oa Scientia Militaria : South African Journal of Military Studies - The challenges, roles and functions of civil military coordination officers in peace support operations : a theoretical discussion

Volume 35, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1022-8136
  • E-ISSN: 2224-0020



The introduction of a multidimensional approach towards peace missions in complex emergencies emphasises the importance of coordination between the military and the humanitarian components at all levels of interaction. Cooperation and coordination between the military and humanitarian components are critical to achieve a common goal to alleviate suffering and to save lives. The challenge is how to develop, enhance and sustain an effective working relationship to overcome the conflicting views on coordination from the military and humanitarian perspectives. Humanitarians fear the loss of independence and neutrality when associated with the military when the military component becomes directly involved in humanitarian action. During selection, the military needs to identify members who firstly conform to the generic psychological peacekeeping profile and secondly portray the skills, knowledge and abilities to perform the coordination function between the military and the humanitarian component. The challenge remains to select competent military members in the absence of a psychological profile for the coordination function. This article paves the way for research on the psychological profile for a civil military coordination officer (CIMIC officer), highlighting the importance of coordination through analysing the environment, challenges and perspectives in defining the roles and functions of CIMIC officers in complex emergencies.

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