Review: Air Power in UN Operations – Wings for Peace

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Walter Dorn (editor) et al

5.0 out of 5 stars Pioneering Practical Work on Future of Aviation — Not Just UN — in Peace and War, August 29, 2014

This book — I disclose that my chapter is one of two concluding chapters — is one of the most practical, comprehensive, and perhaps — we all hope — inspirational books to be published on aviation applications for peace and war in recent memory. Since Look Inside the Book is not available, I will first list the parts and chapters, and then summarize my appreciation for this pioneering endeavor.

PART I THE UN’S FIRST “AIR FORCE”
01 Planning, Organizing, and Commanding Air Operations in the Congo, 1960
02 Peacekeepers in Combat: Fighter Jets and Bombers in the Congo, 1961-1963
03 A Fine Line: Use of Force, the Cold War, and Canada’s Air Support for the UN Organization in the Congo

PART II AIRLIFT: LIFELINE FOR UN MISSIONS
04 Above the Rooftop of the World: Canadian Air Operations in Kashmir and Along the India-Pakistan Border
05 Humanitarian Relief in Haiti, 2010: Honing the Partnership between the US Air Force and the UN
06 Flying Humanitarians: The UN Humanitarian Air Service

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Aug 29

Review: Using Data Sharing to Improve Coordination in Peacebuilding: Report of a Workshop on Technology, Science, and Peacebuilding

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Andrew Robertson and Steve Olson (eds.)

4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent First Step, Four Disappointments, January 2, 2013

This is one of the more useful reports to come out of the US Institute of Peace and its collaborative effort with the National Academy of Engineering and I highly recommend it for either free reading online at the National Academies Press (individual) or for library purchase for the information, intelligence, diplomacy, civil-military, stabilization & reconstruction, and decision-support sections.

The goals are worthy but overly scientific & technical (the cultural part always comes first): to apply science and technology to the process of peacebuilding and stabilization; to promote systematic communications among organizations across political and other boundaries; and to apply science and technology to pressing conflict issues. La di dah. I just want to know if there is a dead donkey at the bottom of this particular well.

Secondary and equally ambitious goals that their current staffing model cannot support:
1. Adopt the agricultural extension services model to peacebuilding
2. Use data sharing to improve coordination in peacebuilding
3. Sense emerging conflicts (at least they realize the secret intelligence world does NOT do this)
4. Harness systems methods for delivery of peacebuilding services.

FOUR STRONG THEMES MAKE THIS BOOK VALUABLE:
1. Data sharing requires working across a technology-culture divide
2. Information sharing requires building and maintaining trust
3. Information sharing requires linking civilian-military policy discussions to technology
4. Collaboration software needs to be aligned with user needs.

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Jan 2

Review: Homeland Earth

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Edgar Morin and Anne Brigitte Kern

5.0 out of 5 stars Six Star Keeper – Joins Durant, Fuller, Ackoff,July 1, 2012

This is a PHENOMENAL book, a joint effort by Edgar Moron, whose life’s work includes Method: Towards a Study of Humankind, Vol. 1: The Nature of Nature (American University Studies Series, No. 5, Philosophy, Vol. 3). Today I am ordering Seven Complex Lessons in Education for the Future (Education on the Move). The translators Sean M. Kelly and Roger LaPointe merit recognition — this is as fine a translation of a complex mind’s work as I have ever encountered.

I donated my entire library to George Mason University when I joined the United Nations in 2010 (little realizing the depth of the corruption I would encounter — and soon leave in the same year). Among all my books, I kept back three: Philosophy and the Social Problem: The Annotated Edition, Lessons of History 1ST Edition, and Ideas and Integrities: A Spontaneous Autobiographical Disclosure. This book joins that august group.

If I were president of a university, these four books would be required reading, along perhaps with High Noon 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them and Designing a World That Works for All: How the Youth of the World are Creating Real-World Solutions for the UN Millenium Development Goals and Beyond.

Since Look Inside the Book is not provided for this extraordinary work, I will list the 9 chapter here (each with over ten sub-titles not listed here):

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Jul 1

Review: Keeping Watch – Monitoring Technology and Innovation in UN Peace Operations

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Walter Dorn

5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal Contribution to UN and to Literature,August 13, 2011

Professor Walter Dorn is the de facto dean of the small number of scholars who study the specific topic of peacekeeping intelligence, or intelligence support to United Nations (UN) operations. Since his pioneering early studies of UN successes in the Congo in the 1960’s to his more recent articles on the introduction of the Joint Military Analysis Centre (JMAC) in Haiti, he is both the closest academic observer, and the most well-written in this area.

I read this book with great interest. It is the first comprehensive look at technologies that are directly applicable to the fulfillment of UN mandates, the design and security of multinational forces, the effective management of tactical campaigns, and of course being technical, it is the first and last word on surveillance technologies vital to peacekeeping and peace enforcement across vast regions.

Pending the “Inside the Book” feature being available for this just published book, here is the table of contents from my own copy.

1 Introduction
2 The Evolution of Peacekeeping
3 Monitoring: The Constant Need
4 Survey of Technologies
5 Aerial Surveillance: Eye in the Sky
6 Traditional Peacekeeping: Cases
7 Modern Multidimensional Peacekeeping: Cases
8 Current UN Standards: Starting from Near Zero
9 Challenges and Problems
10 Recommendations
11 Conclusions

I recently attending a conference on the history and future of UN Air Power, and in both my own presentations and those of others, “Peace from Above” was a recurring theme. The importance of assuring that UN elements have the best possible human and technical surveillance technologies cannot be understated–for modest investments–including Unmanned Aerial Vehicles–the UN can save lives, money, and time–on the latter point, Colin Gray, in Modern Strategy, observes that time is the one strategic variable that can neither be purchased nor replaced.

A word on pricing: as those who follow my reviews know, I will occasionally single out extraordinary books that are so grotesquely priced as to dishonor the entire publishing world. This book is perfectly priced, close to my standard of page count with one decimal. I salute the UN Press for bringing this book into the world. It should become a standard volume, not only for UN training classes, but for all war colleges as well as for commercial security training and operations.

See Also:

Peacekeeping Intelligence: Emerging Concepts for the Future

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Aug 13