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Research Report

Rethinking Force Generation:: Filling the Capability Gaps in UN Peacekeeping

Copyright Date: May. 1, 2013
Pages: 24

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. None)
  2. (pp. i-i)
  3. (pp. ii-ii)
  4. (pp. 1-3)
  5. (pp. 3-6)

    United Nations peacekeeping operates the second-largest global deployment of troops and yet must do so with no standing or reserve army. This means the UN must constantly mobilize and rotate voluntary contributions of nearly 100,000 uniformed personnel and related equipment from more than 100 different member states. Forcegeneration efforts are therefore of critical importance yet remain relatively understudied.

    In its infancy, force generation for UN peace - keeping was wholly improvised—conducted largely via personal phone calls from a very small group of UN staff members. The process was chaotic, but the troops made it to the field quickly for...

  6. (pp. 6-14)

    Identifying and then assembling military capabilities for deployment in a peacekeeping operation are the core tasks of force generation.11 The Office of Military Affairs assembles the military component of a UN peacekeeping mission by soliciting contributions from member states (such as individual military observers, staff officers, and formed units, including enablers such as engineering and medical units and air assets). Some of these assets have traditionally been easier to generate on short notice (such as individual staff officers or military observers, as illustrated in the recent start-up for the short-lived UNSMIS in Syria). Others, such as enablers, alwlays remain in...

  7. (pp. 14-15)

    While the UN’s force-generation challenges are not all shared by other organizations, such as NATO or the EU, the force-generation tasks, at their core, are not dissimilar. With some exceptions, the practices and experiences of these other organizations can be a source of useful lessons learned and innovation for the UN.

    The main procedural difference between the EU and NATO on one the hand and the UN on the other is the use of force-generation conferences. Both the EU and NATO gather all members (and interested partners) together for mission-specific force-generation conferences during mission startup and when there are significant...

  8. (pp. 15-19)

    Based on the key findings above, our recommendations are divided into technical and strategic proposals. The former focus on how the forcegeneration process could be refined through increased transparency and institutionalized decision-making processes; the latter urge the UN Secretariat to develop a forward-looking vision and implement targeted outreach to member states around the concept of “strategic capabilities generation.”

    Create a comprehensive knowledge-management system. Knowledge management is hampered by frequent turnover of seconded military personnel in the Office of Military Affairs, and there is a lack of formal institutional knowledge about member-state capabilities and caveats.

    DPKO should create a comprehensive knowledge-management...

  9. (pp. 20-20)