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Country Civil-Military Guidelines


Commissioned by the Australian Civil-Military Centre, 2010-2011
Published in the Small Wars Journal, 30 November 2014
The views expressed are the authors and not necessarily those of the Australian Civil-Military Centre.
The Commonwealth of Australia is not legally responsible in contract, tort or otherwise for any statement made in
this publication.



Officially opened on 27 November 2008 and based in Queanbeyan, the Australian Civil-Military Centre
was tasked with improving Australias effectiveness in civil-military collaboration for humanitarian
assistance, disaster relief, peace and stabilisation activities overseas. The Centre actively engages with
Australian Government departments and agencies to develop and promote best practice on issues of
civil-military engagement. The Centres staff are drawn from a number of government departments and
agencies, including Defence, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Attorney-Generals, and the Australian Federal
Police, secondees from the New Zealand Government, and the NGO sector through the Australian Council
for International Development (ACFID).
The Centre promotes best practice in civil-military-police engagement in conflict and disaster
management through its research and lessons learned program, training, education and doctrine
development. As part of this program, and in support of strengthening CIV-MIL cooperation in complex
environments, it commissioned this nine-month study in 2010 to assess the effectiveness of multiagency, country CIV-MIL guidelines.
The research team was made up of four people - associates of Beechwood International, a boutique
strategy consultancy - with combined specialist in-country experience across all the target countries. The
team leader was Dr Edwina Thompson, a director based in London. She is the author of the report.
Dr Edwina Thompson has spent 15 years working as a humanitarian practitioner or applied academic in
complex environments - from South Central Somalia, Sudan, the DRC and Sri Lanka to Papua New
Guinea, Pakistan, Haiti and Afghanistan - and has supported teams remotely in their difficult negotiations
at the CIV-MIL interface. Edwina was one of a three-member international team that revised the
international Steering Committee for Humanitarian Responses Guidelines on Humanitarian-Military
Relations. In her role as Director of Beechwood International she has worked on peacebuilding, security
sector reform and humanitarian projects with non-Western governments such as Afghanistan, Pakistan,
Papua New Guinea and Lebanon (in relation to Syria) and with Western governments on defining what
smart power looks like in relation to fragile states. Earlier in Edwinas career, she worked for Amnesty
International and the Red Cross in refugee case management, and in 1998, she joined the British Royal
Navy as a Reserve Officer.
Dr Emily Paddon is a lecturer and Trudeau scholar in International Relations at the University of Oxford
where she is also a co-founder of the Oxford Central Africa Forum (OCAF). Her research focuses on UN
intervention and civilian protection in the Great Lakes region. She has conducted extensive field research
in the DRC, including projects for the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Corporates for Crisis, and
the Refugee Studies Centre (RSC) at Oxford. She is Deputy Course Director of the Rift Valley Institute
Great Lakes Course.
Dr Josiah Kaplan is a Research Fellow at Oxford Universitys Humanitarian Innovation Project, where he
continues his doctoral work on issues related to non-Western military actors, US foreign policy, and
international peacekeeping. He has experience working with ODI and a range of humanitarian and UN
agencies, including UNDPKO, UNDP-Sierra Leone, UNICEF, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International,
and Mdecins Sans Frontiers mainly in Africa. Josiah has worked with Beechwood on an assignment
instigated by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan and at Wilton Park conferences.
Jacob Townsend has developed unique expertise in developing networks of civil society organisations
across South Sudan and other countries experiencing conflict, such as Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has
spent several years collecting and analysing security and political information from remote areas of South
Sudan, including through contact with a range of officials in the UNDPKO. Jacob has worked for the UN in
Afghanistan, Pakistan and Timor-Leste, and with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute on issues
affecting Australia's security interests.


We need to train together with NGOs and private companies before,

so were not exchanging business cards on the tarmac.
Lt. General P. K. Keen, deputy director of the US Southern Command,
reflecting on his time in charge of the US military relief effort


Table of contents

Executive Summary


1. Introduction


2. What are Country CIV-MIL Guidelines?



3. Key Findings


Best practices
Inherent limitations
Obstacles to uptake and dissemination



Recommendations and Future Directions


Institutional memory

Annex 1 Context of Guidelines

Annex 2 Interview logic and semi-structured questions
Annex 3 Interview reporting template (example)



The Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief

Australian Federal Police
Afghan Security Forces
African Union
Civilian Affairs Section
Camp Coordination Camp Management Cluster
US Central Command
Commanders Emergency Response Programme
Civil-Military Co-operation
UN Civil-Military Co-ordination
Australian Civil-Military Task Force
Congrs National pour la Dfense du Peuple (DRC)
Provincial Inter-agency Committee (DRC)
UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations
Emergency Joint Operations Center (Haiti)
Les Forces armes de la RDC / Armed Forces of the DRC (DRC)
Forces Dmocratiques pour la Libration de Rwanda (DRC)
Female Engagement Team
Good Humanitarian Donor Initiative
Government of Sudan
Humanitarian Coordinator
Humanitarian Country Team
Human Terrain Team
International Humanitarian Law
International Non-Governmental Organisation
International Security Assistance Force (Afghanistan)
Joint Logistics Operations Center (Haiti)
Joint Operations and Tasking Centre
Joint Regional Team
Multinational Interim Force (Haiti)
United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti
UN Organization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (Afghanistan)
Mdecins Sans Frontires
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
Non-Governmental Organisation
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
United States Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance
Office of Military Affairs
Protection of Civilians
Provincial Reconstruction Team
Quick Impact Project
United Nations Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator
Regional Joint Operations Center (Haiti)
Sexual and other forms of gender-based violence
US Special Operations Command
Standing Operating Procedure
United States Southern Command
Sudan Peoples Liberation Army
Troop Contributing Countries
Training, Techniques and Procedures
United Nations
United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan
United Nations Department of Safety and Security
United Nations Mission in Sudan
United Nations Police
United States Agency for International Development


Executive Summary
What is the purpose of civil-military guidelines? Who are the authors and their intended audience?
What is the extent of their readership? How can they help practitioners improve humanitarian
outcomes? These were the kind of questions asked of more than 200 field personnel over a ninemonth period for this investigation into the utility of the current set of multi-agency, country-specific
civil-military guidelines (the Guidelines).
At least seven sets of specific guidance have been developed to facilitate civil-military cooperation in
complex environments (Afghanistan, DRC, Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, Sudan; Pakistan in process). Based in
large part on a number of agreed, non-binding international guidelines and subsequent revisions,
practitioners and policy-makers within United Nations (UN) missions and humanitarian aid
organisations instigated the development of more specific country guidance from 2006 to 2010.
Today, however, the utility of the existing Guidelines is yet to be fully demonstrated and the degree to
which they have made a difference in practice is still unclear.
The study relied predominantly on the inputs of those who currently operate in the countries covered
by the Guidelines. The interview sample included peacekeepers from different Troop Contributing
Countries (TCCs), regional and host nation troops, officials from the United Nations Department of
Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) Best Practice Section and Office of Military Affairs, Red Cross
delegates, NGO operational staff, local people, and practitioners within the UNs Civil-Military
Coordination (CMCoord) section. Towards the end of the research, two workshops were conducted in
Australia, where key civilian, police and military practitioners (including members of the Civil-Military
Task Force CMTF) considered the interim findings.
Certain assumptions were made about peoples exposure to the Guidelines and their content. It was
anticipated that while awareness was likely to be low, people would find the substance relevant if they
could see how it might apply to their day-to-day work. Therefore, where an interviewee did not
possess specific knowledge of the Guidelines, the researchers weaved applicable portions of the
content into discussions, and helped relate their experience to it.
The research was divided into a desk-based study and intensive interviews conducted both in the field
and at various HQ locations. Chapter 1 lays out the results from the comparative textual review of the
background, purpose and scope of the current Guidelines, while Chapter 2 outlines the key findings
from the interviews. Various best practices are identified, followed by a consideration of the inherent
limitations to the Guidelines, and an investigation into the reasons behind the low level of uptake and
awareness among the various stakeholders military (regional, UNPKO-led, US and host nation), UN
(OCHA and UN humanitarian agencies), NGOs (international and local) and the local community in
complex environments. Chapter 3 provides a brief conclusion followed by some more detailed
recommendations to help guide the future direction of written guidance in the civil-military space.
Content of the Guidelines is sound; adoption remains low.
Although awareness is minimal, most interviewees found the substance of current country
Guidelines to be sound and relevant when helped to see how they might apply to their day-to-day
work. People expressed that their potential to foster a more functional CIVMIL dialogue would
increase if the process supporting their development is to be considered as important as the
product. The Guidelines were seen to be important to act as a vehicle for the different parties to
compare and contrast their respective codes of conduct, principles, standards, ethics and


Views were wide-ranging regarding the scope some reported that the Guidelines were too
general, while others argued that they could never be specific enough to be useful. Considerable
debate revolved around which parties should be included, with one clear omission being the
Questions were raised about the form in which the Guidelines presently take especially in an
environment of information overload, the pressures of operating in complex emergency
situations, and the constant need to update operational arrangements to reflect the fluid reality on
the ground. While to be successful the Guidelines must be integrated into the daily routine or
thought processes of practitioners, there is currently a lack of perceived relevance and ownership.
It was also noted that politics within and between all organisations will continue to interfere with
efforts to collaborate.
Most field practitioners identified problems created by a disconnect between HQ and the field, and
argued for guidelines that are developed through consultation from the ground-up. Lead time
featured as key to ensuring proper consultation, as did having the right people in the discussions.
Logisticians tend to be forgotten in both the civilian and military camps they are essential for a
more realistic sense of how the civil-military interface operates in practice.

Joint training events and workshops are the key vehicle for disseminating the Guidelines, as
well as promoting mutual respect and understanding.
Those who have experienced in-country OCHA CMCoord training cited this as a very positive
experience in fostering a better civil-military dialogue and understanding. It has provided a useful
one-stop-shop for practitioners to discover available guidance, but still requires follow-up to
remain useful at the operational level.
Readiness and continuous learning are crucial drivers of constructive and dynamic civilmilitary relations.
A key determinant of more successful engagement in an ever-changing environment is a practical
process to anticipate and address issues early on. The Guidelines provide the essential structure
and substance for common focus between disparate parties, but there is a perceived lack of
support from international bodies such as the IASC to ensure that existing best practice is
captured and carried forward in the field.
A cohesive and reflective humanitarian community operating from a similar framework will
engage more successfully with military counterparts.
While a diversity of approaches will always prevail, each of the country studies shows that even
very different aid agencies can develop common positions where there is constructive dialogue.
Effectiveness of the Guidelines ultimately depends on dialogue, which in turn depends on how
individuals rather than organisations relate to and represent their respective organisational
aims and objectives to one another.
The possible future directions outlined in this report concentrate on those issues that are feasible to
tackle in the next five years, summarised under four main headings:
(1) increasing adoption of civil-military guidance;
(2) improving representation of key stakeholders;
(3) strengthening civil-military coordination in the field; and
(4) building and sustaining institutional memory.


The report considers that these will either make an immediate impact on the operational environment
of the country contexts under review, or should be considered as part of a longer term strategy for the
international community.


1. Introduction
The purpose of this research project is to test the effectiveness of current field-based civil-military
(CIVMIL) guidelines developed to support multi-agency coordination of humanitarian action (hereafter
referred to as the Guidelines). In helping to identify areas of good practice that can be incorporated
into existing guidelines, and used to advance the development of future guidance, the project also
serves to highlight areas within the CIVMIL space which demand greater consideration, and address
obstacles in the way of implementation or uptake of existing guidelines. In turn, it will explore ongoing
challenges in CIVMIL cooperation, necessary differences between guidelines in natural disaster
response and complex emergencies, and the limitations of current guidelines in addressing state-ofthe-art or emerging dynamics at the CIVMIL interface.
During a 9-month period, over 200 individuals were interviewed through intensive field visits in
Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, and Sudan (with a focus on South Sudan) to build
a qualitative picture of what people in key operational positions think about the role and contribution of
country Guidelines. Haiti was selected on the basis of its continued relevance to natural disaster
response and its diverse representation of CIVMIL engagement with both national and foreign forces;
the African sites were selected because of their specific focus on UN military missions in a complex
emergency; and Afghanistan featured strongly due to its pivotal role in defining civil-military
engagement in an environment where Coalition troops are operating. (See the table in Annex 1 for
further detail on the range of country contexts under review.)
In April-May 2011, two workshops were conducted in Australia, where key civilian, police and military
practitioners (including members of the Civil-Military Task Force CMTF) considered the interim
findings. Further HQ consultations took place through one-on-one interviews with key stakeholders
based in New York, Washington DC, London and Geneva.
The visits were complemented by the insights of the lead researcher who has practical experience in
five of the countries that have specific Guidelines, spanning much of the period in which they were
developed. And the field research was also complemented by a comparative textual desk-based
review of existing guidelines, and any relevant secondary materials that may cast light on the broader
context of CIVMIL practice and guidance in each of the specified country contexts (Afghanistan, DRC,
Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, Pakistan, Sudan).
In each country context, the interview sample drew upon existing professional contacts and networks,
such as the CMTF in Australia, InterAction in the US, the NGO-Military Contact Group (NMCG) and
British & Irish Agencies Afghanistan Group (BAAG) in the UK, and the Consultative Group on the Use
of MCDA in Geneva. Overall, there was a good cross-section of the military and international aid
communities actively engaged in civil-military dialogue, including peacekeepers from different Troop
Contributing Countries (TCCs), NATO and host nation troops, officials from the DPKO Best Practice
Unit, Office of Military Affairs, Red Cross delegates, NGO operational staff, local people, and
practitioners within the UNs Civil-Military Coordination (CMCoord) section. In South Sudan and
Pakistan (using information gathered from a previous project sponsored by then Pakistans UN
Humanitarian Coordinator), national NGOs were also consulted. Sources are anonymously cited in
the report, with reference to their function and type of organisation only where it seems relevant.


Each interview was recorded with the participants permission, supplemented by note-taking, and
followed the format of a pre-determined set of semi-structured questions, adapted and expanded to
each country context. Upon completion of each set of interviews, notes and recordings were
transferred to a matrix for analysis of key themes, feeding into the broader desktop review.
Annex 2-A demonstrates the interview logic, while Annex 2-B outlines some of the semi-structured
questions that were used in the interviews. The interviews were adjusted according to the research
participants level of awareness of the actual documents.
It was anticipated that exposure to the Guidelines would be very low, if non-existent, among field
personnel, but that there would nonetheless be practical mechanisms in place and ad hoc processes
for civil-military engagement that would be worthy of observation. Indeed it was confirmed during the
research that less than five per cent were either aware of the Guidelines or had used them in practice.
More surprising was the lack of awareness among people with key coordination functions, such as
positions within NGO peak bodies and UNOCHA.

It was also anticipated that people would find the guidance relevant if they could see how it might
apply to their day-to-day work. Therefore, where an interviewee did not possess specific knowledge
of the Guidelines, the researcher weaved applicable portions of the content into discussions to help
relate their experience to it. The aim was to draw from general civil-military concepts about distinction
and coordination on the one hand, while raising awareness of the more practical recommendations for
operational arrangements in the context. Specific questions were also asked, conforming to the flow
in Annex 2, and a reporting template used in several of the contexts (for an example, see Annex 3).
Lastly, it was anticipated that people would use the study as an opportunity to raise extreme examples
of bad behaviour of the lesser-known other. From the outset, the usual signs of a culture clash were
certainly evident. Terms like mutually incompatible, opposite ends of the spectrum, and
maddening were raised regularly. Extreme examples aside, the study did provide space for people
to confide that interaction between the two is not all that bad in fact, some even noted a certain
sense of relief when the other was seated at the table. In Haiti, for example, one NGO worker
commented on the welcome presence of uniformed soldiers at coordination meetings, due to their
tendency to get their point across clearly and quickly. It was also possible to uncover what is
currently working well, and to confirm that some very constructive innovations are in play.


2. What are Country CIV-MIL Guidelines?

One of the biggest challenges in the area of civil-military (CIV-MIL) engagement is how to create an
authentic, mutual understanding between the various stakeholders. Without a silver bullet on offer,
the international community has established guidelines and training to enable a better understanding,
and also experiments in different theatres with ad hoc innovations and context-specific practices.
At least seven sets of multi-agency, field based, country civil-military guidelines (the Guidelines) have
been developed to facilitate cooperation between humanitarian and military personnel in complex
environments. The countries include Afghanistan, DRC, Haiti, Iraq, Liberia, Sudan, and Pakistan
the latter is the only set of Guidelines yet to be finalised, pending approval by the Government of
Pakistan. The Guidelines are based in large part on the following agreed, non-binding international
guidance and subsequent revisions:

(2003) Guidelines on the Use of Military and Civil Defence Assets to Support United
Nations Humanitarian Activities in Complex Emergencies (MCDA Guidelines)
(2004) Inter-agency Standing Committee Civil-Military Reference Paper: Civil-Military
Relationship for Complex Emergencies (IASC Reference Paper)
(2001) (2004) (2010) Standing Committee on Humanitarian Position Paper on
Humanitarian-Military Relations (SCHR Position Paper)

This study used these current field-based Guidelines as a means of engaging actors on the
usefulness of written guidance, and on the broader questions of current CIV-MIL practice. Key
innovations taking place at the field level were also observed, in order to gather some best practices
for the future development of guidance and training. In the process of surveying aid and military
personnel, obstacles to the uptake of Guidelines became evident. While some of these obstacles are
well-known, the analysis takes stock of the issues that underlie them, so that a better response can be
As the 2010 SCHR Position Paper states, the positions, actions and strategies of armed forces play
an essential role in securing or endangering the scope for humanitarian action in situations of armed
conflict, as do the positions, actions and behaviour of the humanitarian actors themselves: The
relations between humanitarian and military actors thus play a key role in the future scope of
humanitarian action (SCHR, page 1).
The various revisions that have been made to these and other civil-military guidelines is due to the
fluid operating environment of humanitarian organisations, which is today perceived as the most
politicised and insecure for humanitarian actors and populations affected by crisis. The number of
humanitarian workers killed, injured or abducted, and of humanitarian assets attacked, destroyed or
stolen has indeed risen to unprecedented levels (see Chart 1).



Source: Aid Worker Security Database,, figures as of 14 April 2011.

Total kidnapped (live release or



Total wounded


Total killed


Total incidents
Total international staff victims

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010

Aid workers claim that the perceived associations between humanitarian organisations and political
agendas in the global war on terror have led to a decreasing level of acceptance of neutral, impartial,
and independent humanitarian action by political and military authorities and armed opposition in
situations of conflict. The result is a considerable restriction in access to the people affected by
conflict and in need of assistance and protection, and a failure to fulfil the humanitarian imperative
providing humanitarian assistance where there is the greatest need.
The main authors of the country Guidelines comprise policy and operational communities within the
humanitarian sector, such as the Policy Development and Studies Branch of OCHA, and the Special
Representatives of the UN Secretary General in-country. Afghanistan is the only case where the
authorship is seen to be shared between the international aid community, foreign military and national
government representatives, through the then Afghanistan Civil-Military Working Group. Interestingly,
however, the foreign military actors refer to the guidance as the ACBAR Guidelines, rather than the
Afghanistan CIV-MIL Guidelines, implying the view that the Guidelines process was driven by the aid
The motivation of the authors is to develop guidance that will protect humanitarian operating space in
emergency operations, where both humanitarian/civilian and military actors are present. The
promotion of humanitarian principles is seen to be a key aspect of the guidance, in addition to the
importance of avoiding competition, minimising inconsistency, and when appropriate pursuing
common goals between these actors.
UN OCHAs Civil-Military Coordination Section in Geneva supports the development of countryspecific Guidelines, and is also the custodian of the Oslo and MCDA Guidelines on the use of
MCDA in natural, technological and environmental disasters and in complex emergencies,
respectively. Underpinning its support of these guidelines is its theory of the civil-military continuum
of engagement, which ranges from co-operation to co-existence.






Co-operation entails a degree of joint planning, joint implementation and/or alignment of goals,
objectives or strategies. This often involves a humanitarian agencys use of military assets for
protection or delivery of relief in extreme circumstances. Co-ordination is a process to avoid
duplication, ensure the best use of available resources and ensure the safety of the recipient
population and humanitarian staff in the theatre of operations of armed actors, whilst retaining
independent operational decision-making. This involves the active sharing of information regarding
plans and procedures to ensure mutual understanding. Co-existence occurs where humanitarian
actors simply share operational space with military actors (i.e. state forces, rebel groups,
paramilitaries), but active coordination is either inappropriate or impossible.
An extensive study on NGO engagement with armed actors commissioned by World Vision found that
one country programme can have interactions at multiple points along the continuum, implying that the
situation on the ground is fluid and requiring continual reassessment.
Whichever way the continuum is configured, the main point is that every context or situation will
require nuanced thinking regarding where to position the engagement. In OCHAs guidance, it is
advised that co-operation should never be a strategy for complex emergencies. Experience shows,
however, that this clear-cut distinction is not always possible in practice.
Country-specific civil-military guidance is aimed to provide aid and military communities with a
practicable framework for use in a particular context, as practitioners negotiate this continuum of
engagement. Their perceived value at the HQ-level is clear from various statements and
recommendations of inter-agency fora. For example, in late 2010, the IASC Informal Forum on
Humanitarian Civil-Military Relations initiated a gap analysis of humanitarian civil-military
coordination, in consultation with the IASC Core Group on Humanitarian Space. The analysis
revealed four strategic and operational gaps that it considered to be essential for effective
humanitarian CIVMIL coordination. Two of the four gaps, and three of the resulting seven
recommendations, related to the need for more written guidance (see Box 1).


1.1 Review the application of the Global Health Cluster Position Paper on Civil-Military Coordination &
Humanitarian Health Action with a view to developing similar guidance for other relevant Clusters, to include
similar inter-cluster guidance.
2.1 Develop and/or update regional/country-specific humanitarian civil-military coordination guidelines in a regular
and consistent manner for both natural disaster and complex emergency settings.
3.1 Review and conclude if an update/revision of the 2001 [Guidelines on Armed Escorts] would add value.
Review to start with:
a field study among humanitarian agencies to identify real-time needs with regard to guidance on the use
of military or armed escorts; and
consultations with all main agencies and UN departments concerned, in particular UNDSS.
Source: IASC Gap Analysis of Humanitarian CIVMIL Coordination (5 Jan 2011)

The utility of the Guidelines is, however, yet to be fully demonstrated and the degree to which they
have made a difference in practice remains unclear. The purpose of this study is therefore to assess
their use and potential utility going forward.

Thompson, Edwina (2008) Principled Pragmatism: NGO Engagement with Armed Actors (World Vision International)


The next two sections provide further background on the stated purpose, scope and content of the
Guidelines, drawing from a desk-based comparative review.
It is clear from the purpose statements contained in each of the Guidelines that constructive and
transparent civil-military coordination, which respects differences and encourages an increased
mutual understanding, is seen to produce better humanitarian outcomes (see Box 2).
In each of the country contexts, members of the policy community decided to produce more specific
guidance because of either the complexity of the situations concerned, or the large scale of the
humanitarian emergency both in need of good coordination. All of the contexts are complex, in the
sense that there are multiple actors involved, the situation is unstable or violent, and there is a high
level of humanitarian need. However, they do not necessarily conform to the formal definition of a
complex emergency, as defined in the early 1990s by UN agencies and several influential analysts.
The intention then was to characterise humanitarian crises of a multi-causal nature, requiring a largescale, system-wide response. High levels of insecurity and either an inability or unwillingness of local
authorities to provide adequate assistance were also key characteristics, while the definition was to
rule out strictly natural disaster events.
In an attempt to differentiate between the two types of situations, the UN formed the aforementioned
sets of civil-military guidance: the MCDA and Oslo Guidelines. Todays emergencies are
nonetheless often protracted, or a result of a combination of natural and political factors; therefore it
can be problematic to draw a clear line between the two in certain contexts (see Box 6 in Chapter 2 for
an example from Haiti).
Liberia is the only country context where the Guidelines were designed for a more advanced stage in
the recovery from conflict and transition to nation- and peace-building efforts. The approach is
broader, taking into account interactions between the UN military and other actors, such as the local
population, NGOs, UN Agencies, UNMIL civilian sections and the Government of Liberia.
With the exception of Liberia, each of the Guidelines focuses on humanitarian actors and
organisations as comprising the civil component in the CIV-MIL relationship. The category
encompasses the implementing/operational humanitarian agencies which occupy the same space as
military actors. While some agencies, such as Mdecins Sans Frontires (MSF) and Action Contra la
Faim (ACF), adopt a far stricter interpretation of neutrality than others, the Guidelines are intended to
cover all aid workers who conform to accepted humanitarian standards, such as the Red Cross Code
of Conduct. The various Guidelines recognise that this includes agencies that have multiple
mandates. As will be discussed in the section on limitations, the Guidelines are not intended to cover
other key civil-military relationships, which are increasingly becoming the focus of key Western

The 2004 IASC definition of complex emergency is a humanitarian crisis in a country, region or society where there is total or
considerable breakdown of authority resulting from internal or external conflict and which requires an international response that
goes beyond the mandate or capacity of any single and/or ongoing UN country programme.
Duffield, Mark (1994) Complex Emergencies and the Crises of Developmentalism, pp.3-4



Afghanistan: ... to establish principles and practices for constructive civilian-military relations, and for effective
coordination, which is critical for achieving security and stability in Afghanistan. The Guidelines are intended to
address civil-military coordination, and not CIMIC activities, which are substantially broader in scope. The
Guidelines are intended to support the development of a relationship between military and humanitarian actors in
which differences are recognized and respected.
DRC: ... aims at improving the interaction between the MONUC peacekeeping force (MONUC military) and the
humanitarian organizations.
Haiti 1: In order to continue our humanitarian mission and programs in Haiti, I have decided to issue some
guidelines to provide the framework for consistent, co-ordinate and transparent relations between UN personnel
and international military forces, which do not compromise the neutrality, impartiality and security of our staff.
Haiti 2: Given the context and gap between disaster needs and capacities on [sic] ground, the use of foreign
military assets in Haiti is not only in keeping with the principles of the Oslo Guidelines but desperately needed
and supported by the authorities. Further, as significant bilateral assistance [sic] continues to flow through
military forces, close collaboration is vital to avoid duplication.
Iraq: ... to provide a practical and overarching framework to ensure a more coordinated and transparent
interaction between humanitarian actors and the military [and other armed actors] on issues of mutual concern.
Whilst as a matter of policy compliance for UN organizations, they may also usefully provide guidance to other
humanitarian actors where appropriate, and in keeping with their respective mandates, diversity and codes of
Liberia: ... to develop a policy that would outline civilian-military relations in the context of the recovery phase of
present day Liberia. ... The purpose of this guidance is to supplement not supplant current UN CIMIC doctrine
and further an ongoing effort on the part of UNMIL military to educate the force on the Do No Harm principle and
address additional considerations not in current CIMIC doctrine. ... It is envisaged that this guidance will foster
greater understanding of the respective actors roles in the future of Liberia and will enable better coordination,
standardize and promote effective and efficient use of UN military assets to cultivate development and a lasting
Pakistan: Acknowledging the need for both humanitarian actors and military actors to operate effectively within
the same environment, these Guidelines aim to establish agreed principles and practices for constructive civilmilitary relations in Pakistan.
Sudan: ... to address civil-military relations for humanitarian action in the context of present-day Sudan, and to
provide non-binding practical guidance to humanitarian organisations and military, police and other security
actors (hereafter referred to as military/security actors) operating within the country.

Regarding the main categories of security actors covered by the Guidelines, there appears to be a
bias towards foreign militaries and international peacekeepers. Figure 1 overleaf shows a breakdown
of country contexts according to the type of security actor-engagement, and the year in which each set
of Guidelines was published. While they provide explicit guidance for civil-military interaction, several
Guidelines include reference to other security actors, such as the host nation police force (c.f.
Afghanistan and Iraq). Iraq has the only set of Guidelines covering armed non-state actors; it was not
possible to travel to this site during the research, therefore it is outside the scope of this study to
comment on whether the inclusion of non-state actors in the Guidelines has translated to a different
experience on the ground.






UN military





















The stated purpose of most of the Guidelines is that they are working documents. Specific allowance
is made, for example, in the Afghanistan, Iraq, Liberia and Sudan Guidelines for Action Plans and
other arrangements that would help practitioners to operationalise the guidance. The Guidelines
tend to emphasise that they should only serve as the first commitment in a series of operational steps
that will improve civil-military interaction, and provide very specific suggestions for follow-up.
By way of example, Section 15 of the Afghanistan Guidelines regarding the monitoring and resolution
of disputes advises that breaches of the Guidelines should be documented and reported as soon as
possible to UNAMA, or alternatively to INGO coordination platforms, and reviewed on a periodic basis
by a Civil-Military Working Group. In the Liberia Guidelines, there is a section dedicated to Mode of
Implementation, which is linked to a CIMIC Request Flow Chart in an annex of the Guidelines.
Meanwhile, the operational steps outlined in the Sudan Guidelines are an example of how detailed
some of the directions can be in this regard (see the extracts in Figure 2).
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will be developed by both UNMIS and UNAMID, based on these
guidelines and in close consultation with the humanitarian community, detailing activities that require regular and
close coordination. In addition, it is envisaged that the office of the RC/NC will be promulgating an Action Plan,
which will operationalise the various recommendations of these guidelines on the humanitarian side. This will be
augmented by a series of training initiatives, targeting both humanitarian and mission personnel.

Review of the Guidelines

19. These guidelines will be reviewed and updated periodically, in consultation with all stakeholders. In this
context the establishment of a country-wide UN CMCoord working-group, to include representation from both
UN missions, preferably including the respective COS (FC), and the humanitarian community (including UN
Agencies and NGOs) and chaired by the RC/HC (or his/her delegate), is proposed. This working-group would
meet monthly, via teleconference, to address issues arising as well as reviewing this document as needed.

It is recommended that:
a) an Area Security Management Team (ASMT) be established in each area / region that the UNCT operates in,
as an advisory body to the respective Area Security Coordinator (ASC) / area representative of the respective
Designated Official (DO) ...
(Sud, pages 3, 8, 22)

The next section turns to an overview of the specific content in the Guidelines.


Each of the Guidelines follows a very similar formula, covering the areas listed in the box below to a
varying degree of detail. There are very small, but notable, exceptions in some cases, which are
elaborated in the analysis below.

Context | Guiding principles Terminology Key actors, their roles and mandates Liaison and coordination
arrangements Information sharing Needs assessments Use of military assets for disaster relief Use of
military/armed protection for humanitarian security Training Gender

Guiding principles
Drawing from internationally agreed but non-binding guidance, the country Guidelines (on the whole)
recognise the need for distinction; in other words, a situation in which civil and military boundaries
and roles are delineated and respected by both parties. The Iraq Guidelines characterise this as a
clear division of labor: namely, humanitarian actors to provide adequate assistance and protection,
whilst military actors concentrate on security-related tasks under established mandates. This
distinction has become increasingly controversial in light of the international military campaigns in Iraq
and Afghanistan, where there has been a blurring of roles and responsibilities. NATOs counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy encourages the militarys increased engagement and support of the
population through Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) and other forms of support aimed at winning hearts
and minds. Because of this, both sets of Guidelines have a clear emphasis on the respect for
international humanitarian law (IHL), and the laws, culture and customs of the local context.
While all of the Guidelines contain a strong emphasis on the operational independence of
humanitarian action, coordination of civilian and military actors is also highlighted across the
documents as an important and shared responsibility. The Iraq Guidelines provide a helpful rationale
for why humanitarian actors may at times be required to interact with one or more of the whole range
of armed state and non-state actors operating in that context:
... in order to: (i) ensure timely provision of assistance and protection for populations in
need; (ii) safeguard humanitarian space; (iii) negotiate humanitarian access and (iv)
advocate for fulfilment of the legal obligations of relevant actors to protect the civilian
population. (IQ, page 4)
The Sudan Guidelines call attention to the interdependence of the two parties, and the need for
To be successful the UN missions mandated activities and the work of the humanitarian
community have to be complementary. Furthermore, and notwithstanding the differences in
mandate and approach, it has to be recognized that both the humanitarian community and
the respective mission, including its military and police components, will benefit from each
others success, i.e. humanitarian action will benefit from the mission establishing a secure
environment while the mission will benefit, at least indirectly, from the successful delivery of
humanitarian aid and reconstruction assistance. (Sud, page 5)
This is likely to be because the Guidelines refer to the UN military as the main security actor
concerned, rather than other military or security actors in the context. The DRC Guidelines provide a
similarly balanced picture of the need for cooperation on the one hand, and distinction on the other.
The principle of cooperation between MONUC military and humanitarian actors is described as
necessary due to the close interrelation of the respective actors role in protection and assistance


In protection, MONUC military is able to achieve tasks such as securing or control of areas,
deterrence of violence, removal of threats, escorts to populations or establishment of buffer
zones or protected areas. For their part, humanitarians are involved in the monitoring of
protection risks, in securing returns of displaced or refugee population, in advocacy and
support action to vulnerable groups such as women or children associated with armed
groups and in various other activities such as mediation. (DRC, page 6)
The Pakistan Guidelines contain the only reference to the principle of state sovereignty. Citing the
Guiding Principles of UN General Assembly Resolution 46/182, the Guidelines state that:
The sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of States must be fully respected in
accordance with the Charter of the United Nations. In this context, humanitarian assistance
should be provided with the consent of the affected country and in principle on the basis of
an appeal by the affected country. (Pak, page 6)
The Pakistan Guidelines hold the principle of territorial integrity in close tension with the responsibility
to provide sustainable and free humanitarian access to all vulnerable populations in all crisis-affected
areas also a responsibility that accompanies the principle of sovereignty (c.f. UN General Assembly
Resolution 46/182, which calls upon States to facilitate the work of [humanitarian] organizations in
implementing humanitarian assistance, in particular the supply of food, medicines, shelter and health
care, for which access to victims is essential). Most specifically to the CIV-MIL relationship, the
Guidelines refer to coordination with the military as necessary only to the extent that it facilitates,
secures and sustains, not hinders, humanitarian access (Pak, page 6).
Lastly, a common principle to steer the content of the Guidelines is that of Do No Harm. The Liberia
Guidelines have the strongest emphasis on this principle, with particular reference to educating the
force (Lib, page 1). They helpfully translate this principle into practical guidance, outlining specific
projects that are either appropriate or inappropriate within the scope of military assistance (Lib, page
4). Useful questions for assessing the potential inadvertent impact on other communities, including the
effects of resources on local perceptions, are also displayed in checklists (Lib, page 5-6). In the Sudan
Guidelines, the description of the Do No Harm principle also highlights the need for practitioners to
have an in-depth awareness of the local context, and local protection concerns, including who controls
resources, in order to resolve rather than exacerbate local conflicts and power struggles (Sud, page 56).
Information sharing and needs assessments
All of the Guidelines emphasise the importance of maintaining open lines of communication for the
sharing of information on security, logistics, contingency planning and for rapid response to security
matters and humanitarian emergencies. The Sudan Guidelines provide a good example of this (see a
partial extract in Box 3 overleaf).
The Sudan Guidelines also contain helpful checklists of how to approach needs assessments.
Despite this, however, the interviews in South Sudan revealed it to be the only context where
humanitarians were very concerned by the UN militarys reporting of humanitarian needs:
DPKO are always coming back to us with Humanitarian Needs Assessments, but so many
times I have seen the place they have assessed and it is obvious that they have just listed
down what the locals are saying, not actually done any assessments. So I had to say guys,
you need to stop doing this, or I will start telling you military strategies. This is also risky,
because it means they raise the expectations of people they are assessing, which is
something that has to be recognised when we divide up our responsibilities.
UN humanitarian worker



Suggested information flows
from the humanitarian community to the military/security actors:
a) Security information: information relevant to the security of civilians and humanitarian staff including the
coordinates of humanitarian staff and facilities in the military operating theatre
b) Humanitarian and relief activities: plans and information on humanitarian and relief activities, including
routes and timing of humanitarian convoys and airlifts in order to avoid accidental strikes on humanitarian
operations or to warn of any conflicting activities
c) Mine-action activities: information relevant of mine-action activities, and
d) Population movements: information on major movements of civilians.
from the military to the humanitarian community:
a) Security information: Any information that might have a direct impact on the security of humanitarian
personnel or operations, including planned military operations to the extent feasible
b) Post-strike information: information on strike locations and explosive munitions used during military
campaigns to assist with the planning of humanitarian relief and mine-action/UXO activities
c) Relief needs: observed by the military or other security actors to be communicated to OCHA or the RCs
office via the respective HRD or HALU office
d) Population movements: information on major movements of civilians, and
e) Planned relief activities of the military and/or other security actors, to be coordinated at the planning stage
with the humanitarian community.

It is difficult to determine whether the problem would be fixed with more awareness of the Guidelines;
nevertheless, it seems sensible to assume that better training on this aspect of the civil-military
interface could only improve the current status. Later sections of the report will cover training and
adoption challenges.
For operational civil-military coordination in disaster response during peacetime, the Pakistan
Guidelines provide specific parameters for the platforms for information-sharing:
As a matter of principle, information-sharing between military and humanitarian actors
should occur through the relevant civilian government forums and through the humanitarian
clusters. In addition, information relevant to the humanitarian response generated by
United Nations Joint Logistics Centre (UNJLC) or Humanitarian Information Centre (HIC)
may also be shared with military or police actors subject to the determination of the relevant
cluster. (Pak, page 16)
Similarly useful guidance is provided in the sections on use of military and civilian defence assets.
Use of military assets
This section of the Guidelines is always divided into two parts: the use of military assets for disaster
and humanitarian relief operations, and the use of military assets for the armed protection or security
of humanitarian agencies. The last resort criteria, established in the Oslo and MCDA Guidelines,
underpins both i.e. that military assets should be used only on a case-by-case basis, when no
alternative civilian means are available, and limited to the extent and duration necessary to undertake
the required assistance.


Timeliness, clear humanitarian direction, and the time-limited nature of the use of military assets are
also key criteria stated across the Guidelines (see Sud, page 22, 26). The Pakistan Guidelines outline
some key logistical tasks (including aerial and land transport) where it may be deemed appropriate for
military actors to provide support in joint civil-military interventions (see Box 4).


Humanitarian assessments carried out by United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC) or
other humanitarian actors.

Life-saving search and rescue missions carried out by actors such as the International Search and Rescue
Advisory Group (INSARAG).

Life-saving humanitarian responses for vulnerable populations in remote/inaccessible areas.

Time-sensitive rehabilitation of infrastructure such as roads and bridges to optimise humanitarian access to
vulnerable populations.
(Pak, Page 15)

In terms of the military itself conducting humanitarian tasks, the DRC, Liberia and Afghanistan
Guidelines stand out as particularly interesting. In the DRC context, it is accepted that the MONUC
military will carry out Winning Hearts and Minds Activities (or WHAMS) from the unit to battalion level.
These are intended to create a positive relationship between the different deployed units and their
host community (DRC, page 16). The Guidelines encourage the use of WHAMS in the post-conflict
or peace-building phase in the following fields:
1. Infrastructure:
Rehabilitation of buildings (churches, schools, clinics)
Reconstruction or maintenance of roads and bridges
2. Public services
Rehabilitation of water and sanitation services
Rehabilitation and maintenance of electricity supply
3. Social services
Training of medical personnel
Provision of teachers, for example, in English
4. Economic activities
Rehabilitation of market
Training or other support in specific fields
5. Socio-cultural and sport activities
Support for cultural activities like traditional ceremonies
Support for sport activities
Support for environmental initiatives
(DRC, page 16-17)
Conversely, the Afghanistan Guidelines reaffirm the approach agreed in the earlier Policy Note of the
PRT Executive Steering Committee, PRT Coordination and Intervention in Humanitarian Assistance,
which instructs that humanitarian assistance must not be used for the purpose of political gain,
relationship-building, or winning hearts and minds. It must be distributed on the basis of need and
must uphold the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality and neutrality.
The Liberia Guidelines provide a more human context for the development of WHAMS, explaining


Soldiers serving in peacekeeping operations desire to be involved in helping the

population. Participating in or assisting the humanitarian/recovery effort gives soldiers a
needed sense of accomplishment and/or fulfillment.
(Lib, page 2-3)
Guidance follows on appropriate areas of military support to humanitarian/recovery efforts, which is
supported by a detailed table in an annex on the specific types of activities, their advantages and
Across most of the Guidelines, the issue of local perceptions is raised as the reason for concern with
the use of military assets for humanitarian activities. With the exception of Haiti and Liberia, they
advise that the independence and civilian nature of humanitarian assistance should be clear at all
times: Failure to observe this distinction could compromise the perception of neutrality and impartiality
of humanitarian activities and thereby endanger humanitarian personnel and intended beneficiaries
(AFG, page 8).
One notable shortfall in these sections of the Guidelines is that they tend to refer to foreign MCDA,
rather than national MCDA, which are more often than not the assets in question. Even where
national governments are included in the Guidelines, the guidance tends to rely on the content of
existing guidelines for support, which relate primarily to foreign MCDA.
Cross-cutting issues
The Guidelines treat cross-cutting issues, such as gender and respect for human rights and IHL, in
different ways for example, they are singled-out clearly in the Afghanistan Guidelines, but weaved
into the other parts of the guidance in the Liberia and Iraq Guidelines. In light of the horrific realities of
sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in DRC, it is interesting to note that there is actually no
mention of gender in the DRC Guidelines this makes it stand out from all the other Guidelines.
While the situation certainly seems to warrant a particular focus on how to interact on the issue of
protecting civilians, and particularly women and children, the feedback from interview participants
working in the area of protection indicated that current or future civil-military guidelines should not
concentrate on gender. The following statement from an INGO worker explains why:
Gender and sexual violence is a core component of all of the issues being discussed. Of
course we need more women in posts, but there needs to be a balance. There is SGBV
overload organisations are beginning to get annoyed by the extent to which it has taken
over the broader conflict discourse.
INGO worker, DRC
Human rights organisations and some humanitarian agencies in DRC are concerned that the attention
dedicated to victims of SGBV is preventing the conversation that needs to be taking place about the
causes of the violence. Without this, aid workers argued that the international community will not
come any closer to helping the Congolese people fight this problem over the long term.
The importance of training and awareness-raising on both civil-military coordination and the nature of
humanitarian response is emphasised across the Guidelines. Box 5 overleaf highlights some
examples from the DRC and Pakistan Guidelines, with the latter providing the sound rationale for why
the assistance community should invest in such training and awareness-raising.
The DRC extract clearly indicates that training is needed for both parties the MONUC military
requires training on humanitarian affairs, and the humanitarians require training on military issues. It


also recommends the use of joint training sessions or exercises, which could facilitate discussion on
practical cases of concern.


8.1. Training of MONUC military on humanitarian affairs: Every new contingent or troops to the mission
should be, upon arrival to the mission, clearly briefed about the civilian component of MONUC as well as about
the roles, activities and principle [sic] of action of humanitarian agencies and organizations. The same briefing
should take place, in detail [sic], upon arrival at the place of duty. If necessary, MONUC military should call on its
civilian partners to help them in this training.
8.2. Training of humanitarians on military issues: Good coordination requires mutual understanding of
objectives, roles, activities and principles of action. Therefore MONUC military should organize, at field level,
special training sessions for humanitarians on the basic principles of MONUC military action, in order to help them
better understand and accept its modus operandi and procedures.
8.3. Joint training sessions or exercises: Joint training sessions at field level should enable mutual
understanding and allow in a common sessions to reach objectives mentioned under 8.1 and 8.2 above. It could
also involve discussions on practical cases.
Training and Awareness-Raising on Civil-Military Coordination [in Complex Emergencies]
Training provides the foundation for effective dialogue between humanitarian and military/police actors, and is a
vital part of increasing an understanding of respective mandates, ways of working, and professional cultures.
Training can also provide a basis for developing a common vocabulary necessary to underpin effective
coordination and information-sharing.

The Pakistan Guidelines emphasise that training provides the foundation for effective dialogue
In order
to promote a coherent
interpretation and
and military/police
in most
the should
other ensure
sections on training, which tend to focus instead on the more technical contributionsguide
of training
personnel in the practical application of these principles.
increased knowledge, skills and changed attitudes. Interestingly, in an earlier draft of the Afghanistan
Guidelines (29 April 2004), the section on training was labelled Training and Dialogue. It argued that:
All assistance community agencies and military forces will benefit from a continued
dialogue regarding their respective mandates, roles, and procedures. This dialogue
should help to maintain mutual recognition of the areas requiring coexistence,
coordination, cooperation or collaboration.
The next chapter will now turn to the key findings of the research, drawing from the desk-based review
of the Guidelines, and information collected through the interviews and field visits.


3. Key findings
This chapter builds on the desk-based comparative review of the Guidelines and uses interviews
conducted for this study as a means of identifying: (i) best practices arising from the creation of the
current Guidelines; (ii) any inherent limitations; and (iii) obstacles to uptake or dissemination.

Best practices

In view of best practices, four key areas emerged as worthy of review: linked training initiatives and
workshops; a cohesive and reflective humanitarian community; experimentation with tools; and an
emphasis of the process as much as the product.
Linked training initiatives and workshops
The interview feedback indicated positive potential for Guidelines to act as a vehicle for civilian and
military or police actors to compare and contrast their respective codes of conduct, principles,
standards, ethics and guidelines, and how well they are adhered to, reinforced and enforced. This
is perceived to be important to fostering a greater mutual understanding and respect. Joint training
workshops were identified as absolutely fundamental to bringing Guidelines to life, and building the
necessary relationships for a constructive civil-military interface.
There is an issue of respect, at the end of the day. There needs to be mutual respect
between both parties. And that has to develop through dialogue. Which means we need
opportunities for greater dialogue. The military needs to learn more about us, we need to
learn more about them. How can Guidelines help this process?
Discussion with INGOs in Port-au-Prince
During an OCHA CMCoord training workshop in North Darfur, an interesting conversation developed
between the peacekeepers and aid workers regarding what they perceived to be the needs of the
The military said that the people needed water, shelter, food and education for their children;
the aid workers said that the people needed security.
INGO reflection on Sudan training
The combination of shared anecdotes and education on the different principles and standards that this
workshop format allowed was central to breaking down preconceived ideas about the other, and for
sharing thoughts on what the focus of the respective efforts should be.
An NGO worker in Chad remarked that OCHA had hosted two workshops on civil-military issues with
MINURCAT, but that the discussion sort of ended when the workshop ended. This experience was
replicated in Sudan, where it appears that there had been an intensive effort over a short period to
conduct training workshops, but that these were not sustained. In that case, a rotating CMCoord
officer from Darfur was reportedly made available for a couple of months in Juba. Another similar
experience occurred in DRC in late 2006 to mid-2007 with the UN missions civil-military Guidelines
dissemination workshops roughly 16 workshops were facilitated in the eastern region, but no followup was provided. DRC has never had an OCHA CMCoord presence on the ground.
Best practice, therefore, occurs when training is offered on an ongoing basis, with refreshers and
overviews provided not only at induction, but for the duration of military tours and aid deployments.
According to one experienced INGO worker:


Any training needs adequate follow-up and forums for continuing the discussion. Once
weve got the military, civil affairs, humanitarians and UN agencies in the same room, the
discussion must continue.
INGO Head of a provincial office, DRC
Universally, peoples feedback on OCHAs CMCoord training was positive; in fact, there were calls for
more of it, and more follow-up, to ensure that the training was part of a strategic narrative of civilmilitary interaction in a particular country context.
Catering beyond the international humanitarian and military communities, one INGO in Afghanistan
recently took the initiative to develop Afghanistan-specific illustrated booklets on civil-military
engagement, in conjunction with a series of workshops aimed at educating the local community about
the civil-military dynamics in the Afghan context. The booklets draw from global and country-specific
CIV-MIL principles, notions of IHL, Taliban code of conduct, and principles of NGO relations to parties
to the conflict. The project director claimed that:
Illiteracy rates are high in the areas where we are operational, and most of the people do
not speak English. So all the fancy guidelines dont really have an impact on them at all.
There is clear need to speak their language when dealing with CIV-MIL and we have
translated the booklet to Dari and Pashto.
Aid worker, CARE International
In response to the outreach education delivered during a CIV-MIL workshop organised in Mazar-isharif this year, a participant at the end is reported to have commented: This was great, I learned
loads. It would have been better if somebody did it 5 years ago though.
Initiatives like this, while rare, have the potential to move one step closer to redressing the historical
lack of an Afghan voice in the CIV-MIL debate, despite the number of Afghan individuals and
organisations who deal with civil-military relations on a daily basis.
In South Sudan, OCHA and INGOs noted that there has been no real effort to educate locals on the
distinction between the identities, functions and roles of humanitarian personnel and those of the
military and other security actors, despite the emphasis within the Sudan Guidelines on local
perceptions of this distinction providing the main protection for humanitarian workers and operations
in respect of armed groups and the population.
National aid workers frequently cover the 'last mile' in delivering assistance to beneficiaries, and so
they are also the most likely to be operating in an environment where armed actors control areas. A
series of workshops undertaken in Islamabad with Pakistan NGOs working in conflict-affected areas
during 2009 indicated that national NGOs bring a much-needed local understanding of how the
international communitys guiding principles are interpreted by ordinary people. The workshop
facilitators found that the Red Cross/NGO Code of Conduct and aspects of international civil-military
guidance provided a useful starting point for grounding the dialogue in the local context.
A group of 30 national NGOs was asked to imagine a scenario in which a major earthquake strikes
South Waziristan, where the Government is engaged in active hostilities, and the Pakistan military
offers assets to the humanitarians (such as helicopters or escorts) to reach the beneficiaries. Using
an interactive software package on a wirelessly-connected network of laptops, we asked them to

Azarbaijani-Moghaddam, Sippi, Mirwais Wardak, Idrees Zaman & Annabel Taylor (2008) Afghan Hearts, Afghan Minds:
Exploring Afghan perceptions of civil-military relations, BAAG-ENNA, p.5. The report goes further by arguing for an
Afghanisation of CIVMIL relations processes, institutions and principles
Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)
in Disaster Relief


respond anonymously to the following question: who has the right to make the decision?. The
answer was unambiguous: the community itself must decide, but the decision should be
Underlying all the feedback collected on best practices and training was the recognition that it is
people who engage in dialogue, not organisations. The Guidelines have the scope to provide a useful
starting-point for such a dialogue between the parties on key differences and interdependencies.
Increasing local participation can only assist in understanding and influencing the perceptions of those
who are being relied upon for a safe operational environment.
When provided to the interview participants, the guidance on information sharing was generally
viewed as comprehensive and helpful. Most humanitarians in the interview sample revealed a good
understanding of the sensitive nature of military information, but stressed overall in the UN mission
environments that peacekeepers should be more open to sharing analysis and forecasting within
coordination bodies, particularly if there is an expectation that humanitarians will relay their protectionrelated concerns to the military. This level of understanding is, again, enhanced by small workshops
and training that contribute to bringing the Guidelines to life.
A cohesive and reflective humanitarian community
The differences in the humanitarian sector notwithstanding, INGOs across all of the sites shared
positive examples of civil-military interaction where there was a cohesive and reflective humanitarian
community. This, it was generally espoused, is a key pre-requisite for constructive engagement on
civil-military issues.
The Guidelines can help foster a sense of cohesion, and greater reflection, on civil-military issues,
which then contributes to more informed operational and advocacy positions. In the case of
Afghanistan, the aid community invested a huge amount of time conducting advocacy on the
Coalitions use of white vehicles (especially white Land Cruisers) to transport military personnel and
assets. Humanitarians fear that this blurs the lines in a way that directly increases the security risks to
aid workers. White vehicles, it is argued, are commonly associated with humanitarian action in most
conflict zones, the colour representing actors who provide humanitarian aid to the civilian population
irrespective of political, religious or military considerations and who are not parties to the conflict.
Eventually a perceived victory was won on this issue in April 2009 when the NATO HQ issued the
Policy on White Vehicles, which mandated that:
... all NATO-owned vehicles that are coloured white only are to have that colour changed,
either in full or to a degree sufficient to render the vehicle clearly and obviously multicoloured. Operators of non-NATO (nationally owned) vehicles are encouraged to take
[similar] action.
While it is debatable whether Coalition nations have indeed followed suit (the main counter-argument
being that their security is also in jeopardy), it is clear that the Guidelines made a positive contribution
to the considered advocacy undertaken by the humanitarian agencies concerned.

MSF is the obvious exception here, given their support of bilateral military engagement for ensuring the safe passage of goods
and personnel, and absence from coordination meetings. However, one MSF director argues on page 17 that their opting-out
of meetings (or at least the formal record) is not necessarily due to a principled stand, but because of the inefficiencies in the
coordination system.
Joint INGO Letter to NATO Defence Minister (March 2009)
NATO/ISAF Unclassified 8052.10/HQ ISAF/COS/09 Policy on White Vehicles (10 April 2009); FRAGO/204-2008 DTG


Discussions with single agencies revealed that it is almost as important to foster cohesion and a
reflective environment within an INGO amidst seeming chaos, as between humanitarian agencies.
The research revealed that civil-military guidelines have usefully been integrated into certain
interactive decision-making tools, which are able to create a more consistent intra-agency approach to
CIV-MIL issues.



Experimentation with tools
A number of INGOs are increasingly making use of innovative humanitarian decision-making
processes. These provide a framework that tie existing commitments, guidelines and principles into
daily management practices; the result is more nuanced decision-making, which is linked to clear
action plans.
Several members of one INGO
making tool called HISS-CAM.
critical in deciding to outsource
would benefit from exposure to
non-UN armed actors.

commented on their organisations use of the civil-military decisionThe director of the DRC country office claimed that the tool proved
IHL and PoC training of the FARDC to local partners ... Other NGOs
a framework that forces them to think through their interaction with

During the Haiti earthquake response, the same tool worked very well internally to help generate
cohesion, clarity and reflection on bilateral military engagement in food distributions. The process
obliges groups to capture and record their logic for interpreting civil-military guidance in a particular
context; hence, from a learning perspective, this helps to create institutional memory and consistency
in an organisations approach when teams rotate in and out of complex settings.
While the HISS-CAM tool succeeded in facilitating a refocusing of priorities and internal cohesion
during a large-scale emergency, which ultimately created a better response from that organisation in
line with the Guidelines, the broader effect/impact was limited in that the same process was not being
applied across the sector.
At an inter-agency level, there are signs of experimentation with similar tools and simple technologies
to navigate dilemmas in complex environments. A discussion is currently underway regarding how
to apply such innovations to the dilemma of using armed escorts. While it is too early to evaluate the

The HISS-CAM model is a copyrighted tool designed and developed at World Vision International for the purpose of assisting
individuals and/or organisations in making difficult decisions in regards to engagement with State and Non-State Armed Actors.
For further information, see Clements, Ashley & Edwina Thompson (2009) Making the Tough Calls: Decision-making in
complex humanitarian environments, Humanitarian Exchange Magazine 44, Overseas Development Institute, available at
An example is a web-based inter-agency tool still under development (see


results of such an application, it seems promising in that the main purpose is to bring good guidance
to life, through a practical process.
Guidance is always more about the process than the result. It was the process in
Afghanistan that proved most effective in shifting perspectives at the time.
White House official
It must be really hard for OCHA to try to put all this down on paper. In a way, its very
military to try to codify guidance in a doctrinal way. In fact, Im rather sceptical that you
can put this sort of stuff down on paper. ... What we do is about the process of doing it, of
building relationships with real people. Not about guidance. Which is not to say dont have
your guidance. Have it, but dont build barriers pre-emptively. Have guidance about
principles, but you need to be flexible on the operational side.
INGO director
Lastly, but certainly not least importantly, interviewees who had either been involved in the drafting of
Guidelines or in discussions around their development implied that process is indeed often as much, if
not more, important than the final agreed content. A civilian working within MONUC around the time
that the DRC Guidelines were developed and then disseminated recalled a tense exchange between
a UNICEF worker and his peacekeeper colleagues in one of the dissemination workshops. He
expressed clear frustration about his inability to use mission assets, such as helicopters, to transport
medicines, and the peacekeepers explained their constraints. The process that they were engaged in
allowed for the mutual sharing of concerns and clarification of issues that might otherwise percolate
into further negative sentiment.
Despite good processes, however, implementation remains an issue. One recent report claims that
the Afghanistan Guidelines have been met with limited uptake, enforcement and success from all
parties. If indeed this is the case, when that particular process of development is by many accounts
seen to be sound, what can answer for the blockage to implementation? The rest of this chapter
considers some of the potential reasons by turning to both the inherent limitations of the Guidelines
themselves, and the obstacles to uptake and dissemination that emerged through the research.
(ii) Inherent limitations
The pressures of operating in complex environments, in addition to recent technological advances,
magnify the importance of the format in which people receive information. Interviews across all of the
contexts identified the current form of country Guidelines as inherently limiting to their uptake and
dissemination. As written documents stretching from between 2 to 35 pages (10 on average), there is
the challenge of competing with the exponential increase in the volume of readily accessible
information and ease of interactivity. Communications are frequently reduced to informal email
exchanges, or sometimes even tweets, and reading to skimming. There is thus a narrowing window
for any idea to be either accepted or rejected the target audience in both the aid and military
communities is as quick to judge as any other professional group, and is likely to move on to other
pressing priorities, rather than invest the time in reading a set of Guidelines, particularly where there
is the foreboding expectation that the next version is only just around the corner. A member of the
DPKO Best Practices Unit confided that people are also experiencing guidance overload or
saturation point.


Sparrow, Phil (2011) In it for the Long Haul? Delivering Australian Aid to Afghanistan, ACFID Research in Development
Series, Report No.1 (March), page 24


The reflections of a UN civil affairs officer within MONUC commented that, in order to get busy people
to read the Guidelines, you would have to persuade them to take time out from their daily work and
consider the abstract. When reminded that the Guidelines actually contain very specific points of
guidance (such as on Liaison Arrangements and Information Sharing), the response was that, Yes,
but the DRC is an emergency situation. It is in a protracted state of emergency. People dont have
time to read documents and conduct more routine activities. Such a dynamic environment, she went
on, would require a full-time individual or team to keep the Guidelines in tune with changing
operational arrangements and ad hoc innovations that are designed to facilitate the civil-military
interface. This raises questions regarding the perceived or actual need for them to guide interaction in
the first place. The same person asked: is it product-driven, or important for CIV-MIL engagement?
Part of the challenge, it was argued, is that aid workers are not necessarily culturally receptive to
written guidance. A fresh CIMIC officer within NATOs civil-military Synchronisation Cell remarked
during the study:
Having never worked with NGOs before, and just arriving in Afghanistan, all Ive heard is
that NGOs dont like to be at the receiving end of coordination! Theyre also not hard-wired
to written guidance because theyre laid out horizontally, and dont take well to top-down
orders and SOPs.
US soldier, Afghanistan
An American interviewee who works as both a reserve logistics officer with the US military and an
emergency logistics co-ordinator with a major INGO noted the almost opposite receptiveness of
Western militaries to principles and codes of conduct: They can get it ... relate with written guidance
on a very direct level.
While operationally, aid workers sense the need for guidance support, in practice, they do not
habitually exploit what exists. A recurring example from this research was the use of military, police
and other armed escorts to gain greater access to vulnerable populations. When the author worked
as Civil-Military-Police Advisor to World Vision International, she found that the various check-lists in
the guidelines can steer a fruitful and more strategic discussion about whether to request an escort
therefore these were incorporated into an internal civil-military Operations Manual. The research did
not reveal any parallel experiences of this potentially due to the lack of dedicated civil-military
personnel in the aid sector and thus opportunities to customise the guidance.
The distinguishing feature of country Guidelines is their specificity to the context. And yet, the
interviews revealed criticisms of the current Guidelines ranging from being too general or too
prescriptive to be useful in a dynamic environment. This is an inherent limitation of having any written
form of guidance that aims to cover complex issues and it will be difficult, if not impossible, to
resolve this tension.
A number of participants actually challenged the usefulness of a national-level focus in country
guidelines, despite the good intent. The point was made that there are contexts within contexts, so
even if the Guidelines are country-context specific, they lack the level of specificity required to
operate at a local level. In a case such as Sudan, where there is huge variation in the country, and a
recently-seceded South, this was certainly seen to be the case:
Guidelines need to be country-specific, but probably a lower level than even that. For
example, Abyei is a bit different to Juba, which is certainly different to Darfur.
Vice President, International Programmes, INGO


In terms of the respective Guidelines content, which was surveyed in Chapter 1, the research
revealed no gaps. However, there do appear to be inherent limitations in the lack of specificity under
each of the headings. The sections covering use of military assets are a case in point. Findings from
DRC, Haiti, Pakistan, and South Sudan demonstrate that much of the discussion about CIV-MIL
engagement revolves around the use of military or police assets for protection whether desired, or
coerced. Both the humanitarian community and military representatives in the interview sample
highlighted the need for guidance to help aid agencies understand the capabilities and decisionmaking criteria of respective forces in their allocation of resources. This would clarify any confusion,
and diminish the frustration often expressed by aid agencies that are unable to see the constraints of
a military. Many INGO representatives could simply not understand why some requests for assets
were approved for the transportation of humanitarian goods, and others denied: we have little sense
on how such requests are evaluated and processed.
In the Haiti, for example, the most recent guidance encouraged humanitarians to make use of military
assets, but failed to provide the detailed breakdown necessary for understanding the capabilities and
decision-making criteria of respective forces in their allocation of resources in such a fluid
My ideal CIV-MIL environment is one in which humanitarians know what we can provide
them; we know that we can get coordination on the big, time-sensitive stuff from their end.
Lieutenant Colonel, MINUSTAH
A more useful set of guidance would include information flow on military capabilities, organisational
structure, assets and limitations in a disaster-prone environment. Humanitarians also advocated for
clearer messages from the militaries concerned about the conditions that accompany the use of such
assets. One INGO worker reported that, on receiving a heavy digger from a military contingent for a
construction project, it arrived with a small security attachment to guard it. The troops were unwilling
to leave the digger, and the aid workers were unsure what they could request in terms of changes to
the SOP. If such conditions are a requirement, these should be more clearly outlined in the
Existing formal distinctions made between natural disaster contexts and complex emergencies,
which frame the definitions of the broader country context in existing Guidelines, and the advice on
appropriateness of using MCDA, also have inherent limitations. As was mentioned in Chapter 1, this
clear-cut distinction is not always possible in practice. The difference of opinion expressed by
interview participants on the environment surrounding the Haiti earthquake response is a case in


MINUSTAH U-3 prepared such a document for the Hurricane Response, which was shared with SOUTHCOM and
USAID/OFDA. In addition, lessons reports from two Inter-agency Disaster Response Coordination table-top exercises
highlighted further gaps in MINUSTAH and UN emergency response capacity. These assessments, however, were unavailable
to humanitarians at the time of writing, because they were not involved in the original briefings, and unaware of how to access
the materials.



No, not a natural disaster, not today. Today its definitely a complex emergency. I mean, the UNs here as a
stabilisation mission, right? MINUSTAHs got guns. Theres a reason for that. It was complex to begin with,
and the earthquake added a natural disaster aspect to it. EJOC
Complex. Its a complex emergency with a natural disaster in the middle of it. UN commander
Unambiguously a natural disaster, with some security concerns. NGO security
We treat it as a natural disaster. We just provide logistical support and technical assistance. UN logistics
It was a complex emergency on Jan 11th, and a natural disaster on Jan 12th. Now its somewhere in-between.
UN military
Its a natural disaster in the middle of a complex emergency. NGO director
Id say it was a natural disaster, but its not like when Im in Haiti I ever got the sense that people feel safe.
There are a lot of roadblocks, kidnappings, that sort of thing. NGO director
Id say a complex emergency but not a heavy one. UN civilian

Haiti Iprovides
that was
the UN in
dont really
it can be referred
as a natural
Then again,
if thisissued
was written
the Oslo
to itexplain
a been
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Jan uses
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I think of
Oslo Plus. UN
civilian humanitarian and military actors. It actively encourages the use
full co-operation
of military assets and involvement of military personnel in needs assessments, with particular
reference to the US military.
Opinion among the interview participants (see Box 3) was completely divided between those who
found the content uncontroversial and those who considered it to be deeply political; and there
was universal disagreement with the statement that there was a community-wide desire to
collaborate closely with all stakeholders, including national and foreign troops.
participants raised many concerns regarding the fact that the guidance note does not question the
appropriateness of using MCDA. Even though it is well understood that the civil-military interface is
less contentious in a large-scale natural disaster, it was argued that the history of US engagement in
Haiti could hardly be characterised as benign.
In Pakistan, the definitions of the broader environment are linked to a specific coordination strategy,
using the Civil-Military Continuum of Engagement to interpret the appropriate level of CIV-MIL
engagement. The first strategy for Operational Coordination in Complex Emergencies is one of
co-existence, while the second strategy for Operational Coordination for Disasters in Peacetime
is one of co-operation.
The reality of a country like Pakistan, however, is that a disaster rarely takes place in peacetime.
The country is vulnerable to regular flash flooding, earthquakes, droughts and other natural hazards in
many of the same areas where soldiers are conducting COIN operations. It also has a strong military
and disaster management system in place. Pressures to coordinate with these structures in spite of
the socio-political situation on the ground are likely to continue; therefore, it appears inherently limiting
to set out clear coordination strategies, when the continuum could be used as a basis for decisionmakers of lead agencies to apply flexibly in response to the various realities of working in such an
environment. At any one time, for example, it is valid for the humanitarian community to decide on a
different coordination strategy in different parts of the country, during the same response.


Defining the context in which operations are taking place raises into question, then, the continued
relevance of the established categories contained in the generic Oslo and MCDA guidance.
Regarding the ambition or purpose in each of the Guidelines, some interview participants were
insistent that they should remain a statement of intent, while others saw more benefit in guidelines
acting as live, working documents within a specific context. The sample of comments in Figure 3
indicates the divided opinion on this matter.




Senior logistics,
UN military

What we dont need is more guidance that tells us what we already know.


Country director,

We absolutely do need to refer to written guidance in our work. We need

operational documents; easy to read, easy to implement.


Country director,

Guidelines cant operate in the abstract.


ISAF soldier

We need guidance that provides a general statement or purpose for why we

should engage.

Questions regarding who should be covered by the document itself and included in the consultation
process during development also generated much debate.
The research revealed that an inherent limitation of the present Guidelines is that groups who
arguably make the most impact on the civil-military space have been largely excluded from their
Three groups have been largely excluded: the locals, police, and host government.
The usefulness of the Guidelines may be severely diminished without their adequate representation.
A recent piece of research conducted by the Eastern Mennonite Universitys 3-D Security Initiative in
the US demonstrates the need to include local civil society in guidance on civil-military interaction,
particularly in light of the increased engagement between Western militaries and local populations as
a result of COIN strategies. Much of the emphasis of Western militaries is also on their relationship
with government civilian counterparts and contractors due to the policy shift towards whole-ofgovernment and comprehensive approaches in fragile states. Likewise, UN peacekeeping forces
focus increasingly on their relationship with the civilian components of the mission itself due to the
move towards UN integrated missions. Therefore, the reference to humanitarians as the civil
component in the majority of current country Guidelines is inherently limited to the humanitarianmilitary interface.
In terms of the participation and coverage of armed actors, the interviews revealed that there is little
consensus across contexts regarding which type should be covered by a set of country guidelines. In
the DRC, for instance, there was universal agreement among interviewees that the Guidelines should
not include national armed forces and the various armed militia groups. It was argued that specific
guidelines for engaging with them would likely be unhelpful because of the fragmented and
unaccountable nature of the groups, and the necessarily context-specific nature of NGO-military


In the previously mentioned World Vision study, which was carried out in 22 countries in the INGOs most hostile or
insecure operating environments, the research revealed that by far the greatest interaction between its staff and an
armed/security actor occurs with the national police, followed by the national government. Thompson (2008) Principled
Pragmatism (World Vision International)


NGOs should be left to develop these on their own. We dont want to do too much with the
FARDC because of their role as human rights abusers. We do a lot of reflection and have
intense discussions when we engage with them, but it is very specific to the context and the
contingent of the FARDC we are dealing with [i.e. ex-CNDP or FARDC]. Similarly,
interactions with other armed actors should be decided on a case-by-case basis.
INGO protection manager, DRC
Some were sceptical that guidelines covering host government engagement would even be allowed
by the state in question: The state forbids us to talk to them. Any interaction needs to be under the
Conversely, interviews conducted in South Sudan indicated that aid workers would prefer guidance
that included local military actors, and in particular the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA), over
the current focus on the UN military. The rationale was provided by one senior UN official:
For many practical purposes, coordination with the SPLA is far more important than with
UNMIS. You dont see UNMIS anywhere, but the SPLA is everywhere. So we pay the SPLA
for protection, which is something that UNMIS staff sometimes question, but I ask, what
could we do if we didnt do that? There is no UNMIS military to help, or certainly not in time
and with the pace to allow the delivery of assistance.
Head of a UN humanitarian agency, South Sudan
In contrast to this variable opinion, the interviews across all contexts revealed a majority view that
international police should be included in the development of any future Guidelines. The Sudan
Guidelines process did, in fact, consult closely with UNAMID Police Commissioner. But this is a rare
example. Bringing police into discussions on principles of protection and civil-military engagement is
vital because policing, in all its various forms, is right between assistance and protection where
assistance and protection overlap. The Brahimi Report recognised this, stating that the demand for
civilian peace operations dealing with intra-state conflict is likely to remain high on any list of
requirements for helping a war-torn society restore conditions for social, economic and political
stability, and that a doctrinal shift needed to take place in the use of civilian police in United
Nations peace operations, to focus primarily on reform and restructuring of local police forces in
addition to traditional advisory, training and monitoring tasks.
Although the Australian Federal Police (AFP) makes a relatively small contribution to some of the
more international theatres, such as Afghanistan (see Box 7 overleaf), it has the potential to share its
unique experience of working deeply and over a sustained period in the fragile region of the Pacific.
An AFP officer consulted in this study urged:
Yes we are civilians, but we are separate. We need to elevate the discussion to be included
in the CIV component, if its not possible to create a civil-military-POL configuration.
AFP officer, Canberra


Professor Raymond Apthorpe, Australian Senate Committee Hansard (5 September 2007), p.35
UN General Assembly (2000) Report of the Panel on UN Peacekeeping Operations (Brahimi Report), para. 118
Brahimi Report, para. 119
See descriptions of the AFPs International Deployment Group (IDG) and the police support to Papua New Guinea in Smart
Power. Braithwaite restorative justice?



AFP engagement in Afghanistan began in October 2007 with an initial deployment of four AFP Officers to provide
expertise in counter-narcotics and policy capacity development. By the end of 2008, the number of AFP deployed
had increased to 12. Additional AFP officers were added to the Afghanistan contingent in 2009 to mentor Afghan
and international training staff involved in rebuilding and retraining the Afghan National Police (ANP). They are
attached to ISAF-led training activities in Uruzgan Province and undertake other support activities where
Since 2009, the AFP has helped train more than 500 ANP officers in Uruzgan Province, and additional members
deployed in 2010 further helped with the development of the Provincial Training Centre in Tarin Kowt.
As well as police training and mentoring in Uruzgan, the AFP in Afghanistan have taken on an active role in
developing the capacity of the Afghan National Police and in reinforcing the rule of law through placements in
Kabul and Kandahar. The AFP has received funding of $32.1 million over two years to undertake this role.
Additionally, an AFP commander was appointed as Senior Police Advisor position to the United Nations
Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNA MA) in 2010. The advisor position involves the coordination of law
enforcement programs and activities on behalf of UNA MA in partnership with the ANP and the coalition law
enforcement bodies.
Source: In it for the Long Haul, page 8, drawing from official data on

This echoes other evidence-based papers and roundtable discussions comprising police contingents
that there should be an adjusted category that will help redress the issue of police exclusion from the
Guidelines process. This has not, however, taken effect. A senior civilian DPKO officer with direct
experience in past attempts to bring police more into the CIV-MIL discussion explained his viewpoint:
... in many respects, police are the missing element in everything never really
discussed or engaged with as a stakeholder like they should be. Its really civilians,
military, police those are the three pillars. But there just hasnt been as much of an
issue with the police. I mean, with civilians and military interacting, theres a clear problem
statement, and you need to stake out principles like humanitarian neutrality. But theres
no real issue around civilians and military working with police. This just wasnt a valueadded thing.
DPKO official, New York
More work needs to be done to evaluate the ways in which police involvement at the strategic and
operational levels of civil-military discussions, from the start of a mission, when it counts, will alter the
nature of a mission. Because military peacekeepers are frequently deployed prior to policing
contingents, but are neither trained nor equipped to handle civil unrest and law and order problems,
there certainly tends to be a deployment gap or security vacuum created. But how this would be
rectified through an enhancement of Guidelines is yet to be seen.
In Liberia, it was suggested that the police were deliberately excluded from the process of developing
the Guidelines because they were unarmed, and therefore not considered to be at an equal level with
the military. This is surprising given that the Guidelines marked the transition from the emergency to
the recovery phase of development, where police certainly play a key role. This continued exclusion
and prejudice raises serious doubts in the minds of both expeditionary police and aid workers that this
will change in the near future. If this issue remains unresolved, it may continue to affect the
Guidelines applicability, effectiveness, and ownership. Nowhere is this more apparent than in


Thompson, Principled Pragmatism, p.14; Roundtable discussion at AFP International Deployment Group NGO Forum:
Cooperation and Understanding (28 May 2009)


transition countries, where control of security is handed back over to the national government
security forces.
Reflecting today on the previous lack of deep participation of national police actors during the
development of the Afghanistan Guidelines, a former UN Civil-Military Liaison Officer suggests that a
wrong emphasis was placed on the international military contingents. Through a lack of involvement,
and dissemination of the Guidelines to Afghan National Police (ANP) over recent years, the ANP are
therefore less prepared than they could have been, had the process been managed differently.
Representation in the formulation of guidelines is therefore considered to be very important. From the
international perspective, a military, for example, must be represented by individuals who are
authorised to make decisions, which is not often the case with CIMIC personnel. On the humanitarian
side, the policy community tends to dominate the process to the exclusion of those at the operational
interface with military actors. There were no examples raised, for instance, of logisticians and supply
chain managers being included in any of the existing guidelines processes, despite their close
interface with security actors.
Overall, when considering best practices arising from the creation of the current Guidelines, the
majority view from the interview sample is that the principles that they enshrine, which aim to delineate
clear roles and safeguard humanitarian action, are welcomed by people in the field. In fact,
international civilian and military actors proposed that much of their culture clash could be addressed
by using the Guidelines as a framework to raise greater awareness of these principles, and encourage
dialogue. Due to the lack of awareness of the Guidelines themselves, however, it was difficult to
unravel their actual practical value on the ground.
(iii) Obstacles to uptake and dissemination
Overall, the existing Guidelines generated harsh criticism from field personnel. A common line was
that: All this stuff is a rehashed, rehash of a rehash, and nothings changing. The remarks about the
lack of utility are difficult to judge, however, when there is such little awareness of them in the first
place less than five per cent of 200 people interviewed were either aware of the Guidelines or had
used them in practice. More surprising was the lack of awareness among people with key
coordination functions, such as positions within NGO peak bodies and OCHA.
While this could be used as a defence of the Guidelines content, it also raises questions regarding the
perceived or actual need for them to guide interaction in the first place. In commercial parlance, how
can we refocus so that we start with the need rather than the product?
This problem is linked to the point in the previous section about people (a) not being inclined to read
documents, and (b) especially disinclined to read those that are perceived to lack operational
relevance in todays environment. To state the obvious, if people are unaware of the Guidelines, they
do not have a chance in being implemented.
Needless to say, then, the sound operational arrangements contained in the Guidelines have not been
adopted in the contexts under review; if this advice had been followed through, as intended, the
Guidelines may have added a lot more value to the present situations. Interviews undertaken among
practitioners in Haiti revealed that they believed there was no precedent for what they achieved in the
Joint Operations Tasking Centre (JOTC). The Liberia Guidelines, however, contain a flow chart which
is likely to have been useful in the Centres formation. Instead, those responsible for the allocation of
military assets thought that the Centre was created successfully out of a guidance vacuum.


Disconnect between HQ and the field

With the exception of Afghanistan and Sudan (for those in Khartoum), the general impression among
field personnel across all sites is that the present Guidelines have not been developed from the
ground-up, in a consultative process with the relevant stakeholders. One set of Guidelines that did
come from the field was developed by only one or two individuals, without the collective input of key
stakeholders. Figure 4 illustrates a representative sample of comments from inside one country
context. The third quotation is rather alarming, given that it belongs to the actual person responsible
for sharing the guidance with the humanitarian community in-country. This could point to a lack of
pre-deployment preparation, or a sign that HQ did not feel that the guidance was important enough to
disseminate onwards. It would go towards explaining why the UN CMCoord team did not finalise the
Guidelines in-country as a means to alleviate misunderstandings, as HQ stated would happen.



My first take on this guidance is that it was written from a distance. I mean, its pretty close to the mark,
but it all kind of rings a little hollow. Seems to be written by someone who had outside knowledge about
how [this country] works, and its not updated for today.


I think the Guidelines probably would have been useful had I seen them during the disaster. We
absolutely do need to refer to written guidance in our work. We need operational documents, easy to
read, easy to implement.


I dont recall seeing this guidance before, ever. You would have thought that HQ would have given it to
me, the on-the-ground CMCoord officer, but to my knowledge and my knowledge isnt perfect I never
got it. Its hard to know that theres guidance unless youre told that its out there.

Another concern with developing guidance from the capital is that the guidelines become overly
idealistic. Reflections from the South Sudan research revealed that the process of drawing up
guidelines may be useful at the Khartoum level for institutionalising a forum in which people have to
think about coordination. This process reportedly becomes self-defeating, however, because the
participants feel pressured into including a rosy picture, comprising idealistic assumptions about what
they would like to be in the Guidelines, rather than attempting to coordinate and plan for the reality in
which they will work.
Among INGOs and UN humanitarian agencies in Juba and Malakand, the interviews suggested that
the idea of CIV-MIL is linked directly to protection of civilians, and the need to advocate to UNMIS to
fulfil their protection mandate. While there have reportedly been issues of NGO harassment by SPLA,
these incidents tend to be hushed up by NGOs to maintain their presence, and by the UN because of
the CPA focus (INGO advocacy and policy officer, Juba). The association between CIV-MIL and
protection might go some way to explaining the lack of interest in and uptake of the Sudan Guidelines.
This experience also intimates that a better appreciation of the authors of the Guidelines may well
have led to a more relevant set of guidance for practitioners based there.
While the widespread perception of those interviewed was that value could only be added if the
process for developing guidance is directed by those who must then implement it, there is an
alternative argument for having robust engagement from HQ particularly from policy makers who
have had operational experience or exposure to similar contexts. Furthermore, the experience of an
author can sometimes be painful due to the level of consultation required, and type of comments that
are often received, often drawing out the approval process. A UN CMCoord officer in one context sent
the following group email to involved parties:
Please note that a large number of different stakeholders have now commented on
virtually each and every paragraph / sentence, at times even requesting / suggesting the
opposite from what the previous comment from somebody else did. Therefore I would
request addressees not to bother too much with minor / linguistic details or to request the


(re-)inclusion of something that had just been dropped but rather to verify / confirm that
the present draft now addresses all of their major concerns / reflects the principles that
they are operating under, even if at times they might have wished for a slightly different
sentence / phrase. But if you do see something completely wrong / missing then by all
means please do let me know.
UN CMCoord officer, email exchange
In the Afghanistan case, many versions of the Guidelines were produced until they were finally
approved four years later. One of the original authors within UNAMA claims that, once I left in 2004,
we were onto Draft 12, two years after the process began. By the time the Guidelines were
published in 2008, the substance had barely changed, and there was very similar wording.
Role of OCHA
The majority of NGO workers interviewed for the study expressed an expectation that OCHA should
be the place to turn to provide strategic guidance and coordination through the cluster system, and its
other coordination functions, such as CMCoord. An even greater number of interviewees criticised
OCHA for failing to act as a facilitator of, and forum for, much-needed discussion on civil-military
issues. The strategic value of OCHA was succinctly referred to by one interviewee as day late, dime
short. In a meeting of two people working within the OCHA CMCoord team in one context, the
following remark was made:
We should have had a humanitarian country team (HCT) laying down priorities from above,
which the [coordination cell] would enact. Instead, it was down to individuals, individual
initiative, people with their own ideas on the spot. Id say they got it about 80 per cent
correct, but there wasnt that strategic direction. So for anything to work in the future, we
need a new HCT. And we would need the HC to have a deputy, because right now that
position is too much responsibility for one person.
OCHAs perceived ineffectiveness across almost all of the sites was attributed to poor and
inconsistent leadership, and inadequate resourcing each influencing directly the lack of uptake of
civil-military guidance. In particular, aid workers identified the high turn-over rate of OCHA personnel
(in some areas, four heads of office in two years) as a huge hindrance to OCHAs ability to provide
strategic guidance or leadership on civil-military coordination. Despite some optimism expressed
about new leadership in several country contexts, OCHAs ability to deepen engagement between the
civilian and military communities continues to be limited by a lack of capacity and personnel. Key
offices, such as in South and North Kivu of the DRC, for example, have never had a dedicated
CMCoord position, while most employees at OCHA have reportedly received very little, if any, specific
civil-military training. The profile of CMCoord officers was also identified as a barrier for humanitarians
outside the UN system to provide a coordination role. The pool of CMCoord candidates seems to be
biased towards people with a military background, which leads to a perceived favouritism towards the
military in-theatre. This is regretful given the potential of this role providing a necessary bridge
between policy-makers at HQ and implementing agencies in the field.
Despite the need for CIV-MIL support to the humanitarian sector, interviews with OCHA employees
affirmed that, given resource constraints and competing priorities, civil-military coordination is simply
not seen as a vital area on which to focus.
Many interviewees emphasised the need for greater realism about the politics at play in the civilmilitary realm. Politics within the humanitarian system itself can create obstacles to the uptake of
Guidelines. In particular, in-fighting between the humanitarian agencies inside the UN family creates


huge difficulties for the INGOs. The latter tend to wish for OCHA to lead, but OCHA is often
preoccupied with what other major players within the UN think.
CIV-MIL is about politics, not just technical issues.
Head of Civil Affairs, UN mission
In light of the tendency for civil-military issues to be treated in a technical sense, this comment from a
senior UN practitioner acted as a simple but powerful reminder of the types of obstacles to uptake and
dissemination of Guidelines that may well fall outside the control of operational staff. On the surface,
it seems that there are two agendas represented in the civil-military relationship the humanitarian,
driven by needs, and the military, which is driven by politics. A senior Australian public servant
highlighted, however, that the reality is quite different international donors are motivated by their
national interests, so politics will always prevail, even in decisions to allocate humanitarian support in
an emergency.
A similar principle applies in the deployment of multi-national military deployments. Afghanistan
presents the clearest current example of where a coalition of the willing does not necessarily
translate to a coherent political or humanitarian mission. This dynamic goes some way to explaining
why, despite a Fragmentary Order (FRAGO) being issued by the ISAF commander in Afghanistan in
2008, immediately following the joint approval of the civil-military Guidelines, there is an incredibly low
awareness of them still today and even questions among some about whether they were ever
approved. Militaries use FRAGOs to alert subordinate and supporting commanders to modifications
of existing orders, while providing notification to higher and adjacent commands. In effect, these
orders are the most up-to-date command to troops on how they should be doing business. But in
Afghanistan, these do not necessarily influence behaviour on the ground. An experienced contractor
in Afghanistan provided his explanation for why this is the case:
There are 52 Generals here, all reporting to Ambassadorial masters. This political aspect
of NATO seriously hampers the ability for FRAGOs to have effect. I dont think the dynamic
has ever been like this in any other theatre.
US contractor
When asked why it extended over a three-year period, one of the main facilitators of the Afghanistan
Guidelines drafting process replied that egos, changeover of personnel, and national caveats were
the main obstacles to earlier uptake. To a lesser extent, but equally instructive, was the question of
bilateral military support in the Haiti earthquake response. UN logisticians and policy-makers in Portau-Prince interviewed for the study complained that the bilaterals show up every time theres an
emergency, and do not fit within our framework. We cant stop them from coming, and we need their
capacity but they cant continue to sit outside our way of doing things here. But even within the UN
mission there appears to be evidence of a difference of approach between contingents. For example,
despite the overwhelmingly positive portrayal of the Joint Operations and Tasking Centre (JOTC),
stood up as a mechanism for streamlining the disparate asset requests, the research uncovered many
ad hoc arrangements through which INGOs have been working with various forces, particularly in the
early periods of the earthquake response. One INGO claimed that, if need be, we use discrete
means of requesting things, and for coordination not the JOTC. WFP seemed well-aware of the
alternative channels of coordination outside the JOTC:
You know, a lot of coordination stuff goes on outside JOTC and U9. The contingents do
their own CIMIC all the time NGOs going straight to the Brazilians to get help with water
distributions, school ground leveling, whatever. All the contingents do it. Its not coordinated.
Often, its the contingents own government funds the Guatemalans built a school with their
own funds, in their own area of operation, for example.
WFP logistics cluster


UN troops and those in key coordination positions also emphasised their dilemma in terms of host
nation politics and support:
Were [MINUSTAH/UN] here because of low government capacity to respond, but yes we
want to promote a government-led process. But the government wants to be seen as
stronger than it is right now it has stepped in in an ad hoc way, with a minister here, a
minister there, dozens of people. Its taken a long time to sort that out.
Chief, JOTC
In a different sense, host nation politics appear to have played a significant role in the lack of interest
among humanitarians in the DRC Guidelines. As mentioned previously, the DRC Guidelines do not
cover the national armed forces, police or irregular armed groups. While a number of interview
participants cited this as one of the main shortfalls simply because the Guidelines do not have
relevance for one of the main CIV-MIL interfaces in the country, others suggested that the problem
rests more with the lack of illumination of the politics surrounding the UN missions relationship with
the host nation.
As way of background, since the Guidelines were published in 2006, conflict has persisted in the
eastern provinces of DRC with various peaks in the violence, causing major internal displacement and
humanitarian need.
Within this context of continued instability, several conflict and policy
developments significantly impacted civil-military relations over the ensuing five years, and gave rise
to new institutional arrangements that have led to confusion over where exactly UN agencies are
situated within the humanitarian landscape. The development of the Guidelines, for example, was
concurrent with the introduction of the integrated mission concept, in which the various agencies
operating in the DRC were placed under the one UN umbrella and the direction of the RC/HC.
The political rather than humanitarian mandate of the UN mission was later reinforced during the
joint military operations of 2009-2011. The rapprochement between the Governments of Rwanda and
DRC, and the integration of the CNDP into the national armed forces of the DRC (FARDC), prompted
a series of offensive military operations aimed at routing out the Forces Dmocratiques pour la
Libration de Rwanda (FDLR), a 6,000-strong armed group some of whose members were implicated
in the 1994 Rwandan genocide. MONUC provided significant material, logistical, and operational
support to the FARDC during these operations despite the reports of widespread FARDC abuses
against civilians.
MONUCs decision to provide such support led to an outcry: civil society protested and in places like
Lubero called for the UNs withdrawal; NGOs issued petition letters; and the ICRC released an
unprecedented statement categorising MONUC as party to the conflict, thereby eroding the UN
missions status as a neutral party protected under international humanitarian law. MONUCs
involvement in the operations, particularly Kimia II, had a palpable impact on the relationship between
humanitarians and the peacekeeping force, and greatly compromised civil-military coordination.
MONUC was asked to step down as Protection Cluster co-lead, OCHA withdrew from the Provincial
Inter-agency Committee (CPIA), and humanitarians became much more reluctant to engage with the
UN for fear of being perceived as partial at a time when security deteriorated and access was more
In 2010, the mission adopted a conditionality policy under which support became contingent on joint
planning and the FARDCs respect for IHL. This policy change has done much to restore relations
between humanitarians and the UN. Unfortunately, however, the conditionality policy has in practice
proved largely unenforceable given the disorganisation and lack of accountability within the FARDC,

Three sets of operations have taken place: Umoja Wetu, January February 2009; Kimia II, March December 2009; and
Amani Leo, January 2010 - present.


and politics within the Government. Despite its international posturing, the last five years have
revealed that the state leadership is more interested in preserving and strengthening its own power
than in democratic and equitable peace building for the benefit of the countrys population hence its
persistent intransigence on meaningful security sector reform in the presence of largely untrained
national forces that commit widespread human rights abuses. As a former senior UN official
We assumed in 2006 that it is a question of little capacity but lots of goodwill. We were
wrong there was little capacity and little goodwill.
UN civilian, DRC
The ongoing relationship between MONUSCO and the FARDC does not sit well with many
humanitarian organisations and continues to inform the level and type of engagement they are willing
to have with peacekeepers. A lack of clarity on the surrounding politics seems likely to have further
blocked the uptake of the Guidelines in their present form.
In the case of Pakistan, the Guidelines are yet to receive formal recognition by the Government of
Pakistan a major partner or subject of the Guidelines. Without their endorsement, the Guidelines
remain only a statement of agreement among humanitarian agencies. This is still useful, particularly
in a country which experiences such extreme cases of disaster and insurgency in the same areas.
For the Guidelines to be taken up and have their full effect, however, the Government will need to
recognise them.
From the donor side, possibly the most important politics to present an obstacle to uptake and
dissemination of several existing Guidelines revolve around the US Government. An aid worker, who
is also a US military reserve officer, reflected on her time at SOUTHCOM during the Haiti earthquake
response and concluded: US political agendas in practice trumped adherence to guidance. In actual
fact, the Guidance Note that was issued from HQ at the time promoted the active involvement of the
US military in direct humanitarian assistance. Reflecting on this, a senior logistics manager identified
a political purpose for the Guidelines:
If this document was written to give reassurance to dogmatic or wavering humanitarian
organisations ... on why and how US military capacities should be incorporated into
humanitarian relief operations ... I guess it generally achieved its purpose.
UN Chief, Haiti
Nowhere is the politics of the US Government more apparent than in Afghanistan, which has
experienced almost 10 years of an international military presence. As shown in Chart 2, US troop
numbers reached 90,000 in July 2011, which in comparison to the less than 10,000 troops from the
next largest troop contributing country (TCC), demonstrates how large the US footprint has been on
the ground. Due to its disproportionately large contribution to Afghanistan, the attitudes, behaviours
and policies of the US military are crucially important to the CIV-MIL interface in the country.
Roughly 7,000 US Special Forces are counted in the overall numbers of personnel in Afghanistan.
During the announcement of the upcoming draw-down of up to 30,000 conventional US troops,
President Obama is reported to have pledged a mini-surge of Navy Seals, Army Green Beret
Rangers, and other special units being drafted from across the world, to ensure that there is enough
combat power to expand covert raids. This is a direct consequence of the political imperative to bring
significant amounts of troops back to America over the next 15 months.






2.9 2.6

United States


United Kingdom



As a backdrop to these developments, ongoing attempts are being made to reinforce the distinction
between humanitarian and military activities. For example, after years of lobbying from the
humanitarian community, ISAF recently approved a number of Standard Operating Procedures
(SOPs) to guide military decision-making on where to conduct development and reconstruction
activities. The SOPs now oblige forces to consult with the Afghan Government and share plans with
the aid community before decisions are taken that potentially blur the CIV-MIL distinction US forces,
however, remain exempt. It is unclear whether this is because of a conscientious objection to the new
SOPs which reinforce key aspects of the Guidelines, or rather a result of the necessary preoccupation
with other tasks in the drawdown.
Linking of aid and stability
Another obstacle to emerge in the uptake and dissemination of Guidelines is the stabilisation agenda
of integrated missions in the UN and whole-of-government Western government interventions. A
UN mission such as MONUSCO in DRC focuses on stabilisation, with a view to an eventual
drawdown of the peacekeeping presence. Some interviewees argue that this has confused priorities,
blurred the lines between development and assistance programming, and entrenched the UNs partial
position towards the state.
In Afghanistan, during the summer of 2002, there was a recognised need to accelerate simultaneously
both security and reconstruction efforts in order to effect a smooth transition from the conflict. The
notion was that a peacekeeping force should be created to spread the ISAF effect, even if ISAF itself
continued to be restricted to Kabul and its surrounding area. This led to the creation of a Joint
Regional Team (JRT) concept, instigated by US Central Command (CENTCOM). The JRTs evolved
into the current Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) that combine the use of military and civilian
assets from various governmental agencies, including diplomats and specialists in economic
development. The mission of the PRTs is to:

promote and enhance security;

extend the reach of the Afghan central government; and
facilitate humanitarian relief and reconstruction operations.


See Stapleton, Barbara (2003) A BAAG Briefing Paper on the Development of Joint Regional Teams in Afghanistan, BAAG


In the agreed policy note cited earlier in Chapter 1, PRTs must not be used for the purpose of political
gain, relationship-building, or winning hearts and minds. In practice, however, it is well understood
that the projects are just that aimed to win local trust and favour.
Western donor strategies that increasingly couple their aid programming with political and military
strategic and operational objectives are most visible in their aid allocations to countries such as
Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq. For example, Chart 3 shows that the breakdown of Australian official
development assistance (ODA)-eligible expenditure in Afghanistan has been fairly evenly divided
between AusAID and the Department of Defence over recent years, and actually biased towards
Defence in 2008-9.

2007-08 actual

2008-09 actual
2009-10 estimate






E, E & WR

The OECD DAC defines ODA as having the promotion of economic development and welfare of
developing countries as its main objective, while additional costs incurred for the use of a donors
military forces to deliver humanitarian aid or perform development services are ODA-eligible.
These donor strategies have translated to a very blurred divide between traditional aid and military
activities on the ground, particularly through the large USAID-funded projects. A controversial
programme that has resulted from this evolution in strategy is the Food Insecurity Response for Urban
Populations (FIRUP) programme. With the explicit aim of supporting the overarching COIN strategy,
FIRUP is to promote:
... stability through temporary employment and income generation in targeted populations
to reduce the number of food-insecure and/or unemployed Afghans joining the
insurgency. Project activities are implemented in close coordination with coalition forces
engaged in clearing operations, or in advance of clearing operations to pave the way for a
smooth transition. Key provinces are located in the South and East, as well as those in
the North and West considered ready for the transition from hold to build. The focus in
the South and East (clear to hold phase) is on quick impact programs that provide
short-term livelihood opportunities in support of broader stabilization efforts.
USAID Afghanistan
USAID contracts for FIRUP and other programmes demand that aid organisations demonstrate
programmatic flexibility to implement post-battlefield cleanup operations, including work with
communities in the aftermath of a battle, and alongside PRT officials, while communicating to the

OECD-DAC Is it ODA?, available at <>

March 2009 - September 2010, available at


general public a US Government story regarding alternative development. This is part of the broader
whole-of-government strategy to fight the insurgency and reduce poverty.

An Acting USAID Mission Director in Afghanistan explains the direct and clear role for USAID in the
shape phase of the US militarys COIN strategy in a presentation detailing AIDs involvement in civilmilitary stability planning and the prepositioning of assets (see Figure 5 above). By linking its
implementing partners, such as INGOs, with the US Governments political and military objectives,
USAID is directly challenging the principle of independence of humanitarian action enshrined in IHL,
and agreed in the Afghanistan Guidelines.
From the US military perspective, commanders are actually instructed in the US Army/Marine Corps
Counterinsurgency Field Manual FM 3-24 that counter-insurgency is armed social work. A new
acronym MAAWS also entered the formal US Army lexicon in 2009, to describe a commanders
use of Money as a Weapons System. For some time, it has thus been considered appropriate for
troop commanders to commission humanitarian and reconstruction projects to foster greater
stability. Small-scale projects are deemed to fall under a USD 500,000 ceiling, and there has been
considerable downward pressure on soldiers to spend funds fast.
In 2007, then US Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates explained the purpose of funds dedicated by
the Commanders Emergency Response Programme (CERP) to Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) in Iraq
and Afghanistan:
... a relatively small piece of the war-related budgets $456 million in the FY 2007
Supplemental, and $977 million in the FY 2008 GWOT Request. But because they can
be dispensed quickly and applied directly to local needs, they have had a tremendous
impact far beyond the dollar value on the ability of our troops to succeed in Iraq and

See InterAction (2011) The US Military's Expanding Role in Foreign Assistance, (Washington DC: InterAction, January) with
reference to the US militarys expanding role in the delivery of foreign assistance.


Afghanistan. By building trust and confidence in Coalition forces, these CERP projects
increase the flow of intelligence to commanders in the field and help turn local Iraqis and
Afghans against insurgents and terrorists.
The result is a WHAMS strategy, which directly contradicts the agreed positions that informed the
current Afghanistan Guidelines. Despite the fact that major donors do now appear to be listening to
research which challenges the assumption that aid brings stability, the damage may have already
been done through the blurring of lines over an 8 to 10 year period. The point to draw from this is
that, while Guidelines can be useful for the humanitarian community in helping to underscore
commitments to IHL etc, it is not in the interests of militaries, governments or PK operations to support
these principles and uphold non-binding obligations if their tactical strategies are directly contradictory.
They will therefore either avoid investment in the civil-military processes that bring greater
accountability to these commitments, or actively block their progress. The answer to how this practice
is allowed to continue is linked to the next obstacle perceived self-sufficiency due to size of an
Perceived self-sufficiency
As mentioned above, a surfeit of funds, and pressure to spend money fast, can lead to distorted
priorities that lead to poor aid effectiveness. The research found that the size of an organisation can
also distort priorities at the expense of genuine collaboration. A number of aid organisations in the
study referred to their size and capabilities, implying that they are large enough to advocate their own
interests, protect their staff, arrange evacuation and leverage relationships with the government and
other stakeholders, without resorting to participating in demanding coordination efforts and subscribing
to Guidelines. Ironically these are the very organisations that offer the greatest potential value and
harm in the civil-military space.
Competition for funding among humanitarian agencies, in light of pressures on resources, can also
lead to a lack of collaboration around strategic issues such as civil-military coordination. Two INGO
directors commented that funding independence in other words, a lack of reliance on particular
donors allows an NGO more freedom to take a more principled stance on CIV-MIL issues. The
larger budget of MSF in Haiti during the response was used as an example:
MSF is more an organisation with a strong independent identity. But this is tied up in
funding: MSF has 80 million Euros for Haiti, we have 6 million. They do an excellent job,
of course really, really good. But they have the freedom to do what they like in a more
principled way [due to their financial resources].
INGO director, Port-au-Prince
Issues relating to both size and funding therefore skew the way priorities are set, and block the uptake
and interest in disseminating CIV-MIL Guidelines.


Posture Statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Testimony As Submitted By US Secretary of Defense Robert
M. Gates (Washington, DC, 6 February 2007), available at <>
Recent research has shown that a surfeit of funds or sources, such as with CERP, can cause pressure to spend money and
distort priorities. In reality, there has been little transparency and accountability for the use of this money in Afghanistan, and
the effectiveness of military-led aid efforts in contributing to the COIN strategy has recently been challenged through a number
of high-profiled statements and reports. One US soldier recalls spending USD8 million of development funds during his oneyear deployment to Afghanistan, only to have his investment in local governance nullified by his successor, who wanted to do
things differently. For a summary of the latest thinking on the counterproductive link between aid and stability, see the Wilton
Park Conference Report Thompson, Edwina (2010) Winning Hearts and Minds in Afghanistan: Assessing the effectiveness of
development aid in COIN operations, Wilton Park Conference 1022 (March); Gordon, Stuart (2011) Winning Hearts and
Minds? Examining the Relationship between Aid and Security in Afghanistans Helmand Province, (April).
US Congress, Committee on Foreign Relations (2011) Evaluating US Foreign Assistance to Afghanistan (8 June); see also
an earlier US Congress review of PRTs, which demonstrates their short-sightedness. US House of Representatives Committee
on Armed Services, Sub-Committee on Oversight and Investigations, Agency Stovepipes versus Strategic Agility, April 2008.


Rotation cycles and talent retention

Short rotations and talent retention were cited as key obstacles to the uptake of the Guidelines across
every context. In the DRC, several senior officials spoke of the difficulty in attracting skilled
humanitarians to the country due to the francophone environment and the complexity of the conflict. It
was also noted that the francophone humanitarian community is culturally less inclined to engage with
the military, adopting a more isolationist, and less reflective, approach to CIV-MIL issues than the
Anglophone community. In the UN peacekeeping missions under review, a high turnover of
humanitarian staff and the short duration of deployments were cited as factors that lead to weak
institutional memory and contextual knowledge two factors that were stressed as critical to an
appreciation for civil-military sensitivities, and the need for guidance.
An ICRC delegate in Afghanistan explained the immense challenge of raising awareness, and
disseminating guidance on humanitarian principles in complex theatres, where rotations are frequent,
and the size of the force is immense:
The ICRC endeavours to build a dialogue with all parties to a conflict. This is for our
acceptance, access to victims, carrying out our humanitarian actions to meet most urgent
needs where we can, and for our own security. We do so in a very deliberate fashion by
trying to identify, to establish and to sustain personal contact with selected people who
have the ability to influence the humanitarian situation on the ground. ... Of course, our
dialogue with a global actor such as the US Military is daunting and there are no magical
solutions. We just have to keep at it in a slow and persistent fashion. We have made
some steady progress in our dialogue ... but have some way to go when you consider all
Training and Education institutions, Combatant Commands, Combat Training Centres,
etc and I am only talking about the US Army. We try to maintain coherence and
continuity in our messaging in all phases of military operations from Pre-Deployment,
Employment and Post-Deployment activities, and so the circle continues.
ICRC Armed Security and Forces Delegate, Kabul
As this delegate rightly points out, to have proper effect, training needs to have continuity, and occur
before military personnel deploy. Indeed, many of the interview participants commented that the
sections on training in the Guidelines are only useful if they are taken into account by military and
humanitarian communities prior to deployment. It is too late to tell people that they should have
undertaken certain training if it is not available in theatre. Alternatively, when it is available, it was
suggested that this section would provide people with a very useful guide on what is on offer there
would just need to be accessible platforms for disseminating this information to all parties.
In terms of engagement with the US military, coverage of the full force has undoubtedly been
impossible for humanitarians over recent years. A recent development, however, has taken place
which may provide further opportunities to target a more substantial section of the US armed forces
command structure, and disseminate or even diffuse elements of the Afghanistan Guidelines among
the contingents to avoid repetition of past mistakes in the CIV-MIL space. In November 2010, the US
Secretary of Defense approved nine Coin Qualification Standards (CQS), with the aim of providing a
better focus for units on priority areas in preparation for deployment to Afghanistan. According to the
former Director of the US Armys COIN Centre, the most innovative of the CQS is Task 7 Create
Conditions for Stability. Core to this task is the clear centrality of the CIV-MIL interface at the ground
level, which is an area that aid organisations can provide real value to education and training
initiatives. From mid-2011, the US Army/US Marine Corps COIN Centre at Fort Leavenworth will host
intensive training over a week-long period prior to each battalions deployment to Afghanistan. This is
the first time that every battalion will be exposed to the same training institution, even if for a short
period of time, before deployment to Afghanistan.


If such a high number of commanders can be reached in one training session, the exposure to
humanitarians with experience in Afghanistan may help the US armed forces to understand better the
sensitivities of civil-military engagement on the ground, and why for example humanitarians find it
difficult to follow the guidance found in the Liaison and Coordination Arrangements section of the
Afghanistan Guidelines, which stipulates that: Given military hierarchy, humanitarian actors should
ensure that all communication and humanitarian advocacy is directed to the appropriate authorities
within the chain of command. Humanitarians on the ground ask:
But what is the chain of command? How do we find those people? And how can we be
assured that they are aware of who we are, what we do, and why we cant do cooperate
in certain ways?
Humanitarian actor in Afghanistan
On an individual basis, there is a positive case of the US Army reaching out to the INGOs over a more
sustained period. The NGO/International Organizations Liaison officer at the NATO Training MissionAfghanistan/CSTC-A was offered a 6-month posting, but only accepted on the basis that it would be
extended to a 3-year post in recognition of the need to allocate appropriate time for building an
understanding of the context, along with relationships with the aid community. Unfortunately,
however, this has not led to a significant change in the state of affairs because fatigue has already set
in among aid workers, who are now slow to respond to such outreach. In the words of several people
interviewed for the study in Afghanistan, the train has well and truly left the station.
Propensity to learn lessons
Although every policy and research document seems to underscore the importance of learning
lessons, they continue not to be learned. Aid organisations are especially singled-out as disinclined to
learn, despite the many evaluations that take place in the sector. What is perhaps new from the
interviews is an alternative perspective about military personnel having their own issues in relation to
receiving and retaining information:
Does the military retain information and guidance better than civilians? Maybe. Maybe. I
mean, yes, they have a vertical hierarchy and a culture based on SOPs. But remember:
militaries get rid of info, too. They lose the programming. Sometimes it just gets cleaned
off the hard-drive, or doesnt get handed over for whatever reason to the next rotation.
Project Officer, EJOC, Office of the Chief of Staff, MINUSTAH
An interview with an official within the DPKO Best Practices Section also challenged the assumption
that security forces are more inclined to read and absorb guidance:
Now, the first thing I have to say on this is, there is I think I can say with confidence
universally a very low awareness of doctrine in general within the UN system. Theres just
not a culture of doctrine at the UN thats strongly the case at DPKO. Theres certainly
no corporate sense of doctrine, of guidelines. And of course, getting that willingness to
actually read, and implement that doctrine, is the hardest part.
Team Leader, Guidance Team, DPKO Best Practices Section
The researchs investigation into the low adoption and awareness of the Afghanistan Guidelines also
suggests that lost memory, troop rotations, and lack of interest in written guidance are partly to blame.
In addition, despite a strong consultation process in-country that extended over several years and
involved US troops from the combatant commands and contributions to ISAF, a parallel process was
set in place stateside, in Washington D.C., spearheaded by the US peak body of INGOs, InterAction.
Negotiations resulted in the production of a separate set of Guidelines for relations between US
Armed Forces and Non-Governmental Humanitarian Organizations in Hostile or Potentially Hostile


Environments. When asked why there was such little awareness of the Afghanistan Guidelines
among US troops on the ground, and more attention invested at the HQ-level in the InterAction
Guidelines following the approval of the former, a Colonel working with OSD Policy in the US
Department of Defense surmised:
There has been a complete turnover of personnel in Afghanistan since the FRAGO was
issued regarding the joint country Guidelines. The problem is that a command reaches a
certain level of usefulness and appreciation of what went before them, and then an
entirely new crop of people arrives. The process is undone, and information is not
retained in the system.
US Colonel, US Department of Defense
An INGO advocacy advisor in Kabul suggested that the confusion around these two sets of guidelines
has created a non-debate and duplication of effort with little positive effect. In a cynical fashion, she
suggested that it is almost as though people wake up in the morning and ask, Between the ACBAR
Guidelines and the InterAction Guidelines, which are we going to choose to do nothing about
Poor representation of the aid community by peak bodies is also a part of the problem. The relevant
person at InterAction claims in this case that:
No one was talking about it. In theory, our NGOs were supposed to be bringing this to
light. And those reps werent talking to their field. Not surprising really when I worked
with [a major US INGO], for seven years, we never knew we were even part of
A seasoned humanitarian worker interviewed for the study put this down to bad habits that people
can develop in reaction to the demand for wide consultation in a very crowded sector. As mentioned
at the start of this section, a further issue to emerge is that it tends to be policy personnel who author
guidance, and they are perceived to be writing from a distance, whether it be from Kabul or
Khartoum, rather than Jalalabad or Juba. On the ground, the dynamics of a large-scale disaster or
complex emergency, in which the implementing aid workers find themselves, can create a polarising
effect, with some humanitarian workers electing to focus on practical tasks that at times translate to a
transactional attitude towards military, and others taking an extreme principled stance of avoiding
engagement altogether. Few lessons are shared between the two communities.
Instead, entrenched (and sometimes ineffective, or unprincipled) ways of operating persist. The
management of aid worker security in Somalia provides a good context from which to draw this
lesson. Somalia has no formal civil-military guidance, despite presenting a situation in which all
humanitarian agencies are using private militia groups for protection. This practice has continued for
over 16 years. While for good reason this context has been seen to present a clear situation of last
resort, there has been a lack of questioning of past practice and evaluations of what inadvertent harm
this prolonged use of local armed assets could have produced in the context.
In the UN system, humanitarian agencies operating inside integrated missions criticise what they
perceive as their diminished access to insecure or contested areas and the whittling away of
humanitarian principles, due to the requirements on them to abide by certain SOPs on security and
escorts. According to UNDSS, roughly 94 per cent of North and South Kivu in DRC is off-limit without
UN escort. In other contexts, some INGOs continue to default to military support when in fact there
are other equally viable civilian alternatives. IRCs former director of its rapid response team in South
Kivu lamented:


CIV-MIL thinking often underestimates what humanitarians can do on their own. We

reached the farthest areas of the province without escorts.
Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, Ottawa
There is some hope, however, that more dedicated reflection and action will be taking place on the
issue of armed escorts given the recent interest in reviewing escort procedures, and explorations into
the potential for integrating the existing international guidance on armed escorts into more practical
tools for people to use on the ground.
By way of conclusion to this chapter, it is helpful to recall that the methodology followed in the
research covered the content of the Guidelines through semi-structured interviews aimed at prompting
people without prior knowledge of the Guidelines to engage with the subject matter. This approach
revealed that there are no gaps in the current content. The research also highlighted that the
suggested operational arrangements contained in the Guidelines are perceived to be sound, but
difficult to follow without dedicated resources, and in light of the various constraints on the ground.
Questions therefore remain as to how awareness and adoption could be increased.


OCHA Discussion Paper and Non-Binding Guidelines on the Use of Military or Armed Escorts for Humanitarian Convoys
(September 2001)


International military and humanitarian assistance providers can expect to find themselves sharing the
same space in complex environments from conflict to protracted transitions out of conflict in the
years ahead. While combat operations impose great obstacles to humanitarian access, the global war
on terror and reach of the US military, plus the scale and regularity of natural disasters, has made the
search for open dialogue and constructive relationships an urgent requirement. For this to succeed, it
will be essential to promote a greater understanding of, and sensitivity to, the operational norms and
imperatives of humanitarian relief and reconstruction providers among military commanders and
vice versa.
The present study made one matter amply clear that it is people, rather than organisations, who
engage in civil-military relations. At every level, then, the success of civil-military engagement will be
a function of how individuals relate and represent their respective organisational aims and objectives
to one another. Field practitioners under enormous pressure particularly need and warrant support,
which at the civil-military interface must include relevant guidance on how to conduct such
relationships between people of different cultures, mandates and expectations. Leaders in both the
civilian and military camps also require more support, for strong personal leadership is ultimately the
critical determinant of constructive civil-military relations. One strong example of leadership stands
out in the research in stark contrast to his counterpart in the neighbouring area of operation, the
openness, energy and practical problem-solving ability of one Pakistani brigade commander led to a
successful break-down of barriers and innovation on shared humanitarian-military concerns namely,
that of protecting civilians from imminent harm.
Training initiatives and workshops have the most promise in bringing this guidance to life, so it is
important to involve the most proactive and influential participants from both sides to engage and
practise together in-mission how to apply the discipline to specific issues that arise at the civil-military
interface. Repeating this experience in real life situations will reinforce the benefits, embed the
process, and build mutual understanding and respect.
A refined training process may reveal that the main benefit of existing country Guidelines is their
inherent beacon that focuses attention on the twin principles in civil-military engagement distinction
and interdependence. These principles are likely to be held in tension across most mission contexts
for the foreseeable future. Due to the simple but clear message that is conveyed through these
principles, and the fluidity of situations on the ground which can quickly outpace the speed with which
country Guidelines are able to be amended, it is likely that the generic civil-military guidelines will
emerge as a more important doctrine to disseminate.
The research concludes on the note that each main party currently represented in the Guidelines
namely, foreign militaries and humanitarian actors should view the other through the lens of the local
community, whose perspective of each side is the main motivation for creating civil-military guidance
in the first place. Aid agencies seek local acceptance of their activities, as a form of self-protection,
while military forces seek the hearts and minds of local people to help forge stability in conflictaffected environments. While there is still more that needs to be done to understand local perceptions
of the civil-military interface, any changes to existing Guidelines should ultimately be determined by a
greater involvement of the local community.


Recommendations and future directions

The research has shown that, although the intent and principles of the Guidelines are welcomed, there
are various inherent limitations and obstacles to overcome before they influence practice. Some are
particularly difficult to address, such as politics, government doctrine and talent retention; others,
however, present opportunities for potential improvement.
The recommendations and possible future directions in this report concentrate on those issues that
are possible to tackle in the next five years. The report considers that these will either make an
immediate impact on the operational environment of the country contexts under review, or should be
considered as part of a longer term strategy for the international community. The recommendations
fall into three main areas for change: (1) increasing adoption of civil-military guidance; (2) improving
representation of key stakeholders; (3) strengthening civil-military coordination in the field; (4)
building and sustaining institutional memory. They are targeted at three main policy audiences
the United Nations, the Australian Government, and the wider humanitarian community.


Raise awareness and adapt the format of existing guidance.

Because written lists of guidelines have not been widely adopted in practice, this report
concludes that they should be refocused to incorporate an interactive training element,
enabled by todays available technologies. During this process, the opportunity should be
taken to carry out some limited rehashing and even shredding where the benefits of
reverting to generic Guidelines outweigh the attraction of having time-limited country-specific
At a global and regional level, knowledge and awareness of generic civil-military guidance
(e.g. the Oslo and MCDA Guidelines, IASC Reference Paper, SCHR Position Paper, OCHA
Discussion Paper on Armed Escorts) must also be raised, in conjunction with increased
support at an operational level for linked training initiatives and workshops in-country that help
raise awareness of the most useful guidance for each context.
Peoples widespread lack of awareness of the existing international guidance on armed
escorts is evidence that this needs to be presented in a more practical format. The Australian
Government could use the opportunity to leverage its strengthened engagement in Africa by
supporting a specific review process of the civil-military situation and the use of private armed
escorts for protection in Somalia. There have never been country civil-military guidelines in
Somalia, the context presenting a situation in which all humanitarian agencies are using
private militia groups for protection. This practice has existed for over 16 years, and there is
no known effort to take stock of the inadvertent consequences.

Prioritise investment in the provision of training and outreach education.

Pre-deployment training for expeditionary military forces should focus more on the mission
context, including an actor mapping process, and involve a wider selection of civilian
practitioners. Greater civilian involvement, in turn, requires an increased commitment of
resources. For UN forces, a particular investment in protection of civilians and gender training
prior to deployment was seen to be vital in ensuring that peacekeeping personnel understand
and are committed to their role.

Training must be offered on an ongoing basis, with refreshers and overviews provided not
only at induction, but for the duration of military tours. ICRC pre-deployment briefs delivered
to military contingents on humanitarian principles before they head to the field are important,
but they require something in situ to help bring those principles to life.


OCHA could develop information leaflets that explain the mandates and the various
components of the international community in a country context, including a flow chart and
whos who documents. For complex UN mission contexts, this outreach education is seen
to be particularly important where the political, military and humanitarian components of a
mission are sometimes difficult to differentiate.
Given the size of the US footprint, the humanitarian community, through ICRC or peak bodies
and coalitions such as InterAction, should identify key entry points to US military and
government civilian personnel who are deployable to complex environments, and leverage the
best opportunities to gain the best coverage. Possible examples include the formal predeployment Personnel and Readiness course that is run by the Office of the Secretary of
Defense, and the US militarys roll-out of the CQS, hosted by the US Army/US Marine Corps
COIN Centre at Fort Leavenworth, which includes week-long training sessions for each
battalions deployment to Afghanistan.

While many of the INGO representatives emphasised the need to train military personnel on
humanitarian principles, it was also highlighted that training for NGOs is critical, and not just
for those in charge of security. As an interim measure, there is immediate scope to
incorporate a civil-military component into pre-deployment or field safety briefings, which are
compulsory at least for all UN staff, and the majority of NGO staff.

In Africa, the Australian Government could engage relevant political decision-makers,

including the AU Peace and Security Council, AU regional peacekeeping training centres and
key TCCs, and support them in developing and implementing bespoke interactive training
In South Asia, the Australian Government could also exploit its position as a leader in civilmilitary learning and encourage other interested countries to introduce similar training
programmes and lessons exercises in leading TCCs, such as Pakistan and India.

Scale-up and further fine-tune OCHA CMCoord training.


The research revealed that the OCHA CMCoord training is showing strong signs of success in
helping to build greater mutual civil-military understanding. This training is particularly
valuable where it is offered in-country and on an ongoing basis, therefore it is recommended
that this is sustained in several key sites over an intensive period to gather case-study
evidence of the difference such training can make on the ground. The profile of those to be
trained should be revised to include more sector specialists, such as logisticians and


Involve civil society in future development of Guidelines

CIVMIL Guidelines developed for complex environments ultimately serve the purpose of
delineating clear roles and safeguarding humanitarian action. Meanwhile, aid agencies rely
on the acceptance of the local community to continue operations and reach vulnerable
populations. A key stakeholder is therefore the local civil society and other national groups
who influence perceptions on the ground. It is important to achieve a greater understanding
of how these stakeholders perceive the rightful limitations of CIVMIL interaction in their
specific context.
Local perceptions will change in fluid environments and so both civilian and military
personnel must be flexible enough to adapt accordingly.
At a minimum, INGOs should actively encourage their implementing partners and other
national NGOs to participate meaningfully in future Guidelines processes, due to their ability
to bring a much-needed local understanding of how the international communitys guiding


principles are interpreted by ordinary people; ultimately, this will introduce a reality-check
on the final content included in the Guidelines.
Involve domestic military and police forces, where appropriate, in future development of


A light revision of the Afghanistan Guidelines should be undertaken given the transition to
Afghan security force control; it is strongly advised that the scope of participation is broadened
to include a balanced representation of civil, military and police actors (including female
Afghan security forces). In terms of critical US military participation, the revision process
should aim to include experienced members of the Human Terrain and Female Engagement
Teams (HTTs and FETs), and representatives from CENTCOM and US Special Operations
Command (to incorporate learnings from the recent Village Stability Operations (VSOs) and
lay out clearly any exemptions for the Special Forces). As part of this process, best practice
and lessons from the 10+ years of an international military presence must be actively


Address personnel and capacity issues.

A common refrain in the field is, without a good CIMIC officer, there is little hope. It is
recommended that DPKO and OCHA support the active recruitment of capable CIMIC
officers, and that the pool of CMCoord officers is broadened to include practitioners with a
lesser bias towards a past military career.
CIMIC officers must undergo more rigorous training on civil-military affairs, and when he or
she arrives to take up the post, it would be helpful to have a shadow period where they work
alongside their predecessor. Time should be taken to introduce the new officer to the NGOs
and the various UN agencies.
Dedicated humanitarian staff could be appointed to liaise with the various armed actors,
mirroring the military and polices efforts for liaison. Given the resource constraints, however,
the general consensus is that OCHA should supply these personnel.

Foster greater collaboration across the humanitarian sector.

INGOs should take up the challenge of converting competition into greater collaboration and
cooperation, by pooling their limited resources and working together on dilemmas that affect
all agencies in the same operating environment.
This is a means to improving the overall
response and to creating a more coherent position vis--vis military interaction.
Some INGOs are testing innovative humanitarian decision-making processes to foster greater
collaboration and reflection in their interaction with armed actors, and to build institutional
memory on the navigation of key dilemmas in complex environments. These provide a
framework that tie existing commitments and principles into daily management practices; the
result is more nuanced decision-making, which is linked to clear action plans. OCHA should
support efforts to scale-up these initiatives by providing in-country contacts who might
facilitate the decision-making on issues such as escorts and use of military assets.
It is recommended that the Australian Government provide greater funding and policy support
for such efforts that influence the ability of INGOs to engage meaningfully on civil-military
issues. It might also consider supporting the creation of innovative funding streams in the


This is a key recommendation of a recent report pubished jointly by the APCMCOE and ACFID, the Australian peak body for
NGOs. See Lipner, Michele & Louis Henley (2010) Working Better Together: An NGO Perspective on Improving Australias
Coordination in Disaster Response, page 22.


Asia-Pacific region, such as ELHRAs recently launched Humanitarian Innovation Fund grant
in the UK.
Review the civil-military coordination role of OCHA.

If OCHA is to deliver its civil-military coordination role more effectively, the leadership role of
CMCoord needs to be strengthened this will involve bringing to light some of the internal
resistance to OCHAs role in this space. It is recommended that a workshop be convened
among the main UN agencies, including WFP, UNHCR, and UNICEF, to map the issues and
a plan for how to address the demonstrated need for country-specific fora that allows for more
strategic, long-term planning on civil-military engagement with all the actors in high-profile

Boost IASC support to development of best practice.

It is recommended that the IASC considers supporting the development of a best practice
note on how to develop future country-specific civil-military guidance. This would build on key
lessons gathered by the select number of field practitioners who have been involved in the
drafting and dissemination of previous Guidelines, such as how to generate ownership and
reflect the realities of the specific operating environment, while remaining useful at a
principled/framework level. The Afghanistan case provides one of the best examples of this
process; therefore engagement with the people who influenced that process between 2006-08
would be strongly advised.
The United Nations or IASC could help to establish a formal system for updating the generic
guidelines on an ongoing basis, following the model of the SCHR Position Paper, which is
updated to reflect significant changes in the civil-military landscape. Feedback from
practitioners outside policy circles, such as logisticians and supply chain managers, should be
actively sought and included in the revision process. Duplication of effort should also be
avoided by consulting those within the DPKOs OMA who recently compiled the UN CIMIC
handbook a one-stop-shop for civil-military guidelines.

Create opportunities and spaces for interactive dialogue.


Formal and informal opportunities exist for greater CIVMIL interaction that in turn will break
down mutual stereotyping. These can be encouraged through a focus on common tasks or
problems where collaboration will result in a more effective response. The use of simple tools
that help focus on specific tasks, such as decision-making and protection of civilians, should
be scaled-up.

Institutional memory

Learn from what works well, and improve on it.

There are a good number of encouraging innovations taking place from the ground-up. Rapid
reviews of these structures and processes should be undertaken to identify strengths and
overcome weaknesses. This could form best practice to be shared with other theatres, and
improve on what works well in real-time.

Break the vicious circle of repeating the same mistakes.

CIV-MIL lessons-learned and review exercises should take place directly after crisis
situations. Existing evaluations (including Real Time Evaluations) take too long to conduct


and release from the onset of a crisis, and do not necessarily reflect the candid perspectives
of those who were present at the time of the event.
The UNDPKOs Best Practices Unit (PBPU) should communicate on a continuous basis with
TCCs regarding its lessons-learned procedures, and actively assist in the dissemination of
best practice during the life of a mission.
NATO and bilateral military learning institutions (such as the Center for US Army Lessons
Learned and the US Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute) should establish a
process for incorporating input and feedback from key interlocutors in the civilian humanitarian
and reconstruction community to update and revise doctrine, training, techniques and
procedures (TTPs).






UN military peacekeeping,
















Foreign bilateral

Foreign multi-lateral

Host state military,






Transition to











Contacts background, brief personal history working with CIVMIL

Broad strokes opinion on the state of CIVMIL in the current context
Comparisons with other settings if theres relevant experience
Recent experiences in engaging with military personnel, if civilian, and vice versa?
General take on the support received to facilitate this interaction?
Any preparation and past training applied to these situations?
Familiar with the country guidelines? Other guidelines (Oslo, MCDA)?

NOTE: If the interviewee has knowledge of the country guideline drafting process, we proceed to
Question Set 2. If not, we proceed to Question Set 3.

Any direct exposure to how the Guidelines were developed? Your role?
How consultative was the process?
Primary impetus for the Guidelines?
Preceding guidancehow is this an evolution?
Primary points of reference and best practice informing the drafting process?
Main barriers/tensions in creating/updating the Guidelines?
Greatest assets during the process?
Politics in the drafting?
Any anecdotes?

How important are principles?
CIVMIL continuum of engagement worth applying across all contexts?
Specific examples of where youve coexisted, coordinated, and cooperated in the past?



NOTE: Depending on the level of interest and understanding, a copy of the written guidelines will
be used as the basis of a more detailed discussion of content.
What aspects of the guidance do you find most useful in this context? Section-by-section
appraisal, or weaving of relevant parts into discussion
Sections to consider for both field practitioners and drafters:
- Guiding principles
- Liaison arrangements and coordination
- Information sharing
- Armed protection and security protocols
- Use of military assets for disaster relief and humanitarian aid
- Training
- Gender
Sections mainly relevant to drafters:
- Terminology
- Broad policy themes
- Intent of guidelines
- Cross-reference to other CIVMIL guidance
What still needs work? Section-by-section appraisal, or informal review
What are the gaps?
What terminology do you feel comfortable with? (cooperation, humanitarian space, etc)
NOTE: If interviewee does not possess specific knowledge of the Guidelines, we will still use the
content to guide part of the discussion, and relate their relevant experience to it. Most generally,
we will draw from a discussion of general CIVMIL concepts, as per Question Set 3.
Where have the Guidelines been effective? Examples?
Where have the Guidelines been ineffective? Examples?
What are the obstacles to uptake?
What does your ideal CIVMIL environment look like? How are military and civilian actors
operating in it and engaging with one another?
How transferrable do you think your experience will be to other country contexts?
What is your organisation doing to tackle this issue?
Do you know of any colleagues/other organisations working on the same issues? How
are they approaching the issue?
Anything further you think is important for us to consider?
Any further people to consult?
As we develop recommendations for a CMCoord toolbox, can we follow-up with more
specific questions?






Position and Organisation



LCDR Kurt Brockhausen


US Navy, MINUSTAH U4 Liaison to JOTC

Cultural bias? - Military,




Notable enthusiasm for the interview, arriving with printed materials [on file], pre-reading
guidance, and providing substantive content.

Extremely critical re lack of strategic guidance and coordination within and between civilian
and military spheres, used term loadstone throughout to refer to a much-needed centre of
strategic gravity with which to pull disparate actors in a unified direction.

Placed responsibility for strategic guidance/coordination and blame on its absence with

Noted issues also with short-term contracts, and argued that many of MINUSTAHs limitations
are not understood well enough by the humanitarian community in the asset request process.

Involved in drafting

MINUSTAH doing joint assessments with NGOs before supplying support

How did they manage the transition from international to host government control?
First responder capacity should be the focus, not limitations to humanitarian space
Challenges idea that JOTC is the answer; OCHA must become more practical
(good quotes)
- Humanitarian decision-making is maddening for the military
- Political impediments to provision of ready assets over-simplistic view of military
- Absence of police in the guidance


This was his first peace mission. Introduced himself as mainly a civilian who had been called up for active duty, and expressed surprise at
winding up in Haiti with MINUSTAH. In his previous civilian career, he was a contractor for a construction firm, and noted his shock at how
inefficient ground operations were in comparison with to the private sector.

Familiar with Oslo Guidelines.

Used in practice


No awareness

Agrees that JOTC represents best practice.

Also, tabletop exercises to augment existing mechanism: notes that the joint exercises were key test points. Clusters need to do their own exercises. We did tabletop exercises on the
EJOC side during training and Hurricane Thomas, and it worked. During Thomas, we were able to clear roads in a single day unlike the weeks it took after the earthquake. We had
prepositioned engineering capacities, everyone at the local level understood contingencies if they were cut off from Port au Prince. It was a real, clear, sign of progress made possible
by our exercises."

Points to MINUSTAH contingents effectively taking initiative in establishing dialogue with NGOs: Some of the best contingents we have had actually force an assessment on the
humanitarian community, though: before they provide support, they review the situation on the ground, and critically, sit down with the NGOs to talk over things that might come up. An
open IDP camp, for instance, might need a whole companya small closed site might need a platoon. Stuff like that. And that direct discussion that synergy is absolutely critical.

Very limited exposure to country-specific guidance: no previous awareness.
Process is perhaps more important than final guidance product: Notes that, with regard to JOTC, the relationship building [between civil and military actors] has arguably been more
important than the end product tasking mechanism, presumes a similar dynamic for development of future guidance.
If there had been exposure to guidance, value added: Somewhat noted that the content is pretty close to the mark, and could be used as a foundation for an updated set of guidance.



General Points


Natural disaster or complex emergency? It was a complex emergency on 11 Jan, and a

natural disaster on 12 Jan. Now its somewhere in-between.

Agrees with guidance suggestion that the use of military assets is in keeping
withprinciples and concepts of the Oslo guidelines.

Noted issue with language re sincere desire to collaborate closely with all stakeholders,
including national and foreign troops: There were no national troops in Haiti, so I dont know
what this is talking about.

Liaison and Coordination Arrangements

Use of Military Assets

Host government: due to the limited capacity of the Governments Centre for Emergency
Operation, the true command authority lies with the US Embassy, US SOUTHCOM and
MINUSTAH. Notes that: In most respects, this was true after the earthquake. But not now.
Right now, our true command authority is the DPC [Haitian Department of Civil Protection] and
the GoH.
When US OFDA came down with the Iwo Jima and the Americans got involved in Thomas,
the understanding in MINUSTAH was that it was without question the DPC who was in charge.
And the DPC then went to OCHA, who liaised with the Clusters (the Clusters also worked with
the local authorities to some degree as well) and OCHA would go through the EJOC
(although it usually isnt standing except in emergencies) straight to the JOTC. There might
have been a different set-up during the earthquake. But now we have this arrangement, and
its stood up, ready to go.

Needs assessments: military assets can play an enabling role, including providing
assets to facilitate the assessment missions, etc [further positive language re
use of military assets].
I think this might be a bit optimistic, or written with the Americans specifically in
mind. The UN military is not strong on assessments the guys are just not
conditioned to evaluate. Its different in the US military where, when you ask them
for one thing, you get that, plus five extra things. Theres not that initiative and freethinking within MINUSTAH: you ask for one thing, you get it. But theres a real
resistance against initiative. This is true across all the contingents, by the way, not
just certain TCCs. So I dont know. Im not always sure if needs assessment is a
strong point of ours.

Strategic guidance and coordination: I think weve got a real critical issue here with setting
some strategic direction with regard to capacities on the ground that are available and that
need to be developed.
E.g.: Notes the critical and continuing lack of emergency first responder capacity such as fire
services, EMTs, etc either within MINUSTAH, GoH, or the humanitarian community. Asks
whos going to develop this first-responder capacity? The Clusters are all worried about
principles, about their space, telling us stay out of our hospitals with your guns, and were
saying who here on the ground is willing to provide first responder capacity? Whos willing to
plug this hole? And theres no direction or guidance or whatever making this point known in
the Clusters. Theres no one to lead things in that direction, to lead the conversation in that

Superior response capacity: foreign military forces bring with them a response
capacity that is otherwise unavailable to the international relief community.
Dont quite agree with all of this. For example, its not so true about health. We
only have level 1 health facilities; were not really equipped to handle health
services beyond taking care of our own. Its also political we can provide some
health support outside of just taking care of MINUSTAH troops, but there are real
sensitivities in, say, uniformed officers helping to dispose of bodies, which can lead
to pictures of MNUSTAH troops loading a mass grave things like that. We dont
want to advertise the issue. So in many issues our hands our resources are
restricted politically as well as materially. I think there needs to be greater
ambiguity here. Were not the best in providing assets except security and

OCHA failing to provide strategic direction: OCHA needs to be reformed. They have the
mission, mandates, strategic permission. But where is OCHA building capacity? When you ask
them, What are you doing to save Haiti? How are you working to get out of here?, they dont
have an answer. They talk about broad things like moving from the response phase to the
recovery phase. But its all strategic. The practical problems are how are you, as OCHA, going
to get the NGOs where they need to be? Straightforward problems: transport, hosing,
firehow can you get them to prioritize any of these.
So far, OCHA hasnt been able to provide the coordination loadstone. I cant find any grand
secret architect guiding the project. No one saying here are the key blocks to guide the arch
plan to save Haiti.
So, yeah. Enough with the strategic plans. Were missing our battle plan, to bring agencies
together to work on a common set of problems. Instead, were playing whack-a-mole with
them. JOTC could do things, but all it does not is respond to individual, disparate Cluster
needs. JOTC cant directly guide the process, because it only plays a supporting role.

In general military assets can be divided into two categories: United Nations
Military and Civil Defense Assets (UN MCDA) and resources from other deployed
Ive never heard the term MCDA.
And this says nothing about UNPOL. I know its civil-military, but the guidance
should at least mention police.

Culture clash with Clusters, lack of chain of command: The problem is that the Clusters
take forever to come together around a decision. And for us guys in the chain of command,



used to making decisive calls and following through, its maddening.

Security/Neutrality of Humanitarians

Information Sharing

General CIVMIL culture clash, lack of mutual respect and understanding, importance of

With JOTC, OCHA doesnt facilitate the presence and participation ofuniformed
participants. We dont go to the Clusters. There is still a real sensitivity between humanitarians
and the military I see it as a corollary to American right/left wing extremism, where both
extreme sides are wrong. For the NGOs, its the military wants to trample all over us, for
military its NGOs are weak, disorganized, cant do anything effectively. No ones being
pragmatic and saying what are the strengths of both? Because you need both.
The synergy comes from getting to know each other. So, yeah, the military should be invited
to Cluster meetings, so that we can get to know each other, building relationships.
This keep the military out attitude sometimes you see it in their faces. I think theyve been
trained and acculturated to have an antagonist view of us. And the military, for their part, sees
the NGOs as wishy-washy. The UN fell apart during the earthquake my boss doesnt trust
NGOs to take care of things. This has changed little by little as weve exercised from military
does it all to wait until they bring a loadstone, then we act. And this has been a big
philosophical shift over the last six months. A new aspect of trust. For me, you realize each of
these orgs are all effective and professional in some way. The trick is to play on the strengths
of everyone collectively in a unified way.
And JOTC is the center of this shift, the main driver, I think. My own chain of command didnt
realize that face-to-face explanations and interaction is the key to the whole thing. But in
bringing us face to face every morning, the JOTC has done wonders for improving civil-military

Issues with MINSUSTAH: What you want in emergency situations like a natural
disaster is instant action, instant coordination. For UNPOL, for instance, their ops
center is directly attached to every single one of their units. Every unit picks up the
radio and talks to HQ. For the military, an info request has to go up the ranks,
where its then compiled and evaluated before being passed down the chain of
command. Its a very slow system for natural disaster response. [This isnt so true
for engineering units, though, who are more used to doing assessments. But for
the rest of us, yeah.] The problem is, when you dont have this dialogue, you get
chaos on the day of. You get no clear idea of whos in charge.

My first take on this guidance is that it was written from a distance. I mean, its pretty close to the mark, but it all kind of rings a little hollow. Seems to be written by someone who had
outside knowledge about how Haiti works, and its not updated for today.
Id say, overall, its moving in the right direction. It isnt actually saying anything that controversial or new. Id give it a B-, I guess. Actually, a C, since its only 2.5 pages.


Notable parallels with Shayne Gilberts criticisms (among others see also U9, James Brown,
Vivianna, etc) re OCHA and emphasis on need for greater strategic coordination.

Reform of overly-short contract terms: One of my main issues with the UN is

this whole 3 month thing. Its insane UN contracts tend to be 3-6 months long,
and that relationship building is wiped out when they leave. To say nothing of the
perceptual shift that I think takes over UN staff on a three month contract: they
come in all gung-ho on something, then get bored of it after three months. Right
now, Im loosing Alex, Vivianna, Naomi Morris all of whom are working on the
exercise plans, and I need people who know/can run through exercises from past
experience. This issue is everywhere. How do you keep the info, and the
relationships, in this system? The military does the same thing, for six-month
rotations. We handle retention of doctrine better because of our culture,

A more effective OCHA leading strategic guidance and coordination: What

we really, really need is for the Clusters to come together through OCHA to
[provide strategic guidance and coordination]. Which is what should be
E.g. in the military, thered be a central authority in the meeting room for, say, tree

Echoes U9s frustrations re Clusters lack of speed, organisation, clear chain of command, etc,
and complaints shared by Hakan/Susan and Oterro y Villar as well.
Shared common complaint re: negative impact of short-term contracts on civil-military
Emphasis again on the process of guidance formation and relationship-building as equal
to/greater than the importance of a finished product.



cutting. And hed be the one tasking teams, then looking over their shoulders and
saying to the tree Cluster: Thanks. Also, thats crap. Go here, do this. You suck
and need to improve.
In a Cluster meeting, everyones very nice. They go around the room, applauding
what they did rather than identifying and tasking what they need to do. Theres no
central plan, and critically, no accountability for deviating from the master plan.
Just too many funding sources.
What everyone needs is a target. For instance: for the last exercise package, we
asked the military to review FRAGORDs for natural disasters. Which they said
were great. Then we ran the exercise and found they were horrible. So the EJOC
sucks, and EJOINT needs this, etc. It was a learning experience, it was productive,
and were better because of it.
The mission needs a loadstone. A loadstone that pulls disparate groups in a
common direction. It needs someone to drop that loadstone in a Cluster meeting.
Then it could work.
OCHA needs to drop that loadstone. And they need to do it subtly. Thats the
issue that I think the military forgets that you cant impose top-down control on
the Cluster meetings. OCHA needs to be very careful. No one can come into the
room and say Im in charge. They have to say the problem is in chargewhat are
we going to do about it?
And these agencies are good people. If you give them a problem, theyll work on it
and fix it. [Like when everyone worked together in Gonaves they knew the radio
stations were going to get flooded, and the NGOs worked together to distribute cell
phones and radios to the population in advance so they could get advisories out.]
OCHA needs to be in the room, and it needs to say We need to do thisany
volunteers? And itll work.
And you need a strong guy at Cluster meetings. Not to take over, but to say, This
is a list from DPC of what needs to be done. You guys have the resources. What
can be done? Which is why this person has to be trusted and respected by the


Future Guidance should contain everything in this package (i.e. folder of

printouts he gave me on U4 guidance, on file.)
In looking through the document hes referring to [Hurricane Response Haiti
MINUSTAH U3 Operations], it appears to be a detailed overview of MINUSTAH
capabilities, organisational structure, assets and limitations prepared as a brief to
provide SOUTHOM and USAID/OFDA with specific information about
MINUSTAHs know shortfalls that affect its hurricane response capability in Haiti.
There follows a detailed listing of:
- DPC, and MINUSTAH structures,
- manpower distribution by contingents,
- ground deployment,
- engineering company equipment,
- air/maritime/medical/communications assets and distributions,
- an organagram of communication flow, and
- an overview of capability gaps and limitations.
Kurts point was that any future guidance should include a similarly detailed
breakdown of the Cluster system most importantly, an honest appraisal of shared

gaps in capacity across the NGOs as a first step in creating a shared strategic
vision for collective improvement. He also attached two lessons learned reports
from two Interagency Disaster Response Coordination table-top exercises, which
highlight at a more detailed level gaps in MINUSTAH and UN emergency-response


Developed from ground-up, in consultative process: The document should

come from the ground level, not from New York or Geneva or wherever. In fact, the
relationship building [between civil and military actors at the JOTC] has sort of
been more important than the end product tasking mechanism. Any guidance is
only worthwhile if it permits and allows that kind of interaction. It needs to allow for
interaction with the military community, preferably in its drafting process.