Special Topics


Peace operations are increasingly multi-dimensional operations begun once the parties have reached or been induced to accept a political settlement. These operations focus on peace-building, seeking to strengthen or, in some cases, build civil and humanitarian institutions, aid economic and social development, and organize elections and full political participation within a safe and secure environment provided by the military and police elements of the mission. Often these missions must assume aspects or all of the political administration within the country or territory.

They involve a myriad number of institutions, agencies, and actors that include political, diplomatic, economic, military, humanitarian, human rights, legal, law and order, civil administration and governance efforts. There are large numbers of international, national, governmental and non-governmental organizations in the area of the operation as well as indigenous organizations.

Consent of the parties is a key variable in these missions at the operational and tactical level. A major effort of the peace operation needs to focus on building on and reinforcing the consent that exists. It is the consent of the local leaders and more broadly the people that must be built and reinforced. This involves a dynamic mixing of carrots and sticks that involves all the myriad institutions, agencies and actors from the international community. It must be done at the country level (operational) and in the villages and towns (tactical). This horizontal effort across the international community's participants at the operational and tactical levels must also take place between the operational and tactical level -- the vertical dimension.

The harmonization of these efforts is crucial to the success of the peace operation mission. It is more than coordination. The analogy to music is apt. Harmony in musical terms is the simultaneous combination of notes in a chord. The notes together achieve one sound -- one chord. Harmonization in a peace operation is central to effectively using the carrots and sticks among the international community to build the peace. The peace operations mission requires political leadership with a political framework so that the objectives -- the ends -- of the military and civilian components are harmonized.


"Peace Implementation and the concept of Induced Consent"by David Joblonsky and James S. McCallum; Parameters, Spring 1999, pp. 54-70.

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Since the end of the Cold War, there has been a sharp increase in the number and the intensity of "complex contingencies" around the world. Complex contingencies include catastrophic natural disasters as well as violent intra-state or ethnic conflicts or situations which have undermined regional stability, trampled emerging democracies or brought about humanitarian suffering on a massive scale. Dealing with these issues in a political-military context, once on the periphery of the bi-polar Cold War struggle, has now become an important part of United States national strategy.

This section of the PKSOI website contains key documents (relevant to these complex contingencies as well as the current edition of the Interagency Management of Complex Crisis Operations Handbook. The Handbook details how the Pol-Mil planning tools and mechanisms for coordination within the Interagency Progress may be applied in a multi-dimensional response to an emergency whether natural catastrophe or made-made crisis.

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Since the Cold War US armed forces have acquired significant experience in what are now termed multidimensional peace operations. These operations have proven to be infinitely more complex than the classic form, since they are usually marked by high-level agreements that can only be implemented by large military forces designed to insure that strategic consent filters down to the theater strategic, operational and tactical levels in order that the longer-term process of peace building can begin.

The result of all this is that the military forces from all countries participating in current peacekeeping efforts are involved in a large assortment of new tasks ranging from disarmament of factions to election security. Moreover, the nature of these tasks requires that the military become increasingly involved with a host of civilian agencies associated with both international and non-governmental organizations. A major feature of all these types of interaction is the process of negotiation.

Every after action review of these peace operations stresses the importance of understanding the conceptual framework of negotiations and the importance for all leaders to be effective in applying them in their work.

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Dispute Resolution

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