Ngo and military relationship

ngo and military relationship

Military. A primer for the military about private, voluntary, and nongovernmental .. CRS) at the State Department, and S/CRS advisor on NGO-military relations. The U.S. Military and NGO Relationship During Post-Conflict Humanitarian Emergency. Operations: How Can the U.S. Military Improve It? 5b. 'You don't need to love us': Civil-Military Relations in Afghanistan, .. here – in relation to what the NGO community is already providing?.

ngo and military relationship

In other words, if LNGOs conduct disaster relief operations it is done separate from the military. LNGOs are not averse to operating with the military, but the nature of post-conflict operations does not suggest a full collaborative relationship is likely to occur. This study assesses there is likely to be a tacit coexistence between INGOs and the military during post-conflict operations because both organizations perform critical functions in parallel.

INGO commitment to impartiality limits collaborative efforts though. This commitment to impartiality also affects the INGO-military relationship during conflict operations.

Taking sides during inherently political conflict operations is what militaries usually do. This is anathema to INGOs and as such they have a profound ideological clash with the military. Disaster Two disaster relief operations are considered in this study— operations following the earthquake in Haiti, and Operation Sea Angel following the cyclone in Bangladesh.

It is noteworthy that of the six sectors to be analyzed, LNGO-military interaction during disaster relief operations has the smallest data pool from which to study. INGO-military interaction during disaster relief operations has a far greater pool of data available.

According to some reports, the earthquake killed overpeople and left over 1. Many key Haitian government structures were destroyed in the earthquake and many essential civil servants were killed or lost family members. This contributed to a chaotic Haitian government in the initial months of the response and recovery. It does, however note: The lack of reported LNGO-military interaction could be due to one or more of several factors, including—the massive INGO response, substantial military response, effectiveness of the government of Bangladesh, or the relative short duration of the international response.

There is some evidence LNGOs do conduct relief efforts following disasters, and this study does not discount them. However, this study found no information on LNGO-military collaboration during relief efforts. For this reason, I posit the expected outcome of LNGOs and the military operating in disaster relief operations to be separate operational spheres. That is, the military will likely conduct its operations independently or with other non-LNGO organizations.

LNGOs, if they are conducting operations will not likely be working with the military. A recent study suggests military forces might serve as the initial engine for start-up of LNGO relief operations following disasters, but host nation organizations LNGOs and CSOs must drive projects to institute positive changes in the environment.

More specifically, David notes that local organizations can significantly increase the effectiveness of civil military operations and help limit the footprint required by military forces David The lack of literature or case study evidence on LNGO-military collaboration during disaster relief operations leads to the conclusion that the military should focus its collaborative efforts on INGOs during humanitarian operations.

However, the bulk of the planning and operational efforts during humanitarian operations should be given to INGOs.

Civil-Military Relations: Working with NGOs

One was established by the UN and the other by the U. Military support to INGO relief efforts largely consisted of securing ports and storage facilities and air and ground logistical support. The effects of the earthquake and an extended history of ineffective government institutions contributed to the Haitian government not being closely involved in the relief efforts or security.

The security situation in Haiti was such that military contingents sometimes carried weapons when conducting their operations. Because rioting and looting occurred in many areas of Haiti this study assesses there was a partial breakdown of society. The loss of many key government structures and officials certainly exacerbated this situation. This study has found that most military operations in response to disasters alone have a short duration.

Haiti was no different with all international military contingents gone by 1 April Physical conditions resultant from cyclone Marian were a major consideration during Operation Sea Angel. The extent of the damage was such that only two points of entry were available for delivery of humanitarian assistance supplies and personnel.

Also, the Bangladeshi Army was capable of providing transportation for supplies inland to much of the country. Due to limited points of entry much of the relief operation was conducted and coordinated from naval ships. There were never more than U. The military response consisted of the Bangladeshi Army, all U. The military would then utilize naval assets to deliver the aid.

The security situation in Bangladesh was stable and military contingents did not generally carry weapons. One of the reasons for this was the maintained social fabric in Bangladeshi society. Other operations such as Somalia and Rwanda witnessed the unwinding of normal social life, while others like northern Iraq during Operation Provide Comfort and Haiti saw a partial breakdown of society.

Civil-Military Relations: Working with NGOs | InterAction

Because INGOs were prepared to meet the humanitarian assistance needs of the populace following the cyclone, the military was mostly required for its air and naval logistical assets. This presents a point for future anticipatory coordination between INGOs and the military.

INGOs and militaries both have large stockpiles of food, water, shelters, medicine, etc. Inventory lists of stockpiled supplies should be shared between NGOs and the military to facilitate collaboration during future humanitarian operations.

Some of the differences between NGO responses and NGO-military collaboration can be attributed to the different types of disasters. Earthquakes do not allow for pre-operational planning. Cyclones and hurricanes may give NGOs and the military a few days to prepare a response plan.

Famines or genocidal conflicts offer varying times for pre-operational planning. Conducting interagency and NGO-military exercises and information sharing on a regular basis would facilitate increased readiness and collaboration when real-world NGO-military operations occur. The expected operational outcome of INGO-military interaction during disaster response operations is collaboration.

The evidence from Haiti and Bangladesh demonstrate the willingness of INGOs to collaborate with the military during disaster relief operations. INGOs often have a commitment to impartiality as part of their operational philosophy rules. This, as the study shows later, is often problematic for the INGO-military relationship. However, disaster response operations are less likely to be politically motivated. Therefore, INGO-military collaboration is more likely because INGO rules and norms make them less averse to collaboration with the military during disaster response operations.

The need to aid stricken populations in areas accessible to only the military or technically skilled INGO SAR personnel further drives this convergence.

The post-conflict relief and development operations in Kosovo and Rwanda both occurred in environments that had seen violent ethnic cleansing. Operation Provide Comfort in Iraq was a U. The Kurds were fleeing what they feared would be ethnic targeting from the Hussein regime.

Sometimes referred the first humanitarian war, Kosovo demonstrated the willingness and capability of NATO to conduct peacebuilding operations. The need for relief and reconstruction far exceeded the contingencies the INGO Council had planned for. The relatively small physical size of Kosovo affected NGO operations in a positive way: Unlike many other post-conflict countries, Kosovo was small and secure, making it significantly easier for INGOs to develop their work.

In practical terms, nearly every NGO had their head office in Pristina, a small city where all important meetings were held within a one square mile area. Currion8 Prior to the winter ofthe UN assessed its preparations with the NGOs for the returning Kosovar Albanian refugees as inadequate. This is an example of a typical point of LNGO-military collaboration—LNGOs provided materials, expertise, and local knowledge while the military provided logistical support.

For the military practitioner, providing LNGOs with logistical support can serve as their contribution in a quid pro quo relationship aimed at utilizing LNGO expertise, materials, or information. The rapid onset and ferocity of the violence that occurred in Rwanda and in the Kurdish dominated areas of northern Iraq did not allow for LNGOs to operate even if they had been previously present.

The expected operational outcome for LNGO-military interaction during post-conflict operations is limited collaboration. This expected outcome is such because the reported collaboration is certainly greater then LNGO-military interaction during disaster relief operations.

However the level of collaboration between LNGOs and the military is not as great as during conflict operations as this study demonstrates. However, during the initial weeks of the crisis there was no NGO presence. Operation Provide Comfort is classified as a post-conflict operation because it occurred in the wake of Operation Desert Storm and the ensuing brutal crackdown on the Kurds by the Saddam Hussein regime.

However, the high level of NGO-military cooperation can be attributed to the fact that it was largely a humanitarian operation aimed at relieving immediate suffering. There was no reported collaboration between the military and NGOs to conduct long-term development or reconstruction operations.

Fear of losing military personnel, such as what happened in Somalia, was also a factor in the U. Following the air war, nearly NGOs flooded Kosovo seeking to assist in the relief efforts. INGO-military interaction in Kosovo was similar to LNGO-military interaction, largely consisting of NGOs providing information and the military providing logistical support of winterization efforts for returning refugees.

The expected operational outcome for INGO-military interaction during post-conflict operations is tacit coexistence. INGO and military operations can be expected to converge to alleviate humanitarian crises but INGOs are less amenable to collaborating on longer-term operations.

This created a need for INGO capabilities and the military was a willing partner during the post-conflict operations studied here. The humanitarian assistance portions of the post-conflict operations did not present a moral quandary for INGOs collaborating with the military. Following collaboration between INGOs and the military to alleviate immediate human suffering there is little evidence of INGO-military collaboration on long-term development and reconstruction operations.

Because of the database it was easier to contact NGOs and make logistical coordination for NGOs to provide humanitarian assistance throughout Iraq Brand This is indicative of a high level of local and regional ownership in the northern, Kurdish dominated area of Iraq.

Local ownership such is a recurring theme in the literature and case studies on NGOs in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the capabilities of these organizations and their motivators are understood their value for collaboration with the military can be maximized.

There was a robust LNGO presence seeking to provide assistance at the local and national levels. The relatively effective Iraqi government institutions contributed to LNGOs receiving funds to provide assistance. There is a large body of evidence in the literature, case studies, and practitioner interviews indicating LNGO-military collaboration during conflict operations Brand ; Currion ; Hedlund ; Ives ; Rogers Conflict and stability operations are inherently more political than humanitarian operations.

INGOs are more reluctant than LNGOs to collaborate with the military in such operations largely because of the political nature of conflict and stability operations. As such, military planners should account for the desire and eagerness of LNGOs to participate in development activities in their home countries.

This meeting went defunct in because, among other reasons, LNGOs felt their voices were being drowned out by the larger INGOs and ceased participation. LNGO need for funding makes them more likely to coordinate with military entities in exchange for funding. The vast majority of these NGOs were very small groups of Iraqis who just wanted to help others and were very good at addressing acute, immediate needs.

While the American military was very willing to assist the NGOs, most preferred to operate alone because proximity to the Americans was seen by the enemy as taking sides, thereby making the NGO a terrorist target. Jibril notes that U. This was obviously problematic for U.

ngo and military relationship

It also highlights the need for a framework for NGO-military interaction because military units intending to assist in humanitarian efforts should understand how to engage NGOs. In this interview, Major Jibril reflects her opinion that a vast under utilized resource for the military and LNGO development and assistance communities are the women of Iraq.

Regarding this, Major Jibril stated: The female-run NGOs were actually the best funded, the best organized and got the most done.

It was very hard, though, to get even the CA people to realize that women are part of the answer. Women are a huge part of undermining the insurgency because they would bring a different kind of peace. The relative stability of government institutions in Iraq allowed for smoother interactions with between actors in the action arena.

Juxtaposing the situation in Iraq in with that of the chaotic Haitian government in yields the conclusion that host-nation government ability affects the NGO-military collaborative process.

The large number of Iraqi LNGOs eager to assist in humanitarian assistance and rebuilding the country could be interpreted as a strong sense of indigenous national ownership not seen in other situations. NGO freedom to operate was somewhat curbed when the Taliban came to power in and halted NGO projects they deemed inappropriate. Following the post-September 11th U. The establishment of an internationally recognized Afghan government and the renewed international focus on Afghan development contributed to the paradigm shift.

The legitimate Afghan government added another actor to the arena that could facilitate NGO-military interaction, however from the NGO perspective it somewhat decreased their freedom to operate. Going in to Afghanistan inthe United States was well aware of the need to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people. NATO conducted airdrops of humanitarian supplies to include food, water, and other essential items during the early stages of the campaign.

Following the invasion, both NGOs and the military were primarily concerned with relieving the immediate humanitarian crisis. Once the situation was stabilized to pre-invasion levels the military became involved in limited-scale development work through PRTs as part of its counterinsurgency campaign.

NGOs criticized the NATO humanitarian assistance response of dropping aid pallets at the same time as running a bombing campaign as deceptive.

ngo and military relationship

NATO humanitarian assistance was critically important because most NGOs had fled to Pakistan during the early, kinetic stages of the invasion.

This contributed to a dearth of non-military organizations capable of offering humanitarian assistance. In essence, CENTCOM acknowledged it needed to play a large role in providing humanitarian assistance, but had no initial intention of getting involved in development work, which was traditionally conducted by indigenous governments, INGOs, LNGOs, and international government development agencies.

In lateU. The desire of INGOs to remain impartial should be respected if the military intends to maintain collaborative relationships with INGOs during future operations. As noted earlier, INGOs have been willing to collaborate with the military prior to combat operations in order to stave off humanitarian disaster. For this reason, INGOs should continue to be engaged in the military planning process with the mutual understanding that their efforts in planning will only be used to alleviate suffering.

Assuredly, future INGO-military pre-operational planning for combat operations will be contentious within the NGO community and discretion should be paramount if this collaborative relationship is to occur in the future. Ideologically, the military and INGOs are most at odds during conflict operations.

Combat operations are inherently impartial and therefore incongruent with the objectives of most INGOs. For this reason I assess the expected outcome to be a clashing of ideologies. What do you actually see as your added advantage here — in relation to what the NGO community is already providing? While Afghans initially appreciated some PRTs, they were ultimately an inadequate solution to the insecurity that spread throughout the country after Security deteriorated significantly from onwards; in that year alone, bomb attacks nearly doubled on the previous year, suicide attacks increased six-fold, and over 1, civilians were killed or injured Human Rights Watch The dual role of PRTs became increasingly schizophrenic, as did their attempts to win hearts and minds.

In one incident in Ghazni province inPRT officials attempted to offer condolences to villagers and offered to dig a well weeks after they had fired rockets into the village, killing nine children.

Civil-Military Relations in Afghanistan: Lessons Learned from a Ten Year Engagement

Objections and Strategies for Coordination Despite pressure to support their activities, PRTs from the very beginning were criticised both by the humanitarian and development community in Afghanistan, and by the Afghan government. A primary objection was that PRTs, and the broader stabilisation approaches of which they were a part, aimed to militarise and politicise assistance by aligning aid with stabilisation objectives rather than addressing the needs of affected people Stapleton As a result, aid was grossly skewed towards insecure provinces or provinces where troops were present.

Another concern was that tasking the military with delivering aid would create confusion among insurgents and civilians, blurring the lines between aid actors and the military. These arguments centred on the principle of distinction: Nonetheless, many worried that the delivery of aid with the goal of gathering intelligence or fostering loyalty to pro-government forces would force civilians to make an impossible choice between badly needed assistance and their own safety.

Some felt it would be impractical to demand that PRTs abandon reconstruction work altogether, while others felt any military involvement in reconstruction or development was unacceptable. Additionally, many aid agencies directly or indirectly supported stabilisation and some international and local agencies accepted funding directly from PRTs to implement projects.

Each agency appears to have dealt with the perceived lack of independence and impartiality deriving from cooperation with PRTs in its own way. Others accepted funding from donor governments involved in the conflict but refused to utilise it in provinces where their troops were present. These problems were exacerbated by insufficient capacity, leadership, and coordination on civil-military matters among aid agencies.

Despite the challenges, there were productive engagements with the military during this period. The PRT ESC, established inmet only a handful of times before ceasing to exist altogether aroundbut it did issue several policy notes to guide PRT policy and interaction with external actors with regards to disarmament, development activities, and coordination with humanitarian actors. Without effective dissemination to commanders on the ground, these notes would have been largely irrelevant.

The Guidelines sought to adapt internationally recognised principles to the unique challenges aid agencies faced in an operating environment dominated by concerns over PRT activity and growing insecurity.

They also sought to curb military practices that could lead to confusion between civilian and military actors. According to many interviewees who were involved in the process, the adaptation of the Guidelines to the context of Afghanistan with the agreement of ISAF were key outcomes in and of themselves. Yet the Guidelines faced opposition, largely from within the aid community, and were not sufficiently disseminated to military actors.

The CMWG subsequently declined, being disbanded altogether by Following the approval of the guidelines, the CMWG appeared to turn its focus to issues of minimal consequence to the affected populations. Aid actors contended that white vehicles in particular were associated with NGOs and the UN, and that their use by the military had led to a number of cases where civilian convoys had been mistakenly attacked by insurgents Cornish and Glad Although rarely invoked in arguments or public statements on the issue, IHL states that combatants must distinguish their vehicles as military, not civilian.

Interviews with military actors confirmed that white vehicles were essentially used as force protection, allowing troops to travel in lower-profile vehicles that were believed to be less at risk of attack.

However, the order did not specify precisely how this should be done or whether they should be distinguished as specifically military vehicles at all. Shortly after the directive was issued, one interviewee reported seeing Afghan support personnel applying a single brown stripe to the sides of white vehicles at an ISAF base in Kabul.

Diverging — and at times diametrically opposed — objectives were pursued by aid actors and the military through the CMWG. The military often saw the CMWG as a means of gaining information and cooperation from aid agencies or as an opportunity to present their narrative of the conflict. But the more the military pursued its goals, the more aid agencies pulled away.

Despite the fact that agencies did not have a unified stance on this matter, outspoken advocacy by several agencies portrayed this as a cynical attempt to co-opt aid agencies into a military strategy and as an assault on humanitarian principles. Aid agencies sought to use the CMWG to argue against the core tenets of the military strategy — entailing, for instance, the engagement of military actors in development-like activities — that they were unlikely to be able to change in any fundamental way, rather than as a means for discussing and communicating issues around violations of IHL or calling upon principles of civil—military coordination.

An additional challenge was the lack of understanding of such principles among aid agency staff. Over time, the CMWG deteriorated to such an extent that both aid agencies and military officials stopped attending the meetings.

As dialogue was breaking down, concerns around the protection of civilians grew. Security sharply deteriorated in and the number of civilian casualties increased; Human Rights Watch reported that civilians died as a result of the conflict that year, a quarter of the deaths attributable to international forces.

ngo and military relationship

As the Taliban extended their control throughout the south and east, and subsequently into some western, northern, and central provinces, attacks on aid agencies increased. More than ever before, the military strategy focused on winning hearts and minds, solidifying the very approach aid actors objected to. Other manuals and directives further elaborated this strategy. The amount of aid devoted to these objectives rapidly increased: The number of civilian officials deployed to support military-led governance and development efforts also increased.

Other countries, to lesser degrees, followed suit.

‘You don’t need to love us’: Civil-Military Relations in Afghanistan, –13

Other TCNs similarly revised their strategies. Other countries also announced more comprehensive and integrated military, diplomatic, and assistance strategies, and many allocated greater proportions of their aid budgets to areas where their troops were stationed. As troop presence expanded, insecurity intensified and spread through previously stable provinces.

Agency operating space eroded: The appetite for dialogue rapidly diminished as many agencies avoided interaction with the military. Aid agencies increasingly sought distance from UNAMA, once critical in coordinating civil military dialogue, feeling that its close association with ISAF and the Afghan government undermined perceptions of their neutrality and independence.

The new military approach also posed significant risks for aid workers and those they aimed to help, drawing civilians further into the conflict. As ISAF attempted to implement COIN, focused on service delivery and engaging local populations, attacks on anyone suspected of supporting these efforts i.

There is also strong evidence that insurgents increasingly came to see aid agencies as being associated with the military effort Jackson and Giustozzi ; Glad While there is no inherent contradiction between the COIN doctrine espoused by ISAF and IHL and other principles underpinning civil—military coordination, the ways in which the military strategy was implemented — and the consequences for civilians — were heavily criticised by aid agencies.

There are also strong indications that the military strategy further undermined in practice whatever respect was left for IHL or civil—military guidelines. The appetite for dialogue rapidly diminished as many aid agencies sought to avoid the military, either to limit the perception of association or simply because many felt that any discussion would ultimately be futile. Outside Kabul, the increased troop presence made dialogue between the military and aid actors more complicated and less effective.

PRTs were now part of an increasingly complex array of official military and civilian organisations contracted to carry out development activities. For civilians or aid workers attempting to establish dialogue or resolve problems for example, trying to ascertain the status of staff members detained by military forcesidentifying the appropriate interlocutor was increasingly difficult.

There were some efforts to ensure a basic level of co-existence between military and civilian actors. The group, which comprised a handful of directors from international primarily US-based aid agencies, met on a monthly basis.

With increasing civilian casualties, the most successful civil-military engagement focused on civilian protection, and more specifically on the reduction of civilian casualties attributed to ISAF.

ngo and military relationship

Evidence and data was critical in persuading military officials to adopt tighter controls on the use of force, as was cultivating relationships with key military officials at various levels. How much of this was due to advocacy or dialogue and how much may have occurred naturally as a consequence of the adoption of COIN is unclear.

Nonetheless, ISAF was responsible for civilians deaths in — down from in ISAF also introduced systems to improve accountability and oversight, including an internal civilian casualty-tracking cell. The Legacy of Civil-Military Relations Experiences in Afghanistan show a conflict — if not on a theoretical level at least on a practical one — between stabilisation and internationally recognised guidelines and principles of civil-military interaction that aim to safeguard IHL and humanitarian space.

In situations where the military aggressively seeks to co-opt civilians, lack of adherence to these principles is likely to be even more extreme. Aid agencies also have an obligation to adhere to their own principles if they would like to see them respected and to ensure that their actions do not actively undermine them. According to Soren Jessen-Petersen Many rationalised their choices or sought to mitigate damage by, for example, limiting their direct contact with the military.

It is unclear if this was sufficient. Even where agencies insist that such programmes were based on need, and while many genuinely benefitted Afghans, aid agencies knowingly furthered the political and military objectives of pro-government forces.

This undermined their ability to advocate for truly neutral and impartial assistance from donors and for adherence to the guiding principles of civil-military interaction with the military. Important lessons can also be drawn about the role of UN actors.

Substantial evidence was used to bring about policy change. Others were markedly less successful in influencing change, at least during the surge period. Regardless of the structure of the mission, strong in-country humanitarian leadership was arguably not possible without consistent principled leadership from above and a genuine, complementary prioritisation of humanitarian concerns within UNAMA.

Didactic arguments based on the perceived rights and special status of aid agencies were also largely ineffective, and often resulted in military actors becoming frustrated. By contrast, where dialogue was rooted in IHL and strategic argumentation — as was the case with advocacy efforts focused on civilian harm which appealed to a shared interest between civilian and military actors to reduce that harm — it was markedly more persuasive.

However, such engagement is complex and time-consuming, requiring a significant level of capacity that many aid agency staff simply did not have. The lack of unity among aid agencies and the lack of a clear unified humanitarian voice further undermined efforts at effective dialogue. Part of this, predictably, arose from competition for resources and competing agendas and from the diverse mandates and objectives of aid actors.

While difficult to achieve, a unified and sustained aid agency position would have undoubtedly been more effective in engaging the military compared to the ad hoc and contradictory initiatives that often prevailed in Afghanistan.

There were also significant tensions or differences in approach between some international actors and Afghan aid agencies.

There is little evidence that NATO, TCNs, or their donor agencies have critically examined the danger posed by these strategies or learned any lessons from the largely negative experience of stabilisation in Afghanistan.

While it would be tempting to recommend that TCN governments and donor agencies conduct assessment exercises with regard to stabilisation and PRT experiences, such activities would be unlikely to have much impact. Seeking to acquire greater evidence on effectiveness and risks would only be useful insofar as such policy decisions are based on objective evidence. In Afghanistan and other stabilisation contexts, the role of evidence in policymaking and programme design appears minimal.

Nonetheless, more objective evidence on the impact of stabilisation is required to gather a greater understanding of the risks and limitations involved — even if such evidence is unlikely to be generated by donor governments themselves. Questions remain about what will happen to PRT assets and military-led interventions after the drawdown of international combat forces. Given the poor quality or short-term nature of many of these projects, it is unclear what will be handed over at all.

Regarding future dialogue with Afghan forces, it is important to note that in contrast to ISAF, arguably one of the strongest and most sophisticated fighting forces in the world, the Afghan security forces are nascent.

Although they have made progress in recent years, they continue to struggle with basic issues around command and control, resources, and effectiveness. While it is relatively clear that Afghan forces are unlikely to pursue the same kind of militarised aid activities that are currently performed by international actors in the country, their capacity and willingness to engage in dialogue remains unclear.

In the end, four attended: