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A Comprehensive Approach to Multidimensional Operations

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image of Journal of International Peacekeeping

Peacekeeping and crisis response missions face novel challenges in the modern era. Disruptive changes, including economic globalization, mass communications and access to information, and the emergence of powerful and influential non-state agents require a better understanding of the mission space and the political, economic, and social conditions that impact stabilization efforts. The comprehensive approach is among the most recent functional models for coordinating the efforts of the broad assortment of actors involved in addressing complex crises or conflicts. The principles of a comprehensive approach are widely accepted, but mechanisms for practical application are still evolving. Moreover, the benefits realized through coordinated efforts may be limited by organizational constraints. In some cases, mission conditions may also restrict comprehensive approaches. For example robust military engagement in conflict zones may compromise humanitarian access to vulnerable populations; or neutral administration of aid to factional groups might run counter to military actions against named threats. Despite these challenges, mission leaders agree that a comprehensive approach is vital to mission success. Multidimensional peacekeeping, campaigns to combat piracy, and energy security provide useful models for achieving better situational understanding and mission effectiveness via a comprehensive approach. Each of these examples demands political leadership, protection and advocacy for affected or underserved populations, enhanced development, and military intervention to guarantee security.

Affiliations: 1: Center for Civil-Military Relations, Naval Postgraduate School, 1 University Circle, Monterey, California USA 93943; 2: Center for Civil-Military Relations, Naval Postgraduate School, 1 University Circle, Monterey, California USA 93943


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