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Use of Special Operations Forces in United Nations Missions: a Method to Resolve Complexity

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2014,01 May 2015

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The United Nations UN uses Special Operations Forces SOF in peace operations. This monograph seeks to explain the paradox of employing highly lethal forces in the pursuit of global peace. The research uses the frameworks of complexity and systems theories. Additionally, this paper considers three case studies the UN intervention in Somalia, the UN intervention in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the UN intervention in Mali. The paper concludes that peace operations have reached a degree of complexity in which SOF prove more effective than conventional peacekeeping forces. However, SOF cannot resolve peace operations alone. Successful use of SOF in peace operations requires that UN policy makers and planners integrate SOF into the policies and strategies of UN peace operations. Additionally, the UN must create and adjust the internal concepts, doctrine, and force structure for employing SOF in UN missions.

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