Civil-military Relations; ASF; Multidimensionalism

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The feasibility of a multidimensional African Standby Force (ASF) and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) is uncertain. This is despite the existence of a policy framework initiating the ASF and regional mechanisms (RMs). The policy was adopted and adapted to assume a multidimensional configuration, in May 2003 and in 2004 respectively. More than ten years after its establishment, there exist an unconcluded debate on whether the ASF and the regional mechanisms have achieved the multidimensional status-military, civilians and police components. It is in this sense that reference to civil-military relations (CMRs) has become almost a cliché of debates in the African Union’s (AU) peacekeeping space. Indeed, the sour relationship between the military and civilians has been described as a ‘hindrance’ to the attainment of full operation capability by ASF structures earmarked for 2015. Whilst, the realities of conflict in most parts of Africa is that militants have changed tact, rendering pure military operation ineffective, the most effective response is for peace support operation (PSO) actors to develop balanced structures to respond to these multifaceted peace and security threats facing the continent. In this article, the significance of both structural and institutional constraints are considered. The conclusion points to the need to adapt the ASF structures to the African PSO realities, but more critically, improve its configuration and design in the light of the lessons learnt since its establishment more than a decade ago.



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