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Research Report

How Should NATO Handle Stabilisation Operations and Reconstruction Efforts?

C. Richard Nelson
Copyright Date: Sep. 1, 2006
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 70
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. v-vi)
    Jan M. Lodal

    Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer outlined his transformation agenda in a June 2005 address at Allied Command Transformation to NATO’s Permanent and Military Representatives and Strategic Commanders. He stated that :

    “NATO’s experience in Afghanistan confirmed the need to upgrade NATO’s ‘software’ and ‘hardware’ required for post-conflict stabilisation…transforming for stabilisation operations is not ‘just’ a new capability initiative,…it is about developing a ‘new mission model’ that successfully integrates the Alliance’s actions with those by international actors. To that end, we need to improve our processes to better anticipate all aspects of stabilisation operations and genuinely support civil-military interaction.”


  2. (pp. 1-2)

    One of the main lessons from operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan is the requirement for a mix of military and civil capabilities to achieve the desired political goals. Now spanning two decades, it has become clear that these challenges should be viewed as formative experiences for post-Cold War NATO; they can no longer be considered as exceptions to the way NATO does business. A major lesson they teach is that to meet these kinds of complex and protracted challenges successfully, NATO must orchestrate a broader set of capabilities -- both within and outside the Alliance. This will require a...

  3. (pp. 2-10)

    Stabilisation Operations and Initial Reconstruction Efforts (S&R) may be understood within a traditional military framework that includes goals, roles, missions, concepts of operations and tasks/effects.³ Military operations must first be placed in their appropriate political context. In this case, the strategic goal or geopolitical end-state may be conceived of in terms of the increasingly widely accepted parsimonious definition of the concept of S&R operations as a process to achieve a locally led, sustainable peace in a dangerous environment. Such a definition clarifies that the end-state is more than victory on the battlefield. This is consistent with the NATO definition of...

  4. (pp. 11-14)

    Correct diagnosis of the problem is essential. NATO will probably face more than just a single problem in future contingencies, so it is important how the set of problems is aggregated into a description of the overall challenge. This requires a detailed understanding of the dynamics of the target political, security, economic, cultural, and social system—there is no substitute for local knowledge. S&R planning must be country-centric.

    In developing this understanding and, more importantly, when involved in S&R operations, NATO officials should keep in mind at least two views of the problematic situation: an external view and an internal...

  5. (pp. 14-18)

    Authority for conducting S&R operations will be derived from a mandate that will be established by the NAC, in some cases acting under a UN Security Council resolution, or an agreement among appropriate “parties” that could include participating states and other international organizations such as the EU.

    This mandate should define the geopolitical end-state, such as the nature of the locally-led peace. It should also establish a central authority to manage the effort. This position is known by various terms, but called the “Special Representative” for the purposes of this paper.⁹

    The mandate or subsequent agreements by the authorizing parties...

  6. (pp. 18-24)

    For NATO to be more effective in future S&R operations, it must be able to collaborate with other key organizations, especially those that can handle tasks that fall outside of NATO’s military expertise. These organizations vary widely in terms of mandate, size, and method of operation, and each will present challenges to NATO’s standard operating procedures.

    Because of NATO’s traditional focus on Europe and the significant overlap in memberships, three institutions are especially likely to be frequent partners with NATO on S&R operations: the un, the eu, and the osce. These have all been active in post-conflict situations, although their...

  7. (pp. 24-26)

    NATO-led and other S&R operations are increasingly characterized by the need to enter into contracts with private firms for a wide range of services including logistics support, transportation and security. These contracts can fill gaps in important capabilities on relatively short notice. Although they are often conceived of as temporary measures to provide a quick response to a critical need when available resources are insufficient, contractors may also be used to provide for longer-term surge capabilities beyond what is maintained in the regular alliance force posture. For example, civilian augmentation programs for logistics support (LOGCAP) of expeditionary operations provide a...