The track record of military rapid response mechanisms, troops on standby, ready to be deployed to a crisis within a short time frame by intergovernmental organizations, remains disappointing. Yet, many of the obstacles to multinational actors launching a rapid and effective military response in times of crisis are largely similar. This book is the first comprehensive and comparative contribution to explore and identify the key factors that hamper and enable the development and deployment of multinational rapid response mechanisms.

Examining lessons from deployments by the AU, the EU, NATO, and the UN in the Central African Republic, Mali, Somalia and counter-piracy in the Horn of Africa, the contributors focus upon the following questions: Was there a rapid response to the crises? By whom? If not, what were the major obstacles to rapid response? Did inter-organizational competition hinder responsiveness? Or did cooperation facilitate responsiveness? Bringing together leading scholars working in this area offers a unique opportunity to analyze and develop lessons for policy-makers and for theorists of inter-organizational relations.

This work will be of interest to scholars and students of peacebuilding, peacekeeping, legitimacy and international relations.

chapter |17 pages


Rapid response mechanisms—strengthening defense cooperation and saving strangers?

chapter 1|23 pages

Tools in a toolbox

The African Union’s repertoire of mechanisms for addressing peace and security on the continent

chapter 2|16 pages

EU Battlegroups

From standby to standstill

chapter 3|18 pages

The NATO Response Force

Bellwether of NATO’s commitment to regional deterrence

chapter 4|17 pages

United Nations rapid reaction mechanisms

From SHIRBRIG to a UN Vanguard Force

chapter 5|23 pages

Multinational rapid response forces in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Another example of winning battles, but losing the peace?

chapter 6|18 pages

Rapid response and inter-organizational competition

Four international organizations, two key states, and the crisis in the Central African Republic

chapter 7|22 pages

Tangled up in glue

Multilateral crisis responses in Mali

chapter 9|13 pages


Military rapid response—from institutional investment to ad hoc solutions