5. A brief instruction sheet on the training of liaison teams and on the nature of their work, both
for interaction with the UN leadership ("top down") and with neighboring units ("laterally")
As already mentioned above, interaction inside the UN military contingent is organized by the
coordination staff. The military leader of each contingent receives clarification sequentially as he
arrives at the location of the operation, or at his base camp. Generally speaking, the personal-contact
method is better than the approach of sending documents that define the various interaction issues.
The personal method affords a much greater opportunity to answer questions as they arise.
Summing up this section on organizing interaction during the operation planning phase, it is
essential to emphasize questions that must be answered for each national contingent prior to the
practical local deployment:
- Approximate zone of responsibility, and the airfields (ports, stations) available for the first landings of advance echelons.
- Identity of neighboring units, and the dividing lines between them.
- Rules on reporting "up the chain" (to whom, when, how).
- System for mutual identification of UN contingent units, including aircraft and naval vessels.
- Forbidden zones (dangerous zones).
III. Organizing Interaction during the Deployment of Advance Elements
This period of the operation presents a special challenge in regard to organizing the interaction.
It begins with the arrival of the first national contingent units (including reconnaissance groups or
advance command-and-control points) and concludes with the handing over of interaction documents
from the UN coordination staff to the commander of the international contingent. This period may
take from one to two months, depending on the situation, scope of the operation, geographical
The most complicated aspect of this phase is the close coordination of all elements of the
arriving troops (combat units, logistics units, military and civilian police, engineering and technical
units, finance and admin staffs and media representatives), as well as of the national contingents,
which must make optimal use of the capacity of the host country's infrastructure (airfields, ports,
train stations, etc.). An Interaction Planning Chart here would include: the advance reconnaissance
group, the UN political and military leadership, the military and civilian leadership of the conflict
region, the military and civilian leadership of the participating countries, the UN coordination staff
and the designated leadership of the operation.
Most difficult is optimal usage of the local infrastructure, avoiding any "mess-ups" that could
result in accidents and injuries (e.g., the simultaneous arrival of two or more aircraft, etc.). The
dispatcher service, assisted by the coordination office, plays a key role. The coordination office
manages the sequencing of the arriving elements of the contingents either to their base locations or
assembly areas. A special "Interaction Planning Chart" is prepared for this period.
Next, as the troops become concentrated in the target country, they are distributed according to
a plan (that is continuously updated) over their areas/zones of responsibility. Within their own
zones, interaction among these troops is only loosely outlined by the coordination staff, with the
commanders clarifying and setting forth the specifics in their operations plan and its appendixes.
At approximately this time, i.e., after the completion of the arrival of the participating countries'
advance elements, the coordination staff must then transfer to the peacekeeping force commander
all of the most important documents relating to the interaction of the individual contingents
What are the most important goals of the interaction during this period? As always, the primary
goal remains the personal and collective safety of personnel, protecting the "image of the UN" as the
most authoritative world organization, and preserving the integrity of the UN's material resources
that are not the property of the participating countries (light vehicles, computers, communications
equipment, etc.). In order to assure that these goals are met, the deployment interaction must be
organized, and a planning chart should be used. As mentioned above, most nations' militaries use
such a document in planning "conventional" operations, and it is advisable to use such a document
here, as well.
Two possible conclusions are suggested here regarding the process of optimizing interaction
during a new peacekeeping operation:
- The existing mechanism for organizing interaction could be improved by creating a small, specialized coordination staff under the leadership of the director of the UN military-staff committee.
- A document standardization committee could be created; it would draw upon the best features of each national army's documentation and also establish a universal documentation that would serve the UN as a whole, and each participating country individually.
IV. Organizing Interaction during the Draw-Down Phase of a UN
Once a decision has been made as to a date for completion of the operation and withdrawal of
the military contingent, the coordination staff must immediately develop an appropriate contingent
withdrawal plan. After this plan is approved, the coordination staff needs to get busy organizing the
interaction during this final phase of the operation.
In deciding the order of departure of the national contingents, a number of factors are
considered, the most important of which include:
- The political advisability that certain contingents depart before others, and assuring the stability of the process.
- The economic arguments of the participating countries and the UN as a whole.
- The greater or lesser mobility of certain contingents and whether they have their own means of transportation.
- The existence of security risks and threats, etc.
What additional factors must be considered during the withdrawal phase? The following is a
suggested list based on past operations:
- Operational capacity of the host country's infrastructure, so that the units departing for their home countries can be optimally distributed.
- Possible aggression on the part of opposition forces in the country of the conflict; history has shown that such forces exploit this final stage of the operation as their best opportunity to seize the greatest possible quantity of material resources.
- Mandatory preliminary agreements with the local authorities as to the draw-down sequence and the delineation of powers during this period.
- Maximum effectiveness of the UN financial and auditing services prior to any of the participating countries' signing of closure documents.
- Close contact with law enforcement agencies of the host country and with the civilian and military police of the UN.
The experience of completed UN peacekeeping operations indicates that once the participating
countries' national contingents have been evacuated, the UN's liquidation committee needs one to
two months in the host area and an additional two to three months at their headquarters in order to
complete a full inventory of all property and documentation. Assistance from the coordination staff
is also needed in this phase.
The factors involved in making such decisions are not all military ones and lie beyond the scope
of this paper. It is only important to know which aspects of the situation will have the greatest effect
on the close and effective interaction of the military contingents, an area that is particularly
problematic during a "rapid" draw-down, as was the case in Somalia.
1. Which units might a given country offer to join the contingent:
- composition and capabilities
- within what time period
- preferred mode of transport and desired disembarkation areas
- which countries' contingents would be preferred as partners
- for how long (rotation period)
- under what circumstances might the agreement be abrogated
- Ethnic, religious, climatic (and other) limitations
- Particularities of national cuisine (limitations)
- Technical, transportatiion and financial limitations
3. Rules in Support of Liaison Efforts
- Information on providing liaison support (contact groups)
Table of Organization Requirements
Requirement: Each participating country must make available a contingent whose structure includes at least the following elements:
1. Personnel Section
2. Information Section
3. Operations Section
4. Liaison Section
5. Signal, engineering, technical and logistics section
Desirable: Availability of humanitarian aid specialists, media-relations specialists, finance and
credit personnel, and legal services.
Communications System Requirements
Requirement: Each participating country must make available a contingent with the following
1. A minimum of two channels "upward," i.e., to the mission's leadership
2. At least two lines to neighboring units
3. At least one channel for contact with aircraft
4. At least two channels for contact with the combatants
5. Two doubling lines (for back-up), with at least one of them secure
Primary Characteristics:Frequencies and bands
Number of fixed frequencies, etc.
(With Overall Coordination from International Contingent)
Actions to be Taken by the National Contingent in Emergencies
Assistance to the Local Population
- local authorities
- agencies responsible for rescue
- troops bases, civilian and military police
- agencies for transportation, medical, construction, humanitarian aid, non-government
international organizations, etc.
- Neighboring units for mutual information and for search and evacuation actions.
- Upper and lower levels, reports and orders.
- Organization collecting information on the disaster, offering forecasts and preparing for the
relocation of the contingent.
Technical Coordination Sheet
The national contingent of (name of country)_________________utilizes the following
nomenclature and designations for its equipment in accordance with___________.
1. Fuels and Lubricants
|--transmission fluid||;|| _______________|
2. Designations of Primary Ammunition
|--for light infantry weapons||;||_______________|
|--for heavy infantry weapons||;||_______________|
|--for artillery systems||;||_______________|
|--for armored combat vehicle canons||;|| _______________|
|--mines anti-personnel||;|| _______________|
|;;;;;;;;;;;; anti-tank||;|| _______________|
3. Designations of Medical Equipment
|--Blood banks, blood types||;|| _______________|
|--Blood substitutes, rhesus factor||;|| _______________|
4. Food Designations
Actions Prohibited the UN Contingent
Personnel of the national contingents, prior to issue of the commander's operation directive,
1. Fire for effect, except in self-defense.
2. Lay any type of mines or explosive devices.
3. Take any actions that could be perceived by the local population as a violation of their
rights on the part of the UN contingent. The legitimacy of such actions (for example, limiting
movement) must be established in written orders and the local population must be publicly
notified of such legitimacy.
Instructions for National Contingent Liaison Teams
1. A liaison officer must:
- Have a good command of English.
- Possess strong skills in organizing contacts.
- Exhibit good-will and be communicative.
- Have experience in preparing documents on a personal computer, using communications
equipment and operating a vehicle.
2. In organizing vertical ("up-down") communication, it is essential to:
- Clearly understand directives from above and accurately convey them down the chain.
- Fully understand the essence of unit actions, sifting out the most important information and
passing it up the chain.
- Act as more than a "telephone" -- be able to take responsibility when there is danger of
3. In organizing lateral communications, it is essential to:
- Strive for complete mutual understanding, taking into consideration the unique aspects of
the sides' mindsets.
- On points of contention, go "up the chain" for guidance, not out of self-interest but for the
sake of the UN operation as a whole.
Suggested List of Interaction Documents for National Contingents
1. Charts of "top-down" interaction with various sections:
- personnel section
- information section
- operations section
- logistics section
- humanitarian assistance section
- engineering section
- liaison section
2. Chart of interaction with the political and administrative chain of the UN leadership.
3. Chart of interaction with:
- the warring sides
- neighboring units
4. Interaction Planning Table.
5. A "Standard Operating Procedures" on interaction.
6. Documents on interaction with local authorities, non-governmental organizations, UN
organizations, the media and other affected bodies.
Colonel Anddrei Demurenko was the first Russian officer to study at the Command and
General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, KS (1992-93). In January of 1995 Colonel
Demurenko arrived in Sarajevo, where he assumed the post of chief of staff of the UN's
Sarajevo sector. At the time he wrote this article, Colonel Demurenko was serving on the
General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces.