Table of Contents
- Foreword by the Co-Chairs
- Letter from the Convening Organizations
- Executive Summary
- Defining the Challenge
- Chapter 1: Leadership
- Chapter 2: Early Warning
- Chapter 3: Early Prevention
- Chapter 4: Preventive Diplomacy
- Chapter 5 Employing Military Options
- Chapter 6: International Action
- Summary of Recommendations
- View and Download Full Report
Preventing Genocide: A Blueprint for U.S. Policymakers
EMPLOYING MILITARY OPTIONS
You wait until the tragedy happens instead of
taking care of the symptoms of the tragedy
before it blows up? What kind of logic is that?
-Omer Ismail, Co-Founder,
Darfur Peace and Development Organization
To support U.S. effectiveness in preventing and halting genocide, U.S. political and military leaders must consider how military assets can be employed toward these objectives. Despite the arguments put forth in much of the popular debate, the United States does not face an all-or-nothing choice between taking no military action and launching a major intervention. The Genocide Prevention Task Force finds there is a wide range of military strategies that can be employed in support of diplomatic and political efforts, up to and inclusive of military operations to halt violence against civilians.
Policymakers face major challenges in determining whether, when, and how to use military force to prevent or counter the escalation of violence to the level of genocide. Leaders within the United States and elsewhere still debate whether robust military action in 1994 could have thwarted the massacres in Rwanda or whether international forces in 2003 could have prevented the attacks by janjaweed militias in Darfur. Others cite U.S.-and NATO-led military actions to protect the Kurds in Iraq (1991) and Kosovar Albanians (1999) as successful interventions.
Throughout this report, we have placed our emphasis squarely on prevention. But we cannot assume that nonmilitary preventive measures will always succeed, even if the recommendations in the previous chapters are adopted. Preventing or halting genocide may, at times, require the nonconsensual use of force. There is no military "solution" to genocide, but military options can be critical parts of a whole-of-government solution.
The decision to use military capabilities is fundamentally political, reflecting U.S. national security interests, domestic politics, and the realities of the international system. When considering the use of military assets to prevent or halt genocide and mass atrocities, several key challenges arise: the nature of genocide itself, domestic political challenges, international political challenges, and military challenges.
The Nature of Genocide
Genocide is often state-supported and almost always occurs in the context of a broader armed conflict. Unlike war, genocidal violence is specifically aimed at civilians. Halting it usually requires "taking sides," since offering civilians physical safety and interrupting belligerent actions are not neutral acts. Even humanitarian action in the wake of mass atrocities may need to depart from strict neutrality so as not to provide succor to perpetrators. Military action to prevent and halt genocide falls between normal mission categories, such as peacekeeping and war-fighting, and may shift from consensual to nonconsensual as the environment moves from permissive to hostile. These characteristics make preventing genocide politically and militarily difficult.
Domestic Political Challenges
Among the major factors that have hindered effective political decision making in response to genocide and mass atrocities has been the lack of clear understanding of the range of military options that can help prevent or stop genocide (and their implications). This was apparent in Rwanda (1994), Srebrenica (1995), and Darfur (2004-present), where some argue that military action could have halted massive attacks against civilians.
Others cite U.S. operations in Lebanon (1982), Kosovo (1999), and Iraq (2003) as underestimating the difficulty of halting atrocities and the danger of provoking greater violence against civilians.
This gap in imagination and understanding hinders effective early action and civil-military decision making about a genocidal situation's relevance to U.S. national security interests, to say nothing of public opinion, the risk of casualties and other military obligations, and prospects for success. Political leaders must consider whether military actions are likely to succeed or might instead endanger civilians further; whether such actions might quickly halt violence or might instead bring about reprisals and exacerbate instability. In addition, fear of mission creep and lack of an exit strategy can make U.S. leaders reluctant to commit armed services in response to genocide.
There will be times when U.S. leaders must decide whether to take military action to halt mass atrocities without the consent of the country in question. The task force recognizes that such decisions will be weighty and may face resistance from some political and military leaders and from the public, particularly when the U.S. military is overstretched. These decisions rest firmly with U.S. political leaders, who must carefully consider the appropriate response in each case. But military leaders should be prepared to support the decision-making process by describing a range of options, their risks, and likely consequences. Senior civilian and military leaders may have differing judgments about how central preventing genocide is to U.S. national security interests, so clarity about potential options will help focus judgments about policy in specific cases.
International Political Challenges
U.S. military actions will be considered within modern international legal and political structures, in which actions beyond self-defense or those authorized by the UN Security Council are generally considered illegitimate and/or illegal. As Chapter 6 describes, the adoption of the concept of the "responsibility to protect" may signal a shift away from the absolute conception of sovereignty, but the principle of nonintervention still carries significant weight internationally. Authorization by the UN Security Council to take coercive action requires the consent (or abstention) of its permanent members, but there is no guarantee of agreement on actions perceived to violate sovereignty. The Security Council approves peace and stability operations, for example, with the presumed consent of a host government. The Security Council rarely authorizes peace operations or peace enforcement missions when a state is targeting its own civilians. Nations may act without Security Council authorization, as the United States did with NATO in 1999 to launch air strikes against Serbia, but that absence can make an operation more difficult by calling into question its legitimacy and reducing international support.
Efforts to prevent the escalation of violence to genocide present challenges for even the most capable militaries. The U.S. armed forces can conduct many tasks inherent in prevention of mass violence against civilians, but counter-genocide operations differ from traditional military missions in their emphasis on protection of civilians as a primary objective, rather than as a tangential goal or consequence of achieving a broader aim, as well as in their emphasis on addressing the drivers of conflict.
Many established military practices are relevant to the goal of preventing and halting mass killing. Traditional war-fighting requires militaries to focus on objectives such as defeating enemies and capturing territory. But combat operations do not focus on immediate protection of civilian populations or on those who threaten them. In these missions, civilian protection tasks typically are limited to preventing collateral damage, respecting the Geneva Conventions, and halting the behavior of known belligerents. Peacekeeping operations are intended to protect civilians-but presume that there is a peace to keep, deploy after the conclusion of major hostilities, and provide for basic public security to support a peace process. Peacekeeping missions rely on host-state consent and a minimum use of force, setting them up to prevent harm to local populations to the extent possible, but without an expectation of widespread and systematic violence against civilians. Counterinsurgency operations focus clearly on protecting populations, but as a means to defeat an insurgency rather than as an end in itself. Noncombatant evacuation operations (NEOs) focus on protecting a selected part of a civilian population by helping them leave a conflict zone; they do not protect all civilians under attack. Operations of stability police units-carabinieri or gendarmerie-like units, which can help fill security gaps between military and civilian police activities-are also relevant to counter-genocide missions.
As with all potential military operations, there is need for more than just a military solution. Clear political-military planning and emphasis on a whole-of-government approach are vital to success.
To assess and then to enhance the U.S. ability to prevent and halt genocide and mass atrocities, we need better understanding of five areas. Does the U.S. military currently prepare for such missions? What are critical elements of potential counter-genocide operations that any military would need to consider in advance? What is the range of potential military options and strategies for preventing and responding to genocide and mass atrocities, drawing lessons from past cases? How does the United States identify and assess substantive gaps in preparedness for military activities to halt genocide and to work with international actors in such activities? What are the options for enhancing global capacity to prevent and respond to genocide, as well as the potential U.S. role in enhancing that capacity?
Readiness to Meet the Challenge
When it comes to conducting major combat operations, the U.S. military is the most capable and well-prepared armed service in the world, with air, land, and sea assets and six regional commands across the globe. U.S. forces anticipate, plan for, and address a wide range of scenarios and contingencies worldwide. Assessing U.S. preparedness to use military assets effectively to prevent genocide is difficult, given the breadth and depth of the Department of Defense, its human and materiel resources, and the resources it harnesses worldwide. Nonetheless, a few conclusions can be drawn.
First, the Department of Defense has not developed specific tools to prevent or respond to genocide. There is a lack of training, doctrine, and scenarios to prepare for a mission where force is required to protect civilians. Second, the United States can prepare military options rapidly in response to a crisis if directed to act. But such planning lacks a basis in a broader understanding of what missions to halt genocide may require and how that relates to other traditional missions. This posture suggests that the Defense Department options for policymakers will be developed through a crisis response, rather than a deliberative process, and may not be part of a larger planning effort within the NSC, State, USAID, and other U.S. and international entities, as recommended in Chapter 4. Third, the lack of advance analysis undermines an institutional understanding of what capabilities and technologies are needed to effectively support potential missions alone and with international partners in genocide prevention. Fourth, other nations and multinational organizations-primarily the United Nations, NATO, European Union, African Union (AU), and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)-rely on doctrine, training, guidance, and scenarios developed by western nations such as the United States. Indeed, U.S. policy is to support these organizations as a front line for addressing the prevention of mass atrocities and running peace operations. But without a better U.S. government-wide understanding of how military assets can be employed across the spectrum of an unfolding genocide, the United States undermines its own ability to support these regional and multinational organizations. There are numerous approaches the U.S. government could adopt to better prevent genocide and to strengthen U.S. partnerships with other nations and organizations to this end.
Tools and Capacities
The most important tools for military preparedness are national policy, doctrine, plans, and training. The 2006 National Security Strategy states, "Where perpetrators of mass killing defy all attempts at peaceful intervention, armed intervention may be required, preferably by the forces of several nations working together under appropriate regional or international auspices." Yet the task force found no clear evidence of corresponding high-level or internal military follow-on guidance to prepare for such a situation, such as within corresponding defense planning scenarios or planning directed either by the Joint Staff or led by the regional commands (for example, functional plans, directed plans, or current operations).
It is evident that senior U.S. leaders have not directed the Department of Defense to prepare for missions where the prevention of genocide is the primary goal. In general, U.S. military strategies and preparedness are not focused on scenarios of genocide, and thus are not specifically designed to prevent and react to the escalation of violence leading to genocide. Currently, U.S. military responses to perceived threats of genocide are event-driven and based on anticipation of an immediate crisis. The United States has the ability to respond rapidly to events, certainly, given its extensive planning process. Indeed, even an informal understanding of potential strategies for the prevention of genocide demonstrates that tasks for such missions may be familiar. Gaps remain, however, in the strategic understanding of the challenges that genocide and mass atrocities pose and in developing appropriate ways to anticipate and address civilian protection (for example, safe areas and appropriate use of force).
What is missing is guidance that directs the Defense Department to identify which tasks may be useful or critical, how they should be organized into a coherent strategy to achieve the specific objective, and the requirements for resourcing the mission. A strategic approach is also needed to support policy decisions in the midst of a developing crisis, both alone and with partners.
One type of operation closely related to preventing or halting genocide that is discussed in current U.S. military doctrine is peace and stability operations. Military planning tools for peace and stability operations emphasize maintenance of a secure and stable environment. U.S. military doctrine for peace and stability operations does not acknowledge halting genocide as a potential crisis response requirement. There is enough doctrine to find some guidance and to identify potential tasks, but not to provide strategies or to focus substantial attention to the question. This gap affects the strategic understanding of genocidal situations, as well as issues such as escalation of force and leadership roles. Because training priorities are derived from doctrine and mission identification, there is little indication of preparation or training for preventing or halting genocide as a potential mission or as a component of a larger mission.
Military guidance on many of the tasks required of forces in counter-genocide operations-such as maintenance of safe havens, provision of humanitarian aid, and traditional war-fighting-is woven into doctrine and planning for other types of operations, such as peace and stability operations, non-combatant evacuation, counterinsurgency, and peacekeeping. For example, both the Joint Capstone Doctrine (JP 3-0), issued in 2006, and the Army Capstone Doctrine (FM 3-0), released in 2008, provide adequate guidance at the operational level to accomplish any mission related to the prevention and response to genocide. Neither document mentions "genocide," however, or offers in-depth discussion or direct recognition of issues concerning the protection of affected populations or a government perpetrating genocide. Additionally, the Universal Joint Task List (last updated in September 2006) and the 2008 draft of the Army's Universal Task List, which serve as standard catalogues of collective tasks, include many tasks that would likely be employed to halt genocide, but without reference to them specifically in that context.
U.S. policy is shifting broadly toward increased preparedness for military tasks that are applicable to efforts to prevent and halt conflict, and likely, mass violence. The U.S. military increasingly acknowledges a link between stabilizing fragile and failed states and promoting national security. In November 2005, Defense Directive 3000.05 on military support for stability, security, transition, and reconstruction (SSTR) operations designated stability operations as a "core" military mission that demands priority on par with combat operations. The directive called for integration of stability operations across all Defense Department planning and policies. It also acknowledged the importance of military-civilian cooperation and an interagency approach to stability operations, giving the under secretary of defense for policy responsibility for coordination with the State Department's Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization created in July 2004.
Another illustration of this shift can be found in the Army stability operations field manual (FM 3-07), released in late 2008, which indicates recognition of the unique nature of civilian protection tasks. FM 3-07 refers to "civil security" as integral to stability operations, describing it as the most resource-intensive of stability operations tasks. This attention differs from the previous FM 3-07, released in 2003, which treats civilian security as a secondary theme and a potential task rather than an essential component of stability operations. More important, the newer version considers the possibility that a host government may be the source of the problem or threat.
These efforts, while extremely helpful, do not form a strategic framework or fill the gaps in U.S. preparedness for genocide response. Just as military operations need to be understood as part of a broader political strategy, individual military tasks must be understood in a broader strategic framework. When a mission's goal and center of gravity are civilian protection, military leaders need to calculate choices differently than in other missions. If resources do not suffice, for example, to both defend civilians already gathered in a secure location and halt belligerents, leaders may protect those already secured and forego offensive measures. Alternatively, the protection objective may obligate military leaders to take measures to stop the perpetrators before they harm others. Leaders may need to emphasize speed and mobility as time lost can mean more civilians targeted. The absence of strategic and operational planning specific to counter-genocide operations indicates that the U.S. military does not perceive-and therefore does not prepare for-the potential for forces to be deployed with that as a primary objective.
Critical Elements of Readiness for Genocide Response
To better identify what U.S. military readiness to prevent genocide entails, and what policies may be needed to support an effective response, it is helpful to consider the process that can lead to genocidal violence. Understanding the process helps to identify the areas where such violence could be interrupted. Various plausible pathways by which mass atrocities could develop in a given setting should be described in scenarios that accompany warning analysis, as discussed in Chapter 2. This should include, for example, whether genocide is likely to develop quickly and suddenly ("volcanic"), or slowly and gradually ("rolling"). Important contextual factors-such as whether an environment for military action is permissive or hostile; the nature of belligerents and the status of the civilian population; and connections between leaders, followers, and the means of violence-should be captured in crisis response plans, as described in Chapter 4. Recognizing that specific processes will differ from case to case, Figure 1 depicts a model that can be useful as a military planning tool to identify interruption points and corresponding military options. (see PDF version for figure)
Military assets can help identify early warning indicators and describe these important contextual factors. Current U.S. capacities range from publicly known assets to classified assets, including data collection, satellite surveillance, communications interceptions, knowledge of countries and leadership, and experience with terrain and belligerent strategies. When multilateral peace operations are already deployed, joint mission analysis centers that combine civilian and military capabilities to conduct medium-to long-term threat analyses and risk assessment for local security are an other important resource. As Chapter 2 discussed, political and military leaders are more likely to be prepared to act if they receive useful analysis and intelligence that include such indicators. Such intelligence is also important for helping the military to be better aware of the characteristics of the actors, circumstances, and potential operational environment.
All this analysis should feed into a consideration of the tactics and strategies that could be employed at various stages of escalation, from an unstable state to the beginning of killing to a condition of genocide. Table 3 shows a wide range of options for responding to the potential for genocide; these options run along a spectrum from preventive efforts to defensive measures and offensive actions to longer term peacebuilding. (see PDF version for table) These categories overlap; military options may be used simultaneously and can be applied to identify potential mass atrocities, to deter such violence, and to halt genocide. In preventive mode, military capacity, along with diplomatic, economic, and political efforts, could be used to bolster the credibility of diplomacy, deter escalation of violence, and prepare for possible protection operations. For example, exercises could be held in neighboring countries and satellite technology used to gain intelligence about the perpetrators and the civilian population. (Actions such as these can be useful throughout the phases of genocide prevention addressed in this report, from early warning, to pre-crisis engagement, to preventive diplomacy.) Likewise, even after atrocities have begun, protecting internally displaced persons (IDPs) or refugee camps can be a viable option short of offensive operations; disrupting supply lines and jamming perpetrators' communications are examples of potentially useful offensive operations short of full-scale intervention.
Working with Partners
Responsibility for genocide prevention and response does not fall to the United States alone, as discussed in greater detail in Chapter 6. Although the United States employed robust military options in northern Iraq and the Balkans to halt mass atrocities, in general the United States has not led such efforts. More traditionally, the United States provides support to operations led by other nations and multinational organizations-such as the Australian-led intervention in East Timor (1999), the ECOWAS mission in Liberia (2003), and the AU mission in Darfur (2004-07)-to provide stability to conflict zones, but not designed primarily to prevent genocide at the time. Multinational peace and stability operations may already be deployed where genocidal violence threatens or erupts. Where this is the case, new forces may be needed to reinforce or replace such operations.
Five multinational organizations have authority and some capacity to use military force to help prevent and halt genocide: the United Nations, AU, NATO, European Union, and ECOWAS. Each institution has unique strengths and commitment, but none currently combines political will, international legitimacy, and operational capacity to act consistently and effectively on its own, especially if violence develops quickly. Current U.S. policy is to support international partners as a front line for addressing the prevention of mass atrocities and running peace operations, so it is important to understand and build their capacities in this area.
United Nations. The United Nations is not a military organization; its legitimacy and willingness to deploy missions to prevent conflict stem from its universal membership, the UN Charter, and the Security Council. With more than sixty years of experience with military peacekeeping operations, the United Nations is now making progress in developing tools used by states, such as doctrine, intelligence, training guidelines, and clearer leadership structures. The United Nations also has programs and policies aimed at supporting early warning, preventive actions, and political settlement of conflicts, all of which are important elements in transitioning from the use of military force to halt conflict to sustaining a stable peace.
While operational, UN peace operations are not equipped to prevent or halt large-scale violence against civilians. The United Nations' ability to organize, deploy, and manage military forces effectively is neither rapid nor comprehensive. It is overstretched, with seventeen peace operations and more than 100,000 personnel deployed, as of mid-2008. Challenges such as the uneven training and equipment of the peacekeepers sent for UN missions hinder the missions' capacity to operate in non-permissive, highly hostile environments. Those forces often come with national caveats on their role in missions including the use of force; the United Nations often faces command and control issues, as well as gaps in military intelligence capacities, communications systems, logistics, training, and other aspects of advanced preparation for complex missions.
Furthermore, the United Nations is designed to deploy military and police forces with consent of the host government, in support of a political resolution to conflict where there is a "peace to keep." As demonstrated by the struggle to convince the Sudanese government in Khartoum to allow deployment of peacekeepers to Darfur, the requirement for government consent can impede effective peace operations if the government in question is complicit in, or indifferent to, the violence taking place.
AU and ECOWAS. Both these organizations have deployed operations to help halt atrocities and to serve as peacekeeping forces. The AU, under its Constitutive Act, has authority to intervene coercively in cases of genocide or crimes against humanity. The AU has ambitious plans for a continent-wide African standby force, based on five regional forces to be ready after 2010, but needs increased preparedness, troop and police capacity, logistics and mobility, and sustainability. ECOWAS also has authority and operational peacekeeping and headquarters capacity, but like the AU, needs external partners to support, manage, and sustain effective deployments.
NATO and the European Union. NATO and the European Union are the most capable potential actors for genocide response, with some experience and willingness to lead multinational forces in areas where violence is escalating. NATO, for example, led an air campaign against Serbian forces targeting civilians in Kosovo in 1999. EU-led stabilization operations have included Operation Artemis (2003), which reinforced UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the current presence of EU forces in Chad, to provide security for humanitarian operations along the border with Darfur. NATO and the European Union are developing new force structures intended to enhance their respective readiness to undertake humanitarian operations that can include robust military power. NATO has established a NATO Response Force (NRF) with commitments from member states of land, air, and sea troops for six-month periods, to include up to 25,000 troops, trained in advance. The NRF has technological capabilities and is capable of carrying out missions across the full spectrum of military operations, including disaster response, NEOs, and early response ahead of larger, follow-on forces. The force can deploy after 5 days notice and sustain operations for 30 days or longer if resupplied. The European Union is establishing a series of Battlegroups, consisting of 1,500 soldiers each, to provide early, rapid response for stand-alone operations or as a precursor to longer term forces. The Battlegroups are meant to be deployable within 15 days with self-sustaining combat and service support for up to 30-120 days. The Battlegroups are intended to be flexible enough to take on crisis response missions and to conduct combat operations in hostile environments.
Responding to the Challenge
As discussed in Chapter 1, the president should ensure that the next National Security Strategy establishes genocide prevention as a policy priority and directs all relevant U.S. agencies-including the Defense Department-to develop appropriate analysis and plans to support U.S. and multinational organizations' efforts to prevent genocide. Further, genocide prevention and response should be addressed within the National Defense Strategy and National Military Strategy. Discussion of the military's roles and requirements for genocide response should also be included in the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR). The QDR planned for release in 2009 currently is being written without reference to genocide response; the anticipated 2013 QDR should remedy this gap.
Recommendation 5-1: The secretary of defense and U.S. military leaders should develop military guidance on genocide prevention and response and incorporate it into Department of Defense (and interagency) policies, plans, doctrine, training, and lessons learned.
The United States has multiple tools to increase policy guidance and plans. To impact regional commands, the Joint Chiefs of Staff could issue a directive requiring U.S. combatant commanders to develop plans for genocide prevention within their areas of operation. Genocide prevention could be integrated into the existing defense planning scenario for humanitarian operations, which currently contains guidance on a range of tasks related to protection of civilians. To expedite the process of developing new guidance, the scenario for humanitarian intervention could be expanded to include more specific guidance on implementing genocide prevention as a primary military objective (and called "humanitarian intervention and civilian protection.")
Military planners could develop both standing and crisis response plans that include genocide prevention as a contingency, including operational plans. This planning should be closely coordinated with the preparation of crisis response plans under direction of the NSC Atrocities Prevention Committee (APC), as discussed in Chapter 4. Such planning could take the form of either a functional plan, intended for stand-alone missions, or a branch or sequel plan, where genocide is related to other anticipated missions, such as a stability operation, disaster relief, or counterinsurgency. The latter is a venue through which military leaders could prepare for the prospect of mass violence against civilians as a by-product of other military operations. In this context, we note that the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University, in collaboration with the U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, has an initiative underway to help develop military planning tools that could inform U.S. military efforts to develop genocide-specific operational plans.
Language to protect civilians from mass atrocities should be added to the standing rules of engagement (ROE) issued by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. This would lead to the development of training and secure funding for counter-genocide operations. The United States could utilize templates of various political-military "flexible deterrent options" as a matrix for genocide prevention.
To develop military doctrine and mission guidance, the United States should support mapping out the full range of early and longer term options to prevent, deter, interrupt, halt, or defeat those who would organize and lead a genocide, both as part of a preventive strategy and as part of full-spectrum operations, to include both kinetic and non-kinetic tasks. Efforts to map genocide pathways should identify "interruption points" among leaders, followers, and the means of carrying out the violence. The military could help analyze such scenarios and develop planning models to integrate with other mission types, such as peace and stability operations. Looking at past cases in which civilians faced the threat or reality of large-scale violence, we can deduce some broad preventive strategies, both defensive and offensive, for use across progressive phases of involvement.
To enable senior U.S. officials to understand the key elements of counter-genocide operations, training and exercises should be developed on various genocide prevention scenarios and the range of military options available. War-gaming, simulations, scenarios, table-tops, and other training and planning tools could be especially valuable for identifying and planning for potential situations and challenges on the ground. These initiatives should extend and expand ongoing efforts in related areas, such as joint peacekeeping exercises conducted at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk. Further, genocide prevention should be incorporated within existing systems of lessons learned, after-action reviews, officer education programs, and other means of analyzing the experiences of U.S. military (and international) personnel in operations that involved the protection of civilians. For example, the Defense Department could interview battalion commanders and those serving under them in Iraq to record lessons learned and insights into protection of civilians. Once again, these activities should be coordinated closely with simulation and lessons learned activities of the APC, described in Chapter 4.
Responsibility for military strategic planning for potential rather than imminent operations falls to the combatant commands. These commands base long-term planning on their assessment of the security needs and risks in their areas of operations. Given its mandate to combine interagency resources to address the region's human security challenges-poverty, health crises, poor governance-in addition to more traditional, hard security concerns, the new U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) may offer an opening for the United States to enhance preparedness for genocide prevention in Africa.
Recommendation 5-2: The director of national intelligence and the secretary of defense should leverage military capacities for intelligence and early warning and strengthen links to political-military planning and decision making.
As noted in Chapter 2, the earlier the United States can recognize risks of mass atrocities, the wider the range of preventive options will be. Strengthening intelligence and early warning is especially important to avoid the false dichotomy of doing nothing or sending in a large-scale intervention. The bulk of all U.S. government intelligence assets reside in the Defense Department. These capabilities can be used, in particular, to strengthen links between indicators of potential violence and the effective use of military assets to support political strategies. For example, U.S. officials have cited difficulties both in gaining access to some areas of classified U.S. information and in leveraging it effectively. Today, governmental and commercial capacities-satellites, communications systems, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other technical assets-can help with identifying patterns as crises emerge. More active measures could help harness attention to potential mass atrocities, such as the Joint Chiefs of Staff issuing a standing order that joint task force commanders and combatant commanders report on indicators of genocide as part of their daily situation report. Integrating genocide indicators into military intelligence gathering will assist commanders in gleaning granular information on issues such as political activities, insurgent actions, crime, and civilian reactions to ongoing developments and smaller events.
Recommendation 5-3: The Departments of Defense and State should work to enhance the capacity of the United Nations, as well as the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, and other regional and subregional bodies to employ military options to prevent and halt genocide and mass atrocities.
These organizations are valuable allies in all phases of genocide response from prevention, to military intervention, to long-term peace and stability building, and the United States should work to enhance their capacity as front-line actors. The United States should support and reinforce UN and internationally led peace and stability operations, with a focus on improving efforts to protect civilians along the trajectory of genocidal violence. Support should include development of doctrine, training, and other tools to prepare organizational responses to crises, as well as training and scenario-based exercises for leadership and planning. The United States could also support enhanced use of Chapter VIII of the UN Charter-which recognizes regional organizations-to link UN authorization of designated multinational organizations or regional operations to provision of financial, operational, and/or logistical support. Resourced, mobile, and capable peacekeepers are more likely to prevent escalation of violence and stave off genocide.
One way to enhance peacekeeping capacity in the UN context would be for developed countries to increase their military contributions to UN peace operations. Bolstering UN peace operations would strengthen their effectiveness and help prevent and end deadly conflict.
Recommendation 5-4: The Departments of Defense and State should work with NATO, the European Union, and capable individual governments to increase preparedness to reinforce or replace United Nations, African Union, or other peace operations to forestall mass atrocities.
As witnessed in Rwanda and Bosnia, multinational peace operations may already be on the ground when atrocities escalate. Where violence grows, multinational peacekeeping missions could come under threat themselves and be unable to protect vulnerable populations. Such missions need rapid reinforcement if violence escalates, which is far outside the current capacity of the United Nations, AU, and ECOWAS. The European Union and NATO could incorporate this role as part of their raison d'etre, preparing both to lead counter-genocide operations and provide over-the-horizon backup for peace operations. Currently, however, such rapid reinforcement capacity exists only within a handful of western militaries. The need for backup capacity for UN forces could be remedied by creating a strategic reserve that would be drawn from countries contributing to UN missions.
Multinational or U.S. forces could reinforce or replace peace support operations overwhelmed by violence against civilians. Two critical elements are mobility and quick response. If genocide grows swiftly, both capacities are badly needed. The United States can also provide supplementary logistical and operational capabilities to institutions or countries willing to intervene in crises, as it did by providing support to Australia's intervention in East Timor. The United States should therefore work with like-minded nations, as well as the United Nations, AU, European Union, ECOWAS, and NATO to prepare for such contingencies, and to ensure that adequate guidance, training, planning, information-sharing, and coordination mechanisms are established. NATO could, for example, create a genocide prevention standardization agreement (STANAG), which would provide a conceptual basis for operations of its forces. The United States should include genocide-related scenarios in its multinational experiments (MNE) campaign, a series of seminars and military experiments designed to improve planning and coalition operations. The MNE-5 planned between 2008 and 2010 in Africa could benefit from scenarios simulating the challenges that arise when a regional conflict escalates into mass atrocities.
Recommendation 5-5: The Departments of Defense and State should enhance the capacity of the United States and the United Nations to support a transition to long-term efforts to build peace and stability in the wake of genocidal violence.
The U.S. government is increasingly recognizing that long-term support for post-conflict development is critical to sustaining security and preventing the reemergence of violence. It is also an important part of planning for the next stage after an intervention to halt genocide or mass atrocities. Just as consideration of military action must form part of a comprehensive approach to prevent or halt genocide, so too must there be a clear exit strategy in the case of intervention, and a reconstruction plan involving civilian and international partners. Continued vigorous diplomacy through intervention and post-intervention periods is critical to working out suitable conditions for the exit of military forces (for example, commitments by parties to new security arrangements).
Spurred by its experience in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has established initiatives to enhance whole-of-government capacity to support reconstruction and stabilization in conflict-afflicted nations. The United Nations, with a greater breadth of peacebuilding experience, is working to hone strategies and mechanisms for a range of post-conflict recovery activities, including the demilitarization and reintegration of ex-combatants, rebuilding states' governance institutions, and facilitating long-term economic growth. These endeavors are critical to building international capacity to enable intervention forces to exit in a smooth transition to longer term peacekeeping and peacebuilding operations. As the United States strives to enhance its own post-conflict stabilization capacity-civilian and military-it could, for example, provide U.S. personnel to serve in the headquarters of missions by the United Nations and other multinational organizations to learn from their experience and to support efforts to develop long-term peacebuilding strategies.