Somalia Operations: Lessons Learned

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DedicationThis book is respectfully dedicated to the memories of Master SergeantGary I. Gordon and Sergeant First Class Randall D. Shughart, UnitedStates Army, who were killed in action on October 3, 1993 in Mogadishu, Somalia. For "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of lifeabove and beyond the call of duty" while defending their embattled TaskForce Ranger comrades, these soldiers were posthumously awarded theMedal of Honor on May 23, 1994.Greater love hath no man than this,that a man lay down his life for his friends.John 15:13

Table of ContentsForeword . xiAcknowledgments. xiiiPreface . xvI. The Operational Context . 1The U.N. and Peace Operations . 1Joint Doctrine . 3The Effects of the Operational Environment . 8Situations and Missions . 11II. Operational Lessons Learned. 19Planning . 19Mandates and Missions . 20Mission Analysis: Entry and Exit Strategies. 26Multinational Contingents . 29Rules of Engagement (ROE). 32Personnel Selection and Training . 35Joint Planning. 37Deployment . 40Airlift . 41Sealift. 43Pre-positioned Shipping . 44Administrative Requirements . 46Conduct of Operations . 50Command and Control. 50Mission Execution . 55Civil-Military Operations. 59Negotiations . 64Intelligence . 67

Support . 69Communications and Interoperability. 69In-Country Logistics. 74Medical. 76Media . 77III. Conclusions . 79Appendix A: Selected Bibliography . 87Joint Publications . 87Multi-Service Publications. 88U.S. Army Publications . 88U.S. Navy Publications . 89U. S. Marine Corps Publications. 90U. S. Air Force Publications . 90National Defense University Publications . 91Appendix B: Humanitarian Relief OrganizationsActive in Somalia . 93United Nations Humanitarian Agencies . 96Appendix C: Missions and Tasks of the UNITAFCivil-Military Operations Center (CMOC). 97Mission. 97Functions. 97About the Author . 101Catalog of CCRP Publications. CAT-1

FOREWORDThe American mission in Somalia presented U.S. forceswith a variety of difficult operational challenges as theytried to bring peace to a country ravaged by natural and manmade disasters. After initial success in the summer of 1992 inrestoring order and saving thousands of lives, American soldiers clashed with Somali forces and were withdrawn in thespring of 1994. In the months that followed, we have studiedwhat the Somalia experience can teach us about peace missions and learned how we might improve our capabilitiesacross the spectrum of joint operations.This book represents the first time a new tool—the Joint Universal Lessons Learned System—is being used to evaluate anoperation in its totality. With it, Colonel Kenneth Allardassesses the operation from its early stages of humanitarianrelief through the de facto combat of peace enforcement. Hehas organized the lessons learned for ease of reading andenlivened them with numerous concrete and anecdotal examples. Although focused on the operational level, the insights ofthis study should be of interest to strategists and policymakersas well.Lessons are only truly learned when we incorporate them intoour planning, doctrine, tactics, and training—a process whichxi

can take some time. The author has taken the essential firststep by identifying and articulating the hard lessons of Somaliawith candor and objectivity. But even as we resolve not torepeat mistakes, we should not allow the tragic events in thelatter stages of our Somalia operations to obscure the manythings we did right. These too are lessons, ones to build uponas we prepare to meet further challenges in the complex worldof peace operations.ERVIN J. ROKKELieutenant General, U.S. Air ForcePresident, National Defense Universityxii

ACKNOWLEDGMENTSThis study reflects in large measure the active sponsorshipand encouragement of Major General Stephen Silvasy,Jr., USA, Director for Operational Plans & Interoperability (J7) of the Joint Staff. Grateful thanks are extended to him andhis staff.At National Defense University, similar thanks are due to theDirector of the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS),Dr. Hans Binnendijk, and Major General John Sewall, USA(Ret.) for their leadership and support for this project.Lieutenant Colonel Susan Flores, USMC, and Dr. WilliamLewis, both of INSS, provided indispensable help by their hardwork throughout the project as well as by their many helpfulsuggestions as the drafts took shape. Dr. Fred Kiley, Director ofthe National Defense University Press, and his colleague Mr.George Maerz managed all aspects of the publication processwith characteristic professionalism. Mr. Don Barry, Mr. AlexContreras, Ms. Rhonda Gross, and Mr. Juan Medrano of theNDU Graphics Department brought their unique talents tothe design of the cover and the illustrations contained in thispublication. Ms. Theresa Chapman of the NDU Library andMr. Jim Peters of JFQ provided helpful bibliographic andtechnical support.xiii

Special thanks are also due to the following people whoreviewed the draft and provided many helpful suggestions:Ambassador Robert Oakley; Lieutenant General Robert B.Johnston, USMC; Lieutenant General Thomas M.Montgomery, USA; Lieutenant General Anthony C. Zinni,USMC; Major General Frank Libutti, USMC; Colonel CarlFarris, Lieutenant Colonel Sam Butler and Professor KennethMenkhaus of the U.S. Army Peacekeeping Institute; ColonelF.M. Lorenz, USMC; Colonel Gary Anderson, USMC;Colonel Thomas Leney, USA; Colonel Robert Killebrew,USA; and Lieutenant Colonel(P) Eric T. Olson, USA.Additionally, Mr. Bill Dawson of the U.S. Central Commandand Ms. Joani Schaefer of the U.S. Transportation Commandprovided many useful insights into the key roles played by theirrespective organizations during the Somalia operations.While sincere thanks are due all these people, errors of factand interpretation are, of course, the sole responsibility of theauthor.xiv

PREFACEMultilateral peace operations are an important component of ourstrategy. From traditional peacekeeping to peace enforcement, multilateral peace operations are sometimes the best way to prevent, contain, orresolve conflicts that could otherwise be far more costly and deadly.The President’s National Security StrategyJuly 1994If today you are a soldier, a sailor, an airman, or a marine,then you know in some very personal ways that the world isa changed and changing place. Far from ushering in an era ofpeace, our victory in the Cold War was quickly followed bycombat in Operations Just Cause and Desert Storm. And evenas our Armed Forces were being reduced from Cold War levels, they were being committed to a new class of militarymissions, called peace operations, in Somalia, in parts of theformer Yugoslavia, and (at this writing) in Haiti.Peace operations are unique because they are conducted withthe increasing involvement of the international community,usually with mandates from the United Nations and sometimes with the United States as the lead partner in coalitionsdrawn from a number of different nations. These partnershipscan create some real challenges on all sides, but there are twoxv

important advantages for the United States to keep in mind.First, we clearly benefit when other nations help shoulder theburden. Second, the voice of the international community isimportant—just look at the impact of world opinion in building the diverse coalition with which we stood during the GulfWar. The bottom line is that our ability to build and supportmultinational coalitions is now an important part of ournational security strategy in the post-Cold War world.The significance of this strategic turning point has, for the last2 years, prompted the National Defense University to studypeace operations as part of its mission of extensive researchand teaching on national security issues; this book is one of theproducts of that program. With the cooperation of the JointStaff, a team at the National Defense University’s Institute forNational Strategic Studies examined reports on U.S. operations in Somalia filed in the Joint Universal Lessons LearnedSystem (JULLS) in an effort to relate them to joint doctrinalprinciples as well as other research on this subject.1 Theemphasis throughout this effort has been to focus on the mostimportant lessons at the operational level, primarily those thatmight be encountered at the joint task force planning level orat the headquarters of its major force components. Becausethis level is the one that ties together the strategic and the tactical, some of those lessons are relevant here as well, but to helpbound the problem, those insights are usually presented aseither causes or effects.1Alist of relevant National Defense University publications appears in AppendixA. Unless otherwise noted, all direct quotations used in this handbook are takenfrom reports on Somalia operations filed in the Joint Universal Lessons Learneddatabase.xvi

What makes the Somalia experience important for U.S.Armed Forces is that it was an operation that went throughthree distinct phases: An airlift that provided food relief and medical suppliesto a multitude of sick, starving people; An intervention force that combined continued humanitarian assistance activities with military operations meantto provide better security for relief efforts; and A military force that provided the bulk of the combatpower for the first “peace enforcement” operation in thehistory of the United Nations.In addition to underlining the complexity of peace operations,these three distinct phases show that, as the level of conflictintensified, some things changed more than others. The specific mission elements examined here also provide a soberingglimpse of the challenges imposed by a country in chaos, wherethe effects of a harsh natural environment were made evenmore severe by clan warfare and the absence of government.As its title implies, this book examines certain operationalissues raised by our recent experience in Somalia, especiallythose involving the teamwork required by joint forces. It is aninitial look at those operational issues—not a comprehensivehistory either of U.S. involvement in Somalia or even of thekey functional areas it examines. It is best described as a composite after action review—a preliminary look at theoperation’s major insights based on the best data currentlyavailable. Where relevant, these insights have been comparedto more detailed analyses of various phases of the operation,such as those on UNOSOM II prepared by the Center forArmy Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, KS, and theUnited States Forces Somalia After Action Report (Montgomery Report)xvii

now being readied for publication by the Army PeacekeepingInstitute at the U.S. Army War College.Because “lessons learned” often tend to reflect what wentwrong rather than what went right, it might be possible tothink that these operations were less than successful: this issimply not the case. Although they did not carry out the moreambitious goals of U.N.-sponsored nation-building, U.S. forcessent to Somalia clearly did execute their missions successfully,relieving untold suffering through humanitarian assistance andexecuting their military responsibilities with skill and professionalism. In fact, those skills and can-do attitudes wereespecially important in overcoming the effects of many of theproblems cited here. Those who took such initiatives and provided the “work-arounds” should be the first to appreciate theimportance of learning from their experiences.A final caveat is that Somalia was a mission that occurredunder unique circumstances. Future operations under differentcircumstances will likely produce different results. Commonsense suggests that the lessons offered here should be balancedagainst changing mission requirements and conditions. Futuremissions, however, are likely to contain enough parallels—offailed states and the hardships brought about by natural andman-made disasters—that the lessons learned in Somalia warrant close attention.xviii

ITHE OPERATIONAL CONTEXTPeacekeeping isn’t a soldier’s job, but only a soldier can do it.—Military Sociologist Charles MoskosTHE U.N. AND PEACE OPERATIONSAt the end of World War II, the United States helped tofound the United Nations and was one of the originalsigners of the U.N. Charter. Among other provisions, theCharter contains two important sections to help its members“maintain international peace and security.” Although theCharter never uses the word, the generic term for these measures is peacekeeping, the kinds of observer or truce supervisorymissions that occurr after a conflict, when combatants want tohave the benefit of a trusted third party to act as a buffer. Traditionally, these missions have been known as “Chapter VIactions,” because that section of the Charter deals with thepeaceful settlement of international disputes. However, Chapter VII contains the term peace enforcement, referring to militaryintervention authorized by the U.N. Security Council: blockades, enforcement of sanctions, forceful disarmament, and1

2SOMALIA OPERATIONS: LESSONS LEARNEDdirect military action. These categories have not always fit situations that seemed to go beyond peacekeeping but stoppedshort of actual combat, so an informal term, “Chapter Sixand-a-Half,” emerged to describe such activities as conflictprevention, demobilization, cantonment of weapons, andactions taken to guarantee freedom of movement within acountry. Mostly because of Cold War rivalries, only 13 U.N.peacekeeping operations were approved between 1945 and1987. With the winding down of the Cold War, however, 13new ones (not including the peace enforcement operation inSomalia) were approved between 1987 and 1992. There isanother important figure that will come as no surprise to anyone who has ever stepped in to break up a barracks fightduring this same time: more than 800 peacekeepers from 43countries have been killed while serving under the U.N. flag.There is no doubt that the increasing number of peace operations has strained the ability of the United Nations to managethem effectively. Because it deals more with diplomacy thanwith control of military operations, U.N. headquarters in NewYork maintains a relatively small civilian staff to oversee peacekeeping operations. Another independent staff agency hastraditionally handled all administrative matters, includinglogistics. Until recently, the organization also lacked an operations center capable of maintaining 24-hour communicationswith these worldwide deployments. Not every peacekeepingoperation takes place under U.N. control, but those that dohave no standard organization or staff structure for field operations. However, they all answer to the U.N. Secretary Generaland may be headed either by his Special Representative or bya force commander whom he has selected. Because the UnitedNations also lacks standard doctrine, tactics, and equipment,The U.N. and Peace Operations

CHAPTER I3command and control is a problem for all but small operationsin generally peaceful environments.Problems encountered with the U.N. structure during ouroperations in Somalia (including some of those discussedbelow) contributed to a Presidential Directive in May 1994pledging U.S. support for reforms in the planning, logistics,and command and control of United Nations-sponsored peaceoperations. Because these reforms will take time to be agreedupon and implemented, it is especially important to note thatthe Directive also laid down two basic principles for the future: Although the President will never relinquish command ofU.S. forces, he does have the authority to place Americansoldiers under the operational control of a foreign commander when doing so serves our national interests. Theterms command and operational control are defined and discussed in Chapter II. (In fact, that situation has occurredon many occasions in our military history, from the Revolutionary War to Desert Storm.) The larger the peace operation is and the greater thelikelihood of combat becomes, the less likely it is that theUnited States will agree to surrender operational controlof its forces to a U.N. commander. Participation of U.S.forces in operations likely to involve combat should beconducted under the operational control of the UnitedStates, an ad hoc coalition, or a competent regional security organization such as NATO.JOINT DOCTRINEBecause they are often a central focus of international attention, peace operations have a unique ability to combine theJoint Doctrine

4SOMALIA OPERATIONS: LESSONS LEARNEDtactical, the operational, and the strategic levels of war. A single unwise tactical move by a soldier on patrol can instantlychange the character of an entire operation and, when broadcast by the ever-present media pool, can also affect strategicconsiderations. In these and other circumstances, the joint perspective is the beginning of wisdom, with joint doctrineproviding the “playbook” that allows our Armed Forces tofunction more effectively as a team. Although American forcesbegan their operations in Somalia without the benefit of astandard peacekeeping doctrine, that experience suggests thatthe following joint doctrinal publications are especially relevant for future missions: The most fundamental principles by which we organizeand operate are outlined in Joint Pub 0-2, Unified ActionArmed Forces (UNAAF). This key publication providesbasic doctrine and policy governing joint operations,especially com

versal Lessons Learned System—is being used to evaluate an operation in its totality. With it, Colonel Kenneth Allard assesses the operation from its early stages of humanitarian relief through the de facto combat of peace enforcement. He has organized the lessons learned for ease of reading and enlivened them with numerous concrete and .

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