Friday, December 17, 2010
I was recently involved in a project to research and examine lessons learned on the law enforcement elements of the U.S.'s experiences in Panama, Colombia, and Kovoso, printed by the U.S. Army's Strategic Studies Institute as a PKSOI Paper. I'm not usually in the practice of hawking the things I work on in this forum, but I'm doing so for this one because I think it is an important topic that is often overlooked. In fact, that's one of the lessons we drew during this study. The U.S. has some experience doing this stuff in the past 20 years, but we act like the police elements of our operations are only important once we're in the middle of ops and that whatever the current operation is will be the last time we have to worry about it. Exhibits A and B being Iraq and Afghanistan, the latter of which we're still trying to figure out how to make work. And it doesn't appear that any of the lessons we have learned from these two wars are going to be institutionalized. These three case studies provide some good examples of what right looks like, how to fix a problem that's been identified, and some things not to do. I think this paper should help get the ball rolling on building the discussion of improving our ability to deploy police and raise indigenous police forces, hopefully beyond the handful of great theorists and practitioners currently involved who have been fighting this fight for some time with little support. Anyway, here's the blurb from the SSI website:
Law enforcement (LE) aspects have been an increasingly prominent feature within the U.S. Government’s (USG’s) commitment to international operations. Beyond the deployment of police personnel to interim policing missions, LE agencies may also be involved in international operations to enforce U.S. domestic law; for capacity building; and/or in support of U.S. military forces. This analysis examines lessons from three operations: Panama (1989-99), Colombia (1989-Present), and Kosovo (1998-Present). This analysis was supported by an extensive range of interviews and in-country field research in Colombia and Kosovo. The lessons learned were developed and validated in a series of workshops with subject matter experts. The results show the pervasive and complex role that law enforcement and related issues have played in contemporary international operations. Despite the unique circumstances and history of each operation, there were key findings that are common to all operations considered and have implications for broader USG law enforcement efforts in support of current and future international operations.