Book Excerpt from “Resourcing the National Security Enterprise” (Chapter 6)

In chapter 6, “Resourcing Partners and Allies,” of Resourcing the National Security Enterprise: Connecting the Ends and Means of US National Security, Rebecca Patterson gives an overview of how the United Nations plans, budgets, and implements peace operations around the world. Patterson specifically focuses on the role the US government plays in the formulation of peace operations’ mandates and the negotiation of their budgets, highlighting the unique challenges of working in a multilateral setting. Below, Patterson discusses what US policy makers should do as they seek out more effective and more efficient peacekeeping missions: 

As US policy makers seek more effective and efficient peacekeeping missions, they should be aware of two key elements: when change is possible and what is the source of US leverage. The primary obstacle to a more rational alignment of ends and means for UN peacekeeping is the multilateral nature of the United Nations, which requires compromise between very divergent national interests and is a reflection of the politics of the international system itself. Nowhere is the division between states more apparent than between those that undertake the actual peacekeeping and those that pay for it. The US should carefully consider when UN peacekeeping is the appropriate policy tool and use its unique position on the UNSC to advocate strongly to constrain or encourage intervention depending on the circumstances.

In those instances where there is a clear logic for a UN peacekeeping intervention, the US has the opportunity to amplify its voice by taking the “pen” on the original mandate. The penholder has the greatest opportunity to impact mission size, its tasks (and therefore its budget) and reporting requirements—all factors essential to aligning means and ends. In instances where the US is not the penholder, there are still opportunities for changes in mission tasks, their prioritization, and the size of the uniformed force as the mandate renewal arises. The US has experienced mixed results with assessing and strategizing one mission at a time—it could be more impactful if the peacekeeping enterprise were considered holistically to better align the tradeoffs between missions when it comes to resourcing.”

Resourcing the National Security Enterprise: Connecting the Ends and Means of US National Security by Susan Bryant and Mark Troutman is available in hardcover, paperback, and digital editions. It is part of the Cambria Rapid Communications in Conflict and Security (RCCS) Series (General Editor: Dr. Geoffrey R.H. Burn).

Rebecca Patterson is a Professor of Practice and Associate Director of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University. A retired US Army lieutenant colonel, Dr. Patterson has served as the Deputy Director in the Office of Peace Operations, Sanctions, and Counter Terrorism at the Department of State. She holds a PhD from The George Washington University and is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is the author of The Challenge of Nation-Building: Implementing Effective Innovation in the US Army from World War II to the Iraq War.