‘We are fully aware of your long-standing limitations in gathering information. The limitations are inherent in the very nature of the United Nations and therefore of any operation conducted by it.’
UN Secretary-General U Thant to the Commander of the UN Operation in the Congo (UNOC), Lt-Gen. Kebbede Guebre, in a coded cable on 24 September 1962.
In the last forty years we have seen a quantum leap in technology, weaponry, military capability, war fighting ability and tempo of operations, but in the field of UN Peacekeeping operations little has changed! Our greatest capability remains the ‘Mark I eyeball’. Too often a UN mission is judged as a success or failure based on peacekeeper casualties rather than innocent lives saved. In today’s changing environment, pro-active operations and force security become paramount for successful peacekeeping – in a chapter VI (peace support) or chapter VII (peace enforcement) operation. These are dependent on accurate intelligence. In peacekeeping as in all military operations, the basis of all successful operations is: