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TOPIC: Peacekeeping Guidelines for Commanders

DISCUSSION: The difficulties of joining a multinational force in unfamiliar territory with restrictions on ones freedom of action, may be overcome if commanders study the history and lessons of previous peacekeeping operations. This allows the commanders to anticipate the kinds of problems they may have to face in a peacekeeping operation. The UN issues the "force mandates" that provide the principles that govern the conduct of operations.

LESSON(S): The principles may be supplemented by a number of guidelines that will apply to the conduct of a peacekeeping force in all situations:

  • All ranks must understand what the peacekeeping force is trying to do.

  • All ranks must be fully briefed on the political and military situation, the customs and religions of the people and kept up to date as the situation changes.

  • They must make every effort to get to know the people, to understand their problems with the aim of achieving a reputation for sympathy and impartiality.

  • Peacekeeping soldiers must maintain a high profile; consequently, their lives are continually at risk. Commanders must balance the need to maintain a confident presence with provisions for the safety of their troops.

  • No detachment, likely to face a difficult situation, should be without a knowledgeable individual in charge because of the crucial decisions which may affect the reputation of the force, the success of the mission, and the safety of the peacekeeping troops. These decisions have to be made without delay. However, emergencies may arise when no officer is available. Units should make sure that NCOs are well trained, briefed and prepared for the contingencies they are likely to face on peacekeeping operations.

  • The policy on rules of engagement and the action to be taken with regard to infringements and violations of agreements must be enforced uniformly by all units. In operations where units have used noticeably different standards in executing the rules, there has been trouble with the belligerents and constant friction between the national contingents.

  • Peacekeepers cannot be too concerned about the risk of appearing to "lose face." On many occasions, explosive situations have been defused because of the peacekeepers willingness to be accommodating, allowing a party to preserve its dignity. This is especially important when dealing with societies in which self-esteem and group honor are of great importance. It is sometimes difficult to explain the need for tact, without compromising principle, to soldiers who are trained to be forceful and aggressive. A unit naturally wishes to take credit for a successful performance, but undue concern for unit pride may prejudice the peacekeepers need to make concessions. Each situation calls for its own blend of calm, mature judgment, tact, a willingness to compromise, firmness and moral courage.

TOPIC: Operations as Part of a UN Force

DISCUSSION: The following lessons are planning considerations for conducting combined operations with other UN forces. They apply to both peacekeeping and peace enforcement operations.


  • Respect. Respect your combined partners, their ideas, culture, religion and customs. This respect (consideration and acceptance), shows each member of the peacekeeping force that you are an important part of the alliance or coalition.

  • Mission Assignment. Assign missions appropriate to each combined partners capabilities. Combined partners opinions should be sought during the planning process. It should be remembered that national honor and prestige may significantly impact mission assignment.

  • Management of Resources. Expect combined partners to seek assistance with logistical support. Agreements need to be in place for which commodities are exchangeable. Requested procedures should be agreed upon before operations begin.

  • Harmony. Establish rapport with senior combined commanders. This is a personal, direct relationship that only the commanders can develop. The keys are respect, trust, and ability to compromise. The result will be successful teamwork and unity of effort.

  • Liaison and Coordination Centers. Ensure cooperative action through liaisons and coordination centers. The ability to communicate in the combined partners native language is important because it enhances and facilitates these activities.

  • Rationalization, Standardization, and Interoperability (RSI). The objectives of RSI are to enable all combined partners to operate together in the most effective manner and to make the most efficient and economical use of resources. Standardization agreements are the result of RSI efforts in alliances. These agreements may be appropriate for rapid adoption by coalitions.

  • Unity of Effort. Ensure all combined members' efforts are focused on a common goal.

  • Combined Capabilities. Know and understand the capabilities of combined partners.

  • Peacekeeping requires detailed planning and precise execution with a multinational force. Establish policies and procedures early and stick to them. An ad-hoc approach to operations courts disaster.

TOPIC: Center of Gravity

DISCUSSION: Commanders must find the "Center of Gravity" for the operation. What is the single most important event or condition that will stabilize the situation and reverse the destruction and strife? During Operation RESTORE HOPE in Somalia, it was the opening of roads and the establishment of freedom of movement for the people. This allowed the relief agencies to distribute food to the starving people. The problem with operations other than war is that the commander may not be able to identify the "center of gravity" and its connection to the end state until the operation is well underway.

If the purpose of peace enforcement is to bring about a political solution to a problem, the legitimacy of the force is the center of gravity. By ensuring the support of world opinion, including the begrudging acceptance by the parties that the force has a right to be there and is acting properly, the diplomatic resolution of the conflict is facilitated.


  • Commanders and planning staffs must determine the center of graviy for all operations other than war.

  • The Center of Gravity for Peace Enforcement operations may be: controlling and maintaining MSRs, denying key terrain (mountains) from the belligerents, and keeping track of key belligerent forces.

  • If legitimacy is lost, the result may be war or failure of both the diplomatic and military mission.

TOPIC: Defining End State

DISCUSSION: The conditions required to achieve end state during operations other than war are difficult to define and require continued refinement during the operation.

FM 100-5, Operations, defines end state as: "A military end state includes the required conditions that, when achieved, attain the strategic objectives or pass the main effort to other instruments of national power to achieve the final strategic end state." The commanders intent defines military conditions that must be achieved to support the end state. In the last comment of the commander's intent, the commander defines victory or success for the operation. Some example END STATES are:

For a Infantry Battalion in Tactical Operations as Part of Peace Enforcement Operations, END STATE =

"When the belligerent forces change their policy and behavior to conform to the demands of the international political agency sponsoring the operation."


"The end state desired is to create an environment in which the UN and NGOs can assume full responsibility for the security and operations of the Somalia humanitarian relief efforts."

For a possible Peace Enforcement Operation, END STATE =

"Belligerent parties engaged in productive diplomatic negotiation. Lines of communications are secured, and all combatants are separated. A ceasefire implemented. A United Nations peacekeeping force in place. Sustained international humanitarian relief operation."

The importance of end state in defining the requisit conditions for mission success cannot be overstated. However, end state is not an "end state" in and of itself, but rather, a broad description of what the theater should look like following application of the various elements of military power.


  • Planning for operations other than war requires a thorough understanding of the end state and the military conditions required to achieve it.

  • The importance of end state in defining the requisite conditions for mission success cannot be overstated.

  • A continuing challenge for commanders is to focus their vision on and beyond the objective to clearly articulate the conditions of success. This is difficult enough in warfighting and is even tougher for operations other than war.

  • A large contribution to success during peace operations is for the force not to become a part of the problem.

  • In operations other than war, the end state is commonly expressed in political terms and is beyond the competence of military forces acting alone. Military forces in operations other than war facilitate the political process.


DISCUSSION: As a member of an organization which represents both the United States and the United Nations, your conduct, self-discipline and bearing will have a great influence on the success of the mission.



  • Be impartial in attitude.

  • Be tactful; use common sense and discretion.

  • Be inquisitive and observant.

  • Maintain a high standard of military bearing.

  • Make efforts to identify the local customs and obey all local laws.

  • Know the ROE.


  • Discuss operations, plans, intentions, or techniques in the presence of unauthorized personnel.

  • Discuss or comment on the opposing forces except in the performance of duty.

  • Discuss religion or politics.

  • Discuss the composition, role, and employment of friendly forces.

  • Have commercial dealings with local forces.

Chapter III: Peace Enforcement
Chapter V: Training

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