Brokers of Power: Can Bloody Hands & Bleeding Hearts Get Along?
AIR UNIV MAXWELL AFB AL SCHOOL OF ADVANCED AIR AND SPACE STUDIES
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During crisis or in politically complex environments Special Operations Forces and NGOs end up sharing the same tradespace. Future growth and demand for SOF in both governed and ungoverned spaces, during times of conflict as well as humanitarian assistance missions, means the trend toward greater involvement with NGOs is on the rise. Yet, there is an existing history of NGO aversion to cooperation with US Military Forces and vice versa. Predominantly those aversions are often discussed in relation to differences in worldview, organizational culture, operational time horizon, or mission. However, SOF and NGOs share similarities in commitment, values, organizational footprint size, and their level of proximity to local populations with whom they closely work. Subsequently this paper attempts to discover under what conditions and when it may be most beneficial to facilitate more cooperative relationships, or when it is best to simply pursue independent strategies and goals. There are a number of variables, which may affect the level of cooperation between SOF and NGOs e.g. culture, time horizon, mandate, ethno linguistic characteristics of the local population, ideology, geography, etc.. This thesis assessed the level of threat in the security environment and organizational dynamics as the two most important variables impacting cooperation. First, from a normative standpoint when the surrounding threat level is high, two organizations should want to increase cooperation in order to improve their survival and chances for mission success. However, in many instances NGOs may perceive a failure in trying to meet their goals because the military is pursuing security objectives that appear counter productive. In the event of perceived failure, combined with heightened threats to personal safety, military or civilian components find fault with each other.
- Administration and Management
- Government and Political Science
- Military Forces and Organizations