1. General background
Experience gained by Romanian military police forces as a result of the numerous activities and missions performed in peace security mission domain, in the framework of Balkan and Irak peace-keeping and peace enforcing operations, as part of Multinational Specialized Unint (MSU), under Italian Carabinieri command, has substantially contributed to prepare and fulfil with success the integration and interoperability tasks settled through the program of Romanian integration in NATO alliance. As a Partnership for Peace member, Romania has increasingly taken part in peace keeping and peace security operations in Europe and in other places in the world, but in the field of Public Security Operations, Romania has been present with specialised troops since March 1998 with a Military Police platoon as part of Multinational Specialized Unit in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and continued the participation recently, with a company in Iraq, for phase IV - reconstruction and stability. The objective of a public order operation is to solve a civil unrest situation through decisive intervention. This intervention must be made using the lowest possible level of force.
Usually, the police and gendarmery are those forces that enforce public order in peace keeping missions. Although MSU is a police force but it acts under military command, the Romanian soldiers integration in the mission environment required a reduced accommodation period, their previous experience at home in both military and public order operations being an advantage.
2. General considerations regarding MSU. The concept of MSU
This unit is a new concept used until now in SFOR and KFOR missions with good results, and used now in a completely different environement in IRAQ. It is a gendarmery type force, that has different objectives from a military conventional force, and is aimed mainly on the public security and public order operations. It is not considered to be a repressive tool, the aim is to achieve its tasks through preemptive police operations with the intent of preventing any possible civil disturbances, oversee the situation and operate in as a flexible and gradual manner as deemed necessary in order to ensure public order, with capabilities to use nonlethal wepons. The main way of performing its tasks is by monitoring public security, collecting informations on areas of public order and crime concern, conducting criminal intelligence and counter terrorism operations, in order to prevent and defuse any eventual aggresive actions against coalition forces and provide a secure environment. Certainly, in the unstable situation in which it operate, preemptive measures cannot entirely solve the problems and, consquently, MSU is able to respond to civil disturbances by using its capabilities of crowd control in close cooperation with police, military forces and civil authorities.
3. Romanian experience in the Multinational Specialized Unit, SFOR - Bosnia Herzegovina and Iraq
We consider that, by being a component of a unit with a high standard of profesionalism and efficiecy, it has been succeeded to organize a nucleus of well trained servicemen, which will apply in their units the experience gained, and if the situation will impose it, they will be ready for another mission together with the carabinieri. Taking in consideration that part of Romanian military police servicemen served in other missions in cooperation with carabinieri and learned italian language, the intercourse relations as an important operational component, were facilitated, as well as human relationships. As concerning the experience accumulated by working in a multinational environment, it has been acertained that, from the top level of regiment command, it wasn't made any difference within nations, no nation has been accounted preffered attention, on contrary a greater importance was given to good relations with partner nations units than to their own subunits. The cooperation with Italian Carabinieri under all aspects, command relationships or human relationships, developed in excellent conditions and we are proud to have the chance to add our humble contribution to Multinational Specialized Unit.
4. Lessons learned
Distribution of Romanian troops in Balkans and Iraq pointed out a series of specific challenges such as mobility of troops, interoperability, survivability of fighting equipments and logistics capabilities. The majority of these problems could have been solved having the support of Italian Carabinieri partner, which assumed the role of the lead nation. A multitude of lessons learned have been concentrated on adapting the right procedures to the specific circumstances and types of operations. This chapter highlights all the lessons learned that result from all areas: human resources, intelligence, operations, logistics, communications (signal), CIMIC, etc.
After analysis they made up an important database in order to enhance the value of gained experience to allow for: - a better training of follow-on units taking part in peace-keeping missions; - appointing personnel according to the mission requirements; - the use of better combat technology weapons and equipment; - better solutions of depolyment and redeployment; - accomplishing the specific missions.
5. Lessons, proposals and solutions adopted
Further on, I would like to present a few of the lessons learned, proposals and solutions adopted: G -2, INTELLIGENCE. The Romanian MP subunits from SFOR and Iraq have received a specific task to fulfil, namely - information gathering - task that had a major influence on accomplishing the missions. It was ascertained that part of the information gathered was not confirmed but also could have had the role to mislead and misinform.
The causes of this were assesed to be the improper training of MP soldiers and the lack of sufficient interpreters able to speak the local language. Adopted solution: - info-gathering training has been introduced into the MP training program; - key personnel was instructed to filter all information through at least two authorised sources: local administration, NGO’s, etc.; - in the first phase, employing local interpreters necessary to carry on the daily missions. Another major problem was, especially in Iraq, to estimate the vulnerability of the guard sYstem used. MSU bases are situated in cities, urban crowd (agglomeration) being a perilous element for their security. There is an imperative need of reviewing databases on principles, methods used and organization of terrorist groups, political parties, ethnic/religious armed groups.
Proposal: - strict force protection measures that must be followed by all personnel. G-3, OPERATIONS: - in order to accomplish the mission, the MSU troops had to be moved by helicopter for crowd control interventions. Romanian troops were not trained in the helicopter movement conditions. Adopted solution: - simulated helicopter load training was performed. Reccomendation: - to organize live helicopter load training exercises prior to deploying in theatre. Psychologic training of the troops designated to execute missions in the theater of operations was insufficient, existing the possibility that the soldiers could knuckle under the pressure. To successfully perform the missions and stave off the negative factors, during the precursory training, besides the normal training usually done, images, documentary films and impressions of the soldiers who return from the previous missions have to be presented. Of great importance we consider the next example: lack of interoperability in staff work procedures between different national contingents whithin MSU.
A proposed solution for this problem could be common staff exercises, exchange of drill instructors, exchange of staff officers to work in cooperation at different staff levels. S-4, LOGISTICS: - in MSU SFOR the MP platoon was accomodated in CORIMEC containers. Reccomendation: - to analyse the possibility of supplying all contingents with a type of containers that enhance the mobility, are easy to install, provide optimal living conditions and are retrieavable when mission ends. Today, when our efforts are divided in many directions (restructuring process, interoperability, NATO/PfP missions and exercises), a multitude of aspects can be considered as lessons learned and turned into account for future training. Our task should be to monitor the collection of lessons learned, analyse them, synthesize the important conclusions and show what to do and how to do it.
By sharing these conclusions with other military or police structures as experience gained, we will be able to maximize our potential in carrying out future missions. On the other hand, according to the problems presented, the conclusions resulted should be forwarded to superior structures as to take the appropriate legal, operational and administrative measures. Only in this way we can prove that lessons are learned and experience accumulated. In Romania most of the aspects mentioned in the present document are in the qualified echelons’ attention, some of them being already solved. Notwithstanding this, we presented them as valuable information, so we can avoid making the same mistakes again. We wish to express the hope and trust in our future cooperation, there is no doubt about it, we firmly believe that only together we can take steps forward on this road.
The active Romanian participation in the UN and NATO Public Security Operations and Partnership for Peace missions and exercises, the consistent Romanian position during the Balkan crisis emphasized the Romanian effort in the “concert” of the world nations and the ability to join and support democracy. Among our major concerns, when taking part in these missions, and when showing our availability for more future missions and operations of this type, is to give a real image of the possibilities of the Romanian army and our determination to implement NATO procedures in our units and subunits. These relevant actions of public security during Peace Support Operations, represent a great opportunity for Romania to ensure a growing visibility at NATO level, in the perspective of a future Romanian contribution to peace keeping missions like UNMIK, KFOR, SFOR, Iraq. The peace-keeping and humanitarian missions to which the Romanian soldiers took part, including Public Security Operations missions, pointed out: - confirmation of the fact that Romania is an active participant in maintaining a peace and security environment process at local and regional level; - increasing the consideration of our potential to take part in this type of mission; - the capability of Romanian military personnel to integrate and work with NATO standard procedures and the professionalism proven by working in multinational headquarters; - the units and personnel’s capability to conduct military operations in a multinational framework, political and terrain conditions different from the national characteristics; - the participants’ capacity to adjust to local rules and traditions, specific to missions and areas; - the increasing capabilities of soldiers and responsibility while acting independently and in hostile conditions of stress; - proving the solidity and durability of the Romanian military technology and equipment in different work conditions. Finally, regarding the cooperation between the Carabinieri and the Romanian military police, we are considering this as a special relationship, first of all because it has a special impact on organizing, training and accomplishing the specific tasks of the military police units, and also for the fact that as Romania is the only Latin country in Eastern Europe, Italy is the nearest to the Romanian people’s heart and soul.
(*) - Major of the Romanian Armed Forces.