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The Deployment of Multinational Military Formations: Taking Political Institutions into Account. CEPS Policy Brief No. 36, June 2003

Houben, Marc and Peters, Dirk. (2003) The Deployment of Multinational Military Formations: Taking Political Institutions into Account. CEPS Policy Brief No. 36, June 2003. [Policy Paper]

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    [Introduction]. Multinational military formations exist in many forms, shapes and colours. Their size varies; their raison d’être varies; the type of military units involved varies; and the countries involved vary. In most cases governments take into consideration the economic, militarytechnical and operational arguments for participation in a multinational formation. They participate because it will save them money for example, or it enables them to maintain a critical capability, such as F-16 fighter planes. States thus usually take care to shape the units in a way that contributions complement each in technical terms and that the whole unit pays off in economic terms. Not often, however, is the compatibility of the political systems of the participating countries taken into account when a multinational unit is formed. Our contention is that more attention should be paid to the political/institutional compatibility of participating states when creating multinational units. Some political systems are more compatible than others and this fact has consequences for the effectiveness of jointly owned multinational units. We develop our argument in two steps. First, we demonstrate that the successful deployment of multinational units requires the synchronisation of national decision-making procedures. Generals may call for technical ‘interoperability’ of the forces; yet if the political processes behind multinational participation are not adequately coordinated, states may come to regret their participation in a multinational military unit. Thus, although it is very difficult to harmonise national decision-making processes in a structural fashion, some form of synchronisation is required and necessary in the short term. Secondly, we will show that, in order to achieve synchronisation, the character of national decision-making processes of the participating states has to be taken into account. Only if one recognises the importance of similarities and differences in these processes can adequate instruments for synchronising political decision-making be devised. And only if these instruments are put into practice can multinational units become truly effective instruments.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Uncontrolled Keywords: Multinational military bodies.
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > common foreign & security policy 1993--European Global Strategy
    Other international institutions > OSCE/Helsinki Process/CSCE
    Other international institutions > NATO
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for European Policy Studies (Brussels) > CEPS Policy Briefs
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 21 Oct 2004
    Page Range: p. 15
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:20

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