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I. Introduction
II. Definitions
III. United Nations Peacekeeping: Background on U.N. Peacekeeping Operations
IV. United States and Peacekeeping
V. Suggested Reading List
VI. Footnotes

I. Introduction

In the early days of the Bush administration, peacekeeping operations were largely seen as peripheral to US national interests. The post-9/11 strategic environment and the challenge of post-conflict stabilization in Afghanistan and Iraq, however, have given renewed interest and importance to peacekeeping in Bush foreign policy. With weak states a potential safe haven for international terrorists, the stability of failing and failed states is no longer perceived as peripheral to U.S. national security interests. A November 28, 2005, Department of Defense (DOD) directive designates stability operations, including peacekeeping and related post-conflict operations, as "a core U.S. military mission."1

Yet more than a decade of reluctance to deploy American military forces on peacekeeping missions has not been reversed. In 2007, the US provided 26 percent of the U.N. peacekeeping operations budget, but contributed a meager 0.37 percent of total U.N. peacekeeping force.2 The Bush administration has also sought and achieved substantial reductions in the U.S. military presence in Bosnia and Kosovo. At the same time, the Bush administration has proposed a five-year, multilateral Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) to prepare other, primarily African, nations to participate in peacekeeping operations. Thus, while the United States makes a substantial financial contribution to U.N. peacekeeping operations, few American military or civilian personnel participate directly in these missions.

II. Definitions

A. Conflict Prevention: Long-term conflict prevention addresses the structural sources of conflict in order to build a solid foundation for peace.  It is largely a low-profile, diplomatic initiative. 

B. Peacemaking: With conflict in progress, peacemaking attempts to bring an end to hostilities by means of diplomacy and mediation. Peacemakers may be envoys of governments, groups of states, regional organizations or the United Nations, as well as be unofficial and non-governmental groups.

C. Peacekeeping: Traditionally, peacekeeping involved the observance of ceasefires and force separations following inter-state wars. Within the last several decades, the tasks of peacekeeping have grown more complex, with both military and civilian leadership working together to build peace in the aftermath of civil wars.

D. Peacebuilding: The aim of peacebuilding is to provide a foundation for a lasting peace.  Its tasks include reintegrating former combatants into civilian society, strengthening the rule of law (for example, through training and restructuring of local police, and judicial and penal reform); improving respect for human rights through the monitoring, education and investigation of past and existing abuses; providing technical assistance for democratic development (including electoral assistance and support for free media); and promoting conflict resolution and reconciliation technique.

Source: Brahimi Report, The Report of the Panel on UN Operations (2003),

III. United Nations Peacekeeping: Background on U.N. Peacekeeping Operations

Table 1: Background on U.N. Peacekeeping Operations since 1948

UN Peacekeeping Operations
Total UN peacekeeping operations since 1948 63
Active UN peacekeeping operations 17
UN Peacekeeping Personnel
Uniformed personnel 82,451
Countries contributing uniformed personnel 119
International civilian personnel 4,857
Local civilian personnel 11,443
UN volunteers 1,986
Total personnel serving in UN peacekeeping operations 100,595
Total fatalities for all UN peacekeeping operations since 1948 2,415
UN Expenditures on Peacekeeping Operations
Approved resources for FY 2008 ~$5.29 billion
Estimated total cost of Peacekeeping Operations from 1948 to 30 June 2007 ~$47.19 billion
United Nations Department of Public Information (30 November 2007),

Table 2: Active U.N. Peacekeeping Operations

Active U.N. Peacekeeping Operations

IV. United States and Peacekeeping

A. Contribution Financially-the Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA)

  • In 2007, the US provided 26 percent of the UN peacekeeping operations budget (see;

    Figure 1: Top Twenty Contributors to UN Peacekeeping Budget

    Top Twenty Contributors to UN Peacekeeping Budget
    Click to enlarge
    UN Peacekeeping Fact Sheet,

  • On February 5, 2007, the Bush administration requested in its FY2008 budget $1,107,000,000 to pay U.S. assessed contributions to U.N. peacekeeping operations in the State Department's Contributions to International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA) account. The CIPA request included $34,181,000 for the two war crimes tribunals (Yugoslavia and Rwanda) that are not peacekeeping operations.

  • Bush also requested $221,200,000 in voluntary contributions for the FY2008 Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) account to finance, inter alia, U.S. contributions to the Multilateral Force and Observers (MFO), a non-U.N. operation, and other U.S. support of regional and international peacekeeping efforts. The MFO implements and monitors the provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty of 1979 and its 1981 protocol, in the Sinai. See Marjorie Ann Browne, "United Nations Peacekeeping: Issues for Congress," CRS Report, RL33700 (September 17, 2007). Available at

B. United States Contribution Militarily

  • The United States accounts for approximately 0.37% of the total U.N. peacekeepers deployed on operations.
  • US troop contribution to U.N. (as of January 2008):
    • Police: 293
    • Military observers: 16
    • Troops: 11
    • Total contribution: 320

    Figure 2: Top Twenty Contributors of UN Uniformed Personnel
    Top Twenty Contributors of UN Uniformed Personnel

  • C. The U.S. Military in Peacekeeping Operations

    1. Debate over force size-how many troops are needed for peacekeeping operations?
      Higher Force Levels for Longer Time Periods Promote Successful Nation-Building

    2. Debate over force structure-what type of military force?
      • The traditional structure of the Army was built around fighting divisions of 9,000 to 17,000 men and women. These divisions were then divided into three brigades of combat forces and separate units of combat support personnel, including artillery, engineer, military police, signal, and military intelligence. Military analysts, however, have suggested that the overall force might be restructured to include more of the specialized units, such as civil affairs, psychological operations, and military police, required for peacekeeping.
      • In addition, as the Army performed increasing numbers of small-scale peacekeeping missions over the last decade, analysts noticed that such operations were built around one or two "maneuver brigades" (of 2,000+ to 3,000+ troops) with command and support elements drawn from divisional headquarters and elsewhere in the Army. Analysts have therefore recommended formalizing such arrangements by creating rapidly deployable and autonomous maneuver brigades for peacekeeping.

        Source: RAND, Assessing Requirements for Peacekeeping, Humanitarian Assistance, and Disaster Relief, 1998, available at

    3. Debate over cost-how much foreign aid?

      Foreign Aid per Capita During the First Two Years

    Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI)

    • The Bush administration also requested $95.2 million in FY2008 funds for the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), a multilateral, five-year program with planned U.S. contributions of some $660 million from FY2005 through FY2009. Its primary purpose is to train and equip 75,000 military troops, a majority of them African, for peacekeeping operations by 2010. See Nina Serafino, "The Global Peace Operations Initiative:
      Background and Issues for Congress," Congressional Research Service Report, RL32773 (June 11, 2007). Available at

    V. Suggested Reading List

    Marjorie Ann Browne, United Nations Peacekeeping: Issues for Congress(Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 5 July 2006), available at

    Anthony H. Cordesman, The War after the War: Strategic Lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan (Washington, DC: CSIS Press, 2004).

    James Dobbins et al., The UN’s Role in Nation Building: From the Congo to Iraq (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2005), available at

    James Dobbins et al., America’s Role in Nation-Building: From Germany to Iraq (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Publishing, 2003), available at

    William Durch, ed., UN Peacekeeping, American Policy, and the Uncivil Wars of the 1990s (New York: St. Marin’s Press, 1997)

    David M. Edelstein, "Occupational Hazards: Why Military occupations Succeed or Fail," International Security,Vol. 29, No. 1 (Summer 2004), pp. 49-91.

    Robert C. Orr, ed., Winning the Peace: An American Strategy for Post-Conflict Reconstruction (Washington, DC: CSIS Press, 1994).

    Bruce R. Pirnie, Corazon M. Francisco, Assessing Requirements for Peacekeeping, Humanitarian Assistance, and Disaster Relief (Santa Monica, CA: RAND, 1998), available at

    Nina M. Serafino, Peacekeeping and Related Stability Operations: Issues of U.S. Military Involvement (Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 27 March 2006), available at

    VI. Footnotes

    1. Department of Defense (DOD), Directive on Military Support for Stability, Security, Transition, and Reconstruction (SSTR) Operations, Directive 3000.05 (November 28, 2005).

    3. Source: Brahimi Report, The Report of the Panel on UN Operations (2003),

    5. Source: RAND, Assessing Requirements for Peacekeeping, Humanitarian Assistance, and Disaster Relief, 1998, available at

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