Peace Missions' Technical Security: Towards a Security Culture for Enhanced Peacebuilding Effectiveness

Master's Thesis, 2012

71 Pages, Grade: 65


Table of Contents



List of Abbreviations

Chapter 1 Introduction

Chapter 2 Technical Security in Peacebuilding Missions
2.1 Introduction
2.2 History
2.3 From Baghdad to Algiers
2.4 Present and Future

Chapter 3 Conflict AvoidancePositive Methodologies
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Qualitative Flexibility
3.3 Professional Experience and Positive Attitude
3.4 Exposing the Negative to Reach the Positive
3.5 Qualitative Combination
3.6 PotentialChallenges

Chapter 4 Mission'sPracticalSecurity Methodology

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Enriching Security Departments

4.2.1 Promoting Personnel Participation in Security

4.2.2 Setting-up Interactive Training

4.2.3 Change Security Image

4.2.4 Humour

4.2.5 Approach and Outreach

4.2.6 Applying Flexibility without Compromising Security

Chapter 5 Towards Conflict-free Mission Environment
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Better Internal Coordination
5.3 Managerial-Political Support
5.4 Everybody's Business



Peacebuilding missions are organizational structures in emergency environments or post-conflict areas working to restore and maintain stable peace. The specificity of the geographical or political instability makes it necessary for these entities to count on with technical security departments in charge of securing the well-being of staff members and protecting programmes and assets. To effectively perform these tasks, mission internal security departments produce a set of security regulations comprised in three different operational blocks: security plans, security standard operation procedures and contingency plans, and risk and threat assessments. These norms are then communicated, trained on, and enforced to all mission staff members.

Often staff members in peacebuilding missions disregard security regulations, either conscious or unconsciously, causing secondary negative effects on mission's operations, perceptions, and relations, and slow down or even stop programmes. Often, as well, technical security departments employ a larger amount of time to enforcement than required due to lack of compliance with security policy.

The aim of this study is to present a set of methodologies at the operational, perceptual, and relational level that implemented and coordinated by missions' technical security departments could positively support and enhance missions' performance in security and safety, but extrapolated to peacebuilding activities and mandate objectives.

It is understood and explained that security regulations can affect the operability of a mission, in the sense that it can slow down and restrict programmes, especially in high risk environments. Therefore, the focus is placed in peacebuilding missions with a moderate risk level, defined in the United Nations language as Security Phases one and two.


This work would not have been possible without the effort of a myriad of people. Among them I would like to express my gratitude to Professor Alp Özerdem and Professor Alan Hunter, for their coordinating skills and scholar kindness. Also to Dr. Sung Yong Lee for leading me towards the light at the end of the tunnel from early stages and providing constant support at different programme levels. Thanks to Fellow Researcher Chas Morrison for taking the time to help me put in place the initial bits and bobs collected along my research.

I would like to thank the Imperial War Museums, especially the London and North museums, because their permanent exhibitions Crimes Against Humanity and Al-Mutanabbi Street: a Reaction, contributed to clarify perspectives and shape opinions valuable for this work. As well to Coiste political tours, as their perspective helped develop my critical thinking.

My gratitude goes towards Kristiina Juutinen, who raised a glass of champagne to toast with me at the completion of this dissertation.

Finally, I thank my mother for her never ending encouragement, support, and patience.

List of Abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

1 Introduction

Security is defined as “the state of being free from danger or threat.”1 Maslow refers to the human need for safety away from threat and danger, from the early stages of infant life (1943: 376), placing it on the second lowest level of his famous hierarchy of needs pyramid,2 where security is considered only less prevalent than physiological needs like breathing, eating, drinking, or sleeping. Parallel to security, Oxford dictionary as well defines risk as “a situation involving exposure to danger,” and management is “the process of dealing with or controlling things or people.” Having defined separately these terms, organizational security and risk management refers to the institutional ability to control and alleviate the potential losses it will lay it selves open to while operating in hostile environments or simply suffering from unfavourable activities (MacAdams 2004)3. When these organizational structures are placed in peacebuilding contexts, the risk to different threats exposure increases and internal security departments become protagonists in ensuring safety for staff, assets, and programmes. Finally, peacebuilding organizational structures are generally placed in post­conflict, natural disaster, or emergency relief needed areas, and their commitment refers to preventing, resolving and transforming violent conflicts into stable peace (CPRS 2011)4. As Keohane and Wallander discuss, a combination of the defined terms bring down to the actors of this study: peacebuilding organizational missions’ security management departments or institutions (2002: 89) and its regulations, and the staff, assets, and programmes affected by the actions and the regulations of the first actors5.

There are a significant number of occasions when staff members deployed in peacebuilding missions omit security regulations affecting their professional and, in cases, personal daily routines. The avoidance to follow rules is conscious in some cases and unconscious in other situations, but the final result affects the exposure to threats of staff members, mission assets, or programmes, separately or simultaneously, increasing its vulnerability to significant higher risk level and impact should an incident happen (Young 2010: 47).

The reasons for mission personnel to exclude security regulations can be as varied as the psyche of human beings. But for the purpose of this study and to limit its scope, the researcher disregarded negative factors that would lead a staff member to avoid following security regulations and focused on positive methodologies who would reinforce attitudes and approach staff members towards common objectives, while working on mission and personal security.

As a nineteen years security and law enforcement professional, the researcher has witnessed considerable number of situations and locations recurring phrases thrown out mainly in times of personnel discontent, either in field operations or headquarters: “security [department] is too strict, and won’t let this mission work” or “security regulations are too tight, we can’t do ourjob.”6 These types of sentences and the like have double connotation when used: from one side they carry complaints towards the strictness of regulations and its enforcement; on the other side bear a subtle message of criticism towards the department in charge of producing and enforcing them. The result of this criticism is likely to produce a professional confrontation, if not an interdepartmental one.

This study aims at effectively propose methodologies to security departments to apply in their activities with peacebuilding missions' personnel through different levels: operational, perceptual, and relational. At the operational level, the study will develop into training and personnel participation techniques; the perceptual level will work on change of image, and inclusion of humour into daily activities; on the relational level a focus will be given to approachability through outreach techniques. Although there might be a general perception and, perhaps, misconception in the peacebuilding arena that security regulations become barriers for operational aspects in peacebuilding missions, this study does not aim to contradict this statement, but to provide a forum for positive and interactive methodologies that would approach contending elements towards unified operations, perceptions, and relations in peacebuilding professionals.

However, this study acknowledges that high risk missions like Afghanistan, Iraq, or Sudan’s security regulations (in part or totally, depending on threats) do affect the pace of programmes’ implementation, and cause disruption to operations (UN 2012)7. Therefore, the aim targets those missions where risk and threat levels range from level one (precautionary) to level two (restricted movement)8, as these levels permit to develop regular mission activities (WFP 2002: 307). A focus on high risk missions would be ineffective for the purpose of this dissertation.

The final aim of this study is to combine the previously described methodologies and set up a common ground between security departments' personnel and the rest of peacebuilding missions' personnel, where the objective is to respect peacebuilding missions' mandates in safe working environments, and provide ideas for establishing domains where staff members can develop their professional and personal tasks with the safety required. The implementation of the methodology in an interactive manner would be responsibility of security departments with the acquiescence and voluntary participation of all parties involved. In fact, it is not an aim of this study to prove personnel accusations against security departments of “not letting them perform effectively due to high security regulations” wrong.

The study, particularly at the analytical level will be supported by the researcher's professional experience throughout his career with the United Nations Interim Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Mission in Kosovo (OMIK), the European Union Election Observation Mission in Mexico (EU-EOM), and the European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia (EUMM).

The topic chosen is relevant to the overall topic of peacebuilding as security is the current basis for the elaboration of policies, the deployment of missions to post-conflict areas, and the constant concern for states and institutions involved in stabilization and normalization processes. On the more technical term of security and risk management, it is the professional department in peacebuilding missions that deals with internal security policies, risk and threat assessments, security plans, the enforcement of all, and in summary, the care and precaution for the well being of staff members, assets, and programmes. It is a combination of all these aspects that made the subject of this study of large importance for the researcher, as it is his professional occupation for the last thirteen years since the beginning in August 1999 when joining the UNMIK as Civilian Police Officer. Since then, different positions held in different post-conflict and non-post-conflict areas as security manager and law enforcement liaison officer have shaped his career and developed an understanding for integration of staff members into the role of security in peacebuilding missions. The researcher has found that participation is crucial for the success of security departments, as it engages all staff members in tasks and routines that are specifically developed for their own well being. But as well, it is of enormous benefit for the peacebuilding process as it provides higher efficiency to all departments and offices if security regulations are properly followed. It professionalises mission personnel as security is a daily subject that concerns to all staff members and not only security professionals. Moreover, security could be the common link to bring together mission members from different departments, who otherwise may not communicate, through trainings, rehearsals, common security projects like warden structures, and drills.

The application of all these methodologies and techniques in an interactive and coordinated manner would only benefit peacebuilding missions, their operations, their staff security and, in principle, their self knowledge and internal communication and relations.

Finally, a correct implementation of the suggestions provided in this study, would hopefully lead to peacebuilding missions internal conflict-free environments and enhanced peacebuilding effectiveness, which would permit deeper focus on mission mandates and overall objectives.

2 Technical Security in Peacebuilding Missions

2.1 Introduction

The United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) is the main example of a technical security institution in the peacebuilding arena, defining its mandate as the “responsible for providing leadership, operational support and oversight of the security management system to enable the safest and most efficient conduct of the programmes and activities of the United Nations System.”9 (UNDSS 2012).

2.2 History

The United Nations participate actively since its creation in 1945 in peace operations. The first major peacekeeping operation was sent to Egypt in 1956. But it is the end of the Cold War era what triggered a succession of peacebuilding missions sent to different areas of the world to stop civil conflicts, establish solid peace, and prevent return of further violence (Paris 2004: 38). These missions grew in number and size after the first post Cold War era, with its first mission sent in 1989 to Namibia, becoming more professional and experienced. As missions grew, so did the attacks against UN personnel and assets, making it necessary to establish technical security departments that would deal with threat response and, gradually, with risk10 prevention. UN had then a security management system supervised by the United Nations Security Coordinator11 (UNSECOORD), whose office was responsible for the management of the security in the field. Parallel to the Office of UNSECOORD, the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) had established its own security management team in the field, alongside to the civilians who performed their duties in hazardous areas. As well, each of the UN headquarters throughout the world had independent security teams, as well as the International Tribunals established in The Hague and Arusha.12

On 19 August 2003 a truck loaded with explosives was driven into the compound of the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, where the UN had its Mission in Iraq headquarters. The explosion killed twenty two people, among them the Special Representative of the Secretary General Sergio Vieira de Mello, and injured more than one hundred and fifty. A few days later, a subsequent explosion at the same facilities killed another two people and injured nineteen. These events were the alarm to start seriously realizing that the UN was at risk and that further attacks would take place regardless of the geographical location (UN 2003)13.

Following the bombings the UN integrated in a period over one year the different security departments throughout the world, except those belonging to the International Tribunals14 which are currently semi­independent although with specific agreements related to functional dependency. The UN General Assembly Resolution A/RES/59/276, XI, 7 from 23 December 2004 created the UNDSS, which started operating on 1 January 200515.

However, the risks for the UN did not evaporate with the integration of the different security departments into one. On 11 December 2007 a bomb exploded at the UN offices in Algiers, Algeria, killing a total of thirty one people and injuring one hundred and seventy seven. These two attacks were the major terrorist events targeting the UN since its conception, although a third incident provoked as many UN victims as the previous: the earthquake that struck Haiti on 12 January 2010. For the purpose of this study only the two attacks are being taken for further study and analysis.

2.3 From Baghdad to Algiers

The attacks to the UN in Baghdad and Algiers not only caused victims and raised alarms inside the organization, they triggered investigations on the incidents and the management structures, and produced reports setting accountability and giving recommendations for avoiding and preventing potential similar incidents. These reports are cornerstones for the present study.

The Report of the Independent Panel on the Safety and Security of UN Personnel in Iraq was presented on 20 October 2003 to the UN Secretary-General Kofi A. Annan. The panel was led by the Finnish ex President Martti Ahtisaari, and therefore the report was known as the Ahtisaari Report.15 It contained assessments to the existing security systems in Iraq and exposed a set of findings and provided recommendations. The main findings were: the failure of the UN security department to provide satisfactory safety and security to UN personnel in Iraq; the existing UN security management system was incapable to provide assurance to UN personnel in missions of high risk like Iraq; there was absence of accountability for the managers' decisions regarding personnel security. The main recommendations were: reform the UN security management system; set up accountability chain for security and safety decisions and positions; set up a new approach in the UN regarding security in high risk missions (UN 2003).

The Report of the Security in Iraq Accountability Panel (SIAP) was presented on 3 March 2004 to the UN Secretary-General Kofi A. Annan. The report was a mere investigative exercise that pointed out responsibilities and failures by specific UN officials, focusing on the following areas:16 security department chain of command failures and accountability; the UN decision to return to Baghdad on 28 April 2003; admonitory signs of a possible attack to the UN in Iraq; UN headquarters physical security; issues regarding security clearances and personnel lists (UN 2004: 2).

The Report of the Independent Panel on Safety and Security of UN Personnel and Premises Worldwide with the title Towards a Culture of Security and Accountability was presented on 9 June 2008 to the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The panel was led by the Algerian ex Foreign Affairs Minister Lakhdar Brahimi, and therefore the report was known as the Brahimi Report.16 It responded to the attack to the UN offices in Algiers on 11 December 2007, and although it explicitly stated that it was not an exercise of individual accountability, but a “look at strategic issues” and an “identification of fundamental lessons” (UN 2008: 3). This was the first time that the UN looked at the technical security as a whole, interdependent from other UN departments and offices, and as well, realizing that security should be embedded into the UN core operations by creating a “culture of security,”17 18 as emphasized in the report's title.

2.4 Present and Future

Technical security in peacebuilding missions evolved since the last Brahimi report. Partly because of the recommendations presented and the doctrine of “security culture,” but as well due to different global and constantly changing conditions affecting not only the security community but any other professional field. The future will be challenging, as operational trends and methodologies change at an every time faster rate. Therefore, ability to adapt will be crucial for institutions but as well individuals working in different organizations. Economy is a parallel factor that can support fast changes or, in the opposite, slow down and eventually paralyse operations if funding is not enough.

The literature that the researcher has used as supportive material is related to the proposed methodological levels' recommendations.

As Hyman and Mason describe in Managing Employee Involvement and Participation, specific ideas were applied at the operational level to promote personnel participation in security and as well in the preparation of staff training (1995: vii).

On the perceptual level, security has had a rigid image by staff members in peacebuilding missions, mainly contributed by the military and police background of the majority of its members and the inequality of gender balance, being female personnel widely outnumbered by male security staff. As well, the rigidity in security structures reflect on the lack of humour associated to security tasks and procedures perceived by the rest of the staff members. To support the perceptual level, the researcher studied Sorensen's Humour as Nonviolent Resistant to Oppression (2006) Masters dissertation19.

Regarding the relational level of proposed methodologies, the researcher studied Hagelin and Skons paper The Military Sector in a Changing Context (2003), relating challenges in outreach and approachability between the studied individuals and the paper's protagonists20.

Finally, as a proposed methodology that falls outside of the three levels above mentioned, the researcher considered the application of flexibility without compromising security standards. The support literature studied from Wilthagen et al. Towards 'Flexicurity'? Balancing Flexibility and Security in EU Member States, points towards a number of ideas utilized to present flexibility in security environments21, although without punctually disorienting labour and security terminology.

The literature presented in this chapter is the foundation of the supporting texts from which ideas have been researched together with two more important books that are cited in numerous occasions: the first one is Paris's At War's End: Building Peace After Civil Conflict, which is a constant reference to peacebuilding missions, mainly field operations, and a personal inspiration for the researcher; the second one is Galtung and

Jacobsen's Searching for Peace: the Road to Transcend, which is used by the researcher as a global global study in conflict resolution and a specific aid in its sub-chapter “Beyond Security: New Approaches, New Perspectives, New Actors”, written in conjunction with Kai Frithjof Brand- Jacobsen and Carl G. Jacobsen (Galtung and Jacobsen 2000: 268). But the mentioned literature is not the only exclusively reviewed and referenced. Further texts have been read and some of them exercised. Those utilized for purposes of acquiring direct knowledge or cited in this study are duly referenced in the bibliography and cited throughout the dissertation text. All of them have helped to give the final configuration to this Masters dissertation and have shaped the researcher's intellectual progress in the field of academic peacebuilding.

3 Conflict Avoidance Positive Methodologies

3.1 Introduction

The theoretical research methodology applied to this study is qualitative. The topic of enhancing peacebuilding effectiveness by internal conflict avoidance in peace missions linked to technical security departments is perceived by the researcher as “conflict prevention and transformation inside peacebuilding” organizations. This is a topic that could fall into several different fields of study such as sociology, conflictology, psychology, philosophy, or even business organization and administration. However, peacebuilding as an educational Art is comprised of the above mentioned sciences and arts, and take ideas from all of them in order to be applied in post-conflict areas. Peacebuilding missions are not excluded from internal and external conflict, and a slow or lack of response to unwanted events can eventually hamper the flow or continuity of the peacebuilding mission and fail in the objective of promoting sustainable peace in post­conflict areas.

3.2 Qualitative Flexibility

The qualitative method utilized is providing subjectivity and, perhaps, flexibility, which is in theory contrary to quantitative methods (Grahame 1999: 4). But as flexibility is a key element in peacebuilding and an educational Art instead of a Science, so is “problem solving,” as well crucial to peacebuilding techniques and philosophy. This mere association of elements is, in itself, part of the qualitative methodology and intends to be developed in future pages.

3.3 Professional Experience and Positive Attitude

Researcher's personal and professional experience is a decisive element regarding information and data sources, which have conferred him with multifaceted and diverse view of organizations.


1 Oxford dictionaries q=security

2 See Maslow’s hierarchy of needs in Maslow, A.H. (1943) ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’. Psychological Review 50 (4), 370-396

3 MacAdams, A.C. (2004) ‘Security and Risk Management: a Fundamental Business Issue’. Theinformation Management journal 38 (4), 36-44

4 From the Masters in Arts in Peacebuilding program from the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies (2011) ‘Theory and Practice in Peacebuilding: Understanding Armed Conflict’(2) 1, Coventry, Coventry University

5 Keohane, R.O. (2002) Power and Governance in a Partially Globalized World. London: Routledge

6 The researcher has used these sentences as a summary of sentences heard throughout his professional years as security manager in field missions in Kosovo, Georgia, and Mexico, where at least two different staff members in each mission have verbally expressed them, mainly in moments of professional dissatisfaction.

7 See the United Nations (2012) ‘The situation in Afghanistan and its implications for international peace and security’. General Assembly Security Council, pp. 3-4 [online] available from < %20Report%20to%20the%20Security%20Council-March%202012.pdf>

8 See United Nations World Food Programme Emergency Field Operations Pocketbook (13) 307 [online] available from emerg/ files/WFP_manual.pdf

9 See United Nations Department of Safety and Security Mission Mandate [online] available from

10 UN created a full time Security Coordinator in 2001 at the rank of Assistant Secretary-General.

11 The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia was set up in The Hague, Netherlands on 1993. The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda was set up in Arusha, Tanzaniaon 1994.

12 United Nations (2003) Report of the Independent Panel on the Safety and Security of UN Personnel in Iraq. [online] available from < security-un-personnel-iraq.pdf>

13 Namely the International Criminal Court based in The Hague, Netherlands, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia based in The Hague, Netherlands, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda based n Arusha, Tanzania, and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon double based in Leidschendam, Netherlands and Beirut, Lebanon.

14 [online] available from <> pp.8­14

15 Martti Ahtisaari led three more reports known as well as the Ahtisaari report: Final Comprehensive proposal for a Kosovo Status Settlement in 15 March 2007 known as well as the Six Point Agreement by the UN Office of the Special Envoy for Kosovo, and the reports Turkey in Europe: More than a Promise? from 6 September 2004 and Turkey in Europe: Breaking the Vicious Cycle, from 7 September 2009, both by the Independent Commission on Turkey.

16 Lakhdar Brahimi led one more report known as well as the Brahimi report: Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations on21 August 2000.

17 The Report of the Independent Panel on Safety and Security of UN Personnel and Premises Worldwide with the title Towards a Culture of Security and Accountability, 29 June 2008

18 Sorensen, M.J. (2006) Humour as Nonviolent Resistant to Oppression. Coventry: Coventry University

19 Hagelin, B. and Skons, E. (2003) The Military Sector in a Changing Context. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 281-300

20 Wilthagen, T., Tros, F.H., and Lieshout, van, H. (2003) 'Towards 'Flexicurity'? Balancing Flexibility and Security in EU Member States' Social Science Research Network [online] available from <>

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Peace Missions' Technical Security: Towards a Security Culture for Enhanced Peacebuilding Effectiveness
Coventry University  (Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies)
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ISBN (eBook)
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The aim of this study is to present a set of methodologies at the operational, perceptual, and relational levels to be implemented and coordinated in peace and humanitarian field operations by security departments. Its effective implementation would enhance peacebuilding capability, operational performance, and internal conflict transformation skills.
peace, conflict tranformation, security, methodology, humanitarian
Quote paper
Roberto Santamarta-Perez (Author), 2012, Peace Missions' Technical Security: Towards a Security Culture for Enhanced Peacebuilding Effectiveness, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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