Army’s mission in peacekeeping, stability operations increasesa

Army’s mission in peacekeeping, stability operations increasesa

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Representatives from the Army, the Department of Defense, the federal government, and the defense industry gathered recently at the national headquarters of the Association of the U.S Army (AUSA) to discuss the U.S. military’s role in peacekeeping and stability operations.

The event, titled “Peace and Stability: Operating in a Complex World,” was held at AUSA’s Conference and Event Center in Arlington, Va., and hosted by the Association in cooperation with the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute (PKSOI).

Retired Gen. Carter Ham, AUSA president and CEO, kicked off the event by saying that not all global crises have a military solution.

“Whether it’s Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Mali, central Africa, or many other places across the world, we tend to concentrate our efforts and resources on the military component,” Ham said.

He added that sometimes a “whole of government approach,” tailored to the situation, could be more effective.

PKSOI, currently led by Col. Gregory Dewitt, was born out of the aftermath of U.S. operations in Somalia in the early 1990s, said retired Gen. Gordon Sullivan, AUSA’s immediate past president, and currently the Army Historical Foundation’s chairman of the board.

Going into Somalia, “we didn’t know anything about the people with whom we would work, which was much to our detriment,” said Sullivan, who is also one of the founders of the peacekeeping institute.

It took time, he said, for Army forces to realize that joint training with local forces was needed.

Today, a big part of the Army’s mission set falls into the category of peacekeeping and stability, Sullivan said.

Adding, “This organization [PKSOI] has done important work for the country, and there’s a lot of work left to do.”

During the one-day forum, two panels of experts on peace and stability operations discussed issues such as partnership-building efforts, systemic reforms, committing new staff officers, logistics support and troop training, and overseeing civil-military command exercises.