The opening to a multi-dimensional approach in the framework of peace missions in complex emergencies emphasizes the importance of coordination at all levels of interaction between the military and the humanitarian actors. In these operations, the cooperation and coordination between the military and humanitarian actors are essential to achieve a common goal – to ease suffering and avoid the loss of human lives. The difficulty in finding suitable personnel to develop, improve and sustain effective working relationships, and overcome the potential for conflict in civil-military cooperation, has not been addressed in practice and even in theoretical research. The military must identify staff that, in the first place, is consistent with the profile of psychological generic peacekeeping, secondly, reflects the knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to perform the coordination function satisfactorily. Due to the lack of a psychological profile for the selection of the civil-military cooperation military personnel, the selection and projection of competent military personnel members remains a challenge.

Coordination and cooperation between the military and humanitarian components are critical in multidimensional peacekeeping operations: humanitarian personnel needs cooperative relations with the military to carry out their functions of rescue and the challenge is to develop, enhance and support this employment relationships to be developed effectively.

There are conflicting opinions about the tasks of the military in civil-military cooperation. The United Nations (UN) is wary regarding duplication of effort, that is to say that the military should not assume functions in humanitarian missions as well as humanitarian personnel should not pursue or develop operations with military purposes. Although the regular functions of the military include activities related to security, it may be needed to perform tasks in cooperation with other humanitarian organizations and international agencies, so the nature of such cooperation must be coordinated to ensure the achievement of common goals. Poor coordination can potentially have serious consequences, such as loss of lives that could result from delays in the reactions, caused by the need to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the civilian and military components. The support to the affected population will be significantly more effective if cooperation with humanitarian personnel is implemented: the coordination is the most important mechanism to create synergies and achieve common goals, and this enables the CIMIC military with the critical interface coordination between the humanitarian world and the military components in peace support operations.

The importance of a universally accepted definition for CIMIC is a central subject in the UN operations, as it will reduce the different interpretations of the acronym in the international community. CIMIC, in the build of UN peacekeeping, refers to an optimal coordination between the military component and three other players, namely (1) the humanitarian component within an integrated mission, (2) the agencies within the United Nations system, and (3) external and internal civil actors. The definition of civil-military coordination, as defined by the UN Department for Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), is accepted by each and every actor.

The role of CIMIC staff is determined by the type and mission phase, the CIMIC military perform their duties as counsellors (matter experts) of both the military commanders and the Humanitarian Coordinators, acting as the liaison official (severely confused with liaison officer) with responsible for coordination and projects developed to support the efforts of the community and finally, taking into account the necessary training. Clearly, the requirements related to these operations are wide and varied, which highlights the need for flexibility and adaptability to work effectively in an environment of participatory management.

The selection of CIMIC military personnel is a national responsibility; this implies that nations must ensure that the relevant staff is selected and distributed wisely, to perform this critical task during peacekeeping missions. There is a generic psychological profile for soldiers engaged in peacekeeping operations, the profile that is based on the general duties of peacekeeping, but that profile appears unsuitable to choose the CIMIC staff because of its lack selecting specialists based on the CIMIC characteristics. Among the benchmarks the generic profile presents those related to physical health, depression, dominance, status anxiety, self-esteem, cheerfulness, communication, relationships in a group of peers and happiness environment. In the absence of a competence profile inclusive and ad hoc that incorporates the knowledge, skills and relevant attitudes, to be used to select CIMIC soldiers is a daunting task and therefore requires the urgent attention of a dedicated study.

Despite this need, the competent staff that fits the psychological profile and skills required is not properly selected and trained: CIMIC is a specialist field in peacekeeping missions, a soldier alone cannot effectively perform this task, but often the military have no choice, because of the distribution of the CIMIC trained staff, insufficient for lack of capacity or due to ineffective selection criteria. In addition, George (2002) stressed the importance of the military themselves in identifying personnel to be trained as CIMIC specialists. The special coordination skills, beyond those generic peacekeeping, are critical to the performance of the CIMIC military work.

To compile a psychological profile and competencies for the selection of CIMIC military personnel, you must use an analysis on the work and expertise of auto modelling.
The competency model is the result of a complete analysis job. The roles and functions of those responsible for CIMIC were integrated under the chart of Bartram (2005) and Kutz and Bartram (2005). Were defined ten broad responsibilities, based on interviews administered to experienced workers. Some elements identified in the theoretical studies have been linked to specific skills. These elements are defined as positive and negative indicators for each competence (Arnold et al, 2005; Brown 2006), whereas the positive indicators represent a useful behaviour that enhances the CIMIC soldier performance, while negative indicators point to a behavior that hinders performance (Lloyd 2008). The inclusion of negative indicators is essential for the selection in the workplace (Crowne 2007; Flin 2001). Individuals that note a significant number of negative indicators should not be considered for selection (Flin 2001). These indicators include the characteristics and behavior of the CIMIC military in relation to both (a) a dynamic PSO environment, (b) the concept of civil-military cooperation.

General skills:

– Military command: determines the course of action necessary for CIMIC to achieve its objectives, in line with the mission requirements;

– Build and promote partnerships between the military and the humanitarian civilian component: develop and strengthen cooperation, internal and external, through which obtains information, assistance and support;

– Provide advice to the military and humanitarian components: communicates and develops effective networks between the military and the humanitarian components;

– Analysis and interpretation of the dynamics of civil-military coordination in the environment: clearly shows to own an analytical thinking and experience in the analysis of complex problems;

– Promoting a work environment where creativity and conceptualization are encouraged: promotes a work environment where learning, innovation and creativity are promoted;

– Coordinate the efforts of relevant organizations: executes the CIMIC function to improve coordination and avoid duplication of efforts;

– Be emotionally stable to adjust and cope with the multiple dimensions of civil-military coordination: responds well to change, manages the pressure effectively and copes well with setbacks;

– Promote a work environment where personal and organizational goals are aligned with the mission objectives: promoting mutual understanding and organizational learning to facilitate the self-development and growth in terms of career;

– Respect for and promotion of individual differences, cultural and organizational: demonstrates the ability to work constructively with people from every environment and orientations, respects differences and values all contributions;

– Ensure efficient use of resources: identifies the priorities in accordance with the mission objectives, develops coordinated tools, allocates resources and monitors the results.

It is clear that the CIMIC soldiers need skills beyond the normal capacity associated with the military leadership.

This article contributes to the concept of CIMIC in a unique way by being the foremost that has faced the challenges of CIMIC with a holistic approach. In the theoretical discussion, the concept of civil-military cooperation had never been analyzed including both components involved. The roles and functions of CIMIC were defined by integrating the CIMIC concept, the definition of military, the humanitarian outlook along with possible solutions that could improve cooperation.

The uniqueness of this paper is based on the significance of the competency model. The results of the theoretical discussion were integrated with the first data of research done on the field, referring to a competency model for an ad hoc CIMIC military, a model that includes positive indicators, which improve the indexes of coordination, and negatives that prevent coordination. The inclusion of negative indicators is of fundamental importance for this study, the results of which have shown how the characteristics analyzed together with the positive indicators are able to identify, in the group that has successfully passed the selection, a model of CIMIC skills in which are identified the selected military. Some negative indicators were correlated with the characteristics of the group with unsuitable results. The link between the negative indicators of the competency model and the unfit group is crucial in choosing the CIMIC operator: individuals exhibiting abnormal behavior associated with negative indicators should not be selected as a CIMIC specialist. Applying the analysis model during the selection, may impede the manifestation of psychopathology in some individuals.
The CIMIC operator is always seen as the “civilian” by his colleagues, but for the humanitarian and civilian operators will always be a soldier even if wearing civilian clothes.

Antonio Evaristo
CIMIC subject matter expert, social researcher, social psychologist.


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