Next Peace Operation: U.S. Air Force Issues and Perspective's   [open pdf - 371KB]

Peace operations continue to evolve. With each successive operation, doctrine and organizational arrangements are updated to reflect past experiences. The traditional peacekeeping conducted during the Cold War is largely a thing of the past; new forms of conflict and new participants have changed the nature of peacekeeping dramatically. In few cases can blue-helmeted observers from non-US countries expect to merely stand between two warring states and observe a cease-fire. Modern peacekeeping frequently involves non-state actors, often within a single country, and may include missions such as humanitarian assistance, refugee resettlement, and nation-building. American involvement has increased significantly since the end of the Cold War, and the participation of civilian and private relief agencies adds new stresses to operational principles such as "objective" and "unity of command." The United States military will have to be flexible enough to support peace operations with varying operational objectives and constraints. This study examines the role of the Air Force in future peace operations. For simplicity's sake, it uses the term "peacekeeping" to encompass both impartial peacekeeping and more coercive peace enforcement. The authors draw upon the experience of the US and other nations to improve understanding of how peacekeeping forces operate and shed light on how best to employ American forces. This paper reviews existing US military doctrine and examines the impact, both positive and negative, that peacekeeping has on combat readiness. The authors then suggest areas for consideration regarding the preparation for and conduct of peace operations.

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INSS Occasional Paper 25
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