- Since the end of the Cold War, the number of crisis response operations has increased tremendously. It is fair to say that future security challenges lie not only in territorial defence but in the ability of the international community to respond to crisis situations. NATO has long recognised the importance of crisis management in European security, incorporating out-of-area crisis response missions into its 1991 Strategic Concept and reaffirming this commitment in the 1999 Strategic Concept.
- Increasingly, crisis response operations bring together more and more countries, working together. Multinationality is often considered both a military and a political necessity - militarily because resources can be combined and specialised skills utilised, and politically because it gives greater legitimacy to the operation. In addition, nations working together can learn from each other both on the professional as well as on the cultural level.
- The crisis response operation in Kosovo is an excellent example of the value of multinationality. One of the things that convinced President Milosevic in the end to accept Western demands was the large number of countries behind NATO's actions. Support was expressed in various forms ranging from participation in combat operations to opening air space to allied planes to declarations of support. Kosovo helped underscore the success of NATO's Partnership for Peace concept.
- From the outset, the Nordic NATO members have been staunch supporters of the partnership concept. The political and military benefits from co-operation with partner countries are considered to outweigh by far any inconveniences. Crisis response operations have provided the possibility to test this co-operation in the field. As this report will show, results have been very positive.
II. MULTINATIONALITY WITHIN NATO
- NATO in itself is a perfect example of multinationality. NATO was founded as an organisation for collective self-defence, in accordance with Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations. Thus the multinational approach was and is indeed the very idea behind NATO.
- For multinationality to be workable and to be able to create optimum solutions, a certain or even high degree of community spirit is necessary. This obviously also applies to NATO. First and foremost there must be shared ideas, interests and values at the political level. Furthermore, states must constrain their behaviour with a view to reaching common solutions rather than pursuing narrow national interests. In general terms, each state must be able to realise advantages derived from international co-operation that are perceived to be greater than if the state did not take part.
- Within NATO multinationality is applied at the political as well as at the military level. Obviously, both the political and military structures of NATO reflect this. The basic structures of NATO - the North Atlantic Council, Military Committee, Secretary General, International Staff and International Military Staff - are all multinational as a matter of principle. The establishment of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) and the PfP and the adaptation of New Strategic Concepts in 1991 and again in 1999 have certainly reinforced the multinational aspects of NATO. The multinationality of the top layers of NATO is unquestionable.
- NATO's command structure has always been multinational with commanders and staff personnel drawn from various member countries. When it comes to the force structure, the multinational aspect has increased over the years. The first multinational corps, LANDJUT in Rendsburg, was created in the 1960s. Since then, a great number of multinational or combined formations and forces of all services, most notably army formations, have been created by the NATO countries. Most of the army corps in Europe today are multinational formations, but multinationality can also be found at lower levels. One example is the Allied Command Europe Mobile Force (NATO's Immediate Reaction Forces), a joint formation, that is composed of air force elements and battalion-level units from various countries.
- The basic multinational concept of NATO and the decreasing number of forces in Europe reinforce the international trend towards multinationality. Indeed, new multinational corps are being established, the most recent being Multinational Corps Northeast, or MNC (NE). Following agreement between Germany, Poland and Denmark, Multinational Corps Northeast was established in 1999 with its headquarters located in Szczecin, Poland. The agreement between the three nations on the MNC (NE) reflects these new times. The missions of the formation also foresee that the corps headquarters should be able to function as a land component command in peace support operations and in disaster relief roles. Furthermore, the corps could become a vehicle for co-operation between NATO and non-NATO countries in the Baltic area. By integrating non-NATO countries in various ways, the corps points towards new roles for the army corps of NATO, which used to be reserved solely for the purpose of defending the territories of NATO countries.
III. NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN NATO
- NATO is committed to a broad approach to security. Political, economic, social and environmental factors form a complex multidimensional security environment to which NATO must adapt in order to maintain peace and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area. NATO does not seek out the benefits of stability for its members alone but is committed to extend these to all members of the Euro-Atlantic community. In doing so the Alliance is guided by the principles of engagement and involvement. The New Strategic Concept adopted at the Washington Summit in April 1999 by NATO defines enhancement of security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic area as one of four fundamental security tasks of the Alliance. As a means to handle this task NATO will rely on active engagement in crisis management and promotion of a wide ranging partnership involving all countries in the Euro-Atlantic area.
- In order to add substance to these overall objectives, the summit in Washington also adopted a comprehensive package for an enhanced Partnership for Peace. The package contains a political/military framework for NATO-led PfP-operations, which will enable close participation of partners in the planning and execution of activities. Another component is the expanded and adapted Planning and Review Process (PARP), which aims at harmonising partner defence planning with that of NATO. Included in the package is also the Concept for Operational Capabilities, which aims to improve practical interoperability between NATO and partner forces. It is fair to say that this new PfP-package will broaden the multinational approach to peace and stability in Europe.
IV. MULTINATIONALITY IN CRISIS RESPONSE OPERATIONS
- It is recognised that non-operational partnership, including co-operation and dialogue, is a process involving all military levels, ranging from individuals to large military formations. However, multinationality at lower levels between NATO countries - and between NATO countries and partner countries - in real operational deployment is viewed with some suspicion. It has been noticed that some NATO countries prefer not to mix below the level of brigade, while a majority of both NATO and partner countries find it almost impossible to have multinationality at battalion and lower levels.
- This poses a problem for many nations who do not have the resources to deploy battalion-size units and, therefore, find participation in international operations difficult. This non-participation creates a two-fold problem: It results in a smaller number of nations that possess the necessary resources to bear the burden of crisis response operations, and reducing the number of participant nations reduces the perceived legitimacy of the operations.
- National units can and will be the most effective choice in many operations. For instance, there are no language problems, no differences in mentality, or lack of equipment interoperability. On the other hand multinational units can, as mentioned earlier, be attractive for a number of reasons. Multinationality at lower levels allows smaller nations to participate in operations. It allows nations in general to participate in more operations, stretching their resources, including - very importantly - its personnel. A large number of nations participating increases the legitimacy of an operation as well as the force protection. Last but not least nations in a multinational unit can learn from each other both on the professional as well as on the cultural level. In other words, multinationality at lower levels could offer advantages for both smaller and larger nations.
- Experience, most recently from KFOR, shows that nations participating with troops in multinational operations must allow their forces to be used in a flexible manner within the whole area of operation. Troops that operate under very strict national rules are of less use to the multinational force commander and could eventually turn out to pose a problem instead of being part of the solution.
V. MULTINATIONALITY AT LOWER LEVELS
A. BACKGROUND ON THE DANISH EXPERIENCE
- Over the years since the end of the Cold War, Denmark has gained some experience in the field of multinational co-operation in crisis response operations, especially during its deployment to Bosnia and Herzegovina, since many elements and units from the three Baltic countries have been deployed with the Danish battalions over the years.
- The first contingent from the Baltic Battalion (BALTBAT) - the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian peace operations battalion established in 1994 - completed its six-month deployment with the Danish Battalion (DANBN) in the SFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 13 April 1999. A second Baltic contingent (BALTCON 2) was subsequently deployed and remained in the mission until October 1999, when it was replaced by a third Baltic contingent (BALTCON 3). The Danish Battalion, with its Baltic contingents, was part of the Nordic-Polish Brigade within the Multinational Division (North). The Danish Battalion has, after the Nordic-Polish Brigade was dissolved at the end of 1999, been amalgamated with the Polish Battalion to form the Nordic-Polish Battle Group. New agreement was achieved between Denmark and the Baltic States on rotation of sub-units from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania within the Danish contingent in SFOR. Three units, in turn, will participate in the SFOR operation until August 2001.
- BALTCON is equipped with personal equipment, including rifles, from BALTBAT stocks. All functional and unit equipment, including armoured personnel carriers (M113), anti-tank weapons, machine guns, radios, etc., is provided by Denmark. To ease the deployment task and minimise additional costs and logistic problems, BALTCON also utilises Danish infrastructure, logistics capacity, communications and heavy equipment already in place in the mission area. Conversion training on Danish equipment is carried out as part of the pre-mission training. Other assistance has been rendered by the United States (logistic back-up for the M16 rifles and personal equipment, airlift), Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Norway (strategic airlift).
B. ASSESSMENT OF PRE-MISSION TRAINING
- BALTCON 1 and 2 adapted well and their performance improved as a result of the pre-mission training. More detailed co-ordination between the many parties involved would have enabled the host unit, the trainers and the Baltic personnel to have prepared more effectively. The required starting standards should have been clearly defined in advance; for instance, the need for appropriate drivers' licenses, authorisations for medical staff, and English-language requirements. Early decision-making would have enabled better preparation of the first contingent.
- Building upon the lessons learned from BALTCON 1, the pre-mission training of BALTCON 2 initially concentrated on improving commanders' background in Danish tactics, procedures, leadership, etc. The direct interaction between the Danish Battalion in SFOR and the regiment in Denmark where pre-mission training was carried out was intensified in order to make the training more mission specific. These adjustments proved to be highly relevant.
- Shortcomings in the English language have had a direct bearing on the ability to assimilate training and have placed additional demands on the trainers (and subsequently on the host unit in the mission area). Problems were also encountered with certain specialist functions (e.g. logistics) where core activities (including information technology software) is based on Danish language. Where possible, such specialist training is now conducted on a more "on-the-job" basis.
C. ASSESSMENT OF ACTUAL DEPLOYMENT
- Both BALTCON 1 and 2 have performed well. Lessons learned from BALTCON 1 have been fed back into the system. Not surprisingly, the Danish Battalion has had to make a number of adjustments that would not have been necessary with national (Danish) units - a greater focus on English language being an obvious example. The battalion has had to conduct all intelligence, operational and civilian/military co-operation (CIMIC) matters in English. The Danish Battalion introduced continuous English-language training to BALTCON 2 personnel in the mission area, and this has facilitated closer integration and improved effectiveness.
- Performance of HQ and support elements. In the battalion headquarters, the effectiveness of Baltic staff officers dealing with personnel administration and logistic matters has been limited by the fact that regulations existed in Danish only. Baltic staff officers are now given the opportunity of serving in relevant positions at brigade level, where the working language is English, which has proven successful. Staff officers dealing with intelligence, operational and CIMIC matters have not met the same obstacles and have been fully able to undertake their responsibilities in the battalion staff. Lack of necessary security clearances for Baltic personnel working with classified material has constituted an additional limitation on effectiveness.
- The high degree of integration pursued in the HQ and support sections is unique. It has been successful because of the commitment shown by all parties. In general, it is considered that the number of soldiers integrated into a platoon should not exceed one-third of the original strength; otherwise the additional effort required would be likely to hamper the effectiveness of the unit in its daily work.
- Performance of the infantry company (B-COY). B-COY has been given an own area of responsibility and the same general operational tasks as Danish counterparts. On arrival in the mission area, the individual soldiers and NCOs were highly skilled and fully trained up to section level. But further experience has been seen as necessary at platoon and company level. B-COY has conducted continuous training in the mission area to maintain battle drill and live-fire skills.
- In peacekeeping operations, some deficiencies in operational command and control can generally be accepted because the units have the necessary time to properly plan and prepare. But such flexibility may not be available in the "sharp end" of the peace support operations spectrum, where reinforcement and combat support requires a high level of interaction between platoon commanders to ensure precise and adequate fire support. Deficiencies in this area can be seen to be a general problem and are factors to consider in all multinationality at this level.
- Rotation. The deployment of BALTCON 1 took place in October 1998 - two months after the rotation of the main body of the Danish battalion. The main advantage of this was that the Danish Battalion had experienced units already in place when BALTCON 1 arrived. Furthermore, when the Danish Battalion rotated the next time in February 1999, BALTCON 1 was able to act as the experienced unit - thereby providing continuity. The main disadvantage with this model has been the fact that the incoming Baltic contingent has been unable to participate in battalion pre-mission training (including exercises at battalion level) and thus has not been integrated in the Danish Battalion prior to deployment. Balancing the pros and cons, the staggered deployment is still considered most advantageous and has been successful in practice. The deployments have shown that continuous training in the mission area during calm and stable periods has further increased the common understanding of procedures and tactics. These activities include joint patrolling, site inspections, etc.
D. LESSONS LEARNED
- In summary, Danish officers who worked with BALTCON as part of the Danish Battalion in Bosnia and Herzegovina cite the following lessons learned:
- Importance of pre-mission preparation, including liaison with host unit.
- Importance of familiarity with doctrine and procedures used in the mission.
- Multinational integration at battalion level and below can work well in a permissive environment provided that the necessary input is made and other pre-conditions are met.
- The effectiveness generally increases in accordance with national homogeneity. Within the permissive environment of SFOR, it was seen that organic units of company size or above with their own national commander are most effective.
- A hostile environment places the highest priority on faultless command and control and produces the greatest challenge for low-level multinational formations.
- Commanders need to accept responsibility and to exercise initiative. Providing integrated units with their own area of responsibility worked well. Units must be stable under stress and able to make decisions.
- Co-operation, tact, reliability and determination are essential attributes in a multinational environment.
- Integration of staff officers in operational positions is of advantage to all parties. Placing officers and NCOs in administrative positions and integration of individual soldiers is less cost-effective.
- Overlapping host and partner deployments provides continuity, but the opportunity for pre-mission training in the higher level formation is lost.
- The formation of a liaison and advisory team from the host unit helps facilitate successful integration. Effort is required from all parties.
- Appropriate English-language skills are needed at all levels.
- Continuous training in mission area should be used to maintain skills.
- Review and feedback enable implementation of lessons learned.
E. CONCLUSION ON THE DANISH EXPERIENCE
- The Baltic contingents so far deployed with the Danish Battalion in SFOR have performed well. This is due both to the skills and commitment of the Baltic personnel and to the fact that the contingents have been well integrated into the host unit and that all involved have been committed to the operation.
- Important lessons have been learned - in particular the need for effective co-ordination and preparation - and have been fed back into the deployment process. Adjustments to pre-mission training following BALTCON 1 have had a very positive effect on training and have further raised operational capabilities. Further attention to appropriate "starting standards" would reduce the time and cost of pre-mission training and facilitate effective integration. The importance of adequate English-language skills should be highlighted as an essential asset at all levels in a multinational environment. Many of the lessons learned are of general relevance when considering multinationality at any given level.
- The significant degree of logistic and administrative support provided by Denmark and other supporting states involved in the BALTBAT project should be noted. But it should not detract from BALTCON 1 and 2's good performance in the mission area. The previous training of BALTCON personnel within the framework of BALTBAT has contributed to the good results of the deployments.
- The significant depth of integration involved between BALTCON and the Danish Battalion should also be highlighted. Multinational co-operation at this level has rarely been seen before. Despite the cultural and linguistic differences, it has worked well due to the good basic military skills and the mutual respect, commitment and consideration shown by those involved. Integration has required an additional effort for the Danish Battalion, but, as a result, the battalion has been able to maintain its operational effectiveness. Indeed, its operational capacity has improved as the additional assets have enabled it to conduct routine operations and exercises on a larger scale than would otherwise have been possible.
VI. EXPERIENCES OF OTHER NORTHERN COUNTRIES
- German officials believe that multinationality is an expression of international solidarity and shared convictions. The multinational commitment of armed forces contingents in crisis operations increases the level of political legitimacy, guarantees credibility that crisis operations are aimed at conflict resolution, makes it possible for nations to take part in missions and at levels of leadership that would no longer be possible on a purely national basis, and has a positive influence on the public perception of missions.
- Multinationality leads to an expansion of military capabilities, lower risks, expanded mission options, effective use of military resources, and increased cost-effectiveness. Redundancies can be avoided by means of task-sharing, role specialisation, or formation of "pools".
- Armed forces working together in multinational formations differ with regard to military capabilities, mission principles and procedures, equipment, training, knowledge, and experience. Different languages, religious attitudes, cultures, values, as well as economic and social circumstances have an effect on multinational co-operation. Equipment, materiel, mission principles and procedures need to be standardised. The development of NATO standards as well as uniform mission principles and procedures have helped to promote multinational co-operation. Special importance needs to be attached to the interoperability of command and control systems, a common terminology, and a common working language.
- The process of different partners growing together can be time-consuming. It requires sensitivity to the interests of partner nations and an ability to accept compromise. Training in preparation for missions and multinational exercises, in particular staffs comprised of multinational personnel, accelerate the integration process. However, the limits of multinationality are reached where the effectiveness of a mission is threatened or where dependency on others is detrimental to national decision-making and freedom of action.
- In peaceful situations significant numbers of German military forces have been involved in a large number of multinational armed forces formations in various organisational forms of multinationality. This facilitates co-operation and integration in multinational missions. German experience with SFOR and KFOR shows that the integration of national battalions and units in multinational brigades is possible and effective. In individual cases this includes the integration of smaller units from other nations in German troop contingents (e.g. the integration of two ALB security patrols in the German SFOR contingent). Multinationality in crisis operations up to the battalion level is being worked towards with the creation of a multinational CIMIC unit by 2001 by eight NATO countries: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Poland.
- Crisis operations are taking place more than ever in multilateral structures. There is no general rule for determining up to what level multinationality is possible and effective in crisis operations. This has to be assessed on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the specific conditions under which a given crisis operation is carried out. The principle that needs to be followed in this context is that multinationality must not weaken military effectiveness but rather strengthen it.
- Poland has been active in multinational peacekeeping operations since 1953, contributing to a total of 39 peacekeeping missions conducted under auspices of the UN, NATO, OSCE and the EU. Currently, Poland participates in 13 peacekeeping missions, including KFOR and SFOR, with 2,645 soldiers and army staff serving in the operations which are currently conducted. In terms of the number of soldiers engaged in peacekeeping missions, Poland ranks fifth in the world.
- The Polish Army units have participated in the peacekeeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995. As a result of restructuring of SFOR in January, a Nordic-Polish Battle Group (NPBG) was established, encompassing the Polish Military Contingent SFOR, with up to 300 soldiers and Polish Army staff. The Polish SFOR contingent is stationed in the town of Doboj. It consists of two airborne companies, the National Munitions Element and the personnel in the supra-battalion structures.
- The Polish contingent in KFOR has been stationed in Kosovo (Kacanik and Strpce communes) since June 1999. It consists of an operational battalion, the National Munitions Element and the personnel in supra-battalion structures - up to 800 soldiers and civilian staff of the Polish Army. A Lithuanian platoon consisting of 30 soldiers has been deployed in Kosovo as part of the Polish Military Unit in KFOR. In terms of operations, the Lithuanian platoon is subordinated to the commander of the Polish contingent. The costs of food and accommodation of the Lithuanian platoon are borne by the Polish side. Since 27 November 1999, the commander of the Polish contingent has also been the operational commander of the 37th Ukrainian infantry company (108 soldiers).
- In July, the Polish-Ukrainian battalion took over the tasks of the Polish military unit in KFOR. The Polish Military Contingent included in the Polish-Ukrainian Battalion in the International Forces in Kosovo consists of up to 600 soldiers and civilian staff. POLUKRBAT has joint command and battalion staff, as well as some support sub-units. A Polish officer is the commander of POLUKRBAT.
- The units delegated from the Armed Forces of the Republic of Poland to participate in peacekeeping missions have been so far formed into companies or battalions. The experiences indicate that the form of a battalion is more functional, because of the ability to operate independently and to solve logistic problems. Permanent units have a much greater operational value than those organised just for the purpose of a given operation.
- In the Polish experience, the type and the size of multinational forces depends on the nature of the operation:
- for peace-enforcing operations - national level not lower than a brigade;
- for peacekeeping operations - national level not lower than a battalion;
- for other operations (natural disasters, etc.) - national level not lower than a company.
- Norway has been involved in a total of 33 different United Nations or NATO peace operations. Since August 2000, Norway has been involved in seven peace operations around the world, including KFOR and SFOR.
- From the Norwegian point of view the main advantages of multinationality are:
- cost effectiveness, by enabling smaller countries to deploy units that can function within a larger military formation;
- experiences from a multinational and multicultural environment may have a positive influence on the co-operation in possible future allied operations in Norway;
- greater understanding between different nations;
- better English-language skills;
- NATO-led operations give particularly valuable experiences as NATO procedures are exercised.
- The main disadvantages seem to be:
- different national rules and regulations may hamper common operations, especially when non-NATO countries are involved;
- language barriers may cause misunderstandings;
- differences in cultural background could make the mission more complicated;
- multinational units are often set up at a late stage, normally after deployment. The low level of common training tends to reduce the effectiveness of the operation;
- lack of common procedures, in particular as regards non-NATO nations;
- different standards of equipment may pose logistical challenges.
- According to the Norwegian experience, multinational manoeuvre units (e.g. infantry units) below the battalion level have not proved to be cost effective or particularly suitable for the purpose of the operation. This is partly due to different procedures as regards command and control, as well as different tactics and general standards. For other kinds of units (e.g. military police) multinational constellations below the level of battalion have worked well. The experiences drawn from the co-operation within the Nordic-Polish brigade in Bosnia are very positive.
- Norwegian officers have concluded that the degree of multinationality seems to be closely linked to the intensity of the operation. As a rule, one might say that the degree of multinationality should be in inverse proportion to the intensity, since the danger of misunderstanding increases in a high intensity situation, where rapid action is needed.
D. BALTIC STATES
- In addition to the BALTCON experience with Denmark in SFOR discussed above, much of the experience of multinationality in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania has been in co-operation with one another through formations like the Baltic Battalion and, in the naval realm, the Baltic Squadron (BALTRON). The three countries also have their own individual experiences, such as the Estonian contingent in the Italian Multinational Specialised Unit in KFOR. In addition, Estonian Rescue Force personnel have participated in NATO training programmes as part of its preparation to participate in NATO humanitarian and search and rescue operations by 2005. The Assembly's Annual Tour this year visited the three Baltic countries, and members had a first-hand opportunity to learn more about multinational co-operation in the region.
- BALTBAT was established in 1994 by the three countries not only to enhance their defence capabilities, but also to demonstrate their willingness to co-operate in multinational operations. The unit is based on NATO standards and operating procedures, so at the same time the three countries are working with one another, they also are improving their ability to work with NATO. The battalion is composed of national infantry companies from each of the three countries, plus a multinational headquarters and support company and a logistics company.
- BALTRON brings together one vessel from each country, plus a staff and support vessel, largely for multinational exercises in the Partnership for Peace programme. The squadron focuses on mine hunting (there are still numerous mines from the two world wars in their waters) and dealing with possible environmental threats.
- Other multinational initiatives in the three countries are BALTNET, an integrated air surveillance system that is an outgrowth of NATO's Regional Airspace Initiative, and the Baltic Defence College, a staff-level graduate school based in Tartu, Estonia, and headed by Danish Brig. Gen. Michael Clemmesen.
- The Baltic experience with multinationality is on a much lower level than that of most countries. BALTBAT numbers just 666 personnel, and the largest national unit is a rifle company. The commander of the unit, Latvian Lt. Col. Guntis Porietis, said this poses some challenges to him; for example, his 107-man logistics company is made up of personnel from all three countries, and they are based in their home countries, making co-ordination difficult. Officers and NCOs are enthusiastic about learning English, which enables the battalion to work together, but many soldiers study the language reluctantly. Interoperability is focused on language, radios and command training standards. In sum, however, Baltic defence officials are enthusiastic about the progress made by the BALTBAT and how it has enabled their militaries to develop elite units able to work together with NATO forces in Balkans peacekeeping operations.
VII. GENERAL FINDINGS
- Multinationality has both political and military advantages. Politically, multinationality should be seen in the wider context of Euro-Atlantic integration. It provides opportunities for partner countries to familiarise themselves with NATO concepts for preparing and carrying out crisis response operations. It promotes transparency and confidence-building through practical co-operation. It could be said that partnership and multinationality in crisis response operations in themselves contribute to greater security in the Euro-Atlantic region. In addition, the perceived legitimacy of an operation grows with the number of nations participating.
- Another advantage of multinational operations is that they enable military resources to be combined, and commanders can take advantage of different national specialisations. Multinationality also enables smaller nations to participate in crisis response operations, thereby decreasing the burden on larger nations. It allows nations to participate in more operations by reducing the strain on their resources, particularly personnel. In addition, nations working together can learn from each other both on the professional as well as on the cultural level. This experience can no doubt have a positive effect on co-operation between nations in other areas than the military field.
- Looking closer at the military findings, it has proved essential to minimise national restrictions put on the utilisation of troops in the area of responsibility. It is especially important that the multinational force commander can use all force within the whole area of operations and that the forces can participate in the various forms of operations.
- It is also important that multinationality does not weaken military effectiveness but rather strengthens it.
- The Danish/Baltic experience shows that multinationality in crisis response operations at battalion level and below is possible and that effective multinational units can be created. It requires good will, good language skills, and a lot of work both prior to the actual deployment and during the deployment.
- Multinationality at battalion level can offer very good value when it comes to deployment in a permissive environment, i.e. in a follow-on peacekeeping environment like the present situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Providing time for pre-deployment training and unit building is essential. Thus multinationality at battalion level is a distinct possibility when a situation has been stabilised.
- The Norwegian experience shows that the degree of multinationality seems to be closely linked to the intensity of the operation. As a rule, one might say that the degree of multinationality should be in inverse proportion to the intensity, since the danger of misunderstanding increases in a high-intensity situation, where rapid action is needed.
- Also the Polish experience shows that the type and the size of multinational forces depends on the nature of the operation. According to Poland one could set up the following guidelines for multinationality:
- for peace-enforcement operations - national level not lower than a brigade;
- for peacekeeping operations - national level not lower than a battalion;
- for other operations (natural disasters, etc.) - national level not lower than a company.
- Not least, it should be noted that the utilisation of multinational battalions will allow larger nations to reduce their commitments to ongoing operations. Units that are withdrawn can then recover and train, allowing them to be available for redeployment for peace operations or rapid deployment into other operations in a more hostile environment. This is important because when it comes to operations where deployment within days may be of utmost importance and combat is possible, emphasis must be put on the deployment of national battalions.
VIII. THE WAY AHEAD
- The experience of Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland and the Baltic countries in Bosnia and Herzegovina suggests that individual NATO nations might consider setting up arrangements with a number of PfP nations that would allow those nations to participate in international peace operations. For example, smaller countries could contribute forces at the company level to a battalion led by individual NATO nations. While this report has been limited to the experience of the Northern European countries, the experience of other NATO allies could also prove useful to the Alliance as it seeks to integrate partner countries in future multinational crisis response operations.64.
- Based on advice from NATO National Military Authorities, NATO member nations could consider preparing programmes, for instance under the Operational Capabilities Concept, to train and possibly also prepare to equip military personnel and units from PfP countries to allow for smooth and effective deployment. Such an initiative would enhance the reaction capabilities of individual NATO countries and the Alliance as a whole.