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The Role of Logistics and Supply Chain Management in Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Operations

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The Role of Logistics and Supply Chain Management in Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Operations

The role of Logistics and Supply chain management in Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Operations:

Table of Contents



Private Contractors in Peacekeeping:        

Are Private Contractors that Engage in Security Activities Mercenaries?        

The Need for Accountability and Transparency in the Use of Private Contractors as Security Forces:        




This paper will analyze the current elements that facilitate effective logistics and supply chain management in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. The paper will discuss the challenges peacekeeping and humanitarian operations face in their logistics and supply chain management. This is a wide topic area, which means that a comprehensive study of all areas is not plausible. The paper will elaborate on how poor infrastructure and capacity of state peacekeeping forces has made it necessary to use private contractors who fill a number of roles, including the provision of security forces. The consequences of this is that rogue players can negatively affect the supply chain by failing to apply humanitarian law, which means that instead of keeping peace conflict can erupt. Thus, this paper will consider if the use of private contractors as security is the correct move in the supply chain, because it can create unsustainability.

The paper will look at the current success and challenges in setting up logistics and supply chain management to support peacekeeping and humanitarian operations. The paper will further analyze the way peacekeeping and humanitarian operations are able to establish and run logistics and supply chain management on a short notice and how they achieve their objective.


Military forces have always played in logistics and supply chain management under Peacekeeping. Logistics and Supply chain because a central role for national military forces from the 1990s to date, but due to costs and pressures to streamlines forces in the post-Global Financial Crisis (GFC) which has resulted in less budget provision and more prioritization in the military, the result has been a situation where the use of supply chain economics led to military forces engaging private contractors (aka private military and security companies (PMSC)) in the place of national forces in peacekeeping missions. The use of private contractors has been criticized, because they are making money from conflict (akin to the mercenary in historic warfare) (Boldt, 2004). On the other hand, there are arguments that peacekeeping missions are strengthened through the use of private contractors. As Berndtsson (2009) argues:

The fact that state’s control of security is changing does not always imply deterioration. Rather, what is observable is that the privatization of security has under certain circumstances led to increased flexibility and functionality for states such as the USA and the UK.

The opposing view has aptly been expressed by Reno (1997) who argues that: By privatising security and the use of violence, removing it from the domain of the state and giving it to private interests, the state in these instances is being both strengthened and disassembled. While groups such as these are attempting to reconstruct the state in order to ensure stability and security sufficient for economic activity, they are also removing the state’s control over violence and war (p. 612).

The argument of Reno indicates that by using private contractors there is lack of accountability in the military supply chain. There is also the more cynical view that if a company makes money from conflict, it will be help to minimize harm.

Supply chains to be effective need to be appropriately controlled by the military force that has employed the contractors (Reno, 1997). The inference is that the infrastructure of the military framework, especially in regards to peacekeeping missions, is not meeting the necessary accountability to ensure the peacekeeping aims are met (Carney, 2006). The primary problem with using private military forces is that there is a lack of accountability and transparency, because military law does not apply. In addition, the veil of incorporation, if a limited company, can protect the private military contracting firm (Straub, 2013).  This paper is going to examine whether the use of private contractors, especially security forces, is sustainable in peacekeeping missions.

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