Armed Forces Units On International Peace Support Operations Business
For over four decades, the Government of Ghana has strongly supported United Nations with troops and equipment in peacekeeping missions around the world. Ghana has a reputation for professionalism and commitment to duty in her participation in international peace support operations. Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has earned over the years under the UN flag in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, and also as a participant in the ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) operations in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cote d'Ivoire.
Ghana's involvement in UN Peacekeeping operations dates back to the year 1960 when she first sent her troops to take part in the UN Peacekeeping Operation in the then Congo (Kinshasa); now Democratic Republic of Congo. Ghana has continued to contribute troops to UN peacekeeping operations across the globe and currently the 10th largest contributor of military personnel for UN peacekeeping operations in the world. Apart from providing troops to the UN peacekeeping missions, Ghana provides military observers, staff officers, civil police and specialists to various UN missions.
GAF is currently providing 2,636 formed troops to four (4) UN peacekeeping missions namely: United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO), United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) and United Nations Mission in Cote d'Ivoire (UNOCI).
Until 1996 UN was providing and maintaining all the major equipment and most of the logistics required by troops in the various missions. Ghana like many other troop contributing countries was only reimbursed by the UN for her troops, their personnel clothing, gear and equipment, personal weaponry and training ammunition provided.
The UN General Assembly by Resolution 50/222 of 11 April 1996 authorized the implementation of a new reimbursement system which was designed to encourage Troop Contributing Countries (TCC) to provide all the major equipment required to support their troops in peacekeeping missions. Under this new arrangement, the Wet and Dry Lease systems of reimbursement were introduced.
The Wet Lease is where the TCC provides and assumes responsibility for the maintenance and support for deployed major equipment.
Dry Lease means the TCC provides the major equipment and the UN assumes responsibility for the maintenance of the equipment.
Self-sustainment was also incorporated as a logistic support concept for contingents in the UN peacekeeping missions. Under self-sustainment, TCC provides some specific or all logistics support to the contingent on a reimbursable basis. Self-sustainment covers areas such as medical, tentage, laundry and cleaning, communication, catering, accommodation and electrical among others.
Currently, with the exception of UNIFIL, Ghanaian troops in the other three (3) UN missions are operating under the wet lease system of reimbursement. Ghana Government provides all the major equipment and some self-sustainment requirements by the missions and is reimbursed monthly by the UN on the basis that the equipment satisfy the UN criterion for equipment reimbursement. It is worth mentioning that military equipment are capital intensive and the only way to break even on such huge capital investment is to ensure that the equipment deployed in the UN missions are always in good condition to attract the monthly anticipated reimbursement.
This paradigm shift in UN peacekeeping operations has made it very attractive and hence most countries; mainly third world or developing countries are competing seriously to find places in current missions for their troops to enable them enjoy the enormous profits associated with deploying troops and equipment in UN peacekeeping operations.
Interestingly, countries like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh who had little or no recognition in terms of providing troops for peacekeeping missions comparatively, are now the largest troop contributing countries. They have consistently expressed their readiness to contribute troops and equipment to UN missions since the introduction of the wet and dry lease UN system of reimbursement to enjoy the huge benefits therein.
It has been mentioned in some circles that if peacekeeping were an exportable commodity Ghana would have been a rich country by amassing huge amount of money from it (Mwausi Afele 2000).  The fact now is that, contributing troops and equipment to UN missions has now become very attractive and competitive among nations. The motivating factor has to do with the huge returns that could be realized from the capital invested; mainly from the major equipment that TCCs deploy in the missions.
The ability therefore for TCCs to break-even at the shortest possible period and reap benefits afterwards through continuous reimbursement by the UN for as long as the equipment or facilities remain functional in the mission area is what has now made peace keeping attractive to member states.
Undoubtedly, the UN now has the bargaining power to retain or withdraw the participation of any troop contributing country in missions depending on their readiness for role mainly in terms of operations and supporting logistics. The development of competitive strategies that seek to ensure sound logistics and operational excellence is what troop contributing countries need to remain in this new business and at the same time derive maximum profit.
Additionally, by embarking on logistical performance evaluation of the entire supply chain could be an effective means of identifying weaknesses in adopted strategies to ensue fine tuning. Routine logistical performance assessments can therefore be seen as an indispensable management tool capable of providing the necessary assistance for performance improvement in pursuit of supply chain excellence.1.2
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