The U.S. Department of State is dedicated to promoting international peace. Through smart investments such as the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), we empower partners to engage in peacekeeping operations by enabling them with the skills and training needed. In Bangladesh, one aspect of this unique partnership has allowed a nation with decades of peacekeeping experience to expand its impact and share its expertise with other countries—which in turn helps multiply the number and effectiveness of peacekeepers around the world.
GPOI is the United States’ primary security assistance program for strengthening international capacity and capability to train, sustain, deploy and effectively conduct peacekeeping operations around the world. GPOI is currently assisting 53 active partner countries to establish or strengthen the institutional infrastructure required for their self-sufficiency in military peace operations training. The program also focuses on helping partner countries to develop critical peacekeeping capabilities, such as aviation, engineering, logistics, and medical support. By enhancing the proficiency of partner countries’ sustainable, self-sufficient peacekeeping capabilities and building the capacity of the United Nations (UN) and regional organizations to conduct such missions, the United States is paving the way for partner nations to enhance global peace and prosperity.
Next year, 2018, marks the 30th anniversary of Bangladesh’s participation in UN peacekeeping operations. With the help of GPOI, Bangladesh has risen to be the world’s fourth leading troop and police contributor to UN peacekeeping missions. Bangladeshi police and troops serve in ten of the current 16 UN peacekeeping missions totaling nearly 7,000 peacekeepers. During the dedication of Bangladesh’s new training hall, U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat applauded the success of the peacekeepers saying that through their contribution Bangladesh has allowed others throughout the world to attain what Bangladesh achieved in 1971—namely peace among people and freedom from fear.
Through GPOI, the State Department and U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) recently formed a partnership with Bangladesh to open a new multipurpose training facility at the Bangladesh Institute for Peace Support Operations Training (BIPSOT), including a 750 seat auditorium and additional training rooms.
PACOM Commander Admiral Harry Harris, Jr. visited Bangladesh on July 8 to participate in the dedication of the new facility at BIPSOT. “Troops need to be trained properly because peacekeeping operations in the 21st century are complex, difficult, and increasingly dangerous,” Admiral Harris said. “This facility serves as a tangible demonstration of our militaries’ and our countries’ dedication to UN peacekeeping efforts around the world.”
In 2016, the United States and Bangladesh recognized Bangladesh’s achievement of full training capability, a core GPOI objective which signals the country’s ability to independently conduct core military peacekeeping training. BIPSOT has helped Bangladesh become a global leader in peacekeeping operations by creating a facility in which knowledge and expertise can be shared with other countries who, in turn, also contribute to peacekeeping.
In 2018, BIPSOT is scheduled to play a key role in Shanti Doot 4 (“Ambassador of Peace”), the multinational peacekeeping exercise co-hosted by PACOM and the Bangladesh Armed Forces. Previous Shanti Doot exercises focused on ensuring the tactical proficiency and technical competence of peacekeepers and have included more than 1,000 participants from 16 different countries. These exercises help participant countries learn to work together and build peacekeeping skills before being sent on UN missions.
“Partnerships play a critical role in meeting global challenges, from maintaining peace to providing humanitarian assistance after natural disasters,” Admiral Harris said during the July 8 dedication ceremony. “This kind of multinational training can deepen a mutual understanding and respect, and encourage further collaboration when we do it right and when we’re committed to the mission.”
With growing global demand, it is now more important than ever to have strong, credible peacekeepers. According to Deputy Assistant Secretary for Plans, Programs and Operations, Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, “United Nations peacekeepers play an indispensable role in advancing the cause of peace and security in a world ever more burdened by violence and instability.” Furthermore, GPOI contributes to this same goal of international peace and security by assisting and empowering partner countries to deploy and effectively participate in peacekeeping operations.
About the Author: Kelly Reese serves as an intern in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs’ Office of Congressional and Public Affairs.
Editor's Note: This entry is also published on Medium.com/StateDept.