A Lack of Integrated Operations and UNCIVPOL


By: Gerald F. Witherspoon, Sr. 20150115


The biggest challenge facing international civilian police in UN peace operations is a lack of integrated operations.

The effects of such lack of integration can be felt at multiple levels. Such as localized training that does not accurately assess the ‘on the ground’ realities of the actual mission field. Post deployment realities may unearth conflicts and contradictions that lead to culture shock not only from a socio-cultural standpoint, but from a corporatized or organizational-psychological standpoint because of incoherent pre-deployment training.  Confusion about who’s in charge or which unit’s activities take precedence or come before others in a sequential fashion can be problematic. Rank structures and chain of command may be confusing as well leading to an incoherence of rule ordering and delayed obedience to directives given.

This is most likely the result of a lack of state support and an unwillingness to disproportionately ‘foot the bill’ for peacekeeping operations.  Political support is consistently viewed as “troop contribution”, and as developed states are prone to remaining committed to their “no troops under UN flag” policies, sustained backing from strong states remains lacking (Tardy 2004).

Defined as a “commitment gap” by the Brahimi report, developed states must regain the trust of the UN as an institution capable of ensuring peace and security after negative experiences with the operations in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Somalia, and Rwanda (Tardy 2004). Further, the attention given to African conflicts by the West is disproportionate to the resources provided to the UN. That is lack of confidence in UN operations is demonstrated by the West’s contribution of resources to NATO or NATO-led operations opposed to the UN (Tardy 2004).

A lack of integrated operations is also felt at the wider level as rapid deploy-ability has arguably improved, but remains hampered by underfunded resources which affect size, strength, and effectiveness. Integrated operations can lead to improved success in DPKOs and make the life of international civilian police easier. Nevertheless, as pointed out by Thierry Tardy regarding contemporary peace operations,

The meaning of “integrated” was not always clear, while the implied definition may not be acceptable for all actors participating in a peace operation. One participant warned against the risk of a “humanitarian rebellion” from some humanitarian actors in case the confusion about their role and their politicisation further developed (2004, 14).

A more effective integration of operations awaits the support of strong states which await the demonstrated competence of reformed DPKOs. This dilemma essentially leads to gridlock while current international civilian police suffer from a lack of integrated operations.




Tardy, Thierry. “The Brahimi Report: Four Years On.” Proceedings of a Workshop Held at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy. Geneva Centre for Security Policy, 2004.


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