Orchestrating Peace Operations: The PDD-56 Process

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Langford, Tonya (1999) Orchestrating Peace Operations: The PDD-56 Process , Security Dialogue 30(2): 137–149.

In May 1997, the White House adopted a tool for a comprehensive and integrated multi-agency response to complex crises caused by collapsed states, small wars and natural disasters. This was Presidential Decision Directive-56; it represented a change in US thinking following the disastrous Task Ranger raid of October 1993 in Mogadishu, which had led to the restrictive PDD-25 of May 1994. This 'new' doctrine is not totally innovative, however. Political-military (pol-mil) plans have been prepared for Bosnia, for Eastern Slavonia (the only one partially in action), for Kosovo and for Central Africa, but PDD-56 has yet to be fully implemented. A Multi-Agency Support Team is being designed to align the various relevant agencies of the US government under a single, functional response procedure. PDD-56 is at present a US-centred doctrine, but the USA is not alone in recognizing the need for international coordination of such mechanisms. Ultimately, harmonization will have to be organized around multinationalism and multifunctionalism, to meet the complex crises beyond the 1990s.