Peacekeeping and Related Stability Operations: Issues of U.S. Military Involvement [July 13, 2006]   [open pdf - 113KB]

"The second session of the 109th Congress has begun to face decisions regarding the preparation of U.S. military forces for stability missions, a major subset of which is peace operations. A November 28, 2005, Department of Defense (DOD) directive that designates stability operations as 'core missions' of the U.S. military marks a major shift in attitudes regarding peacekeeping and related stability operations (also known as stabilization and reconstruction operations). For well over a decade, some Members of Congress expressed reservations about U.S. military involvement in peacekeeping operations. The Bush Administration initially opposed such missions and took steps to reduce the commitment of U.S. troops to international peacekeeping. This action reflected a major concern of the 1990s: that peacekeeping duties had overtaxed the shrinking U.S. military force and were detrimental to military 'readiness' (i.e., the ability of U.S. troops to defend the nation). Many perceived these tasks as an inefficient use of U.S. forces, better left to other nations while the U.S. military concentrated on operations requiring high intensity combat skills. Others thought that the United States should adjust force size and structure to accommodate the missions. The events of September 11, 2001, brought new concerns to the fore and highlighted the value to U.S. national security of ensuring stability around the world. The 9/11 Commission report, which cited Afghanistan as a sanctuary for terrorists, pointed to the dangers of allowing actual and potential terrorist sanctuaries to exist. In 2003, the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, often referred to as a 'stabilization and reconstruction' operation (which manifests some characteristics of a peace operation), reinforced the argument."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33557
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