Since 1945 the United Nations has developed important but imperfect tools for conflict prevention, management and resolution. One key tool, peace operations (or what the UN continues to call peacekeeping), can be defined as
the deployment of international military and civilian personnel to an area of conflict,
with the consent of the main parties to the conflict,
acting impartially and using force primarily in a defensive manner, in order to:
(1) stop or contain conflict; (2) help implement a peace agreement; and/or (3) rebuild war-torn societies.
Peace operations typically have one or more of the following components: peace-making (negotiation to reach a ceasefire or peace agreement), peace-building (developing the physical and social infrastructure for a sustainable peace), humanitarian assistance (keeping the population alive while a peace is being worked out), traditional peacekeeping (observing and separating combatants, providing security), peace enforcement (bringing recalcitrant parties into compliance, usually by applying armed force). Usually, peace operations occur near the end of a conflict, but preventive deployments can occur even before a conflict has broken out (e.g., Macedonia 1992-1998) and some peace operations find themselves stuck in the middle of a raging conflict (e.g., Bosnia 1992-95).
Peacekeeping has experienced remarkable successes (e.g., in Cambodia, Central America, Mozambique, East Timor) and difficult failures (especially in 1993-95 with missions in Somalia, Bosnia, and Rwanda). The majority of operations have been mixed successes.
Can this instrument of the international community be made more effective? Dr. Dorn specializes in how information, intelligence and technology can be used to increase early warning, situational awareness and rapid reaction in UN operations. In particular, high-tech monitoring technologies have potential to vastly increase the UN's capacity but they have been rarely used.
Dr. Dorn briefed UN member states in the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C34) and the leadership of the UN's Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) on ways to improve the UN's technological capability, offering concrete recommendations, some of which have been implemented. His DPKO-commissioned work, Tools of the Trade? Monitoring and Surveillance Technologies for UN Peacekeeping (pdf), was tabled by DPKO to the C34, as well as presented orally (PPT). In its 2007 report (para. 45), the C34 welcomed the study, which then formed the basis for several UN projects. In 2011, Dr. Dorn published a book on the subject: Keeping Watch: Monitoring, Technology and Innovation in UN Peace Operations.
This initiative to improve peace operations is continuing, with new opportunities for academic insight and international service being explored.
PRESENTATIONS (PPT in pdf)
All publications on peace operations
Themes in peace operations
Give the Peacekeepers Tools They Need (National Post op-ed) (html)
High-tech peacekeeping (html) (pdf)
Keeping Watch: Monitoring, Technology & Innovation in UN Peace Operations (html link)
PERSONAL EXPERIENCES IN THE FIELD
RESOURCES & REFERENCES WORKS
Doctrine (Manuals) on Peace Operations (Canada, UK, UN, US)
PUBLICATIONS BY OTHERS
Bruls, Fred, Human Security Intelligence: Implications of its Complexities for Peace Support Operations In the 21st Century, 80 pp. (pdf).
This excellent Masters' paper by Major Fred Bruls of The Netherlands puts forward and explores the new concept of Human Security Intelligence, and how it can form a new and important approach to intelligence in peace operations. As shown, a whole range of new factors need to be taken into account beyond the traditional security indicators. I (Dr. Dorn) had the honour of serving as the supervisor for this Master of Defence Studies research project.