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Wartime alliances versus coalition warfare: how institutional structure matters in the multilateral prosecution of wars.

Reading the graffiti on the latrine walls at the Kandahar airfield in Afghanistan, it is not entirely clear who the enemy is. "Identify your ... target before you kill," addresses one Canadian's comment toward the Americans. "Canadians, first learn how to fight and stop getting your ass kicked every time you go outside the wire" is the response. (1) The tension within ranks is normal, especially under pressure-cooker conditions of wartime. Yet the dynamics of intracoalition and intraalliance politics are largely ignored in advance of decisions of how to prosecute wars and in understanding the politics of state behavior once wars are underway. This is troubling, given the importance of institutional design and its impact on fighting effectiveness.

No one doubts that military alliances are highly consequential in shaping the landscape of international politics. States pursue alliances to preserve themselves in the face of threats or to augment their power. Once formed, military alliances send ripples through the system, shaping the patterns of interaction among states, and may alter the identity of politics among members. (2) Because of the increased threat confronting nonmembers once an alliance is formed, it may alter future patterns of alignment or culminate in military hostilities. The most consequential realm of multilateral action is in the area of military operations, but scholars and policymakers think nothing of dismissing coalition operations as unilateral if one country takes the lead in decision making. This is problematic. Any multinational operation requires coordination in command and control and mutual cooperation in ideas and actions. The dynamics within coalitions and alliances are as important as the objectives they are designed to pursue.

Alliance operations during wartime are fundamentally different from coalition operations. What follows is an analysis of these differences, including their formation, cohesiveness, and burden sharing. In many ways, states in coalitions focus principally on operational effectiveness, while political effectiveness becomes of primary concern in wartime alliances. Next, the argument is evaluated in the context of two cases: the first Gulf War coalition and NATO operations in Kosovo. Finally, an analysis of contemporary wars and policy recommendations is presented.

Wartime Alliances versus Wartime Coalitions

Not all wartime partnerships are created equal. In some cases, an alliance concluded during peacetime is called upon to prosecute a war. In other instances, once war is imminent or has already begun, states come together in an ad hoc coalition designed for the express purpose of fighting. Preexisting alliances benefit from preexisting decision-making structures and joint planning; yet coalitions benefit from being tailored for the express purpose for which they are being used. In terms of effective fighting capability, military alliances have the advantage of opportunities for joint war planning; stable relations among allies; the opportunity for creating effective command, control, and information structures; and agreed-upon mechanisms for decision making. All of these factors should make coordinating action during wartime easier than in coalition operations. Yet because alliances that operate in war are usually created during peacetime, the transition is not so easy. This is true for several reasons. First, egalitarian decision-making structures which foster cohesion during peacetime create onerous procedures not well suited to quick, decisive action necessary during war. The emphasis on political rather than operational effectiveness hampers the functioning of the alliance in wartime. Second, not all alliance partners will be equally threatened, nor will they be likely to all desire wartime action equally. In other words, fears of entrapment are likely to outweigh fears of abandonment during wartime. Finally, threats that are compatible during peacetime do not necessarily translate into compatible threats during wartime. (3)

Coalitions and wartime alliances are both subsets of multinational operations, which may include other forms of multilateral cooperation, such as peacekeeping missions. Coalitions are ad hoc multinational understandings that are forged to undertake a specific mission and dissolve once that mission is complete. They are not wholly analytically distinct from wartime alliances, although the latter may have a greater degree of institutionalization and may predate a specific wartime operation. Wartime alliances are formal or informal agreements between two or more states intended to further (militarily) the national security of the participating states, usually in the form of joint consultation and cooperation to prevail in war against a common enemy or enemies. Such alliances are usually concluded in peacetime in order to prevent or prevail in war, but continue to operate under wartime conditions. States augment their joint planning, consultation, and sometimes integrate their forces as their plans for war unfold and are implemented. Member states usually expect the alliance will endure beyond any specific war or crisis. (4) There is a range of commitment levels that alliances may provide. Six can be specifically identified: (1) a promise to maintain benevolent neutrality in the event of war; (2) a promise to consult in the event of military hostilities with an implication of aid; (3) promises of military assistance and other aid in event of war, but unilateral and without pre-prepared or explicit conditions specified; (4) a promise to come to the active assistance of an ally under specific circumstances; (5) an unconditional promise of mutual assistance, short of joint planning, with division of forces; and (6) an unconditional promise of mutual assistance in the event of attack with preplanned command and control and the integration of forces and strategy. (5)

Coalitions forged to combat a specific threat come in various forms. Contemporary coalitions formed by the United States to fight in the first Gulf War, Afghanistan, and Iraq have many features in common, yet many differences as well. The advantage to creating such coalitions is they can be tailored to the specific needs of the mission at hand. Some of these coalitions--namely the first Gulf War--are forged out of a genuine desire to collectively address the wishes of the international community. (6) In other instances--the current wars in Afghanistan and Iraq--the coalitions are forged as a means toward achieving objectives that serve the interest of one nation above all, even if the coalitions in the end do not actually serve the interest of the principal state. In reality, contemporary coalitions are often constructed in ways that are not always conducive to the US national interest.

First, the large scale of contemporary coalitions may actually reduce fighting effectiveness by creating additional complexities regarding decision making, interoperability, and burden sharing. Second, contemporary coalitions are being formed with an eye to legitimizing international operations rather than to increasing war-fighting effectiveness (which occurs only rarely), even if those efforts at establishing legitimacy may meet with varied success. However, because coalitions are designed to address a specific military objective, there is some emphasis on operational effectiveness, within certain parameters.

Fighting effectiveness of multinational forces requires a clear chain of command, decision making, interoperability, equitable burden sharing, technology, human power, and resources. Larger coalitions may pose more challenges in this regard. In addition, as the size of a fighting force grows, the more difficult it becomes to manage the differences in rules of engagement. For example, during the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, 14 Australian F/A-18 Hornet pilots defied the orders of their American commanding officers. These pilots independently aborted 40 bombing missions at the last minute because they believed that the objects of attack were not valid military targets or that dropping their bombs would result in an alarming number of civilian casualties. None of the pilots were reprimanded--they were following Australian rules of engagement. (7)

Contemporary coalition warfare differs from its historical counterparts in that coalitions formed in the post-Cold War and post-9/11 eras by the United States contain a significant number of American allies. Because the experience of NATO in the former Yugoslavia revealed that the unwieldy nature of the decision-making structure was seen at odds with the need for quick, decisive action during wartime, the United States opted to construct coalitions in the succeeding missions. Even with its longtime allies, the United States concluded bilateral agreements rather than using the preexisting multilateral framework available through NATO. This has the advantage of fighting alongside allies with shared experience in training and enhanced interoperability, yet with the flexibility in decision-making arrangements available through coalitions. (8)

These hybrids--part alliance, part coalition--make the distinction between alliances and coalitions blurry. What is the efficacy of such fighting arrangements?

Because long-standing, highly institutionalized alliances are usually established during peacetime, their wartime operation may be unwieldy and problematic. These alliances generally have rigid structures unsuitable to effective or efficient wartime operation because of their attention to political harmony during peacetime. Further, the demands on member states regarding integration of forces are high, creating a natural tension with their desires to maintain national control of their troops. Hence, long-standing military alliances will be less cohesive in wartime than ad hoc coalitions. In addition, institutional design may impinge on burden-sharing concerns. To draw out this argument, two case studies, Desert Storm/Desert Shield and Operation Allied Force, are relevant. These cases are not intended to be exercises in proof; rather, they provide assessment and illustration of the arguments.

First Gulf War Coalition

The United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) was established during the waning years of the Cold War. Following the Iranian hostage crisis, it became clear to US decision makers that to have a rapid deployment force that could be dispatched around the globe quickly in response to such developments was necessary. In 1983 the newly established Rapid Deployment Joint Task Force (RDJTF) was transformed into a permanent unified command. Its area of responsibility was the Middle East, East Africa, and Central Asia. Once the Cold War ended, USCENTCOM commander in chief (USCINCCENT), GEN Norman Schwarzkopf, began focusing on regional threats. When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, CENTCOM responded quickly by dispatching troops to Saudi Arabia to deter an Iraqi attack. (9)

In the immediate aftermath of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990, the United States spearheaded an effort to construct a multinational coalition to respond. The United Nations played an important role--the UN Security Council passed a series of resolutions condemning the invasion, demanding Iraq's withdrawal, establishing sanctions, and authorizing the use of force if Iraq did not comply. (10) With unanimity in the international community condemning the invasion and enormous effort on the part of Pres. George H. W. Bush and Secretary of State James Baker, a large coalition of states was forged. The coalition was built beyond countries threatened by the invasion, though Iraq's attack posed a tremendous threat to many countries. In the region, Saudi Arabia was especially vulnerable to attack. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait, were alarmed and reacted strongly against the invasion. As Cairo became a center for Kuwaiti refugees, Egypt also responded with alacrity to the invasion. Tensions had already been running high between Egypt and Iraq concerning Egyptian workers in Iraq; the attack on Kuwait deepened tensions. Syria was also threatened by the attack and responded quickly to the crisis, deploying troops in October. (11) The attack was perceived as highly threatening to Western countries sensitive to the vagaries of the oil markets. This high level of threat effectively galvanized the international community, as did President Bush.

President Bush was instrumental in forging the coalition. He used personal diplomacy and ongoing relationships with world leaders to bring the member states together. While Bush took a leadership role, there was widespread sentiment in the international community that action needed to be taken and taken collectively. The shared norm of sovereignty and the value of its preservation were predominant in the decision to intervene. Bush made a point of constructing a coalition that extended beyond the frontline states. The decision was sanctioned by an affirmative vote in the UN Security Council, and despite the fact that forging a coalition complicated the operational mission, there was pervasive support in the international community for action. Almost 50 countries contributed to the first Gulf War in some capacity. By the end of the operations (both Desert Shield and Desert Storm), 38 countries including the United States contributed nearly 800,000 troops to the coalition. There were over 300 combat and combat support battalions, over 225 naval vessels, and nearly 2,800 fixed-wing aircraft. (12) Many countries contributed to the coalition financially--in addition to billions in economic aid to affected countries, an estimated $54 billion was given the United States to offset projected incremental costs of $61 billion. (13) The level of threat posed by Saddam Hussein's invasion was instrumental in bringing about the formation of the coalition poised to deter and repel his attack. The high level of threat perceived by the international community was also instrumental in fostering cohesion in the coalition. (14)


It was relatively easy for the partners to agree that deterring the Iraqis from invading Saudi Arabia was a key goal. It was slightly more difficult to achieve consensus on pushing Saddam Hussein's forces out of Kuwait and back into Iraq. Ultimately, consensus was reached and cohesion maintained. The command and control system that emerged enabled the coalition to pursue those objectives effectively, thereby enhancing the cohesion of the coalition.

A joint directorate of planning (JDOP) between the United States and Saudi Arabia was established in the two weeks following Saddam Hussein's invasion. A coalition, coordination, communication, and integration center (C3IC) was established and became the cornerstone of the combined operations. It provided the link between the two parallel command structures as well as the place where conflict could be aired, negotiated, and resolved. (15) At first, too few experienced personnel, an absence of mutual operating procedures, and inadequate communications interoperability posed problems, and these relationships changed continuously as more and more countries deployed troops to Saudi Arabia in advance of Operation Desert Shield. (16) The United States took the lead in planning and executing the operations. As Peter de la Billiere, commander in chief of the British forces in the Gulf War reported, Norman Schwarzkopf was the person who "got things done ... efficiently, and helped and enabled us to win this war." (17)

Ultimately, command and control of coalition forces was established with "separate, but parallel lines of authority with US and Saudi Arabian forces remaining under their respective national command authorities." (18) French land forces remained under French command but were under the operational control of the Saudis. British forces remained under British command, but operational and tactical control of air and ground forces was given to the United States. Eventually Egyptian and Syrian divisions were integrated into the defense. The headquarters for CENTCOM, per its request, was located in the same building as the Saudi Ministry of Defense and Aviation to facilitate coordination of the two staffs.

A separate cell was established to begin planning Operation Desert Storm. A planning team with representatives from the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, and France was at the heart of the effort. "As with everything else in this war, the development of this plan was a team effort involving literally hundreds of people at every echelon of command across the entire coalition." (19) The process did not always proceed smoothly, and much of the work had to be done by the United States, with one British representative in the planning cell. (20)

The parallel command structure allowed troops from Arab and Islamic countries to remain under Islamic Arab control, while Western countries maintained control of Western troops. Planners took enormous pains to ensure cultural sensitivities were maintained. For example, US personnel deploying to Saudi Arabia had to undergo extensive indoctrination programs to educate themselves about the history, customs, religions, and laws of the region. Alcohol was prohibited in CENTCOM's area of operation, and a civilian dress code was established as well. Broadcasts on the US Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) were monitored to avoid offense. American women were briefed extensively regarding Islamic and Saudi expectations of female conduct, although the Saudis did lift the prohibition against women driving, provided it was part of their official duty. (21) Tending to cultural differences was essential in fostering and maintaining coalition cohesion.

As the coalition shifted from Desert Shield to Desert Storm, the parallel decision-making structure was augmented by upping the number of liaison officers, who then made changes to the C3IC which strengthened it and made it more effective. (22) The United States and its coalition partners worked very hard to keep the coalition together. The consequences of failure loomed. The "inherent fragility" of the coalition meant that a great deal of effort had to go into negotiating, compromising, and maintaining its cohesion. (23) Tension surfaced among the force commanders in particular who did not always agree on operational or tactical implementation decisions. In the end, however, the coalition maintained cohesion because of the efforts undertaken by the main coalition partners. (24)

The first Gulf War revealed command and control challenges posed by coalition warfare in another important way: friendly fire. Coalition partners must communicate effectively at all levels to prevent lethal friendly fire--the accidental killing of other allied units occurs frequently in coalition warfare. The United States killed as many British soldiers during the first Gulf War as the enemy did. Nearly a quarter of all American casualties during the Gulf War were a consequence of friendly fire. (25) In subsequent wars, Afghanistan and Iraq in particular, friendly fire has made task cohesion on the ground more difficult than ever.

Burden Sharing within the Coalition

According to the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), by September 1992, the United States had received about $54 billion in aid to offset the incremental costs to the United States of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Table 1 provides a country-by-country summary.

The incremental costs to the United States, estimated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), were $61.1 billion. (26) In terms of funding the war, burden sharing was handled very effectively. The United States provided the largest deployment of troops by far--540,000 out of the nearly 800,000 total. (27) Saudi Arabia was the next largest contributor, with troop levels around 50,000, followed by the UK with approximately 45,000 troops. (28) Other contributions to the coalition included observing the embargo against Iraq despite significant lost revenues.

While opinions vary on the equity of burden sharing in the Gulf War, that coalition was funded most broadly of the post-Cold War coalitions formed by the United States. In contrast, the United States has had to pay its coalition partners in the current war in Iraq for their continued participation. (29)

Studies of burden sharing in the Gulf War also universally acknowledge the importance of the US position in successfully constructing the coalition. Katsuaki Terasawa and William Gates, for example, argue that intense lobbying by the United States culminated in Germany and Japan contributing more to the coalition than their return would warrant. Others argue that alliance dependence makes states receptive to contributing to coalitions beyond the immediate gains they may reap. (30) What this suggests is that a powerful state's influence and regard in the international system may be essential to success in forging such coalitions--threat alone is not enough.

The Gulf War coalition experienced challenges of interoperability and took a great deal of effort on the part of the United States to maintain. Careful thought went into crafting the decision-making structure--a system that could absorb differences of opinion, resolve them, and keep avenues of communication open. The Gulf War coalition was extremely effective--in large part because of the conscious efforts of the United States and its key partners. Certainly conflict occurred within the coalition, but in the end clear political and military objectives and a resilient coalition structure--as well as a weak enemy--enabled the partners to prevail.

The Kosovo Alliance

In late February 1998, government forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) began to clash. As the KLA began making advances in June and July, the Yugoslav government launched a major counteroffensive, which continued through September. Over a quarter of a million people were displaced, thousands of homes were destroyed, and the makings of a humanitarian disaster confronted the international community. Despite attempts to negotiate a cease-fire through the Holbrooke Agreement in October 1998 and negotiations at Rambouillet, France, in February 1999, the fighting on the ground in Kosovo escalated in March 1999. By January 1999, NATO had empowered Secretary General Javier Solana to authorize air strikes with the intention of compelling Milosevic into compliance. (31)

US and NATO planning for war began earlier, in 1998. Above all, the strategic concerns of turmoil in NATO's backyard were at issue. The European member states were unable to take action without the strategic assets of the United States. By early spring of 1999, over 40 air campaign options had been considered. It was clear that the United States in particular was unwilling to commit ground forces, and plans for fighting an air war were a political necessity. (32) On 23 March 1999, Operation Allied Force began. The air campaign lasted until 10 June, ending with Serbian capitulation. (33)


It was a challenge to develop and maintain cohesion during the Kosovo campaign. Despite the fact that NATO was a preexisting alliance with command and decision-making structures, the Kosovo campaign was its most active mission and only its second offensive military mission in its 50-year history. The 19 NATO member states (34) ultimately agreed that ending Milosevic's brutality in Kosovo was necessary, but even coming to that agreement was difficult. In fact, the GAO identified the absence of clear military objectives as one of the principal departures from military doctrine in Operation Allied Force. (35) The ambiguity of alliance goals resulted from divergent perspectives within the alliance. It reported that all of the member states had different perspectives on the conflict and on what action should be taken and how.
   One member nation, which shared religious and cultural backgrounds
   with the Kosovar Albanians, was sympathetic to their plight, while
   another nation had historic and religious ties to the Serbian
   Yugoslavs. Another NATO nation was led by a coalition government,
   where part of the coalition supported the NATO alliance operation
   while the other part of the coalition did not want the bombing
   campaign to continue and said that it would withdraw from the
   government if the NATO alliance used a ground force. Even within
   the United States, there was not a consensus of support for this
   operation. Although the three newest members of the NATO alliance
   supported the operation, the level of support expressed by their
   governments varied. For example, although one nation offered NATO
   forces the use of its air space and military airfields, it was
   concerned about Yugoslavian retaliation against a minority
   population in Yugoslavia that was ethnically related to this
   nation. (36)

The alliance struggled to agree on exactly how to stop the Serbian government. While alliance partners agreed on general goals, it was difficult to agree on strategies toward attaining those goals. Using NATO was the only way to approach this mission; no one country was willing to take action alone. Further, it offered NATO an opportunity to bolster its image in the early post-Cold War years, when its mission and continuance were being questioned. It also gave the United States a chance to strengthen the alliance in the aftermath of the Bosnia experience. (37) A unilateral approach to the Kosovo crisis would have proved far costlier than any country was willing to bear; in this case multilateralism was easier and more advantageous. A commitment to NATO and keeping the alliance active was an important consideration as well. (38) Because of reluctance on the part of the countries to act alone, acting via NATO was the only viable and least costly option.

Because of resistance from the United States in particular to place its troops under the command of others, a parallel command structure evolved (see fig. 1). Unlike the parallel command structure in the Gulf War and despite the fact that many individuals in the structure served two masters, there was less structured interface between the two. The chain of command was confusing, with unsuitable organizational structures and insufficient staff integration. Although NATO was necessary to prosecute the war, in the end it "came at the cost of a flawed strategy that was further hobbled by the manifold inefficiencies that were part and parcel of conducting combat operations by committee." (39)

Because NATO decisions have to be made by consensus, waging war collectively was extremely difficult. At the start of the campaign, only 51 targets had been approved by the allies. By June 1999, the list included 976. Each additional target had to be proposed, reviewed, and approved by NATO and national authorities before it could be added to the list. (40) Target requests were denied by some of the allies or by the United States. Delays were common by the United States, as well as other states in the alliance, in approving target requests. In some cases, targets were subjected to a domestic legal review to guarantee compliance with international law. (41) According to Paul Strickland, a member of the NATO combined air operations center (CAOC), in the initial 40 days of the campaign, a number of fairly insignificant targets were repeatedly bombed into rubble because of an absence of new approved target sets. (42) The Pentagon estimated that some 80 percent of the targets hit in the first month of the campaign had been hit at some point before. (43)

In some instances, the United States withheld information about missions involving the use of "F-117s, B-2s, and cruise missiles, to ensure strict US control over those US-only assets and to maintain a firewall against leaks from any allies who might compromise those operations." This created potentially dangerous situations when, for example, US aircraft showed up on NATO radars without advance notice. Even when the United States opted to share information, the process was complicated and cumbersome, hampering the alliance's ability to act effectively. (44)

In addition to being unwieldy and slow, the alliance suffered from other troubles as well. (45) According to Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) GEN Wesley Clark, who led NATO's campaign, leaks were a constant source of trouble. As early as October 1998, one of the French officers working at NATO headquarters had leaked key portions of the operational plan for the campaign to the Serbians. (46)


The fissures in the alliance were especially clear in the dispute over the Pristina airport in June 1999, after the NATO air operation had concluded. As the NATO-led Kosovo force (KFOR) was deployed to occupy Serbia, Russian troops and fellow Slavs in collusion with the Serbians moved to occupy the Pristina airport. This event threatened to enlarge a sphere of influence in the north, putting KFOR's mission at risk. Fearing an expanding sphere of influence for the Russians, or a partition, Clark requested entering troops block the runways at Pristina and seize the airport ahead of the Russians. Sir Michael Jackson, the British general in charge of the operation, balked at the orders. According to Clark, Jackson said he "would no longer be taking his orders from Washington." When Clark countered by saying the orders did not come from Washington but rather from him as SACEUR, Jackson responded by telling Clark he did not have that authority. When Clark responded that he did have the authority, Jackson told Clark that he would not be starting WWIII for him. Jackson told Clark that as a three-star general he should not have to take orders from Clark; Clark's response was that he himself was a four-star general and indeed Jackson did have to take orders from him. The dispute resulted in numerous phone calls to various British and American officials. The French also backed out of the operation at the behest of the British. (47) Above all, the incident revealed the difficulties among the allies in agreeing on goals and on strategies toward attaining those goals. It also illustrated the problems associated with multinational command structure, even in long-standing, highly institutionalized alliances such as NATO.

In sum, the alliance was fraught with conflict and difficulty achieving consensus on ultimate objectives and how to prosecute the war. According to the GAO, cohesion was so difficult to maintain that it resulted in profound departures from US military doctrine, (48) further complicating the campaign. This represents one of the many inherent challenges to alliance war fighting.

Burden Sharing within the Coalition

The top three contributors to Operation Allied Force in terms of sorties and aircraft deployed were the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. (49) During the operation itself, most of the contributions by allies were made in terms of allied airfields, overflight rights, logistical support, and peacekeeping troops after Operation Allied Force concluded. (50) Thirteen of the 19 member states contributed aircraft to the operation. Of the approximately 38,000 sorties flown, including those flown by airlifters, the United States flew over 29,000 while deploying more than 700 aircraft; France deployed about 100 aircraft and flew approximately 2,414 sorties; the United Kingdom was the second largest contributor of aircraft and flew about 1,950 sorties; the Netherlands flew approximately 1,252 sorties; Italy was the third largest contributor of aircraft and flew about 1,081 sorties; Germany flew about 636 sorties. (51)

Operation Allied Force cost the United States $3.1 billion in incremental funds. (52) The United States provided about 70 percent of the aircraft for the operation and about 60 percent of the sorties during the operation (53), while the Europeans provided 56-70 percent of the peacekeeping troops after the air campaigns. (54) The Europeans, in summary,
   have consistently provided the majority of ground troops to support
   NATO operations and paramilitary specialists who are trained for
   post-conflict crisis interventions. European allies have also led
   efforts to support nonmilitary interventions, such as development
   assistance and personnel to support multilateral operations. Of the
   almost $15 billion, disbursed to the Balkans region from 1993
   through 1999, the European Commission (EC) and European allies
   contributed about $10.2 billion, primarily to fund humanitarian and
   reconstruction programs such as rebuilding airports, bridges, and
   roads. During this same period, the US distributed about $1.2
   billion, primarily for emergency relief and institution building.
   European allies have consistently provided a large number of
   civilians to support multilateral institution-building programs in
   the Balkans, including more than 2,000 U.N. civilian police. (55)

Burden sharing in NATO more generally has been an issue of contention during the history of the alliance. As the DoD reported in its annual assessment of allied contributions to defense, the United States pays one-quarter of the NATO common-funded budgets in which all 19 members participated at the time of Operation Allied Force. (56)

The absence of a strong European strategic transport and logistics capability alone meant that the United States had to undertake the lion's share of the Kosovo campaign. Operation Allied Force also revealed a serious technology gap between the United States and Europe:
   More than 70 percent of the fire-power deployed was American. Only
   a handful of European allies had laser-guided bombs, and only
   Britain was able to contribute cruise missiles. Barely 10 percent
   of European aircraft are capable of precision bombing and of the
   European members of NATO, only France was able to make a
   significant contribution to high-level bombing raids at night. Only
   the United States could contribute strategic bombers and stealth
   aircraft for enhanced power projection. European allies also
   critically lacked reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft. (57)

The United States' superiority in information systems made it difficult to communicate with their allies. In other words, despite the fact that NATO was a long-standing alliance, interoperability issues were nevertheless critical.


The proposition that long-standing, highly institutionalized alliances will be less flexible and overly rigid for effective wartime operations was supported by the cases of the Persian Gulf War and the Kosovo campaign. In the first, a large, ad hoc coalition of countries of widely disparate capabilities and cultures produced a more cohesive and effective war-fighting mechanism than the largely Western, long-standing military alliance of mostly great powers represented by NATO in Operation Allied Force.

Because the former coalition could be tailored to the direct needs of the countries in question for the mission at hand, the member states were able to come together in a unified way. The immediate threat posed by Saddam Hussein's invasion was the galvanizing force that produced an effective response. Substantial attention was paid to designing an operationally effective institution to meet the challenges of the tasks at hand. The parallel decision-making structure, communication between the two decision-making hierarchies, and meticulous attention to cultural sensitivities all served to facilitate the effectiveness and cohesion of the coalition. (58)

The parallel decision-making structure in NATO did not work as well. It signaled to its long-standing allies that the United States stood apart from the NATO hierarchy. Part of the problem was, while the Gulf War coalition could operate with countries acting in tandem rather than in an integrated fashion, NATO had no such possibility. Because political considerations during peacetime guided the institutional structure, operational effectiveness was secondary. Further, the NATO chain of command was ineffective in action, SACEUR Wesley Clark was unable to command the authority he would have been able to command had the operation been executed solely by the Americans. (59) The decision-making procedures were highly ineffective, not at all conducive to a crisis or wartime situation. (60)

The security threat posed to the coalition members in the first Gulf War in contrast to the humanitarian challenge posed to NATO in the Kosovo campaign also affected operations. The security threat galvanized the coalition, gave the member states a clear objective, and helped them understand their central goals and decide on strategies for attaining those goals. The humanitarian threat in Kosovo did not culminate in a similar benefit for NATO member states. As the alliance faced a humanitarian crisis in its own backyard in the aftermath of the Cold War on the eve of its 50th anniversary, there was a belief that something needed to be done to show that its utility was enduring. These were political rather than military or operational objectives, however. Further, defining these objectives clearly, let alone specifying strategies for attaining those objectives, was difficult. The United States really was the only country with the capability to undertake the mission, yet it did not want to commit ground troops. The European states wanted control of the situation but were technologically not in a place to do so. The Kosovo campaign revealed fissures in the alliance rather than provide a template for its future.

Operation Allied Force struggled more with cohesion than the first Gulf War coalition. The emphasis on political effectiveness came at the expense of operational effectiveness. In addition, the absence of a clear and present threat felt equally by all and the alliance apparatus both worked to the detriment of cohesion within the coalition. The Gulf War coalition--despite being an ad hoc coalition with possible interoperability problems, definite asymmetries within the coalition, and a lack of experience in working together--was effective and cohesive. The coalition worked effectively, despite some interoperability challenges, as a consequence of the clear objectives that allowed the parallel decision-making structure to work. The Gulf War was sanctioned by the United Nations; Operation Allied Force was not. While this did not have much effect on the operations themselves, the sanction of the UN, which is a manifestation of global support for an operation, may bear on the institutional arrangements that are selected to prosecute the operations. In other words, when the UN sanctions action, states may forge an international coalition designed to address the mission at hand instead of relying on a preexisting regional alliance. However, the factors that give rise to UN sanction--such as global legitimacy and support for the mission, a universally understood threat, or a clear violation of an international norm uniformly valued by the international community--are more important than the sanction itself.

Today's Wars

While far deeper and more extensive research on the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would be necessary to make unqualified assertions regarding institutional structure, burden sharing, and cohesion, these cases, too, offer at least superficial support for the ideas contained in this article. Above all, it is clear that the choice of institutional mechanism matters powerfully in war-fighting effectiveness.

Fighting the war in Afghanistan principally via NATO has culminated in high friendly-fire casualty rates and constant negotiating with allies regarding burden sharing. (61) The multilayered command structure also offers some challenges. For example, from 2008 to 2009, the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which consisted of about 45,000 troops, including around 15,000 US troops, was under the command of GEN David D. McKiernan, while another 19,000 or so US troops were assigned to Combined Joint Task Force 101, part of Operation Enduring Freedom, under the command of MG Jeffrey J. Schloesser. While many of these complexities changed over the course of the operations, above all they revealed the difficulties in transitioning a peacetime alliance structure to wartime. These difficulties are also clearly understood in the issue of caveats. The issue of caveats has plagued the ISAF. Some 50-80 known caveats limit NATO commanders in their operations in Afghanistan. This profoundly affects operational flexibility and heightens burden sharing problems. In other words, some countries' troops occupy space on the ground and provide international legitimacy but make little difference operationally. (62)

In Iraq, the large coalition at the outset of Operation Iraqi Freedom created challenges in terms of institutional structure as well. The force levels of participating countries varied dramatically, as did the division of labor. While the large coalition made it appear that the operation had widespread support around the globe, in fact the United States paid dearly in lives and treasure to ensure even the smallest countries were well compensated. Partner nations were constricted by their different rules of engagement, and the force size varied dramatically among participating states. Yet we see that the coalition adapts over time to the changing situation on the ground. The Multinational Force-Iraq replaced the Combined Joint Task Force 7 and then became US Forces-Iraq in January 2010. (63)

Iraq and Afghanistan offer us more evidence that alliance and coalition design impinge on fighting effectiveness and cohesion. As these cases draw to their inevitable conclusions, more insights will be possible in regard to the principal arguments offered in this article.

Conclusions and Policy Recommendations

Military alliances--and coalitions--are complex in their operation during wartime. Decision-making structures that foster cohesion and consensus during peacetime hinder wartime operations. The institutionalization of alliances that enhance transparency and facilitate cooperation in peacetime may serve to undermine fighting effectiveness during wartime. Further, alliances that are created in peacetime and operate during wartime may nevertheless suffer from significant interoperability issues.

Coalitions that are constructed when war is imminent to address a clear and present threat, a threat that is perceived keenly by participating states, may operate effectively when designed appropriately. The aim of coalitions is often operational effectiveness, in contrast to alliances, which may focus more on the political dimensions of effectiveness. In the case of the first Gulf War, cultural sensitivities culminated in a decision-making system that worked effectively, especially since attention was paid to staff" integration and communication. The absence of political infrastructure in coalitions, ironically, makes operational military cooperation easier. More flexibility and adaptability in design are possible. Strong states can then use coalitions when they want to fight wars efficiently and alliances when they are more concerned about managing broader political issues. For example, the United States may choose NATO as its vehicle in Kosovo and Afghanistan because it wants Europe to be invested in state building, more so than in fighting an enemy that, militarily, is quite weak. (64) In addition, one reason that wartime alliances struggle more with cohesion--especially regarding strategies, not necessarily end goals--is that they generally require a greater level of integration than do coalitions. The demands on such an institutional structure are far greater and likely to create more difficulties in implementing plans for war. While in the Kosovo case these conflicts did not frustrate NATO's ability to achieve its goals, the path toward achieving them was difficult.

The lessons here bear on the nature of multilateralism and the design of contemporary coalitions. (65) Cohesion is fostered and maintained during wartime by clear objectives, threats that are perceived similarly by member states, and when attention is paid to cultural differences; even in the absence of a unified chain of command, effective staff integration is manifest. The implications here are that NATO is a highly useful alliance with great utility during peacetime because of its focus on political effectiveness. During wartime, more flexible and adaptable institutional structures are necessary for effective war prosecution; more emphasis on operational effectiveness is necessary.

The policy implications are straightforward. First, coalitional war fighting does not guarantee legitimacy. Having a UN sanction is important, because it is an indicator of global legitimacy. In the absence of that legitimacy, no matter how large a coalition may be, that legitimacy will not be manifest. Second, when states' participation involves caveats and overly restrictive rules of engagement, the United States may want to assess the implications on operational flexibility before the mission gets underway. Above all, it would serve well to take a closer look at American reliance on multilateral war fighting and develop benchmarks to determine whether or not forging a coalition or reshaping an alliance makes sense to address the issue at hand. Of course we cannot make absolute assertions regarding when alliances or coalitions should be used in warfare; however, a close look at coalition size and subsidies to partners is absolutely warranted. The United States should employ coalition warfare whenever doing so reduces the costs of war in terms of lives and treasure. War-fighting capacity is the most important criterion. Flexible coalitions of modest size are likely the answer. Retaining our alliances and deepening our commitment to them in peacetime is absolutely in our interest. How we adjust and transform those institutions under conditions of wartime is conditional on the mission at hand.

Studies of military alliances in international relations tell us a great deal about the way these alliances are formed, maintained, and managed. Much work remains to better understand how those alliances, once formed, operate during war and how they differ from ad hoc coalitions formed to perform specific missions. Understanding the nuances and complexities of interstate relations, be they within alliances, coalitions, or between these institutions and their enemies is critical to success in the future.


(1.) Graeme Smith, "The War on the Walls," Globe and Mail, 29 November 2007.

(2.) See Kenneth Waltz, Theory of International Politics (Reading: Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1979); Stephen Walt, Origins of Alliances (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1987); Patricia Weitsman, Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War (Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, 2004); Michael C. Williams, "The Institutions of Security: Elements of a Theory of Security Organizations," Cooperation and Conflict 32, no. 3 (1997): 287-307; M. C. Williams and Iver B. Neuman, "From Alliance to Security Community: NATO, Russia, and the Power of Identity," Millennium: Journal of International Studies 29, no. 2 (2000): 357-87; and Vincent Pouliot, "The Alive and Well Transatlantic Security Community: A Theoretical Reply to Michael Cox," European Journal of International Relations 12, no. 1 (2006): 119-27.

(3.) Nora Bensahel, The Counterterror Coalitions: Cooperation with Europe, NATO, and the European Union (Washington: RAND, 2003); Glenn H. Snyder, "The Security Dilemma in Alliance Politics," World Politics 36, no. 4 (1984): 461-95; Snyder, Alliance Politics (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1997); and Weitsman, Dangerous Alliances.

(4.) Peacetime alliances are just formal or informal agreements between two or more states intended to further (militarily) the national security of the participating states, operating when the signatories are not at war. If war begins and the alliance does not dissolve, it transitions into a wartime alliance. If the alliance endures beyond the war, it reverts to a peacetime alliance.

(5.) Weitsman, Dangerous Alliances, 35.

(6.) Or out of a desire to craft a response to an international crisis in a way that strengthens global institutions such as the UN so that it might become more effective in other issue areas as well. I am grateful to Nora Bensahel for this point.

(7.) Frank Walker, "Our Pilots Refused to Bomb 40 Times," Sydney Morning Herald, 14 March 2004.

(8.) This is a strategy that is not without costs--those alliances may be undermined by an unsuccessful or conflict-fraught wartime mission.


(10.) US Department of Defense (DoD), Final Report to Congress: Conduct of the Persian Gulf War (Washington: DoD, 1992), 60.

(11.) Ibid., 62-64.

(12.) USCENTCOM, "Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Executive Summary," 1992 (Declassified), 1.

(13.) DoD, Final Report to Congress, 59-60. Appendix P of this report, pp. 723-31, provides detailed information about the financial and in-kind assistance contributed by coalition partners.

(14.) I operationalize cohesion as I do in "Intimate Enemies: The Politics of Peacetime Alliances" (Security Studies 7, no. 1 [1997]:156-92) and Dangerous Alliances, as the ability to agree on goals and strategies to attain those goals.

(15.) Nora Bensahel, "The Coalition Paradox: The Politics of Military Cooperation" (PhD diss., Stanford University, 1999), 50.

(16.) USCENTCOM, "Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm," 6. For a flowchart explaining these relationships, see Khaled bin Sultan, Desert Warrior (New York: HarperCollins, 1995), 244-47.

(17.) Peter de la Billiere, Storm Command: A Personal Account of the Gulf War (New York: HarperCollins. 1992), 303. Khaled bin Sultan reports that "working in parallel, Schwarzkopf and I were often in close and instant agreement. Sometimes, however, we disagreed significantly, and at other times we were obliged to negotiate with each other to reach a compromise. He was not an easy man to deal with, but neither was I." Bin Sultan, Desert Warrior, 191. See also 200-204.

(18.) USCENTCOM, "Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm," 7. These were parallel, though not equivalent, since the US force commitment was so much larger than anyone else's. See bin Sultan, Desert Warrior, 193-97.

(19.) USCENTCOM, "Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm," 11.

(20.) Bensahel, Coalition Paradox, 73.

(21.) USCENTCOM, "Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm," 570.

(22.) Bensahel, Coalition Paradox, 60-61; and DoD, Final Report to Congress, 494, 559. Bensahel compellingly argues that one of the most important reasons the coalition worked was because of the ineffectiveness of Iraqi troops on the ground.

(23.) Bensahel, Coalition Paradox, 90; and G. W. Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), 342.

(24.) Bin Sultan, Desert Warrior, 32, 265. See also bin Sultan's account of his "duels" with French minister of defense Chevenement (ibid., chap. 26).

(25.) See P. A. Weitsman, "With a Little Help from our Friends? The Costs of Coalition Warfare," Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective 3, no. 1 (2009): 1-13.

(26.) Incremental rather than total costs are a better estimate of costs incurred by the United States. Total costs include expenditures the United States would have incurred even if Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm had not been undertaken, e.g., regular pay of active duty military personnel. Incremental costs are those incurred specifically because of the operations, e.g., imminent danger pay to reservists, less normal drill pay. Government Accountability Office (GAO), "Operation Desert Shield/Storm: Update on Costs and Funding Requirements," GAONSIAD-92-194, May 1992, 2. See bin Sultan, Desert Warrior, chap. 17, for a discussion of the unique contributions of Saudi Arabia and, in contrast, H. Norman Schwarzkopf, It Doesn't Take a Hero (New York: Bantam Books, 1992), chaps. 19-20.

(27.) USCENTCOM, "Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm," 1.

(28.) See K. L. Terasawa and W. R. Gates, "Burden sharing in the Persian Gulf: Lessons Learned and Implications for the Future," Defense Analysis 9 (1993): 171-95, for troop deployments by country.

(29.) See P. A. Weitsman, "The High Price of Friendship," New York Times, 31 August 2006.

(30.) Terasawa and Gates, "Burden sharing in the Persian Gulf"; and A. Bennett, J. Lepgold, and D. Unger, "Burden Sharing in the Persian Gulf War," International Organization 48, no. 1 (1994): 39-75.

(31.) Benjamin S. Lambeth, NATO's Air Warfor Kosovo: A Strategic and Operational Assessment (Washington: RAND, 2001), 10.

(32.) Wesley Clark, Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat (New York: Public Affairs, 2002), 168-69. The decision to fight an air war was highly consequential, resulting in exacerbated conflict on the ground. See Michael Ignatieff, Virtual War: Kosovo and Beyond (New York: MacMillan, 2001), 96, on Clark's failure to anticipate this response.

(33.) Daily reports on developments during the campaign can be found at

(34.) Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The three newest member states, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland, became full members of NATO less than two weeks before Operation Allied Force began.

(35.) GAO, "Operation Desert Shield/Storm," 6.

(36.) Ibid., 4.

(37.) Thanks to Nora Bensahel for pointing this out.

(38.) The action took place on the eve of NATO's 50th anniversary, which was symbolically very important.

(39.) Lambeth, NATO's Air War for Kosovo, 207, 185.

(40.) John Peters et al, European Contributions to Operation Allied Force (Washington: Rand, 2001), 25-26.

(41.) Ibid., 28.

(42.) Paul C. Strickland, "USAF Aerospace--Power Doctrine: Decisive or Coercive? NATO's War over Kosovo, Yugoslavia: The Role of Air Power," Aerospace Power Journal (Fall 2000).

(43.) Peters et al, European Contributions to Operation Allied Force, 26.

(44.) Ibid., 40.

(45.) See Bensahel, Coalition Paradox; and Lambeth, NATO's Air War for Kosovo, 204-8.

(46.) Clark, Waging Modern War, 175-76.

(47.) Ibid., 385, 396-99.

(48.) GAO, "Operation Desert Shield/Storm."

(49.) A normal day during Operation Allied Force saw perhaps 500 aircraft taking off from 47 bases across Europe, refueling midair, undertaking bombing missions, refueling again, returning, and taking off for another bombing mission for a total of some 35,000 sorties. James A. Kitfield, "Another Look at the Air War that Was," Air Force Magazine 82, no. 10 (1999).

(50.) John A. Tirpak, "The NATO Way of War," Air Force Magazine 82, no. 12 (1999).

(51.) Peters et al., European Contributions to Operation Allied Force, 18-24.

(52.) GAO, "Military Operations," 1999, 2.

(53.) GAO, "Kosovo Air Operations: Need to Maintain Alliance Cohesion Resulted in Doctrinal Departures," GAO-01-784 (Washington: GAO, 2001), 3.

(54.) GAO, "Kosovo Air Operations; and GAO, "European Security," GAO-02-174 (Washington: GAO, 2002), 1.

(55.) GAO, "European Security," 51.

(56.) DoD, Final Report to Congress, chap. II.

(57.) Elinor Sloan, "DCI: Responding to the US-led Revolution in Military Affairs." NATO Review 48, no. 1 (2000): 4.

(58.) It is also important to note here that NATO member states played an important role in the Gulf War coalition and no doubt facilitated the effectiveness of the coalition. The NATO decision-making structure was not used in the coalition, but nevertheless the long-standing relationships of some of the states in the coalition should be recognized. On the issue of cultural sensitivities, see Schwarzkopf, It Doesn't Take a Hero, chap. 18.

(59.) Each member state retained a significant degree of national control, which is not simply an indictment of the command structure per se, but speaks instead to the challenges of joint war fighting in general.

(60.) As Bensahel argues, it is the experience in Kosovo that gives rise to bilateral agreements between the United States and its allies in fighting its subsequent wars.

(61.) Weitsman, "With a Little Help from our Friends?"; and Mark Landler and Steven Erlanger, "Clinton to Press NATO Allies on Afghanistan Effort," New York Times, 4 December 2009.

(62.) David P. Auerswald and Stephen M. Saideman, "Caveats Emptor: Multilateralism at War in Afghanistan" (paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Studies Association, February 2009); and Auerswald and Saideman, "NATO at War: Understanding the Challenges of Caveats in Afghanistan" (paper presented at annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, 3-6 September 2009).

(63.) For more, see

(64.) My thanks to J. Samuel Barkin for underscoring this point.

(65.) See Bensahel, Coalition Paradox.

I would like to thank J. Samuel Barkin, David Hoffmann, Jason Davidson, and Karl Mueller. Thanks to Gabriela Plocka and Jeff Kimble for research assistance. I am especially grateful to Nora Bensahel for her meticulous insights as well as Susan Sell, George Shambaugh, Martha Finnemore, James Lebovic, Chad Rector, Jay Parker and all of the members of the research seminar group at the Institute for Global and International Studies, The Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University for their outstanding comments and feedback. Deepest appreciation to the editors at Strategic Studies Quarterly and the anonymous reviewers for exceptional suggestions for revision.

Patricia A. Weitsman is professor of political science at Ohio University. She has published numerous articles and chapters in prominent books, journals, and newspapers and has authored, co-authored, or co-edited The Politics of Policy Making in Defense and Foreign Affairs; Towards a New Europe; Enforcing Cooperation; and Dangerous Alliances: Proponents of Peace, Weapons of War. She is currently working on a short monograph on coalition warfare as well as a larger project on war and identity.
Table 1: Foreign Government Pledges and Contributions to the
United States

(Dollars in millions)


Contributor               1990      1991     Total
Saudi Arabia            $3,339   $13,500   $16,839
Kuwait                   2,506    13,550    16,056
United Arab Emirates     1,000     3,088     4,088
Japan                    1,680     8,332    10,012
Germany                  1,072     5,500     6,572
Korea                       80       275       355
Others *                     3        26        29
Total                   $9,680   $44,271   $53,951


Contributor                Cash   In-kind     Total
Saudi Arabia            $12,809    $4,046   $16,855
Kuwait                   16,015        43    16,058
United Arab Emirates      3,870       218     4,088
Japan                    9,441c       571    10,012
Germany                 5,772 c       683     6,455
Korea                       150       101       251
Others *                      8        22        30
Total                   $48,065    $5,684   $53,749

* Includes Italy, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Belgium, Denmark, Norway,
and Luxemburg

Source: US Government Accountability Office, Report to Congress:
Financial Management Fiscal Year 1992 Audit of the Defense
Cooperation Account, GAO-NIAD-93-185 (Washington: GAO, August 1993).

Table 2: NATO's common-funded budgets, 2000 *
(2000 dollars in millions; 2000 exchange rates)

Member           NATO        Percent     Military   Percent
                 Security    of NATO     Budget     of Total
                 & Invest-   Security               Military
                 ment        & Invest-              Budget **
                 Program     ment

Belgium              23.2       4.3 %       13.9       3.1 %
Canada               20.4       3.7 %       25.6       5.7 %
Czech Republic        3.1       0.6 %        4.5       1.0 %
Denmark              18.6       3.4 %        8.2       1.8 %
France               29.1       5.3 %       28.2       6.3 %
Germany             126.7      23.2 %       76.9      17.1 %
Greece                5.4       1.0 %        1.9       0.4 %
Hungary               2.3       0.4 %        3.3       0.7 %
Iceland               0.0       0.0 %        0.2       0.0 %
Italy                46.2       8.5 %       29.7       6.6 %
Luxembourg            1.1       0.2 %        0.4       0.1 %
Netherlands          25.7       4.7 %       13.9       3.1 %
Norway               15.9       2.9 %        5.7       1.3 %
Poland                8.6       1.6 %       12.4       2.8 %
Portugal              1.9       0.3 %        3.2       0.7 %
Spain                13.8       2.5 %       17.6       3.9 %
Turkey                5.8       1.1 %        8.0       1.8 %
United Kingdom       61.1      11.2 %       80.4      17.9 %
United States       136.3      25.0 %      115.6      25.7 %
Total               545.2     100.0 %      449.6     100.0 %

Member           Civil    Percent    TOTAL     Percent
                 Budget   of Total   NATO      of TOTAL
                          Civil      Common    NATO
                          Budget     Budgets   Common
                                               Budget **

Belgium            3.6      2.8 %      40.7       3.6 %
Canada             7.0      5.4 %      53.0       4.7 %
Czech Republic     1.2      0.9 %       8.8       0.8 %
Denmark            1.9      1.5 %      28.7       2.6 %
France            20.0     15.3 %      77.3       6.9 %
Germany           20.2     15.5 %     223.8      19.9 %
Greece             0.5      0.4 %       7.8       0.7 %
Hungary            0.8      0.6 %       6.4       0.6 %
Iceland            0.1      0.1 %       0.3       0.0 %
Italy              7.5      5.8 %      83.4       7.4 %
Luxembourg         0.1      0.1 %       1.6       0.1 %
Netherlands        3.6      2.8 %      43.2       3.8 %
Norway             1.4      1.1 %      23.0       2.0 %
Poland             3.2      2.5 %      24.2       2.2 %
Portugal           0.8      0.6 %       5.9       0.5 %
Spain              4.6      3.5 %      36.0       3.2 %
Turkey             2.1      1.6 %      15.9       1.4 %
United Kingdom    22.5     17.3 %     164.0      14.6 %
United States     29.2     22.4 %     281.1      25.0 %
Total            130.3    100.0 %    1125.1     100.0 %

* Due to rounding, the numbers shown may not add up to the

** Calculation does not include contributions to the NATO
Airborne Early Warning and Control Program.

Source: Department of Defense, Allied Contributions to
Defense 2001.

Table 3: Summary of findings

                       Threat                 Burden Sharing

First Gulf War         Immediate threat       US largest con-
Coalition in Opera-    perceived by some      tributor, especially in
tion Desert Shield/    contributors to        terms of forces, but
Desert Storm           coalition, though      other countries offset
                       not to all             US incremental costs
                                              in terms of money to
                                              fight war.

NATO in Operation      Humanitarian crisis    US bore brunt of
Allied Force           that posed threat of   costs to Operation
                       regional instability   Allied Force, though
                       to some member         European allies bore
                       states                 brunt of peacekeep-
                                              ing costs in the wake
                                              of Operation Allied

                       Coalition or   Cohesion

First Gulf War         Coalition      Cohesion relatively
Coalition in Opera-                   easy to maintain and
tion Desert Shield/                   sustain
Desert Storm

NATO in Operation      Alliance       Cohesion more
Allied Force                          difficult to maintain
                                      and sustain
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Author:Weitsman, Patricia A.
Publication:Strategic Studies Quarterly
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2010
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