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Despite increased interest in peace operations during recent years, their study remains a semantic morass, because there is no generally accepted classification of such operations for analysts and decisionmakers. Even fundamental concepts are frequently misunderstood or are interpreted in widely different ways. This confusion increases the danger that peace operations will become murky and ill-defined, as is often alleged by critics. The typology presented in this report defines five types of peace operations — observation, interposition, transition, security for humanitarian aid, and peace enforcement — from an operational perspective, drawing on the past five decades of experience, and offers vivid illustrations from the Congo to Croatia. It should help decisionmakers to understand the limitations of peace operations, to select the optimal type of operation for a given situation, and to evaluate success and failure.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Defining Peace Operations

  • Chapter Three

    Spectrum of Peace Operations

  • Chapter Four

    Evaluating Peace Operations

  • Chapter Five


  • Appendix A

    Terms Used in this Report

  • Appendix B

    Agenda for Peace

This research was performed within the International Security and Defense Policy Center of RAND's National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, and the defense agencies.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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