Peace and stability operations: challenges and debates
We have seen in the previous chapter that land power can be extraordinarily ﬂexible. The period since 1945 has been marked by the development of increasingly complex deﬁnitions of ‘victory’, driven by the involvement of armies in an expanding array of tasks that have drifted well beyond those of combat against enemy military forces. Increasingly sophisticated doctrines of peace and stability operations have focused armies on performing alone, or in concert with other actors, an expanding range of political, economic, social and security tasks. However, as armies in the modern period have found on numerous occasions, having
an intelligent doctrine is in no sense a guarantee of success. Despite extensive experience, debate and reﬂection, peace and stability operations continue to be accompanied by serious challenges; these challenges have led some commentators to question the practical utility of land forces as tools of conﬂict prevention and management. This chapter focuses on those diﬃculties and explains the sorts of serious problems that routinely confront armies in the conduct of peace and stability operations. We will take a thematic approach to the subject, looking ﬁrst at a foundation problem, the operational environment, before moving on to look at conceptual and practical diﬃculties. One might think that peace and stability operations should be simpler than conventional warfare, but experience suggests that often they are not.