[Presidential Decision Directives - PDD]

Study hits White House on peacekeeping missions

The Washington Times
December 06, 1999, Monday, Final Edition
PART A; Pg. A1

   The White House has failed to carry out its own written directive to train government personnel to manage complex peacekeeping operations such as in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, according to a Pentagon-financed study.

Briefing documents obtained by The Washington Times are particularly critical of the White House National Security Council staff.

"NSC not stepping forward in leadership role," states the study conducted by A.B. Technologies in Alexandria for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

At issue is Presidential Decision Directive 56, or PDD 56. President Clinton signed PDD 56 in 1997 as an order for the Pentagon, State Department, CIA and other agencies to create a cohesive program for educating and training personnel for peacekeeping missions.

But two years later, the A.B. Technologies consulting firm found, little has been done.

"The spirit and intent of PDD 56 directed-training is not being followed," the report concludes, according to a written briefing prepared for senior military officers. "No one has stepped forward in the leadership role."

The documents, dated November, say none of the heads of the military's postgraduate schools, such as the National Defense University, is "directly engaged in the training effort."

What's more, most agencies told the consultants they have no role in carrying out PDD 56, when in fact they do.

"There are no agency accountability checks to see what has been done, who has done it," the report says.

The report presents the ironic situation of the NSC, which had the lead in carrying out PDD 56, not following a directive sent out by the president it advises.

Moreover, PDD 56 was largely ignored by an administration that has sent American troops on a record number of so-called "contingencies" on foreign soil. The missions have included peacekeeping in Somalia, Haiti, East Timor and Bosnia, as well as air strikes on targets in Iraq, Bosnia, Sudan, Afghanistan and Serbia.

The NSC press office did not respond to requests for comment.

An official at A.B. Technologies, which specializes in creating models for war games and other military operations, also declined comment.

A PDD "is the most authoritative important policy guidance that the president can provide," said John Pike, a military analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. "There is no higher law in the land."

"These PDDs really are mainly significant to the extent that there is somebody at the assistant secretary level to run the interagency process," he said. "In the absence of some like this, nothing happens. . . . I sure can't think who the administration lead agent is on peacekeeping right now."

As a remedy to noncompliance, A.B. Technologies recommended that the Joint Chiefs draw up a plan and present it to the secretary of defense, who would then sell it to the entire Cabinet.

Mr. Clinton mandated PDD 56 at a time when the Bosnia peace enforcement mission, originally predicted to last one year, became an open-ended operation. It also came after the bitter lessons of Somalia, where in 1993 a U.S. humanitarian effort turned into a chaotic peace enforcement operation and a U.N.-driven manhunt for a Somalia warlord.

PDD 56 itself is classified. But the White House did issue a white paper in 1997 outlining what it wanted accomplished - goals the A.B. Technologies study found were generally unmet.

For example, the directive called on federal agencies to collect "lessons learned" from each operation and incorporate them into planning for the next one.

"The PDD's intent is to establish these management practices to achieve unity of effort among U.S. government agencies and international organizations engaged in complex contingency operations," the White House paper says. "Dedicated mechanisms and integrated planning processes are needed."

The directive ordered the NSC to work with the National Defense University, the Army War College and other military schools to develop and conduct a multiagency training program.

But the A.B. Technologies review said the NSC is "not stepping forward in leadership role" and said PDD 56 "as a whole, not implemented."

"It was designed to fill a need to have instructions for the whole government, like when you go into Bosnia and Kosovo," said Ed Bruner, a military analyst at the Congressional Research Service. "The military knows what to do, but you have to educate the entire government."

Copyright 1999 News World Communications, Inc.