Free «Understanding Peacekeeping» Essay Sample


The present situation in Darfur bears a striking similarity to the condition in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The circumstances are leading to continuous insurgency, and Al Qaeda influence is increasing every day. The border patrolling by the armed forces is not sufficient and often local residents cross it without resistance. While both of the locations are geographically different, this article highlights much of the lessons and similarities learned from Afghanistan war.

Al Qaeda expanded network of terrorism is posing a serious threat to America’s prestige and gives sleepless nights to Federal government and intelligence organizations. Recent America’s planning to pull out troops from Afghanistan will further strengthen the image of Al Qaeda. Earlier Taliban freedom fighters were successful in rebelling against the occupying of American troops, just as the Mujihadeen succeeded in repelling the Soviets in the 1980’s. In any case, this opportunity and propaganda will not be beneficial to rebel groups of Darfur, Sudan considering the minimal risk to the peace keeping organizations as they have gained substantial public recognition.

This article provides a number of similarities between the two nations, examine the operations of multinational peacekeeping organizations and further analyze the involvement of intelligence organizations that are struggling to bring peace and stability in Darfur.

Discuss what intelligence organizations need to be established to support peacemaking operation

In the wake of the Cold War, regional and local conflicts, the most brilliant techniques for settling existing disputes have come to the forefront thus causing a deep concern to many countries. The peacemaking efforts show that in peace making operations led by a coalition of governments, the task of securing intelligence for such operations is gaining ever growing importance.

What kinds of intelligence campaigns can promote the peacemaking operation? The intelligence at the operational, tactical and strategic levels are significant and strategic level is always the first priority as it determines the appropriate way of dealing with the circumstances by contributing exact information of the area from a military/ political perspective.

For example, first it is essential to know from where rebel leaders are operating, and the strength of their force, the kinds of weapons they possess, if combined forces plan to attack Darfur and launch the similar operations as they did in Afghanistan. After the completion of this exercise, it is possible to attack rebels by bombing their place of hiding if their hiding is at a distance from refugee camps and humanitarian relief is possible.

A critical situation also may arise as these rebels may be conducting their operations from refugee camps, but this possibility is contradictory in itself as quite often Sudan government military aircrafts are bombing these refugee camps. On confirmation of rebel’s location, fighter aircrafts can be deputed to rescue the refugees.

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Although UAVs have the ability of remaining in the air for longer periods of time than traditional aircraft, a thorough knowledge of what is happening all around will be essential to ascertain priority targets and how to organize their targeting activities and ultimate destruction.

This situation invites  dynamic participation of intelligence organizations in these regions before involving military action in Darfur.

One of the America leading intelligence organizations National Geospatial Agency (NGA) is worldwide famous for combat operations and provides assistance in solving the nation’s security issues. Its objective consists of collection, distribution and analyzing geospatial intelligence require for internal and external security of the nation. This agency can be sent to Darfur as the first and key contributors.

Further CIA possesses a solid HUMINT specialization of collecting information and deals with such overseas situation, and their information will be vital for successful operation in combined operations. Moreover, they would not be the first ones since the operations are already in progress.

National Security Agency, popularly known as NSA specializes in electronic and satellite communications of American military intelligence. The security agencies of Army, Navy, and Air force can further exploit NSA in combating rebels’ communications.

Terrorism and insurgency are often extremely difficult to differentiate and with Bin Laden roots in the area, it is possible to conclude that there is the probability of Al Qaeda presence in the neighborhood and possibility to attack USA in much similar way as happened in case of Afghanistan.

FBI possesses the deep roots in history of America of successful combating terrorist activities. Their help is further beneficial in protecting the nation from terrorist attacks and also protect the nations against foreign intelligence operations and espionage.

The whole set of intelligence information would be an asset to Department of Defense, when it ultimately makes a decisions to launch military action, and all intelligence organizations including DIA would join battle field in military operations.

Discuss how national intelligence organization would support multinational operations

This paper now considers how national intelligence organizations activities can support multinational operations in Darfur. History shows that human intelligence has always been a powerful source in providing an early warning concerning enemy plans. This information is useful in designing future military action, thus, nullifying the actions of an enemy. The tremendous availability of intelligence activities such as spy satellites, hot air balloons and UAV provides confirmed observations and activities of the enemy to battlefield commanders. HUMINT further provides useful resources of extracting enemy’s strength, activities, and action plan, and with its support, it is possible to formulate a military strategy in Darfur. In the present scenario of Darfur, HUMINT would be again a reliable platform in a similar way as in a case of Afghanistan.

Multinational Intelligence

The Darfur operation is a joint operation with the involvement of “Big Five” powers such as US, Canada, United Kingdom, New Zeeland and Australia. Information sharing strongly depends upon division of the areas among participating nations as observed in the case of Afghanistan, where different regions are in possession of different nations and different divisions of their military. The USA Defense Department, responsible for the joint operation provides intelligence support to Army, US Navy and Air Force for carrying a joint combat and their individual operation. The elements of intelligence require information sharing and processed intelligence for carrying a multinational exercise. Then, the multinational operation also requires an appropriate way of sharing information as much as possible without compromising ways, capabilities or sources such as HUMINT, SIGINT, IMINT. Sometimes, during the military operation these HUMIT sources can create a problem as it happened in Afghanistan.

HUMINT collectors of the American Army were jointly working with the Polish HUMINT in the same region of Afghanistan, and they both possess information of same sources without recognizing participation of each other.

This problem is similar to “circular reporting”; in such a case, a single source authorizes itself because multiple intelligence informers are not able to communicate methodically with each other. It was possible for the American Operational Teams (AOT) to neutralize sources within the US HUMINT system, but there was no sight of international HUMINT. One of the simplest and easiest methods is to contact Polish collectors and question them directly. The US army followed this quest and observed that Polish side had an interest in protecting their sources. Identifying the name of sources or town where he operates can create a possibility of death sentence for the source.

Thus, there is a need of an international version of American operational management that provides insight of international HUMINT operations to prevent such sorts of incidents from occurring again. On the issue of sharing of information, a communication network needs to be set up among all national intelligence agencies and multinational forces.

Besides, from the reports of various media, still there is an excessive insufficiency of intelligence communications between combined, multinational forces that require an urgent solution while aiding joint, multinational operations. 

Combined Intelligence

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In the history, of the United States, numerous intelligence collection platforms, known as ICP have served the nation in many capacities. In the early history of America, President George Washington was a competent source handler and much of his intelligence skills are still in practice today. It is worth observing that George Washington was also an insurgent commander during the period of Revolutionary War that resulted in independence of America. Later, during the period of civil war, hot air balloons captured the photographs of the battle field, paving a way for IMINT. During the cold war and post World War, SIGINT helped to intercept communications furnishing valuable anticipation of enemy action, and use of MASINT assisted to locate communist command centers.

These days, in conflicts, rebels use civilian infrastructures, mix into citizens so their identification is impossible, and they attack some prime targets, whenever there is a right opportunity. This chameleon like hiding hinders static IMINT satellite photography as it is ineffective beyond certain topography familiarization and cannot track enemy movements. In such a case, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles covers the obstacles with accurate overhead surveillance.

Rebels’ communication technology is extremely “low-tech”. In a cold war, quantity of electronic signals and transmissions to intercept is extremely high; therefore, SIGINT ceased to be the key element of the intelligence collection. Moving forward into such operating environment in Darfur, HUMINT has become primary functional means of collecting information as the enemy deploys compartmentalized elements and de-concentrate leadership that perform missions within its organization. The only linkage between their cells is the people surrounding them; usually these people due to security reasons may not be even familiar with everyone in their own groups. Before anyone could hold the area, NGA had already sent geospatial intelligence by providing satellite photography and political/terrain maps.

The war strategy says that CIA should emphasize on a strategic level intelligence, and if Al Qaeda operations are increasing in the area, it can expand its network. Meanwhile, FBI can also speedup its activities of fighting with terrorism within the nation. 7

DOD intensifies its functioning at the tactical level for joint, multinational intelligence activities, when military forces launch field operations.

The DOD also possesses The Bureau of Research and Intelligence Center, which comes under the control of DOD and is responsible for analyzing the international and geographical boundary problems which are extremely prominent in the regions of Darfur. The refugees, rebels and local people frequently move across the uncontrolled borders.

Discuss intelligence collection requirements, collection systems and personnel requirements
Collection Requirements

With all these gears becoming a source of receiving information, intelligence collection system requirements have become essential. In peacekeeping mission, personnel and collection system plays a crucial role. In the past wars, there was no technical advancement of communication systems; HUMINT was not as much active as it is today. The Cold War has pushed advanced communications interception in the world. In the counter insurgency, which is the latest development till now, the rebels do not possess all those technical assets which military SIGINT uses today. Since the rebels isolate themselves and are small in number, there is no definite shape of troops which can be tracked down with satellite images.  It is not difficult for linguists and SIGINT teams to translate what they come across.

 They function similar to an ideological version of American Joint Operations, involving in asymmetric guerrilla war with little support and inventing new techniques of operational necessity by choosing opportunity targets that will cause the severe impact on joint forces. The low-tech rivalry places an unbalanced dependency on HUMINT.

While there is little capability of intercepting communications such as phone calls and text messages, the availability of information makes extremely difficult to locate targets appropriate to the collections effort. HUMINT covers this gap by obtaining information on these targets such as emails and phone numbers that can then be attacked by SIGINT. Moreover, HUMINT possess an approach to communication platforms such as runners or word of mouth that transmit a message in their head and replay it to the intended recipient. Traditional layout of battle field information such as strengths, numbers, equipment and weapons, command chain as well as enemy locations is also purposeful. The command chain can be utilized for building a link diagram and personality chart of the forces in action and also the proposed targets. Tactical SIGINT forces should bring in their oracle systems along with other electronic warfare apparatus to gather content data on the rebel’s communications by handheld radio, cell phone or any other electronic devices. The maps and satellite photos are also essential before gearing up for operation and can be received by high altitude aerial photography or satellites. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles possess expertise of providing real time images of the battle field making them an essential asset to concurrent intelligence collection efforts.

However, in Darfur, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are less effective. The insurgents possess a capability to intercept transmissions send out from UAV by capturing to their receivers, and they are able to receive the images.

Thus, from the angle of battlefield, UAV’s does not provide any extra edge, and despite an advantage, this perspective has challenged the competency of UAV’s.

Required personnel for this operation can include UAV pilots and some elements of information technology to resolve encoding issues. For SIGINT, operators and technicians and also the linguists can interpret information which they intercept.

Besides, HUMINT collectors being linguistically proficient have to bridge the gap with military operations and interrogations. Priorities in the field of Human Intelligence Requirements include:

  1. What types of rebel groups are active in the area of accountability?
  2.  Who are the prominent leaders and key functionaries of rebel groups?
  3. How do they maintain relations with each other?
  4. Who provides financial support, supplies and weapons?
  5. What is their strategy and how do they choose their targeting?
  6. What technology these rebels possess and their sources of technology?
  7. Which are their prominent locations for conducting their operations?
  8. Where they store weapons, supplies and lodge caches? 
  9. Who imparts training and the expertise to these organizations?
  10. Which are international militant outfits, supporting these rebel groups?
  1. What are their methods of recruitment and training?
  2. Who design their war strategy and when they are planning for the next raid?
  3. What is their code of internal communication with each other and how group members identify among themselves?

Discuss issues concerning information sharing with UN forces in Darfur

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UN forces along with multinational forces have a constant requirement for valid, timely, reliable, and purposeful information to fulfill their mission. Information sharing are  the crucial factor in helping forces meets this requirement; the useful information is meaningless until it is available to forces that need it.

Effective and correct information sharing are essential for applying counterinsurgency strategy. After the success of this strategy in Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans are following this strategy in Darfur. 

The COIN strategy comprises a model shift from the military’s conventional focus on “force-to-force” combat to a situation meant for providing security and help in nation-building. As one of the UN soldiers on a mission in Darfur said, “The mission is not about the destruction and the pursuit of rebels but more about understanding their tribal connections.”

Policy formulators and field commanders assert that information sharing is an essential element in traditional war and its roles in COIN operations are extremely crucial. The department of defense views information sharing as a key facilitator.

However, combined forces including UN peace keeping forces and UNAMID face numerous problems that block the exchange of information they need to complete their mission.

The experience and incidents confirm that issues concerning information sharing with regard to COIN are extremely challenging and difficult to address. The issues that arise during such crisis are also wicked in nature.

First, wicked problems are difficult to define as they tend to be extremely unstructured. This implies that there are, quite often, overlapping, multiple and interrelated root causes and various subsets of issues that intercept across organizational entities and stakeholders with differing value orientations, traditions, biases, and agendas.

Effects and reasons are not easy to differentiate, because of their complexity in character and moreover, due to a large number of differences among stakeholders it is not possible to arrive at common consensus. The present situation shows that while sharing information in the military operations, the character of wickedness is always more or less available.

The research involving interviews with high ranking DOD officials, policy formulators and military commanders active in Darfur  points out numerous obstacles that restricts the exchange of information among UN forces and individuals.

Most of the issues in information sharing process are organizational and technological in character.  Organizational problems refer to the agencies ambitions to defend their turf and retain the status quo, the lack of communication and coordination among operating agencies, differences in culture, concerns over the security and confidentiality of information, and individuals’ wish to maximize power.

The technical issues always influence information sharing process. There is always an inconsistency between standardized systems, protection and source, and the speed at which the sourcing of information takes place. The implementation of techniques takes time, due to rapid changes in technology these problems often infringe.

Organizational problems such as organizational culture influence other organizational problems, for example; issues of information security and confidentiality, and also problems in the technological domain, for example, source protection. The new inventions in information sharing can be obstructed by bureaucratic tricks aimed at protecting power position. Bureaucrats protect desirable information in black box for their personal motives. Commanders are not able to secure the information they require because of bureaucratic hindrances.  Most of the issues of information sharing crosses organizational boundaries affect various stake holders including intelligence organizations and UN peace keeping forces.

In such a heterogeneous and complex setting, there should be no surprise that differences in strategic thinking and actions, value conflicts, disagreements over policy, and deviating views of an issue in information sharing are crucial contextual variables that make an issue challenging.

An example of this is the interoperability and efficacy and of currently stationed National Army intelligence and information sharing systems in Darfur such as the TIGR, DCGS-A system, CIDNE and CPOF. Although all these systems possess immense capabilities to attain the results, but in the opinion of military forces, they form divided platforms for information sharing purposes. Soldiers in Darfur prefer to choose a more unified information sharing system that would give them the information they require for timely action. These soldiers also said that, despite usefulness and functionality approach, a lack of proper infrastructure to strengthen the systems hinder their productivity and usage.

There is also too much concern for the soldiers about supporting of excessive infrastructure. Speed and connectivity are key reasons for worry among soldiers operating in Darfur area; programs are much too slow to work at required time frames. With the limited reliability and availability, soldiers often use the most convenient shared systems to give information, NIPR and SIPR.

Moreover,  quite often numerous problems in information sharing process with in UN peace keeping forces often arise since UN forces includes people from Sudan as such the information sharing always stands at a risk. 

Since corruption prevails everywhere in the world, there is a possibility that like in Afghanistan, National Army and the African forces, some elements in UN forces may indulge in sharing information with the rebel leaders. The leakage of information can counter intelligence information and a setback the future war strategy in Darfur.

Many other issues also count such as cultural diversity and language barrier. There can be people in the UN peace keeping force who have been directly or indirectly affected by the Darfur conflict and with the available information in their hands; they may leak sensitive information to the rebel leaders. Thus, making the task of UN and combined forces extremely difficult to act in such a situation.

For example, in Afghan conflict, once such incident occurred with an interpreter in Afghanistan who had a personal rivalry with political detainees. While accompanying the captive to an interrogation cell, the interpreter attacked him, which caused a tremendous loss of reputation that such interrogators can cause an immense damage and a key obstacle in extracting information.  The language barrier is again a key obstacle in communication amongst UN peace keeping forces, and it limits the flow of crucial information at the time of need from all intelligence organizations.


This paper provides the role of intelligence organizations in Darfur and lessons learned from the successes and deficiencies of intelligence organizations in Peacekeeping Missions. Further, it also recommends the improvements essential for successful intelligence operations and information sharing in Darfur operations.

Planning of information sharing should be in such a manner that in worst circumstances, it is possible to meet the challenges and should cater the mission by incorporating counterintelligence.

There should be strict measures in forming HUMINT teams with support of sufficient intelligence assets and equipment. They should be assessable to satellite imagery and sufficient database of troops from participating countries.

The greater usage of commercial technology, satellite imagery, commercial data encryption software and GPS, as well as digital cameras, will further make combat operations much simpler, and make possible to detect the insurgent operations. This paper also attempts to analyze information sharing problems as wicked problems. The present task now involves solving these wicked problems by means of the information sharing. The first, essential step is to identify the assemblage of information sharing challenges. In terms of the solution, one of the first steps, of the current problem solving struggle in information sharing process which can bring some benefits, but not all the essential changes required to serve the army at the front line in Darfur.


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