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Thread: Mass Atrocity Response Operations

  1. #21
    Council Member Harry Phillips's Avatar
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    Mark,

    I very much agree that such an effort is warranted. MARO's leadership has to determine if such an effort is possible...I think Stephen Marrin and Kris Wheaton would jump at the opportunity to explore this subject...Kris has already told me as much. It would greatly enhance the project in my professional opinion.

    Harry

  2. #22
    Council Member Cavguy's Avatar
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    You may want to contact the Stimpson Center for International Peace on the subject, they're doing a study on genocide prevention you may be interested in. Ms. Victoria Holt is leading it, she gave an interesting interview session here at Leavenworth about two months ago. Several high-profile individuals are participating.

    One of her points in discussion with me was that the UN has really cleaned up its peacekeeping act the last few years organizationally. The problem is overcoming the negative perceptions from the failed 1990's interventions.
    "A Sherman can give you a very nice... edge."- Oddball, Kelly's Heroes
    Who is Cavguy?

  3. #23
    Council Member Harry Phillips's Avatar
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    Thanks,

    Tori is very well informed about the MARO project. I last spoke to her just before her trip to Addis.

    FYI: My last active duty assignment was as the UN's military planning officer for south Sudan and Darfur. I spent two years working for DPKO in New York, with UNMIS and AMIS in Sudan/Darfur, and with the AU in Addis. The planning I did set the stage for UNAMID...now let's see how it gets executed.

    Harry



    Harry

  4. #24
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Blog paper added

    Link goes to a lengthy paper on preventing genocide and appropriate to add here: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=7061

    davidbfpo

  5. #25
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    Default Mass Atrocity Response Operations

    Mass Atrocity Response Operations: A Military Planning Handbook, 5 May 2010

    A Collaborative Effort Between the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and the US Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute.
    A Mass Atrocity Response Operation (MARO) describes a contingency operation to halt the widespread and systematic use of violence by state or non-state armed groups against non-combatants. The term MARO is not yet enshrined in military doctrine—but it should be. The United States does not currently recognize mass atrocities as a unique operational challenge, and there is no operational concept or doctrine that might help commanders understand the dynamics and demands of responding to mass atrocities. As a result, the US is not fully prepared to intervene effectively in a mass atrocity situation. This Military Planning Handbook is guided by the core belief that the nature of mass atrocity, and the focus of a mission to stop it, means that a MARO presents unique operational challenges requiring careful preparation and planning. This Handbook aims to create a shared understanding of the specific and even unique aspects of mass atrocities and a common military approach to addressing them.....
    There is an existing thread on this subject:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=5598
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-07-2010 at 12:01 AM. Reason: Add cross reference to main thread

  6. #26
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    Default Mass Atrocity Response Operations Project

    Mass Atrocity Response Operations: A Military Planning Handbook, 5 May 2010

    A Collaborative Effort Between the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and the US Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute.
    A Mass Atrocity Response Operation (MARO) describes a contingency operation to halt the widespread and systematic use of violence by state or non-state armed groups against non-combatants. The term MARO is not yet enshrined in military doctrine—but it should be. The United States does not currently recognize mass atrocities as a unique operational challenge, and there is no operational concept or doctrine that might help commanders understand the dynamics and demands of responding to mass atrocities. As a result, the US is not fully prepared to intervene effectively in a mass atrocity situation. This Military Planning Handbook is guided by the core belief that the nature of mass atrocity, and the focus of a mission to stop it, means that a MARO presents unique operational challenges requiring careful preparation and planning. This Handbook aims to create a shared understanding of the specific and even unique aspects of mass atrocities and a common military approach to addressing them.....
    Copied to this existing thread.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-07-2010 at 12:03 AM. Reason: Copied to here from a new thread

  7. #27
    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Wired picked up on this -

    When the Pentagon released its master strategy document earlier this year, the document contained an interesting phrase: The military needed to focus on “preventing human suffering due to mass atrocities or large-scale natural disasters abroad.”

    The insertion of that line into the Quadrennial Defense Review marked a paradigm shift: Previous versions of the strategic plan included no such references to stopping “mass atrocities” as a military imperative. It was a quiet victory for advocates of a new vision of U.S. national power that would make genocide prevention a military priority.

    Read More http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010...#ixzz0nHv2b84a
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 05-08-2010 at 12:39 AM. Reason: Replaced italics with quote marks
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  8. #28
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default USA responds with an Atrocities Prevention Board

    This is the thread I know of on genocide / atrocities, if there's is a more recent one let me know. (Added) Maybe some of the issues have been covered in this newer thread 'Responsibility To Protect' aka R2P:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...&highlight=R2P

    I've not seen any other reports so hat tip to the UK-based blogsite Open Democracy and their article opens with:
    In a speech at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) on 23 April 2012, President Barack Obama launched a "comprehensive strategy" to "prevent and respond to atrocities". He has charged his new Atrocities Prevention Board (APB) with "helping the US government identify and address atrocity threats, and oversee institutional changes that will make us more nimble and effective".
    Link:http://www.opendemocracy.net/martin-...ity-prevention

    After the initial post (above) courtesy of a FP Blog emailing there are two points of view:http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/...pisrc=obinsite and http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/...ard_a_chance_0

    Zenpundit has a commentary, try this for a critique:
    The Atrocity Prevention Board is a great sounding bad idea that represents an impossible task in terms of Ways, unaffordable in terms of Means and unacheivable in relation to Ends. (Later) This is a bureaucratic brief for global micromanagement by the United States that makes the Bush Doctrine appear isolationist and parsimonious in comparison.
    Link:http://zenpundit.com/?p=8197
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-27-2012 at 02:23 PM. Reason: Gradual completion
    davidbfpo

  9. #29
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Not that either of them is concerned...

    I rarely agree with Stephen Walt but generally do agree with Zenpundit. In this case, both of them have it right. That APB should have an All Points Bulletin issued to be killed on sight...

  10. #30
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    Default Whither the Atrocities Prevention Board?

    As mentioned in this SWC post,

    From "At Water's Edge" (which accords with Anne-Marie Slaughter) Whither the Atrocities Prevention Board?:

    Back in August, President Obama signed into existence PSD-10, a Presidential Study Directive on Mass Atrocities. When it was first released, PSD-10 was well-received by liberal interventionists and those who believe that preventative diplomacy and coordinated action can head-off mass killings, Anne-Marie Slaughter and myself included. ...
    ...
    ... The Directive determined that an interagency study, led by the National Security Advisor, would be complete within 100 days, to determine the full mandate and make-up of the body, as well as its processes. The resulting Atrocities Prevention Board was to begin its work 120 days after the signature of PSD-10, on August 4, 2011. It has now been 147 days.

    Since August 4th, precisely nothing has come out of the White House on the matter. There have been no stories written, in the mainstream media on the development of the Board since late August. None. Nothing on interagency squabbles that would prevent its creation, nothing on how close it is to launch, nothing on how David Pressmanís War Crimes, Atrocities and Civilian Protection directorate at the NSC is proceeding. Nothing.
    That was posted on December 29, 2011 (BTW: David Pressman and George Clooney are friends).

    From Human Rights First:

    DNI Testimony Reiterates Administration Priorities on Genocide Prevention
    2-10-2012
    By Crimes Against Humanity Program

    Last week, a little-noticed passage on mass atrocities made its way into the Director of National Intelligenceís (DNI) annual testimony to Congress. The passage reaffirmed the Presidentís proclamation that the prevention of mass atrocities and genocide is a core U.S. national security interest and moral responsibility, and committed the U.S. intelligence community (IC) to play a significant role in the forthcoming Atrocities Prevention Board.
    The personnel appointed to the board and its staff will show its direction, since they will shape its findings and proposed COAs. As the President stated in the Directive:

    In the face of a potential mass atrocity, our options are never limited to either sending in the military or standing by and doing nothing. The actions that can be taken are many: they range from economic to diplomatic interventions, and from non combat military actions to outright intervention. But ensuring that the full range of options is available requires a level of governmental organization that matches the methodical organization characteristic of mass killings.
    The President appointed Samantha Power, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, as chair. Nuff said.

    Regards

    Mike

  11. #31
    Council Member J Wolfsberger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    I rarely agree with Stephen Walt but generally do agree with Zenpundit. In this case, both of them have it right. That APB should have an All Points Bulletin issued to be killed on sight...
    And as Zenpundit so succinctly put it: "This is not likely to end well."

    During the Balkan Wars and Rwandan Genocide in the 90s I was infuriated by the moral posturing of various political factions who clearly felt that expressions of disapproval and armed note taking were appropriate and effective responses to mass murder. This just institutionalizes the posturing.

    I will be shocked if this APB turns out to accomplish anything more than allowing D.C. insiders and their friends to feel good about themselves, with the occasional small scale troop action thrown in when domestic political concerns indicate a distraction is needed to move the poll numbers.
    Last edited by J Wolfsberger; 04-27-2012 at 06:16 PM.
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  12. #32
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default What does the APB do? A response

    The following text is from a SWC reader, who was responding to Post 26 and the first linked article (written unlike the others by a non-American):
    The author raises serious considerations but appears to be off track with respect to the intent for the APB. Reading between the lines, one can construe this article as a criticism of preventive warfare policies or more specifically a diatribe against perceptions for the potential for military adventurism to take place. I do not agree with the criticism Here is my view.

    First and foremost: Despite an almost unwavering disregard for the concept of R2P by the international community's military establishment, the APB is about just that. Call it what you will, genocide, mass atrocity, ethnic cleansing or what have you, the fact is that the concept of R2P is central to whatever kind of collective or unilateral response that takes place.

    Secondly: There should be concern over the likes of the Samantha Powers and Susan Rice types in the world who promote the use of force in support of R2P, (from an emotive standpoint vice a calculated standpoint) without adequate consideration beforehand for issues such as collateral damage, vital national interests, and, how much force is necessary to get the job done along with the associated resources to do so.

    Third: Idealism v. Realism - We have to consider that R2P is dangerous and dirty. It is not a clean, clinical, academic treatment sanitized of the goriness of war. It is about the tactical use of force, and all the inherent ugliness that controlled military violence brings, in support of protecting civilian populations at risk. In my view, R2P runs counter to the aims of civil society in the short term but clearly supports those aims in the long term.

    Fourth: Clearly, from a purely historical context, there has been a lack of political will to engage on behalf of threatened populations using military force. Political inertia / indecisiveness and competing national interests contribute to a mindset of wanting to wait to see how things unfold before commiting to any type of substantive action. Just think in terms of what took place in Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur, and Myanmar.

    Fifth: So what is the reality? The APB in my view is another feel good measure championed by idealists who harbor disdain for the use of military force and bemoan the use of military force in support of national interests, despite the fact that R2P emanates from the deepest most rudimentary core of human values. As such, they percieve those values as being somehow poltically manifest, and aligned with western values, without due consideration for the amount of violence that even the most minimal of military interventions entails.

    In summary: The article is purely judgemental and speculative without consideration for the true purpose or intent of the APB -- establishing a mechanism to effect R2P collectively when required. The APB is an outgrowth from perceptions of political malfeasance and a need for personal as well as political atonement (aka Romeo Dallaire) as a result of mass atrocities which took place in the late Twentieth Century. The reality is that the APB will not drive military decision making in some constructive manner unless the collective western military establishment changes its views on R2P. In the meantime, innocent people will continue to die, cultures will continue to be lost, and national interests may or may not evolve to incorporate humanist interests as they related to the senseless killing of innocent civilians.
    davidbfpo

  13. #33
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Interesting

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    The following text is from a SWC reader, who was responding to Post 26 and the first linked article (written unlike the others by a non-American):
    Your quote contains this summation:

    ""The reality is that the APB will not drive military decision making in some constructive manner unless the collective western military establishment changes its views on R2P. In the meantime, innocent people will continue to die, cultures will continue to be lost, and national interests may or may not evolve to incorporate humanist interests as they related to the senseless killing of innocent civilians.""

    For the first phrase I extracted, I would certainly hope that the collective western military establishment does not change it's views. If they did and start intervening more often, that's the most likely way I can think of to kill more innocent civilians...

    As an aside, he mentions Romeo Dallaire -- I am not a fan, not least because he fans this foolishness...

    For the last thought in that extracted paragraph above -- as it was in the beginning, is now and forever shall be...

  14. #34
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Ken,

    I had the good forturne to spend a bit of time with Sen Dallaire last December. I picked him up at the airport and shared a couple of meals and conversations over a 2 day period. I agree with you regarding R2P, and shared my concerns with him. As you can imagine, his position on this is deeply personal and heavily shaped by his frustrations over his experience in Rwanda. But being ordered by people far away to stand by and do nothing while atrocities unfold around you and the unit you command is far different than a policy of launching our nation into the middle of every problem regardless of how small our interests or knowledge of why the conflict is hapneing are.

    An honorable man of deep conviction. I believe you would be a fan of the man.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

  15. #35
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Mixed feelings...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob's World View Post
    An honorable man of deep conviction. I believe you would be a fan of the man.
    You may well be right. My current attitude however, is based on my strong personal penchant for turning off my radios...

    Add deep distaste for meddling and one can develop some negativity.

    Having said that, I'm also very much aware that one never knows in advance when or if one will indeed turn them off or go ahead and do the unpalatable and then have to live with the result.

  16. #36
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Turning off my radios...

    Ken White has just commented above:
    turning off my radios..
    Is that today an option for a unit commander? My question only applies to Western armies; who often have multiple means of communication and redundancy.

    A "touch of Nelson" I think is out of date. There are enough people here who have "boots on the ground" experience to comment.
    davidbfpo

  17. #37
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Question Turning off radios...

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Is that today an option for a unit commander? My question only applies to Western armies; who often have multiple means of communication and redundancy.
    Sadly you're correct -- it is no longer an option. Or at least it's a more hazardous option in several respects due to that redundancy and excessive micromanagement. I knew that when I made the comment, I made it to signify an attitude, knowing those days were gone and you correctly understood that.
    A "touch of Nelson" I think is out of date. There are enough people here who have "boots on the ground" experience to comment.
    Though I do not believe you're equally correct in that. However, I do acknowledge -- again sadly -- that many will agree that you are. Fortunately for us all, there will always be a few who just get things done in spite of bureaucratic and risk averse impediments. Who dares, wins -- and those who do not dare don't know what they're missing.

    Times change, people adapt -- but all change is not necessarily an improvement and hewing to the rules is not always assured, desirable or even sometimes possible...

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  19. #39
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Forecasting genocides

    Hat tip to the Australian Lowy Institute:
    Last Wednesday Sydney University academic Ben Goldsmith presented to the Lowy Institute his research on forecasting genocides.

    After examining data from the early 70s onward, Goldsmith and his fellow researchers found four key factors that determine countries at high risk of genocide: infant mortality, the incidence of previous genocides or 'politicides', the percentage of the population serving in the military, and the incidence of political assassination.
    The paper is on:http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.c...act_id=2027396
    davidbfpo

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    Did this project make any progress?

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