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History & Somalia, Kosovo, Bosnia

In the recent past foreign policy on security has become an important debate concerning the role played by the USA military regarding international military interventions or peacekeeping missions. Lots of conflicts which occurred in 1990s, for instance in Somalia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Cambodia, Kuwait and Haiti, engaged the U. S. A. Military and also the global community in peacekeeping or and peace enforcement operations. This involvement required the USA military get into new, unusual tasks that traditionally was not component of its national defence and security directive.

This paper will examine how prepared the USA military is in handling peacekeeping missions, the paper will define preparedness, examine two case studies, outline the role of the NCOs and highlight the current USA military preparedness to armed conflicts. (O’Hanlon, 2001) Many security experts on foreign policy argue that, America should get engaged in peacekeeping operations and also peace enforcement assignments as this is proper use of the military power of America in quest of America interests overseas.

Resources exclusive to the USA military ought to be obtained in supporting the international endeavours in resolving humanitarian crises in countries with conflicts and also in United Nations or coalition peace missions. These experts stress that the USA must offer global leadership in averting and or stopping violence by the use of military supremacy as essential. (Omicknsik, 2000) However other national security policy experts affirm that peacekeeping missions divert the USA military from its primary duty, which is defending the USA territory and also offering physical security to the American people.

They also indicate that using the military forces have to be limited so that the military remains ready for strategic military combat operations and main regional armed conflicts. More so they state that it is crucial for the USA military to actively be involved in collective defence preparations with main allies in regions for instance Europe, Middle East and Asia. The unique military demands of peacekeepers wear down the military’s war fighting capability and leave the military unprepared in defending national security interests.

(Omicknsik, 2000) With the ending of a period when countries have customarily recognized their territorial aspirations through war, and with dissolution of the Soviet Union of Russia, big-scale rivalries among countries have mainly resulted to internal conflicts. These conflicts have been catalyzed by a number of factors such as military coups carried out by greedy generals, clashing political ideologies and most important of all is the customary ethnic rivalries as seen in Rwanda and Somalia.

(Omicknsik, 2000) In an attempt to stop these bloody armed conflicts where in many times if not all, conventions of warfare regarding how POWs, are treatment, torture and alike issues are mealy ignored. The USA, often acting together with the NATO and the UN, has presumed the position of a peacekeeper. Certainly, as was with the case gulf war, or Iraq Kuwait war the scourge of antagonistic warfare among nations hasn’t been eliminated, which provides another function for peacekeepers in these countries.

In Addition, ever since the ending of the Cold War the US has become free to spin around its interest to other international problems, which formerly would have been ignored by the USA. And with increased media attention given to plight of Rwandans, Somalis, Albanians, Kuwaitis and others, American people have been galvanized into taking action to put off such enormous human being rights abuses. (Omicknsik, 2000) Readiness Defined Military readiness gauges the capability of a given military unit, for example an Army unit or a carrier combat group, to achieve its assigned operation.

The Logistics, existing standby parts, training, military equipment, and morale of the military personnel all contribute to the readiness of the military. The military do recognize four ranks of readiness, at the uppermost level, a military unit is ready to get into a position and achieve its task. At the bottom level, a military unit needs additional manpower, instruction, equipments, and/or logistics to able to carry out its stated mission. (O’Hanlon, 2001) There is proof of an extensive absence of readiness in the U. S. military.

In a Recent leaked military documents it reported that 12 of the current 20 schools instructing soldiers in military skills like field artillery, aviation and infantry have obtained the lowest readiness ranking. The documents also divulge that more than half of the military’s battle and support teaching centres are ranked lowly at readiness grade. It was stated that each division needed extra manpower, military equipment, or instructions before the units would be well prepared for warfare, owing mainly to the military units’ obligations to missions in the Balkans. Many of the military equipments are thought to be not ‘operation-capable.

’ That is to say, they are not prepared. (Hirsch and Robert, 1995) The Facts about Military Readiness The cutback in USA military forces started early on in1990s, following the ending of the Cold War. The Bush government started to decrease the amount of the USA military in order for it to be consistent with post-Cold War dangers. In the Clinton government, nonetheless, those decreases in military escalated too fast while at the moment that USA forces were set up too frequently with very little financial support. The consequence was reduced preparedness as military personnel, equipment, instructions, and also location did suffered.

(LaFeber, 1994) Ever since the Gulf War in 1991, the USA military was deployed on more 50 peacekeeping missions and peace-enforcement operations, yet the available resources to finance these missions and operations have gradually decreased: in addition the total number of active personnel has reduced by almost 30 percent, and financial support for the military armed operations has reduced by16%. This has created a strain on the military forces which showed plainly in the past as reduced forces were deployed for prolonged period with inadequate and old-fashioned equipment.

The outcome is beyond doubt: preparedness has declined. (LaFeber, 1994) Peacekeeping Operations The UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations defines Peacekeeping as ‘activity aimed at conflict control, which involves a presence in the field . . . to implement or monitor the implementation of arrangements relating to the control of conflicts’. In the instance of factional armed conflict in a country, peacekeeping forces frequently are involved in separation of the rival groups and ensure the protection of the civilians and other non-combatants persons.

In accordance to international combat missions, peacekeeping generally entails patrolling boundaries and if not monitoring the circumstances of a truce. (UN, 1998) Traditionally, countries have kept and used their armed forces clearly for the purposes of defending their countries against any attack and following wars for conquest. As a result, armies have been formulated with the expertise, command formation, and military strategies essential to fight and also defeat other ordinary armies.

However, Peacekeeping, is a fundamentally dissimilar military endeavour; instead of merely overpowering a foreign military authority which poses as a threat to state security, military forces have got to participate in a extremely complex, regularly international undertaking intended at preventing armed forces conflict and also protecting civilians. (Hirsch and Robert, 1995) For the reason of its divergence from the traditional military responsibility, peacekeeping missions have been observed cautiously by a lot of people in the higher echelons of America’s government and the military.

Some higher policymakers point out that peacekeeping missions reduce the battle-preparedness of the military, as a result of deploying them in regions where there no strategic gain Operation to Restore Hope in Somalia Operation Restore Hope in Somalia is many times used to show the hazards of peacekeeping missions. And the un-preparedness of American military Following the overthrowing of the Somali authoritarian ruler Mohamed Siad Barre in the year 1991, Somalia government collapsed into a civil conflict, with two major clan leaders, Mr. Ali Mahdi Mohamed and Mr. Mohamed Farah Aidid, fighting for the control of Somalia.

By the end of autumn of 1992, roughly half a million Somalis had died due to the warfare, illness, and malnourishment or starvation. Under increasing local pressure and approval from the UN, President Bush (senior) deployed 21,000 troops to Somalia to guard relief workers in the country, look after food supplies, and also curtail violence, the peacekeeper achieved a lot. The Army personnel and the Navy personnel dug numerous wells, rebuilt clinics and schools and offered medical help to the Somalis. (Stevenson, 1995) Perceiving Farah Aidid as the biggest obstacle to bring about peace, the UN in 1993 authorized U. S.

military commanders to arrest two of Aidid top lieutenants, however, the USA Rangers given the task and some other specialist forces were overpowered by intense fighting in the Mogadishu streets which left 18 USA soldiers dead and others wounded. Following the showing of the mutilated bodies of USA soldiers by the news media, political support for the mission finally was withdrawn though polls showed that the public continued to supported armed forces involvement to avert human rights calamities. Whereas the political operation failed in Somalia, the humanitarian aspects of “Operation Restore Hope” were highly successful. (Stevenson, 1995)

The USA intervention assisted to save a lot of lives in Somalia at relatively small cost of the peacekeeping mission. However this mission rose questions on how prepared the USA military was prepared in dealing with such missions, both tactical and in strength. Saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Somalis at an extraordinarily minimal cost to the disastrous raid of the USA on Aidid’s lieutenants also showed how the military’s faulted tactics of the USA military. In general, the peacekeeping mission as a whole indicated that from the onset the USA was not well prepared in dealing with such armed conflicts outside the USA.

(Stevenson, 1995) Bosnia peacekeeping mission Another noteworthy peacekeeping operation that the USA took part was in Bosnia in the 1990s. Following the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991, a country only remotely held as one by Tito. The seceded republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina exploded in ethnic conflicts among Serbs, Croats, and the Muslims. In responding to the massive killing and widespread human rights mistreatments, Western leaders convened a meeting with various heads of the different warring factions that culminated in the 1995 Dayton Accords.

After that the USA besides other western nations, sent soldiers to Bosnia to implement the Dayton accord and maintain peace. The USA, Bosnian peacekeeping operation has been highly successful; the war in Bosnia ended, elections were effectively held in 1996, and also human rights abuses were halted. . (LaFeber, 1994) However, many experts point out that peacekeeping operation in Bosnia took a major toll on the USA military. After taking part in the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, it was established that the U. S. 3rd Infantry unit was momentarily reduced to the second lowest ranking for time of war readiness.

actually, it was found out that each units deployed to Bosnia requires at least six months of special training before it can be deployed on overseas operation and supposedly require to use six months re-training subsequent to returning from the peacekeeping mission. Yet when the USA military was sent to Bosnia such special training was not offered, because of limitations in time and logistic issues. This according to military experts goes on to confirm how less the USA is normally un-prepared for such missions. (LaFeber, 1994) Role of the NCO in preparing Soldiers

Military Commanders and the staff officers engaged in peacekeeping missions time and again find themselves in unfamiliar territory and situation where they have to work with alliance forces, direct a range of ‘non-military’ (political, social, economic, humanitarian) assignments, or even at times managing or assisting to govern villages, townships, and even cities. All these activities generally call for diplomatic and political skills which an officer may have attained through his experience or by other means, but doubtless not because of formal military training and instruction.

(Hirsch and Robert, 1995) Indeed, the tactless ‘take charge’ mindset that has is a characteristic of military instruction may prove successful on traditional battlefields however has frequently attested counterproductive when a military officer has had an opportunity to interrelate with foreign military officers, humanitarian support officials, foreign diplomats, the local authorities, the armed groups, or the native population.

These interactions call for negotiating and communication skills, cultural consciousness, a good judgment of historical context, patience, consideration for the stand of other partakers, willingness to concession, an understanding of nuance, and more so a fundamental understanding of how diverse political, social and economic initiatives have an effect on the military’s role in peacekeeping operations. Whereas they may not be a warranty of success in “political” circumstances, these elements are most likely to generate a better result than more rough, insensible, or confrontational approaches.

(Buchanan, 1999) In a politically sensitive peacekeeping operation, military acts undertaken by the COF at operational stage and even in on the tactical stage may have an express effect on the military regarding the strategic level and policy stages There are several historical instances which proves the weight of the ‘strategic corporal’. A good case that is likely to be remembered by many occurred in Somalia, in the 1993 peacekeeping mission, American soldiers were involved in a fight in Mogadishu the Somalia capital.

‘Black Hawk Down,’ where there was a tactical combat involving SOF supporting the UN-led peacekeeping forces mission in Somalia led a turnaround of American military policy at the uppermost level . In other cases, the decision or action of a simple a single NCO has frequently had a positive or a negative implications which seem on the outside, as not in proportion to the action itself. In many cases, any harmful outcomes of those acts can not be reversible, except such actions have at many occasions created key setbacks which really endangered the military and also political peacekeeping missions.

(O’Hanlon, M 2001) Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) who are promoted among the ranks, to enforce discipline, manage routine administration, are agreed by many that they form a backbone of military units. With the end of the cold war, the conflict that have changed and also the technology in warfare, these changes have changed the way the NCOs role in the way the military. In the military world NCOs plays an important role in training militaries in the deployed in the conflicts. The invaluable aspect of the NCOs in military has been attested over the past years.

However, an example of an outcome of breakdown in discipline, which is supposed to be imparted by the NCOs was clearly seen in Somalia when the forces deployed to keep peace were involved in activities in which were perceived to be unethical in accordance to the military ethics. (Buchanan, 1999) The role of NCOs as technicians is obviously evident, because of they comprehensive understanding of weapons and also equipments as an outcome of they training. The NCOs have a duty to train other officers who are supposed to ensure that, they train all the military personnel.

However, from experience, it is clear that these NCOs do not prepare the military, who are supposed to go on peacekeeping missions. This has continued to make the USA military not be prepared. (Hirsch and Robert, 1995) Current preparedness Ever since the September 11 terror disaster, the USA military preparedness has greatly improved on how faster they can response to conflict. However, studies indicate that the number of the USA Military has been falling over the years and this can affect the way they can respond to conflict in case they are called upon.

The absence of clear political leadership and guidance in relation to how the USA military responds to armed conflicts outside the American territory is another fact which has continued to hinder full preparedness. The long cutbacks in the military which have been going on for some time in the USA and the fact that a number of the USA soldiers are involved in a mission in Iraq have limited the number of soldiers in America. This has a direct effect on the level of preparedness of solders in America to undertake any new mission.

According to military experts the current situation of the forces remains not well prepared bearing in mind that, it requires, at least six months of special training of soldiers before, they should be deployed in areas where they is conflicts. Conclusion There is proof of an extensive absence of readiness in the U. S. military. In a Recent leaked military documents it reported that 12 of the current 20 schools instructing soldiers in military skills like field artillery, aviation and infantry have obtained the lowest readiness ranking.

The cutback in USA military forces started in1990s, following the ending of the Cold War, Have contributed to the military un-preparedness in America. Non-commissioned officers (NCOs) who are promoted among the ranks, to enforce are supposed to assist in preparing the military, however, they have failed. The lack of clear political leadership in relation to armed conflicts outside America also derails how the USA military is prepared.


Active Duty (2002); Defence Almanac: Retrieved from, www. defenselink. mil/pubs/almanac/almanac/people/activeduty.html, accessed on February 29 2008 Buchanan, P (1999): Republic, Not an Empire: Reclaiming America’s Destiny. Washington, D. C. : Regnery Publishing, Warren, C (1998): In the Stream of History: Shaping Foreign Policy for a New Era. Stanford, Calif. : Stanford University Press, UN (1998): Peace-keeping,” Glossary of UN Peacekeeping Terms (New York: UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations Training Unit, last updated September), Hirsch, J. L. , and Robert B. O (1995): Somalia and Operation Restore Hope: Reflections on Peacemaking and Peacekeeping.

Washington, D. C. : United States Institute of Peace Press, 1995. O’Hanlon, M (2001): “Come Partly Home, America,” Foreign Affairs (March–April 2001), LaFeber, W (1994): The American Age: U. S. Foreign Policy at Home and Abroad. New York: W. W. Norton, Stevenson, J (1995): Losing Mogadishu: Testing U. S. Policy in Somalia. Annapolis, Md. : Naval Institute Press, The four grades of readiness range from C-1, the highest level, to C-4, the lowest level of readiness. Omicknsik, J (2000) “Pace of Peacekeeping Could Take 20,000 More U. S. Troops,”

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