Diplomats and Military Partner To Train and Equip Peacekeepers

November 18, 2010
UN Woman Peacekeeper Watches Vessel in Tyre, Lebanon

About the Author: Andrew J. Shapiro serves as Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs.

As the Department's primary link with the Pentagon, the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs is uniquely positioned in realizing Secretary Clinton and Defense Secretary Gates' vision of more effective integration of diplomacy, development, and defense in U.S. foreign policy. A key example can be found in how State and the Department of Defense work together to meet the growing global demand for soldiers, police officers, and diplomats to serve on international peacekeeping missions stabilizing some of the world's most challenging hotspots through our Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI).

This year at the UN General Assembly, both President Obama and Secretary Clinton emphasized the importance of reinvigorated peacekeeping operations in support of millions of people around the world struggling to stop the violence and work towards recovery in their countries.

"These missions can help contain and resolve conflicts that otherwise would engulf nations and regions," Secretary Clinton said during a special UN Security Council Summit on Peacekeeping September 23. "They can help prevent fragile states from becoming failed states and sources of wider instability. And they can help struggling countries start on the road to becoming productive partners."

To further this goal, the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs recently co-hosted the Sixth Annual GPOI Worldwide Conference in cooperation with the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Staff. The event brought together experts from across State and DoD, including five DoD Regional Combatant Commands (AFRICOM, CENTCOM, EUCOM, SOUTHCOM, and PACOM) to review current efforts and develop new proposals to further strengthen U.S. support for peacekeeping.

The United States has long been the world's top financial contributor to UN peacekeeping operations, providing on average more than one quarter of the international organization's budget to support more than 116,000 "blue berets," military, police, and civilians working to secure the peace and protect at-risk populations in 16 peacekeeping missions around the world.

In addition to this financial support, another key component to what we do is increased attention to "capacity building," or matching countries willing to provide military personnel for peacekeeping missions with the training, equipment, and support needed to get the job done. That's where GPOI comes in.

Launched following the 2004 G-8 Sea Island Summit in support of the G-8 Action Plan to Expand Global Capability for Peace Support Operations, GPOI currently provides training and other peacekeeping capacity building support to 59 partner countries and regional organizations, almost half of which are located in Africa.

While GPOI was initially envisioned to train and equip 75,000 foreign troops to serve as peacekeepers, it has already trained and equipped nearly 140,000 personnel. More than 110,000 troops from 29 GPOI partner countries have deployed to 19 UN, African Union, and other regional peace support operations around the world.

Earlier this year, we began building upon GPOI's success by launching the program's Phase II (running from Fiscal Years 2010 to 2014), during which we are shifting our focus from direct training by U.S. trainers to activities that increase the self-sufficiency of GPOI partners to train peacekeepers on their own. By doing so, GPOI will further multiply the number of future peacekeeping forces and empower partner countries to strengthen their own roles in the shared global challenge of increasing and sustaining peace.

It is in all of our interests to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of peacekeeping, and I am proud of how State and DoD are working together to make it happen. Through GPOI, increased diplomatic efforts to mediate conflicts, and U.S. engagement at the UN to further strengthen peacekeeping capabilities, the United States is ready now more than ever to do its part to promote peace.



Florida, USA
November 18, 2010

Gene A.B. in Florida writes:

Any training done by American military personnel should be accomplished within the United States on active military training facilities. Our people don't get dead or disabled that way and we create more jobs for Americans.

South Korea
November 23, 2010

Palgye in South Korea writes:

Casualties caused by the bombardment of North Korea and sad. However, the regional state of North Korea know that is monitored 24 hours podeuleun. Wrong? And, in a 30-minute launch time will be needed. Wrong? Simply, North Korea, even China, so their stance against, as a last resort ....?

However, the shelling of the South and North Korea to get away from the ruling party thinks is an absolute crisis. The Government of Korea for illegal activities and tax burden, the North Koreans removed the transfer of power to the forces of disgruntled complaints about the opportunities and the economic crisis to the outside ....

Wondering what is the truth. Simply, if the corresponding attack, attack from North Korea need to think. ,,,,, My thoughts while watching the news, but too complicated for the end of hard to think.

People's lives and property should be protected as a priority above all think.

New Mexico, USA
November 23, 2010

Eric in New Mexico writes:


Ideal "regime replacement therapy" is conducted without firing a shot.

Whether that be replacement of North Korean regime's mindset or not, one may entertain the hypothetical that such involves China and a million men crossing over the Yalu River to effect a north Korean mind of "resistance is futile" as China seeks to feed the people in the wake of removing the dictator.

If the Young-un is sincere is stating his nation "needs food rather than bullets", then a peaceful reunification awaits the replacement of the present status quo.

There you have the best possible option left on the table if China's mind be willing to engage it, and seeks to earn the thanks and respect of nations.

I'm sure China will have all the support the international community can provide them if they are convinced it is in China's national security interest to resolve this long standing crisis.



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