Journal of International Peace Operations Vol. 5 No. 2 (September-October 2009)

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Volume 5, Number 2

September-October, 2009

U.S. - Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement Q&A with Maj Gen Ihekire Inspectors-General and Contractor Accountability


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Private Security in Africa

The Publication of IPOA

contents | what’s inside

Volume 5, Number 2 September-October, 2009



Founded in 2004 as the IPOA Quarterly 1933-8189 ISBN 978-0-9818589-7-5


Editor-in-Chief.................... J. J. Messner Publisher ............... Doug Brooks Asst. Editors ....................... Callie Wang Business Manager ... Jared Lawyer .......................... Caitlin Tyler-Richards 1634 I St. NW, Suite 800 ................ Washington, D.C. 20006................. United States of America ................

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03 Photos: J. Isaac/UN; Sgt. Pete Thibodeau/U.S.M.C.; Eskinder Debebe/UN

regulars | president’s message



Jessica Bryant

A Plan for Colombia Solidifying Strategic Partnerships

feature| afghanistan

15 17 21 24

M. Ashraf Haidari

Beyond the Election Key Lessons for International Peacekeeping in Afghanistan Mark S. Ward

Reconstruction in Afghanistan It’s Not 2002 Anymore Dr. Najibullah Lafraie

A Surge of Support in Afghanistan But Can it Work? Audrey Roberts

A Unique Approach to Peacekeeping Afghanistan and the Human Terrain System

insight | peace and stability operations

29 31 33 35

David M. Verhey

Expecting Inspection Key Considerations for Private Security Companies Colonel Tim Collins OBE

The Spectrum of Subversion Fighting Subversive Activity from Crime to Terrorism Ambassador Joe Melrose (Ret.)

Pakistan in Perspective Pakistan Searches for its Identity in a Time of Crisis Simon Chesterman

The Air Force Perspective on Contracting Legal and Ethical Questions for Private Air Support

Doug Brooks

Hidden Contractors Why Governments Must be Forthcoming and Honest

q & a | major general collins r. u. ihekire


Naveed Bandali

Lessons from African Peacekeeping An Interview with Maj. Gen. Collins R. U. Ihekire

regulars | commentary

37 39 41

Ambassador Herman Cohen (Ret.)

Obama in Africa America’s President Sends Africa a Message of Tough Love J. J. Messner

Private Security in African Peacekeeping A Growing Call for New Ideas from a Frustrated Continent Gary Sturgess

Remembering the Fallen, Public or Private New York City’s History of Private Emergency Services

regulars | government affairs

28 43

Katrina Mason

Congressional Oversight of Contractors Cooperation Between Government and the Private Sector Peggy Hu

Conventional Thinking U.N. Working Group Proposes Draft Convention

regulars | development


Development Resources

Academic and Professional Relevant Academic Programs, Conferences and Events

Copyright © 2009 IPOA. All rights reserved. The IPOA logo and the IPOA lion image are trademarks of IPOA. The Journal of International Peace Operations (JIPO) and its logo are trademarks of IPOA. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent the opinions of IPOA, its officers, Board of Directors, members or affiliates. IPOA bears no responsibility for the editorial content; the views expressed in the articles are those of the authors. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the Editor-in-Chief.

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

leader | u.s. - colombia defense agreement

president’s message | hidden contractors


Doug Brooks

Hidden Contractors Why Governments Must be Forthcoming and Honest About Private Contracting Surely there must be some contractors down there… Photo: John F. Freund/U.S. Army

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


RECENT presentation at IPOA headquarters by Dr. Steve Schooner, Associate Professor of Law at the George Washington University, raised a number of key points about the stability operations industry, including his pet peeve: civilian contractor casualties are largely concealed by the press and the government. Not only are the risks hidden, but the vital roles that contractors play in support of international policies are also grossly masked by policymakers. This seems to be the case unless a scandal arises and political leaders feel compelled to demonize or distance themselves from the contractors they inevitably rely on for mission support. Hiding the civilian contractors is hardly conducive to good policy. We need political leaders to be more knowledgeable, open and forthcoming about the role of the private sector in international peace and stability operations. Civilians have a critical role in supporting reconstruction efforts and military operations, and their contributions should be openly valued, not ignored. Too often policymakers profess shock when told of the breadth, depth and multi-nationality of the industry. Politicians are either willfully ignorant of the multitude of government reports,

media stories and investigations; or they truly have no idea what it takes to actually implement their policies in the field. Policymakers should not only understand, but also be forthright about the fact that the stability operations industry exists to support – not replace – military forces. Service members are trained to be the combat component of national policies; they should not be doing laundry, cooking meals, or even guarding gates. These services do not require the kind of highly specialized and expensive training that makes the best militaries so effective. For many tasks, local nationals can provide more valuable capabilities than soldiers, including perimeter security and other jobs where linguistic skills are important. Militaries are more professional and capable than ever before; they are also significantly smaller – especially considering their 21st century responsibilities. Ensuring that militaries succeed requires more than ‘support the troops’ rhetoric. Mission success calls for recognizing and valuing the services and structures that militaries rely on for their operations, even though these capabilities are more often than not provided by the much maligned private sector. At the same time, there is a valuable ongoing debate about what is ‘inherently The author is President of IPOA.

governmental’ and what is not. We need to recognize how much the world has changed. The concepts that were appropriate in 1989 at the close of the Cold War, or in 1945 at the end of the Second World War, may be archaic or even counterproductive to the policies we are trying to promote abroad today. We should keep in mind that everything adjudged to be too inherently governmental for the private sector adds to the already heavy burden on the troops in the field. Nor should we forget that while a number of NATO countries are supporting international efforts in Afghanistan, few if any would be there without the services of civilian contractors. Most NATO militaries are a shadow of their Cold War incarnations, and few have the logistical and support capabilities for expeditionary operations. They rely on private sector aviation, catering and even base security. Few would even be able to leave the wire of their compounds to conduct operations without contractors handling the less essential tasks for them. In short, if the United States desires NATO support, expect that civilian contractors are an inherent part of the package. The private sector is essential to missions




N A T I O N A L H A R B O R | W A S H I N G T O N , D . C . The IPOA Annual Summit is the premiere event of the stability operations industry. The Summit is being held in Washington, D.C., home to some of the world’s largest clients in the global stability operations industry — and also Headquarters of IPOA. The 2½ day Summit will include prominent guest speakers, plenty of networking opportunities, an exhibition hall, an official dinner and a night-time cruise along the Potomac River. The venue for the Summit will be the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor near Washington, D.C.

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with speakers from: Featuring Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad (Ret.) and General Anthony Zinni (Ret.)

U.S., Afghan and International Governments Private Sector Service Companies Non-Governmental Organizations


The Summit will involve hundreds of participants from both the U.S. and abroad, from U.S., Afghanistan and international government agencies, private sector companies and civil society. The Summit agenda ensures valuable networking opportunities.

The Summit kicks off with a networking reception aboard the Odyssey as it cruises the Potomac River from National Harbor, past Washington’s monuments. The Summit will also feature a land-based networking reception and official dinner. Silver Sponsor

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leader | u.s. - colombia defense agreement

Jessica Bryant

A Plan for Colombia Solidifying Strategic Partnerships Between the U.S. and Colombia

08 Amigos: Uribe y Bush, Colombia y Estados Unidos. Photo: Chris Greenberg/White House

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


HE U.S.-Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement (DCA) has received much bad press of late. It has escalated anxieties in an already tense neighborhood and become fodder for saber-rattling leaders looking to distract attention from weak economies and failing domestic policy. It has been cited as proof by left-wing analysts from around the world as one more advance in a long-running U.S. imperialist campaign in the region. Very little attention, however, has been paid to the actual details of the agreement or the factors which motivated its negotiation. Properly understood, the DCA is a logical step in the expansion of a beneficial strategic partnership between two nations; it also provides a fairly standard example of the kind of military cooperation contracts that exist throughout Latin America and the rest of the world. One of the biggest misunderstandings about the U.S.-Colombia DCA centers on the details of the agreement itself. First, and most importantly, the agreement does not allow the installation of U.S. military bases on Colombian soil. It merely permits U.S. access to three Colombian air force bases, two army installations and two naval bases, with the option to expand access to other military facilities

upon mutual agreement. An official release from the U.S. State Department explains, “Command, control, administration, and security will continue to be handled by the Colombian armed forces. All activities conducted at or from these Colombian bases by the United States will take place only with the express prior approval of the Colombian government.” In this way, the DCA is not unlike the agreements which establish so called ‘Cooperative Security Locations’ or CSLs, which exist in several locations throughout the world. CSLs, sometimes called ‘lilypads,’ “provide contingency access, logistic support, and rotational use by operating forces and are a focal point for security cooperation activities.” In the Western Hemisphere, the CSLs located in Aruba, Curacao, and Comalapa, El Salvador allow regional threats such as drug trafficking and terrorism to be addressed more quickly and effectively. All activities taking place at the CSLs are strictly controlled by contractual agreements. A perfect example of the strength and breadth of these controls played out during the 2004 Haiti crisis. Equipment necessary for the type of reconnaissance mission crucial to the successful deployment of United Nations peacekeeping troops was stationed in Curacao at the

time. However, in accordance with the regulations established in the CSL contract, aircraft were forced to fly first to the Naval Air Station in Key West; furthermore, all surveillance operations were launched from U.S. soil. Undertaking maneuvers directly from Curacao would have saved important resources and time, but all parties involved respected the contractual agreement in place. It is also important to keep in mind that Colombia already plays host to an important U.S. presence. Bogotá is home to both the largest U.S. embassy and interagency presence in the Western Hemisphere. An October 2004 Congressional authorization allows for up to 800 U.S. military personnel and 600 U.S. civilian contractors. Even still, there are on average only around 380 Department of Defense civilian, military and contract personnel in the country at any given time. The approved DCA would not change those numbers significantly. Indeed, the Department of State reiterates, “The DCA does not signal, anticipate, or authorize an increase in the presence of U.S. military or civilian personnel in Colombia.”

The author is a Program Analyst at the Center for Integrated and Coordinated Action in the Presidency of the Republic of Colombia.


leader | u.s. - colombia defense agreement


08 While the agreement is of useful strategic importance to the United States, it will be of significant benefit to the Colombian military. The details of the negotiations may never be fully known, but the Colombian weekly newsmagazine Semana reports that U.S. presence at six of the seven bases was actually solicited by the Colombian government, “because the Armed Forces hopes to receive support to improve them.” Indeed, the U.S. Congress has already approved $42 million in its Foreign Operations budget which will go toward construction at the Palanquero base.

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | sepetember-october 2009

The DCA is important to Colombia for several other reasons as well. Over the past 10 years, Colombia has received over $6 billion in U.S. support through Plan Colombia. This, paired with the Uribe administration’s unprecedented commitment, in the form of the democratic security doctrine, has resulted in drastically improved security. Colombians’ great fear, however, is that these advances will not result in sustainable consolidation. U.S. support is viewed as a key element of this consolidation, and although Plan Colombia was expanded to include assistance for counterinsurgency initiatives after September 11, 2001, funding has steadily declined and will most likely continue to do so under the Obama administration. This eventuality, as well as an unpredictable domestic political climate, serves as a motivation for the present administration to solidify U.S. cooperation. The DCA ensures the continuation of the kind of technical assistance that has led to several key victories in the country’s internal conflict and remains vital to counternarcotics operations. In addition, it is a logical step in a larger Colombian campaign to become a legitimate regional and global power. Agreements like the DCA are just one component of a forward thinking grand strategy which includes free trade agreements and increased regional and international security cooperation. This strategy envisions a post-conflict Colombia with the ability to focus all of its resources on

Hear, hear. Photo: USSOUTHCOM

where it as a nation fits into the international system. The DCA has ignited a firestorm of criticism from Colombia’s already hostile neighbors. Relations between the conservative Uribe administration and leftists Hugo Chávez of Venezuela and Rafael Correa of Ecuador have been complicated for some time. Both countries broke off diplomatic relations with Colombia in the wake of its aerial bombardment of the FARC guerrilla camp in Angostura, just inside the Ecuadorian border. Initially condemned as a violation of the Andean nation’s sovereignty, the successful operation led to the killing of guerrilla leader Raúl Reyes and the capture of a laptop computer which has proven to be a source of highly valuable intelligence. Documents on the computer reveal a high level of cooperation between both Ecuadorian and Venezuelan officials and the FARC insurgents, indicating that Colombia’s decision to refrain from advising President Correa of the attack before it took place may have been justified. Despite the success of the raid, many South American nations are preoccupied by what is perceived as an enhanced capability to launch future attacks across Colombian borders. In his characteristically hyperbolic style, Hugo Chávez declared that the “winds of war are beginning to blow.” The agreement has also played nicely into his anti-imperialist

rhetoric. The continent’s more levelheaded leaders, however, also reacted strongly. Both President Lula of Brazil and President Bachelet of Chile have expressed concern. In response, President Uribe undertook a seven nation tour in order to personally explain the DCA to South American leaders. While the implications for regional security are still unclear, Colombia has signaled its continued commitment and intention to sign the agreement. In reality, the U.S.-Colombia DCA essentially puts into writing much of the cooperation between the two countries that had already existed for a decade. In addition, even after the DCA is signed and begins to take effect, the number of U.S. Department of Defense personnel in country will remain well below the Congressional cap set in 2004. Every piece of equipment and operation in Colombian territory will continue to be authorized through the proper channels and will be expressly approved by the Colombian government. Though Colombia has made great strides toward ending its decade-long internal conflict, the country still faces significant threats from emerging illegally armed groups and narcotraffickers. U.S. technical and financial support is a key part of successfully confronting these challenges, and the DCA ensures that Colombia will continue to receive some measure of this type of assistance.

q and a | major general collins r.u. ihekire

Naveed Bandali

Lessons from African Peacekeeping An Interview with Major General Collins R.U. Ihekire

11 AJOR General Collins Remy Umunakwe Ihekire (Ret.) belonged to the Nigerian Army Corps of Engineers. He was Force Commander and Chairman of the Ceasefire Commission of the African Union Mission in Darfur (AMIS) from January to September 2006. He was also Commander of the Nigerian Army Contingent and Chief of Operations of the Organization of African Unity Neutral Military Observer Group in Rwanda (NMOG) from 1992–1993. Maj Gen Ihekire retired from the Nigerian Army in 2007. JIPO: Describe your role with the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) and how you balanced the mandate with operational responsibilities? Maj Gen Ihekire: As Force Commander I was responsible for the AMIS military component, in charge of security for army personnel and facilities, as well as protecting internally displaced persons (IDP) camps, humanitarian supplies and supply routes. I also monitored compliance with the Humanitarian Ceasefire Agreement and investigated all violations. As Chairman of the Ceasefire Commission I reviewed field conditions and reported to members of the African Union (A.U.), parties to the conflict, Western governments, donor nations and observers. The AMIS mandate entailed providing a secure environment for the delivery of humanitarian relief and the return of IDP to their homes; monitoring compliance with the Ceasefire Agreement; and assisting in the process of confidence building within the population. The

mandate was always at the back of our minds as we carried out operations. With an overall lack of resources to carry out operations, we had to utilize the resources we had for the maximum effect. Therefore, the focus was more on how to be more flexible with plans and how to be effective wherever we operated, while keeping the mandate in mind.

JIPO: There have been many reports of problems with AMIS resources, logistics and equipment. How did this contribute to the successes and failures of AMIS? Maj Gen Ihekire: The problems with AMIS resources started at its inception. Initially there was an inadequacy of troops. In June 2004, 458 military personnel were deployed to Darfur to monitor a largely unobserved ceasefire in a territory almost the size of France. The African Union then increased to 3,320 personnel to set the stage for more effective AMIS operations, but disregarded the logistical support to cope with such an increase. A later review enhanced the force to about 6,171 military personThe author is a Development Associate at IPOA.

nel. Even though the force increased, AMIS operations were supposed to be donor reliant — the root of all problems. The largest donor conference during my tenure was on 18 July 2006, where I realized that donors were not always that generous. This conference did not address anything that I needed at that time to implement the peace agreement, which was signed two months earlier and was the motivation for the conference. Pledges amounted to just two months running cost. It was not at all promising. It is no secret why peace remained handicapped. AMIS support weakened as donations could not be guaranteed. Total donor dependency meant that AMIS could only run as decided by donors. This is very well demonstrated by the failure to successfully implement the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) of 5 May 2006. Starting from inception, support for AMIS was inadequate and progressively deteriorated because of losses and damages to equipment and a lack of


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


Maj Gen Ihekire makes some new friends in Darfur. Photo: Col. Ihekire/AU

q and a | major general collins r.u. ihekire


11 critical reserves. Since operations were donor dependant and there was no guaranteed means of addressing problems, we had to carry on as best as we could.

JIPO: Did AMIS fulfill its mandate in Darfur?

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

Maj Gen Ihekire: AMIS was not a failure; it was simply working against severe odds. Relative to its resources, AMIS performed tremendously well because of the commitment and dedication of its personnel. AMIS protected all humanitarian supplies making it possible for humanitarian aid to reach those who needed it; it effectively monitored the Ceasefire Agreement and investigated all reported violations; and it contributed to developing confidence among the population. With insufficient troops, sometimes populations remained unprotected. Even though many countries were prepared to send troops, logistical support was not always available — we needed funds for camps and logistics. But overall, I think we succeeded in our mandate.

JIPO: How well did the private sector support the AMIS mandate? Maj Gen Ihekire: The United States State Department contracted the private sector to provide services to AMIS. Notably, PAE Systems (now a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation) supported procurements, engineering works and camp maintenance, and delivered medical services. PAE did well in all areas, except medical service provision because they only employed medical assistants in their hospitals. It was so bad that the African Union cancelled that contract. A second company, Hamza, was responsible for feeding all AMIS troops. However many contingents wanted their national cuisine to be prepared for them, while Hamza continued to repeat the same Middle Eastern meals daily. Homeinspired food can be a big morale booster. Both Nigeria and Rwanda contributed

It’s a serious business. Photo: Stuart Price/U.N.

about a brigade each to AMIS. These troops had to spend long periods in mission areas — sometimes six month at a time — and usually missed home. I think some consideration should have been given to integrating the national cuisines of diverse contingents in the planning. Overall I would say that both organizations rendered adequate services. But every time we wanted to make a request, we needed to converse with the State Department to see if the contractor could handle the request or not. Sometimes this caused delays, impacting operations and capacity.

JIPO: What should the role of the private sector be in supporting peace and stability operations in general? Maj Gen Ihekire: Operation commanders contend with the heavy burden of planning and executing logistical support and administration. The private sector can help relieve these burdens. But the role of the private sector is also a function of the funds available to the mission. I do not know if peacekeeping itself can be contracted out to private firms, instead of governments. Maybe donors could broaden private sector support for peacekeeping operations. Normally we say that peacekeeping is not the soldier’s job, but it is only the soldier who can do

peacekeeping. If there is a way it can be contracted out, and they can recover the funds from their home government or the international community, then it is an idea that can possibly be tried out.

JIPO: How smooth was the handover when the African Union/United Nations Hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) took over from AMIS on 31 December 2007? How would you assess this hybrid peacekeeping force? Maj Gen Ihekire: AMIS transformed into UNAMID — the AMIS Force Commander became the UNAMID Force Commander. Call it a change of name and uniform by the same actors, not a takeover. The transition was smooth, though the Sudanese government showed initial reluctance based on skepticism of the international community’s intentions. AMIS had logistical, support and funding problems. The new arrangement was not as disadvantaged. Under the auspices of the United Nations (U.N.), the funding, logistics and troop shortfalls would become a thing of the past. A window was created enabling the U.N. to legally fund an A.U. mission. The hybrid however, is not in the field — every soldier wears the same uniform. It exists in the upper levels of strategy and management where the operation is directed by both A.U. and U.N. staff.


q and a | major general collins r.u. ihekire


12 With adequate funding and logistics, the commander can plan supply lines, see what is going to happen and obtain peace. AMIS donors did not guarantee resources, so the DPA timeline kept shifting and nothing was fixed. We should have been implementing the DPA soon after it was signed.

JIPO: The humanitarian catastrophe and security situation in Darfur is far from resolved. In your opinion, what is the status of the Darfur peace process?

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

Maj Gen Ihekire: Daily conflict continues to generate new refugees streaming into IDP camps. It is very unfortunate. Nothing significant has been added to the peace process since the DPA was signed in 2006. There have been no new developments that have improved the DPA and those who refused to sign have still not signed. As Albert Einstein said, peace is better achieved by understanding and not by force. We need a concerted effort for everyone to see that peace can be accomplished. Some parties have not yet signed the DPA because these key players could not find a role for themselves — not because the peace agreement itself is bad. They must be involved so that when there is peace there can be room for everyone to play better roles to improve society.

or a sure source of funding and equipment. The process must also adequately address the feasibility and sustainability of the mission. Second, peace support operations are too delicate to depend on donations — when quality, quantity and timeliness cannot be guaranteed. It is necessary to establish donor timelines to ensure they honor pledges, and crucial to establish the extent to which donors can control operations, troop levels, command, etc. The U.N. estimated a need for 22–24,000 troops in Darfur. I asked for just 12,000 and could only get 6,000. Donors dictated troop levels and access, so we could not start implementing the DPA as early as I wanted. If we learnt the Janjaweed were moving, we had little capability of interception because it could take days to mobilize. People were dying and aid was being lost! Third, the Darfur Integrated Taskforce (DITF), which supported AMIS, was a very good idea. But the A.U. Department of Peacekeeping Operations ought to have handled the tasks carried out by DITF in order to promote capacity building for the A.U. in the provision of strategic and operational support.

Lastly, it is more efficient for troops to operate with organic equipment instead of donor equipment. Maintenance is then more straightforward and cost-effective. The South African contingent came with their own equipment and was fully operational immediately on induction, whilst other contingents needed weeks to train and deploy with donated equipment. AMIS detachments could not maintain their own rifles and had to fly in maintenance personnel for repairs and replacements. Availability was not always guaranteed at critical moments and sometimes they had to rely on other contingents for support, despite their own problems.

JIPO: Do you have any advice to the future commanders of similar peace and stability operations? Maj Gen Ihekire: The aim of every commander is to fulfill the mandate. This can be a very daunting and frustrating task. Many times your courage will be challenged. My advice is to always keep faith through adversity, and like in Rwanda and Darfur, wait for the United Nations to come to the rescue.

JIPO: What are some lessons to be learned from your experience with African peace operations? Maj Gen Ihekire: The pattern of peacekeeping on the African continent has not been conducive for peace. Most of what I witnessed in Darfur was just like what I witnessed commanding the defunct Neutral Military Observer Group in Rwanda (NMOG). Like AMIS, NMOG was based on donor support and suffered from a lack of funding, a lack of planning, inadequate troops and inadequate equipment. First, the policymaking process must be fully adapted before any deployment of troops can take place — particularly without an organic capacity for logistics

Both African Union and U.N. peacekeepers have paid a heavy toll. Photo: Stuart Price/U.N.

feature | afghanistan

M. Ashraf Haidari

Beyond the Elections Key Lessons for International Peacekeeping in Afghanistan

15 A popularity contest. Photo: Tim Page/U.N.

Capacity, or lack thereof, in the police, the judicial system, the bureaucracy, education and other fields is a thread that weaves through the successes and failures of our efforts to build a state essentially from the ground up. In what follows, I will outline some of the key lessons learned over the past eight years. Indeed, whether or not we proactively work together to build upon these vital lessons learned will determine our collective success or failure in the few critical years following the 2009 presidential and 2010 parliamentary elections in Afghanistan. Afghanistan’s battle against the Taliban and other extremist elements is unique in

that it is the national police, not the army or the international forces, who constitute the first line of defense. Our sincere efforts to fight drug-trafficking and production, defeat the insurgency and create an enabling environment for the civilian institutions also hinge on this key area. However, law enforcement institutions have been neglected from the beginning in Afghanistan. The implementation of judicial and police reforms – reforms that should have been the foundation on which other state institutions were built – was shelved indefinitely due to a lack of resources. This paucity of resources has contributed to a significantly higher number of police casualties. Between 2007 and 2009 alone, more than 1500 Afghan National Police (ANP) officers were killed. Close to 600 Afghan National Army (ANA) soldiers have lost their lives in the same period. The total International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) casualties since 2001 are about 1300. Thus, given the substantially higher risk environment the ANP faces and the seminal role it plays in maintaining day-today law and order across Afghanistan, it is very important that long-term attention and resources be focused on police training and equipment. These enable

them to counter threats from the Taliban and other militant elements, who are often better trained, paid, and equipped. Another related and equally neglected institution has been the Afghan justice sector. Although the effectiveness of the justice sector determines the legitimacy of any government in public eyes, the reform of this critical sector in Afghanistan has unfortunately received the least amount of international attention and aid resources. Afghanistan has fewer than 1,500 judges and 400 defense lawyers for a population of approximately 33 million. Most of these judges and attorneys lack modern legal training, as well as the office resources and protection to execute their duties effectively. This is one of the main reasons why 62 percent of Afghans believe the government does not provide timely justice, and only half believe the government’s justice system is fair; compare this to 70 percent favorability for traditional methods, according to an Asia Foundation survey. The popular sense of justice is percipient – Afghans expect the government to provide them timely and effective justice. Indeed, failure to do so will undermine popular confidence in the government, as

The author is the Political Counselor of the Embassy of Afghanistan in Washington, DC .


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


HE study of the political landscape of a country used to involve looking for the existence of certain state and security institutions; it has changed in recent years to examining whether these institutions perform properly. In the case of Afghanistan, however, the metric is slightly different. Here, human capital has remained underdeveloped, courtesy of the decades of war that preceded the current statebuilding efforts. As a result, the question here is not whether institutions exist, but how well institutions are run and how meritorious those running them are.

feature | afghanistan


15 well as in the state-building efforts of the international community.

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

Work on the justice sector must be complemented by an increased emphasis on aid effectiveness. In the past, many donor-related contractors have undermined the Afghan government’s efforts by working parallel to it, instead of working with it or through it. Over the last eight years, this parallel method of operation has resulted in very little transfer of knowledge and skills to Afghans. Donor-related firms continue to receive highly profitable contracts, which they frequently subcontract to smaller companies for implementation. Indeed, each layer of subcontracting skims some 20 percent of the taxpayers’ aid monies, consequently robbing the beneficiaries of the “billions of dollars” in officially announced aid to Afghanistan. Moreover, most of the contractors and their affiliated business partners have neither the necessary work experience in Afghanistan nor the right expertise to operate successfully in Afghanistan. Yet, so far, only about 10 percent of all aid money given to Afghanistan has been spent through the government; the rest has been channeled through private contractors and other means. And because of a lack of consultation and coordination with the Afghan government and people, these agencies have concentrated most of the aid activity in insecure areas, apparently hoping to help defeat the insurgency by winning the people over. Not only has this tactic not worked, but the absence of enough aid in the peaceful provinces has caused disillusionment among the masses and given insurgency a foothold there. Coupled with aid effectiveness is aid coordination. So far, donor countries have failed to effectively coordinate their efforts in various sectors. This has hampered aid effectiveness and slowed down the process of state-building. Case in point is the education sector. In many instances, the building of a school is constructed by one country, the chairs and desks are provided by another, and

Hands up if you want some stability. Photo: Airman Stacia Zachary/U.S.A.F.

other equipment is financed by a third donor—if donors notice the shortages in the school that was just “built.” The overall aid effort in the country is characterized by this same lack of coordination. Common to each of the above lessons is the importance of human development and institutional capacity building in Afghanistan. Past experience is instructive in this regard, as the first point of contact between the Afghan people and the governing entity used to be the army, the police or other militia groups. These institutions mostly kept people in check rather than protecting them. As a result, Afghans are not used to – but have shown great demand for – a government whose main function is to protect them and maintain conditions for peaceful life. Unlike established democracies, therefore, the source of legitimacy and support for the government in Afghanistan does not overwhelmingly come from an electoral majority. It rather comes from the nature of people’s first experiences with the government, the bureaucracy, the police and the justice system. The more positive these experiences, the greater respect and legitimacy the government and the democratic system garner in the eyes of the Afghan people. In order to ensure that these popular experiences are positive, building

institutions that are staffed by qualified professionals is necessary. In the case of Afghanistan, that has to happen from scratch. As stated earlier, with less than a third of the Afghan population being literate, the pool of competent people for professional careers and leadership capacities is already small. Unfortunately, decades of war have significantly hampered human development in Afghanistan, and the absence of effective state institutions in these periods – such as the police, the army and a civil bureaucracy – has certainly contributed to the deceleration of the development and transfer of knowledge and skills to successive generations. Therefore, human development and institutional capacity building must top the agenda of international peace operations in Afghanistan. Without sufficient knowledge and skill, Afghans cannot achieve self-sustainability to help drive the rebuilding and long-term development of Afghanistan on their own. The road leading up to this level of competence is difficult, but a serious emphasis on education and training is imperative. Improving the infrastructure for, and quality of, both secondary and higher education coupled with ensuring greater inclusion of women in education are cornerstones of this policy. To comple-


feature | afghanistan

Mark S. Ward

Reconstruction in Afghanistan It’s Not 2002 Anymore

17 Before and After. Photo: Sgt. James M. Bowman/U.S.A.F.

This becomes especially clear if one compares before and after pictures of Afghanistan. In 2002, when the international community returned to Afghanistan, there was no functioning government with whom they could plan the country’s reconstruction. Likewise, there were virtually no indigenous private sector companies or non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with sufficient capacity to carry out the work. Yet the pressure from capitals from Washington to Tokyo to quickly begin reconstruction was overwhelming. Every donor country launched its own version of a reconstruction strategy –

both civilians and military alike. They designed their own initiatives, with little or no Afghan input, and rarely communicated with each other. The international, military-run Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) set records for speed, but consulted few at the local level. The aid agencies also imported almost all materials and expertise. We see a very different picture of Afghanistan in 2009. The international community invested heavily in capacity building for government institutions, the private sector and NGOs, and real progress has been made. Behind the scenes, foreign emissaries asked President Karzai to replace weaker ministers, which he did in many key ministries. The current cabinet in Kabul may be the strongest ever. There is growing capacity at the provincial level to identify and prioritize development projects. More than 3,000 Afghan firms are listed on a website for local suppliers of everything from tomatoes to civilian experts. Afghan NGOs are helping provide access to basic health care. But the international community remains stuck in the Afghanistan of 2002. There is still not enough consultation with the government about reconstruction

priorities; still too much reliance on foreign contractors, NGOs and experts with little or no experience in the country. Most of the aid agencies still do not consult each other when they plan projects in the same sector or region. Moreover, an overwhelming concern with security keeps the aid agencies from connecting with the Afghan people at a time when they are beginning to doubt the international community’s motives and commitment. Something is wrong when journalists know more about what’s going on with donor-financed projects than the aid agencies that finance them. By not encouraging Afghan leadership in reconstruction, the international community is actually doing harm. Approaches that may have made sense in 2002 may cost golden opportunities to strengthen Afghan capacity in 2009. By doing for the Afghans what they can do for themselves, the international community – including some U.N. agencies – delay the day the international military forces can return home. Where the international community lets the Afghans lead, the results have been exemplary. Three examples make the

The author is the Special Advisor on Development to the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General in Afghanistan.


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ATO’s new Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, sent a clear message on Afghanistan during his inaugural visit to Kabul in August: it is time to start giving the Afghan security forces the lead in the fight against the Taliban. The United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) has been saying the same about civilian reconstruction efforts for some time now. There are real opportunities to develop long-term Afghan leadership after the elections – if the international community trusts the Afghans to lead.

feature | afghanistan


17 point. In education, the ministry developed a common approach to school construction, textbooks and teacher training and convinced the donors to follow it. Today, school enrollment has increased from less than a million under the Taliban– with no girls – to more than seven million today, 40 percent of which are girls. The Minister of Public Health and the donors worked together to develop a plan to bring basic health care services to villages across the country. Today, more than 65 percent of the population has access to basic health care. The minister estimates that in each year since 2003, they have saved more than 89,000 newborns that would have died under previous conditions.

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The Government’s National Solidarity Program empowers community councils to identify local infrastructure needs, then provides the funding and skills to do the work. More than a dozen countries have supported the program. To date, more than 30,000 small scale projects have been completed in almost every district of the country, even some of the most dangerous. Conversely, where weak leadership prevailed, as in the old ministries of agriculture and commerce, the aid agencies continued operating independently, and produced none of the solid results described above. Without Afghan leadership, foreign aid often funds little more than exorbitant expatriate salaries, private security and overhead for foreign contractors. Thankfully, the new ministers of Agriculture and Commerce have developed new initiatives to focus the aid agencies working in their sectors. Soon we expect to see the results of their efforts. For example, the new Minister of Agriculture is focusing on greater food production, to turn Afghanistan into a food exporting country in a decade’s time. The new Minister of Commerce’s proposal for cutting the red tape to license new businesses will bolster the

private sector and create more tax revenue for the Afghan budget, as well as jobs for unemployed youth. What should the international community do differently in 2009 and beyond? It’s really very simple: like NATO, the aid agencies should let the Afghans lead where and when they can. More specifically, aid agencies and PRTs with funds at their disposal should: • support Afghan development initiatives, such as the new initiatives from the Ministers of Agriculture and Commerce; • fund development initiatives through trust funds managed by the World Bank, UNAMA and the Afghans and/ or provide funding directly to the Afghan budget; • implement development projects with capable Afghan firms and NGOs; • hire experts from the region who know the culture, the language and do not require excessive security to move around the country; • submit new reconstruction concepts for “peer review,” so the appropriate government ministry and other aid agencies can identify flaws, duplication and gaps before it is too late; • spread funds more evenly across the country, so forgotten but stable provinces in the north and the west do not become the next front in the insurgency; and • accept more risk, so that aid officers can get outside the fortress-like embassies in Kabul and the PRTs and see what is really happening. They must also stay for longer periods of time. It is also time for the international community and aid agencies to stop seeking “low hanging fruit.” They need to invest in large infrastructure – roads, rail and energy transmission lines – in the north and west, where security will not constantly interfere with construction. Large infrastructure is difficult, takes time and costs money. But if not now – after the unprecedented aid pledges in Paris last summer and with the insurgency growing – when? Infrastructure would pay off for years to come by generating trade, which means increased tax revenue and jobs, as

well as greater regional stability. Increasing Afghan leadership in reconstruction requires continued improvements in their approach as well. Most observers agree that the current cabinet is the strongest ever, with reform-minded ministers leading key sectors. The new government will have to place the best and the brightest in key ministries, executive positions and governors’ offices. The new government will also have to step up its commitment to designing good development programs, and begin implementation in the most critical sectors. The Afghan National Development Strategy (ANDS) is a solid road map, but unfocused. The Afghans should stick with the ANDS, but focus implementation on a few key sectors, and devote the necessary resources to designing solid programs. The new government should also very publicly identify and prosecute corrupt public officials, so that aid agencies and their legislatures have more confidence to invest directly in the government’s budget and programs. Finally, the Afghan private sector must also change its approach if it is to become the engine of growth predicted in the ANDS. Companies complaining about how hard it is to win international contracts will not improve their capacity, grow the economy or create jobs. Afghan companies have to bid on the aid agencies’ contracts, over and over, until they get it right and win. Then they must perform on time and within budget. Many of them already are doing this and the international community is beginning to notice. It is time to take stock of the tremendous progress made in Afghanistan’s public and private capacity since 2002, and to trust them to shoulder more of the responsibility for their own future. The international community, and the aid agencies in particular, must acknowledge that progress, change the habits most of them fell into in 2002, and let the Afghans that can lead, lead.

feature | afghanistan


16 ment that, helping Afghanistan establish a culture of meritocracy in all hiring and firing, and emphasizing accountability in all institutions of the government is critical to improving governance and curbing corruption.

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Finally, it is important to note that international peace-building efforts so far enjoy tremendous popular support in Afghanistan. Some of the most recent public opinion polls indicate that more than two-thirds of the Afghan people believe our country is headed in the right direction. A July poll by Glevum Associates found that an overwhelming majority of the Afghan people – more than 80 percent – believe the August elections will be inclusive and representative. Such overwhelming popular trust in the democratic process is a signal to the international community that the Afghan people are still optimistic about the future, support human rights and the rule of law, denounce extremist elements, and demand a future with democracy rather than militant extremism. But perhaps the most important lesson is

Ready to take responsibility for their own security. Photo: U.S. Army

that even after being neglected twice – first after the defeat of the Soviet Union and then after the ouster of the Taliban – the Afghan people still want to be part of the global community of nations. They are ready to give the international community another chance. Indeed, international peace operations have hardly been cheap, and it takes time, patience, and commitment. However, the alternative – neglecting Afghanistan again – in a world where security has rapidly globalized, is far more costly, as we vividly remember from the tragedy of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on

the United States. To this extent, failure in Afghanistan is not an option, and peace can hardly take hold in Pakistan and the rest of the region without stability in Afghanistan. Nor can global security be ensured without a consolidation of Afghanistan's democratic achievements of the past eight years. All stakeholders – Afghans and nonAfghans alike – should understand the gravity of committing to success by building upon the above lessons learned until the Afghan people can stand on their own and secure the future of Afghanistan.

feature | afghanistan

Dr. Najibullah Lafraie

A Surge of Support in Afghanistan But Can it Work?

21 Surging ahead. Photo: Lance Cpl. Brian D. Jones/U.S.M.C.

First, if the aim is to defeat the Taliban insurgency, adding even 50,000 more soldiers will fall short of what is needed, according to counterinsurgency experts. One estimate, based on the U.S. Army and Marine Corps counterinsurgency manual, puts the number of troops necessary to win against the Taliban at

roughly 660,000. While Canada is determined to withdraw from Afghanistan in 2011 and the European countries debate their levels of commitment, is it realistic to think the international community could muster half, or even one third, of that number? Opposition to the war in Afghanistan is already substantial in many Western countries. Increasing the number of troops will certainly contribute to an increase in this sentiment, making the very presence of Western troops less sustainable. When the United States and its allies started deploying more soldiers to Afghanistan in July 2009, the number of casualties more than doubled, both compared to the previous month as well as to July of last year. Would the staunch supporters of the war – such as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, or even U.S. President Barack Obama – remain unwavering if the level of casualties becomes an election issue? Increasing the number of Western troops will also increase Afghans’ resentment toward the coalition forces. The Afghans expected the Americans and their allies to leave soon after rescuing the country from the Taliban’s oppressive rule. Their

failure to capture the Taliban and AlQaeda leaders in combination with their prolonged stay, have given rise to conspiracy theories about their ‘nefarious’ intentions. In the Afghan press, one frequently comes across the question: “how is it possible for Bin Laden and Mullah Omar to evade the U.S. forces and their state-of-the-art technology and military equipment?” The implication is that these terrorists were allowed to go free in order to justify the U.S. presence in the region. General McChrystal’s strict order to his troops to avoid civilian casualties is commendable. But even if he succeeds in this task – and that is a big ‘if’ – it will remove only one element of resentment. More important is Afghans’ collective memory. Afghanistan has been subjected to foreign invasion throughout its long history. The Russian invasion is not even a generation old and remains fresh in Afghan minds. The British invasion may be more than 100 years in the past, but is certainly not forgotten. With such a collective memory, it is easy for people to see even a benign intervention as gross aggression, and the U.S. intervention has been far from benign. This is why the mere sight of Western soldiers – with or


The author is a lecturer at the University of Otago, New Zealand and served as Afghanistan Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1992 to 1996.

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


ETURNING from a trip to Afghanistan in early September 2006, General James Jones, the then top NATO commander and the current U.S. National Security Advisor, called for a ‘modest reinforcement’ of the NATO troops in the country and predicted that an additional 2,500 soldiers would turn the tide against the resurgent Taliban. At that time the number of foreign troops (under the command of International Security Assistance Force and Operation Enduring Freedom) was around 30,000. Today that number has reached 100,000, but the demand for more troops persists – some calling for as many as 45,000 more. Would this really help to bring security and stability to Afghanistan and subsequently provide an ‘exit strategy’ for the United States and its NATO allies? In addition to the experience of the past eight years, there are several other reasons why the surge strategy may not work in Afghanistan.

feature | afghanistan

The United States and its allies admit the incompetence of the Afghan security forces but see the troop surge as an opportunity to continue training them and also as an exit strategy for the future. The new NATO Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who is a staunch supporter of increasing the number of NATO forces, has called for doubling the Afghan security forces to 400,000, “so they can take care of their own security.” The problem with this approach is that until the Western troops are present in the country, Afghan soldiers and policemen will have little incentive to wage war against the Taliban. They join the army and the police out of necessity, and therefore are generally lacking motivation and morale, which are much more important than training.

22 The withdrawal of Canada - and others - may complicate matters. Photo: Prime Minister of Canada

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

17 without body armor – will contribute to Afghans’ sense of resentment. Those who pin their hope for victory in Afghanistan, or at least finding an exit strategy, on a troop surge take heart from the ‘success’ of the surge in Iraq. They forget, however, not only the differing situations in the two countries but also the fact that the surge was only one factor, among many others, contributing to relative security in Iraq – a security which may prove to be a short term palliative rather than a long term solution. Formation of the ‘Awakening Councils’ was equally – if not more – important. The United States has tried to repeat that experiment in Afghanistan, but it has failed so far. An equivalent of ‘Al-Qaeda in Iraq’ is missing in Afghanistan. Thus, there is no resentment toward the excessive extremism of foreign militants and terrorists to push the local insurgents toward the foreign occupier. Furthermore, Afghan insurgents do not seem to feel that their rivals are getting the upper hand as a result of their cooperation with the occupying forces. The overall situation in Afghanistan is completely different from that in Iraq. The American troops managed to provide security in various quarters in Baghdad

and other big cities by building high walls. How could they do that in Afghanistan? Where would they build the walls? Moreover, the mountainous terrain of Afghanistan, which has provided hideouts against foreign invaders for thousands of years, is considerably more difficult for U.S. tanks and APCs to conquer than were the plains of Iraq. The Iraqi insurgents, who were mostly used to a life of ease and comfort, were able to put up strong resistance against foreign occupation for several years. The Afghan insurgents, who have lived in harsh conditions for decades, will be able to put up a much stiffer resistance. Another key difference between Iraq and Afghanistan is the relative legitimacy of the central government and the capability of domestic security forces. By his insistence on a timetable for the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki won a measure of legitimacy which no election under occupation could bestow. He made such a demand because he believed he could rely on Iraqi forces to fight back the remaining insurgency, although this remains a work in progress. There is no such hope for the Afghan security forces against the resurgent insurgency, at least not in the foreseeable future.

If the troop surge is a failed strategy, what is the alternative? Replacing NATO forces with Muslim peacekeepers (as proposed in the Journal of International Peace Operations: Vol. 3, No. 1, 2007) still remains the only possible solution. According to a New York Times report in May 2009, a representative of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a leader of the insurgency, has claimed that he has discussed a similar proposal with American officials, which would be followed by national elections. The last part of this proposal may prove problematic with the Taliban; still it remains the most realistic solution to the Afghanistan problem.

Read Najib Lafraie’s 2007 Journal of International Peace Operations article at

feature | afghanistan

Audrey Roberts

A Unique Approach to Peacekeeping Afghanistan and the Human Terrain System

24 Mapping some human terrain. Photo: Staff Sgt. Michael L. Casteel/U.S. Army

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


ACRIFICE. War. Counterinsurgency. All abstract concepts, both in the United States and in Afghanistan. But because of them, the United States’ conventional military is undergoing serious institutional change. It is transforming from a conventional mindset and procedures in order to adapt to unconventional operating environments such as Iraq and Afghanistan. “Enablers”, not historically part of strategic, operational and tactical planning, are being integrated at most levels of the armed services. Law Enforcement Professionals (LEPs), FBI embeds, and Human Terrain Teams (HTTs) (part of the Human Terrain System (HTS)) are just a few of the enablers that have been integrated within the U.S. Army over the past few years. For the past year and a half, I’ve served on an HTT based out of Forward Operating Base (FOB) Salerno, Afghanistan, supporting three different U.S. Army brigades, their enablers, and other organizations operating in the brigades’ areas of operation. My views are based only on my experiences operating in six provinces of Afghanistan: Ghazni, Wardak, Logar, Paktya, Paktika and Khost.

The first HTT ever arrived in Afghanistan in February 2007. In sum, the Human Terrain Team mission statement is as follows: to conduct research to provide a nuanced understanding of the social, economic, political and cultural elements of the operational environment. In concept, HTTs are composed of a mix of enlisted soldiers, officers, and civilians from a wide range of professional backgrounds, including academic, development, law, and the military. Many people outside of the HTS project – both military and civilian, particularly the academic community – do not necessarily see the value-added of these unconventional teams. Bridges should be built, but creativity, transparency, and collaboration should also be fostered. An integrated understanding of the human terrain should be developed rather than gathering dozens of isolated assessments of the same area and people. There are, however, limits to this information sharing in military-academia and interagency relations and even within a Brigade Combat Team. HTTs feel no ownership over collection and analysis of the human terrain. Besides giving briefings and producing extensive assessments, we work shoulder-toshoulder with our soldiers and officers to

show them what we do and how they can do it too. Primarily through dialogue, we attempt to impart the complexities of the areas in which we operate. A common framework that I suggest people utilize is set out as follows: People often talk about Afghanistan as if it is static and unchanging. Rather, popular perceptions are shifting. According to the May 2009 International Republican Institute (IRI) Afghan Public Perceptions Survey, there has been a 50 percent drop in support for the government of Afghanistan since 2004. This is a critical moment of social change. Traditional institutions and networks may be weakening or breaking down (Sufi networks or tribal networks in some areas) and other kinds of networks and institutions (ethnic-based councils, as seen in Ghazni) may be rising in their stead, some with no historical precedence. Critical powerbrokers are not necessarily government officials, elders, and mullahs. Powerbrokers in communities might be the village elders, a teacher, a doctor, the educated youth, someone that works with the government, or someone that belongs to the complicated hierarchy of religious leaders. Elders may be respected, but not powerful, or powerful, but not respected.

The author spent the past 19 months on a Human Terrain Team in Afghanistan and holds an MA in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University.

feature | afghanistan

Some ‘elders’ that step forward to interface with the government or Coalition Forces might not be considered representative. Afghanistan is often discussed in essentialist terms, such as geo-political, tribalism, ethnicity or Islam. In approaching Afghanistan in essentialist terms, one reduces the people to these things and forgets that people often act independently. One example of this essentialist tendency is the prevalent view that tribal mapping can be used to understand Afghanistan. The problem is not idea of the tribal mapping, but rather viewing tribal mapping as an end in itself. Although we may know that a certain tribe is in a certain place, the map cannot describe levels of tribal unity, the strength or weakness of the tribal leadership, other networks that might be more significant than the tribe, or whether the village is the primary social unit rather than tribe.

Local-level considerations are critical. Neighboring villages might have incredibly different social dynamics at play. One HTT developed the ‘three village war’ paradigm, similar to the ‘three block war’ paradigm. The three block war paradigm proposes that a military could be conducting kinetic operations on one city block, stabilization operations on another, and development or nation-building on a third. The same can be said within the framework of villages in Afghanistan. Lack of development does not denote lack of awareness. A village is often considered a bound thing and treated as such, but regional and even global

Bridging the divide. Photo: Staff Sgt. Michael L. Casteel/U.S. Army

dynamics impact the most seemingly isolated areas. For example, there were rural demonstrations during the IsraeliGaza war. Large portions of the population have access to radio and cell phone coverage. Many families have close relatives who live abroad as migrant workers, students, and refugees. Additionally, they have lived through many different kinds of governments, including monarchies, communism, Islamic republic, local autonomy during the civil war, ‘warlordism’ and today, a centralized presidency. The government has a very limited reach and people often experience it through the weakest level of governance at the sub -national level – the district level. People have often said that they feel caught between the government and the enemy. Around 2006, people became increasingly disillusioned with the government due to inaction, broken promises, predation, and corruption. Coupled with financial stressors, perceived favoritism and exclusion, these problems have caused many populations to become increasingly

disenchanted (economically, politically and socially) with the central government. In the last one and a half years, three civilians on HTTs in Iraq and Afghanistan have been killed, with seven wounded. Countless U.S. soldiers that HTTs have worked to support have been killed. It is hard not to ask “What is it worth?” because the risk is very real. Is it for engaged scholarship, for Afghanistan, or for love of country? For me, it is for the very real effect that HTTs have on the units to which we are attached. It is for our soldiers and officers. It is for the hundreds of Afghan villagers that I have touched, seen laugh, cry and yell in anger, Afghans that shared their lives with us. Everything we do in Afghanistan has an effect on the people here in the United States, and everything the people here do has an effect on us. For better or worse, we have become part of the social structure in Afghanistan. We are effecting change by building relationships through understanding between our soldiers and the Afghans with whom we work so closely.

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A second example of this essentialist tendency is the idea that the tenets of Pashtunwali, the philosophy of Pashtuns, are absolute, such as the tenet of nanawati (sanctuary). Some communities report that they will not provide sanctuary for the enemy. Some have even made tribal treaties with sets of rules and sanctions against housing known criminals or people fighting against the government. If someone in these villages is caught harboring a criminal or an insurgent, the villager might be driven away and their home burned.


government affairs | congressional oversight


Katrina Mason

Congressional Oversight of Contractors The Necessity of Cooperation Between Government and the Private Sector Commissioner Christopher Shays. Photo: U.S. House of Representatives

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


FTER Congress mandated increased oversight and investigation of serious incidents involving defense contractors, numerous Congressional committees have taken steps toward auditing the private sector. The May 5, 2009 Kabul embassy shooting received much attention. Intoxicated security personnel from Paravant LLC fired on an approaching civilian vehicle, killing one and wounding two Afghan civilians. This is a clear example of security personnel having acted negligently during their contract, and actions must be taken to prevent similar cases from occurring.

contractors not only delegitimize this essential service but also avoid the fundamental issues while impeding progress. During the Commission on Wartime Contracting hearings, former Congressman Christopher Shays repeatedly asserted the great utility of contractors as well as the necessity of their continued use. Moreover, the Government Accountability Office audit in July 2009 reported that contractors have successfully supplemented the U.S. military. Therefore, continued animosity toward contractors results only in temporary political gain, while wasting taxpayer dollars.

Investigations have not only included serious incidents. Some committees are requiring documentation of contractor vetting practices, company policy for use of arms by personnel, and rules for the use of force. The committees are proactively working to fulfill their mandate. Nevertheless, more effective means could be used in order to protect the contractor’s right to privacy.

The more advantageous approach involves collaboration between contractors and the government. Collaboration allows contractors to understand the government’s needs and efficiently and effectively increase oversight. Senator Susan Collins stated in the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Subcommittee hearing on the Kabul Embassy incident that the federal government needed to (1) set explicit standards, (2) provide precise contract requirements, and (3) have diligent program management and oversight by all agencies. If implemented, the recommendations will increase transparency and

The current administration and Congress seek to fix underlying problems in the industry, and in doing so, create future sustainability. However, increasing pressures and rising accusations against

enhance the ability of contractors to properly serve their clients. Two actions must be implemented for Senator Collins’s recommendations to be successful. The government must increase the number of contract monitors and actualize third-party certification requirements for all government contracts. The number of contract monitors is drastically disproportionate to the number of government contracts. In addition, the government should implement third-party certification that will require each contractor to undergo proper vetting and training in accordance with specific contract needs. The standards will then be certified by a designated outside party such as a trade organization. Once the company is certified, they are cleared to receive government contracts. Third-party certification will fill in the gap of oversight and management and provide guideposts for the industry, allowing contractors to understand the level of quality the government requires. By following the implementation steps and by cooperating with contractors, the government will achieve proper oversight and quality contracting services while decreasing tax payer dollars spent.

The author is a Government and Legal Affairs Associate at IPOA.

insight| inspectors-general

David M. Verhey

Expecting Inspection Inspectors-General in Afghanistan: Key Considerations for Private Security Contractors

29 The sun is setting on the era of lax oversight. Good. Photo: Jim Hinnant/U.S. Army

With the expansion of contingency operations in Afghanistan and the potential that the Defense Department will soon establish a theater-wide contract for security services in that area, the role of private security companies will become even more central to U.S. and coalition reconstruction and humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan. But even as that role grows, the federal government is poised to impose much greater oversight of security services through the work of inspectors-general at a number of key agencies, including the Department of Defense, the Department of State, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR). It is important for companies to understand the role of the inspectors-general and what steps private security companies

can take to stay on the right side of the law. But it is equally important to understand the consequences companies may face if they do not take heed. In June of 2003, United States Protection and Investigations, LLC (USPI), a Texasbased company, was awarded an US$8.4 million contract to provide security services for the Kandahar-Kabul road construction project overseen by USAID. During the course of USPI's contract performance, federal authorities began to investigate the company's billing practices, and thereafter initiated a full-scale investigation conducted by the USAID Inspector General, the FBI, and prosecutors from the Justice Department. In October of 2008, a federal Grand Jury charged that USPI, its two owners, and two other contractors conspired to defraud the United States and committed major fraud and wire fraud by “defraud [ing] the United States in connection with the war and rebuilding efforts in Afghanistan.” Specifically, the government charged that USPI inflated expenses for rental cars, fuel, and additional security personnel and submitted fraudulent invoices for payment. All defendants face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. There




companies to keep in mind: 1. Understand the Power of the Office The role of the U.S. inspector general was first created in 1776 when then-General George Washington employed a speciallyappointed overseer to examine and manage the discipline and combat readiness of the armed forces. Since that time, Congress expanded the mission of this office by establishing independent inspectors general within a number of federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of State, and USAID. It has also created special inspectors general for Iraq Reconstruction and Afghanistan Reconstruction. Although all of the inspectors-general are charged with somewhat different functions and priorities, they all share broad statutory powers and three main responsibilities: 1. to conduct audits and investigations of government programs; 2. to promote economy, efficiency, and effectiveness in the administration of government programs, and to prevent and detect fraud and abuse; and 3. to inform agency heads and Congress about problems and deficiencies


The author is a partner at the Washington, D.C. office of Holland & Knight LLP.


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


ITH the recent increase of U.S. combat personnel in Afghanistan and a broadening of NATO's overall mission in Central Asia, the Obama Administration has authorized nearly $4 billion of new construction – including barracks, training areas, and airfields – for this nation of almost 33 million people.

insight| inspectors-general

29 relating to the administration of government programs. As they perform these functions, the inspectors general work closely with the Department of Justice and other law enforcement entities to both identify and prosecute criminal and civil claims against agency and contractor personnel for violating federal laws, especially the False Claims Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. By all accounts, these officials intend to use their broad powers with greater focus and intensity as reconstruction efforts continue. 2. Understand the Risk

30 journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

Companies and their personnel are always at risk of a major audit or investigation by one or more of the inspectors-general. Most security companies who do business in Afghanistan (or any other area of combat operations) inevitably face major management and operational issues related to cost overruns, supply-chain problems, recordkeeping difficulties, as well as employee qualifications, training, safety and supervision. The inspectorsgeneral watch these things very closely, and will often examine business operations by reference to specific clues or hints (the USAID "fraud indicators") which officials may use to identify possible fraud or other illegal activity. Examples of such evidence may include: 1. contractor records that are incomplete or missing documentation; 2. alteration or modification of contract documents; or 3. failure to perform accounting reconciliation with respect to contract payments, daily transactions, and/or inventory. It is also crucial to remember that the people who review performance in these areas are not the same program managers or contracting officers with whom companies may already have developed a working relationship. They are independent and possibly suspicious, and may treat a lack of documentation as a failure to perform a function.

An audit-rich environment. Photo: U.S. Army

conduct a full audit or investigation. Moreover, security companies also face the pressure of working in a country that has virtually no existing infrastructure, in addition to a long history of corruption and instability. When these factors are combined with the stress of theater combat operations and human error, it is very likely that things will go wrong. No matter how careful a company may be, there will often be one or more employees or subcontractors who contribute in some measure to inefficiency, waste, fraud, and abuse. Inspectors-general are committed to dealing with these problems, and they are very focused on obtaining results. 3. Performance and Documentation Companies must make every effort to stay in compliance with current U.S. policies and regulations, including the new Department of Defense regulation governing private security companies, which require companies to self-report deficiencies in performance and costoverruns. Additionally, companies should ensure that their employees are properly trained, and they must promptly report information concerning possible violations of laws, regulations, or incidents of waste or mismanagement. According to John Brummet, the Assistant Inspector General for Audits for SIGAR, contractors should “document why decisions are made, and make sure that personnel communicate clearly with the sponsoring agency.” Oversight authorities are then able to understand why certain actions were taken and will be less likely to

4. Assume the Worst and Plan Ahead Companies should make sure that they understand their rights and responsibilities. They must also put their company policies in writing and share them with their personnel. Employees must be carefully trained on these policies, including training concerning the company’s own compliance and ethics program. A policy and related training should also focus on how to respond to potential investigations. Finally, if problems do arise and an inspector-general initiates an investigation, companies should immediately be honest and cooperative. Lying, altering or destroying any documents – especially time sheets and invoices – is a poor strategy. If all the files or records are not available, it is important to be honest, and not to mislead investigators. After all, if it is determined that a company purposely tried to mislead investigators, it could lead to an obstruction of justice charge. As government involvement in reconstruction grows, the federal inspectorgeneral will be expanding their oversight of government-funded contracts, especially for security and support services. Companies providing private security functions in Afghanistan should understand the role of these officials and the challenges faced in complying with federal regulations.

insight| crime and terrorism

Col. Tim Collins OBE

The Spectrum Of Subversion Fighting Subversive Activity From Crime to Terrorism

31 We’ve nailed a culprit. Photo: Eskinder Debebe/U.N.

Addressing Civil Servants in Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, President Asif Ali Zardari admitted: Militants and extremists emerged on the national scene and challenged the state not because the civil bureaucracy was weakened and demoralized but because they were deliberately created and nurtured as a policy to achieve short-term tactical objectives. Let’s be truthful and make a candid admission of the reality. What he was in fact saying is that whilst the United States, the United Kingdom and France maintained strategic resorts in the form of nuclear weapons, several nations in the region maintained a second strategic resort, that of subversive groups.

However, one need look no further than Provisional Irish Republican Army to understand what has been true all along: subversion has criminal roots and political goals, is very expensive and needs its military machine to both further its political goals and to protect its financial base from competitors. In fact, a helpful way to understand the complex relationship between crime, violence and political dissidence is to see it as a continuum or a spectrum, the ‘Spectrum of Subversion.’ On the left of the spectrum is crime. ‘Terror crime’ is incredibly expensive; nothing outside of massive external state funding, on a scale not seen since the American-Saudi-Emirati funding of the mujahedeen in Afghanistan, could sustain a prolonged subversive campaign. Without inherent large-scale funding, subversive groups will always require a criminal enterprise to support them in the volume, consistency and degree that the beast demands. This method has the added benefit of creating a parallel bureaucracy and encourages the collapse of law and order, penal systems and state control. The target populations, often benefiting from this black economy, also begin to rely on it as legitimate commerce withers, giving subversive elements yet another level of control. The criminal enterprise

will be compact and diverse at the very left of the spectrum and will progress to massive undertakings, in some cases with a global reach, towards the center, typified by the cocaine trade that funds The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC), the heroin trade on which the Taliban depend in Afghanistan, or the multi-billion dollar oil smuggling racket in Iraq. It is also an effective money laundering facility and a means of establishing links with other subversive groups. The Provisional Irish Republican Army has traded drugs for terror technology with FARC for over a decade now. The overlap of political violence and crime in the center of the spectrum is considerable, as the pseudo-military portion moves across into terrorist cells and on to whole armies capable of dominating swathes of national territory, such as FARC or the Naxalite groups in India. It is this part of the spectrum that catches the eye and the imagination of governments and military planners. Subversive groups seek to goad governments and administrations to act from the heart and not from the head, intending to gain control across the spectrum. The acme of subversive activity is to provoke

The author is Chief Executive Officer of New Century Consulting.


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


CROSS the globe, subversive groups are now recognized as the major threat to Western security in the postmodern world. Asymmetric warfare has become modern warfare. The global war on terrorist-inspired crime must take a wide view of the problem if it is to be defended against, countered and ultimately controlled. Albert Einstein said, “I know not what the Third World War will be fought with – but the Fourth World War will be fought with sticks and stones.” We may very well be in the middle of World War III.

insight| crime and terrorism


31 a hysterical reaction that has the effect of disenchanting the population and bringing about international opprobrium, undermining government authority and legitimacy. Some would cite drone attacks in Pakistan’s border regions with Afghanistan as an example of this.

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

At the political end of the spectrum is the goal – political influence. Frequently it is the least developed part, but it is certainly the most influential. Whilst some insurgencies result from the collapse of a state and its legitimate armed forces, as was the case in post liberation Iraq, some grow from a perception of civil, political, religious or even nationalistic grievances. Carl von Clausewitz contended in the 18th century that “war is a continuation of politics by other means.” He referred to warfare amongst Westphalian nation states, but the same runs true for insurgencies. Successful counterinsurgencies bring the subversives to the negotiating table by a combination of military attrition and political incentive. So what strategy works best to counter this form of modern warfare? The first and clear priority is to recognize that these groups are criminal. To award them combatant status is a blunder. Soldiers and policemen – even coalition soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan – have a mandate grounded in international law to do their duty. That may include detaining or even killing insurgents. The subversives have no legal or moral right to kill these soldiers and police, or those who it is their duty to protect – the population. Such attacks are murder or attempted murder. Having recognized that this is a criminal conspiracy, a measured and proportionate response must be formulated. There is a crucial military role in this, but in support of the civil authority, not as an end in itself. Criminal conspiracies differ from political conspiracies in that it is easier to see and understand the criminal component; we have the phenomena in the modern age of what can be described as a criminal conspiracy that amounts to an insurgency. One example is the struggle against narcotrafficers in Mexico. The drug cartels are largely well funded and

have often organized along military lines. Their aim is individual or group benefit and they use political influence to support crime as a means rather than as an end. But the ‘Spectrum of Subversion’ still applies. The government must formulate a strategy to attack the subversives across the spectrum. This is a team effort; to succeed, the government needs a political strategy coupled with a civil and penal strategy frequently backed by military support for the civil authority. There is no purely military solution. It is widely recognized that any strategy should seek to: • Act within the rule of law • Secure its own base areas • Act with a coordinated strategy • Set a timeframe for progress to accompany the strategy; and • Seek to defeat the ideology of the insurgents and not the individual or societal group, by separating the insurgents from the people. With a strategy in place, the next aim is to seek to control the struggle across the spectrum. Control of the criminal part of the spectrum is crucial. Where criminal enterprises have been relentlessly targeted and destroyed, it is frequently the case that they are simply taken over by a larger and often more malevolent entity. Such was the case in Colombia, where FARC and Ejercito Liberacion Nacional (ELN) took control of the trade in cocaine after the destruction of the drug cartels. By infiltrating the criminal end of the

conspiracy – which is one of an insurgency’s most vulnerable parts, governments can control the levers that give the rest of the spectrum life. Seneca said “the sinews of war are gold.” This runs true of insurgencies as well. The U.S. Army/ U.S.M.C. Counterinsurgency Field Manual states in Chapter 1: “Funding greatly influences an insurgency’s character and vulnerabilities.” Over successive campaigns the United Kingdom’s approach to counterinsurgency has been to infiltrate the insurgency through its core membership and influence it away from violence. The main tool of this approach is deploying specialist police intelligence units, also known as ‘Special Branch’, both to better understand insurgencies but also to act as a lethal tool by which to destroy the insurgency. Finally, because the spectrum of subversion operates across international boundaries, it must be fought across those boundaries too. That means international cooperation and intelligence sharing. It means a re-emphasis on acting within the rule of law. For that to happen, the insurgent activities must be recorded and investigated to the highest standards of policing, so that international warrants can be raised based on witness statements, forensic evidence and, if available, DNA. By adopting a common approach, a rising tide lifts all boats and the standard of international justice is served. The international community must strive for this. Terrorist criminals must be hunted across the face of the earth like the Nazis of the last war. This is our Third World War.

Iraqi counter-terrorism police. Photo: Maj. Jeff Parker/MNFI

insight| pakistan

Amb. Joe Melrose (Ret.)

Pakistan in Perspective Pakistan Searches for its Identity in a Time of Crisis

33 Photo: Tech. Sgt. Joseph McLean/U.S.A.F.

The current problems in Pakistan are not new, despite what many on all sides of the political and cultural divide would like us to think; they are not primarily related to

American foreign policy, the Cold War or Osama Bin Laden. To try and understand the web of motivations and challenges facing Pakistan today, we must look closely at the events surrounding the movement for Indian independence and the fallout from partition. Most of the issues that threaten to tear Pakistan apart are rooted in a failure to address the consequences of 1947. Quaid-e-Azam (the honorary name given Jinnah) is still a revered figure 60 years after his death. As Stephen Phillip Cohen says in “The Idea of Pakistan”, he was both the Thomas Paine and the George Washington of Pakistani independence and is perhaps the only person beloved by all the ethnicities, sects, classes and divisions of Pakistani society. Yet, he was an unlikely candidate for that role. A Karachi-born son of Gujarati Muslim immigrants, themselves descended from an elite Hindu warrior-king caste, he was educated in London and spent most of his formative years in Bombay. Urbane, sophisticated and brilliant, he became one of the most prominent lawyers in turn-of– the-century India. His rhetorical skill, intellectual heft, pragmatism and political sensibility led him to become a leading figure in and stirring advocate for the burgeoning Indian home rule movement.

As an activist for the rights of the minority Muslim population, his logical arguments for home rule appealed across sectarian lines and he became an important and respected member of the Indian National Congress. Although Jinnah left the Congress Party in 1920 over a political disagreement regarding the First World War, his influence on the broader independence movement increased as he devoted himself fulltime to the Muslim League. His broad argument in favor of increased provincial autonomy, combined with formalized protection of minority rights, is one that should be looked at anew. It is important to note that, at the beginning, the idea of Pakistan was not envisioned as a separate, independent country, but as a regional grouping inside a federal system with provincial autonomy. This idea had originally gained traction among many Muslim leaders throughout India because it provided a means to ensure a level of political protection from the domination of the Hindu majority without the threat of domination by a provincial majority, which in the case of Sindh in particular, meant Punjabi. Unfortunately, what started as a political disagreement among independence

The author is Chair of the International Relations Program at Ursinus College and President of Melrose Associates LLC.


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


EPTEMBER 11th is a day that will forever live in infamy for Americans. For the past decade it has been the prism through which we in the West have viewed the unrest and precarious security situation in Pakistan. On that day in 2001, we were reminded of the deadly consequences that untamed rhetoric, disillusionment and economic poverty can reap. However, in Pakistan, September 11th has a different significance, no less influential and no less meaningful. It is the day in 1948 that Mohammed Ali Jinnah lost his private battle with tuberculosis; many of the issues left unresolved by his passing continue to influence the politics of the region. Jinnah’s death, one short year after the wrenching events of partition, left the nascent country he was instrumental in founding without its primary transformational figure. In many ways it is that earlier 9/11, in the wake of partition and its impact on the formation of Pakistani national identity, that has had an equally significant – though far less realized by Americans – influence on events in Pakistan today.

insight| pakistan


33 movement elites on the nature of postindependence democracy soon gave rise to fear and mistrust. Rhetorical arguments made by the legally trained Jinnah and Nehru which were meant to strengthen their bargaining positions before a negotiated compromise were amplified by what can only be described as weak journalism. As fear gave rise to physical violence, it became clear that each side had opened a Pandora’s Box of old rivalries and resentments and that a twostate solution was inevitable.

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

The areas that make up Pakistan today were never unified, and therefore, the idea of Pakistan did not begin with the call for an independent state. Each area (putting aside the issue of Bangladesh), has its own unique culture, language and political traditions. While there are similarities, particularly between Sindh and Baluchistan as well as Punjab and NWFP, they had different economies, levels of sectarian integration, and views on traditional roles and experiences with the colonial government. In general, the economies and culture of the region were not connected north-south but rather east -west; Karachi had more in common with Bombay than with Lahore. Jinnah was one of the few people able to transcend these divisions. The most traumatic event of partition was the massive migration of people across both sides of the new border. An estimated 14.5 million, evenly split between Hindu and Muslim, left their homes in fear. Untold millions were killed during a maelstrom of violence unleashed by the chaos of dividing an integrated administrative structure. Everything was left rudderless in anticipation of partition;


Specializing in Mosquito/Malaria control IPOA Member since February 2009

reprisals begat reprisals, and with the colonial administration busy dividing flashlights in a precise 80-20 split, it became clear that there were no individual consequences for violence. Moreover, when these new immigrants settled, local provinces were taxed with trying to handle their integration. In Karachi the population tripled in the span of five years. The whole economy was uprooted – by mid-1947, £250 million had been taken out of Punjabi banks and deposited in India. Even the irrigation system straddled the border. In Sindh, the tension was pronounced because, unlike Punjab and NWFP, the new immigrants were of different ethnicities. Expectations were high, but fear of the newcomer was overwhelming, the economy was in turmoil and resentments thrived. As is often the case, middle and upper class political games had been played with the lives of the lower classes. Against this backdrop, Jinnah became the first Governor-General of an independent Pakistan. Unfortunately, as his health began to fail, he increasingly spent his time at his official retreat preoccupied with the remaining political questions of territory. Following his death the issue of Kashmir, which had not been resolved, overtook practical issues relating to the integration of the new immigrants, muhajirs. It was easier for his successors to use resentments to gain popularity than to deal with the hard issues raised by economic and social upheaval. The new state of Pakistan was left not only without a leader but without a unifying national identity or a vision beyond Islam and separation from India. As time passed, resentments metastasized and differences, instead of commonalities, were highlighted. The problems facing Pakistan today are real and they are basic. Whether they involve the preservation of local autonomy and culture or the lack of economic opportunity, they are, in many ways, left over from the upheaval of partition. When local issues relating to culture or economics flare up, such as the seemingly cyclical Karachi riots, the answer has been to “double down,” increasing or decreas-

Mohammed Ali Jinnah. Photo: Pakistan Embassy

ing central authority depending on the location. This has tended to only temporarily relieve the problem and little has been done to breach the huge gap between the economic classes. That is not to say nothing has been done, merely that short term needs often take precedence. In general, the political leadership, whether military or civilian, has not been willing or able to develop, let alone act on, a long term vision of the disparate parts of Pakistan working together. The foreign elements currently causing disruptions in Baluchistan and NWFP are able to gain support by playing upon the same resentments that the political class has always fanned, compounding the problem. Unfortunately, there is no quickly implemented answer; any solution requires steps that neither the Pakistani political leadership nor the West will find advantageous in the short term. Pakistan must find a national identity beyond opposition to India that is neither ethnically or religiously defined. In short, the only people who can “fix” Pakistan are the Pakistanis themselves. Someone or some group must continue the work of Jinnah and provide a unifying national vision. In that regard, there is some cause for hope. The tragedy of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team and the assassination of Benazir Bhutto unified, if only temporarily, the country in grief. The Lawyers’ Movement, whose protests restored democracy, was able to transcend ethnic boundaries in support of the rule of law. Perhaps this time it will be the lawyers that unify, and not divide.

insight| air force contracting

Simon Chesterman

The Air Force Perspective on Contracting Legal and Ethical Questions for Private Support of Air Operations

35 Photo: R.A.A.F.

Australia’s 2007 Defense and Industry Policy Statement describes Australia’s defense industry as a ‘cornerstone of our national security.’ Around A$12 billion of tax-payers money is spent with suppliers on defense every year – more than half of the A$23 billion defense budget. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is said to rely on industry to adapt or manufacture equipment, for repair and maintenance, and for general support functions such as catering and base support in medical, information-technology and construction services. A further justifica-

tion is that in time of war, the ADF may need to be able to draw on the logistical capacities of the private sector. A subsidiary goal is to create opportunities for Australian firms, including through the Skilling Australia’s Defense Industry program and the Australian Industry Capability program. One example of this is Australia’s involvement in the Joint Strike Fighter program, which has created opportunities for Australian companies to compete successfully on one of the largest defense programs in history. Reasons to Rely on the Private Sector Putting this into the context of larger debates over outsourcing, there are three reasons to rely on industry. Within the armed services, air power is perhaps most dependent on technology. It is likely that air power will continue to be heavily technology dependent. This will include, among other things, increasing use of armed and unarmed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The cost barriers to entry can be prohibitive and may require a country like Australia to rely not merely on industry but also on allies. The development cost of the Joint Strike Fighter, for example, would have consumed a few years of Australia’s total defense budget.

In the case of personnel, hiring from the private sector can enable swift increases and decreases in numbers – though in practice, hires that are meant to be ‘temporary’ can quickly become ‘essential.’ A third possible reason is that there is value in itself in having an effective Australian defense industry. The argument that this is important from the perspective of creating jobs may hold some weight politically, but it is dubious economics and, given the restrictions on defense expenditure (even with a 3 percent real increase), dubious defense policy. But there is an argument that due to Australia’s remoteness and special circumstances, having some local capacity is a strategic asset. Given the expense that would be necessary to do this effectively, however, it is probably a losing argument in general, though there may be some special cases worthy of consideration. Reasons Not to Rely on Industry The traditional concerns about the private sector are sometimes grounded on the belief that there is something immoral about killing for money, as opposed to killing for love of country. As a survey of


The author is Director of the New York University School of Law Singapore Program and Associate Professor at the National University of Singapore.

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


HEN it comes to privatization and reliance on contractors, the issues facing air forces would seem, on the face of it, to be quite different from those confronted by other services. This is true in part because air forces tend not to operate in theater alongside contractors. But it has led to air forces not being required to address some of the opportunities and the costs of dealing with the private civilian sector, outside of traditional procurement. And that the opportunities and costs are going to become more relevant over time. This article focuses primarily on the case of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), but these arguments are applicable to other air forces.

insight| air force contracting


35 the history of mercenarism shows, that is a relatively recent conceit and not the most helpful in formulating procurement policies or service contracts for what is, anyway, a professional army.

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

More persuasive is the problem of accountability. The concern is the use of potentially lethal force in an environment where accountability may be legally uncertain and practically unlikely. Contractors have uncertain status under international humanitarian law (depending on whether they ‘directly participate’ in hostilities) and typically operate outside the chain of command. Again, this might seem a little removed from air force operations, but we now have examples in some countries of contractors piloting UAVs in theater. In the not too distant future we could have contractors piloting UAVs with kill capacity, or at least directly assisting in the targeting process. A third reason for concern is the different incentives that operate for a contractor serving shareholders and uniformed personnel serving their country. Discussions of this issue frequently paint a somewhat idealized picture of the patriotism and competence of full-time government employees, and underestimate the patriotism of many contractors. But there are reasonable grounds to be wary of inserting a profit motive into military activities. This is not new to air forces, which have long dealt with problematic incentives of how to retain pilots who may be attracted by higher salaries in civilian airlines – there is a rich academic literature on the sticks and carrots that air forces can use. But the closer one gets to the theater of operations, the more problematic this can become. A contractor may ultimately make an assessment of the risk that he or she is being paid to take, and determine that the compensation is inadequate. Such a contractor may suffer financial penalties for refusing service, but if operating outside the chain of command there is not much more that one can do.

Successful Contracting So how can one maximize the benefits and minimize the risks? Obviously one needs to use the legal means available – this includes effective use of criminal law, civil litigation, licensing, contracts and nontraditional regulation such as industry associations. But most important are the provisions that are established prior to the decision to contract. One of the key misconceptions about accountability is that following revelation of some scandal, the prosecution of an individual or the termination of a company’s contract is ‘accountability.’ But if it takes a scandal to create an accountability mechanism – an inquiry, for example – then that is not true accountability. This can be thought of as the ‘accountability when’ problem. Accountability should be about more than just punishing spectacularly bad behavior. It should also be about encouraging good day-to-day behavior. Sunlight, as U.S. Justice Louis Brandeis once wrote, is the best disinfectant. But transparency is important not just because it reduces the opportunities for corruption. Being open to public scrutiny also encourages better decisions. Transparency should therefore be required in the decision whether to privatize certain functions, in explaining the reasons why those functions will be carried out by private rather than public actors, and detailing the process of how contracts will be awarded and overseen. If transparency can encourage virtuous behavior, participation can encourage sensible behavior. This raises a different sort of accountability problem – accountability to whom? Frequently there is only accountability up to those who pay the bills. We also need accountability down to those who consume the services (in particular uniformed personnel) and, potentially, those adversely affected by them. Third and finally is a need for lawyers. Oversight and review mechanisms need

to be set up in advance, and should normally comprise two forms. Oversight is day to day supervision and management. One needs adequate resources devoted to this. A U.S. Government Accountability Office report concluded that not only did the U.S. Department of Defense have inadequate oversight of contractors, it was not even in a position to identify how many contractors it employed. One needs, therefore, a rational oversight structure as well as training of personnel to perform this function effectively. Review, by contrast, is a mechanism in place to respond to problems. Here one needs a clear procedure to deal with noncompliance with terms of the contract or violation of the agreement. It is also helpful to have whistleblower protection to encourage revelation of problems not picked up by oversight or in the normal course of review. On the question of whether there should be limits to privatization, we can take a lesson from the infamous shootings in Nisour Square by Blackwater personnel. Three weeks after the incident, half a dozen FBI investigators prepared to fly out to examine the crime scene and interview witnesses. Under its State Department contract, initial plans determined that the investigators’ security and transportation outside the Green Zone to be provided by Blackwater. Following protests, the FBI announced that in order to avoid ‘even the appearance’ of a conflict of interest, their agents would be protected by U.S. government personnel. All of this points to the challenges of regulating this new phenomenon, and of identifying the appropriate role that private industry should play in supporting the public function of the military. There is a need for a governance regime that strikes a balance between commercial and public interests, between voluntary and imposed regulation. In the absence of such a regime the marketplace of war will continue to be regulated only by bankruptcy and death.

columnists | obama in africa

Amb. Herman Cohen (Ret.)

Obama in Africa America’s President Sends Africa a Message of “Tough Love”

37 Change Africa can believe in. Photo: White House

In a major address to the Ghanaian Parliament, Obama laid out his administration’s Africa policy. He spoke in subtle terms, but he was clearly indicating two major adjustments in U.S. policy. First, Obama is the first American President to speak the truth to African power. After the euphoria marking the end of colonialism in the early 1960s, the newly independent African governments adopted economic and political policies that guaranteed failure in their quest for sustainable economic development. The nationalization and politicization of major enterprises, accompanied by the adoption of the African ‘one party’ state, guaranteed negative economic growth for the first 20 years after independence. As the first wave of African leadership plunged their countries into economic

decline, not a single European or American government spoke frankly to them. Nobody said: “Your excellencies, you are making terrible errors in your economic management.” The reason was obvious. So soon after independence, the European and American leaders did not want to be accused of neocolonialism. After 1980, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund started to play the role of ‘bad cop’ by insisting on macroeconomic reforms in return for debt rescheduling and concession lending. These programs helped stop the economic free-fall for most African countries, but did not alter the existing political and economic barriers to substantial and sustainable growth. In effect, Obama told the Africans that the time has come to stop blaming their problems on the external world – colonialism, capitalism, great power rivalries. The Africans have to look to themselves for both the reasons and the solutions. The United States cannot want economic development more than the Africans; Africa has to start pulling up its own socks. Second, Obama sent a signal to Africa that America’s foreign aid policy is

moving toward a new focus on agriculture and food security. This policy shift has been long overdue. Skyrocketing food prices in 2007 and 2008 shocked African governments out of their complacency about food security. They had forgotten that 40 years earlier, Africa was one of the world’s major food growers and exporters. Bad farm policies caused production to go down and imports to go up. The situation will not improve as the food consumption of over two billion Chinese and Indians expands to reflect rising living standards. Obama’s determination to shift focus in Africa to food development instead of food aid will not be easily realized. There is no political constituency in the United States for agricultural development abroad. On the contrary, the American farmer does not want to promote competition. But Obama is the first American President to give agriculture a head of steam, and he deserves support for his initiative. There is a third subject that Obama did not enunciate directly, but is there if one reads between the lines: the subject of Africa’s chronic dependency on foreign aid, an issue that clouds the future of

The author is a former Assistant Secretary of State for Africa and is President of Cohen & Woods International.


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


ARACK Obama rightly chose Ghana as the one country to visit on his first trip to Africa as President. Among the majority of African countries that do not enjoy the dubious benefit of oil and gas wealth, Ghana stands out as a role model for both its sincere transition to democracy, and its positive approach to market-based economic reform.

columnists | obama in africa

agriculture. But until the agricultural sector regains the dominant position it held 50 years ago, African economies will continue to stagnate.

A speech almost as impressive as the décor, but not as impressive as the wallpaper. Photo: Chuck Kennedy


seven percent growth per year.

Ghana and other high performing countries in Africa, such as Tanzania, Mali, Senegal, Uganda and Rwanda.

38 journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

Take a look at the Ghanaian government’s budget for 2009. During this year, Ghana is receiving approximately one billion dollars in external financial support from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and a consortium of 20 international donors, including the United States. This will represent seven percent of Ghana’s gross domestic product and 25 percent of government revenue for the year. Ghana’s dependency on donor budgetary support year after year to fulfill its annual revenue needs is typical of those African countries that are listed as superior development performers. One might argue that the good performers merit the international support they are receiving. Unfortunately, the annual donor budgetary support package is taken for granted; it is available every year like clockwork. The result is a reluctance on the part of many African governments to make the tough decisions needed to break through the current low ceiling of five to

What these countries need at their current stage of development is 10 to 15 percent growth if they are to catch up to Malaysia, South Korea and Mauritius. All of these countries had the same GDP per capita as Ghana at the time of its independence in 1957, but are the Asian and Indian Ocean ‘Tigers’ now.

Secondly, there needs to be a major change in the attitude of most African governments toward the private investor, many of whom find the atmosphere cold and uninviting. The cost of doing business is very high in terms of nonperforming utilities, roads and port facilities, and weaknesses in the rule of law make it hard to enforce contracts. Most discouraging is that Africans themselves do not invest, much less foreign entrepreneurs. African business persons who do not have special connections to ruling political elites tend to keep their money outside of Africa. What does all of this mean for President Obama’s policy toward Africa? Here is a modest proposal.

Government priorities must be refocused from the politically dominant urban centers to the rural agricultural sector where the majority of Africans continue to live and earn their living. Half a century ago, most of Africa’s wealth came from agriculture destined for both export and domestic consumption. Due to high farm taxes, and neglect of rural infrastructure, Africa’s agricultural production has decreased significantly, to the detriment of both national revenues and food security.

President Obama should announce that development aid to Africa will end by 2025, accompanied by a fifteen year phase -out of budgetary support. During this period, American development aid to Africa should concentrate almost exclusively on helping Africa achieve an agricultural revolution. The United States should also provide maximum technical assistance in order to create an environment that will encourage African investors to bring their money back from safe havens abroad.

A change of focus from urban to rural development will not be easy – the cities are the key to politics. Imports for the city dwellers will have to be more expensive, and exports cheaper to encourage export

It is time to end foreign aid dependency as we know it. Currently, it provides a real disincentive in relation to those overdue hard decisions by African regimes.

Hidden Contracting 06 of the magnitude and complexity of Afghanistan and Iraq. They are also indispensable to operations of greater humanitarian value, such as peacekeeping and disaster relief, where contractors support the United Nations (U.N.) and African Union in places like the eastern D.R. Congo, Darfur and Mogadishu.

While these civilians are not NATO or U.N. soldiers, they serve alongside those forces and face similar risks. Our political leaders need to move beyond their aversion to the private sector providing critical services and irreplaceable skills in support of their policies. Although policymakers have a right to

demand a professional and accountable industry, they also have a duty to be honest about the roles and risks civilian contractors share. Dr. Schooner is right to stress the sacrifices made by contractors, but policymakers should also recognize the value that the stability operations industry brings to the execution of their policies.

columnists | private security in africa

J. J. Messner

Private Security in African Peacekeeping A Growing Call for New Ideas from a Frustrated Continent

39 Are we more concerned about his effectiveness or the color of his hat? Photo Caption: Marie Frechon/UN

It is clear that many Africans are frustrated by the ineffectiveness of international actors in stemming conflict across the continent. The conflicts in Darfur and D.R. Congo, for example, continue to grind along with little, if any, progress. Meanwhile, killings of civilians and the flow of refugees and internally displaced persons continues. Words such as “failure” are now frequently attached to missions of international organizations. Lacking results, there is a clear need for an alternative. Already, private contractors provide significant support to stability operations in Africa, and have done so for decades. Private companies are active in the reconstruction of Liberia, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and in the international peacekeeping missions in Darfur, D.R. Congo and Somalia. Currently, the work undertaken by private companies in these

operations includes logistical, training and development support; the security aspect is relatively small and low-level in nature. Could private security support for international stability operations be ramped up? Though private security firms can provide an effective solution in conflict and postconflict zones, this option is far from being a miracle cure. First, the private security industry today is of a purely defensive nature, protecting ‘nouns’ – people, places or things. Many are not even armed. To be sure, private security companies are – and have been – called upon to use lethal force when faced with a deadly threat. But, this is exclusively defensive and in response to a serious threat. Acting offensively is quite another matter indeed. Even if we were to examine such an option, international law and mandates would need to be changed to accommodate such a shift. Above all else, there would unquestionably need to be a clear, robust and well enforced system of regulation and accountability. But let us just assume for a moment that there was a legal environment that both allowed and also properly regulated such actions. And let us assume that private security could support peacekeeping operations in a more offensive nature.

Could it be done? One example that many refer back to is the operation in Sierra Leone in the 1990s by the South African firm, Executive Outcomes. The memory of that firm’s operations in Sierra Leone seems to be quite different in the West than in Sierra Leone itself. In the West, Executive Outcomes is recalled as a group of mercenaries who exploited a small African country’s conflict for its diamond wealth. This memory is reinforced by Leonardo DiCaprio’s role in the movie Blood Diamond. In Sierra Leone itself, the experience is remembered quite differently. Many Africans recall how it was Executive Outcomes that protected Sierra Leoneans from having their limbs chopped off by rebels. Few Western accounts of this experience recall the exuberant cheering that greeted Executive Outcomes throughout Sierra Leone, and the success that a relatively tiny force of a few hundred employees (most of whom were Angolan) achieved in holding off the brutal RUF rebels, an action of which the subsequent UN peacekeeping force proved incapable. Sierra Leone demonstrated that private security support of an offensive nature

The author is Director of IPOA and is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of International Peace Operations.


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


ECENTLY I was invited to take part in a BBC World Service callin program on whether the African Union should employ private security forces for peacekeeping operations. The discussion was particularly enlightening in demonstrating the pragmatism of those threatened by conflict and their openness to any credible alternative that may alleviate suffering.

columnists | private security in africa

39 can be effective in supporting a peacekeeping operation, but the world is unlikely to see another example such as Executive Outcomes. And despite the tactical successes of Executive Outcomes, few would argue that the regulatory regime they were under at the time was adequate. Nevertheless, this success has led some to ask, “if it succeeded in Sierra Leone, then why couldn’t it succeed in Darfur? Or D.R. Congo?” Indeed, even as far back as the Rwandan genocide, the

ties. And above all, this predicament is largely caused by Western nations’ intransigence when it comes to properly resourcing international peacekeeping missions. To be sure, there is a solution being sought to address the capacity gaps in African peacekeeping. The African Union intends to launch its African Standby Force in 2010, consisting of five regional brigades that would be ready to deploy rapidly to stem conflict. This is a noble

Perhaps the biggest hurdle to utilizing private security companies is the mistrust of the private sector. Notably, most of that mistrust emanates from pundits in the West. Many of the more ideologically inclined Westerners simply suspect the profit motive of private companies. This argument is predicated on the assumption that a profit motive is necessarily a bad thing (though the United Nations uses it to attract Blue Helmets itself). Rather, it is a way to incentivize a better service. Surely it is somewhat intellectually

40 journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

UN peacekeeping - putting out one fire after another. Photo: Logan Abassi/U.N.

United Nations itself toyed with the idea of employing an Executive Outcomesstyle firm to take on the Interahamwe. But the idea was eventually rejected by Kofi Annan, not because he necessarily thought they would do a bad job, but because he felt that the world was not ready for such a revolution. Revolution or not, the bottom line is that peacekeeping is being significantly hampered in Africa due to a massive gap in capacity. That should not be read as a criticism of African militaries. The reality is that peacekeeping is inherently expensive, and to expect any developing nations to allocate the necessary resources is almost in itself unfair. After all, many of the same people who would argue that Africa should take care of African problems would probably be horrified if African nations reoriented their government spending from health and education to bolstering their defense forces to properly support peacekeeping capabili-

project, but even when it comes into force, it will still be hampered by training, funding and equipment deficits. Those same problems being experienced by African militaries now are not going to be solved overnight simply by the creation of the standby force. Similarly, governments are not going to miraculously change their policies, either. International peacekeepers are regularly criticized for conflict-aversion. A common joke about one (albeit European) peacekeeping contingent was that they were very effective at guarding the Kinshasa Airport Duty Free shop but not much else. Such policies are not going to change overnight, either. Governments would still face the same inherent political risks of deploying their troops to dangerous situations where they do not have direct strategic interests. Even with the creation of the African Standby Force, there will still remain significant capacity issues that will need to be resolved.

indulgent to worry about the motivation of the life-savers when in reality there is little alternative. People suffering in conflict have shown to have a more pragmatic approach, preferring the swiftest and most practical solution. If private security were to be used to support offensive operations by the African Union, it would require not only a significant change in thinking, but in regulation as well. But ordinary Africans are clearly losing patience with international organizations and their gross humanitarian failures. Pragmatically, many believe it is high time to try a new approach and private security can have a key role in this. When it comes to solving crises in Darfur, the Kivus or Mogadishu, we as an international community should also be pragmatic, and not constrain ourselves with lofty philosophical arguments that do nothing more than score debating points at policy forums in Geneva, London or New York.

columnists | emergency services

Gary Sturgess

Remembering the Fallen, Public or Private New York City’s History of Private Emergency Services

41 Sadly, no shortage of people to remember. Photo: Mayor of Norfolk, Virginia

Three New York firefighters were pictured raising an American flag at Ground Zero in an image that referenced the 1945 flag-raising on Iwo Jima. Crowds loitered outside city firehouses, applauding the firemen as they returned exhausted from laboring at the site. A firefighter figurine named Billy Blazes briefly became the nation’s hottest-selling toy. This is a powerful narrative, one that we all recognize. However, it leaves out the paramedics who also died at the World Trade Center that day. There were eight of them: three were volunteers who just happened to be nearby, three were employees of non-profit hospitals and two worked for commercial ambulance companies. It is these last two who challenge the simple equation that only direct public employment can deliver a public service ethos. Mark Schwartz was a 50-year-old supervisor and assistant vice president of

Hunter Ambulance. He had been an emergency worker for 19 years and was survived by his wife and two children, one of whom was studying to be a paramedic. Yamel Merino was a 24-year-old single mother who worked for Metrocare Ambulance in the Bronx. She left behind an eight-year-old son. The EMS death rate was low because their job required them to attend to medical emergencies on the ground, but Schwartz and Merino were not alone at the World Trade Center that morning. Hunter Ambulance lost two emergency vehicles. Metrocare lost seven. A subsequent investigation would reveal that 14 minutes after the first tower was hit and three minutes before the second, 19 municipal and 17 private units (both voluntary and commercial) were already at or on their way to the World Trade Center. Two hours later, 55 municipal and 42 private units had been deployed. There is no evidence that the private sector was lacking a public service ethos that day. The contracting out of emergency medical services has been a source of controversy in New York since the idea was first floated by private ambulance companies in 1994. The president of Local 2507, the union representing the city’s EMS The author is Executive Director of The Serco Institute.

workers, told the press, ‘They’ll do this over my dead body,’ and at the time, Mayor Giuliani rejected the proposal. But six years later, the city’s non-profit hospitals – which had long been part of the New York’s 911 emergency call system – were given permission to contract with commercial firms. Prior to this, ambulances had been staffed by the hospitals’ own employees. The first contract went to Metrocare and over the next four years, this Brooklyn-based company captured around 10 percent of the city’s emergency medical services. The union warned that this new arrangement would create powerful incentives for private ambulances to divert insured patients to their sponsors’ hospitals. But within days of its announcement, the charitable hospitals were complaining that some of the city’s EMS workers were directing patients away from their facilities and two city ambulance workers were later suspended. Over the months that followed, as Metrocare signed more contracts, New York found itself in the midst of an ambulance war, with private emergency workers being subjected to death threats,


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


N September 11th, 2001, 343 firemen and 21 police officers died at the World Trade Center. In the weeks and months that followed, New York City and the world at large celebrated the heroism of these men.

columnists | emergency services


41 tire-slashing and radio-jamming. Local 2507 hired a private investigator and launched a series of media attacks on Metrocare’s founder and chief operating officer, Steve Zakheim. On September 11th, Zakheim put his life on the line and raced to the World Trade Center along with his EMS teams. In the minutes before the collapse of the South Tower, Zakheim and two of his colleagues were in the foyer of the Marriott Hotel. As they heard the tower fall, they fled the hotel. Zakheim and one of his paramedics ran left; Yamel Merino turned right and was struck by falling debris.

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

As they crawled through a dense cloud of dust, Zakheim and his colleague came across an injured firefighter lying amidst the rubble. Retrieving equipment from a badly damaged ambulance, they gave him emergency treatment and moved the fireman to safety minutes before the North Tower came crashing down. Without minimizing the courageous and selfless actions of Yamel Merino and Steve Zakheim, it has to be said that New York’s EMS system was not well designed. The New York City Fire Department was responsible for dispatching both private and municipal ambulances under the city’s 911 emergency system. It was a hybrid arrangement that went back many years and had been controversial for most of that time. The private hospitals were not paid to participate, and while they were regulated by the state and operated within Fire Department protocols, there was a strong incentive for ambulances to steer insured (i.e., fee-paying) patients to their own hospitals. A study of the 911 emergency system conducted by the New York City Comptroller in 1999 – a year before Metrocare and other commercial operators were brought into the network – found that voluntary hospital ambulances were half as likely as city ambulances to take patients to the nearest emergency room.

Would you be concerned with whose logo is on the side? Photo: City of Houston

Of course, this atmosphere of competition and conflict did nothing to encourage the kind of close cooperation that was needed on the morning of September 11; although given the scale of that catastrophe, it is unlikely that anything could have prepared the city’s emergency services. The problem with New York’s emergency medical system did not lie in the use of private paramedics. In fact, private ambulances are relatively common around the world and commercial organizations have been playing a greater role in emergency medical transportation throughout all of North America. The difficulty lies in a dispatch system that encourages providers to compete for feepaying patients. Given the available technology, competition in the actual delivery of emergency services does not lead to better outcomes. Depending on the circumstances, it can result in wasteful duplication of effort, under-investment in high-quality equipment and training, failure to standardize equipment and a lack of coordination at the scene of major disasters. In the worst cases, it can lead to retaliation and conflict. This was not the first time that New York had experienced conflict in its emergency services. Much the same culture had developed in the city’s volunteer fire companies in the early 1800s. Charles Dickens painted New York’s volunteer firemen in heroic colors – carefree, jaunty men dressed in red flannel shirts with black silk handkerchiefs tied round their necks. As he recalled it, the firefighters rushed to the fire at lightning speed, “the

men defying each other in rivalry, as they plant[ed] the ladders and fire-escapes,” quickly following orders bellowed at them through fire-trumpets. No doubt there were occasions when professional rivalry served the public good, but it is also true that from the 1830s, New York’s volunteer fire companies developed deep, tribal hatreds, sometimes fighting pitched battles in the streets on their way to fires. This tradition of volunteer fire fighting was deeply grounded in American civic culture: prior to the Revolution, prominent citizens had been actively involved in the volunteer companies that functioned like fraternities or clubs. But from the turn of the eighteenth century, their character began to change: the Washingtons and the Franklins lost interest and ‘professional boxers and common thugs’ useful in hauling and brawling, took their place. The insurance companies made some attempt to regulate competition by refusing to reward unruly fire companies, but they faced strong opposition from the firemen who were politically wellconnected. From the middle of the century, the insurance companies were lobbying for municipalization and over a period of several decades, the volunteer companies were disbanded. Today, as in the 1830s and 2001, the question is not whether private organizations can be successfully engaged in delivering core public services, but how.

government affairs | u.n. working group

Peggy Hu

Conventional Thinking The U.N. Working Group on Mercenaries Proposes a Draft Convention on Private Contractors


IPOA President Doug Brooks and Director J. J. Messner met with the U.N. Working Group in Washington, D.C. Photo: IPOA

The Working Group recently held discussions with U.S. government officials, academics, civil society organizations as well as IPOA. The Working Group held these meetings as part of an effort to compile findings voice concerns regarding specific alleged incidents, and discuss the prospects of an increased role for the U.S. Government in the regulation and oversight of PMSCs. The draft Convention asserts the responsibility of states in the licensing, regulation, oversight, and accountability of PMSCs, and focuses on the consequences of inadequate regulation on human rights. The draft Convention prohibits PMSCs from engaging in “intrinsically governmental” functions, requires the creation of a state licensing

process, identifies parameters for the use of force, establishes jurisdiction for offenses of PMSCs and outlines state reporting requirements. Additionally, the Convention seeks to create a 14-person committee to act as the international authority responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Convention. IPOA welcomes and values the work of organizations seeking to meet the same goals of ethical and professional private sector services in complex contingency operations. Accordingly, IPOA offered the Working Group recommendations to strengthen the Convention, based on the comments and suggestions of the IPOA staff and outside experts. IPOA believes that the importance of the concept of Responsibility to Protect, the progress of the 2008 Montreux Document on issues of human rights and accountability, and the great value that private security adds to stability operations by filling gaps in public sector capacity should be added to strengthen the cause and rationale of the Convention. Additionally, the definitions set forth in the draft Convention for both “Private Military and/or Security Company (PMSC)” and “Military Services” are

The author is a Member Services Associate at IPOA.

troubling for their use of the word “military” which implies that private, nonmilitary personnel have the same rights as combatants under international law; a clear delineation between military and civilian personnel is necessary to avoid confusion. IPOA also believes that the committee proposed to oversee the implementation of the Convention may be unduly large, given the trends and size of the private security industry, and that this committee should include permanent representation from relevant U.N. agencies, industry associations, and the ICRC. The draft Convention provides a compelling outline for the licensing, regulation, and monitoring of PMSCs. However, IPOA remains opposed to the draft Convention’s stigmatization of the industry through its use of the term ‘mercenary.’ While the Working Group and IPOA maintain the same goal of furthering the provision of professional and ethical security services, these goals are undoubtedly best met by cooperation across sectors and organizations grounded in mutual respect. To that end, IPOA welcomes the Convention as an opportunity and vehicle for increased communication and cooperation.

journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009


REATED in 2005, the U.N. Working Group on the use of mercenaries is mandated to study, monitor and identify trends and effects associated with the use of private military and security companies (PMSCs). Pursuant to this mandate, the Working Group distributed its Draft International Convention on the Regulation, Oversight and Monitoring of Private Military and Security Companies in July 2009.

development | professional


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

development | professional


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

development | professional


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

development | professional


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

development | professional


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

development | professional


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

development | professional


journal of international peace operations | volume 5 | number 2 | september-october 2009

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