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Fundamentals of Peace Operations

The prime focus of the Army is warfighting, yet the Army's frequent role in operations other than war is critical.

Versatility is to the decathlete as agility is to the boxer.

                                                       FM 100-5

Peacekeeping is not a job for soldiers, but only a soldier can do it.

                              Former UN Secretary-General Dag Hammerskold

This chapter provides a doctrinal framework for peace operations. It is not a detailed template but an authoritative statement and guide for conducting peace operations. Adaptable to the diverse and varied nature of peace operations, this chapter describes the strategic context of such operations, to include unilateral and multinational operations. The chapter includes information on the variables of peace operations, the principles of peace operations, and the tenets of Army peace operations. It defines the different types of peace operations and establishes an operational context for each.


Because peace operations are usually conducted in the full glare of worldwide media attention, the strategic context of a peace operation must be communicated and understood by all involved in the operation. Soldiers must understand that they can encounter situations where the decisions they make at the tactical level have immediate strategic and political implications. In addition to the overall strategic and political context of the operation, soldiers should be aware of the area's history, economy, culture, and any other significant factors. Failure to fully understand the mission and operational environment can quickly lead to incidents and misunderstandings that will reduce legitimacy and consent and result in actions that are inconsistent with the overall political objective.

Member nations of the United Nations (UN) conduct peace operations under the provisions of Chapters VI and VII of the UN Charter.(1) The US reserves the right to conduct operations unilaterally in conformance with appropriate international law. In such cases, the US would organize, equip, and employ its forces consistent with the unique aspects of these two chapters of the UN Charter. See Appendix A for a general description of UN organization and functions.

Normally, traditional peacekeeping (PK) involving high levels of consent and strict impartiality are operations authorized under the provisions of Chapter VI of the UN Charter, which discusses the peaceful settlement of disputes. Thus, PK operations are often referred to as Chapter VI operations.

eace operations with low levels of consent and questionable impartiality are conducted under mandates governed by Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Chapter VII operations are frequently referred to collectively as PE (peace enforcement). Because Chapter VII is so broad-- including action with respect to acts of aggression--some operations, such as the UN operations in Korea (1950-1953) and in Kuwait and Iraq (1990-1991), are also referred to as PE. However, from a doctrinal view, these two operations are clearly wars and must not be confused with PE as described herein.


Peace operations encompass three types of activities: support to diplomacy, peacekeeping, and peace enforcement. The definitions of these terms, although precise, must be viewed in a world beset with imprecise and ambiguous situations. So, it is more useful to understand the principles of peace operations and the types of forces required to deal with them.


Military support to diplomacy has become increasingly important in furthering US interests abroad. The components of support to diplomacy include peacemaking, peace building, and preventive diplomacy. Support to diplomacy takes place in peace or conflict and is conducted to prevent conflict. Military actions contribute to and are subordinate to the diplomatic peacemaking process. Many of these actions are the typical, day-to-day operations conducted by the military as part of its peacetime mission. The stationing of military forces abroad as part of a forward presence may contribute to stability and the creation of conditions necessary for the peaceful resolution of disputes.


Peacemaking is a process of diplomacy, mediation, negotiation, or other forms of peaceful settlement that end disputes and resolve the issues that led to conflict. Military activities that support peacemaking include military-to-military relations and security assistance operations. Other military activities, such as exercises and peacetime deployments, may enhance the diplomatic process by demonstrating the engagement of the US abroad. These activities contribute to an atmosphere of cooperation and assistance with allies and friends, thus demonstrating the resolve of the US with regard to its commitments. Such demonstrations of resolve may assist diplomatic efforts at conflict resolution. Military-to-military contacts and security assistance programs also serve to enhance diplomacy by influencing important groups in regions of conflict and by promoting the stable environment necessary for the success of diplomacy.

Peace Building

Peace building consists of postconflict actions, primarily diplomatic, that strengthen and rebuild civil infrastructures and institutions in order to avoid a return to conflict. It also includes mechanisms that advance a sense of confidence and well-being and support economic reconstruction. Military as well as civilian involvement is normally required. Peace building activities include restoring civil authority, rebuilding physical infrastructures, and reestablishing commerce, schools, and medical facilities. The most extensive peace-building effort in history took place in Europe and Asia in the postWorld War II era when the US and its allies assisted nations in those continents devastated by a decade of war.

Military support to diplomacy also includes assistance in selected areas such as the conduct of elections and plebiscites and demobilization of former belligerent parties. Nation assistance is another activity of support to diplomacy. It may occur prior to or after a conflict, although the UN term pertains primarily to postconflict activities.

Preventive Diplomacy

Preventive diplomacy involves diplomatic actions taken in advance of a predictable crisis to prevent or limit violence. In more tense situations, military activities may support preventive diplomacy. Such support may include preventive deployments, other shows of force, or higher levels of readiness. The objective is to demonstrate resolve and commitment to a peaceful resolution while underlining the readiness and ability of the US to use force if required.

Preventive deployment is the deployment of military forces to deter violence at the interface or zone of potential conflict where tension is rising among parties. The use of preventive deployment does not rely on a truce or a peace plan agreed to among parties. Although forces or observers will deploy with the consent or at the request of one or all parties involved, their specific tasks may not have been agreed to, except in principle, among parties (see Figure 1-1). Usually these deployments will employ forces in such a way that they are indistinguishable from a PK force in terms of equipment, force posture, and activities.

Preventive deployments can be used in--

  • Internal or national crises, at the request of the government or parties concerned.
  • Interstate disputes, at the request of one or more of the parties concerned.

A preventive deployment force may execute tasks similar to those conducted by early warning observers. By deploying in greater numbers and with greater authority, this force can insist on gaining access to areas of potential conflict. In principle, tactical surveillance and monitoring capability, as well as the symbolic presence of such a force, act as a restraining influence. The underlying concept of a preventive deployment is that under the critical scrutiny of the international community, parties will be under pressure to consider negotiation before resorting to violence. The tasks of a preventive deployment force may include--

  • Acting as an interpositional force to forestall violence.
  • Protecting the local delivery of humanitarian relief.
  • Assisting local authorities to protect and offer security to threatened minorities, to secure and maintain essential services (water, power), and to maintain law and order.

Figure 1-1. Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Command

A preventive deployment may be composed of several national contingents in the same manner as a conventional PK force. Soldiers may carry weapons necessary for protective tasks as well as for self-defense. Deployed civilians may carry weapons for self-defense only if authorized by the field commander after receiving proper training. The minimal capabilities of a preventive deployment force may be enhanced by the presence of an offshore or regional coalition strike force. The strike force will have the capability to protect the preventive deployment force. The presence of a strike force will influence negotiations as well as security of deployed forces on the ground.

A preventive deployment force may act in order to ensure access to an area of operation (AO). Actions may include--

  • Observing and reporting on developments in the AO.
  • Patrolling and securing a border or demarcation line.
  • Presenting a show of force in order to dissuade a potential aggressor.

The employment of forces in support of a preventive deployment will normally involve combat, combat support (CS), and combat service support (CSS) units. A reinforcement capability will normally be maintained in the immediate region. Units charged with this activity should have a high degree of tactical mobility, coupled with significant surveillance and communication capabilities.


PK involves military or paramilitary operations that are undertaken with the consent of all major belligerent parties. These operations are designed to monitor and facilitate implementation of an existing truce agreement and support diplomatic efforts to reach a long-term political settlement. The multinational force and observers (MFO) operation in the Sinai provides a classic example of a force conducting a PK operation. PK activities include observation and monitoring of truces and cease-fires and supervision of truces.

Observation and Monitoring of Truces and Cease-Fires

Individual military personnel may be called upon to observe, monitor, verify, and report that parties to a conflict comply with the commitments into which they enter, such as truces and cease-fires. They may also be called upon to monitor a developing situation and report on events to the authorizing authority. Soldiers involved in such activities are called observers or monitors. Observers and monitors execute their duties under the authority of an international agreement or a mandate. They must be impartial and responsible to the authorizing authority.

The role of observers engaged in battlefield stabilization or confidence-building measures among regular armed forces involved in conflict has been extensively developed since the establishment of the first such organization--the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO)--in 1948. Observers and monitors are most commonly deployed on an individual basis and normally form military observer groups with individuals from other nations. Some tasks, such as liaison, may be performed individually. Observers and monitors are armed or unarmed as the situation dictates. Civilian officials of international organizations or governments may also serve as observers and monitors.

The employment of observers in an early warning role to report on a developing situation is another aspect of this mission. These observers may serve to deter aggression by reporting timely information about a potentially tense situation. Observers and monitors may also be selectively employed to oversee certain types of events, such as elections, in order to verify their validity.

Reporting and Monitoring. Military observers report accurate and timely military information in their assigned sector of responsibility. Initially, observers may be required to report on the withdrawal of armed forces as belligerent parties begin the disengagement process. Subsequently, observers may monitor the interface among those forces, to include any demilitarized lines or areas. Observers and monitors do not act to interpose themselves between belligerent parties.

Supervision. Observers may be called upon to carry out numerous types of supervisory tasks. Observers do not normally act with regard to violations. They merely observe and report. These tasks include supervision of--

  • Cease-fire lines, borders, buffers, demilitarized zones, restricted areas, enclaves, and other geographic entities.
  • The execution of the provisions of treaties, truces, cease-fires, arms control agreements, and other binding agreements.
  • The exchange of prisoners of war, civilians, human remains, and territory.
  • Refugee camps, collection points, and stations.
  • Censuses, referendums, plebiscites, and elections.

Investigation of Complaints and Violations. Observers may be required to conduct investigations of complaints and alleged violations of the provisions of an agreement. Such investigations must be carried out in a completely impartial manner.

Negotiation and Mediation. Observers may be required to undertake negotiations on behalf of all parties to the conflict and to act as mediators among the parties to a dispute. Observers must be prepared to supervise any actions undertaken to remedy the situation. Impartiality is critical to the performance of these tasks; observers must be seen as part of the solution, not part of the problem.

Liaison. Observers may function as liaison officers with the mission of maintaining personal contact and exchanging information with any of a number of entities. These may include the belligerent parties, the host nation, local civilian officials, international agencies, higher headquarters, and other military units.

Supervision of Truces

Military formations normally conduct truce supervision operations. Such formations are introduced into a conflict area to fulfill a specific mandate in order to permit diplomatic negotiations to take place in a conflict-free environment. These operations are possible only with the consent of the disputing parties.

Truce supervisory forces operate in significantly greater numbers than observers. Rather than simply monitoring the situation, truce supervisory forces can insist that the local population comply with the specific conditions of a peace agreement. Truce supervisory forces can, for example, patrol in sensitive areas, investigate installations or vehicles for prohibited items, and establish movement control points.

Truce supervisory forces may be used to supervise a peace or cease-fire agreement. Supervision of a truce is also known as traditional PK, even when no formal peace has been signed. In traditional PK, truce supervisory forces physically interpose themselves between the disputing parties. In such cases, they may occupy a disengagement line or buffer zone at the interface between the belligerent parties.

Military forces that conduct truce supervisory operations are normally multinational, while subformations are usually exclusively national. Military forces supervising truces are generally armed with organic small arms. However, forces may deploy with other weapons systems, based on the threat.

These forces will normally commence operations once a truce, cease-fire, or peace has been agreed to and the situation has stabilized. Truce supervisory forces may be required to supervise the disengagement and withdrawal of belligerent forces. Supervision actions are similar to those conducted by observers and monitors, but with the added requirement of maintaining the ability to supervise the terms of the mandate. Liaison tasks are likewise similar to those of observers and monitors.

Intermediary tasks may require truce supervisory forces to act as a credible and impartial intermediary among belligerent parties. Such mediation is accomplished through negotiations on contentious issues or incidents to arrive at a mutually acceptable solution that will maintain the conditions of the mandate. Superior negotiating skills are critical to the successful accomplishment of these actions.

Assistance activities by truce supervisory forces may include the requirement to provide humanitarian assistance (HA) within the AO. In addition, truce supervisory forces may be required to supervise demobilization and demilitarization measures subsequent to a peace treaty. In certain unstable situations, these forces may be required to provide a measure of law, order, and stability on an interim basis until competent civil authority can reestablish authority.


PE is the application of military force or the threat of its use, normally pursuant to international authorization, to compel compliance with generally accepted resolutions or sanctions. The purpose of PE is to maintain or restore peace and support diplomatic efforts to reach a long-term political settlement.


During the early days of the United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), the UN force sector commanders had to physically place themselves and their units between armed irregular Cypriot Greek and Turkish forces to prevent the spark that might have destroyed the shaky peace. Their presence, along with sometimes lengthy negotiations, made clear to the would-be belligerent parties that shooting was no longer an acceptable action.

PE may include combat action. In such cases, missions must be clear and end states defined. With the transition to combat action comes the requirement for the successful application of warfighting skills. Thus, in a theater of operations both combat and noncombat actions may occur simultaneously. Forces conducting PE may, for example, be involved in the forcible separation of belligerent parties or be engaged in combat with one or all parties to the conflict. US participation in operations in Somalia in 1992 and 1993 is an example of PE. The following elements apply to all PE operations.

(See Figure PE may include combat action ), in such cases, missions must be clear and end states defined. Transition to combat requires the sucessful application of warfighting skills.

  • Phases. PE operations are normally conducted in several phases. The first phase may involve the insertion of rapidly deployable combat forces in order to establish a significant and visible military presence. Subsequent phases will involve the transition from a military presence to support for the development of competent civil authority.

Historical Perspective

The US Army, responding to a presidential directive, participated in Operation Restore Hope in Somalia from 3 December 1992 to 4 May 1993. A joint and multinational operation, Restore Hope--called UNITAF (unified task force)--was a US-led, UN-sanctioned operation that included protection of humanitarian assistance and other peace-enforcement operations. The Army force (ARFOR) AO included over 21,000 square miles. Over these distances, units conducted air assault operations, patrols, security operations, cordons and searches, and other combat operations in support of humanitarian agencies.

Other ARFOR operations included building or rebuilding over 1,100 kilometers of roads, constructing two Bailey Bridges, escorting hundreds of convoys, confiscating thousands of weapons, and providing theater communications. Due to these efforts, humanitarian agencies declared an end to the food emergency, community elders became empowered, and marketplaces were revitalized and functioning. On 4 May 1993 the UN-led operation in Somalia (UNOSOM II) assumed responsibility for operations.

  • Forces. The forces employed for such operations will be armed and equipped based on commanders' estimates and METT-T. Infantry units, supported by engineer, military police, and aviation assets, are most often employed in this role. They are normally reinforced by civil affairs (CA) and psychological operations (PSYOP) assets.

  • Missions. The missions assigned to PE forces include the restoration and maintenance of order and stability, protection of humanitarian assistance, guarantee and denial of movement, enforcement of sanctions, establishment and supervision of protected zones, forcible separation of belligerent parties, and other operations as determined by the authorizing body.

Restoration and Maintenance of Order and Stability

Military forces may be employed to restore order and stability within a state or region where competent civil authority has ceased to function. They may be called upon to assist in the maintenance of order and stability in areas where it is threatened, where the loss of order and stability threatens international stability, or where human rights are endangered.

Very often, operations to restore and maintain order and stability may be conducted in conjunction with actions designed to provide and protect the provision of humanitarian assistance.

Historical Perspective

An early example of operations in a situation of civil hostilities is found in ONUC (United Nations Operation in the Congo). When created in 1960, one of the guidelines governing ONUC was that the force was to be used only for self-defense. By February 1991, the chaotic conditions caused the security council to expand the guidelines to include directing the use of force to prevent civil war.

Protection of Humanitarian Assistance

Military forces have participated in numerous HA operations worldwide in recent years. Many HA missions may take place in benign environments. However, in other cases hostile forces may interfere with HA missions. Peace operations forces may be called upon to protect those providing such assistance or the relief supplies themselves. HA forces must be equipped with weapons systems appropriate to the mission. Such situations may require the establishment of base areas, which usually include air or sea terminals, protected routes or corridors for the transport of relief supplies, and secure sites for the final delivery of supplies to the intended recipient. If delivery of aid and relief supplies is opposed, combat and CS forces may be necessary to conduct such operations.

Guarantee and Denial of Movement

These operations guarantee or deny movement by air, land, or sea in particular areas and/or routes. They may involve the coordinated presence of warships and combat aircraft in the disputed region. Operations to guarantee rights of passage--called freedom of navigation--may be conducted to ensure the freedom of ships to pass through a threatened sea lane, for aircraft to reach a besieged city or community, or to maintain safe passage on overland routes. Land forces may employ a combination of infantry, armor, engineer, military police, and aviation assets to accomplish this mission.

Operations to deny movement of belligerent parties may involve the denial of air movement (air exclusion zone/no-fly zone) or overland movement to a specified area. The objective is to prevent the harassment of an unprotected population by the use of combat aircraft or to prevent the delivery of military supplies to a belligerent. Ground forces may conduct these operations by sealing a border to prevent passage.

Land forces may employ a wide range of forces to fulfill these missions, including air defense forces to deny flight. Safe operation of air defense forces will require the coordinated offensive use of electronic emissions, as well as access to strategic and tactical intelligence assessments. The joint headquarters will determine day-to-day deployment of these assets.

Historical Perspective

An example of guarantee of movement and the application of PE techniques using the principle of restraint in operations other than war (OOTW) occurred in Panama in 1989. In the wake of continuing confrontation with the Panama Defense Forces (PDF) and with the deployment of additional forces to Panama from Operation Nimrod Dancer, US forces conducted exercises called Purple Storm and later Sand Fleas. Their purpose was to enforce to the maximum the Panama Canal Treaty guaranteed rights of movement within Panama.

During these exercises, when US forces encountered interference with treaty rights to movement, the commander on the scene (a squad or platoon leader, for example) consulted a card. It authorized such actions as inserting a magazine into a weapon, fixing bayonets, cocking the weapon, issuing a warning, or opening fire. A senior military commander approved each step. At the same time, high performance aircraft flew low-level flights and armed helicopters hovered at the scene. Another technique used artillery to fire illumination or smoke rounds, demonstrating the capability to fire more lethal ammunition. In every case the PDF withdrew or ceased their offensive behavior.

Enforcement of Sanctions

Sanctions concern the denial of supplies, diplomatic and trading privileges, and freedom of movement to a sanctioned state. They are usually applied only when diplomacy and less confrontational methods of conflict resolution have failed. Used alone, sanctions do not generally cause a government party to change its behavior. However, they can reduce a state's combat capability. To achieve a significant level of effectiveness, sanctions must be--

  • Imposed with the consent of a widely based group of nations, including the unanimous support of the regional and neighboring states of the belligerent parties.
  • Planned on a systematic basis, with the assistance of industrial/logistics intelligence, to withhold only the facilities (communications, commercial) or supplies that are critical to the aggressive activities of the target nation. Sanctions should not be used to victimize innocent people.
  • Enforced on a regionwide cooperative basis to deny prohibited supplies and facilities to the target nation.

A military force involved in enforcing sanctions may include--

  • Joint air, land, and sea warfighting capabilities.
  • The presence of heavy weapons as a deterrent capability.
  • A heavy reliance on air and sea interdiction.
  • Execution of coordinated and uniform responses to all challenges to mandated sanctions.
  • Use of electronic emissions to ensure the safety of the task force.
  • A capability to sustain operations over extended periods of time.

Land forces may be required to enforce sanctions by denying overland movement of supplies to the sanctioned party. Additionally, individual soldiers may perform duties as inspectors at key transit points, ensuring that no proscribed items enter the territory of the sanctioned party. The use of force is implicit in this mission.

Establishment and Supervision of Protected Zones

Establishment of protected zones is part of the conflict-resolution effort.

Figure 1-2 Example of a Protected Zone

As part of a conflict resolution effort, protected zones may be established. These zones are geographic entities that may contain substantial numbers of forces of one or more of the belligerent parties cut off from the main body of troops. Alternatively, these zones may contain large numbers of minorities or refugees that are subject to persecution by one of the belligerent parties (see Figure 1-2).

Land forces may be charged with establishment and supervision, to include defense, of such zones. Such supervision may involve the provision of significant amounts of humanitarian assistance. The existence of these zones may be challenged by the belligerent party on whose territory they are established, as they represent a challenge to the sovereignty or control of that state or territory. Land forces must be prepared for operations by belligerent parties that threaten all or parts of the zone.

Historical Perspective

UN action in northern Iraq following the Gulf War (1991) established protected zones for Iraq's Kurds. The zones were incidental to the provision of humanitarian assistance for the Kurds prior to turning the effort over to civil agencies (Operation Provide Comfort).

Figure 1-3 Separation of Belligerent Parties As a result, land forces suited for this mission are predominately combat and CS units. They may require a full range of organic and supporting weapons, as well as access to close air support. Since protected zones may not be contiguous to friendly territory, logistics support may be a significant challenge.

CA and PSYOP information operations may be key to the effort in establishing and sustaining the protected zones. CA units may be required to organize local governmental organizations on a temporary basis, pending resolution of the conflict.

Forcible Separation of Belligerents

It may become necessary to intervene in a conflict in order to establish the conditions necessary for peace against the will of one or more of the belligerent parties. Forcible separation of belligerent parties is the ultimate means to counter a serious threat to peace and security and should be used only when all other means of conflict resolution have been exhausted. This activity will require the use of sufficient force, but only the minimum offensive action consistent with achieving the enforcement objective may be used. PE forces involved are likely to be multinational and joint in composition and will require an offensive capability and necessary logistics support (see Figure 1-3).

Under these circumstances, PE forces may be employed to forcibly separate the belligerent parties. This may involve reducing or eliminating the combat capability of one or more of the parties. Commanders must consider that one or more of the belligerent forces may see this as cause for aggression against the PE force.

The degree of resistance to PE operations may be proportional to the credibility of the separating force. The threat of force may serve as a powerful inducement to the engaged belligerent parties to separate. PE operations will normally require the establishment of a disengagement line or demilitarized zone. Establishment of this line or zone will require the separating force to interpose itself between belligerent parties.

The commander, in deciding on the specific course of action to forcibly separate belligerent parties, should consider--

  • If sufficient forces are available.
  • The antagonism between the belligerent parties.
  • The lethality of the weapon systems used by the belligerent parties.
  • The degree of intermingling of the civilian population with the belligerent parties.
  • The content of the mandate.

When planning operations to separate belligerent parties, the commander should consider the entire range of combat operations if--

  • A high degree of animosity exists between the belligerent parties and/or the PE force.
  • Modern, highly lethal weapons are available.
  • Low intermingling of the civilian population exists.
  • The mandate has maximum flexibility.

The commander must consider that the end state is not to destroy the belligerent parties but to force their disengagement. As the commander develops the situation, he should array his forces and adjust his tempo so that the belligerent parties have an option to disengage and withdraw out of an established or emerging buffer or demilitarized zone. If they are not predisposed to withdrawal, then the only alternative is to pursue the operation vigorously to its conclusion.


US policy distinguishes between PK and PE. Both are classified as peace operations. However, they are not part of a continuum allowing a unit to move freely from one to the other. A broad demarcation separates these operations. They take place under vastly different circumstances involving the variables of consent, force, and impartiality. A force tailored for PK may lack sufficient combat power for PE. Since PK and PE are different, any change must require review of the factors of mission, enemy, troops, terrain, and time available (METT-T) and force tailoring. On the other hand, a force tailored for PE can accomplish PK missions, provided belligerent parties accept their presence. Generally, a contingent that has been conducting operations under a PE mandate should not be used in a PK role in that same mission area because the impartiality and consent divides have been crossed during the enforcement operation. Commanders must understand these key differences. The crucial discriminators between PK and PE consist of the operational variables:


In PK, belligerent parties consent to the presence and operations of PK forces, while in PE consent is not absolute and force may be used to compel or coerce. In PK, consent is clear.


In PK, force may only be used in self-defense or defense with a mandate. In PE, force is used to compel or coerce.


In PK, impartiality is more easily maintained, while the nature of PE strains the perception of impartiality on the part of the PE force (see the following paragraph on THE VARIABLES).


Peace operations are conducted in a dynamic environment shaped by a number of factors and variables that strongly influence the manner in which operations can be conducted. Successful commanders grasp the importance of these variables.

The critical variables of peace operations are the level of consent, the level of force, and the degree of impartiality. The degree to which these three variables are present plays a major role in determining the nature of the peace operation and force-tailoring mix. They are not constant and may individually or collectively shift during the course of an operation.

Commanders who are aware of these variables and the direction in which they tend to move may be more successful in influencing them and thereby controlling the operational setting. In order to exercise control, they must be able to influence the variables and the pace and direction of change. Success in peace operations often hinges on the ability to exercise situational dominance with respect to the variables; failure is often the result of losing control of one or more of them. Commanders must avoid inadvertently slipping from one type of peace operation to another. Figure 1-2 shows expected levels of consent, force, and impartiality during the different types of operations. Assessments of the level of consent are political-military in nature and possibly policy driven. Such assessments are factors in determining force tailoring for operations.


In war, consent is not an issue of concern for the military commander. In peace operations, however, the level of consent determines fundamentals of the operation. One side may consent in whole or in part, multiple parties may consent, there may be no consent, or the consent may vary dramatically over time.

In a traditional PK operation, loss of consent may lead to an uncontrolled escalation of violence and profoundly change the nature of the operation. Any decline of consent is therefore of significant concern to the peace operation commander and may unfavorably influence the subsequent development of the campaign. The crossing of the consent divide from PK to PE is a policy level decision that fundamentally changes the nature of the operation. Commanders should avoid hasty or ill-conceived actions that unintentionally cause a degradation of the level and extent of consent.


Peace operations cover a broad range of military operations. While traditional PK is generally nonviolent, PE may include very violent combat actions. The need to employ force may begin a cycle of increasing violence; therefore, commanders must be judicious in employing forceful measures and must understand the relationship between force and the desired end state. Of the three variables, the level of force is usually the only one over which the commander can exert dominant influence. Operational level commanders or higher authorities will usually decide about the use of force in this context (other than self-defense).


A peace operation is likewise influenced by the degree to which the force acts in an impartial manner and the degree to which the belligerent parties perceive the force to be impartial. PK requires an impartial, even-handed approach. PE also involves impartiality, which may change over time and with the nature of operations. An even-handed and humanitarian approach to all sides of the conflict can improve the prospects for lasting peace and security, even when combat operations are underway. Compromised impartiality may trigger an uncontrollable escalation from a PK to a PE situation by crossing the consent divide.

In circumstances where the required degree of impartiality is unclear, the commander must press the authorizing body for clarity since misunderstanding can be disastrous. A basic understanding of PK missions is essential to differentiate PK from PE missions. PK enjoys high levels of consent and impartiality and low levels of force (generally only in self-defense), while PE is marked by the reverse. Regardless of the type of operations, commanders should always strive to increase levels of consent and impartiality and reduce the levels of force.

Figure 1-4. Operational Variables


Other factors may include--

  • The geopolitical situation.
  • Prevailing social conditions and cultures.
  • The scale of conflict or effectiveness of a cease-fire.
  • The number, discipline, and accountability of contending parties.
  • The efficacy of local government.
  • The degree to which law and order exists.
  • The prevailing attitude and willingness of the population at large to cooperate.

In peace operations, national and international news media coverage plays a major role in quickly framing public debate and shaping public opinion. The news media serves as a forum for the analysis and critique of goals, objectives, and actions. It can impact political, strategic, and operational planning; decisions; and mission success and failure. Therefore, commanders should involve themselves in information operations.

Humanitarian assistance is not included in the definition of peace operations; however HA programs will probably be conducted simultaneously in almost every peace operation. Normally limited in their scope and duration, HA projects have a significant impact on resources required and other aspects of peace operations. HA programs will often take place following PE. HA includes programs conducted to relieve or reduce the results of complex emergencies involving natural or man-made disasters or other endemic conditions such as human pain, disease, hunger, or privation that might present a serious threat to life or that may result in great damage or loss of property. HA supplements or complement the efforts of a host nation, civil authorities, or agencies that may have primary responsibility for HA.

HA are normally be conducted by a joint task force and in concert with nongovernment organizations (NGOs) and private voluntary organizations (PVOs). Depending on the situation, it may be necessary to stage HA operations from a third country or from the sea. Normally, it is necessary to establish a base of operations in the AO that includes both CS and CSS units and Army Materiel Command (AMC) logistics support element (LSE) units. Special operations units such as Special Forces operational detachments-A (SFODAs) and civil affairs direct support teams (CADSTs) may also play a key role, particularly in the provision of medical and sanitation assistance. They may also assist in communicating with local populations and assisting logistics elements in securing support. HA tasks include--

  • Distribution of relief supplies.
  • Transportation of relief supplies and civilians.
  • Provision of health services.
  • Provision of essential services.
  • Resettlement of dislocated civilians.
  • Disposition of human remains.
  • Establishment of essential facilities.

Units conducting HA actions deploy with weapons. In a permissive environment, soldiers carry an assigned weapon for self-defense. Deployed civilians may carry a weapon, if authorized and trained.

Private organizations that provide HA should be included in a commander's assessment of a peace operation. They generally fall into one of three categories: NGOs, PVOs, and UN organizations. Appendix B lists examples of such organizations. NGOs and PVOs may be professional associations, foundations, multinational businesses, or simply groups with a common interest in HA activities (development and relief).

NGOs, PVOs, and UN organizations play an important role in providing HA and support to host nations. They can relieve a commander of the need to resource some civil-military operations. Because of the extent of their involvement or experience in various nations and because of their local contacts, these organizations may be a valuable source of information on local and regional governments, civilian attitudes toward the peace operation, and local support or labor. However, some organizations may prefer to avoid a close affiliation with military forces for fear of compromising their position with the local populace.

On occasion, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and other relief organizations provide funding for civil engineering infrastructure projects. NGOs and PVOs have the ability to respond quickly and effectively to disaster relief, food distribution needs, and programs aimed at addressing the root causes of poverty and vulnerability to disaster. While continuing to be responsive to immediate human needs, particularly in emergency situations, NGOS and PVOs increasingly contribute to long-term development activities crucial to improving conditions in the developing world.

In addition to HA, the US has supported numerous UN and non-UN-sponsored peace efforts with financial and logistical support. Financial support is often the principal form of US support to international peace operations, especially UN-sponsored peace operations. Although participating countries may fund the operation in certain cases, the UN, through the contributions of its members, funds the costs in others.

The US may also provide logistics support in the form of equipment and supplies, as well as by providing airlift and sealift for US and other peace operations contingents. The United States is one of the few nations capable of providing the intertheater airlift and sealift necessary to deploy and redeploy peace operations forces around the world. Additionally, The United Nations Participation Act of 1945 (2) authorizes the President to provide reimbursable logistics support to UN forces.


The principles of OOTW, as outlined in FM 100-5, apply to the conduct of peace operations. Although peace operations are clearly OOTW, many tasks at the tactical and operational levels may require the focused and sustained application of force. This is particularly true of PE actions. Thus, while the principles of OOTW provide guidance for the conduct of the great majority of peace operations, the principles of war and doctrine for conduct of war in FM 100-5 must be included in the planning process for all peace operations. The principles of peace operations follow.


Direct every military operation toward a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective.

A clearly defined and attainable objective-- with a precise understanding of what constitutes success--is critical when the US is involved in peace operations. Military commanders should understand specific conditions that could result in mission failure as well as those that mark success. Commanders must understand the strategic aims, set appropriate objectives, and ensure these aims and objectives contribute to unity of effort with other agencies.

The Mandate and Terms of Reference

In peace operations, a mandate normally sets forth an objective and is a resolution approved by a competent authorizing entity such as the UN Security Council or the US Government in the case of unilateral actions. In any case, the resolution and follow-on terms of reference (TOR) delineate the role and tasks for the force as well as the resources to be used. See Annexes A and B to Appendix A.

The mandate should express the political objective and international support for the operation and define the desired end state. Military commanders with unclear mandates should take the initiative to redefine, refine, or restate the mandate for consideration by higher authority. The following considerations are of concern to commanders in regard to the mandate and the follow-on TOR for the operation:

  • Rules of engagement (ROE).
  • Force protection.
  • Limitations of a geographical nature.
  • Limitations on the duration of the operation.
  • Relationships with belligerent parties.
  • Relationships with others such as NGOs or PVOs.
  • Financing and personnel resources.

The End State

The end state describes the required conditions that, when achieved, attain the strategic and political objectives or pass the main effort to other national or international agencies to achieve the final strategic end state. The end state describes what the authorizing entity desires the situation to be when operations conclude.

Since peace operations are intended to create or support conditions conducive to a negotiated conflict resolution, they always complement diplomatic, economic, informational, or humanitarian efforts. The peace operation should not be viewed as an end in itself, but as part of a larger process that must take place concurrently.


Seek unity of effort in every operation.

This principle is derived from the principle of war, unity of command. US forces will retain unity of command within their contingents. Unity of effort emphasizes the need for directing all means to a common purpose. However, in peace operations, achieving unity of effort is complicated by the numbers of nonmilitary organizational participants (including NGOs and PVOs), the lack of definitive command arrangements among them, and varying views of the objective. These factors require that commanders, or other designated directors of the operation, rely heavily on consensus-building to achieve unity of effort.

Commanders may answer to a civilian chief or may themselves employ the resources of a civilian agency. Fundamental to the successful execution of the peace operation is the timely and effective coordination of the efforts of all agencies involved. Commanders must seek an atmosphere of cooperation to achieve unity of effort.

Whenever possible, commanders should seek to establish a control structure, such as a civil-military operations center, that takes account of and provides coherence to the activities of all elements in the area. As well as military operations, this structure should include the political, civil, administrative, legal, and humanitarian activities involved in the peace operation. Without such a structure, military commanders need to consider how their actions contribute to initiatives that are also diplomatic, economic, and informational. This requirement necessitates extensive liaison with all involved parties, as well as reliable communications. Because peace operations often involve small-unit activities, to avoid friction, all levels must understand the military-civilian relationship.

A single, identifiable authority competent to legitimize and support a peace operation, both politically and materially, is essential. The appointment of an individual or agency to execute the policies of the parties to an agreement results in more effective control of an operation. Such control is exercised at the interface point between the operational structure and the body that authorizes the operation and appoints the authority. This characteristic is related to and serves to reinforce the principle of unity of effort.

In many cases the legitimizing authority for PK is the UN, although other international organizations may assume this role. In such instances, the UN or other body is the competent authority and ensures single-manager control. This authority may be delegated or subcontracted to a subordinate body. In some non-UN operations, a state or coalition of states may be the competent authority.


Never permit hostile factions to acquire an unexpected advantage.

In peace operations, security deals with force protection as a dynamic of combat power against virtually any person, element, or hostile group. These could include terrorists, a group opposed to the operation, criminals, and even looters.

Commanders should be constantly ready to prevent, preempt, or counter activity that could bring significant harm to units or jeopardize mission accomplishment. In peace operations, commanders should not be lulled into believing that the nonhostile intent of their mission protects their force. The inherent right of self-defense, from unit to individual level, applies in all peace operations at all times.

Security, however, requires more than physical protective measures. A force's security is significantly enhanced by its perceived legitimacy and impartiality, the mutual respect built between the force and the other parties involved in the peace operation, and the force's credibility in the international arena. Effective public affairs, PSYOP, and CA programs enhance security. In PE, security involves demonstrations of inherent military capability and preparedness. Sustainment training, as well as the overt presence of uncommitted mobile combat power available as a reserve, may also enhance security.

In a peace operation security and force protection may extend beyond the commander's forces to civil agencies and NGOs. Additionally, the transparency required for peace operations may preclude the use of some force-protection techniques such as camouflage.


Apply appropriate military capability prudently.

Restraints on weaponry, tactics, and levels of violence characterize the environment of peace operations. The use of excessive force may adversely affect efforts to gain or maintain legitimacy and impede the attainment of both short-and long-term goals. These restraints should be clearly spelled out in the ROE provided for the operation by higher authority.

In PK, force is used only in self-defense or defense of the mandate from interference. In PE, force may be used to coerce. It may have far-reaching international political consequences. The use of force may attract a response in kind. Its use may also escalate tension and violence in the local area and embroil peace operations troops in a harmful, long-term conflict contrary to their aims. For that reason, the use of force should be a last resort and, whenever possible, should be used when other means of persuasion are exhausted.

Commanders should always seek to de-escalate and not inflame an incident or crisis whenever possible. Alternatives to force should be fully explored before armed action is taken. They include mediation and negotiation, which may be used to reconcile opponents, both to one another and the peace operation force.

In many societies, self-esteem and group honor are of great importance and simple face-saving measures to preserve a party's dignity may serve to relax tension and defuse a crisis. Other alternatives to the use of force include deterrence; control measures, such as preplanned or improvised roadblocks, cordons, and checkpoints; warnings; and demonstrations or shows of force. As a rule--to limit escalation--conciliatory, deterrent, controlling, and warning actions should be carried out on the spot and at the lowest possible level.

In PE, force must be employed with restraint appropriate to the situation. In PE operations, the use of force is the primary characteristic that determines the nature of the operation, and authority for its use should be clear and unambiguous in the mandate. In all cases, force will be prudently applied proportional to the threat. In peace operations, every soldier must be aware that the goal is to produce conditions that are conducive to peace and not to the destruction of an enemy. The enemy is the conflict, although at times such operations assume the character of more traditional combat operations. The unrestrained use of force will prejudice subsequent efforts at achieving settlement.

This principle does not preclude the application of sufficient or overwhelming force when required to establish situational dominance, to display US resolve and commitment, to protect US or indigenous lives and property, or to accomplish other critical objectives. The principle of restraint will permeate considerations concerning ROE, the choice of weapons and equipment, and control measures such as weapons control status. When force is used, it should be precise and overwhelming to minimize friendly and noncombatant casualties and collateral damage. Precision and high-technology weaponry may help reduce casualties.


Prepare for the measured, sustained application of military capability in support of strategic aims.

While some peace operations may be of short duration, most require long-term commitments that involve more than military efforts alone. Underlying causes of confrontation and conflict rarely have a clear beginning or a decisive resolution. Commanders need to assess actions against their contribution to long-term, strategic objectives.

Perseverance requires an information strategy that clearly explains the goals, objectives, and desired end states and links them with US interests and concerns. The long-term nature of many peace operations must be continually emphasized, without giving the impression of permanency.


Sustain the willing acceptance by the people of the right of the government to govern or a group or agency to make and carry out decisions.

Legitimacy is a condition growing from the perception of a specific audience of the legality, morality, and correctness of a set of actions. It is initially derived from the mandate authorizing and directing the conduct of operations. However, the perception of legitimacy can only be sustained with the US public, US forces, indigenous parties, and the international community if operations are conducted with scrupulous regard for international norms on the use of military forces and regard for humanitarian principles. Commanders must be aware of the authority under which they operate and the relationship between it and the other sources of legitimacy that are present. During operations where a clearly legitimate government does not exist, using extreme caution in dealing with individuals and organizations will avoid inadvertently legitimizing them. The conduct of information operations, to include public affairs, CA, and PSYOP programs, can enhance both domestic and international perceptions of the legitimacy of an operation.

In PK operations, the impartiality of peace-keepers and the sponsoring state, states, or international organization is critical to success and the legitimacy of the operation. It must be demonstrated at all times, in all dealings, and under all circumstances, whether operational, social, or administrative. All activities must be conducted without favor to either side or point of view. Because of the nature of PE operations, impartiality and legitimacy may be harder to obtain and sustain. Legitimacy also reinforces the morale and esprit of the peace operations force.

Historical Perspective

Of 22 UN PK operations conducted between 1947 and 1991, about one-fourth derived from the UN Security Council. An example is UNTSO, which was established in 1948 as a result of the conflict in the Middle East. Another one-fourth were requested by belligerent parties in a local conflict, for example, the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan established in 1948 at the request of India because of the Kashmir dispute. The remaining operations resulted from brokered requests by third parties who asked for UN help, for example, when the US mediated the UN Disengagement Observer Force, which was established in 1974 as a result of the October War.

Legitimacy is in some cases also a function of balance. Balance refers to the geographic, political, and functional makeup or composition of the peace operations force. Balance is a function of consent and operational need. In PK operations, the belligerent parties may insist that the force contain elements from countries that are mutually acceptable and geopolitically balanced in terms of regional or political affiliation. In PE operations, balance may be a less critical consideration.


The tenets of Army operations, as described in FM 100-5, apply to peace operations as well. These basic truths held by the Army describe the successful characteristics of peace operations and are fundamental to success.


Versatility is an essential quality of peace operations. Commanders must be able to shift focus, tailor forces, and move rapidly and effectively from one role or mission to another. However, versatility does not imply an inadvertent shifting of missions between PK and PE. Versatility implies the capacity to be multifunctional. Versatility requires competence in a variety of functions and skills. It ensures that units are capable of conducting the full range of peace operations with the same degree of success.


In peace operations, initiative implies that the peace operations force controls events rather than letting the environment control events. Commanders must ensure that the belligerent parties do not exercise control over the flow of events to the detriment of one or the other. Within the limits of the mandate, commanders must further the process of conciliation. Commanders must anticipate belligerent actions and use the means available to forestall, preempt, or negate acts that do not further the process. In PE, commanders may gain initiative by possessing a combined arms force that demonstrates its full range of capabilities without directly challenging any one party to the conflict.


In peace operations, agility is the ability to react faster than other parties and is essential for holding the initiative. As commanders perceive changes to their environment, they devise imaginative methods of applying their resources to those changes and act quickly to gain control of the events. For example, in PK, Army forces might attempt to defuse conditions that could otherwise lead to a resumption of fighting by recognizing the inherent dangers and by resolving grievances before they ignite into open combat. A situational awareness that perceives and anticipates changes in the environment, combined with the ability to act quickly within the intent of higher commanders, leads to an agility in peace operations that is vital to successful outcomes. Rehearsals will enhance agility.


Depth extends peace operations activities in time, space, resources, and purpose to affect the environment and the conditions to be resolved. In their campaign planning, commanders envision simultaneous activities and sequential stages that lead to solutions. PK may begin with an initial objective of observing a cease-fire, move to postconflict activities such as peace building, and involve many resources--not only military but also diplomatic, humanitarian, and informational.


Synchronization implies the maximum use of every resource to make the greatest contribution to success. In peace operations, the many players involved and increased emphasis on use of CA and PSYOP assets will be important considerations. To achieve this requires the anticipation that comes from thinking in depth, mastery of time-space-purpose relationships, and a complete understanding of the ways in which the belligerent parties in a peace operation interact. Commanders must understand how all parties will view their actions. Synchronization is essential to sustaining legitimacy by maintaining the perception of impartiality.

1. Chapter VI, "Pacific Settlement of Disputes" and Chapter VII, "Action With Respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression," Charter of the United Nations, 26 June 1945.

2. Public Law 79-264 as amended.

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