The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands
National Defense University Fort Lesley J. McNair United States
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The purpose of this article is not to provide a critical analysis of the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands RAMSI or a robust platform for lessons learned. Rather, it offers a general introduction to the country and an overview of a stabilization and reconstruction operation with a different framework than many of the operations that the United States has participated in during the postCold War period. RAMSI is an Australian-led intervention that deployed to the Solomon Islands in July 2003 to establish peace and security. Unlike the Australian-led Peace Monitoring Group, which deployed to Bougainville from May 1998 to June 2003,1 and the ongoing commitment to East Timor,2 RAMSI is led by a diplomat. It emphasizes policing and a light military presence. One could argue that the lessons learned from recent interventions in fragile and conflict-affected countries such as the Solomon Islands are more relevant to future U.S. commitments thanthe plethora of lessons learned templates and volumes of doctrine that are being pieced together from the Afghanistan and Iraq experiences. The Solomon Islands is the third largest archipelago in the South Pacific consisting of a scattered double chain of 992 islands extending 1,000 miles southeast from Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. With a population of approximately 560,000, the country has a diverse cultural mix across the nine provinces Choiseul, Malaita, Western, Temotu, Central, Rennell and Bellona, Makira-Ulawa, Isabel, and Guadalcanal, where the capital city Honiara, governed separately as a capital territory, is located. Melanesians make up over 90 percent of the population, but there are substantial numbers of Polynesians, Micronesians, Chinese, and Europeans. Within the Melanesian group, there is an array of languages, clans, and tribal affiliations, which are made even more complex by the wantok system of obligation based on the same language group.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Government and Political Science