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU) warns that progress may be
impeded by problems such as a lack of adequate funding and reliable, predictable
financial allocations for many years to come, uneven management, the relative
weakness of the overall government, the unstable security situation, the difficult
economic situation, inconsistent transparency and accountability and the need for
development of local NGOs (AREU 2006).
Both WHO and AREU stress the long-term nature of reconstructing the health
sector, which underpins a first concern regarding military engagement in this sector.
As military missions are planned on relatively short time horizons, the military can
only provide civilians with temporary healthcare. Civilian organizations, especially
development organizations, are often to stay in the area for a period of 510 years.
Consequentially, civilian and military organizations face synchronization problems
pertaining for instance to the extent of reasonable progress during a certain time
period (Winslow 2002; Rietjens 2008). Compounding the limited timeframes of
military operations, military units are primarily responsible for security. Whenever
the security situation deteriorates, humanitarian and development projects will often
be abruptly terminated (Rollins 2001).
According to Rubinstein (2009) short-term military engagements can be incon-
sistent with and, even undermine, long-term development. Humanitarian and devel-
opment projects undertaken by military units or civil-military hybrids to increase
stability and the legitimacy of a host nations government, as well as the interna-
tional presence, could indeed cause such risks. Although improving humanitarian
and development situations is important, it is not the main objective of these hearts
and minds activities (Egnell 2010). In the health sector especially, short-term
engagements should be considered most carefully because improved health
156 S. Rietjens and M. Bollen

outcomes are reversible, if access to services is interrupted unlike for instance, gains
in educations.
Along more or less the same lines, a second concern about military engagement
in civilian healthcare can be distinguished. The development community strongly
voices the conviction that improved healthcare is an objective in itself worth striving
for instead of being a means to achieve political stability (e.g. Waldman 2007).
Rubenstein (2009) argues that the humanitarian principles (see Frerks, Chap. 3 this
volume) risk to be sacrificed to attain military strategic advantages whenever the
military engage in civilian healthcare. In line with this argument, it has been indi-
cated by the military that activities benefiting the safety of own troops often will be
favoured over activities aimed at improving grass-root security and reconstruction
for the Afghan population (Rietjens et al. 2009).
Third, NGOs report that services run by or in conjunction with the military in
Afghanistan can endanger the population or local or international service providers
(Rubenstein 2009; Rietjens et al. 2009; ACBAR 2003; Rietjens and Bollen 2008).
Where insurgents understand that a militarys engagement in civilian healthcare is
designed for strategic purposes, health facilities and workers easily become a target,
and the safety of development projects and personnel in the vicinity may be jeopar-
dized (Rubenstein 2009). In areas where the insurgents are more influential the
challenges of implementation exceed the competence of the military. In the Korengal
Valley of Kunar Province, newly constructed schools, clinics, irrigation pipes were
blown up by the insurgents as soon as they were finished (Egnell 2010).
Whilst coordination is beneficial in catastrophes to optimise scarce resources, it
is even more necessary in complex peace operations where amongst other things, a
mixture of political factors, conflicts and extreme vulnerabilities is at play
(Transnational Institute 2001). Military personnel believe in the merits of coordinat-
ing effort and strive to achieve logical and clear structures to this end. Civilian
organisations, driven by the humanitarian imperative, are wary of anything that
might limit the humanitarian space or otherwise interfere with their freedom of
action. This is particularly true of the smaller and newer NGOs, who generally take
a minimalist approach to coordination (Laurence 1999). In this respect Last (2000),
states that Everyone wants co-ordination, but no one wants to be co-ordinated by
others. As a result, coordination is frequently absent (Berg and Dabelstein 2003).
Within the health sector coordination constitutes a challenge. Health outcomes
are dependent on a range of inputs beyond the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Public
Health (MoPH), particularly, education, water and sanitation and nutrition, and thus
require coordination and cooperation between different parts of government and
external institutions; something for which there is typically little incentive, finance
or structure to manage (WHO 2007). Due to a lack of coordination, amongst others,
aid to fragile states tends to be volatile, because whenever external institutions do
engage, they risk the establishment of parallel systems rather than working through
government, which in turn hinders future capacity building (see e.g. WHO 2007).
Fifth and finally, both within military and civilian communities the utility of mili-
tary engagement in humanitarian and development projects is questioned (Egnell
2010; Jacoby and James 2010). According to General MacKenzie soldiers are not
11 Militarys Engagement in Civilian Healthcare 157

social workers with guns. Both disciplines are important, but both will suffer if
combined in the same individuals (Adinall 2006). Within the aid community also
this argument is strongly endorsed. There are two main reasons for this. First, the
military often lack expertise, experience and training to conduct these types of
activities effectively. This lack of expertise means that although the military may
command part of the necessary resources this does not mean they know how to
put their resources to good use (Bollen 2002). As a result, military projects in the
sphere of development and humanitarian affairs often underperform in terms of
cost-effectiveness and sustainability (Egnell 2010).
With respect to the provision of healthcare these arguments should however be
nuanced. Military medical personnel is often highly educated, trained and equipped
to perform a wide range of medical activities. And as to the cost-effectiveness there
is no doubt that, in many circumstances, the real cost of the use of military person-
nel and/or equipment exceeds that of a civilian organisation. However, it can also be
argued that, in some circumstances, a military organisation has a clear comparative
advantage to civilian organisations. Such an advantage can include (see Tatham and
Rietjens forthcoming): (1) the ability of military organisations to operate in unsafe
areas where other organisations either will not, or cannot operate. (2) The short
time-period in which activities are to be completed with the consequential premium
that relates to swift response that can be delivered by military organizations. (3) The
absence of actors other than a military that have the capability and/or capacity to
undertake the required activities.
In sum, five main concerns surface with respect to military engagement in civil-
ian healthcare. Let us now look at the ways in which international military troops
have been engaged in civilian healthcare in Afghanistan.

11.3 Military Engagement in Civilian Healthcare

in Afghanistan

From the empirical data2 three main types of healthcare activities are identified in
which ISAF troops have been engaged in: (1) treatment of local nationals, (2) medi-
cal civil affairs patrols (Medcaps) and medical engagements and (3) support to IOS
and NGOs.

Empirical data were collected in several different ways. Two field visits were made to Afghanistan,
one to Kandahar and Kabul in January 2009 and one to Uruzgan province in May and June 2010.
During these field visits relevant documents were collected and key personnel were interviewed,
amongst them the military medical staff, hospital staff, civil-military cooperation personnel, civil-
ian advisors such as development advisors, NGO representatives and military planning staff.
In addition to these field visits all PRT weekly reports over the years 2007 and 2008 have been
studied. These reports contain detailed information on the PRTs healthcare activities. Also, the
analysis draws upon the experience of the former director of the Afghan National Coordinating
Bureau an umbrella organisation coordinating efforts of Afghan NGOs.
158 S. Rietjens and M. Bollen

Treatment of Local Nationals

In many ways ISAF personnel are confronted with injured Afghans whether or not
as a result from conflict activity of ISAF or Afghan National Security Forces
(ANSF). In such cases, typically, a commander will be forwarded a message includ-
ing the location of the casualty, the nature of the injury and whether or not addi-
tional medical supplies are needed. This message consists of nine rules referred to
as the nine-liner. Subsequently, a flow chart is followed offering three options: the
injured person is (1) a member of ANSF requiring emergency aid; (2) a non-
combatant injured by conflict activity with ANSF or ISAF troops; (3) a non-
combatant and the injury is unrelated to conflict activity. Non-combatants not only
include the local population, but also media, contractors, personnel attached to UN
agencies and humanitarian workers (Neuhaus 2008).
Within the first option, the injured person is treated in the casualty chain of the
Coalition Forces (ISAF or OEF). After treatment the patient is discharged or trans-
ferred to an ANA or civil hospital. Within the second option the patient is also
treated in the casualty chain of the Coalition Forces. However, after treatment he or
she is either discharged or transferred to a local national or NGO hospital.
When the injured person is a non-combatant and the injury is unrelated to con-
flict activity (the third option), treatment depends on the extent of emergency care
required and the extent of spare capacity within the medical facilities of the Coalition
Forces. If considered an emergency and capacity is available the patient is treated
within Coalition Forces medical facilities. In any other circumstances the injured
person is transferred to a local national or NGO hospital. These decisions are sum-
marised in the so-called medical rules of eligibility. The rules that were in use in
Regional Command (RC) South in 20092010 are presented in Fig. 11.1.
In many ISAF hospitals local nationals form the bulk of the patients. It is esti-
mated that approximately 90 % of the patients in the Dutch-led Role 2 hospital in
Uruzgan province is Afghan.

Medical Civil Affairs Patrols (MEDCAP) and Medical


MEDCAPS and medical engagements are the most obvious military engagement in
healthcare. Although there are varying definitions, MEDCAP is commonly used in
NATO as the generic term for clinical assistance patrols to local nationals in remote
or disaster-affected areas where NGOs have limited access. MEDCAPS are usually
conducted by a tactical commander using available ISAF, ANSF and Afghan gov-
ernmental medical staff. Together with Dental Civil Affairs Patrol (DENTCAP) and
Veterinary Civil Affairs Patrol (VETCAP) this composes the village medical out-
reach. While very popular during the first years of the operation in Afghanistan,
most military contingents carry out less MEDCAPS nowadays.
11 Militarys Engagement in Civilian Healthcare 159

Fig. 11.1 Medical rules of eligibility (Kant 2009)

Textbox 11.1 illustrates a typical execution of a MEDCAP, told by an ISAF sol-

dier (Cummings and Cummings 2009):

Textbox 11.1: A Typical Execution of a MEDCAP

Based on my meetings with village elders, I knew that the village of Pashad
lacked any medical facilities. They didnt even have a pharmacy Before our
MEDCAP, I laid the groundwork by continuing my security visits at night to
Pashad. At least every three days, my Platoon and I drove down to Pashad and
met with the local Afghanistan National Police checkpoint commander Sayed
Abdullah. He and I discussed security issues and I started laying the ground-
work for the MEDCAP with basic planning. Meanwhile, the newly appointed
District Governor Mustafa Khan talked with village elders about the need for
a MEDCAP and laid the groundwork on the Afghan side of the house.
Somewhere in the middle, the Afghan Army got on board. We also secured a

160 S. Rietjens and M. Bollen

Textbox 11.1 (continued)

local Afghan doctor and our battalion surgeon to run the medical portion of
the MEDCAP. On the day of the MEDCAP, I led a convoy of eight US vehi-
cles, fifty or so US PAX, eight Afghan Security Force vehicles and an about
equal strength of Afghanistan National Army soldiersthe largest convoy I
would ever lead. Even though I had told the leaders of Pashad what day I
would arrive, I did not tell them the time. I trusted Sayed Abdullah, but even
though I trusted him I could never trust who he would tell and what they
would do. Fortunately, on our way to the village we werent attacked.
When we showed up, the local police had cordoned off an old school. The
local Afghans waiting for medicine acted perfectly civil--no pushing, shoving
or otherwise inappropriate behavior. Even better, the Afghan police and
Afghan Army worked together to secure our perimeter, something that doesnt
always happen. Our companys trucks simply provided additional security
and, of course, the resources for the MEDCAP. Once we arrived in Pashad, I
wasnt too worried about security; a huge crowd was waiting for us and in this
region in Afghanistan, the Taliban and other insurgents wouldnt risk injuring
civilians. They needed the support of the local population as much as we did.
After a short set up, we began treating civilians By the end of the day, our
US/Afghan medical team treated over 150 children, 50 women and 120 men.
Due to their culture, treating women is very unusual in Afghanistan; most get
denied medical treatment. This shows both the level of trust we had earned
with the locals and their desperation for medicine. Our mission in Pashad
proved a humanitarian success, a quality training mission for the Afghanistan
National Army, and an intelligence victory for our Tactical Humint Team.

A medical engagement is a medium or long-term medical assistance project

where there is no direct patient contact. The examples of medical engagements in
which ISAF troops were involved are numerous and diverse. Typically, a medical
engagement consisted of a public health engineering project (construction of a
clinic), a health education or clinical mentoring project, or a project involving the
distribution of health-related consent-winning items (for example, spectacles,
shoes or vitamins).
According to ISAFs standard operating procedures MEDCAPs and medical
engagements offer an opportunity to build trust with the Afghan people, develop
ANSF medical and CIMIC public health capability, and assist the Afghan govern-
ment to deliver demonstrable benefits (ISAF 2011). The primary objective of
MEDCAPs and medical engagements is to provide practical assistance to the local
population in order to promote support for ISAF and the Afghan government. A
secondary objective is to improve the health of the population, in line with the pub-
lic health strategy of the Afghan government. It is said in ISAFs guidelines that all
MEDCAP and medical engagement activities are planned in conjunction with the
11 Militarys Engagement in Civilian Healthcare 161

provincial Director of Public Health to avoid duplicating services, and also to avoid
confrontation with NGOs contracted by the Afghan government to implement
healthcare in that province. This unfortunately is not always the case and still sev-
eral of such activities are carried out in isolation of local government or NGOs.
As training and development of ANSF is a main effort of ISAF, MEDCAPs and
medical engagements are frequently conducted jointly with ANSF medical teams in
order to develop indigenous military medical experience, as well as to further inte-
grate the ANSF with the people of Afghanistan.

Support to IOs and NGOs

While the responsibility for the Afghan health system rests with the MoPH, as of
February 2011, there were approximately 200 international and Afghan organisa-
tions providing various levels of healthcare across Afghanistan (ISAF 2011), mostly
operating under the umbrella and guidelines of the MoPH.
ISAF has been supporting these organisations, both international and Afghan, in
multiple ways. First, by providing direct and indirect security ISAF enabled IOs and
NGOs to carry out medical activities such as vaccination programs.
Secondly, ISAF has offered technical and logistical support to IOs and NGOs. In
the US-led PRT in Qalat
Winterization planning had been frozen due to WFP [World Food Programme] need for
provincial government guarantees for security and distribution, and the delay in execution
has now limited the areas which can be reached before winter weather make parts of the
province inaccessible to convoys. The PRT contracted 47 storage containers to be delivered
to key distribution points (PRT weekly, December 16 2008).

In several other instances ISAF delivered medical supplies to facilities operated

by IOs and NGOs.
The two clinics, the Comprehensive Health Clinic in Ghowrmach Village and the Basic
Health Clinic in Jar-e-Syah, are both being operated by the Bangladeshi NGO BRAC, and
both clinics have been in need of resupply of medicines and other medical articles. After the
RC North-led Operation Karez was terminated in June, there were still funds available for
supporting the population, and these funds have now been used to purchase the needed
supplies in Mazar-e-Sharif and having them shipped to [the BRAC clinic] Ghowrmach. A
part of the funds will also be used to improve the basic infrastructure of the two clinics (PRT
weekly, August 12 2008).

This third type of military activity differs significantly from MEDCAPs and
medical engagements in that it facilitates and enables the work of IOs and NGOs,
while the MEDCAPs and medical engagements are mainly carried out on the mili-
tarys own initiative without involving -or consulting- IOs or NGOs.
Lastly, nowadays many military contingents in Afghanistan are aware and
acknowledge the large national medical programs such as the Basic Package of
Health Services and the Essential Package of Hospital Services. As a rule, the mili-
162 S. Rietjens and M. Bollen

tary do not interfere with the implementation of such programs as conducted by

NGOs such as the Afghan Health and Development Services (AHDS).

11.4 Discussion

Notwithstanding the militarys rules of eligibility, the treatment of non-combatants

with injuries both related and unrelated to conflict activities poses several problems.
Foremost, ISAFs medical services are to support the ISAF mission by treating the
military, that generally are fit, healthy and young people as opposed to the local
national patients including the elderly, children and the disabled; in short, the kind
of patients the military casualty chain has not been optimised for. During the first
year of its operation the Dutch Task Force Uruzgan treated many children in its Role
2 hospital. To extend proper care military nurses and doctors needed special medi-
cation, food (e.g. baby food) and rooms to temporarily house the patients relatives.
These needs have been dealt with in a pragmatic and ad-hoc manner. Here, however,
a conflict of interest between military medical personnel and the military command
group became apparent. While the former strictly adhered to their independence and
medical professional values, the military command group primarily focused on the
welfare of the Dutch soldiers and the objectives of the military mission.
As a comprehensive set of medical rules of engagement shared by all expedition-
ary military contingents is still lacking, largely, in treating non-combatants military
healthcare providers adhere to their own national protocols. Therefore, the degree
and nature of care extended and the number of patients treated vary considerably
amongst the troops of contributing nations. While the Dutch referred all non combat
and non critical patients to the local provincial hospital, the US hospital in Uruzgan
abided by less strict rules, thereby attracting many local nationals that preferred US
military healthcare over the care provided in the provincial hospital.
Whereas, on the short-term, military healthcare activities may seem to meet local
needs, when delivered inconsistently these may conflict easily sustainability and
capacity building. Moreover, whenever future military contingents prove to be
unable to provide comparative levels of care, thwarted civilian expectations as to the
military provision of healthcare may even elicit security risks for own troops.
Regarding the treatment of non-combatants, as a result of ongoing violence or
renewed conflicts refugees and internally displaced persons create a specific subset
of medical problems with high mortality rates due to violence, deprivation and dis-
ease. Women, elderly people and children prove to be most vulnerable. Upon arrival
in refugee camps, epidemics, infectious diseases and malnutrition take their toll.
Military healthcare, by its nature, cannot be expected to cope with the health needs
of refugees and internally displaced persons. However, at the request of govern-
ments and in close collaboration with the aid community the military can be involved
in extending emergency relief (Bollen 2002).
Military activities in the field of MEDCAPS and medical engagements fit into
Egnells (2010) categorization of hearts and minds operations as a distinct category
11 Militarys Engagement in Civilian Healthcare 163

of tactical activities, separated from traditional military tasks. Such operations use
military resources to provide carefully targeted support to the local community to
increase campaign authority and legitimacy instead of impartial alleviation of
human suffering or development. These kinds of hearts and minds projects are also
described as part of short-term military necessity; something to balance against
long-term considerations such as rule of law, providing an acceptable steady state,
and the success of the campaign as a whole (UK Ministry of Defence 2004).
Some of the medical engagements do however not comply with this vision. In
Uruzgan various medical engagements focused on capacity building. To target
maternal mortality the Dutch contingent set up a special training to increase the
quality and number of midwives in Uruzgan. Also personnel of the provincial hos-
pital in Tarin Kowt were given training on quite a regular base.
Wilder (2008) points out the contemporary interpretation of winning hearts and
minds in a setting of complex peace operations has created a number of question-
able assumptions regarding the links between stabilization and aid. First, it is
assumed that reconstruction efforts have stabilizing effects on conflict. It is thought
that aid will lead to economic development which in turn, will bring about stability.
Second, aid projects are assumed to help win the hearts and minds and thereby
increase support for the host government and for the international presence. Third,
re Afghanistan, extending the reach of the Afghan government is assumed to con-
tribute to stabilization. This is explicitly expressed as the PRTs objective. However,
Wilders research in Afghanistan indicates that these causal assumptions underlying
the non-coercive hearts and minds approach may be false (Wilder 2008).
A second risk is run, whenever investments in health are used to improve the
image and influence, thus winning hearts and minds and when devoting resources
to visible projects at the expense of effective and sustainable system-building activi-
ties. Across the development community this concern is considered especially great
where the military engage in civilian healthcare activities as part of counterinsur-
gency or stability operations, such as MEDCAPS and medical engagements. Except
for support to a host countrys health services for its own military, the militarys
approach is perceived to be short term and tactical, project- rather than systems-
based. Military-generated projects are criticized for not being linked to building a
coherent system of services, and for not being oriented towards building the capac-
ity of the Ministry of Public Health or a long-term vision that links health facilities
with staffing needs. Moreover, in insecure environments, military engagement in
civilian healthcare activities can undermine the safety of health workers (Rubenstein
Last, approaching civilian healthcare as a means of conflict prevention can dis-
tort policy and spending decisions by way of concentrating on programs and proj-
ects that appear most connected to conflict resolution. This can then undermine
comprehensive capacity development to improve population health based on prin-
ciples of equity and non-discrimination (Rubenstein 2009).
Generally, military activities in supporting IOs and NGOs, specifically when
undertaken at the demand of civilian agencies, seem not add much to the concerns
as mentioned in the Sect. 11.2. In cases where the military provides direct or indi-
164 S. Rietjens and M. Bollen

rect security, many view this to be the militarys principal role, in which there is no
overlap between military and civilian competencies and domains (Abiew 2003;
Winslow 2002; Bollen 2002; Rietjens and Bollen 2008).
Finally, with regard to the concern endangerment multiple and conflicting
stances on the appropriateness of civil-military interaction are part of everyday real-
ity. Some IO/NGOs are reluctant to be associated with a military force and thereby
lose their protective patina of neutrality. Frerks et al. (2006) refer to these organiza-
tions as being principled, whereas pragmatic organizations generally interact more
easily with military forces (see also Chap. 3 this volume).

11.5 Conclusions and Recommendations

In the 1990s reconstruction processes were evaluated as too much geared towards
the quick introduction of formal democracy through elections. Since then, strategies
have shifted to a more balanced institutional approach aiming to simultaneously
advance recovery in governance and participation; security; justice and reconcilia-
tion and socio-economic development. It is acknowledged that integrated recon-
struction is not easy, especially when peace is not the beginning but meant to be the
outcome of the reconstruction process, like in Afghanistan. Any comprehensive
approach to operations requires good linkages between diplomatic, development
and military endeavours and this is especially so in civilian healthcare.
We recommend that, within complex peace operations, in cooperation with the
development community and host countries authorities, commanders and surgeons
general develop shared medical rules of engagement to be adhered to by all military
expeditionary contingents. It is important for such rules of engagement to be embed-
ded within and aligned to the countrys public health policies and infrastructure.
Medical training of the countrys security forces to provide for the treatment of
combatants and non-combatants injured by conflicts may be included in the medical
rules of engagement. Medical training of indigenous security forces, also, should be
in line with the countrys general public health policy.
Next, empirical research into the relation between civilian healthcare and con-
flict prevention in transitioning countries is necessary and should be stimulated.
Based on such research, indicators and measures of effectiveness should be
Considering the primary goal of healthcare is to improve the health status of the
population, host nation healthcare facilities should be used as much as possible.
Geographical and security reasons aside, to date, there exists insufficient knowledge
about the considerations and requirements with regard to seeking care outside the
home; the ways in which decisions on are made within households; financial con-
cerns and the role and availability of alternative sources such as private providers or
traditional healers in the marketplace. To address civilian healthcare in Afghanistan,
or in other areas, such information seems crucial.
11 Militarys Engagement in Civilian Healthcare 165

Finally, many military units use the slogan Put an Afghan face on everything to
indicate they involve local stakeholders and to enlarge credibility of the local
authorities. Although an encouraging development this often only enlarges credibil-
ity on the short-term and does not equal full local participation. Participation implies
more than an afghan face and requires involvement of Afghan stakeholders through-
out the entire (healthcare) reconstruction process, rather than in marketing the final
product. Such participation however requires time, or as several respondents noticed
An Afghan face equals an Afghan pace.


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Chapter 12
CIMIC Projects: Divergent Interests,
Convergent Action?

Gerard Lucius

12.1 Introduction

Since the 1990s, many military forces have been involved in small development
projects. These projects are controversial. Within the military, many challenge the
notion that this is a task soldiers should perform, while in the NGO community, they
are often seen as unfair competition (Frerks et al. 2006). Research suggests that the
projects are often considered unsuccessful by the recipients, the host government and
local and international NGOs. The activities, the critique goes, are often chosen for
their strategic or political value rather than their development relevance. The views
of the beneficiaries are not taken on board, so that the projects are not, in the
parlance, needs-driven. As selection and part or whole of the implementation is
done by the donors, the opportunity to improve local capacity for project delivery is
missed. Lastly, the projects suffer from a lack of sustainability (Rietjens 2008a, b).
In contrast, the providers of this type of aid, including Western governments and
militaries, commonly take a more positive view, while not necessarily denying all
drawbacks, limitations and the occasional failure.
This chapter begins with a description of small development projects carried out
by deployed military forces, citing a number of typical characteristics. It will then
explain that in most operations, a least three groups of stakeholders can be identified
in relation to small projects: (1) Military agencies of the state that is providing the
projects, (2) Civilian agencies of the same state and (3) The government and people
of the recipient state. These groups have different, but partly overlapping approaches
to participating in the implementation of CIMIC projects.

G. Lucius (*)
Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, The Hague, The Netherlands
1 (NL) Civil and Military Interaction Command, Apeldoorn, The Netherlands
e-mail: gerardlucius@gmail.com

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 169

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_12
170 G. Lucius

The chapter will describe how these approaches are determined by the respective
groups bureaucratic and political interests, but also the personal motivations of
group members. A case study of CIMIC projects carried out by Dutch forces in the
Afghan province of Uruzgan in 20082009 will elaborate on one method developed
for the identification, selection and implementation of small projects and describe its
rationale, successes and weaknesses.
The case study is followed by a discussion. The chapter shows that CIMIC
projects, provided they take into account the needs of all stakeholder groups and
satisfy the many technical demands, may be beneficial to all involved.

12.2 Characteristics of CIMIC Projects

CIMIC projects vary widely in scope, size and institutional arrangement. To delin-
eate the subject, and following the project lifecycle, CIMIC projects may be
described by their nomenclature, origin and objective, size, funding type, develop-
ment and implementation arrangements, and accountability mechanisms.
Nomenclature CIMIC projects are also referred to as Quick Impact Projects (QIP)
or PRT-projects, after the Provincial Reconstruction Teams that provide them. In the
Iraq and Afghanistan theaters, the US made funds available to units under the
Commanders Emergency Response Program or CERP. Another term encountered
is Hearts & Minds Projects.
Origin and Objective CIMIC projects are related to a military intervention and
involve the military spending and accounting for funds. One of the stated aims of
the activity is to support the military effort. It is this particular objective that sets
CIMIC projects apart from other development activities, that take the needs of the
beneficiaries or recipients as their starting point (Brocades 2008).
Size CIMIC activities may involve expenditure ranging from several hundred USD
to several million USD in rare cases. Very often, the focus is on projects with a
budget in the 5.00025.000 USD range.
Funding Type Funds may originate with a Ministry of Defence, a Ministry of
Foreign Affairs or a governmental development agency, but are always spent by the
military. Funds may or may not qualify as Official Development Assistance (ODA)
as defined by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Developments
Development Assistance Committee (OECD-DAC). A summary of the OECDs
criteria can be found in the Textbox 12.1: What counts as development aid?.
Implementation Arrangements In most deployed NATO armies, CIMIC funds are
held by J-8 staff section at brigade or battalion level and subsequently distributed to
company commanders typically in cash. In some operations, separate structures
may be set up focusing on non-military results or effects of the mission, such as
Provincial Reconstruction Teams. The existence of PRTs may or may not preclude
12 CIMIC Projects: Divergent Interests, Convergent Action? 171

the availability of CIMIC funds to other military units with a more exclusive
military remit. Whether or not a separate military organization is put in place to
handle CIMIC projects, procedures will be developed for identification, de-selection/
selection, contracting, payment, implementation, verification and accountability of
CIMIC projects.
Accountability The use of public funds is typically accompanied by an account-
ability mechanism. The provenance of the funds normally dictates the rules, but
democratic societies have in common a system of record taking and reporting that
aims to enable management on-site, senior management at Headquarters, the politi-
cal leadership and, ultimately, legislators to assess after the fact how funds were
utilized. In addition to this chain-of-command reporting, institutions such as audit
firms, Audit Boards and Inspectors will be involved to ensure independency and
quality. The US Special Inspector-General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) is a case
in point.

Textbox 12.1: What Counts as Development Aid?

Official development assistance is defined by the Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development (OECD) as those flows to countries and terri-
tories on the country list of the OECD Development Assistance Committee
(DAC) and to multilateral development institutions which are:
1. provided by official agencies, including state and local governments, or by
their executive agencies; and
2. each transaction of which:
(a) is administered with the promotion of the economic development and
welfare of developing countries as its main objective and
(b) is concessional in character and conveys a grant element of at least 25
% (calculated at a rate of discount of 10 %) (OECD 2008).
Economic Development and Welfare as the main objective is often the
decisive criterion for determining ODA eligibility. In the final analysis it is a
matter of intention. But in order to reduce the scope for subjective interpreta-
tions and promote comparable reporting, Members have agreed to limits on
ODA reporting, e.g.:
Exclusion of military aid The supply of military equipment and services,
and the forgiveness of debts incurred for military purposes, are not report-
able as ODA. On the other hand, additional costs incurred for the use of the
donors military forces to deliver humanitarian aid or perform develop-
ment services are ODA-eligible.
Peacekeeping The enforcement aspects of peacekeeping are not reportable
as ODA. However, ODA does include the net bilateral costs to donors of
carrying out the following activities within UN-administered or UN-approved

172 G. Lucius

Textbox 12.1 (continued)

peace operations: human rights, election monitoring, rehabilitation of
demobilized soldiers and of national infrastructure, monitoring and training
of administrators, including customs and police officers, advice on eco-
nomic stabilization, repatriation and demobilization of soldiers, weapons
disposal and mine removal. Similar activities conducted for developmental
reasons outside UN peace operations are also reportable as ODA, but not
recorded against the peacekeeping code. Activities carried out for non-
developmental reasons, e.g. mine clearance to allow military training, are
not reportable as ODA.
Civil police work Expenditure on police training is reportable as ODA,
unless the training relates to paramilitary functions such as counter-
insurgency work or intelligence gathering on terrorism. The supply of the
donors police services to control civil disobedience is not reportable.
Social and cultural program As with police work, a distinction is drawn
between building developing countries capacity (ODA-eligible) and one-
off interventions (not ODA-eligible). Thus, the promotion of museums,
libraries, art and music schools, and sports training facilities and venues
counts as ODA, whereas sponsoring concert tours or athletes travel costs
does not. Cultural program in developing countries whose main purpose is
to promote the culture or values of the donor are not reportable as ODA.
Assistance to refugees Assistance to refugees in developing countries is
reportable as ODA. Temporary assistance to refugees from developing
countries arriving in donor countries is reportable as ODA during the first
12 months of stay, and all costs associated with eventual repatriation to the
developing country of origin are also reportable.
Nuclear energy The peaceful use of nuclear energy, including construction
of nuclear power plants, nuclear safety and the medical use of radio-
isotopes, is ODA-eligible. Military applications of nuclear energy and
nuclear non-proliferation activities are not.
Research Only research directly and primarily relevant to the problems
of developing countries may be counted as ODA. This includes research
into tropical diseases and developing crops designed for developing coun-
try conditions. The costs may still be counted as ODA if the research is
carried out in a developed country.
Anti-Terrorism Activities combatting terrorism are not reportable as
ODA, as they generally target perceived threats to donor, as much as to
recipient countries, rather than focusing on the economic and social
development of the recipient.
(Source: www.oecd.dac/stats/34086975.pdf, with amendments)
12 CIMIC Projects: Divergent Interests, Convergent Action? 173

12.3 Stakeholder Groups and Their Approaches

to CIMIC Projects

In a typical military operation that engages in CIMIC projects, at least three groups
of stakeholders can be identified:
1. The Ministry of Defence of the country implementing the projects and its subor-
dinate structure;
2. Diplomatic and development agencies of the same country, and
3. The government and people of the country where the military force is deployed.
This chapters main argument is that these groups of stakeholders may have
diverging views on the situation on the ground. Even within each group, views will
differ (Ruffa 2014). This section describes how stakeholders may view CIMIC proj-
ects. I will discuss how these views may be determined by the institutional interests
of these stakeholders, and concentrate on the question of how, given the diverging
interests, a common view and unity of purpose can be achieved.

Group 1. Ministry of Defence and Subordinate Structure

At the different levels within the sending states MOD, participation in CIMIC
projects may be motivated by various considerations:
CIMIC projects offer an excellent opportunity to show the public the friendly side
of the warrior; the military are not just out to fight, but actively engage in recon-
struction, saving lives and providing positive photo-opportunities that war
fighting cannot. Press & Information Officers on the ground are in continuous
search for stories that support the political leaderships arguments in favor of the
mission that carries out the CIMIC activities, and for the work of the military in
general These may summarized as Public Relations or Political considerations.
Armed forces need large numbers of motivated young women and men every year.
The positive image of the army that CIMIC projects can help establish also
supports their recruitment efforts. There are, in other words, Recruitment
Research shows (e.g. Rietjens 2008a, b) that soldiers derive substantial pride and
pleasure from working on CIMIC projects. Confronted with local populations
whose living conditions are sometimes appalling, many soldiers wish to help,
preferably as directly as possible. The ability to have a positive impact, act per-
sonally to alleviate poverty and to show your efforts to family and friends gives
CIMIC projects a quality that most other military tasks do not have. CIMIC
projects have a positive influence on Morale in the armed forces, both at the unit
and the individual levels.
174 G. Lucius

Many peace operations, including those that focus on separation of forces, have
long, quiet periods during which being present in the area of operations is the
deployed units main task. If there are no other significant tasks, the result may
be that units have much idling time. Under such circumstances, military
commanders have been known to initiate CIMIC projects to keep their soldiers
occupied (e.g. Rietjens 2008a, b). CIMIC projects may therefore be utilized to
address Workload issues.
Mandates of military missions nowadays are rarely restricted to the military task of
providing a safe and secure environment, separating warring parties and collect-
ing small arms and light weapons. Instead, the focus of the mission as a whole is
often on the need to facilitate long-term physical reconstruction and political
reconciliation. Combat forces will supply the means to create and maintain what
is usually referred to as a safe and secure environment. Additional capabilities,
e.g. engineer units or reservists with civilian expertise, may or may not be
deployed to perform activities in support of the longer-term elements of the
mandate such as reconstruction or political stability. Whether implemented by
specialists or by regular forces, CIMIC projects can provide a direct effect on
elements of the Mission Mandate.
In a foreign country, a minimum level of support from the local population is a
necessity for the deployed forces. Small projects can assist to win the hearts and
minds of the people in the AOR, making the working environment safer for the
units deployed. Force Acceptance is often a prime motivation to engage in
CIMIC projects.

CIMIC projects involve the development by the military of relationships with all
manner of local institutions and individuals. This can greatly support the insight
of the force in the dynamics of its environment. In addition and with luck, inter-
locutors may be willing to share information with members of the force that they
might not otherwise. CIMIC projects can thus play a role in Intelligence gather-
ing (Fig. 12.1).
12 CIMIC Projects: Divergent Interests, Convergent Action? 175


Public Relations
Domestic political support

Personal satisfaction
Improves Morale

Helps manage Workload

Supports implementation
of Mission Mandate

Promotes Force Acceptance

Intelligence gathering

Fig. 12.1 Why participate in CIMIC projects? MOD interests

Group 2. Diplomatic and Development Agencies

Based on their mandates and organizational interests, diplomatic and development

agencies may have various views of CIMIC activities:
Over the long term, Ministries of Foreign Affairs (MFAs) are focused on the promo-
tion of their countrys national interest, which in many cases is best served by
stability and predictability of the political system in the country at risk. This in
turn, will enable trade relations to develop, illegal migration to diminish and
tourism to flourish. Short-term goals of MFAs in peace operations will be to
leave timely and gracefully and with strong relations with the host government.
If CIMIC activities can contribute to the attainment of those short-term and long-
term goals, the MFA will be interested to support them, including by making
personnel available through secondment of Development Advisers and others to
the military force.
Governmental development agencies,1 insofar as they are not incorporated in the
structure of the MFA of their country, will often focus on the implementation of

Examples of these include the German Gesellschaft fr Internationale Zusammenarbeit GIZ, the
US Agency for International Development, Australian AUSAID, and Japan International
Cooperation Agency, JICA.
176 G. Lucius

Fig. 12.2 Why participate

in CIMIC projects?
Interests of diplomatic and Leave timely
development agencies
Stability of Host Country

Relations with Host Country

Millennium Development Goals

Competition to aid
Precursor to
development aid?

the Millennium Development Goals,2 and may have a more technical approach to
projects than the diplomats.
CIMIC projects may be seen as competition to the development program they are
involved in. More positively, CIMIC may be perceived as a useful precursor to
regular development aid; larger programs will take up to 2 years to get off the
ground, leaving a gap between deployment of military forces and implementa-
tion of development programs that CIMIC projects can fill. The third view of
CIMIC projects can be of them as small-scale and localized activities that have a
development relevance of themselves and are complementary in character
(Fig. 12.2).

Group 3. Government and People of the Host Country

Views of CIMIC projects in the host country may vary:

Government of the host country, regional or local governments: Local authorities
are not necessarily for or against any CIMIC activities on the basis of the
substance of the activity. However, in developing countries just as in the West,
politicians like to be seen to be taking care of their constituency. Projects that are
not channeled through them risk antagonizing them and as a result, may suffer
in effectiveness. Conversely, involving politicians, even if just to perform the
opening ceremony of a project, may go some way to harness their support.

The Millennium Development Goals were adopted by the General Assembly of the United
Nations in September 2000 and include commitments to halve the proportion of people living on
less than USD 1.25 a day, halve the proportion of people who suffer from hunger, ensure that all
children worldwide can complete a full course of primary schooling, reduce by two-thirds the
number of children dying before the age of five, and four other goals, by 2015.
12 CIMIC Projects: Divergent Interests, Convergent Action? 177

Local authorities/politicians involved?

Ethnic/tribal/religious groups get fair share ?

CIMIC addresses needs of population?
Competing with programs of
local development NGOs?

Fig. 12.3 Why participate in CIMIC projects? Interests of the government and people of the host

Local political parties, religious groups, youth associations and other Non-
Governmental Organisations (NGOs) will generally be in tune with the needs of
the local population and may support CIMIC projects if they perceive them to be
beneficial to the recipients. NGOs may be involved at any stage in the project
cycle (identification, development, selection and de-selection, implementation,
monitoring, reporting and evaluation). As with international development agen-
cies, local NGOs in the development field may regard CIMIC activities as com-
peting with their interests as development organizations.
Individual local nationals in all their diversity (gender, age, ethnicity, religion,
wealth, political affiliation etc.) have needs that CIMIC activities can address and
to the extent that they do, support can be expected. If goods, funds or services are
transferred to recipients without any contribution from their side, it will be more
difficult to ascertain the true level of support for the activity, as people will be
careful not to bite the hand that feeds them (Oloruntoba and Gray 2009). In situ-
ations of ethnic, tribal or religious strife, groups may demand a fair share of the
activities, regardless of their relative needs vis-a-vis those of members of other
groups (Fig. 12.3).

Summary: Views of Stakeholders of CIMIC Activities

All stakeholders have their own interests that will shape their opinions about the
usefulness of CIMIC activities. From the side providing the assistance, diplomats,
foreign military units and aid organizations can all benefit by engaging in CIMIC in
terms of increased political support back home, more funding, good public relations
at home and in the host country, and improved morale of their own staff. Strikingly,
of all the reasons to engage in CIMIC activities, only very few are related to the
needs of the local population, the recipients of the assistance. On the side of the
providers of CIMIC projects, most motives to engage are political or personal in nature.
178 G. Lucius

On the side of the recipients, we can distinguish between the final recipients of
the aid, beneficiaries in the jargon, and the intermediary level of NGOs and other
local organizations. The beneficiary is simply interested in receiving support and
will accept it as long as it does not endanger her or him in any way. The less s/he is
involved in the activity (decision-making, co-funding), the more difficult it will be
to know how the beneficiary really feels about the project.
The NGOs and the government of the host countries at national, regional and
local levels will also have political, funding, personnel and many other consider-
ations and will weigh those when forming an opinion about foreign militaries
carrying out CIMIC projects.

12.4 Case Study: CIMIC Projects in Uruzgan Province

The choice to engage in CIMIC activities is heavily influenced by political and

personal considerations on the side of the providers and intermediaries, as has been
described above. Irrespective of the motivation behind them, a decision to deliver
such projects also raises many practical questions, from identification to funding
and from implementation to accounting.
The following case study will show how in the ISAF mission in Afghanistan in
20082009, the Dutch Provincial Reconstruction Team selected and implemented
CIMIC projects and which variables where considered in that process. The case
study will begin by briefly describing the Dutch governments general policy objec-
tives for failed or failing states at the time of the decision to deploy to Uruzgan
and the way objectives for that particular mission were developed. After a short
description of the disposition of forces, this section will focus on the procedure for
handling small projects.


Dutch policy vis-a-vis failing states in general had been described in a Government
White Paper of 2005 (Wederopbouw na conflict, TK 28 0000 V, nr. 60, 24 April
2002). The White Papers main thrust was that reconstruction should be a multi-
pronged approach, encompassing:
1. Promotion of peoples security situation in a broad sense (human security),
including the promotion of the legal order, Security Sector Reform, Disarmament,
Demobilization and Reintegration, and, where applicable, the deployment of
international crisis management missions to promote stability and restore order;
2. Promotion of legitimate governance, capable of providing the essential functions
of government (good governance), an open political process, peaceful resolution
of conflicts and transitional justice;
12 CIMIC Projects: Divergent Interests, Convergent Action? 179

3. Creating peace dividend and showing the advantages of peace and stability in
terms of improving living conditions and creating employment. Basic services,
such as education, healthcare, water and sanitation and infrastructure. Lastly, a
strong civil society that speaks out for human rights, minority rights and disen-
franchised groups.
The White Paper summarized an approach that had slowly developed over many
years of carrying out and evaluating programs in post-conflict situations (see for one
overview: Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2012). In preparing for the mis-
sion in Uruzgan, the lead ministries Defence and Foreign Affairs, that in the
Netherlands includes Development Cooperation drafted a research report in con-
junction with local NGO Tribal Liaison Office (later: The Liaison Office, TLO). It
provided a description of the province in terms of ethnic and religious composition,
medical care, housing, agriculture, education and other factors (see Royal Dutch
Embassy, 2006). It was to form the methodological basis for Dutch interventions in
the province until the troops moved out in 2010.

Organization and Modus Operandi of the PRT in 20082009

The Dutch presence in Uruzgan was named Task Force Uruzgan or TFU. It deployed
in August 2006, taking over from the US Provincial Reconstruction Team that had
been operating in Uruzgan from 2004 (Kitzen et. al. 2013). The Task Force was
co-led by a senior military officer in the rank of colonel (later brigadier-general) as
Commander, Task Force Uruzgan (C-TFU) and the Civilian Representative, the latter
a senior diplomat. TFUs main elements were:
1. A Battle Group, consisting of 4 mechanized infantry units, Apache AH-64 attack
helicopters,, UAVs and 155 mm artillery systems and Combat Service Support
elements. F-16 aircraft were available from Kandahar Airfield.
2. The Provincial Reconstruction Team, led jointly by a military officer in the rank
of lieutenant-colonel and the Deputy Civilian Representative from the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs.
The Provincial Reconstruction Teams main elements were 4 Mission Teams,
two operating in the area of the provincial capital Tarin Kowt, and one each in the
villages of Deh Rawod and Chora, respectively. The Australian Defense Force con-
tributed with the Australian Reconstruction Task Force that included engineering
capacity. The PRT focused on the villages of Tarin Kowt, Deh Rawod and Chora, in
which some 70 % of the population lived and that ISAF more or less controlled.
Apart from the 4 Mission Teams and a small staff element, the PRT also included
a number of civilian specialists, seconded by the Dutch MFA: two Development
Advisers, a Tribal Adviser with an Assistant, two Political Advisers and their own
translators. The Police Mentoring Teams, including their own Force Protection
Element, were later added to the PRT organization. Also included in the PRT were
180 G. Lucius

a number of Active Reservists from 1 (NL) CIMIC Batallion3 who provided

technical advice and training, i.a. in the fields of infrastructure and commerce
(ge 2009).

PRT Projects: Strategy and Criteria for Selection

The Dutch strategy was to start off with smaller projects, to be identified and funded
by the PRT. Handing over to the Afghan authorities and other partners was part of
the exit strategy. Smaller projects delivered by foreign military were to be replaced
over time by Afghan government-led programs that foreign governments were
mostly involved with as donors.
In 20082009 however, the capacity of the Government of Afghanistan to deliver
services to its people was still weak and PRTs were relatively important providers
of aid. Mission Teams deployed close to or in the towns were confronted with a
large demand from the local population for projects, partly because since the US
PRT that deployed in 2004, the people had become accustomed to money being
made available for small infrastructural projects.
As PRT 6 started its work in Uruzgans capital Tarin Kowt in September 2008,
the teams quickly amassed dozens of proposals and requests per team per week, that
were passed on to the two Development Advisers for authorization. There was how-
ever no set procedure to assess the proposals and no strategy that would guide the
choice for or against. What was clear was that it would not be possible to grant every
request. A procedure was devised that attempted to address as many relevant criteria
for assessing proposals as possible, while maintaining simplicity and speed. Social
and political considerations were taken into account, as well as more technical issues.

Social and Political Criteria

Perhaps the single most important factor to consider was local support for the initia-
tive. Mission Teams had to establish whether the idea was considered useful by the
community or they would risk non-implementation, neglect or sabotage of the
project by the Opposing Military Forces. Conversely, developing projects that met
villagers real needs could have a strong impact on local public support for the
ISAF presence and hence on force protection.
It was difficult to establish how much local support a proposal enjoyed when
they were put forward by tribal or political leaders in private meetings with the
Team. When proposals emanated from community meetings or shuras and met with
approval there, then it was usually assumed that most would support the plan. There
was an impression however, that large shuras had their own dynamics in which
maintaining proper standing in the community (e.g. being seen as pious hence

Currently 1 (NL) Civil and Military Interaction Command.
12 CIMIC Projects: Divergent Interests, Convergent Action? 181

calling for additions or repairs to the mosque) may have been prioritized over
identifying other needs (e.g. drinking water, roads).

Governor Hamdam addressing a shura, June 2009

Political considerations sometimes also played a role, e.g. to strengthen the hand
of a moderate leader that ISAF troops enjoyed good relations with. By the same
token, activities in areas that had newly been brought under ISAF control would be
prioritized to show the population the dividends of peace.
Tribal balance was also taken into account. The PRT, by virtue of the sociologi-
cal study of Uruzgan mentioned in section Policy and its own Cultural Advisers,
had some insight into the balance of power between the various tribal factions.
Where many positions of power in Uruzgan were occupied by members of a minor-
ity tribe, the PRT would often deliberately support other groups.

Technical Criteria

(a) Channel. Although the PRT would often be the first organization to be
approached, requesters would be referred to (1) the local authorities, (2)
International Organizations with a mandate supported by Kabul4 and (3) local

The United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan, UNAMA, only opened its own office in
Uruzgan in May of 2009, but it and various UN agencies and programs including WFP, did operate
in the province in 2008.
182 G. Lucius

and international NGOs. Only when these organizations were unable to support
the initiative would the PRT consider it. This measure was designed to create a
virtuous circle of Afghan people demanding services from the government and
the government responding.
(b) Time was another consideration. Focusing on quick impact, and with PRT
rotations not exceeding 6 months in duration, the aim was to award, execute and
pay for projects within weeks, rather than months.
(c) Technology.
Many project proposals involved some form of infrastructure. Small bridges
to cross the many irrigation channels, water wells, river bank protection and
road repairs were particularly popular. The engineers of the PRT, reservists with
a background in civil engineering, would assess the proposals on their technical
feasibility. Related to that assessment was the question whether the solution
proposed classified as what is referred to as appropriate technology. The most
efficient or cutting edge technology is not always the most suitable for a post-
conflict environment. Ruggedness, ease of operation by unskilled people and
little need for maintenance would be considered advantages.
(d) Security. The Task Force operated in a highly insecure area in which Improvised
Explosive Devices, or IEDs, were the opponents weapon of choice. Materials
that could be used for the production of IEDs would not be delivered as part of
a CIMIC project. These included saw blades, fertilizer containing high levels of
nitrate, radios, copper wire and all types of batteries (Rietjens et al. 2014).
(e) Sustainability was always discussed extensively. Even assuming that the com-
munity supported the implementation of the project, how would continued
operation be ensured? Were there any needs for maintenance, if so, were spare
parts available, skilled workers, funds, a supply chain? The PRT discovered
that proposals based on a commercial business plan often scored high on this
important criterion. As an example, small Hydro-Electric Power plants (HEPs),
running on the flow of a stream, would be financed. The families connected to
the HEPs small grid would pay a monthly fee towards maintenance of the
installation, light bulbs etcetera and through those contributions sustain a
small business.
(f) De-confliction. It was the Development Advisers task to ensure connectivity
between CIMIC projects and the work of the Government of Afghanistan. By
2008, Afghanistan was implementing a National Development Plan that brought
a multitude of smaller and larger projects to the provinces. It required close
coordination with the local representatives of government ministries to avoid
competition on the one hand, and gaps on the other. Here, too, time and geography
were used to de-conflict, whereby the government (and international NGOs)
would work in areas that had been secured and stabilized for some time, and the
militarys CIMIC projects would be run in outlying areas.
(g) Finance and probity. Considerations of finance and probity included the pre-
liminary question about the availability of funds. The first Dutch PRT had been
provided some Euro 500,000 that were quickly spent. By the last quarter of
2008, some Euro 4.5 million had been disbursed. The S-8/Finance officer of the
12 CIMIC Projects: Divergent Interests, Convergent Action? 183

PRT ensured funds were made available through regular Netherlands Ministry
of Defence (MOD) channels. MOD, in turn, received the funds for CIMIC or
Quick Impact projects from the MFA and the expenditure was accounted for as
Official Development Aid or ODA. It therefore had to fall within the definition
of ODA as formulated by the OECD that precludes i.a. military materiel such as
weapons and ammunitions (see Text box: What counts as Development Aid?).
In Uruzgan in 20082009, sufficient funds were available in the form of a
CIMIC budget delegated to the Dutch Ministry of Defence by the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs DG for International Cooperation.
The PRT took care to request multiple quotations for the works to be carried out.
Over time, it developed norms for prices of labor, cement, sand and gravel, etcetera.
This helped ensure better value for money and prevented unfair competition and
perverse effects on the local economy as described by (Rietjens et al. 2014).

River bank protection project

A last but important aspect was corruption. Implementers, such as community lead-
ers and building companies, were in a position to engage in corrupt practices for
example by pressuring or paying villagers to support certain project proposals or by
forging budget proposals, quotations or receipts. Stolze and Rietjens (2012) have
shown that corruption in CIMIC projects occurred in Afghanistan at a significant
184 G. Lucius

As in other project cycles, part of the effort focused on the verification of implemen-
tation. Were projects actually delivered? Did the water well function as intended,
were the villagers happy, both the men and the women? Final payments would
be held up until proof of completion was provided, for example by photographs
submitted by the project implementers or through military patrols of the Task
Forces own units.

Approval and Implementation Procedure

The PRT Mission Teams and the infantry units of the Dutch Battle Group would be
approached with proposals, as would their commander, the Commander Task Force
Uruzgan. In 20082009, it was not uncommon for a Mission Team to receive 1520
proposals per week, adding up to 50 or so for the totality of the PRT.
Using the social, political and the technical criteria mentioned above, the Mission
Teams would reject a significant number of proposals. The Cultural Adviser, the
Political Adviser and the Development Adviser were available to provide advice.
Proposals would also be assessed by the PRTs engineers on technical criteria and
by the staff officer Finance5 on financial aspects.
A weekly meeting was convened in which the Mission Teams would each pro-
pose 45 projects, that were then subjected to peer review. Having passed through a
staff process preceding the weekly meeting, the technical and financial soundness of
the proposals was assumed. The debate, chaired by the Development Adviser,
would usually concentrate on the political soundness of implementing an activity
with and for a certain group in a particular area. If a tribal leader asked for 4 bridges
to be built, and he was known to have close links to the Taliban, would those links
be a reason to refuse the proposal, or a reason to engage with him? The Cultural
and Political Advisers would attend the Project Meeting for that purpose. The
Development Adviser would focus on de-confliction of projects with any planned
activities of Afghan Government ministries and on sustainability issues.6 The meet-
ing having agreed on which projects to support, a project form would be completed
by the Mission Team, signed by the Development Adviser and submitted to the
Commander, PRT for final approval.
Contrary to the popular impression, projects were not implemented by the Dutch
soldiers themselves. Most were delivered by commercial construction companies
who had to go through a process of competitive bidding to be awarded contracts
(Kremers et al. 2010). Mission Teams, aware of the direct relation between projects
and the realization of the mission mandate, would track and support the process of

This staff section is known as S8 in NATO jargon.
The Development Advisers were double hatted as members of the staff of the Netherlands
Embassy in Kabul and played a role in overseeing the implementation in the province of the
Afghan National Development Strategy. Their interaction with provincial authorities facilitated
deconfliction of the bottom-up (CIMIC) and the top-down (ANDS) programs.
12 CIMIC Projects: Divergent Interests, Convergent Action? 185

contracting and implementation, and join Battle Group units patrols to check
progress and completion. Final payments would only be done after verification of
project completion.
As the Dutch PRT had been active for more than 2 years by the time of PRT6s
deployment, the unit was able to judge the political success of earlier activities,
verify if the projects were still in use, see what maintenance was needed, etcetera.
In short, it made some effort to evaluate earlier interventions and would revisit
projects or steer other players (local government, NGOs) to them in an effort to
strengthen sustainability and continuity.


The selection and implementation of projects was a dynamic process. The PRT
would consciously give less priority to areas that had been under control for some
time, to give room to NGOs and local government to play their rightful role in the
development of the country. The militarys resources could then be steered towards
outlying areas where support for the government was still weak and the people had
seen little by way of development. The strategy was known as the ink blot strategy.
Textbox 12.2 illustrates how an area that was newly brought under control of ISAF
would receive CIMIC projects that would over time conclude and be succeeded by
larger development projects and programs implemented by civilian organizations.

Textbox 12.2: Providing Solar Panels in Sorkh Morghab

The village of Sorkh Morghab lies between the provincial capital Tarin Kowt
and the village of Chora to the North-East. The area connecting Tarin Kowt
and Chora had not been brought under control in early 2009, but Sorkh
Morghab, at the northern entry to the Baluchi valley, had become semi-
permissive in a recent operation. Having joined in the operation, the Mission
Team after some weeks established contacts with locals who were interested
in some small project. They chose a solar panel so that they could have light
after nightfall. They were nervous, and requested the panels be installed in the
middle of their qualas (traditional homestead) roof, invisible from the street.
The project proposal comprised only four solar panels, to the MTs disap-
pointment. Within a number of weeks after their installation however, the
entire village wanted electricity and a proposal was submitted for no less than
1000 panels. By then, the improved security situation allowed an international
NGO to operate in the area. Rather than engage in a larger-scale replication of
the initial project, the PRT decided to engage the INGO who had more funds
and more experience with large projects and connected them with the village
elders. In this and many other instances, the PRT chose to play a different role

186 G. Lucius

Textbox 12.2 (continued)

when the circumstances allowed for it, enabling other agencies to take over
and effectively create the conditions for conclusion of the mission and

12.5 Discussion and Conclusions

In the 6 months described in the case study, over 200 CIMIC projects were imple-
mented, selected from a much wider base of proposals submitted, possible as many
as 1000 or more. In the practice as in the theory of the first part of this chapter, the
various stakeholders in Uruzgan were led by the mandates and interests of the orga-
nizations they represented and, to an extent, also by their personal views. The choice
to engage in a CIMIC-program in Uruzgan was based on a 2005 Government
White Paper that proposed a multi-pronged approach to post-conflict reconstruction
worldwide, including providing security, assisting legitimate governance structures
and providing essential services to the population.
Uruzgan offered a unique opportunity to put this government policy to the test,
with its relatively long military engagement and still-ongoing development effort in
a geographically well-defined area of operation that was almost exclusively Dutch.
The Dutch government invested in a broad sociological analysis of the province that
enabled its staff to get a fuller understanding of the development needs and the
power structure of the province. It was used to validate decisions that impacted on
the tribal balance, including the choice to deliver CIMIC projects to certain groups.
12 CIMIC Projects: Divergent Interests, Convergent Action? 187

The government also set aside a separate capacity for reconstruction in the form of
a Provincial Reconstruction Team and put significant financial and human resources
at its disposal.
The PRT over time developed a procedure for the selection of CIMIC projects
that started with a decision on which was the most appropriate channel for imple-
mentation, with the PRT itself as a lender of last resort, only intervening when
local government structures, IOs and NGOs were unable to assist. In the cases
where the PRT did consider projects, it would verify the availability of funds, then
continue by evaluating the proposal on throughput time (whereby faster = better),
perceived effect on force protection, intelligence position and congruence with
military developments; a newly accessible area would receive new projects as soon
as the inhabitants asked for them.
The proposal would also be assessed technically: was it technically feasible to
implement, was the technology appropriate for the circumstances, sustainable in at
least the medium term, coherent with the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan
in the same sector, financially sound and correctly priced and was no corruption
involved? The team evaluating the proposals did not use a point system, nor were
some considerations considered more important per se than others. The process
sought to ensure that all interests were considered, then brought in elements of com-
petition (limited funds, limited amount of time available, limited number of projects
that could be presented in the projects meeting) and, crucially, concluded with a
peer review of proposals.
The effectiveness, and the sustainability, of the 200 or so projects that were
implemented by the Dutch Provincial Reconstruction Team in the September
2008March 2009 period has not yet been assessed independently. Comparative
research however suggests that the recipients in Uruzgan were critical of the projects,
perceiving them to benefit the dominant local power holders (Fishstein 2012).7
It follows from the above that an effective CIMIC effort is a tall order. It helps if it
is based on an explicit and sound general policy framework, such as the White Paper
mentioned in section Policy. Research such as was done with the assistance of
The Liaison Office into the sociology of Uruzgan can further assist preparations.
Once deployed, the military force may be confronted with a large, perhaps over-
whelming demand for support to development projects. If the force or a specific
element of it engages in their selection and implementation, it will have to devise a
process that recognizes that the major players involved, i.e. the military force itself,
its countrys diplomatic and development agencies and all the stakeholders of the
host country at their different levels, all have different views of CIMIC projects.
Most will favor the implementation of projects per se, but the motivations will vary
greatly. It is important to realize that few of these motives are related to the needs of
the local population; most are political or personal in nature.

This may be explained by ISAFs choice to take every opportunity to support the Government of
Afghanistan. This led the PRT to use existing structures (shuras, tribal leaders, local government
officials) for identification and implementation of projects, possibly disenfranchising those with
less (access to) power.
188 G. Lucius

Leave timely

Force Acceptance
Stability of Host Country

Public Relations Relations with

Millennium Host Country
Domestic political support
Personal satisfaction Intelligence gathering Goals
Precursor to
Improves Morale development aid?
Recruitment Helps manage Workload Complementary to aid?
Supports implementation Competition to
of Mission Mandate aid program?

Ethnic/tribal/religious groups get fair share ? Local authorities/politicians involved?

Competing with programs CIMIC addresses needs

of local development NGOs? of local population?

Fig. 12.4 Overlapping interests

For a CIMIC program to meet the quality norms of development professionals,

military forces have to select activities that are relevant first and foremost to the
intended beneficiaries.8 Promotion of the economic development and welfare of
developing countries must be the main objective if an activity is to be counted as
Official Development Assistance. If it is not ODA-able then funding would have
to be secured from other sources than development funds. Relevance to the benefi-
ciaries will also help ensure their support to the military forces presence and thus
serve force protection objectives. Projects that are not needs-based and sustainable
will fail to promote real force acceptance.
Potential CIMIC projects should also be acceptable to the militarys own organi-
zation, the public back home, and the host government and preferably not overlap
or compete with what international organizations and NGOs are doing.
In sum, selection of projects should consider the interests of the main groups of
stakeholders (Fig. 12.4).
Having identified projects proposals that satisfy the political, developmental and
military requirements of the three groups, the proposals then need to be evaluated
on administrative and technical criteria: technical feasibility, connectivity with the
host governments planned interventions, financial soundness and the absence of

See Textbox <InternalRef RefID=FPar7 >12.1: What counts as Development Aid?
12 CIMIC Projects: Divergent Interests, Convergent Action? 189

corruption are some of these. Once it has been decided to go ahead with the project,
the tendering, contracting and implementation phases may yet see obstacles that
lead to non-implementation and it is crucial that implementation is verified for
reasons of accountability, both to the local people and government and to the military
forces line of command.
The example of the PRT in Uruzgan shows that it is useful to make explicit all
the various considerations and subject each project proposal to technical and socio-
political evaluation in a peer review process. This will help ensure that the project
portfolio falls under ODA criteria, is sustainable, also assists force acceptance, and
includes some photogenic activities. Respect for the positions of all involved has
proven key to selection decisions that meet with broad support within and outside
the PRT. Using such an approach, a program of CIMIC projects can be successful
even if stakeholders have differing views and interests. Research shows however
(Fishstein, op.cit.) that the use of intermediaries, such as tribal elders, militia leaders
and local politicians, while helpful in soliciting their support, may also lead to a
perception among the local population that the CIMIC program acts to strengthen
entrenched interests.
An ample supply of potential projects to choose from is a prerequisite for a
successful program, because only a limited number of proposals will satisfy the
interests of all the stakeholders and simultaneously meet the technical and the
administrative criteria.
Lastly: to remain successful, CIMIC programs will have to be dynamic. They
must adjust to take account of the developing military situation, the political
environment, the roll-out of programs of International Organizations and NGOs and
the increased capacity of the host government to provide services to the people. In the
end, a successful military-led CIMIC program should render itself superfluous.


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Chapter 13
Dealing with Cultural Differences

Paula Holmes-Eber

13.1 Introduction

Perhaps one of the greatest challenges that military service members face in civil-
military operations is overcoming the often extreme cultural differences between
the military and the civilians that they must work with during their operations. Few
western military members are prepared for the cultural shock they experience when
attempting to interact with local civilians whose standards of hygiene, treatment of
women, respect for life, attitudes towards corruption, or religious beliefs and values
are radically different from their own. These cultural differences not only affect
interactions with the local population, however, but also cause problems in working
with international civilian partners in the area, who are also likely to come from
equally diverse cultural backgrounds.
Coping with cultural differences is not simply a case of learning a few polite
greetings and customs: often referred to by military members as the dos and
donts for a country. Learning to say hello in Arabic, or understanding the appro-
priate way to bow in Japan may ease the initial tensions of an interaction. Yet learn-
ing these pleasantries will still leave the soldier completely unprepared for the more
serious issues that arise as civilians and military members must work together on a
daily basis to resolve the conflicts.
In theater, culturally based challenges can range from minor issues causing daily
friction between military and civilians to life threatening problems. Minor frustra-
tions, for example, often result from different attitudes towards time or differing
notions of how the chain of command should work (or even whether such a hierar-
chical chain exists in the civilians organization or community). Yet often the failure
of the military to understand the host nations or joint partners culture can result in

P. Holmes-Eber (*)
University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA
e-mail: pholmese@u.washington.edu

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 191

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_13
192 P. Holmes-Eber

much more serious and even life-threatening problems. Recent accounts of the murders
of coalition forces and westerners by Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF)
indicate that one of the primary factors underlying these murders was the hostile
view that the ANSF forces held of the U.S. forces as the result of unresolved cultural
differences. According to one study:
Negative views, experiences and observations of US Soldiers social behaviors were
recorded. ANSF members identified numerous social, cultural and operational grievances
they have with US Soldiers. (Bordin 2011: 3).

This chapter provides the soldier with concrete guidance on how to recognize
and respond appropriately to cultural differences before they become detrimental to
the mission. Combining anthropological research on culture with seven years of
experience in planning, teaching and training for cultural aspects in military opera-
tions, I identify five key dimensions of culture that must be considered in opera-
tions: peoples interaction with their environment, their economic relationships,
their social and political structures, and their belief systems (see Salmoni and
Holmes-Eber 2011). To illustrate these dimensions and how resulting cultural dif-
ferences can affect the military service members ability to work with civilians, I
provide concrete cases collected from case studies, including my own fieldwork and
interviews with U.S. Marines.

13.2 Civilians Use of Their Environment

For military members working in a foreign environment, the most immediate and
visible sign of cultural difference is the way that local civilians use their physical
environment. These differences can include such basic daily concerns as the way
that local people use water (including bathing and cleanliness), dispose of sewage
and waste, transport goods and people, gather and harvest food, and even what
foods civilians may consider edible. Frequently such differences can cause military
members great discomfort (if not outright repulsion). Preparing military members
for the culture shock that they are likely to face in working in areas with poor sanita-
tion and hygiene, as well as discussing appropriate responses to offers of local food
and drink can help mitigate some of the initial friction between military members
and the local population.
These cultural challenges, however, are surface deep. A more in-depth under-
standing of the way that people have access to and use their environment can
help military members make sense of the cultural basis of conflict. By examining
fundamental relationships between local people and key resources such as land,
water, food, fuel and transportation, the soldier can not only identify sources of
conflict, but develop ways to mitigate, reduce or even resolve conflict in an area.
For example, peoples settlement patterns vary immensely around the world
reflecting different social relationships and patterns of land use or ownership. In
rural areas of the world, people may live in large extended farming households, with
13 Dealing with Cultural Differences 193

multiple generations clustered into sprawling compounds. In contrast, in arid

climates such as the Horn of Africa, the Middle East and central Asia, some groups
may be nomadic, following their herds in annual migration patterns, with no perma-
nent homes. Conflicts over land use are not unusual between nomadic and settled
farming communities, since grazing animals can destroy farmers crops and
decrease the productivity of the land. Tensions between farmers and nomads can be
particularly high during periods of drought and famine, as is the case in Somalia and
Darfur today. Without an understanding of the conflicting views and claims over
land, soldiers may inadvertently increase hostilities in an area. In a case described
by Major Chris Varhola and LtCol LauraVarhola (2006), civil affairs efforts to pro-
vide veterinary services to herders cows in the Bagamoyo District of the Sudan
unknowingly generated ill will towards the peacekeepers in the region who were
viewed as favoring the nomadic herders over the farmers.
Like land use, soldiers need to understand the impact of their operations on local
civilians use of water. In many regions, access to water may be limited and the local
population may have to haul water from wells or use irrigation to water their crops.
For example, during counterinsurgency operations in Fallujah, Iraq, a lack of under-
standing of the patterns of water distribution inadvertently led to increased insur-
gent activities in one area. Members of the community of Rutbah were required to
stop running their water pumping stations to enable troops to move more easily
across the otherwise flooded terrain (Mitchell 2014). Consequently, many farmers
received insufficient water to grow their crops, creating resentment among the
population. Soon thereafter the U.S. Marines in the area experienced an increase in
IEDs. Fortunately, by working with the local sheikhs and tribal council, the Marines
realized their mistake and were able to rectify the situation by amending their policies
on the water pumping stations.
In addition to land and water, there are several other aspects of peoples use of
the physical environment that the soldier should consider. Access to fuel and power
is frequently a critical issue that can directly affect the outcome of military opera-
tions. In many regions of the world, fuel is often expensive and difficult to obtain.
Likewise, civilians may not have access to electricity or power may only be turned
on during certain hours in the day. In joint operations this can lead to frequent logis-
tical problems, since host nation militaries and partnering civilian organizations
may not have sufficient fuel or power to complete their part of the mission. Indeed,
as LtCdr Paterson (2008) reports for Darfur, lack of many basic resourcesfrom
water, manpower, food, and functioning equipmentoften hinder the ability of
local partner militaries to function effectively in peacekeeping operations.
Transportation and communication will also vary radically from country to
country. In some regions, soldiers can expect poor narrow roads filled with potholes,
bridges that can barely carry the weight of a pick-up truck, and footpaths more
suited to travel by mule than jeep. Furthermore, traffic on the roads can include
squawking chickens, careening bicycles and mopeds, horse drawn carts, and trucks
piled dangerously high with goods and people, making movement slow and danger-
ous. In partnering operations with the Afghan Local Police (ALP), for example,
coalition forces in the Regional Command West area of operations provided the
194 P. Holmes-Eber

ALP with new vehicles to improve their range of operations (Shea 2014).
Unfortunately, these vehicles were not suited to the local dirt tracks, narrow moun-
tain passes and unimproved roads of the area and required expensive and hard-to-
obtain fuel to operate. Realizing that most of the population moved about by foot or
animal, the task force ultimately took away the ineffective vehicles, substituting a
foot patrolling system for the police that was much more suited to the local cultural
Although word of mouth still continues to be an important form of communica-
tion, today even in the most remote mountaintop village, cell phones and the Internet
have dramatically changed the speed and way that people pass on information. As
the recent events of the Arab spring in the Middle East have made clear, new media
technologies have enabled rapid mobilization of people for protest and even revolu-
tion. Even in villages where people are illiterate, they can send photos and watch
YouTube videos on their cell phones. The result is that today every action of the
peacekeeper is potentially public. Culturally unacceptable actions by the military
such as the burning of Qurans in Afghanistan in 2012 can suddenly be viewed
immediately on the Internet and by cell phone, turning a small incident into an inter-
national crisis.
Finally peoples activities and routines often are directly linked to the local
seasons and climate. During midday in hot climates the local civilians (including
the local security forces) will often take a siesta, stopping all activity for several
hoursa pattern that can be immensely frustrating to northern European and
American forces used to a high paced long work day. And in agricultural countries,
local labor will often suddenly return home without notice to help with planting in
the spring or the fall harvest. Peacekeeping forces will build much better relations
with their civilian counterparts if the local season and climate are taken into consid-
eration in planning schedules and events.

13.3 Economic Activities and Relationships

How people use their environment is intimately related to a second cultural dimen-
sion: the way that people engage in economic activities and relationships. While
war and conflict have a clear impact on the physical environmentresulting in the
destruction of roads, buildings and infrastructure--an equally devastating conse-
quence of conflict is the damage inflicted on local economies. Figuring out how to
work with and improve local economic systems is a frequent challenge for soldiers
in peacekeeping and stability operations.
Since most western countries have robust industrial economies based on a complex
international banking system, military members may not be prepared for the vastly
different nature of economic interaction in many war torn countries. For example,
in todays world of high speed Internet and i-phones, most of us conduct our finances
online, transferring money and paying bills electronically. However, in many
countries where the local population is illiterate and computers are uncommon,
most economic transactions may still be carried on with cash. Banks may not even
13 Dealing with Cultural Differences 195

exist in rural communities. Furthermore, in some areas, such as strongly religious

Muslim communities, the practice of usury is forbidden, requiring an entirely dif-
ferent approach to conducting financial activities such as making loans for business
and construction.
The lack of an effective local banking and financial system can severely hamper
peacekeeping and stability operations. For example, during the war in Iraq, efforts
to rebuild an effective Iraqi military were severely limited by the inability of the
Iraqi army to pay its soldiers. As reported by Major John Bilas (2009) who worked
on an Iraqi military transition team, one of their greatest challenges was not training
and working with the Iraqi military, but developing an effective and fair payroll
system to reduce desertions and improve morale. As his team discovered on their
arrival, many Iraqi soldiers had not been paid for months, and in fact some had even
died in combat without any remuneration to the widows and their families. Since
there was no local bank or electronic payment system, his team ended up flying to
Baghdad once a week, withdrawing millions of dinars in cash from the bank, and
then transporting the cash in duffel bags by armored vehicles to pay the soldiers
A second challenge for peacekeepers is accounting for the informal as well as the
formal economy of an area. The formal economy can be defined as that part of the
economy that is taxed, regulated and measured by the governmentthe part of the
economy that is reported in national statistics. However, every country has a second
economy, called the informal or shadow economy, which is not under the control of
the government. This economy includes both illegal behavior (such as arms, drug
and human trafficking) as well as economic activities that are normally legitimate
but outside of the control of the government. Such informal economic activities can
include work by illegal migrants and children (who are forbidden to work by law)
or simply by citizens who are unwilling or unable to pay for the licenses or taxes to
conduct work legally (such as selling food or goods without a license at open air
markets or running an unregistered business from the home).
One aspect of the informal economy that can be particularly problematic in
peacekeeping operations is the practice of bribery and kickbacks. Bribery is the
illegal demand to pay for a service or commodity that should be free. While forbid-
den in most countries, bribery is often an assumed part of business, particularly in
countries with corrupt and failing governments. Indeed, in many cultures, small
gifts for services rendered are an expected part of business (Smart and Hsu 2007).
Kickbacks, like bribery, increase the cost and reduce the efficiency of local pro-
grams and projects, since a percentage of the projects expenses are illegally
removed to pad the wallet of officials who are administering the project. Kickbacks
are a serious problem in large multimillion dollar/Euro projects where numerous
people along the implementation pipeline remove a percentage of the budget.
Typically the unfortunate result is that the project never gets completed due to lack
of funds, is severely reduced in scope or badly completed using poor materials.
One solution to this problem, recommended by LtCol deFrancisci (2008), is for the
military to fund small contracts or directly pay local individuals to conduct the work.
This avoids the problem of funding one large contract where the funds become
rapidly diminished as each subcontractor takes a cut.
196 P. Holmes-Eber

13.4 Social Structure

Although the external aspects of culture--such as food, dress, housing, local busi-
nesses and the colorful weekly marketsare typically the easiest for military mem-
bers to recognize, probably the greatest cross-cultural challenges in operations
result from misunderstanding the underlying deep cultural beliefs and attitudes
that are much more difficult to grasp by an outsider (see e.g. Bor 2006). Primary
among these beliefs are the socially accepted relationships that influence a persons
position, status, power, roles and responsibilities in that culture.
Social scientists refer to the pattern of relationships that influence a persons
place and roles in society as social structure. Some cultures, such as military
culture, have a clearly defined social structure based on hierarchical relationships
with stated lines of authority, power and responsibility. Military social structure is
formed around the concept of rank, which defines each persons status, role and
position within the military.
While rank would appear to provide a clearly defined set of relationships between
military members, the reality is that different militaries have their own cultural ide-
als of authority and roles attached to each rank. This can create great challenges in
partnering with foreign militaries. In a case described by Major Immel (2014), secu-
rity cooperation partnering exercises with the Ecuadorian military were severely
hampered by the requirement that all decisions had to be approved by the Ecuadorian
president, delaying and stalling even basic coordination and communication
between the military partners.
In most cultures there is no formal organizational chart that one can download
from the Internet to help an outsider figure out the accepted and culturally under-
stood relationships between people. Furthermore, in some cultures, there are no
clear hierachical lines of authority between people. In fact, a major frustration that
military members frequently experience in theater is not in working with the local
population but with joint partners such as NGOs (non-governmental organizations)
whose social and organizational structures are much more fluid, egalitarian and
(from a military perspective) ill-defined.
Rank is only one way that people in a culture distinguish between the roles and
status of different members. Other factors that frequently influence a persons place
in the social structure can include gender, age, class, family name, tribal affiliation,
ethnicity, race or religion. Many of these factors are intimately related to ones
identity: how a person defines himself and the groups to which he or she belongs.
Unequal relationships between different identity groups (for example ethnic, racial,
religious or tribal groups) are often the basis for conflict in many parts of the world.
The skillful understanding of local social relationships can do much to reduce
conflict or improve operations. Col (ret) Bor (2006), for example, describes how
the French Marines mitigated conflict between ethnic and lineage groups in opera-
tions in Africa by organizing military units by ethnicity during training and opera-
tions. Similarly Major Posey (2014) discusses how, as a female Marine, she used
her gender to her advantage, gaining access to Afghan women. As she discovered,
13 Dealing with Cultural Differences 197

outside of the public view, Afghan women exercised influential and powerful roles
within the community. By operating as a woman on a mixed-gender team, she was
able to interact with these women, helping the task force better understand and
interact with the community effectively.

13.5 Political Organization and Law

Just as economic relationships are intimately tied to and dependent upon the way
people use the environment, social and political relationships are inextricably
related. Although most of us living in democracies would like to believe that politi-
cal leadership is the result of fair and open elections, the reality is that around the
world political power and leadership are invariably a reflection of position within
the social structure. In virtually every country in the world, political leaders tend
to come from the most powerful and highest status groups in that country. In
Afghanistan, for example, the most powerful ethnic group is the Pashtun. Not sur-
prisingly, President Muhammad Karzai is not only Pashtun, but his family belongs
to the Durrani Pashtun tribe, the most influential tribal group within the Pashtuns.
Similarly, in the Philippines status and power are concentrated in the hands of a
group of extremely wealthy families (McCoy 2009). Not surprisingly, over the past
fifty years, four of the countrys seven presidents have come from the same two
leading families. President Macapagal-Arroyo (president 20012010) was the
daughter of President Diosdadal Macapagal (19611965). And President Benigno
Aquino III is the son of President Corazon Aquino (19861992).
The intimate link between social and political structures is not limited to devel-
oping countries, however. In the U.S. for example, until the election of President
Obama, every single president and vice president in the almost 250 year history of
the United States has been a white male, and all but one has been a Protestant
Christian (President Kennedy was Catholic). Women, blacks, and ethnic and reli-
gious minorities, who form the lower levels of the U.S. social strata, have been
notably absent from the presidential office.
Soldiers will be far more effective in an area if they recognize that political lead-
ers are linked to (and dependent upon the support of) powerful groups in that coun-
try. Whether these ties are to leading families or tribes, dominant ethnic groups or
leading business or religious groups, most political leaders are not free to act as
independent decision makers. Bonds of obligation and reciprocity often limit their
options and, correspondingly, their ability to act in support of the goals of the peace-
keeping coalition.
The culturally based nature of politics extends far beyond the selection of lead-
ers. The way that decisions are made, the structure of political groups and the ability
of leaders to influence action also depend upon cultural ideals. Some cultures around
world emphasize decision making that is collaborative in nature, preferring com-
munity decisions to be made by a council of respected leaders rather than by one
centralized person. In others, people may prefer to have a balance of several
198 P. Holmes-Eber

competing leaders. During stability operations in Marjeh, Afghanistan, for example,

LtCol Christmas and Holmes-Eber (2012) describes how it was necessary to work
with several different leaders simultaneously in order to resolve tensions and
conflicts between the local population and the U.S. Marines operating in the area.
In some instances, he turned to a respected religious leader of the community, in
others he worked with the district governor, and at times he sought the support of
the local council of elders.
One final cultural aspect of political behavior is important to note here: the cul-
tural basis of law and conflict resolution. Most western nations are founded upon a
secular European legal system that resolves conflict through written laws, courts,
judges and jails. In other cultures, however, conflict may be resolved through very
different methods, ranging from arbitration, to judgment by a council, to the consul-
tation of religious texts for legal interpretations. Just as legal systems vary drasti-
cally from country to country, so too, do the values and beliefs underlying those
systems. In a fascinating case by Major Dill (2014), he describes the complex legal
and social challenges that coalition members in Iraq faced when trying to adjudicate
and resolve the fate of eleven female Iraqi detainees. These women had all attempted
suicide bombings, but survived. However detaining Muslim women on an almost
exclusively male military base had led to very negative relations with the local pop-
ulation, who viewed the detention of women as an affront to Muslims. Rather than
following a western judicial solution of putting the women on public trial, the coali-
tion allowed the Iraqi community to resolve the problem according to their own
culturally accepted processes. The outcome was that the women (all of whom had
somehow violated cultural norms and were outcasts) were arranged in marriage to
tribal leaders. Thus they returned to the community with honor, and the possibility
that they would attempt another act of suicide bombing was mitigated by the influ-
ence of their new husband and in-laws.

13.6 Belief Systems

As all of the previous examples illustrate, no one cultural dimension is distinctly

separate from any other. This interconnectedness is more obvious when examining
belief systems, which underlie all aspects of culture. While culture is expressed
through the many ways that people act and interact, ultimately culture is shaped,
influenced and informed by the beliefs that people hold about the world they live in.
The way that a person interprets and understands his or her world is filtered through
these various beliefs, which collectively form a persons worldview.
Although we might like to think that all people view the same events in the same
way, resulting in the same interpretations and explanations of those events, the
reality is that people in different cultures will give very different meanings to the
same events. For example, as discussed in the previous section on economic activi-
ties, while one person may view a gift of cash as a positive expression of thanks for
a favor, another person from a different culture could view this cash as illegal and a
13 Dealing with Cultural Differences 199

form of bribery. The action is the same in both cases, but the interpretation and the
resulting response to the action will be different.
Since people cannot see, touch or hear a persons worldview directly, many of
the more serious cross-cultural misunderstandings in military operations derive
from the false assumption that two people who are interacting or working together
actually understand and interpret the world from the same perspective. The assump-
tion that others see the world the same way that we do is termed ethnocentrism, or
in more colloquial military language mirror imaging.
It often takes months, or even years, to truly understand the worldview of a per-
son from a radically different culturetime that few soldiers can spare. However,
there are several ways that beliefs and cultural ideals are expressed that can help
soldiers understand how civilians, including joint partners, may see and respond to
the world.
First a quick and easy way to begin to see the world from someone elses view is
to read their stories and listen to their versions of their history: both forms of cul-
tural narratives. As Mwikisa and Dikobe (2009) illustrate in their analysis of three
traditional African tales, stories and folktales can be a source of insight into beliefs
about war, conflict, and culturally accepted ways of peacefully resolving hostilities.
Local histories, like stories, can also provide great insight into the way a certain
group interprets the problem, or views the actors (including the role of peacekeep-
ers) in the situation. In a provocative discussion of Afghan history, LtCol Wagner
(2012) argues that the British catastrophe at Maiwand, remains in the minds of the
local Afghan people as a symbol of the power and resistance of the Afghans to for-
eign invasiona memory not easily overcome in contemporary operations there.
Secondly, one of the most obvious ways that people indicate their beliefs and
ideals is through symbols. For example, one clear symbol that all military members
recognize is the symbol of rank on a service members clothing. This symbol, called
insignia, immediately communicates to members of that service, the status of the
person wearing the symbol, his or her authority to tell other military members what
to do, and dictates the roles and duties that are required of that service member.
Rubenstein (2005) argues that, in peacekeeping operations, emphasizing shared
symbols between partner militaries and civilians engaged in operationssuch as a
common peacekeeping badgecan help members overcome their individual ser-
vice affiliations and enable them to work more closely as a team.
Symbols include physical objects such as rank insignia, but may also consist of
sounds such as speech (language is simply a set of sound symbols agreed upon by
the group), behavior such as bowing, and even more abstract concepts as places.
From a military viewpoint, placesincluding religious shrines and landfre-
quently end up at the center of conflicts. Jerusalem, for instance, has been the focus
of religious conflicts between Christians, Muslims and Jews for thousands of years.
Understanding the symbolic importance of place can help peacekeepers take actions
that potentially prevent the escalation of conflict. Directly after combat operations
in Najaf, Iraq for example, Major Batson (2014) describes how a Marine
Expeditionary Unit (MEU) was able to quickly reduce fighting in the area.
Recognizing the religious and symbolic importance of the city and the revered
200 P. Holmes-Eber

shrine of Ali, the commanders of the unit understood that the use of (foreign and
predominantly Christian) U.S. troops to protect the shrine could easily be used by
enemy Muslim forces in a negative information operations campaign. Instead the
MEU decided to train and employ Muslim Iraqi police and soldiers to protect the
area, ensuring compliance with the cease fire and the support of the civilian
In another case, described by Major Rose (2014), the Australian army faced
problems with patrolling and surveillance of an area of the country that had been
identified as a key location for illegal activities. This area belonged to the local
Gamberre Aboriginal tribe and was viewed as sacred, connected to their concept of
dreaming. Since outsider access to the land was contrary to tribal law, the army
surveillance unit developed a cooperative plan with the tribal elders to train a local
patrol composed of Aboriginal men. The plan provided gainful employment to the
young men, respected the beliefs of the tribe and achieved the missions goals of
surveillance of the area.
The linkage of place and land to beliefs brings this discussion of five cultural
dimensions full circle. As the discussion of each dimension reveals, culture is a
complex integrated whole rather than a discrete list of quaint customs, courtesies
and traits. In considering the impact of military operations in an area, soldiers
must examine all aspects of culturefrom peoples use of the environment, to their
economic, social and political relationships, to the underlying beliefs that influence
the way people view the soldiers actions.

13.7 Implementing a Holistic Approach to Culture

in Operations

Although understanding each individual dimension of culture is important, without

recognizing and anticipating the interconnected nature of culture the soldier is still
likely to struggle with unexpected and often negative outcomes in working with
foreign populations. As Fig. 13.1 illustrates, all of the cultural dimensions described
above are integrated into a holistic system. Like any other system, therefore, any
change in one dimension of the system will affect all of the other dimensions.
This principlethat all aspects of culture are part of an integrated systemwas
clearly illustrated in an unpublished After Action Report (AAR) by Colonel
Huddleston, then commanding the Combined Joint Task Force in the Horn of Africa
(CJTF-HOA). To improve stability in the area of operations, the task force had been
undertaking civil affairs projects such as building roads and wells, inoculating cows
and providing medical care to the local population. The task force arrived in one
village, located on a hill almost two miles away from the nearest source of water: a
filthy river filled with crocodiles. At first glance, this village appeared to be the
perfect site for a well. The well would save the villagers hours of walking back and
forth hauling water, reduce the incidence of waterborne illnesses and be much safer
for the villagers.
13 Dealing with Cultural Differences 201

Fig. 13.1 Interconnected Environment

nature of cultural

Political Social
Structures Organization

However, after talking to the villagers, it became clear that over 10 % of the
population earned their living by carrying water from the river and selling it to the
other villagers. The commander quickly realized that building a well in the village
(changing the way that the people used the environmenti.e. water) would have an
unexpected and very negative second order effect on a second cultural dimension:
the economy. If his unit built the well, 10 % of the village would be instantly unem-
ployed. Thus, instead of creating goodwill and support for the joint task force, the
proposed well would create the opposite effect of hostility and resentment towards
the military coalition. As a result, the commander decided against building a well
and focused his efforts on other projects for the village that would have not have
such negative second order effects.

13.8 Assessing the Impact of Cultural Factors

on Operations: Suggestions for Peacekeepers

By applying the principle that all aspects of culture are interconnected, soldiers can
begin to look for and anticipate the second and even third order effects of their
operations among local populations. Asking simple questions such as, How will
the local population view our actions? or What effects will the operation have on
the local economy or the political leadership in the area? can often help peacekeep-
ers take courses of action that improve rather than exacerbate the current conflict.
Although answering such questions may seem like a complex and difficult
project, there are several quick and easy ways that military members can begin to
understand and assess the cultural aspects affecting their operations, regardless of
their location and the resources available to them:
1. Probably the most obvious and yet often overlooked method for understanding
the perspectives of people from another culture is simply to talk to them. In the
example from JTF-HOA described above, the civil affairs team discovered the
potential economic impact of their operations simply by talking to the local vil-
lagers about their proposed plan to build a well.
202 P. Holmes-Eber

2. An equally simple, but also frequently underutilized method that can be used by
peacekeeping forces that have had an ongoing presence in an area is to conduct
a detailed cultural RIP TOA (relief in place, transfer of authority). Military tran-
sitions should not only focus on transferring information about the organiza-
tional structures of the preceding unit, but also on the cultural challenges and
lessons learned by the previous unit during their interactions with both the local
population and civilian or joint partners in the area. Cultural understanding and
relationships take time. Unfortunately, all too frequently the departing units
hard earned lessons and experiences leave with them. A few days spent introduc-
ing the incoming unit to key leaders and civilian partners while walking around
the local communities in the area can save months of misunderstanding, conflict
and even bloodshed.
3. Pre-deployment culture and language training classes can also be used to prepare
units prior to their arrival in a foreign environment. Such classes can help sol-
diers prepare psychologically for the culture shock they may face when operat-
ing with people whose customs, habits and beliefs may radically differ from their
own. Good pre-deployment training classes, however, should go far beyond the
customs and courtesies briefs currently given to many troops today. According
to the responses of 2406 U.S. Marines to an online survey on culture and lan-
guage training by the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture
Learning (2010), effective culture training should be interactive. Role playing,
negotiation and decision making scenarios focused on the upcoming mission
help military members build the necessary skills for dealing with the cultural
differences they will face.
4. Finally, there are several well accepted frameworks that can help military
members assess core cultural issues in their conflict area. One framework, titled
TCAPF (Tactical Conflict Assessment Planning Framework) uses four simple
questions to identify local perceptions of the causes of instability (US AID and
Office for Military Affairs 2010). Another popular framework, ASCOPE (Area,
Structures, Capabilities, Organizations, People, Events), helps military planners
to evaluate the civil considerations in military operations (Headquarters,
Department of the Army 2007). By conducting these assessments, soldiers can
more easily identify the cultural issues that are most likely to cause friction in
their area and develop solutions that address the most important concerns.
As illustrated by the many case studies discussed in this chapter, the failure to
understand and adapt to cultural factors can seriously limit the success of military
operationswhether working with the local population, military partners, or members
of a joint coalition. And conversely, the intelligent application of cultural principles
in peacekeeping and other operations can enhance mission success. Indeed, whether
in Darfur, Equador, Iraq or Afghanistan, often the solutions to conflict may not lie
in using military force. Instead, other softer strategies such as applying cultural
understanding to resolve the problem may prove equally if not more effective.
13 Dealing with Cultural Differences 203


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Chapter 14
Fighting Corruption in Conflict Areas

Saad Mustafa, Tobias Bock, and Mark Pyman

14.1 Introduction

With one of the largest footprints of any international force in a fragile and conflict
state, the military is increasingly seen as having an important role to play in counter-
ing corruption. Yet, there is little information on how it can carry out this function.
This chapter aims to highlight how corruption manifests in conflict environments so
that an understanding of corruption risks is developed. Subsequently, a review of
how the military has to date approached the subject in Afghanistan will be under-
taken to draw any lessons learned. Finally, a toolkit of how the military can approach
corruption threat assessments will be discussed and explored.
Corruption is a highly contested term and a number of different descriptions and
definitions have been offered. Previous studies on corruption have tended to divide
the issue into four schools of thought: moralist, legalist, market-centred, and public
interest; however all four exhibit flaws and biases. The moralist view considers cor-
ruption to be an evil yet suffers from applying Western standards of morality regard-
less of context. The legalist approach considers acts of corruption to occur when
public officials break laws for private gain. Yet, it does not take into account con-
texts where the legal structure is weak or silent on the issue. The market-centred
approach on the other hand reduces corruption to an interaction between the bureau-
crat and the public, where a corrupt bureaucrat seeks to maximise income.
Nonetheless, due to the fact that most public services cannot and are not priced, it
becomes difficult to measure corruption. Lastly, the public interest method views
any act that undermines systems of civil or public order and, thereby, impacts the

S. Mustafa
Former Research Lead at Transparency International, London, UK
T. Bock (*) M. Pyman
Transparency International, London, UK
e-mail: tobias.bock@transparency.org.uk

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 205

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_14
206 S. Mustafa et al.

Table 14.1 Typology of the definitions of corruption

Political risk Financial risk Personnel risk Operations risk Procurement risk
Defence and Asset Leadership Disregard of Technical requirements
security policy disposals behaviour corruption in and specifications
Defence budgets Secret Payroll, HR, Country within Single sourcing
budgets rewards mission
Nexus of Military- Conscript-ion Contracting Agents/brokers
defence and owned
national assets businesses
Organised crime Illegal Salary chain Private security Collusive bidders
private companies
Control of Values and Financing package
intelligence standards
Export controls Small bribes Offsets
Contract award,
Seller Influence

public interest, as corruption. However, since there is no one set definition of pub-
lic interest, it becomes very hard to measure corruption. The simplest and most
widely used definition of corruption is offered by Transparency International: the
abuse of entrusted power for private gain. Yet analysts have commented that it
would be beneficial to develop a clearer definition of the term abuse (Rothstein
None of these definitions however fully encapsulate the myriad corruption risks
in the defence and security sector. Transparency International UKs Defence and
Security Programme (TI-DSP) thus developed a heuristic, sector-specific, and
coherent typology to better conceptualise the term. The result is depicted in Table
Corruption is often an underlying facet of an unstable or unjust pre-conflict envi-
ronment. The two principles of conflict and corruption are often deeply intertwined:
Corruption increases the risk of conflict and conflict increases the risk of corruption.
The two have a symbiotic relationship that threatens peace and stability in states
already besieged by violence. Over time, corruption becomes entrenched into the
very fabric of how countries function. By the time international actors become
aware of and realise how corruption impacts on mission success, it is difficult to
counter the vested interests of those that have solidified power for personal gain.
Due to the fact that corruption can be both cause and consequence of insurgen-
cies in conflict environments, military commanders should address it as both a stra-
tegic and operational issue. Efforts to tackle corruption must become part of the
stabilisation process itself, especially in environments where links with organised
crime become apparent. Whilst the militarys primary responsibility in such
environments is to provide safety and security, in conjunction with the local govern-
ment, there is much that they can do to counter corruption.
14 Fighting Corruption in Conflict Areas 207

A key in element in stabilising the country will be ensuring that there is a coor-
dinated, aligned and cohesive military and civilian effort. A large military force will
most likely require a large civilian contingent to conduct development. The military
will first and foremost be tasked with setting the security conditions for cross-sector
synergies. In circumstances where that countrys civilian force is either lacking
capacity or momentum, there can be little or no national development. This increases
the probability of the country regressing back into conflict or civil war.
Since the challenge of stabilisation is a political one, albeit enabled by security,
an enduring political engagement will be necessary. The strategy will not only need
to align ways and means, but also allocate an appropriate weighting to them. The
multi-agency effort, as it will need to be in most circumstances, must be integrated
if it is to produce a truly comprehensive approach to tackling corruption in the host
country. There will undoubtedly be reticence from certain departments and organ-
isations, as countering corruption may make achieving other objectives more diffi-
cult. However, experience from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, to name but two
recent examples, demonstrates how important it is to instil good governance and
anti-corruption practices in host nations from the outset. Any lesser aspiration will
invite failure.
In general, post-conflict countries are more prone to corruption because they
have weak administrative institutions, parallel formal and informal legal and judi-
cial systems, suffer from a lack of capacity, experience a sudden inflow of donor
aid, and are a magnet for transnational organised crime. The milieu of a post-conflict
arena allows corruption to be catalysed by greed and ideology, and runs the risk of
alienating vital sections of society who could otherwise play a crucial role in guid-
ing the country towards a more prosperous future. The chaos and corruption that
most often defines these states can reverse very expensive gains, as shown in
Afghanistan, and weaken already unstable and fragile governance structures thus
reducing the hope of economic growth and future prosperity. In a worst case sce-
nario, rampant corruption can pull countries back towards the very instability and
conflict from which they have just broken free.
Corruption can take many forms: embezzlement, nepotism, cronyism, bribery
and fraud are just some. The harmful effects of each is magnified in post-conflict
countries where huge inflows of foreign aid can distort the political balance and
provide an increased incentive to engage in corrupt practices. For example, in
Liberia over half the countrys $750 million of aid is off-budget (Aidinfo 2013) and
therefore not subject to government control. Further, a report by the Special
Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction highlights that the United States
inability to control aid flow in the country is increasing the risk that some of the
money is inadvertently fuelling insurgency (SIGAR 2014). The two examples
emphasise that the need for robust and transparent local governance institutions is
even greater in fragile situations. Aid initially earmarked for crucial development
projects or to help in helping the state to undertake the delivery of basic services can
be diverted, misappropriated and stolen. This not only undermines advancement but
reduces public confidence in the government, which is often weak to begin with. An
illustration of corruption risks that military forces may face in such environments is
available in the next section.
208 S. Mustafa et al.

14.2 How Does Corruption Manifest in Conflict


As corruption can manifest in many different ways in conflict environments, TI-DSP

has constructed a typology to help visualize the risks. As can be seen below they are
broken down into four broad categories (Table 14.2).
It is important to stress that in international conflicts and interventions, corrup-
tion problems are sometimes partially caused by the international community.
When international forces intervene in conflict zones, their approach once in theatre
is critical to the success of the mission. For instance, poor contracting practices by
the US government, and to a large extent the US military, has funded insurgency in
the country (Tierney 2010). Further, the Commission on Wartime Contracting
determined that at least $31 billion and as much as $60 billion has been lost to con-
tract waste and fraud in the countrys contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan
(Commission on Wartime Contracting 2011).
The following section provides an overview of some of the risks listed in the
matrix above:

Table 14.2 Manifestation of corruption in fragile contexts (Source: TI-DSP)

Rule of law Security Contracts Small bribes
Corrupt senior Lack of transparency of No transparency of Overly complex
appointments; abuse security spending contracts daily processes;
of power by officials bribes needed
Lack of punishment Salary theft, e.g. ghost Non-delivery/poor Extraction of
of corrupt senior soldiers/police quality of outcome, money by militias
officials especially and at checkpoints
Lack of meritocracy Security outsourcing Cabals controlling
in public positions procurement
Narcotics; and Lack of control over Multiple sub-
narcotics mafia inside armed groups contractor layers
Organised crime Bribes for protection of Minimal use of
convoys local contractors
Lack of spending Sale of weapons/
transparency equipment
Lack of transparency Inadequate border
of aid flows controls
Corrupt management
of national assets,
e.g. mining, land,
Patronage networks
Extraction of natural
14 Fighting Corruption in Conflict Areas 209

The international communitys recent experience in Afghanistan has demon-

strated the pernicious effects of patronage networks (CJIATF-Shafafiyat 2011).
However, this phenomenon is not limited to Afghanistan and in fact exists in most
societies. Often a strong cohesive societal force, such networks are based on reli-
gion, tribe and ethnicity. When patronage networks are used for criminal ends or
personal enrichment at the cost of the state, they have a negative impact on the
overall governance of a country. Criminal Patronage Networks (CPNs) achieve their
goals through the capture and subversion of critical state functions and institutions.
Evidence in Afghanistan has determined that CPNs operate with impunity due to
their ability to exert influence with law enforcement, judicial and policy officials
across the government. These networks also play a role in delegitimising the writ of
the state. Rather than strengthening government institutions and have them being
responsible for undertaking its normal duties and tasks, society is controlled by a
predatory elite that have concentrated power in their own hands. There are a number
of ways in which international forces can determine whether a country is beset by
this problem. These include but are not limited to virtual impunity for high ranking
government officials, recycling of corrupt officials in important positions, collu-
sion between government officials and organised crime networks, nepotism in job
selection, and a poorly staffed or functioning anti-corruption institution.
The UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime, which addresses
both corruption and money laundering, defines organised crime as a structured
group of three or more persons aiming to undertake one or more serious crimes or
offences for ultimate purpose of, either directly or indirectly, a financial or material
benefit (UN 2004). However, there is a lack of clarity of what would constitute a
serious crime. Organised crime has severe consequences on fragile states, and
thus on the stabilization missions sent in to assist. Whilst historically organised
crime has been seen through the prism of law enforcement, the military is increas-
ingly seen as a major player in any effort to counter such networks and introduce
stability in fragile environments. Operations in Mali, Afghanistan, and Iraq have
demonstrated that organised crime can have serious strategic and tactical military
implications. For instance, Iraq witnessed a triangular relationship between crimi-
nal organisations, terrorists and insurgent organisations, and the Iraqi government.
With the passage of time, the Iraqi state came to be perceived as an instrument for
the elites to accumulate power and wealth, and became intertwined with the crimi-
nal networks. Such a symbiotic relationship led to a situation where due to the lack
of state legitimacy, tribal, militia, or criminal affiliation became even more impor-
tant for ones protection. Further, it may conceivably have served as a driver for
people to join the insurgency.
In fragile or conflict settings, the flow of international humanitarian and devel-
opment aid into the host nation can exacerbate corruption levels. Whilst the former
is usually short-term and in the immediate aftermath of a calamity; development aid
is designed to assist the government in its economic, social and political develop-
ment and therefore by its very nature is a more long-term commitment. Such inflows
however usually suffer from a lack of transparency and a robust assessment method
by which money is diverted to certain projects. Military forces either play a facili-
210 S. Mustafa et al.

tating or direct role in disbursing aid in such environments. For instance in Somalia
UN troops were mandated to secure access for the delivery of aid; whilst in
Afghanistan the US military through programmes such as the Commanders
Emergency Response Program (CERP) has provided developmental aid. Due to
their privileged position, the military can undertake certain measures to ensure that
aid does not fuel corruption. First, it can ensure that military personnel receives
training on corruption risks and are provided with the tools to identify and tackle
any issues that may arise. Second, the military can take the lead in publishing all aid
outlays to ensure greater transparency and accountability in the allocation and dis-
bursal process. Further, when conducting expeditionary contracting (contracting in
theatre) the military should ensure that it vets all contractors and civil society groups
with which it partners.
In environments rich in natural resources, the exploitation of those resources
poses one of the greatest corruption risks. Individuals can either attempt to garner
revenue from natural resources for personal gain at the expense of the overall popu-
lation; or manage these resources in such a way that it leads to poor or inefficient
development. Security and stabilisation forces can easily be dragged into the local
competition to secure these assets. This is usually in two ways: first, if new natural
resources are found, violence may erupt in places hitherto considered safe and
secure (Cronin and Pandya 2009). Second, as a stabilisation and security force,
international military personnel will have a responsibility to protect certain strategic
positions such as mines rich in natural resources, and therefore may have to
engage armed militias (United Nations Environment Programme 2013). To prevent
any of these scenarios from manifesting, international assistance forces must
encourage transparency and independent oversight of any contracting related to
natural resources; train host national forces to undertake security of sensitive sights,
protect civil society groups and the media from intimidation and violence when
they attempt to address the issue; and ensure a credible security plan is in place to
protect the host nations natural resources and prevent their proceeds from financing
further insurgency.

14.3 The International Communitys Efforts in Fragile

Contexts: The Afghanistan Example

During the early years of the intervention the international community did not
develop a common understanding of the nature of corruption in the country. Various
studies have maintained that through for instance its contracting practices, it may
have perpetuated corruption in the country (Tierney 2010). The internationals failed
to understand how the absence of rule of law, of which counter-corruption is an
integral component, caused disaffection between the population and the Afghan
state. Given that the reason why so many tribal elders invited the Taliban was not
because they believed in their outlook but because they preferred the repressive yet
rules-based control that they provided, it becomes clear how corruption has
14 Fighting Corruption in Conflict Areas 211

undermined the success of the international mission. The internationals, especially

during the early years, failed to tackle the abuse of power by Afghan warlords and
government officials by not tackling the corruption that was partially funding them.
As an example, the international community was well aware of the predatory
nature of certain actors within the Kandahari politico-economic structure. Yet,
despite this appreciation they purposefully overstated the benefits of contracting to
these actors while understating the costs. There were a number of reasons why such
a decision was taken and whilst these deliberations are specific to the Afghan con-
text, they are replicable to most conflict environments:
In the case of Kandahar, engaging with Ahmed Wali Karzai was considered by
some as essential for the effectiveness of security operations because of his ability
to control powerful militias. Thus contracting security operations to Ahmed Wali
Karzai and his allies seemed to offer the coalition the potential to quickly stabilise
parts of the province, while also incentivising Karzai to allow ISAF to freely oper-
ate within Kandahar City. Contracting to Ahmed Wali Karzais associated security
forces also enabled the coalition to externalise many of the risks that would other-
wise be posed to coalition forces, including the domestic political risk to the mis-
sion associated with coalition troop deaths.
Yet despite the apparent benefits of such an approach, it should be noted that
these same contracts also had significant drawbacks1:
Part of the money funded local militias
Local power-brokers (many aligned with Ahmed Wali Karzai) have been incen-
tivised to keep state police weak so as to keep the criminal patronage networks
Inflationary pressure has been placed on the Kandahari economy due to the large
size of the contracts relative to the local economy. This has created resentment
from the local population as this adversely affects those businessmen who are
not involved in international contracting.
The large salaries paid by private security firms relative to the pay of ANSF
officers critically undermined efforts to build the capacity of the Afghan state
Reinforces the opinion of Kandaharis outside of the predatory networks that the
government is an exclusive oligarchy devoted to its own enrichment and is
closely tied to the international coalition.
In general, contracts signed by the international community have benefited only
a narrow range of actors aligned to the Karzai or Sherzai family networks. This
has alienated other actors and incentivised their defection to insurgent

The drawbacks highlighted are a result of both research undertaken by TI-DSP for a future project
on Afghanistan and an analysis of publicly available information.
212 S. Mustafa et al.

Countering Corruption: Role of ISAF CJITAF Shafafiyat

Task Force Shafafiyat was established in 2010 to foster a common understanding of

corruption in Afghanistan, plan and implement ISAF anticorruption efforts, and
support Afghan-led anticorruption efforts. Composed of over 40 civil and military
staff from different nations contributing to ISAF (International Security Assistance
Force), Shafafiyat was to oversee two additional task forces, Task Force-Spotlight
and Task Force-2010, both of which examined the impact of U.S. contracting in
Afghanistan. Shafafiyats initial remit was to focus on corruption in the defence and
security sphere, and integrate military intelligence and law enforcement informa-
tion to map criminal patronage networks and understand how they manifest.
Rather than taking the broad definition of corruption as a starting point, Shafafiyat
purposefully pursued what the American military terms Criminal Patronage
Networks (CPNs). Since the underlying ambition of most corrupt groups in
Afghanistan is to strengthen their control over state institutions so as to establish an
exclusionary political economy in their spheres of influence and over certain sectors
of the economy, such an approach made sense.
Shafafiyats decision to go after CPNs means that the task force attempts to
directly tackle the nexus of drug trafficking, insurgency, and political influence in
the country. To address this issue, law enforcement and military efforts needed to
be integrated with those of development in order to witness the overlapping nature
of insurgency, terrorism, narcotics trade, corruption and organised crime.
From the outset, Shafafiyat was designed to be a joint civil-military organisation:
a civilian would manage alongside a military commander. This approach had a
number of inherent benefits. First, greater civilian involvement meant that Shafafiyat
was able to better coordinate its efforts with the aid community and act as a sort of
a translation mechanism between them and the military. Second, due to difficulties
in tackling criminal patronage networks, it could be argued that the role required a
diplomat to navigate the political aspects. Third, it put into practice NATOs mis-
sion to have a joint civil-military approach in Afghanistan.
ISAF had some successes through the taskforce, most notably in the Ministry of
Defence (MoD). With Shafafiyats assistance, the MoD has made progress in
strengthening transparency, accountability, and counter-corruption measures inter-
nally. Progress has also been achieved in the Afghan National Army (ANA).
However, considering the overall nature of the corruption problem in the country,
much remains to be done. Few actors outside the MoD including diplomats, the
international public, and local Afghans seem to be aware of this progress thus
underlining the need for the MoD to increase external engagement.
Continual ISAF support to the MoD, the re-focusing of Shafafiyat following
external consultation, and the on-going work of Combined Security Transition
Command Afghanistan/NATO Training Mission Afghanistan (CSTC-A/NTM-
A), should assist the MoDs upward trend. ISAF has re-focused the Shafafiyat team
onto three areas MoD, MoI and civil society and onto three more targeted objec-
tives. In addition, Shafafiyat has been moved into the Ministerial Advisory Group at
14 Fighting Corruption in Conflict Areas 213

CSTC-A/NTM-A, which has the benefit of better aligning them with the process
improvement and advisory work of CSTC-A. According to analysts on the ground,
this re-alignment has had a positive operational impact.
ISAF invited Transparency International UKs Defence and Security Programme
to visit, with the objective of reviewing how ISAF can be most effective in advising
and assisting the MoD, MoI and the ANSF in strengthening Transparency,
Accountability and Counter-Corruption (TACC) measures. The TI team met with
the MOD, MOI and held some 40 interviews, covering the Afghan Government
(MoD, MoI), (High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption) HOOAC, ISAF
Personnel, NGOs, Ambassadors and Development Agencies during the week-long
visit in August 2013.
According to a number of research reports, despite recent efforts by the interna-
tional community and the Afghan government, the overall situation has not seem-
ingly improved (Torabi 2012, UNODC 2012). Recent scandals such as the Kabul
Bank and the continual dysfunction of the key counter-corruption institutions, the
High Office of Oversight and Anti-Corruption and the Attorney Generals Office,
have conceivably been a major factor in continually high corruption perception lev-
els amongst Afghans. Transparency Internationals most recent Corruption
Perceptions Index (CPI) showed no improvement in Afghanistans ranking at the
bottom of the index. The Government has not yet succeeded in satisfying donors in
relation to the National Priority Programme 2 on transparency and accountability
measures agreed at the Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework Senior Officials
Meeting.2 There is little expectation that progress will be made in this pre-election
period. More positively, the recent TI Government Defence Index report in January
2013 concluded that the Afghan MoD and ANA rated in Band E on their Defence
Index (A is the best, F the worst), relatively better than TIs CPI assessment for the
country as a whole.
The MoD is making progress in strengthening Transparency, Accountability,
Counter-Corruption TACC measures in the MoD and ANA, propelled by political
commitment over several years at Ministerial level. Yet few actors outside the
MoD including diplomats and the Afghan as well as international public seem
to be aware of this progress, which underlines the need for the MoD to increase
external engagement. ISAF is giving support to the MoD, and the re-focusing of
Combined Joint Interagency Task Force Transparency (CJIATF-Shafafiyat)
following our visit in February 2013, together with the ongoing work of Combined
Security Transition Command Afghanistan/NATO Training Mission Afghanistan
(CSTC-A/NTM-A), should assist the MoDs upward trend.

The National Transparency and Accountability Program aims to increase transparency and
accountability controls within the Afghan government. The program focuses on establishing legal
authority and institutional capacity among government institutions, eliciting the aid of civil society
organisations to monitor government efforts to tackle corruption and raise awareness among the
population, and strengthening institutional mechanisms within government entities to allow for
corruption to be addressed.
214 S. Mustafa et al.

The MoI appears to be in a different situation, with a very difficult political envi-
ronment and a lack of common direction on TACC. There have been significant
cuts to the Inspector Generals staff, who are the main focus of ISAF TACC activ-
ity, and this has stalled progress which was visible 6 months ago.
ISAF is currently carrying out three lessons learned studies, one each at the
strategic, operational and tactical levels, on the impact of corruption in intervention
operations such as Afghanistan.3 ISAF should ensure that this work is advanced into
changed doctrine for international forces.

Countering Corruption: Building Integrity Programme (BI)

In addition to Shafafiyat, NATO has responded to corruption in the security sector

through the Building Integrity (BI) Programme. BI was originally established by
the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in November 2007 to raise awareness, pro-
mote good practice and provide practical tools to help nations enhance integrity and
reduce risks of corruption in the security sector by strengthening transparency and
accountability (NATO 2012). It was initially intended to support South East
European countries but has also been implemented in Afghanistan to enhance trans-
parency and integrity in the Afghan police and army.
The BI training not only looks at building capacity within security forces to
counter corruption and promote good governance; but also provides tools for these
forces to adequately engage with the public and civil society. The concept of invit-
ing a number of stakeholders into the decision-making process has been well
received by Afghan participants, as it promotes the idea of an inclusive society and
governance structure.
The programme makes use of a toolkit which includes a self-assessment ques-
tionnaire that countries can fill in to map their current practices, identify areas of
improvement, and develop national action plans. So far, assessments have been
completed, not only for Afghanistan, but also for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria,
Croatia, Norway, Ukraine and Poland. A number of other resources, the most nota-
ble of which is the Building Integrity and Reducing Corruption in Defence: A
Compendium of Best Practices publication, are also made available.
One of the distinguishing features of the programme has been NATOs willing-
ness to engage external stakeholders or as they are referred to by the organisation,
implementing partners. These are drawn from NATO countries, partner nations,
and civil society. Organisations including the Geneva Centre for Security Policy,
the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of the Armed Forces and Transparency

The strategic element report is by NATOs Joint Analysis and Lessons Learned Centre: Counter
and Anti-Corruption Theory and Practice from NATO Operations. The more operationally
focused report was produced by the Joint and Coalition Operational Analysis (JCOA) and is titled
Operationalizing Counter/Anti-Corruption Study. The report focused on the tactical element is to
the best of our knowledge yet to be released.
14 Fighting Corruption in Conflict Areas 215

International have all supported the programmes implementation by providing

expert advice on training and education, and by facilitating BI activities. A sum-
mary of Transparency Internationals involvement and the training course they have
developed is found in textbox 14.1.

Textbox 14.1: Transparency Internationals Foundation Training

Course (Source: TI-DSP)
The Transparency International designed foundation training course, aimed at
military and defence officials at the OF5 (colonel) level, contains a mixture of
presentations, workshops, exercises, case studies and discussions, both in
syndicate and plenary. The content includes: an introduction to integrity
building, counter corruption tools, public financial management, media, mili-
tary operations, procurement, codes of conduct, personal behaviour, the rule
of law, and case studies delivered by a range of senior international experts.
In addition, the course promotes interaction at all levels and provides a plat-
form for students (often from 10 or more countries) to develop networks and
exchange ideas on best practice. It is very highly rated by participants. A typi-
cal comment is For the first time I realise I am not alone in trying to face up
to serious corruption issues; and that there are real, practical measures that I
can take in my unit.
The course focuses on practical issues, different national experiences, and
the role of officers and civilians in the middle of the hierarchy in effecting
change. Currently, work is under way to design a Building Integrity Strategy
and Planning tool to help nations address the risk of corruption.
Recognising the benefits of BI course, a number of countries are looking at
internalising the teachings. Ukraine for instance is delivering its own Building
Integrity training through the National Defence University. The aim is to
establish a dedicated team of 23 people. To encourage such development in
capacity, Ukrainian instructors have been allowed to deliver modules interna-
tionally outside Ukraine. Of course the current situation in Ukraine has meant
that this is very much in flux.

14.4 Corruption Threat Assessment

In order for international military forces to conduct proper and meaningful counter-
corruption, they must first develop a comprehensive understanding of the relevant
political dynamics in the country and the potential corruption pathways that may
exist. Whilst a context-specific corruption threat assessment would be ideal, there
are a number of general considerations that international forces must consider as the
pillars of any such exercise. Such an undertaking should not be the responsibility of
216 S. Mustafa et al.

international military forces. In fact, in order to conduct a proper and thorough

assessment, a combination of civilian country-specialists, intelligence staff, plan-
ning staff, legal professionals, and law enforcement officials should work alongside
military forces.
An assessment like this will help international forces understand the political
economy of a country and design a suitable plan to integrate Transparency,
Accountability, and Counter-Corruption (TACC) into their mission objectives.
Such activities are required both as an operational element and an overarching con-
sideration to many decisions made by international forces. Failure to do so can lead
to increased levels of insecurity and ultimately instability.
Table 14.3 concludes this chapter and highlights some of facets that international
forces should consider and practical solutions or options it has at its disposal.
Table 14.3 Considerations and options for international forces
Consideration Solution/Options
Create an assessment of Planning staff should condense an assessment into an easily
corruption threats and digestible format. The facets covered could be framed around a list
risks of the principal corruption issues relevant to the host nation. The
conflict typology in Sect. 14.2 could serve as a good starting point,
but would need to be adapted to only consider those risks which are
pertinent to the context.
Once an initial assessment is done, it is best to validate the
assessment as much as possible through consultation with experts on
the country in question within the time available.
Planning staff should Planning staffs at all levels should familiarise themselves with the
understand the full reading required for understanding corruption on operations.
spectrum of corruption Examples include the NATO JALLC Counter-corruption and
risks which may affect anti-corruption: Theory and practice from NATO operations,
successful operations NATO ISAF Anti-corruption Guidance and NATO Joint Analysis
and Lessons Learned Centres Counter and Anti-corruption: Theory
and practice are just a few examples of available resources.
International forces, specifically staff responsible for planning,
should collate all available reports on corruption issues in the host
nation. The usual sources of such information on the government
front are classified Military briefings, Foreign Affairs Ministry
briefings, and Intelligence briefings. Further, open-source
information from organisations working in the governance and
anti-corruption field such as NGOs and international organisations
are a valuable resource. Examples include Transparency
international, World Bank, International Crisis Group, US Institute
of Peace, Global Integrity, Global Financial Integrity, Asia
Foundation, and Open Society Foundations.
Planning staff should identify corruption surveys that include the
host nation. For example, development agencies often have accurate
and quantitative information on the corruption issues of concern to
the population. International forces should make use of such rich
14 Fighting Corruption in Conflict Areas 217

Table 14.3 (continued)

Consideration Solution/Options
Assessment of the extent Planning staff should take note of, study and understand the nature
of organised crime and prevalence of organised crime issues in the host nation. In most
cases, where international forces will be based will be a determining
factor in the type of organised crime to be faced. E.g. states along
trafficking routes will increase the likelihood of illicit trafficking as
was the case in Haiti, Kosovo and Guinea-Bissau.
An expert on Organised Crime should be involved at the strategic
level planning process.
International forces, especially those involved at the planning and
strategy levels, must ensure that they have adequate training in how
to identify, understand, and deal with organized crime.
Planning staff should assemble or commission a criminal group
threat assessment. Engagement of regional organisations such as
UNOWA and ECOWAS would be essential in understanding the
transnational nature of such groups.
Planning staff should expect to require a Rapid Reaction Support
capability, with access to cadre of expertise in organised crime,
policing and justice capacity building. It is important that capacity is
built up as much as possible from within host nation personnel or
members of the diaspora as much as possible, to allow better
training and a smoother transition.
Corruption Assessments Such a study will focus on who the elite power brokers are
should include an (traditional elites, heads of political parties, business elites, senior
in-depth overview of military leaders, warlords, etc.) and how they are structured
elite actors (networks, tribes, ethnicity).
What is the nature of the relationships between elites and what
influences are there (e.g. family, tribe, etc.)?
Map out elites into reformers, preservers and spoilers.
Identify elites that control government institutions.
Identify those individuals and factions which have been or are
marginalised under the existing elite and power structure.
Assessment of economic Identify which elites control access to economic organisations.
organisations and flows These individuals will determine the rules of banking and business,
and will therefore garner significant influence on the future direction
of the state. These individuals can constitute officials from the
Ministry of Finance to low-level individuals who sell public
services in the form of bribes. If left unchecked, both can have a
devastating impact upon on the future viability of the state.
International forces should utilise any local knowledge that can help
them undertake such assessments. Care must be taken however to
ensure that value for money is achieved, and that the hiring of local
people does not have a distortionary impact on the country.
218 S. Mustafa et al.

Table 14.3 (continued)

Consideration Solution/Options
Assessment of Identify which elites have control over certain swathes if country. In
geographic control most circumstances, elites have divided their spheres of influence so
as to share the spoils. Geographic control can be based on
ethnicity, tribal, or political affiliations. It is important for the
intervening forces to have an awareness of local powerbrokers, their
interests and their relationship with the central government and other
It is important to acknowledge that different regions can be
important for different reasons. For instance, whilst the capital
controls access to political power, money and contracts associated
with development projects, border areas can provide power through
allowing elites to benefit from illegal taxes and smuggling at
Assessment of elites Examine security and rule of law organisations to see whether a
within security and rule particularly group is dominant or marginalised. Is this because of
of law organisations ethnic, tribal or political affiliations?
Recognise the role of Identify leaders within civil society and analyse their background
influential individuals, and potential interests. Determine whether they can be agents of
institutions and change.
associations within civil Utilise other international or national organisations and entities to
society and the business gain information on these actors.


Aidinfo. Liberia announces transparency plan. Available at http://www.aidinfo.org/liberia-

announces-transparency-plan.html. Accessed 30 Jan 2014.
Cohen, J., Isaqzadeh, M., & Waldron, A. (2013). Anti-corruption training course in Kabul for
Afghan MOD and MOI senior officers: A review of participants opinions 18 months later.
London: Transparency International UK.
CJIATF-Shafafiyat. (2011). SIGAR Information Paper, Available at https://info.publicintelligence.
net/ISAF-CJIATF.pdf. Accessed 30 Jan 2014.
Commission on Wartime Contracting. (2011). Transforming wartime contracting: Controlling
costs, reducing risks. Washington, DC: Commission on Wartime Contracting.
Cronin, R., & Pandya, A. (2009). Exploiting natural resources: Growth instability, and conflict in
the Middle East and Asia. Washington, DC: Stimson Center.
Gardizi, M., Hussman, K., & Torabi, Y. (2010). Corrupting the state or state-crafted corruption:
Exploring the nexus between corruption and subnational governance. Kabul: Afghan Research
and Evaluation Unit.
Giustozzi, A., & Ibrahimi, N. (2012). From new dawn to quicksands: The political economy of
international post-conflict statebuilding in Afghanistan. In M. Berdal & D. Zaum (Eds.), The
political economy of statebuilding: Power after peace (pp. 246262). Abingdon: Routledge.
Johnson, J., Taxell, N., & Zaum, D. (2012). Mapping evidence gaps in anti-corruption: Assessing
the state of the operationally relevant evidence on donors actions and approaches to reducing
corruption. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre.
Mukhopadhyay, D. (2009). Disguised warlordism and combatanthood in Balkh: The persistence of
informal power in the formal Afghan state. Conflict, Security and Development, 9(4),
14 Fighting Corruption in Conflict Areas 219

NATO. (2012). Building Integrity (BI) programme. Available at: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natol-

ive/topics_68368.htm. Accessed on 30 Jan 2014.
Pyman, M., Bock, T., de la Blache, E., Mustafa, S., & Zaum, D. (2014). Corruption as a threat to
stability and peace. Berlin: Transparency International Deutschland.
Rothstein, B. (2011). Anti-corruption: The indirect big bang approach, Review of International
Political Economy, 18(2), 228250
Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. (2014). Quarterly report to the United
States Congress. Available at: http://www.sigar.mil/pdf/quarterlyreports/2014Jan30QR.pdf.
Accessed on 07 Feb 2014.
Sundet, G. (2008). Following the money: Do public expenditure surveys matter? Bergen: GSDRC.
Tierney, J. (2010). Warlord Inc. extortion and corruption along the U.S. supply chain in Afghanistan.
Washington, DC: Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of
Torabi, Y. (2012, July). The growing challenge of corruption in Afghanistan, reflections on a survey
of the Afghan people (Occasional Paper No. 15). Washington, DC: The Asia Foundation.
Transparency International UK. (2011). Building integrity and reducing corruption in defence &
security: 20 practical reforms. London: Transparency International UK.
United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the Protocols Thereto.
United Nations Environment Programme. (2013). Natural resource management and peacebuild-
ing in Afghanistan. United Nations Environment Programme.
UNODC. (2011). Corruption in Afghanistan: Recent patterns and trends, Available at: https://
www.unodc.org/documents/frontpage/Corruption_in_Afghanistan_FINAL.pdf. Accessed 30
Jan 2014.
Chapter 15
Human Rights and Refugee Protection:
The Interface with Humanitarian Actors

Christine Mougne and Fedde Groot

15.1 Introduction

Peacekeeping operations frequently take place in areas where multiple organiza-

tions are providing humanitarian aid to the civilian population affected by armed
conflict, including to those who have fled their home areas to seek asylum or a safe
haven. It is important, as part of preparation for deployment, as well as regularly
during the course of a deployment, to clarify the nature of the militarys relationship
with humanitarian actors and the evolving scope of their potential cooperation.
Effective coordination with humanitarian agencies is not an option but rather a
condition for a successful peace operation. The role of the military forces in creat-
ing conditions for lasting peace in countries torn apart by violent conflict requires
close coordination with humanitarian actors. Both share immediate objectives that
include the protection of civilians. Longer-term goals, such as the strengthening of
civil society, also bring peace operations into direct interaction with humanitarian
Humanitarian actors may be from the UN or other international organizations, or
they may work for international or national non-governmental organizations
(NGOs). In close cooperation with governmental authorities, these agencies imple-

C. Mougne Ph.D., (*)

OCHA/UN Women, Bangkok, Thailand
e-mail: cmougne@gmail.com
F. Groot
International Consultant, Amsterdam, The Netherlands/Cape Town, South Africa
e-mail: feddegroot7@gmail.com

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 221

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_15
222 C. Mougne and F. Groot

ment a wide range of activities. Depending on each agencys mandate, they may
have different positions with regard to military cooperation. It is crucial to under-
stand these potential differences.
It is also critical to recognise that the military, including peacekeeping forces,
have responsibilities towards humanitarian operations that are based in international
law. Humanitarian law provides an evolving body of rules aimed at allowing and
facilitating and/or ensuring access for humanitarian agencies to civilian populations
in need. In addition to humanitarian law, international human rights law confers
rights upon civilian populations, including refugees and displaced people, which
peacekeeping forces and parties to armed conflict are expected to respect and pro-
tect. These formal responsibilities and roles of military forces provide the primary
context in which their relationship with humanitarian operations and personnel is
defined. Section 15.2 provides a brief overview of specific provisions in interna-
tional law for the protection of non-combatants, including displaced persons and
refugees. These provisions constitute obligations for all actors, including peace-
keeping forces.
For their part, humanitarian organizations are expected to adhere to principles of
humanitarianism, neutrality, impartiality and non-discrimination in the discharge of
their responsibilities. This is sometimes at odds with the political goals of military
intervention and can lead to tensions between humanitarian and military players.
There may be a risk for humanitarian agencies that too close cooperation with the
military, or even the perception of such, may compromise the available space for
neutral and impartial humanitarian action. It may also expose humanitarian opera-
tions to increased security risks, as their personnel may become targets.
Effective coordination may be hampered by significant differences in organiza-
tional cultures as well as the lack of awareness thereof. A clear understanding of and
respect for each organizations mandate, principles and operational objectives is cru-
cial. Section 15.3 offers summary profiles of the main humanitarian players and their
mandates, as well as an overview of the major areas of interface with the military. It
also addresses the most common risks and limitations in mutual cooperation.
In Sect. 15.4 examples are given of situations in which military players may be
requested to provide support to humanitarian actors. Thereafter, case studies are
presented to illustrate potential areas of cooperation including risks and challenges
and how they were dealt with. The chapter ends with a brief Conclusion.

15.2 Humanitarian and Human Rights Law1

International human rights law and international humanitarian law both apply in
situations of armed conflict. They share the common goal of preserving the dignity
and humanity of all those involved and are complementary and not mutually
exclusive. While the key human rights instruments do not generally refer

The recently issued Handbook on the Normative Framework (Version 1.0) on Humanitarian
Access in Situations of Armed Conflict by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (2013)
provides a valuable framework for discussion of these key issues.
15 Human Rights and Refugee Protection: The Interface with Humanitarian Actors 223

specifically to humanitarian assistance and access, they nevertheless provide a legal

framework that States are required to respect, protect and fulfill. These include,
notably, the non-derogable rights to life, the prohibition of torture and other cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, the right to food, to water and to
The terms humanitarian assistance and humanitarian access are not defined
in international law. A variety of terms including emergency relief, humanitarian
relief, and so on may be used to refer to a wide range of activities from short-term
relief in response to a rapid onset emergency, to longer-term capacity building and
post-conflict reconstruction. The provision of material aid itself can encompass not
only basic survival assistance such as food, non-food items, temporary shelter and
medical supplies, but also recovery activities such as demining, psychosocial sup-
port, and programs for the return and reintegration of refugees and IDPs. It is for
this reason that it is essential for the military to seek information on the specific
activities and goals of the various humanitarian players working in the same field of
operations at different stages in the conflict.
States bear the primary responsibility under International Law for ensuring the
basic needs of civilian populations under their control. Consequently, humanitarian
assistance must be provided on purely humanitarian grounds and in accordance
with humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and
In situations of on-going conflict, humanitarian agencies frequently need to
negotiate access with parties to the conflict and other actors. Where this proves
problematic, the United Nations Security Council may be required to call upon
States and other relevant actors to grant full and unimpeded humanitarian access to
protect and meet the basic needs of civilians.
Legal obligations related to humanitarian access under international humanitar-
ian law, on the other hand, differ according to the situation in which the operation is
being carried out. In occupied territories, the legal obligation of the Occupying
Power to ensure humanitarian relief reaches the affected population is clear. In some
contexts, it may be the peacekeeping forces themselves that are construed to hold
this responsibility. In all other situations, humanitarian operations depend upon the
consent of the parties concerned. An impartial humanitarian body, such as the

The ICCPR (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) permits no derogation on the
right to life (Article 6), the prohibition of torture (Article 7), the prohibition of slavery (Article 8,
paras 1 and 2), the right not to be held guilty for crimes that did not previously constitute crimes
(Article 15). the right to be recognised as a person before law (Article 16) and the right to freedom
of thought, conscience and religion (Article 18).
Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, proclaimed
in Vienna in 1965 by the 20th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent
Movement. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Code of Conduct includes principles
beyond the core four principles endorsed by the General Assembly (Resolution 47/182 of
December 1991). In addition, humanitarian organizations may find that some of these additional
principles have particular meaning in certain contexts (for example, participation is often cited
as an important humanitarian principle). Conceptually, many other principles can be linked back
to the four endorsed by the General Assembly.
224 C. Mougne and F. Groot

ICRC, may offer its services to the parties to the conflict.4 Both International
Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law include multiple refer-
ences to the fundamental importance of access5 as rules of access have developed
over time. Since 1999, it has been established that failure to provide access to
humanitarian aid may be considered as a war crime.6
In treaty law, the basic rules are laid down in the Fourth Geneva Convention of
1949 on the protection of civilians in time of war. The 1977 Protocols Additional to
the 1949 Geneva Conventions complement and reinforce these rules and regulate all
situations in which civilian populations lack adequate supplies in time of armed
The UN General Assembly has adopted numerous resolutions on humanitarian
assistance. In a landmark resolution (46/182) in 1991 it called upon States whose
populations are in need of humanitarian assistance to facilitate the work of interna-
tional organizations and NGOs in implementing such assistance for which access
to victims is essential. The UN General Assembly has also urged all States to takes
measures to ensure the safety and security of humanitarian personnel. In December
1994, following an upsurge in targeting of humanitarian workers in Former
Yugoslavia and the Great Lakes operations, the UN Security Council adopted the
Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel.
While the responsibility of States to provide instruction in international humani-
tarian law to their armed forces has long been codified in the Geneva Conventions,7
its application to international peacekeeping and peace-enforcement troops is com-
paratively recent. As early as 1965, the 20th International Conference of the Red
Cross emphasized that it was of paramount importance that governments provide
adequate instruction in the Geneva Conventions to contingents made available to the
United Nations before they leave the country.
It was not until 1999, however, as a result of events occurring during the course
of the Kosovo operation, that the Secretary-General issued to United Nations forces
their first standing guidance of international humanitarian law (Secretary-General
of the United Nations 1999). Similarly, in a resolution on the protection of civilians
in armed conflict in 2000, the UN Security Council reiterated the importance of
providing appropriate training in international humanitarian law for personnel
involved in peacemaking, peacekeeping and peace building activities.8

Common article 3 to the Geneva Conventions.
Special protection and right to relief for wounded, sick and children (Additional Protocol II,
articles 4,5,7 and 11); Prohibition of attacking or destroying objects indispensible for the survival
of civilian population (Additional Protocol II, article 18); Security Council resolution 794 (1992)
condemning the deliberate impeding of the delivery of food and medical supplies essential for the
survival of the civilian population in an internal armed conflict (Somalia).
The denial of humanitarian assistance as a crime under international law. International Review of
the Red Cross, No, 835, 30.09.1999.
Article 47, 1949 Geneva Convention, based on similar provisions in the Geneva Conventions of
1906 and 1929. See also ICRC. Rule 142. Instruction in International Humanitarian Law within
Armed Forces.
UN Security Council Resolution 1296 (2000).
15 Human Rights and Refugee Protection: The Interface with Humanitarian Actors 225

The Secretary-Generals guidance furthermore provides that these forces shall

facilitate the work of relief operations which are humanitarian and impartial in
character. (Secretary-General of the United Nations 1999). More recently, the UN
Security Council has also expressed its intention to continue to mandate UN peace-
keeping and other relevant missions, where appropriate, to assist in creating condi-
tions conducive to safe, timely and unimpeded humanitarian assistance.9 Decisions
to deploy peacekeeping troops have increasingly been motivated by the need to
create access for humanitarian actors to civilians in need and to provide safe condi-
tions for their operations.10

15.3 Humanitarians at Work

By the time a military force is deployed in a peace operation, a complex emergency

is usually well advanced and has produced mass displacement: cross border (refu-
gees) or within national borders (internally displaced persons, IDPs), or both. In the
context of armed conflict, refugees are persons who escape the (threat of) violence
and/or persecution by crossing an international border into a neighbouring State in
search of safety and the protection of its government. The response of a State to the
arrival of refugees on its territory is governed by a robust and elaborate international
legal framework, the cornerstone of which is the 1951 UN Convention relating to
the Status of Refugees. In later years, the refugee concept has been expanded
through the 1967 Protocol and by regional conventions (most notably, the 1969
OAU Convention for Africa and the 1984 Cartagena Declaration for Latin America)
to include any person crossing an international border in search of a sanctuary from
armed conflict and generalized violence in their home country.
IDPs may have fled for similar reasons as refugees but have not (yet) crossed an
international border; they have left their home areas but remain inside their country.
Legally, they remain under the protection of their own government. As that govern-
ment may be the cause of their flight, however, they are often extremely vulnerable.
Concerted and effective humanitarian access to IDPs in need is often problematic
especially in the early stages of a displacement emergency.
War affected civilians who have remained in their home areas face the need to
weigh current hardships and fears against the prospect of relinquishing property and
livelihoods for an uncertain future. Depending on the evolution of events, and the
level of insecurity and threat, they may still decide to flee to protect their lives.
Refugees and IDPs are commonly the product of human rights violations. People
may flee because of indiscriminate or targeted violence or the threat of violence by
state or non-state actors, withholding of food and water, persecution or the fear
thereof, obstruction of productive activities resulting in lack of basic livelihoods,

UN Security Council Resolution 1894 (2009).
Particular focus has been placed on the protection of children in armed conflict. See UN Security
Council Resolutions 1612 (2005) and 1882 (2009).
226 C. Mougne and F. Groot

etc. In the context of violent conflict and a peace operation, any situation of mass
displacement usually constitutes de facto a humanitarian crisis because of the urgent
protection and survival needs of the populations concerned.
When forces deploy, they generally meet humanitarian agencies that have already
been operating in the area for some time. These agencies tend to be visible and
mobile: their vehicles are marked with agency logos. They are, however, highly
diverse in mandate and mission, modes of operation and institutional cultures, as
well as areas of expertise. Common elements include democratic styles of manage-
ment and lines of authority that may not always be immediately evident to military
outsiders. Particularly NGOs may be significantly less hierarchical than the military
(see Chap. 3 by Frerks, this volume).
International humanitarian agencies deploy professional and experienced teams
to the Field comprised of trained managers and technical staff. Agencies strive to
deploy teams that are gender-balanced (as many women as men) and to exhibit
diversity in respect of nationality, race and religion. All teams, with the frequent
exception of national NGOs, comprise international and national staff. Many of the
larger organizations employ security advisors who will liaise directly with the mili-
tary on security-related matters. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA) will often deploy a dedicated Civil Military Coordination
(CimCord) Officer to an operation to liaise and coordinate with peacekeeping forces
on behalf of all or most humanitarian organizations working in the area.
The main players likely to be encountered in a complex humanitarian emergency

Textbox 15.1: Mandates of Selected International Organizations,

International NGOs and Local NGOs
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has a world-
wide mandate to protect and assist refugees. Its primary task is to safeguard
the right to find safe refuge in another State as well as to ensure refugee sur-
vival and well-being. It is also mandated to find durable solutions to refugee
situations: safe and voluntary return home once conditions allow; alterna-
tively, it promotes local integration into the asylum country or resettlement to
a third country. UNHCR is also often closely involved in operations on behalf
of IDPs.
UNICEF is the United Nations Childrens Fund. It operates in complex
humanitarian emergencies because children are especially vulnerable to dis-
ease, malnutrition, abuse and violence.
The World Food Programme (WFP) provides emergency food assistance
to hungry civilian populations in areas in crisis, including refugees and the
internally displaced. When food reaches designated distribution sites, it is
distributed to the beneficiaries with the help of NGOs. WFP often plays a
coordinating role with regard to logistics, including staff movement, and tele-
communications on behalf of the other UN agencies.

15 Human Rights and Refugee Protection: The Interface with Humanitarian Actors 227

Textbox 15.1 (continued)

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) seeks to inte-
grate human rights in all UN programmes, including UN Peace Missions. It
strives to prevent and redress human rights violations and it is involved in
building capacities of national (human rights) institutions in affected
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) is
responsible for bringing together all humanitarian agencies to ensure a coher-
ent response to a complex emergency. In complex humanitarian operations
with a military presence, it is responsible for civil-military coordination on
behalf of the UN agencies (OCHA 2006, 2015).
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) takes humanitarian
action in response to emergencies and at the same time strives to prevent suf-
fering by promoting and strengthening respect for international humanitarian
law and universal humanitarian principles. The ICRC is strictly independent,
neutral and impartial and is unrelated to the United Nations.
The ICRC was at the origin of the 1949 Geneva Conventions. It has strong
links to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (IFRCS).
Nearly all countries have a national Red Cross or Red Crescent Society.
National Societies may provide front-line assistance to victims and vulnerable
populations in complex humanitarian emergencies. Usually, their focus is on
promoting humanitarian values, disaster response and preparedness, as well
as health and community care. The activities of National Societies are sup-
ported by the IFRCS in terms of capacity building.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) participates in inter-
agency humanitarian operations in complex emergencies through the provi-
sion of migration services to persons on the move. It helps facilitate the
voluntary return and reintegration of refugees, displaced persons, migrants
and other individuals in need of international migration services. The IOM is
also sometimes involved in camp management for IDPs.
International NGOs often have a specific focus and experience such as
emergency health (Mdecins Sans Frontires/Doctors without Borders),
Water and Sanitation (OXFAM), childrens rights (Save the Children, PLAN
International) etc. Others have wider, multi-sectoral coverage (CARE, World
Vision, et al.). They may be present as implementing partners to a UN agency
or with independent funding, or both. They commonly work collaboratively
with National NGOs and may be involved in capacity building.
National NGOs represent the relief branch of a domestic constituency.
Many are proud of a longstanding tradition of providing relief assistance in
their country and, in a complex emergency, often operate as implementing
partners of international NGOs or UN organizations.
228 C. Mougne and F. Groot

ous international NGOs and local (i.e. based in the host country) NGOs. Textbox 15.1
summarizes the most important aspects of their respective mandates.
Humanitarian activities range from emergency life-sustaining material relief to
longer-term development oriented assistance including capacity-building, demin-
ing, return and reintegration of refugees and IDPs, rehabilitation of productive
activities and livelihoods, and reconstruction of essential infrastructure such as
roads, bridges, schools and clinics. Emergency interventions seek to address basic
human survival needs in areas such as physical protection; distribution of food and
non-food items; water supply, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); health; shelter; edu-
cation; livelihoods and community services. These areas are commonly referred to
as sectors, or areas of response, and have their own internationally recognized
standards, targets and standard operating practices (SOPs).
As humanitarian crises are invariably complex, resources scarce, and a large
number and variety of organizations are involved, close inter-agency coordination
and delineation of respective areas of responsibility are vital to minimize gaps and
overlaps. This includes essential coordination with the national authorities. It should
be recalled that international governmental and non-governmental agencies operate
in a country at the invitation of the national Government or, at the very least, with
their express consent. During recent years, considerable progress has been made in
the coordination of these multiple actors, thus increasing their effectiveness and the
overall impact of joint operations.
Once the needs in a particular (thematic) area of response have been assessed and
agreed upon, humanitarian agencies and the national authorities operating within
that area meet and create a cluster (e.g. the water and sanitation cluster, or the
protection cluster). The cluster approach is a system of coordination in which a
lead organization, designated for a specific priority area of response, is responsible
for organizing coordination at the global and country level and for acting as the
provider of last resort (see also Chap. 8 by Heraty, this volume).
At the global level, certain organisations have been designated global cluster lead
agency. They are provider of last resort for the designated cluster and are responsi-
ble for global standard setting and development of policies. For example, by virtue
of its mandated responsibility for refugee protection, in refugee operations, UNHCR
leads the Protection cluster, as it does in many IDP situations. For the Water,
Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) cluster, UNICEF is designated global lead, as well
as for the Education and Nutrition Clusters and the Child Protection Sub-Cluster.
The Global Logistics Cluster and the Food Security Cluster are WFPs responsibil-
ity while WHO has responsibility for the Health Cluster. UN OCHA generally has
responsibility for inter-cluster coordination, and for providing Humanitarian brief-
ings. The latter can provide a useful entry point for the military to encounter the
humanitarian actors. At country level, designation may be more situation-specific
and a cluster lead agency need not necessarily be the same agency as the respective
global cluster lead agency.
The cluster approach has been gradually introduced since 2005 as part of a
UN-led humanitarian reform initiative. A key objective has been to strengthen the
effectiveness of humanitarian response to emergencies across the globe through
15 Human Rights and Refugee Protection: The Interface with Humanitarian Actors 229

more streamlined and transparent coordination. In 2010, an independent evaluation

found that the new approach had resulted in, inter alia, improved coverage of
humanitarian needs in some areas (GPPi and Groupe URD 2010). It identified
important shortcomings, however, such as a tendency for clusters to exclude national
and local actors, thereby weakening rather than reinforcing them. It also noted that
close relationships between cluster member agencies and peacekeeping forces that
are party to an on-going conflict carry the risk of contributing to an erosion of
humanitarian space and to making humanitarian actors reluctant to engage in clus-
ters (GPPi and Groupe URD 2010).
The pros and cons of the cluster approach continue to be the subject of debate
within the humanitarian community but the cluster system remains a critical focus
for coordination of humanitarian response, and is thus an important linkage point
for the military. In this context, for the military, exploring ways to coordinate and
cooperate with the humanitarian agencies in peace operations is a process that
requires awareness of the main obstacles and risks involved.

15.4 Effective Military-Humanitarian Cooperation

in a Humanitarian Crisis

Unusual as it may sound, close cooperation with others in a humanitarian crisis does
not speak for itself. In this paragraph, we will discuss the concept of humanitarian
space and how it affects potential cooperation between humanitarian organizations
and the military. We will address the variables of Timing and Information Sharing,
both of which may prove of assistance in the process of establishing how much
room for cooperation exists. There have been many instances when military forces
and humanitarians have interacted successfully in the past. This section provides
some practical examples.

Humanitarian Space, Cultural Differences and Giving It Time

Of paramount importance is an understanding that humanitarian agencies may, in

varying degrees, be concerned about the risk for humanitarian space associated with
cooperation with the military. Once agencies are seen to be closely interacting with
the military, the humanitarian operation may be perceived by armed groups and
civilian populations as no longer being neutral and impartial. Once this perception
takes hold, the security of the humanitarian actors and their access to beneficiaries
may be seriously compromised, placing the entire humanitarian intervention at risk.
Therefore, humanitarian agencies will necessarily assess the scope for coopera-
tion with the military whilst bearing in mind the need to preserve safe and adequate
space for humanitarian action. Inadequate awareness by the military of this impor-
tant concern may drive a wedge in the relationship with humanitarian agencies
230 C. Mougne and F. Groot

thereby restricting the potential for mutually beneficial cooperation in the future.
The cultural divide between the military and humanitarian agencies, including a
lack of mutual familiarity and common language, can also present a significant
obstacle to effective cooperation (see Chap. 3 by Frerks, this volume).
Given these limitations, it is useful to distinguish between the potential for coop-
eration at different phases of a crisis. In the context of continued violent conflict, the
risk is at its highest, putting severe restrictions on the scope of potential coopera-
tion. As progress is made towards achieving comprehensive agreements between
parties and ultimately peace consolidation, the possibilities for cooperation grow

Information Sharing

Exchanging information will usually form the first step in any attempt at coopera-
tion (Chap. 3 by De Coning in this volume), but even that has its limitations. The
military manage information that they may deem too sensitive to share, but so do
humanitarian agencies (Frerks 2010 and Chap. 7 by Shetler-Jones in this volume).
Care should therefore be taken to avoid the perception on either side that informa-
tion sharing is not balanced. This can be prevented by appropriate forward planning
and by allowing time to invest in promoting familiarity and understanding of each
others goals and operations (Chap. 7 by Shetler-Jones in this volume). Active and
regular participation in coordination platforms will also help build relationships and
mutual understanding.
Cooperation may start with exchange of information: for example, on local con-
ditions and communities, and on each others operational objectives and strategies.
In subsequent stages, joint planning and continuous information exchange can help
to articulate the conditions under which the most effective form of cooperation with
humanitarian agencies may be pursued.
In all phases of the force deployment, it is important to liaise and work closely
with relevant agency staff to build up an accurate picture of what each organization
is doing and/or planning to do in the humanitarian operation whether or not there is
currently any active cooperation on the ground. Unless the military have, at all ranks
and levels, a sound knowledge and understanding of the key aspects of the overall
humanitarian operation in the area, any further exploration of cooperation will be
hampered. Obviously, this works both ways. For their part, the humanitarian agen-
cies also require accurate knowledge of the goals and strategy of the peace operation
for them to engage in discussions on cooperation.
Information sharing should start as early as possible. As humanitarian agencies
will often have been operational for a considerable time in the area where the mili-
tary forces are planning to deploy, they will have developed an appreciation of local
conditions and established good relations with local communities. They can there-
fore be useful sources of information during the planning and preparatory stages of
force deployment. The objective is to learn from the agencies experience of the
15 Human Rights and Refugee Protection: The Interface with Humanitarian Actors 231

area and to avoid compromising their humanitarian goals (see also Chap. 10 by
Melkon et.al. this volume).
Meanwhile, humanitarian agencies can help to disseminate advance information
to local and displaced populations to explain why there will be a military presence
and what the peacekeeping contingent will and will not be able to do. They can thus
play a critical role in facilitating understanding among the local and displaced popu-
lations of the objectives and plans of the peace operation.

Humanitarian Access

For humanitarians, an effective interface with the military is important because of

the latters key role in opening and/or ensuring access to civilian populations in need
as well as in creating a safe environment for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
If the security environment prevents humanitarian access to certain areas, military
actors may be asked to provide direct life-saving support to populations in need, but
only until access is restored (OCHA 2006, 2015).
A primary concern is freedom of movement to conduct activities in safety and in
a timely manner. This requires secure access to civilian communities in need.
Humanitarian agencies tend to be highly mobile, often living in isolated locations in
or near refugee or IDP camps and travelling on a daily basis between areas of dis-
placement and the nearest town or (regional) capital. They transport and deliver
food, non-food relief items and specialized equipment to and within the region. It is
essential that their staff movements and their relief goods be protected. Military
may be requested to provide security escorts for staff movements and security to
refugee or IDP camps (see Chap. 8 by Heraty, this volume).

Security of Refugees and IDPs

During recent years, due to the changing nature of conflict, it has become increas-
ingly difficult to identify genuine refugees amongst those who flee an area of violent
conflict, as persons belonging to regular armed forces, paramilitary or militia groups
or dissident armed bands mix in with civilian refugees. Militarized camps []
threaten the physical safety of refugees, compromise the neutrality of aid work,
pose a security threat to the host state and surrounding countries and challenge the
institution of asylum (Yu 2002). Therefore, UNHCR may call upon a peacekeep-
ing force to assist in dealing with this problem (e.g. by disarming the armed ele-
ments or by separating them from the civilian refugee population).
Against this background, UNHCR maintains the rule that refugee camps need to
be located at a minimum distance of 50 km from the border with the country of
origin to ensure their physical safety and to reduce the risk of cross-border
232 C. Mougne and F. Groot

Medical and Engineering Support

In addition, the military may be called upon to provide support by deploying readily
available assets and expertise in critical situations. For instance, engineering sup-
port may be required in the rehabilitation, construction and upgrading of roads and
bridges. A frequent event in humanitarian programs is that these critical relief sup-
ply routes become impassable due to floods or torrential rains or have been dam-
aged during the course of armed conflict.
Also, the military force may be requested to provide urgent medical assistance and
to allow access to the forces field-based medical facilities for seriously ill or injured
agency staff. Facilitation of urgent medical evacuation to appropriate care facilities
elsewhere may also be requested (see Chap. 11 by Rietjens and Bollen, this volume).


Cooperation between the military and humanitarian agencies can only be effective
if based on a sound understanding of and respect for each organizations mandate
and role in, respectively, the humanitarian or the peace operation. Effective coordi-
nation is a shared concern and can range from cooperation to coexistence (see
Chap. 2 by De Coning, this volume). The military may participate in the agencies
coordination structures or it may instigate a separate platform for regular informa-
tion exchange and coordination depending on the context and the phase in the
evolving conflict. What will count ultimately is the promotion of mutual under-
standing and, as the situation develops, the joint determination of the scope and
form of cooperation to deliver the desired results.
In the paragraphs above we have provided an overview of the policies and guide-
lines developed by humanitarian agencies (particularly the UN Inter-Agency
Standing Committee, IASC, and OCHA) on the parameters of their relationship with
military forces at strategic and operational levels. In addition to these generic guide-
lines, country-specific coordination guidelines have been developed to address the
management of operational engagement in each of the complex environments in
which humanitarians and military interface, in more detail (Metcalfe and Berg 2012).

15.5 Case Studies


During the regional Kosovo crisis of 1999, previously unexplored areas of coopera-
tion between the military (NATO, which crucially lacked UN Security Council
authorization for their efforts at peace enforcement) and humanitarian agencies

The Kosovo Refugee Crisis. An Independent Evaluation of UNHCRs emergency preparedness
and response. February 2000.
15 Human Rights and Refugee Protection: The Interface with Humanitarian Actors 233

were developed. NATO, as party to a war that directly and indirectly produced
large-scale displacement, was intent on showing it was committed to help alleviate
the humanitarian consequences. So keen, in fact, that in some areas in Albania it set
up humanitarian assistance operations without consulting and coordinating with the
major humanitarian actors. The complex humanitarian crisis, by its massive scale
and sudden onset, threatened to overpower the capacities of the humanitarian agen-
cies. They were thus keen to receive (coordinated) support and were interested in
cooperating with a military that could contribute significant and readily available
Areas of cooperation were identified and agreed early on. These included the
creation of a joint air control cell to coordinate humanitarian flights with the mili-
tary use of air space (of strategic importance as the military operation included a
time-limited but intense campaign of air strikes inside Serbia (strictly speaking:
Yugoslavia, as it was still called at the time) and deployment of forces into neigh-
bouring countries). However, more problematic were military activities that were
more visibly linked to the humanitarian operation and where the distinction between
the humanitarian and the military spheres of work was increasingly blurred. These
ranged from military personnel unloading and storing humanitarian supplies at air-
ports and transporting these to refugee camps to the actual building of refugee
camps. In some cases, it extended to NATO forces providing security at refugee
camps. Humanitarian agencies were concerned that such visible military involve-
ment, however welcome from a practical perspective, might ultimately expose the
camps and the staff working there as military targets. They also feared that it might
facilitate the use of camps by non-state belligerents (as a rear base or for recruit-
ment) thereby violating the strict civilian nature of refugee camps and the non-
political character of the humanitarian operation.
In the end and after much soul-searching, most agencies, including UNHCR who
played a lead role in this regional refugee emergency, decided to accept the military
assistance on offer. They did so because of the imperative that saving lives and alle-
viating human suffering required cooperation with NATO, but at the same time were
well aware of the serious risks involved.
In the event, problems did not materialize to the extent that might have been
expected, which may largely be attributable to the fact that the war turned out to be
short-lived. Moreover, it ended with a NATO victory that permitted the speedy
return of the refugees. As a result of this fortuitous outcome, adverse effects that
might have followed from a continued blurring of the military-humanitarian distinc-
tion were limited.
As several key humanitarian agencies involved in the operation viewed coopera-
tion with military forces that were a party to the war as inherently problematic, a
longer and more inconclusive war might well have resulted in a split between the
agencies with potentially adverse consequences to the humanitarian operation.
Thus what had started out as a genuine effort by NATO forces to support the
humanitarian operation could have ended up weakening it. In considering lessons
learned from the Kosovo operation, the agencies concluded that mutual transpar-
ency and a sharp distinction between the humanitarian and military missions are
prerequisites for effective cooperation.
234 C. Mougne and F. Groot

Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The DRC provides multiple examples of the complex challenge of maintaining the
civilian character of refugee/IDP camps. Tragic examples are provided by the
extraordinary situations of the mid-1990s in the refugee camps in Kivu (as well as
in Tanzania), where armed elements (interahamwe, gnocidaires) terrorized
Rwandese refugee communities with impunity for years. When this refugee situa-
tion started to unfold, in July 1994, hundreds of thousands of people crossed the
border in a matter of hours, arriving into very inhospitable areas. Facing massive
challenges in providing shelter and sanitation, and with unprecedented death rates,
humanitarian agencies had no choice but to involve these armed elements in the
distribution of aid. In so doing, they inadvertently entrenched these groups violent
hold over the refugee population that went on to last for years with consequences for
the DRC that can be observed to the present day. A similar, yet much less disastrous,
situation arose in DRCs Equateur Province a few years later (Yu 2002).
In 2001, a group of some 26,000 persons from the Central African Republic
(CAR) had fled across the border river into the town of Zongo in the DRC. They had
settled among the local population, in public buildings and private homes. The local
authorities spotted the presence of some 1000 Central African Republic soldiers
(FACA) and their family members among the refugees and wanted them separated
before the refugees could be transferred to a camp. This was to be done in order to
prevent infiltration of armed elements into the refugee population. Previous similar
situations had clearly taught an important lesson: that demobilization and/or disar-
mament of combatants need to happen before encampment as this become opera-
tionally nearly impossible to achieve afterwards (as happened in Kivu in 1994).
Ultimately, the ex-FACA and their dependents were successfully relocated to a sec-
ond site prior to encampment. This separation was led by UNHCR with the support
of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUC).
The extent of MONUCs collaboration was limited, as, under its mandate, it did
not consider the operation to be a main task because those involved were not a party
to the Congolese war. The mandate also did not grant the peacekeepers the ability
to use force to coercively to disarm soldiers. MONUC [was] mandated, inter alia, to
monitor a cease fire. [...] MONUC would be powerless to forcefully engage the ex-
FACA [soldiers] if they met resistance during the movement (Yu 2002). On these
grounds, MONUC initially decided that they could not be involved. However, the
Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) in Kinshasa was ultimately
able to broker an agreement that enabled MONUC to assist UNHCR in this opera-
tion, by limiting the peacekeepers involvement to a set of carefully worded activi-
ties that managed to remain within their mandate and avoided the risk of forceful
engagement. With these restrictions in mind, MONUC decided to participate in a
limited capacity: by checking that the ex-FACA were without weapons, by liaising
with the local authorities on the security aspects of the operation and by escorting
the UNHCR-organized movement from Zongo town to the new camps. In order to
defuse any possible tension, UNHCR decided to exceptionally provide food
assistance to the ex-FACA soldiers although assistance to non-civilians is forbidden
under its mandate.
15 Human Rights and Refugee Protection: The Interface with Humanitarian Actors 235

This operation serves as an example of successful cooperation between peace-

keeping forces and humanitarian agencies. Ultimately, the recognition by both par-
ties of joint longer-term goals helped to overcome initial reservations and what may
have been lack of mutual trust and familiarity and to identify creative and effective

15.6 Conclusion

Managing the interface between military and humanitarian actors in conflict zones
has evolved considerably over the past 25 years. The two case studies illustrate the
way in which actors have worked together through challenging situations to identify
appropriate ways forward to protect civilians while safeguarding respective man-
dates. This is clearly an ongoing process, as each new scene of operations presents
unanticipated obstacles and dilemmas.
The Kosovo operation was fortunately resolved quite quickly and in a way that
avoided multiple potential problems, allowing both NATO and the UN to reflect on
the experience, analyse the lessons learned and take steps to prevent or at least to
minimize similar problems in the event of more protracted conflicts in the future.
Early and on-going consultation between military and humanitarian players in
large-scale rapid-onset emergencies is clearly critical to avoid either party taking
irrevocable action that might undermine the objectives of the other, or compromise
an eventual cooperation in the short, medium or long-term.
The DRC example provides a useful illustration of the importance of close coop-
eration at field level between senior military and humanitarian leaders and of work-
ing together to identify solutions to specific local problems by approaching them
with flexibility and pragmatism.
The state of affairs in international human rights law and humanitarian law, and
in discussions about mandates of international military forces, point to the growing
importance of humanitarian action as a rationale for and an element of peace opera-
tions in the near future. Effective cooperation thus becomes ever more important.
Based on recent experience in Kosovo, the DRC and other theatres, and with
reference to Chaps. 5 by Thynne and Cherne and 16 by Olsthoorn and Soeters, mov-
ing forward in effective cooperation between military and humanitarian actors may
benefit from the following suggestions:
1. In-depth training of both military and humanitarian players on respective gov-
erning principles, mandates and programmes/operations (general as well as
situation-specific), and international humanitarian/human rights law, PRIOR to
2. Identification of effective negotiators for civ-mil interface;
3. Early consultation and agreement on the scope of initial cooperation;
4. Regular on-going consultation to update and revise cooperation as required;
5. Coordinated lessons-learned exercise at the conclusion of each operation.
236 C. Mougne and F. Groot


20th International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. (1965). Fundamental
principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.
Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, proclaimed
in Vienna in 1965 by the 20th international conference of the Red Cross and Red Crescent
Geneva Conventions of 1949 including Additional Protocol II.
Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi), & Groupe Urgence, Rhabilitation, Dveloppement (Groupe
URD). (2010, April). Cluster approach evaluation 2, Synthesis report.
International Committee of the Red Cross. (year). Rule 142. Instruction in international humanitar-
ian law within armed forces. (date, year).
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Code of Conduct (Resolution 47/182 of December
International Review of the Red Cross. (1999, September 30). The denial of humanitarian assis-
tance as a crime under international law. International Review of the Red Cross, No. 835.
Metcalfe, V., & Berg, M. (2012, August). Country-specific civil-military coordination guidelines.
Humanitarian Policy Group (HPG) and Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
OCHA. (2006). Guidelines on the use of military and civil defence assets to support United
Nations Humanitarian Activities in Complex Emergencies (MCDA guidelines). OCHA, Rev 1,
January 2006.
OCHA. (2015). United Nations Humanitarian Civil-Military Coordination, UN-CMCoord field
handbook. OCHA.
Secretary-General of the United Nations. (1999, August 6). Observance by United Nations forces
of international humanitarian law. Secretary-Generals Bulletin, ST/SGB/1999/13.
Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. (2013). Handbook on the normative framework
(Version 1.0) on Humanitarian Access in Situations of Armed Conflict.
UN Security Council Resolution 794. (1992).
UN Security Council Resolution 1296. (2000).
UN Security Council Resolution 1612. (2005).
UN Security Council Resolution 1882. (2009).
UN Security Council Resolution 1894. (2009).
UNHCR. (2000, February). The Kosovo Refugee Crisis, An independent evaluation of UNHCRs
emergency preparedness and response.
Yu, L. (2002, August). Separating ex-combatants and refugees in Zongo, DRC: Peacekeepers and
UNHCRs ladder of options. New Issues in Refugee Research No. 60.
Chapter 16
Leadership and the Comprehensive Approach

Peter Olsthoorn and Joseph Soeters

16.1 Introduction1

Like many of todays militaries, the Dutch armed forces plan and implement their
contribution to military missions in close cooperation with other, non-military
actors and organisations in a comprehensive approach designed to achieve the
desired result (Ministry of Defense 2012a: 13). Throughout this chapter, we will
use the term comprehensive approach for this cooperation between military and
civilians actors. Surprisingly, seeing the militarys preoccupation with leadership,
little has been written on what kind of leadership fits such an approach best; for
instance, a recent volume on leadership and the comprehensive approach
(Woycheshin and De Graaff 2013) has a lot to say on the comprehensive approach,
but is somewhat silent on the implications for leadership. Most outspoken is the
Swedish contribution to that volume: within the comprehensive approach, a leader
to include other actors within coordination efforts. The leader should be aware of the value
that other actors have to offer and, within efforts to coordinate all actors, give them credit
for their ideas, a chance to be heard and have an openness to implement ideas decided upon
together (Ohlsson et al. 2013).

In line with that remark, and based on the scarce research that is available (see
for instance Mockaitis 2004: 49; Rietjens 2006: 160), this chapter assumes that,

Parts of this chapter draw on a previous paper on military leadership (see Olsthoorn and Soeters
P. Olsthoorn (*)
Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, The Netherlands
e-mail: phj.olsthoorn.01@nlda.nl
J. Soeters
Netherlands Defence Academy, Breda, The Netherlands
University of Tilburg, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 237

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_16
238 P. Olsthoorn and J. Soeters

generally speaking, direct and centralized leadership, as traditionally practiced in

hierarchical organizations such as the military, is not appropriate for the compre-
hensive approach. Instead, the comprehensive approach requires horizontal interac-
tion and negotiation on an equal basis with partners outside the organization. That
centralized, direct leadership no longer fully qualifies in todays military world is
perhaps not only inherent to the comprehensive approach, but also to the dynamic,
uncertain, and challenging environment that makes this approach necessary
(Leslie, Gizewski, and Rostek 2008). NATO members, for instance, experienced
recent campaigns led to campaign design which had necessarily to incorporate host nation
governments and forces and allied and partners forces and civilians. Complexity was exac-
erbated by allied and partner forces operating at different levels of capability and under
varying rules of engagement and different command arrangements all of which made the
lot of the commander uncertain. This uncertainty led in turn to enforced decentralisation of
mission command (Lindley-French 2013: 272).

Now, nearly all Western militaries already stress the need for decentralization of
leadership, but at the same time their doctrines want their leaders to be strong and
visionary. The first aim of this chapter is to sketch these opposing tendencies, and to
see which of these tendencies wins through in practice.
To that end, the first section explains how the Netherlands Armed Forces as one
of Europes typical, even if not fully representative, armed forces views leader-
ship. This introducing section describes how leadership is envisaged in the
Netherlands Defense Doctrine, the joint leadership vision of the Dutch forces, and
the theory that underpins it. As is the case in most Western militaries, these docu-
ments emphasize the importance of strong, visionary leaders, but they also stress
the need for decentralization of leadership in todays comprehensive approach
two demands that seem hard to reconcile. After that outline of official views, we
will briefly describe some results of leadership research into the functioning of
Dutch commanders in Bosnia and in Afghanistan; especially that latter mission is
considered to be a typical example of a comprehensive approach to military
But it was especially the research into the leadership in the missions in Bosnia in
the 1990s that warns us that how it works on paper is not always how it works in the
real world. And that brings us to the second aim of this chapter: based on the find-
ings of the first two sections, we will introduce the notion of unobtrusive leadership.
This concept could complement all those doctrines, visions, and theories that put
the strong, visible leader to the foreground, and we suggest that this might be a style
of decentralized leadership that would fit the comprehensive approach.

16.2 Leadership Doctrine, Vision, and Underlying Theory

The joint Netherlands Defense Doctrine emphasizes the importance of decentraliza-

tion of leadership. In its current form the doctrine dates back to 2005, and that per-
haps partly explains why it does not mention the comprehensive approach even
16 Leadership and the Comprehensive Approach 239

once; NATO adopted the term in 2006 (Guo and Augier 2013: 20). That the doctrine
deems decentralization of leadership so important is mainly because of the unstable
and unpredictable circumstances in which many of todays missions take place
(Ministry of Defense 2005: 90). The doctrine states that the style of command that
is needed under such complex circumstances
is based on the decentralisation of authority for the execution of all military operations, on
the basis of the historical experience that, in all the chaos and friction to be expected, deci-
sions can best be made at the level directly involved in the operation (Ministry of Defense
2005: 89).

A high level of mutual trust is, according to that same doctrine, an important
prerequisite for the decentralization of leadership (Ministry of Defense 2005: 90).
Interestingly, trust is also mentioned as a precondition for the comprehensive
approach in the Joint Doctrine Publication 5 Command and Control, meant as a
supplement to the general doctrine: Good cooperation and coordination of activi-
ties is only possible if there is a basis of mutual trust (Ministry of Defense 2012a:
27). So on first sight the matter seems clear cut enough: commanders are expected
to practice decentralized leadership, and to trust their subordinates, thus leaving
ample room for their subordinate commanders to take initiative, and act on their
own best judgment. But the doctrine also states that while
command and control will be mission-oriented [i.e., decentralized] in theory, a higher or
even the highest command level will in certain cases be required to decide how the mission
is to be conducted, in which case it could still be necessary to impose directions and restric-
tions (Ministry of Defense 2005: 89).

The just mentioned Command and Control publication states that the degree of
freedom allocated to a commander depends on a number of factors, and among
them is the cohesion between the military and non-military activities within the
comprehensive approach (Ministry of Defense 2012a: 33). Regrettably, the publi-
cation is here still silent on the nature of that relationship, but one would expect that
planning and implementing in cooperation with civilian partners requires a suffi-
cient degree of freedom for the militarys leaders that work on the operational level.
Not so: later on in the same document there are some clues as to what might
amount to a sufficient ground to opt for a more directive, centralized style of leader-
ship; the publication explicitly mentions no less than eight reservations (Ministry of
Defense 2012a: 5960). Among them are the maturity of the commander and sub-
ordinates, the commanders personal style, and the general culture in individual
services and countries. Some of the factors listed, such as political sensitivity and
multinationality, will be of influence in virtually all missions Western militaries
conduct. More relevant for us, however, is that, contra the (admittedly scarce)
literature on leadership and the comprehensive approach, the collaboration with
non-military actors is now explicitly mentioned as a possible reason to not practice
decentralization of leadership (Ministry of Defense 2012a: 5960).
Negatively put, these doctrinal publications provide every commander who has
some doubts about the benefits or feasibility of decentralized leadership with a
loophole, at least in theory. This is in line with the emphasis on strong leaders
240 P. Olsthoorn and J. Soeters

elsewhere in the doctrine, which defines leadership as the projection of the person-
ality and character of an individual, usually the commander, to motivate soldiers to
do what is expected of them (Ministry of Defense 2005: 91). Although the doctrine
acknowledges that [t]here is no formula for leadership, and states that each com-
mander will motivate his soldiers in different ways, it is revealing that it mentions
using persuasive powers, coercion, the strength of his personality, charm or a com-
bination of these methods as examples of these different ways (Ministry of Defense
2005: 91). Necessary leadership qualities are vision and intelligence, originality,
insight and good judgment, intuition, initiative, professional expertise, courage and
resolve, self-confidence (if based on his own qualities), knowledge and experience,
integrity and the ability to set an example, as well as the ability to communicate and
to act in an ethically correct manner (Ministry of Defense 2005: 92).
That accent on strong leaders that characterizes military doctrine and culture is
also present in the leadership vision, and it appears to have grown stronger with
each new version that saw the light; something that shows especially from the theo-
retical frameworks chosen. In the years before 2007, Hersey and Blanchards theory
of situational leadership formed the basis for the leadership vision. Put briefly, this
theory holds that the maturity of the subordinates (showing in competence and com-
mitment) determines which combination of task-oriented and relations-oriented
behavior a leader should use. This theory still allowed a leader to keep on the back-
ground, for instance because his or her followers were both capable and willing. In
2007 a new vision appeared, which still sees a role for situational leadership, but
that at the same time incorporates (in tune with more modern leadership theories)
elements of charismatic, inspirational, and transformational leadership. It stresses
the importance of setting a good example, and states that leading people is more
than just managing them.2
A new leadership vision that appeared in 2013 does not refer to any leadership
theory or model at all. But a look on the underlying documentation (which mentions
the comprehensive approach only in passing) learns that the new vision incorpo-
rates quite a few leadership perspectives, such as transformational leadership, team
leadership, authentic leadership, adaptive leadership, servant leadership, and ethical
leadership (Ministry of Defense 2012b). But central to the whole enterprise is
Quinns competing values model (1984), which distinguishes (in addition to 24
competencies) no less than eight leadership roles an effective leader can, when
needed, function as an innovator, broker, producer, director, coordinator, monitor,
facilitator, and mentor. Quinns leader does everything, and is everywhere.

That last remark, incidentally, pays homage to the especially in the military popular view that
leadership is superior to management. Although one could question if such views are accurate (see
Soeters, Winslow, and Weibull 2003), this preference for leaders over managers is probably due to
the view of leaders as being strong, visionary, and active, as opposed to inactive, merely bureau-
cratically operating managers. It is the question whether such visible leadership is needed at all
levels: Keith Spacie, a retired Major General of the British Forces, thinks it obvious that the
requirement at the lower end of the spectrum [of authority] will be more for practical and prag-
matic leadership, at the higher end more (but not entirely) for that of a visionary kind (2002: 45).
16 Leadership and the Comprehensive Approach 241

Quinns theory is fairly typical in this aspect, though: most modern leadership
theories put much stress on the omnipresence and omniscience of the leader, and
many military leadership doctrines build on these theories (Vogelaar 2007: 36).
Such theories tend to assume that to be effective a leader has to have a lot of influ-
ence on his or her subordinates, while less visible leadership is negatively associ-
ated with laissez-faire leadership (see for instance Bass 1996).3

16.3 Leadership in Bosnia and Uruzgan

Militaries want strong, persuasive, and visionary leaders, yet at the same time they
consider decentralization of leadership important too. The question is which ten-
dency wins through in todays military practice. Fortunately, militaries have some-
what of a tradition of researching the way its leaders lead, and also the extent to
which they practice the so much desired decentralization of leadership has been a
topic of interest. On the whole, the findings were mixed.
Research by Vogelaar and Kramer (2004) showed that during the missions in
Bosnia in the 1990s, Dutch commanders practiced a more top-down style than one
would expect on the basis of the leadership doctrine of that moment, which empha-
sized the importance of decentralizing leadership as much as the current doctrine
does. Interestingly, that same doctrine nonetheless backed commanders who moni-
tored fairly closely; reminding of the long list of reservations in the more recent
Joint Doctrine Publication 5 Command and Control, it deemed mission command
less feasible in the case of political sensitive missions; international cooperation;
combined units; and when decentralization would cause differences in implementa-
tion (Ministry of Defense 1996: 51). Evidently, commanders could thus always find
a reason to not decentralize leadership (see also Kramer 2007: 2134), and in
practice most leadership tended to be rather centralized. The strict impartiality that
was required, the often unclear and ambiguous objectives, the deployment of mixed
units and the ensuing lack of trust, the development of routines, the stress on safety
precautions, and finally the availability of online information, all contributed

A good example is the theory of transformational leadership, popular in many militaries today,
which is also mainly about charismatic, visionary leaders. But to avoid some of the pitfalls of the
popular theory of charismatic leadership suffers from charismatic leadership is thought to lead to
more centralization and to the suboptimal development of subordinates (Keithly and Tritten 1997:
131) transformational leadership stresses the importance that of intellectual stimulation and indi-
vidual consideration too. Leaving aside the many conceptual issues the theory suffers from, and the
fact that [t]he term transformational has been broadly defined by many writers to include almost
any type of effective leadership, regardless of the underlying influence processes (Yukl 2002:
261), it is not clear to what extent transformational leadership really resolves the problems of
charismatic leadership. There is, for instance, a tension between the elements of inspirational moti-
vation (i.e., vision) and idealized influence (i.e., charisma) on the one hand, and intellectual stimu-
lation on the other. Although () transformational leaders can share vision building (Bass 2002:
6), this is not likely to happen under a truly charismatic and visionary leader.
242 P. Olsthoorn and J. Soeters

something to this tendency to centralize control and command (Vogelaar and

Kramer 2004: 40931).4
Most of the factors that played a role in Bosnia were also present in the more
recent missions the Netherlands military conducted in Iraq (from 2004 to 2005) and
Afghanistan (from 2006 to 2010 in Uruzgan, and from 2012 to 2014 in Kunduz).
Although one might expect that political sensitivity played less of a role as impar-
tiality was clearly not a factor during these missions, they were in fact politically
quite delicate. Political support in the Dutch parliament for the decision in early
2006 to send troops to Uruzgan was on the condition that it should be a
reconstruction-mission, not a fighting-mission. Parliamentarians and journal-
ists tended to closely monitor the ratio between the progresses made in rebuilding
and the time and effort spent in combating the Taliban; something that is likely to
have an influence on the degree of autonomy granted to sub-commanders in Uruzgan
(Vogelaar and Kramer 2004: 423, 426).5
Nonetheless, the theory of decentralized leadership was put to practice to a
greater extent in Uruzgan than in Bosnia in the 1990s. Patrolling regularly in popu-
lated areas was considered a key element for the success of the mission, but how
should be achieved was left to the discretion of sub-commanders, with the company com-
manders making the plans, and platoon commanders actually carrying out the assignments
outside the base. These subordinate commanders, realizing that commitment of the popula-
tion was the most important goal to be attained, had the latitude to choose the most appro-
priate moments to deploy the units over the area for which they were responsible (Vogelaar
and Dalenberg 2012: 94).

Although not always to everyones liking,6 the decentralization of leadership that

todays military missions require is best served by a not too directive style of leader-
ship. As Scotto and Alexander write in an article aimed at young military officers
that are going to take part in Provincial Reconstruction Teams: Leaders must focus
on end states and what each contributes. The key to success is learning to be tolerant
of each others approach () (2009: 3). But such leadership can only work if lead-
ers, for instance platoon commanders, are prepared to stay on the background now
and then, and occasionally suppress their desire to interfere. Likewise, one could

Later Vogelaar argued that central commanders tend to centralize authority too much and keep
things too much under strict supervision (2007: 29) because in the military a the higher-ranking
person is supposed to have more power than the lower-ranking one (Vogelaar 2007: 38). Because
military leaders have more coercive power at their disposal than leaders in many other organiza-
tions, they can always choose to force obedience (Vogelaar 2007: 38). And as commanders are the
ones that are likely to be held responsible for what happens during a mission, they will want in-
depth insight in the situation at hand, and in the military central commanders are in the position
to control information (Vogelaar 2007: 38).
The terms reconstruction-mission and fighting-mission were used by both parliament and in
the media, but hardly within the Defence organization itself, which, instead, used the term counter-
insurgency, which covered both aspects.
According to some military partners of the Dutch in Uruzgan that non-directive style of leader-
ship was pushed a bit too far. As two Australian officers put it: Among the Dutch there is a very
high willingness of subordinates to say Yes, but to discuss endlessly about decisions, about
plans, about anything (Soeters et al. 2012: 163).
16 Leadership and the Comprehensive Approach 243

argue that the degree of discretion these platoon commanders themselves have
depends on their commanders having a similar leadership attitude.

16.4 Unobtrusive Leadership

A comprehensive approach to military missions asks for a decentralized leadership.

Based on the above findings, it seems that such a decentralized approach requires a
style of leadership that is somewhat less imposing than that which is commonly
espoused in military doctrine and leadership theory. One could argue, incidentally,
that this holds even truer for units that are not deployed, and for that part of the mili-
tary organization and that is a large part, of course that is never directly involved
in combat, together making up the cold organization (Soeters et al. 2003). Not
surprisingly, there are already a few theories that espouse such a less obtrusive
leadership style, but, equally unsurprising, these theories do not get a lot of attention
in most militaries. An example is Robert Greenleafs theory of servant leadership
(2002), which in fact did draw some attention from military circles, but on the
whole this theory remains rather unclear and undefined (see also Russel and Stone
2002). Whats more, this theory, too, emphasizes the importance of a leader having
a strongly articulated vision (Russel and Stone 2002, 147).
A better example of a theory proposing an unassuming style of leadership is Kerr
and Jermiers substitute theory of leadership, which does not aim at increasing the
influence of the leader, but at making leadership less necessary (1978: 375403).
Building on the behavior approach to leadership, which distinguishes (like the ear-
lier mentioned theory of situational leadership, and many other behavioral theories
of leadership) between relations-oriented behavior and task-oriented behavior, this
theory identifies factors of the organization, the work, and the employees, that can
form a substitute for leadership. Structured tasks, for example, can function as a
substitute for task oriented leadership behavior, while intrinsically rewarding work
might form an alternative for relations oriented behavior. Strong group cohesion
can be a replacement for both forms of leadership behavior. But also subordinates
having a professional orientation, based on a high degree of education, can serve as
a substitute for task oriented behavior and relations oriented behavior (1978: 398);
if the military is indeed a profession, as most authors (especially those with a back-
ground in the military) today hold, there might be less need for leadership in the
military than is commonly thought. Finally, the theory identifies some neutralizers:
factors that nullify a leaders influence, such as subordinate insensitivity to rewards
or, more relevant in the military context, geographical distance between leader and
Yet, although the substitute theory of leadership provides an alternative view on
the importance of leadership influence, it is not exactly what we want to propose
here. It is a much older leadership theory (if we can call it that) that captures the
essence of what we want to bring forward. Around 550 BC, the Chinese philosopher
Lao-tzu is thought to have said that
244 P. Olsthoorn and J. Soeters

[a] leader is best when people barely know he exists. Not so good when people obey and
acclaim him. Worse when they despise him. But of a good leader who talks little when his
work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say We did it ourselves (cited in Manz and Sims

This is what we would like to call unobtrusive leadership. We have loosely based
this concept on the notion of unobtrusive research measures in the social sciences.
Webb, Campbell, Schwartz and Sechrest came up with that term in their book
Unobtrusive Measures (1966), which is a plea to not always opt unthinkingly for the
usual research methods, such as the interview and questionnaire. The rationale
behind that plea was a moral one: in the view Webb et al., the usual methods often
invade the privacy of research subject (1966). Observing, using archived material,
and studying physical traces (wear of floor tiles tells about visitor flows in a museum)
are examples of less obtrusive measures (Webb et al. 1966: 2, 36). Now, that in
war, victory goes to those armies whose leaders uniforms are least impressive
(the so-called Sukhomlinov Effect, named after the handsomely dressed General of
the Imperial Russian Army Vladimir Sukhomlinov, who allegedly lost World War I
for the Russians) can be seen as an example of a result of unobtrusive research, as
Webb and Weick do (1979). But perhaps one could see that same finding also as an
argument for unobtrusive leadership
We think that the following qualities could typify such an unobtrusive form of
Like the leadership of many successful CEOs such as Bill Gates, unobtrusive
leadership lacks charisma; on the contrary, it emphasizes modesty, inconspicu-
ous, quiet and even introvert, behavior of the leaders (Cain 2012);
It provides opportunities for the employees to regulate themselves through iden-
tification and internalization, that is, through linking the legitimacy of the orga-
nizations rules with the employees social values, instead of using a
command-and-control approach (Tyler and Blader 2005). In that aspect, it per-
haps somewhat resembles the notion of Innere Fhrung of the German
It emphasizes team-leadership, which entails the organic that is to say, not in a
planned manner distribution of various leadership tasks (downward, outside,
and upward; details, pressures, and politics) among the employees with leader-
ship roles (Mintzberg 1997);
It uses informal dialoguing and facilitates collaborative talk among employees
(focusing on similarities and shared interests), at the same time not suppressing
assertive talk, through which employees want to influence and frame the discus-
sions that go on within them; more than anything, unobtrusive leadership is
leadership by talking around enabling a close touch with everydays practice
(Hardy, Lawrence, and Grant 2005);
In the same vein, unobtrusive leaders do not (coercively) transfer, diffuse or
transform existing or new knowledge throughout the organization. They facili-
tate processes of thinking along by co-workers and leadership in finding cre-
ative, new solutions for complex cross-boundaries problems, while retaining
each others specialization and identity (Berends et al. 2011);
16 Leadership and the Comprehensive Approach 245

Unobtrusive leaders do not punish or retaliate continuously, can occasionally

forgive a failure, violation or attack, set the right example and punish, if really
needed and without harming others, the one who systematically violated good
practices (Novak 2011);
In line with the previous point, unobtrusive leadership is tolerant of variation in
vision, arguments and style, and it can let things go;
Unobtrusive leaders do not prefer some over others, hence preventing fault lines
in the organization or mission to emerge;
Unobtrusive leadership creates the conditions for bonding (creating cohesion
within the unit) and bridging (connecting with others outside the unit or organi-
zation) at the same time (Soeters 2008). This can be achieved by positively pay-
ing attention to both insiders and outsiders, in order to have them seeing the
value of each others contribution to the overall goals that need to be accom-
plished. This demands from leadership continuous balancing acts of self-
verification (who are we in the eyes of others?) and social integration leading to
mutual trust and psychological safety for all involved in the cooperation (Maloney
and Zellmer-Bruhn 2006).
All in all, unobtrusive leadership is not absent or laissez-faire leadership, but it is
more about soft than hard control; it is more like the behavior of a pragmatic fox
than of a principled hedgehog (see also Berlin 1953). In fact, it comes very close to
Lao-tzus description. It may create a better atmosphere for employees to work in,
but it might also pose fewer dangers than charismatic leadership. In the military
such dangers may lurk in unnecessary casualties at all sides of the operational spec-
trum. Ancient and recent military history abounds with such tragedies. Under char-
ismatic leadership, which is often accompanied by overconfidence, things may go
quickly, but things may also go quickly wrong, strategically and/or ethically (for the
military in this respect, see Johnson 2004). Some see a Bathsheba syndrome here:
the most successful leaders are most prone to (ethical) failure (Ludwig and
Longenecker 1993).7

16.5 Conclusion

This chapter identified a number of factors that go against the heart of the idea of
decentralized leadership, which as we have argued is vital to the comprehensive
approach. Among them were military doctrine, the equation of effective leaders
with strong leaders in most leadership theories, and the personal style of many mili-
tary leaders. To start with that last factor: in the military, the personal style of a
commander will more often than not be a rather visible, imposing style of leader-
ship (one could perhaps even say it is more of a military style than a personal style).

The story behind this syndrome is, of course, that of one military leader, King David, killing
another military leader, Uriah, over the latters wife, Bathsheba.
246 P. Olsthoorn and J. Soeters

If true, that personal style could well have a negative influence on the amount of
decentralization of leadership, and, thus, the extent to which mission command will
(or can) be practiced. As to doctrine and leadership theories: we have seen that most
military doctrine (and the Dutch doctrine is an example of that) seems to presuppose
a strong leader. In doing so, it is in line with nearly all leadership theories, including
those underlying the leadership vision (old and new) of the Netherlands Armed
Forces, which tend to emphasize the strong leader, and are often about how to aug-
ment ones influence as a leader. That, too, is a factor that contributes to the fact that
decentralization is less common than ideally would be the case.
We have proposed a different view on leadership, which we coined unobtrusive
leadership, to somewhat counter that tendency. This approach is of course not meant
as a substitute for the existing ones, but as a complement to traditional views of
leadership. We think that such a leadership style would fit the comprehensive
approach. This comprehensive approach is not something that comes naturally to
the military. The military is very much a species of its own, an island within wider
society, with its own social constructions of reality and its own internal lines of
command. But todays protracted and often complicated intranational conflicts
require the military to cooperate with other organizations, be they militaries from
other nations or organizations outside of the military, such as governmental organi-
zations, humanitarian agencies and even commercial firms. As has become clear
from various other chapters in this volume, this need for cooperation is likely to
come along with perceived status differences, including stereotyping, ideological
domain discussions (who is responsible for what?), differing operational styles,
varying resources and competences, and in general with non-optimal degrees of
mutual trust between the partners.
Clearly in such conditions, a direct centralized style of leadership on one side
or all sides of the cooperating partners is not conducive to reach a full degree of
cooperation between the partners involved. That is because leaders of one organiza-
tion simply have no say over other organizations people. By consequence, in the
comprehensive approach there is no room for a vertical, one-size-fits-all-leader-
ship style, let alone a leadership style in which one leader knows it all. Instead, it
needs a leadership style that fosters the development of horizontal, collaborative
practice and mutual trust in everydays reality by staying modestly present and
facilitating the ongoing processes of negotiation and collaboration unobtrusively.


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Chapter 17
Civil-Military Interaction, CIMIC
and Interacting with Gender

Gunhild Hoogensen Gjrv and Toiko Tnisson Kleppe

17.1 Introduction

The civil-military interface is fraught with tension, misunderstanding, and power

struggles where different actors compete, cooperate or coordinate in claims of
authority and/or legitimacy to act. Civil-military interaction refers to the range and
nature of contact, from coexistence to coordination, and/or cooperation between
national (local) and international (foreign) civilian (ranging from government offi-
cials to NGOs both humanitarian and development, to local populations) and mili-
tary actors in a crisis situation (Hoogensen Gjrv 2014: 7). The complexity of
different civil-military contexts is compounded by gender dynamics which affect
information and intelligence gathering, psychological operations, patrolling, train-
ing of local forces, the use of interpreters, the impact of raids and combat operations
and any possible resulting resistance, and support for the mission and international
militaries in general. In this chapter we take a critical look at the ways in which
gender is understood and operationalized in the context of international operations
and specifically within the civil-military interface, with a special focus on NATO
operations. The military practitioners who are operating in the civil-military inter-
face are many, and it is not possible to address the wide range of functions ade-
quately in one chapter. We focus therefore on a number of key roles in civil-military
interaction (CMI) that have had experience in trying to operationalize gender, such

The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the
United Nations.
G.H. Gjrv (*)
University of Troms, Troms, Norway
e-mail: gunhild.hoogensen.gjorv@uit.no
T.T. Kleppe
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR),
United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Geneva, Switzerland

Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016 249

G. Lucius, S. Rietjens (eds.), Effective Civil-Military Interaction
in Peace Operations, DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-26806-4_17
250 G.H. Gjrv and T.T. Kleppe

as CIMIC, Gender Field Advisers (GFAs) as well as a brief discussion about Female
Engagement Teams (FETs). The chapter draws upon doctrine and policy, scholarly
analyses, interviews with different military practitioners as well as with women in
Afghanistan. The end result is intended to be a critical but accessible and ideally
honest account of to what extent gender has been prioritized and implemented
international operations.
In this chapter we begin by providing some central definitions of gender concepts
currently in use in NATO, and examine why the concept is relevant to the military. To
do so, we use the concept of security as an explanatory tool, in particular human
security, which provides a broader security lens that allows operators to better under-
stand the civil-military interface. We follow with the policy background and rationale
for implementing gender perspectives. We lastly consider challenges in implement-
ing gender awareness, the potential competition between, or integration of, gender
adviser and CIMIC, and the importance of gender balance for effectiveness of mili-
taries. Implementing gender or doing a gender analysis within the context of a
military operation is never an easy task. There are no quick dos and donts, which
is why it is important to have gender specialists as well as train the average soldier in
gender. Assumptions and expectations about men and women change as gender
interacts with class, ethnicity, race, geography, and social position. The purpose of
this chapter is to increase the awareness of the military practitioner about how gender
is understood and relates to security, so that she or he is better capable of conducting
a complex and relevant analysis to increase the success of the operation.

17.2 How Can We Effectively Understand and Use


Terminology that has become more commonplace in the military operation include
gender perspective, gender mainstreaming, and gender analysis (see Textbox
17.1). All of these refer to tools or methods to increase operational effectiveness, as
stated in NATOs cornerstone policy tool for gender mainstreaming of its operations,
the Bi-Strategic Command Directive 40-1 entitled Integrating UNSCR 1325 and gen-
der perspective into the NATO Command Structure. The Directive, first adopted in
2009, aims to give instructions and guidance in regard to using gender awareness as a
means to the end of establishing stability and security. But what does this really mean?
The concept of gender goes beyond the biological perception of the two sexes,
referring to socially constructed identities and differences between men and women.
Gender roles are context and time specific, and hence each culture and moment in
history will give its own interpretation to what a real man or woman is. Mens and
womens social roles are interdependent and can be seen as dynamic processes that
develop in parallel. As Inger Skjelsbk notes, the relationships between the catego-
ries of masculinity and femininity is a matter of constant negotiation and renegotia-
tion (2001). Thus gender does not simply mean a womens perspective, but refers to
both men and women within socially and culturally defined norms of what each
gender should be like and what they represent. Yet, gender perspectives are often
interpreted as solely womens perspectives (a problem we will get back to later).
17 Civil-Military Interaction, CIMIC and Interacting with Gender 251

Textbox 17.1: NATO Bi-Strategic Command Directive 40-1 Definitions

Gender refers to the social attributes associated with being male and female
learned through socialisation and determines a persons position and value in
a given context. This means also the relationships between women and men
and girls and boys, as well as the relations between women and those between
men. These attributes, opportunities and relationships are socially constructed
and are learned through socialisation processes. Notably, gender does not
equate to woman.
Gender mainstreaming is defined as a strategy to achieve gender equality
by assessing the implications for women and men of any planned action,
including legislation, policies and programmes in all areas and at all levels, in
order to assure that the concerns and experiences of women and men are taken
into account in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of
policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres. This
will lead to that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetu-
ated. Gender mainstreaming in this context represents the process to recog-
nise and incorporate the role gender plays in relation to NATOs various
operational missions. Gender mainstreaming does not focus solely on women,
but the benefits of mainstreaming practices recognise their disadvantaged
position in various communities.
Integration of gender perspective is a way of assessing gender-based
differences of women and men reflected in their social roles and interactions,
in the distribution of power and the access to resources. In ACO and ACT
activities it is used synonymously with implementing the requests of UNSCR
1325, related resolutions, as well as directives emanating from NATO. The
aim of which is to take into consideration the particular situation and needs
for men and women, as well as how the activities of NATO have different
effects on them. More fundamentally, implementing a gender perspective is
done by adapting action following a gender analysis.
Gender analysis is defined as the systematic gathering and examinati