Peacekeeping and Counter-insurgency - Two of a Kind?

Published: 18 Aug 2011

This article demonstrates that there are more similarities between peacekeeping and counter-insurgency than often recognized. In today's ‘war among the people’, the counter-insurgent cannot succeed with offensive military capabilities alone and must seek to apply also non-kinetic and defensive methods; whereas the peacekeeper often is forced to apply ‘robust’ and kinetic means to implement a mandate. As a result, the two concepts seem to be converging and share some commonalities. The article compares the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations ‘capstone doctrine’ and the US Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual to argue that the two doctrines share similarities in six areas: (1) a focus on civilian solutions; (2) a need for protection of civilians; (3) international coherence; (4) host-nation ownership; (5) use of intelligence in support of operations; (6) limitations on the use of force. The article suggests areas where the two doctrines could mesh with each other.