Peacekeeping: NATO Rapid Reaction Force Stumbles

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March 12, 2006: For the last three years, NATO has been trying to put together a Rapid Reaction Force (RRF) for peacekeeping emergencies. The plan was that a dozen or more nations would contribute to a force of 20,000 troops. The RRF would train together on a regular basis (as national contingents came and went), and even rehearse movement by air and sea. But problems in negotiating the contributions from over a dozen nations, and NATO peacekeeping efforts in Afghanistan (plus British efforts in Iraq and French in Ivory Coast), have delayed the formation process. The American general in charge of declaring the RRF operational believes that the organization is only 75 percent complete. It may take another year for the RRF to be ready for action, although it may happen sooner if the UN convinces NATO to send a peacekeeping force to Sudan. Then again, maybe not. A Sudan force would be a lot smaller than 20,000 troops, because of the difficulty of supplying such a force in Darfur (which is truly at the corner of no and where.)

 


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