Peace Operations

Information on U.S. and U.N. Activities Gao ID: NSIAD-95-102BR February 13, 1995

Peace operations use military forces to help maintain or restore international peace. Peace operations fall into three categories: those seeking to prevent conflict from breaking out, those that seek to compel countries to comply with international sanctions designed to maintain or restore peace and order, and those designed to relieve human misery and suffering. This briefing report covers (1) the cost and funding of peace operations, (2) the effectiveness of U.N. operations, (3) U.S. policy and efforts to strengthen U.N. capabilities, and (4) the impact of peace operations on the U.S. military.

GAO found that: (1) there are 17 active U.N.-led peace operations; (2) a total of 64,000 U.N. troops have been assigned to these missions; (3) the Department of Defense (DOD) could not reliably determine the actual incremental costs of its peacekeeping operations, since the services use various management information systems to identify incremental obligations and estimate costs; (4) total costs are difficult to quantify because many assumptions have to be made concerning the allocation of costs; (5) DOD, the Department of State, the Agency for International Development (AID), and many other agencies participate, to some extent, in U.N. peace operations; (6) most agencies receive annual appropriations to fund their participation in peace operations; (7) AID costs for humanitarian aid exceed $100 million; (8) the U.N. reimburses member nations for the costs of fielding troops and equipment, however, the United States is not reimbursed for the deployment of troops and equipment to an operation that is not U.N.-led; (9) the U.N. has effectively monitored peace processes, supervised elections, and authorized multilateral action, but it has had limited success in carrying out complex missions that entail the use of force; and (10) the U.N. has instituted a number of reforms to strengthen its capacity to manage peace operations.

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