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Civil-military responses to security challenges in peace operations: ten lessons from Kosovo.

The complex environments in which peace operations have to function often pose difficult internal security challenges, such as the demilitarization of nonstate militias, control and seizure of heavy and light weapons, protection of humanitarian aid/zones, deterrence of anarchy and crime in situations of state collapse, prevention of interethnic violence, and control of porous and/or contested borders. Security sector reforms have been central to the mandates of Balkans peace operations, but difficulties in responding to specific security challenges have often led to operational setbacks in the field. Effective management of such challenges has thus been an increasingly important priority for both the United Nations and European security organizations, such as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). But while NATO can provide the requisite forces for a strong military deterrent, it cannot contribute the political, administrative, legal, and economic elements necessary for effective security sector reform. Joint action by both military and civil actors is necessary for successful management of the security sector. And successful security sector management is in turn central to the broader strategic goal of fostering a sustainable peace-building dynamic. (1)

In this article, I examine the recent experience of civil-military responses to security sector issues in the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR). It should be noted here that UNMIK and KFOR have been the most successful complex Balkans operations to date for interorganizational interaction and have demonstrated that many post-Bosnia lessons were effectively applied in the international peacebuilding response to the 1999 Kosovo conflict. A comparison of evolving Balkans security sector action, from Bosnia and Eastern Slavonia to Kosovo, suggests that the civil-military interface should move from cooperative relations to coordinated unity of effort. Nevertheless, it is important to stress that Kosovo is not in a truly postconflict condition, as previous Balkans theaters have been. The key elements for "postconflict" status--a peace agreement and/or determination of a final end state for the territory--are glaringly absent in Kosovo and have been from the arrival of international actors in the contested province. Indeed, Kosovo's indeterminate political status is at the root of many of its most intractable threats to public security, including endemic violence against ethnic minorities, particularly Serbs, and the consequent emergence of polarized ethnic enclaves.

Civil-Military Interaction and the Imperative for Coordination

The inherent complexity of Balkans conflict environments has demanded interaction between NATO's military forces and the civilian organizations, such as the UN and the OSCE, also active in addressing security sector issues. The capacity of the UN is challenged where deterrent military force is needed in a rapid and massive manner. This need has been the norm for the Balkans, with Bosnia and Kosovo both requiring tens of thousands of well-equipped forces able to project a credible war-fighting face. The fact that NATO is the only organization in the region with the capacity to mount such missions was recognized early on by Kofi Annan. In 1993, he advocated UN-NATO cooperation in the delivery of missions that needed "peacekeeping with teeth," noting that their size and complexity make it "imperative to explore new avenues of cooperation with regional organizations such as NATO." (2)

The interrelated nature of security challenges in these missions has also meant that what used to be understood as a clear distinction between military and civil roles has become increasingly indistinct. While NATO has taken some concrete steps to institutionalize aspects of civil-military interaction in the field, these have generally been only to the extent of formalized cooperation. Military and civil actors are, however, increasingly having to address security sector issues in an overlapping and interdependent manner. In this context, a growing strategic interest is to apply comparative advantage in mission roles, a goal that implies the coordination of joint operational and tactical action to achieve shared objectives in the field. Coordination of joint action, in turn, requires a qualitative shift in civil-military interaction toward integrated planning and shared operations, with all the compromises implicit in loss of autonomy on both sides.

Coordination of joint civil-military action should ideally be pursued at three levels: strategic (i.e., between the organizations' headquarters decisionmaking bodies and secretariats); operational (i.e., theater-level headquarters for the mission area); and tactical (i.e., in field-level operations for mission components). (3) Most structured civil-military interaction in the Balkans has been at the middle, or operational, level. Tactical coordination is increasingly common but is more subject to ad hoc arrangements and variations. Least explored to date has been strategic coordination between headquarters in New York/Geneva, Brussels/Mons, and Vienna. These three levels of security sector management, and the imperative for coordinated civil-military action in each, are considered in turn in the following sections.

Strategic Coordination: Mandates and Mission Planning

One of the commonly noted differences between military and civilian organizations is that military planners tend to prepare for potential missions and plan resource allocations in advance. In contrast, many civilian organizations still plan missions after the mandate has been set by their relevant decisionmaking body (e.g., UN Security Council, OSCE Permanent Council). As a result, the potential for strategic coordination of mandates and planning to occur in advance of the deployment of combined civil-military assets on the ground has been largely unrealized, hampered in part by persistent differences in institutional cultures and resources and by a lack of transparent interaction.

Recent trends toward greater civil-military interaction in complex peace operations should incline mission planning staff in both military and civilian organizations to coordinate on mandates and mission structures in advance of final political decisions being taken. This would perhaps improve the likelihood of complex operational needs being identified and addressed with accurate personnel and resource allocations in advance. These requirements could be expressly stated to decisionmaking bodies, with mandates being finalized according to more detailed and situation-specific information. (4) While mandates should be as clear as possible in stating consolidated objectives for both military and civil actors, they should not be so specific as to restrict flexibility in the field. Unanticipated challenges, particularly as regards the need for military forces to provide various forms of support to civil authorities, are best confronted when mission managers/commanders have the freedom to quickly forge new arrangem ents in the field. KFOR, for example, has shifted from an initial concept of operations involving the outward deterrence of Serb-dominated Yugoslav security and paramilitary forces, to the inward protection of Serb minority enclaves and deterrence of Kosovar Albanian attacks on Serbs.

For improved strategic coordination, one recent study has proposed that integrated civil-military implementation staffs could provide a structured interface for the coordination of joint action on the planning and implementation of peace operations. (5) An established strategic interface could undertake joint contingency planning to meet such operational challenges as the security gap caused by the collapse or withdrawal of state security forces (as was the case in both Bosnia and Kosovo). While the use of integrated mission task forces has recently been initiated within the UN, they have yet to be fully implemented in the manner recommended by the Brahimi panel and have not featured the involvement of non-UN military staff. (6) Such an interface should also extend to intelligence, which military forces often obtain from their own national agencies. Civil authorities are usually unable to obtain the use of such intelligence, as national contingents and force commanders feel unable to pass classified informati on outside of NATO (or even national) structures. But such information could be of considerable help to civil authorities, particularly police forces trying to combat organized crime.

Other suggested improvements in this area include routine exchanges of planning staff officials, permanent Liaison offices, and joint training programs. As well, such strategic coordination could effect improved mutual understanding on crucial elements such as the role and responsibilities of civil police and its relationship with military forces. (7) The issue of strategic civil-military coordination between the UN and regional organizations also raises the related issue of determining comparative advantage. Ideally, some agreed determination of situation-specific comparative advantage would be included in the drafting of mission mandates that involve multiple organizations. But this implies not only strategic but also in-theater operational coordination in the realization of interrelated peacebuilding objectives. Indeed, it would suggest that the various organizations involved have a shared understanding of their respective objectives and responsibilities on the ground.

Operational Coordination: Theater Mission Structures

In Kosovo, operational cooperation and coordination between civil and military organizations at the theater-wide level has been enhanced by three important structural features: (1) the effort by KFOR and UNMIK to use routinized processes for coordination of military support to civil authority; (2) the cross-organizational acceptance of a unified five-region geographic plan for operational organization; and (3) the advent within UNMIK of a unified mission structure for all major civil components. These three features represent clear progress and organizational learning over the Bosnian experience, particularly the necessity of a theater-wide civil-military interface.

Military Support to Civil Authorities

If military organizations, such as NATO, are better at strategic planning in advance of missions, then civil organizations, such as the UN and OSCE, are often better at responding flexibly to operational uncertainty on the ground, perhaps by virtue of their less hierarchical decisionmaking processes. In Bosnia, NATO aversion to "mission creep" contributed to an overly sharp division between civil and military roles. In 1996, this caused Implementation Force (IFOR) forces to be reluctant in assisting civil authorities, contributing to a security gap that was particularly evident in the area of policing. This experience has contributed to a different approach taken by KFOR in Kosovo. While KFOR is outside the UNMIK mission structure, it has been reasonably proactive in providing assistance to civil authorities. (8) A high level of effective UNMIKKFOR interaction was established in June 1999 between the acting special representative of the UN secretary-general (SRSG), Sergio Vieira de Mello, and the KFOR command er (COMKFOR), Gen. Mike Jackson, and this has been maintained by their successors. Indeed, it has been the usual practice for COMKFOR and the SRSG to meet on a daily basis for coordination purposes. As General Jackson remarked in October 1999, "My aim has been to support UNMIK in every way. Mission creep--the concern that the military is drawn into unforeseen tasks--is a meaningless term in the circumstances that we have found ourselves. We goal. It has been a joint effort." (9)

Theater-wide coordination on security operations in Kosovo has been steadily increased through routine processes such as the weekly Joint Security Executive Committee (JSEC) meetings. Established in August 1999, the JSEC acts as a functional mechanism for action on all security issues, including policing, weapons control, and protection of minority communities. (10) Joint operational control on security was deemed so important that this committee was established to make decisions on specific operations and programs, which COMKFOR and the SRSG were unable to address in their daily strategy meetings. At the regional level, KFOR and UNMIK Police often conduct joint patrols in areas where KFOR still has full tactical policing authority, with the civilian officers acting as advisers. These coordinated "joint security operations" have been effective in combining UNMIK police expertise with KFOR security capabilities. There are also joint weekly security meetings between UNMIK Police region/station commanders, UNMIK regional/municipal administrators, OSCE field staff, and KFOR brigade and battalion commanders. In most of Kosovo's thirty municipalities, UNMIK Police and local KFOR battalions have established good levels of tactical coordination, and in some areas (notably in Pristina), joint operations rooms have been established. As in Bosnia, Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) centers built into the KFOR mission structure have facilitated cooperation with the UN, particularly with the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Most major population centers in Kosovo now have KFOR CIMIC centers. But while CIMIC has undoubtedly aided the general level of tactical cooperation in the field, it also tends to structure this cooperation in a "hegemonic" manner that places priority on enhancing the operational effectiveness of the military. (11) The trend in Kosovo, then, has been to move beyond CIMIC by establishing joint action procedures for routine military support to civil authorities.

As called for under UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999), KFOR has performed police duties in any areas where the UNMIK Police have yet to be established in sufficient numbers to take over executive policing. UNMIK Police now have full tactical primacy in four of five regions, and its command staff have been reluctant to take on more authority for executive policing than its understaffed capacity can handle: they are having to conduct nonpolice duties such as guarding banks, escorting prisoners, and providing close protection details. (12) KFOR has been anxious, however, to hand more civil policing tasks off to UNMIK as soon as possible. By mid-2000, COMKFOR Gen. Klaus Reinhardt had observed that the main security challenges for Kosovo were continuing ethnic violence and organized crime, challenges his soldiers were not trained to confront. (13) KFOR, in particular, would like UNMIK Police to take on more static guard duties. UNMIK Police would prefer, in turn, for KFOR to leave community tasks such as foot patrols to the police in order to promote the ethic of democratic, civilian policing with the local population. (14) The operational interface between KFOR and UNMIK Police is, indeed, the key security coordination issue between the two missions at present. A special Joint Security Initiative was established in April 2001 to devise consistent and structured procedures for KFOR-UNMIK Police operational coordination (e.g., on tasking), to ensure that these procedures will remain in place regardless of the regular rotation of KFOR commands. (15)

KFOR and Five Multinational Brigade (MNB) Sectors

In a major improvement over the situation in Bosnia, the UN and the OSCE in Kosovo have organized their field structures to be congruent with the five-sector boundaries established by KFOR in June 1999. In addition to these five agreed sectors (Pristina, Pec, Mitrovica, Prizren, and Gnjilane), there is also full correspondence of a three-level theater mission structure: KFOR Main HQ to UNMIK HQ, KFOR brigades to UNMIK Regional Administrations, and KFOR battalions to municipalities. The five-MNB operational structure for KFOR has not, however, been entirely positive for the coordinated management of security sector challenges at the tactical level. As with the Bosnia missions of IFOR and the Stabilization Force (SFOR) before it, a major structural drawback of KFOR is its decentralized force structure, a feature driven by NATO's long-established standing arrangements on operational control for troop-contributing member states. (16) Each MNB command has a large degree of discretion over the operational modalitie s used to establish a safe and secure environment within its area of responsibility. This discretion includes rules of engagement for MNB contingents, as well as wide latitude to decide on the duties/actions required for that region by the KFOR mandate.

In practice, this has meant significant restrictions on the ability of KFOR Main HQ in Pristina to establish Kosovo-wide standards for the management of security sector challenges in each sector. This is particularly true where those challenges may put KFOR contingents at risk of physical harm. It has also meant that the projection of a deterrent level of military force, a key aspect of NATO's operational comparative advantage, varies in its salience from one sector to the next. For example, the British-led MNB Center has been proactively effective in locating and seizing significant arms caches in its sector. This type of operation, clearly helpful for the overall security environment, is either not undertaken at all or not undertaken to the same extent in the other MNBs, due to different calculations of risks to force protection. Finally, this decentralization accentuates the differences between national contingents on the imperative for civil-military coordination. Some contingents are markedly less inclin ed to engage with civil actors in a proactive manner. (17) In contrast, the UN and the OSCE components of UNMIK have relatively centralized mission structures, and it is generally understood that policies decided in Pristina are to be executed by regional and municipal administrations and field offices. This is also true for UNMIK Police, whose HQ has effective control over the Kosovo-wide operations of both UN international and Kosovar police officers.

This divergence in mission structures between KFOR and UNMIK can create problems in the effective management of security challenges. Nowhere has this been more damaging for the overall peace-building process than in the tactical management of security challenges in Mitrovica. The divided town of Mitrovica falls in the MNB north region, the responsibility of French KFOR. North Mitrovica is now populated almost entirely by Serbs who are in general hostile to the presence of UNMIK. The UNMIK Police station in the north has been attacked and damaged, and several UNMIK vehicles have been burned at various times. More difficult has been the rise, since late 1999, of quasi-political Serb gangs of public order vigilantes, called "bridge-watchers," who purport to monitor the movement of people and vehicles from the south side of the Ibar River into the north. These bridge-watcher groups have been linked to prominent political Serb leaders in the north. In this situation, UNMIK Police have largely been prevented from c arrying out normal police patrols north of the Ibar, a long-standing dilemma blamed largely on the inability of French KFOR to establish a safe and secure environment for regular policing. Such incidents in Kosovo (and similar problems in Bosnia with SFOR) suggest that the decentralized NATO structure prevents force commanders from ensuring a consistent level of coordinated security support to civil authorities in all sectors of the theater.

UNMIK and the Four-Pillar Mission Structure

One of the widely recognized shortcomings of the situation in Bosnia is the absence of effective coordination between the Office of the High Representative (OHR) and other civilian organizations such as the UN, the OSCE, and the EU. The mission structure eventually established for UNMIK by June 1999 was significantly improved over the situation in Bosnia. (18) UNMIK Sets the important precedent of bringing various civilian organizations together under one mission head, in this case the UN SRSG. The four major organizations involved in civil tasks in Kosovo at the start of the mission were the UN, UNHCR, the OSCE, and the EU. Each has formed a distinct "pillar" of the mission, with each headed by its own deputy SRSG. Effective interpillar coordination has been promoted, in part, through the convening of daily morning meetings of all pillar deputy SRSGs with the SRSG.

The four-pillar structure has thus ensured that the contributions of the OSCE and the EU would be specifically designed to complement the role of the UN in administering Kosovo. Within UNMIK, the UN is responsible for the Office of the SRSG (with its executive legislative role), as well as for providing the various departments of civil administration (including executive policing, the judicial and penal systems, and municipal administration). The OSCE, based on its comparative advantage, has been given the leading role in institution building (including democratization, human rights monitoring, legal reform, police training, and elections), and the EU has been assigned the role of organizing economic reconstruction (including running the Central Fiscal Authority and coordinating donor inputs). Perhaps more important is the fact that by combining forces within a single mission under one head, these civilian organizations have significantly enhanced the degree to which the international community speaks with on e voice to the major political actors in the conflict. UNMIK has thereby largely avoided the fate that befell the OHR in Bosnia, where various ethnic political parties and entity governmental actors have been able to play one international organization off another, capitalizing on the inability of the OHR to establish an authoritative line.

With this structure, UNMIK has also been able to forge a close connection between security sector reform areas such as civil policing, local police training, judicial and penal services, and legal reform. All of these interdependent security issues are managed in a manner that is more directly informed by the ongoing politico-administrative process than has been the case in Bosnia, with the SRSG providing overall legislative and decisionmaking authority. Since UNMIK has executive authority for civilian security forces in Kosovo, this unity of civil effort has also been important for establishing the clear subordination of such forces to unified and coherent civilian control. The importance of ensuring that civil policing and rule of law are fully integrated into the UNMIK mission structure at the highest level led, in May 2001, to the mission forming a new fourth pillar: police and justice. Its establishment was a reflection of then SRSG Hans Haekkerup's intention to "provide greater focus, centrality, and co ordination" for the law enforcement and criminal justice system in Kosovo. (19)

If, however, there are to be more UNMIK-style integrated interorganizational missions in the future, it will be important for them to have recruited and established basic headquarters structures prior to deployment. (20) In spite of this being a lesson of past UN operations, it was not applied in the case of UNMIK, leading to some problems of logistics and coordination in the early days of the mission (particularly between the UN and the OSCE). Perhaps more significantly, this has meant that the OSCE and the UN, as the two largest UNMIK pillars, have never had an integrated headquarters in Pristina. Coordination is more ad hoc, in specific areas that demand regular policy and operational contacts such as elections and the Kosovo Police Service (KPS). The UN and the OSCE also have separate logistics, radio nets, movement control, and administrative departments, as is the case in Bosnia and Croatia. The term pillar in this sense is apposite: the organizations are bridged at the very top, but have little structu red contact below that level. (21) Better operational coherence between the UN and the OSCE may have been achieved if the importance of this could have been stressed, at the strategic level, to an integrated UN-OSCE-EU headquarters team in advance of deployment.

Tactical Coordination: Management of Security Challenges

In Kosovo, the management of security challenges at the tactical level has been more complex than in any previous Balkans theater. Three areas stand out as illustrations of the degree of coordination achieved by military and civil organizations in the tactical management of specific security challenges: (1) demilitarizing and demobilizing the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK); (2) building a local capacity for civil policing; and (3) responding to insecurity caused by organized crime. Demilitarization, policing, and crime are three of the most commonly cited priorities for security sector management in peace operations, and in Kosovo the responses by NATO, the UN, and the OSCE have evinced both achievements and dilemmas in the coordination of joint action. (22)

Demilitarization and Demobilization: Transforming the UCK into the KPC

In their shared efforts to achieve mission objectives in Kosovo, on no issue have KFOR and UNMIK coordinated joint action more successfully (and crucially) than in the demilitarization and demobilization of the UCK. Their success in the rapid dismantling of the former sword arm of Kosovar Albanian nationalism is a genuinely shared one and merits closer examination. The complexity of connecting demilitarization with demobilization in this case demanded of both organizations not simply cooperation but concrete, tactical coordination and unity of effort.

The demilitarization of the UCK was central to KFOR's mandate to enforce a safe and secure environment in Kosovo. But demilitarization could not have been achieved without providing a transformative demobilization process for the thousands of UCK militants who had fought for years to achieve the national liberation of Kosovo. In June 1999, a voluntary undertaking by the UCK to demilitarize and demobilize was signed and presented to COMKFOR by the then commander in chief of the UCK Hashim Thaci. (23) In close consultation with UNMIK, KFOR developed the concept for a civilian emergency response service modeled on the Securite Civile of France. SRSG Bernard Kouchner then signed an UNMIK regulation authorizing establishment of the Kosovo Protection Corps (KPC). (24) This innovation was seen as a way of keeping former militants under organized international observation, while also absorbing ex-UCK personnel and directing the aspirations of many of its members to form a standing army. The regulation states that KPC members cannot hold public office, cannot actively engage in political affairs, and are prohibited from playing any role in defense, internal security, or law enforcement. Recruiting to the Corps was handled by KFOR together with the senior KPC leadership, but UNMIK was the final arbiter on the recruiting process and could veto applications. The KPC is thus the joint creation of KFOR and UNMIK, and both have substantial and ongoing roles in its operational management. The UNMIK Department for Civil Security and Emergency Preparedness is now responsible for the civil administration of the Corps and makes all planning decisions concerning KPC funding, policies, and priority functions in Kosovo. KFOR, in turn, provides day-to-day supervision of the KPC and also has dedicated liaison officers assigned to the KPC General Staff and the Regional Task Groups (RTGs).

An important civilian role in the transformation of the UCK into the KPC has also been played by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). IOM was assigned responsibility by UNMIK and KFOR for interviewing and screening some 18,500 ex-UCK applicants to the KPC and for coordinating training programs for new KPC personnel in both vocational skills and various emergency and disaster preparedness tasks. Through its Information, Counseling and Referral Service (ICRS), IOM has also developed income-generation programs for registered non-KPC ex-UCK personnel (including now the 2,000 KPC reservists) and facilitates their finding civilian employment. (25) It is noteworthy that KFOR does not provide this training, and this unusual role for IOM has been important in reinforcing the explicitly civil nature of the KPC's role in UNMIK-administered Kosovo. (26) Effective demobilization, however, requires secure funding, and here the international community has been notably reluctant to bolster the advent of the KP C. This lack of support has threatened the security gains made by establishing the Corps as a uniformed service for ex-combatants. As KPC commander Agim Ceku noted, the acute lack of resources is a "critical issue," and that "without equipment we cannot train effectively or...continue to develop as an organization." (27)

The terms of the transformation process have allowed for the KPC command structure to be built on the old UCK framework. Commander Ceku was previously the UCK chief of staff, and most of the old UCK zone commanders were made RTG commanders. Ceku and the rest of the KPC command structure openly regard the Corps as a foundation for the future army of an independent Kosovo. There have also been instances, though few, in which KPC commanders have used their position and/or men to exert overt political intimidation on the Democratic League of Kosova (LDK) and other political competitors of Hashim Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosova (PDK). More serious have been a series of incidents in which KPC personnel have been involved or implicated in acts of murder, kidnapping, torture and interrogations, and illegal policing and taxation. (28) While these abuses may not be endemic, UNMIK considers it to be KFOR's responsibility to address such problems of KPC supervision. Improved working-level coordination between UNMIK an d KFOR on KPC issues, instead of the current system in which coordination is handled only by senior management, would put both sides in a better position to address these dilemmas. (29) This would suggest that complementarity of civil-military roles should be ensured through careful tactical coordination and monitoring, backed up with political support from organizational headquarters for unity-of-effort arrangements made at mission level.

Whether demobilization has successfully "transformed" the Kosovar UCK has become more problematic over the past two years, with the rise of the Liberation Army of Presevo, Medvedja, and Bujanovac (UCPMB) in southern Serbia in February 2000, and of the National Liberation Army (NLA) a year later in Macedonia. (30) In Kosovo, the extreme nationalist People's Movement of Kosova (LPK), which had played a central role in the establishment of the UCK in the early mid-1990s, used the safety of Kosovo to promote these new militant formations, which were essentially updated versions of the UCK. In April 2001, Ceku found it necessary to dismiss his chief of staff and fourteen other KPC members when intelligence reports indicated that they had been directly involved in the armed actions of the NLA. This brings home the lesson that demobilizing the apparent "public" structure and membership of a militia may well leave the preexisting political forces that fostered its creation untouched. Political and legal sectors must therefore address the potential for continuing organized political (and criminal) support for armed militancy.

Indigenous Police Capacity Building: Creating the Kosovo Police Service

The executive police authority given to UNMIK has allowed the mission to take a more fundamental approach to police reform than had been possible in either Bosnia or Eastern Slavonia. (31) Serb-dominated police forces in Kosovo were withdrawn under the terms of the Military Technical Agreement, and the Kosovo Police Service (KPS) has since been built from scratch. The KPS is under the full command of the UNMIK Police and carries out its duties within the operational structures of the UNMIK Police.

Training of KPS recruits is handled by a new Kosovo Police Service School (KPSS), run by the OSCE's Pillar III Department of Police Education and Development. Assessment of potential candidates for the KPS is coordinated between the UNMIK Police and the KPSS staff. In a province where the local populace has had little faith in the state and its institutions, the new KPS has had an impressive number of applicants. In the initial months of the school, it was understood that as much as half of the intake for the school would come from demobilized ex-UCK members. In this manner, the KPS has been an integral element in a multipronged effort to demobilize the UCK's military personnel. However, the KPSS has also used basic minimum requirements for vetting applications and has been very successful in achieving proportional representation for women and ethnic minorities. (32) Upon successful completion of a basic nine-week training course at the school, each recruit is then assigned to an UNMIK Police station to under take a further seventeen weeks of field training, interspersed with eighty hours of follow-up KPSS classroom instruction. This system demands daily coordination between the UNMIK Police and the OSCE-run KPSS, with the resulting joint reform process being a substantial success.

However, behind the basic training of some 4,500 recruits lie certain structural difficulties. One of these relates to the pace with which UNMIK Police are sent some 250 new KPSS graduates every four to five weeks. The international staff of UNMIK Police, representing some fifty countries, are hard-pressed to provide effective field training to this many new KPS officers in a manner consistent with the basic standards of Western democratic policing. Another dilemma in capacity building is the very low salary (DM 350 per month) paid by UNMIK to KPS officers. The concern is that KPS officers will eventually be unable to resist the lure of corruption, particularly in an area where organized crime is rife. However, the basic training run by the KPSS has provided the basis for an apolitical, multiethnic police force, in contrast to the continuing politicization of BiH police and armed forces (or indeed of the KPC).

Confronting Organized Crime: KFOR Multinational Specialized Unit and UNMIK Police

In spite of international efforts to provide a safe and secure environment for societies ravaged by war, including police monitoring, reform, and (in Kosovo) executive policing itself, organized criminal activity often becomes a persistent threat to public and personal security. In the conflict areas of the Balkans, organized crime has flourished in areas such as prostitution, racketeering, the trafficking of illegal immigrants, and the smuggling of drugs, weapons, petrol, and cigarettes. Multinational Specialized Units (MSU) have been used by NATO as a means of responding to these civil security challenges without having to use regular soldiers. MSUs are composed of military/special police from countries that have such forces, and in Kosovo the KFOR MSU is composed almost entirely of a 300-strong Carabinieri regiment from Italy.

KFOR MSU personnel have conducted specialized policing operations such as the seizure of illegal drugs from transshipment locations, raids on brothels, and seizure of weapons. These operations have been directed at confronting organized crime rings, and MSU includes law enforcement and counterterrorism within its mandate. As in Bosnia with SFOR, MSU is a dedicated KFOR asset, and its command reports directly to COMKFOR. This means that while MSU is deployed throughout Kosovo and has a theater-wide remit, its personnel are not part of any MNB command structure. This has led to an absence of coordination between MSU detachments and UNMIK Police operations. The Carabinieri insist on conducting their operations independently, with minimal prior notification to UNMIK Police, and no criminal intelligence or investigations on Kosovar organized crime is shared. (33) These problems highlight the larger need for continuing efforts by both KFOR and UNMIK to improve tactical coordination between KFOR assets/ contingents and local UNMIK Police stations. The imperative to prevent security gaps is underlined by the fact that regional organized crime rings exploited the first year in which neither KFOR nor UNMIK had the necessary capacity to deter such determined illegal activity.

Conclusion: Ten Lessons on Civil-Military Coordination

In light of this review of civil-military interaction in the Kosovo peace operations of UNMIK and KFOR, perhaps ten lessons (both positive and negative) can be drawn for improved modalities of future coordination on security challenges at strategic, operational, and tactical levels.

Strategic Coordination

Lesson 1: Mission mandates should clearly express the tasks required of both international military and civilian organizations. Clarity on roles should not, however, prevent proactive flexibility in theater, particularly where this involves military support to civil authority and even a fundamental shift in de facto mandate. Integrated multiorganization missions should also have their core headquarters management team formed in advance of deployment so as to foster positive commitment to coordination and an integration ethic within the mission.

Lesson 2: Military and civilian organizations should endeavor to plan mission mandates and requirements farther in advance. Routine interorganizational contacts, including joint training, would aid such forward planning and promote mutual understanding of needs and resource sharing. Strategic partnerships and mechanisms to approve operational sharing of intelligence, particularly from national and military sources, should also be pursued.

Lesson 3: When civilian police forces cannot be built up in sufficient numbers to handle executive policing, the lack of capacity can lead to tensions with military forces on specific roles (e.g., organized crime investigations). Delays in police deployment should be anticipated and built into the military operational plan so as to determine what policing roles (and their projected duration) will be required of military assets and thereby to prevent later gaps in public security. Wherever possible, advance police and legal advisers should accompany the initial deployment of military forces.

Operational Coordination

Lesson 4: Once in theater, military forces should be used flexibly for police roles. Procedures should be established to review the evolving balance of military versus civilian police assets for these roles, and changes should be made on a flexible basis that will ensure public security while promoting civilian, democratic policing.

Lesson 5: Civil-military coordination is best achieved with full mission integration and colocation of components under a UN SRSG. Where force requirements preclude full integration, coordination can be established through integrated processes such as joint operations centers and joint planning committees. Such joint action cannot be organized through CIMIC centers, as these are established by military forces to meet their own civil cooperation needs.

Lesson 6: Where multiple civil and military organizations have to coordinate operations, congruence of sector boundaries (particularly regional and municipal areas of responsibility and their command/administration centers) and correspondence of mission levels of management are crucial to providing a mutual framework for efficient coordination. This framework can be undermined, however, when individual military sectors have autonomous authority that allows them to set differential policies on support (e.g., riot control) to civil organizations. Joint action on security issues should therefore be mandated from the central command or administration of each organization's mission and applied consistently across the entire theater of operations.

Lesson 7: Coordination of civil operations between the United Nations and regional civilian organizations is best effected within a single, integrated mission structure under the authority of an SRSG. Regional organizations should strive to merge all aspects of their operations, including logistics and communications, into the single structure. An integrated mission allows for comparative advantage to be coordinated in a clear manner and places international police under a single civilian authority. It also ensures that the international presence in the conflict speaks with a single voice to the local conflict actors.

Tactical Coordination

Lesson 8: Demobilization of militias can be effectively managed by civil organizations (e.g., UN, OSCE, IOM) with a multitrack, transformative approach that will direct as many former combatants into productive public service as possible. New security authorities (e.g., Kosovo Protection Corps, Kosovo Police Service) should effect such transformation through rigorous basic training programs to foster new esprit de corps, and all previous militia structures should be fully dismantled. Such a transformative approach to demobilization requires secure, dedicated budgetary support, however, and should be a central component of mission planning from the outset. This approach, moreover, can succeed only where coordinated with an integrated civil-military plan for effective demilitarization, a task best handled by military actors.

Lesson 9: Coordinated demilitarization and demobilization of militias is unlikely to be effective in ending nationalist militancy in the absence of complementary action by civil authorities to address the political sources of militancy with an effective political process. The political context for militancy may also require the adoption of a regional strategy to confront the potential for militant activity beyond the mission theater. Such a strategy should also incorporate effective measures to deter the links between regional organized crime and militant organizations.

Lesson 10: Civil-military coordination can be significantly undermined where mission administrators/commanders cannot prevent exceptionalism for certain mission programs/assets or national contingents. In particular, civil authorities rely on military forces to provide effective security for any area of the theater that may require joint tactical action to address security challenges. Military force commanders should have greater authority to establish theater-wide directives on tactical brigade/battalion support by national contingents to civil authorities.

Finally, managing security sector challenges only can be successful when integrated within the wider context of a multisectoral peace-building process. Three aspects are worth stressing. First, effective judicial reform, with functional legal and penal systems in place, must support the police side of the law and order equation. Second, civil institution building must complement security sector reform by establishing democratic civilian control over paramilitary and police forces. Ultimately, security can be ensured only through institutions that are accepted by the public as legitimate expressions of sovereign authority, and this requires an effective political settlement of the status of the territory in question. Third, it is imperative to build reforms in both security and political sectors with the input of local political and civil representatives. Peace building should be approached as a process that fosters self-sustaining institutions, and this requires the active engagement of the local population. Kosovo's slow but steady progress toward a stable peace suggests that joint action between the UN, NATO, and the OSCE has been applied in some key areas, arising from their Balkans experience to date. Effective interorganizational coordination of joint action on security, in particular, can play a central role in fostering a stable basis for the peace-building process and should become the new standard for civil-military interaction in such complex peace operations.


John G. Cockell is currently an associate with the Conflict Analysis and Development Unit of the London School of Economics and Political Science and a technical advisor on conflict prevention to the United Nations Development Programme Office in Kosovo. In 2000-2001, he served as an OSCE political affairs officer with the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

(1.) See also John G. Cockell, "Conceptualising Peacebuilding: Human Security and Sustainable Peace," in Michael Pugh, ed., Regeneration of War-Torn Societies (London: Macmillan, 2000), pp. 15-34.

(2.) Kofi A. Annan, "UN Peacekeeping Operations and Cooperation with NATO," NATO Review 41, no. 5 (October 1993): 3-7.

(3.) See George A. Joulwan and Christopher C. Shoemaker, Civilian-Military Cooperation in the Prevention of Deadly Conflict (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict, December 1998), pp. 15-16.

(4.) A similar recommendation is made in United Nations, "Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations," par. 64, pp. 11-12.

(5.) Joulwan and Shoemaker, Civilian-Military Cooperation, pp. 20-22.

(6.) See United Nations, "Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations," pars. 198-217, pp. 34-37.

(7.) As noted in Derek G. Boothby's IPA background paper "Cooperation Between the UN and NATO: Quo Vadis?" IPA Seminar Report (New York: International Peace Academy, June 1999), pp. 7, 10.

(8.) On the role of the international security presence for Kosovo, see UN Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999), par. 9. The resolution directs the international security presence (KFOR) to coordinate closely with the work of the international civil presence (UNMIK). In the text of the NATO North Atlantic Council's 10 June 1999 authorization for Operation Joint Guardian (establishing KFOR), specific reference is also made to the requirement for KFOR to "help achieve a self-sustaining secure environment which will allow public security responsibilities to be transferred to appropriate civil organisations."

(9.) KFOR, speech by Gen. Michael Jackson at Transfer of Authority Ceremony, Pristina, 8 October 1999.

(10.) The JSEC is the highest joint body for security coordination in Kosovo. Its members include the KFOR chief of staff, the UNMIK police commissioner, the principal deputy SRSG, and the chair of the Joint Implementation Commission. Interview with deputy political adviser to COMKFOR, Pristina, May 2001.

(11.) Michael Pugh, "Civil-Military Relations in the Kosovo Crisis: An Emerging Hegemony?" Security Dialogue 31, no. 2 (June 2000): 238.

(12.) By January 2001, UNMIK Police personnel had reached a total of approximately 4,500 international police officers (of their authorized maximum strength of 4,718 officers), a level that has been maintained since then. The UNMIK Police does have "police primacy" (i.e., authority for criminal investigations and arrests) in the Mitrovica region, but not "tactical primacy" (i.e., executive authority for the enforcement of law and order). See UNMIK Police, Annual Report 2000 (Pristina: UNMIK Police, 2001), p. 16.

(13.) Gen. Klaus Reinhardt, "Commanding KFOR," NATO Review 48, no. 2 (summer-autumn 2000): 16-19.

(14.) Interview with senior officer, UNMIK Police Operations Department, May 2001.

(15.) Interviews with UNMIK O/SRSG and KFOR Main J3 Operations senior officers, Pristina, May 2001.

(16.) Michael C. Williams, Civil-Military Relations and Peacekeeping, Adelphi Paper 321 (London: Oxford University Press, for IISS, 1998), p. 48.

(17.) Interview with senior officer in KFOR Main J3 Operations, Pristina, May 2001.

(18.) International Crisis Group, "Kosovo: Let's Learn from Bosnia--Models and Methods of International Administration," ICG Balkans Report, 17 May 1999, sec. III.

(19.) UNMIK, Pillar I press briefing, Pristina, 21 May 2001. The establishment of the new pillar was intended, in part, to give police and justice issues a higher profile within the mission, as these had been two of the most evident operational weaknesses in UNMIK's first year. The pillar is managed by the UN itself and now has its own deputy SRSG.

(20.) A similar recommendation is also made in United Nations, "Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations," par. 101, p. 17. In the case of UNMIK, the mission structure had to be designed on the fly, just three days in advance of the 10 June 1999 adoption of Resolution 1244 by the Security Council. The UN Secretariat had not been provided with the text of the draft resolution until that point, which prevented an orderly planning process for the mission's establishment. UNMIK began field operations on 14 June 1999, just two days after KFOR's initial entry into Kosovo.

(21.) This is not to say that there have not been interpillar disagreements at the senior management level of UNMIK (including problems arising from diverging reporting lines to three or four separate organizational headquarters), or that staff in the field have not been able to achieve good examples of ad hoc coordination.

(22.) While space limitations preclude a discussion of the role of judicial and penal reform and rule of law capacity-building programs, these are crucial aspects of the broader management of the security sector and have been the focus of considerable efforts by UN and OSCE staff within UNMIK.

(23.) In its "Undertaking of Demilitarisation and Transformation" of 21 June 1999, the UCK pledged to have completely demilitarized by 19 September 1999. As part of this process, within these ninety days, the UCK turned over to KFOR some 10,000 weapons and over 5 million rounds of ammunition.

(24.) See UNMIK Regulation No. 1999/8, "On the Establishment of the Kosovo Protection Corps," 20 September 1999. The regulation limits the total number of KPC personnel to 3,000 active members and 2,000 reservists. The preferred Albanian reading of Trupat Mbrojtese te Kosoves is Kosova Defence Forces, instead of the official English name used by UNMIK and KFOR.

(25.) Together with the KPC and the KPS, IOM's ICRS program serves to assist the transformation and reintegration of former UCK combatants into productive civilian life. Over 10,000 former combatants registered with the ICRS program.

(26.) UNMIK, Administrative Department for Civil Security and Emergency Preparedness, "Coordinating KPC Issues," 16 March 2001, p. 4.

(27.) Lt.-Gen. Agim Ceku, "The Kosova Protection Corps," RUSI (Royal United Services Institute) Journal 146, no. 2 (April 2001): 27. The UNMIK mission budget, as approved by the Security Council, does not include funding for the KPC, which leaves the Corps dependent on voluntary contributions from the EU and other donors.

(28.) UNMIK, O/SRSG Human Rights Unit, "Issue Analysis: A Current Assessment of the Kosovo Protection Corps," 29 February 2000.

(29.) Interview with KPC program managers, UNMIK Administrative Department for Civil Security and Emergency Preparedness, May 2001.

(30.) The UCPMB later agreed, as a result of sustained mediation efforts by NATO, to demilitarize and demobilize by the end of May 2001. Similar mediation by EU and U.S. envoys in Macedonia led to a political agreement in August 2001 under which the NLA agreed to demilitarize.

(31.) On models of police reform in postconflict societies, see Charles T. Call and William Stanley, "Protecting the People: Public Security Choices After Civil Wars," Global Governance 7, no. 2 (2001): 151-172.

(32.) The KPS is often held up as the only truly multiethnic institution in Kosovo today. It has some eighty Serb officers (roughly 7 percent of the total) as well as Roma, Turk, and Bosniac members in smaller numbers.

(33.) Interview with senior officer in UNMIK Police Operations Department, Pristina, May 2001.
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Author:Cockell, John C.
Publication:Global Governance
Geographic Code:4EXYU
Date:Oct 1, 2002
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