This is the 7th Online Guest Lecture by members of the SCID Panel of Experts. Douglas Brand OBE presents a lecture entitled ‘The Case for Inter-Agency Co-operation in Peace Support Operations’.
This lecture presents the case for inter-agency co-operation in Peace Support Operations (PSOs), particularly in light of the absence of willingness for co-operation despite general agreement that co-operation is necessary. The lecture considers impediments to successful co-operation and how co-operation can best be facilitated by looking at examples from Iraq, Darfur and Palestine and by reflecting upon lessons identified and lessons learned.
Click on the link below to access Douglas’ Lecture (it is large so it will take a while to download). Once you open the PowerPoint presentation, you will have to click on ‘Slide Show’ (at the top of the screen) then ‘From Beginning’ (top left) to listen to the presentation.
Please submit any questions or comments within the next two weeks for Douglas’ attention and/or discussion by other SCID Panel members, students and staff.
Douglas Brand – Inter Agency Activities in Peace Support Operations
Thank you, Mr Brand, for an exceedingly cogent overview on both the need and business case for cooperative interagency activities.
In your closing remarks, you ask two questions (paraphrased as): 1) How can we create conditions for a cooperative environment in peacekeeping where myriad and diverse agendas are uniformly supported within the IC as opposed to being undermined and ignored. And 2) How can suppliers of relief efforts create a balance between the knowledge, skills and abilities they bring to a region (at any point on the conflict curve), while still accommodating the local interests, conditions, and aspirations of the indigenous people.”
My experience (in private sector business) indicates the solution of each question is dependent on the other, and that the interdependent nature of the two challenges also gives rise to the very opportunity of solving them.
As the old adage goes…if you don’t have ‘em plan the battle, they will battle the plan. Accordingly, having as many actors as possible working toward the proposed standard of cooperation would also foster shared brain trust and mitigate dependency and continuity issues experienced when key actors pull out. Additionally, I would recommend an ‘inversion of command’ model where the lower levels of each organisational hierarchy work in concert to plan and create the end product/standard. I recommend this as the lower hierarchy frequently possess the most nuanced operational knowledge and comprise the largest number of personnel. Additionally, ownership of the mission would be enhanced. The inversion of command model does not indicate management isn’t required, and it goes a long way toward alleviating territoriality issues, covert resistance, and misunderstanding in how to implement the final product.
The standard arising from the IC should include working with indigenous people from the start. This is especially true as security concerns often translate into having exceedingly limited interaction with the local society, and because diplomatic departments no longer have deep knowledge in the language and customs of the regions.
Thank you for looking at the presentation and for your comments, which in principle I agree with. I posed the questions at the end to prompt some thinking, not just about ‘what’ needs to be done, but also ‘how?’. The inversion model is an attractive one, and we know from experience that many otherwise intractable issues are made to work by practitioners on the ground in order to get the job done. However, in order to get those initiatives or solutions adopted as good practice in a broader arena, the management or leadership will need to have the willingness to weigh up those, ‘on the ground’, solutions to see how they can be applied. So, a further question might be, ‘how could we take local good practice from practitioners and have it affect policy, strategy, recruitment, training etc at the organisation level?’ The UK Stabilisation Unit runs a series of presentations that seek to inform conflict oriented people about good practice and experience, and the military has ‘lessons learned’ capacities in many of its formations. However, it seems to me that one of the gaps in the thinking is around how to make key institutions like these present their discoveries in such a way that they can seriously influence changes to policies, budgets, structures etc.
I’m sure the applied nature of the SCID programme can prompt its students to explore this in much greater detail.
Thank you again for your comments and for your interest in this area. DB