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POLICY (cont)

Developing a Theme for a Popular Support Campaign

The commander responsible for a JMC needs to take actions that will enhance the consent-authority-compliance linkage.


* Develop this linkage as a theme for a popular support campaign designed to shape attitudes of the local population. Civil Affairs and Military-Civil Relations (MCR) units should be employed to work these issues for the commander.

* Sub-themes could include the legitimacy of the foundational agreement that created the JMC, the legitimacy and credibility of the contingency force in place to oversee the implementation of the agreement, and the authority of local JMC members.

Crisis Response

In Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR, the JMC was the focal point to prevent crises from arising, and to resolve crises that did occur. The JMC passed the IFOR commander's directives and real-time concerns, his desires for face-to-face meetings, and coordinated information exchanges about developing situations.


* If local phone connections existed, the JMC called factional commanders direct, and sent facsimile messages, or passed messages to factional liaison officers.

* An alternative measure was to deploy a Joint Commission Observer (JCO) or other liaison team with TACSAT capability to factional leaders' headquarters for direct communications.

* If time permited, correspondence was hand-delivered. Bilateral and multilateral JMC meetings were used, under less-urgent circumstances, to share information and pass requests or directives.


* The commander and JMC should reach as clear an understanding of the problem as possible, and set preference-ordered courses of action to arrive at desired outcomes, before communicating with the factions.

* Premature attempts to discover "what the factions know" will be recognized as such and can be embarrassing in the case of false allegations or mistakes of fact.

Force Versus Diplomacy

The commander needs the capability to enforce a treaty-based JMC decision when necessary. ROE for peace operations will probably have some provisions for mission defense.


If the commander uses force under the mission-defense ROE to mount a military response to local incidents that violate agreed terms (cease-fire violations or prohibited troop movements), the commander runs the risk of losing local consent for his operations. On the other hand, the credibility and authority of the peace operations force as a guarantor of a peace agreement may require concrete demonstrations or shows of force.

There are ways to compensate for the possible prejudicial effect of using force within the ROE for mission defense.


* The commander can work through the JMC process to isolate local parties which do not meet peace agreement terms or JMC implementation decisions. Consider getting local military or political superiors (who may be JMC members themselves) to exercise their own influence or sanctions against disobedient subordinate elements.

* If this first approach fails due to weak or centralized factional command and control, the commander can elevate the issue to a higher JMC and employ MCR and Information Operations to enlighten the factions on IFOR's resolve and authority to compel compliance. The local military must regard the JMC as legitimate and authoritative. The more legitimate the perception of the intent to compel, the lower the risk that the IFOR might lose the consent of the local military for its actions. It also reduces the perception that the Implementation Force is biased or partial in its enforcement of treaty requirements.

The measures described above can have some undesirable effects that should be considered.

LESSON: Some cultures may view efforts to work through the JMC process as a sign of weakness by the IFOR. These disadvantages may be mitigated by working to enhance the legitimacy of the JMC in the eyes of the local population.

TECHNIQUE: One technique used to attract support was the use of culturally appropriate symbols and messages as part of a popular support campaign. The popular support campaign can be an effective tool for isolating noncomplying forces and preparing the psychological ground for IFOR action in response to noncompliance.

Proportional Use of Force Versus Retaliation

When the IFOR took military action, it had to be perceived as just and fair by the local population. It was imperative that it not be perceived as retaliation or the excessive use of force to achieve its aims.

LESSON: There is a fine line between retaliation and retribution, and the legitimate and appropriate use of force for implementing the peace agreement or for self-defense, including mission defense. The decision to escalate the level of force used always lies with the political authority that issued the mandate to conduct the peace operation.


Commanders and planners, together with the mandating authority, should anticipate the possible breakdown of the political-military process and develop a response strategy. The response strategy may entail developing an appeal or referral process to settle matters that cannot be resolved through local JMCs. The Theater Commander should be empowered by the treaty to be the "Court of Last Resort." In some circumstances, it is appropriate to include higher level military commanders, up to the theater commander, as a court of last resort.


* Including the higher commander as a court of last resort is appropriate if his participation would enhance the authority and legitimacy of the decisionmaking process and increase the likelihood of local compliance.

* If the higher level commander's participation would be counterproductive, the issue should be referred to an external body (civilian political or governmental body) having the authority of the mandating organization.

* When referring matters to the higher commander, ensure his involvement does not make him susceptible to a credible charge of bias that would undermine the impartiality of his force. The commander must guard against giving rebellious local leaders an incentive to obstruct the local JMC process in the hope of more favorable treatment at the higher level.

* The referral mechanism should be reserved for grave threats to the security of the mission. It should not be used for routine incidents of noncompliance. Routine incidents must be resolved at the local commander level. This allows the local commander to maintain his authority and means to resolve conflict. It also prevents the hijacking of the referral mechanism by local leaders bent on derailing the peace process.


Armed conflict, as took place in the former Yugoslavia, leaves a legacy of social disorder. Peace enforcement forces may find that:

  • Due to the destruction, dislocation, or loss of credibility of the civil-political leadership and structure during the conflict, the peace enforcement force is viewed as the population's best hope in restoring its way of life.

  • The implementation of post-conflict political agreements proceeds more slowly than the implementation of military agreements.

  • The local population becomes accustomed to looking to military leaders for political decisions in areas such as the resolution of disputes, the allocation of resources, and distribution of benefits and sanctions.

  • The implementation military force wields the biggest stick in a political environment where the instruments of power are blunt and violent.

As part of the planning process, the IFOR staff must anticipate the requirement to deal with nonmilitary issues and develop a strategy for responding to such issues. Concerns over legal use of military resources for civil projects and "mission creep" should always be considered.


* The JMC should not be used for purely civil matters; any decision concerning the use of the JMC forum for nonmilitary issues must be carefully coordinated with political authorities at the highest level.

* Where civil-political institutions are absent or weak, nonmilitary issues raised through JMC channels should be referred to G5/CIMIC or JCC for action.

Section II: Policy, Part 1
Section III: IFOR/JMC Structures

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