Keeping Watch: Monitoring Technology and Innovation in UN Peace Operations


Sample Chapter
  • A. Walter Dorn

    1198 Dorn Keeping Watch web rescale
    ISBN-10: 92-808-1198-3,
    ISBN-13: 978-92-808-1198-8
    United Nations University Press
    August 2011

    Knowledge is power. In the hands of the UN peacekeepers it can be a power for peace. Lacking knowledge, peacekeepers often find themselves powerless in the field, unable to protect themselves and others. The United Nations owes it to its peacekeepers and the “peacekept” to utilize all available tools to make its monitoring and surveillance effective. Keeping Watch explains how technologies can increase the range, effectiveness and accuracy
    of UN observation. Satellites, aircraft and ground sensors enable wider coverage of areas, over longer periods of time, while decreasing intrusiveness. These devices can transmit and record imagery for wider dissemination, further analysis, and as evidence in human rights cases and tribunals. They also allow observation at a safe distance from dangerous areas, especially in advance of UN patrols, humanitarian convoys or robust forces. Sensor technologies have been increasing exponentially in performance while decreasing rapidly in price but the United Nations continues to use technologies from the 1980s. The few cases of technologies effectively harnessed in the field are identified.
    This book identifi es potential problems and pitfalls with modern technologies and the challenges of incorporating them into the UN system. It offers creative recommendations on how to overcome institutional inertia and the widespread misunderstanding of the ways in which technology can improve security in war-torn regions. Above all, it shows how technological innovation can serve as a complement to human initiative in the quest for peace.

    “In Keeping Watch, Walter Dorn makes a persuasive case for bringing the technology of UN peacekeeping into the 21st century—and not a decade too soon, because the time-honored approach of throwing ill-equipped troops at unstable places just is not working. With a unique mix of substantive and technical expertise, Dorn demonstrates how dozens of existing and emergent technologies—from thermal imaging to crowd-sourcing—could be vital force multipliers for peacekeepers, who can’t keep the peace if they don’t know the score. Anyone with an interest in peacekeeping should own this book and use it.”

    William Durch, Director of the Future of Peace Operations Program, Stimson Center

    “As the senior editor of the international journal Intelligence and National Security, whenever I receive a manuscript on the subject of intelligence and international organizations, A. Walter Dorn is the first reviewer I turn to for help in evaluating the submission. In Keeping Watch, his deep knowledge is on display. This book is chock full of fascinating charts, tables, drawings, and photographs to accompany Dorn’s signature careful analysis and flashes of original insight. He demonstrates in lucid prose how technology can be highly useful in monitoring, mitigating, and preventing international conflict. Here is a study that should be standard fare in every university course on international conflict and cooperation—indeed, one that citizens everywhere would benefit from reading.”

    Loch K. Johnson, Regents Professor, University of Georgia

    “Walter Dorn is one of the most thoughtful and knowledgeable analysts of peacekeeping and security policy, and this book makes an important contribution to a field that needs far more public discussion.”

    Bob Rae, former Premier of Ontario, and currently the Opposition Critic for foreign affairs in Canada’s House of Commons

    “Dr. Walter Dorn is the ‘dean’ of the peace intelligence scholars, having both founded and nurtured the field since his seminal work on UN intelligence successes in the Congo. This book covers the technical side of UN intelligence, and complements work on harnessing distributed human intelligence. From the Brahimi Report to the High Level Panels on Threats and on System-Wide Coherence, there has been a pattern of ‘emerging intelligence’. This book is the newest contribution––an absolutely essential, practical, and inspiring contribution to help create a prosperous world at peace.”

    Robert David Steele, CEO, Earth Intelligence Network

    “The engagement of the United Nations in peacekeeping has increased rapidly over the past decade. In the search for ways to enhance UN operations the UN Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations in 2006 requested a study on how technical monitoring and surveillance can be used to ensure the safety and security of United Nations peacekeeping personnel and improve operational effectiveness of peacekeeping missions.

    About the Author

    Dr. Walter Dorn, engaged by UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations as an independent expert, conducted research and came up with findings which successfully laid the grounds for further development of the idea of monitoring technology in UN peacekeeping. He continued to assist DPKO in establishing an action plan to systematize the knowledge, identify priorities, implement the proposed solutions and set the way forward, in close cooperation with member states.

    Table of contents

    Foreword, Roméo A. Dallaire
    The evolution of peacekeeping
    Monitoring: The constant need
    Survey of technologies
    Aerial surveillance: Eye in the sky
    Traditional peacekeeping: Cases
    Modern multidimensional peacekeeping: Cases
    Current UN standards: Starting from near zero
    Challenges and problems