Training for Peace Operations as Conducted in Ghana
Published in Monograph No. 17 African Capabilities for Training for Peace Operations, November 1997
The project team visited Ghana over the period 13 October to 16 October 1996. For a more detailed itinerary, see Appendix J.
The report on peace operations training in the Ghana Armed Forces as presented to the survey team is presented as follows:
3 BACKGROUND: GHANAIAN PARTICIPATION IN PEACE OPERATIONS
Ghana is fully supportive of peacekeeping initiatives at the international and regional levels. Almost since independence, Ghana Armed Forces has committed personnel and units to UN peacekeeping and observer missions. Ghana has participated in the following operations:
Current Contribution (as of 15 October 1996)
An indication of Ghana's commitment to keeping the peace is evident from the fact that the Ghana Armed Forces at one stage (1992-1993) contributed battalion-strength contingents to three major ongoing peace operations simultaneously: UNIFIL, UNTAC and ECOMOG. This involved a significant amount of manpower, given the fact that troops are ideally rotated every six months, but never remain deployed longer than nine months. Ghana Armed Forces have provided 34 contingents for UNIFIL alone, and 12 for ECOMOG. The latest ECOMOG troop rotation took place in mid-October 1996.
4 PEACEKEEPING TRAINING PHILOSOPHY
Although the Ghana Armed Forces have no dedicated peacekeeping training centre, peacekeeping training packages are incorporated into all levels of leadership training. These packages have evolved through the incorporation of years of Ghana Armed Forces experience as peacekeepers and military observers. Peacekeeping training is conducted by the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, the Jungle Warfare School, and the designated units which form the core of Ghana Armed Forces peacekeeping contingents. Almost all soldiers at all levels of rank in the Ghana Armed Forces thus have either experience or a basic knowledge of the principal aspects of peace operations. The Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College deals with the highest levels of training, i.e. that which is of a conceptual and procedural nature, for future commanding officers and general staff officers. The Jungle Warfare School presents a dedicated peacekeeping background training package for junior leaders and company commanders. Designated units present up to six weeks mission specific, pre-deployment training on a joint basis for the core infantry unit and integrated specialists such as engineers and military police. This approach to peacekeeping training, together with Ghana's extensive experience in peace operations, as outlined above, means that almost every Ghana Armed Forces soldier is exposed to peacekeeping training and/or operations.
5 GHANA ARMED FORCES COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE
The Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College was established with British and Canadian assistance in July 1976 as a tri-service, Grade II Command and Staff College. It consists of both a Senior and a Junior Division, as well as an Administration Department and a Research and Development Department, and is located at Accra (about half an hour's drive from the airport). On 10 January 1977, 28 Ghanaian officers enrolled for the first year-long command and staff course. Since then, a total of 642 students (512 Ghanaian and 130 foreign) have graduated from the Senior Division. These graduates have included a small number (26) of extra-military personnel such as police and officials of the Department of Foreign Affairs. Currently (1996) there are 35 students enrolled on Course No. 19: 21 from Ghana, and 14 foreign officers from, amongst others, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. There are 24 army students, five naval students, and six from the air force. The present Director of Studies is a British Army Officer (colonel), and there are 16 Directing Staff, 12 from the Ghana Armed Forces and four from Nigeria.
Select Ghana Armed Forces officers also attend command and staff courses in a variety of other African countries, thus enhancing cross-fertilisation and confidence-building among the armed forces of the region. Both Directing Staff and students are encouraged to engage in further study and research on peace support operations through enrolment in correspondence courses. Staff exchanges with other peacekeeping training centres are also encouraged. Ghana Armed Forces officers have, for example, participated in courses at the UK Staff College, the Zimbabwe Staff College, the Nigerian Staff College and the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, Canada.
Peacekeeping forms part of the general tri-service knowledge of all Directing Staff at the college. Directing Staff support consists of computers and the usual audio-visual aids to be found at a staff college. The reproduction facility is presently outmoded, but is due for replacement with a 'state-of-the-art' desk-top publishing system by the end of 1996. The Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College has a small, but well-stocked library with ample current literature on peace support operations. The latter is kept up to date with the assistance of the UK.
The senior Command and Staff Course is conducted over four terms, as follows:
The CEP includes a three-day seminar on International Humanitarian Law, a management programme presented by the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), computer orientation, and press and television interview techniques.
5.2 Peace Support Operations Study
In July 1995, approval was granted by the College board for the extension of the Senior Command and Staff Course by a week, and for the rationalisation of the existing curriculum in order to accommodate a four-week, dedicated peace support operations package. During November-December 1995, the design of the module was finalised with the assistance of the UK Staff College, Camberley. The Director of Studies and his team had access to all the relevant material in use at Camberley, and decided to use the British Army's Wider Peace-Keeping as a baseline manual. However, the total content and presentation of the course is designed to meet the needs of Ghana and Africa, and is not merely a replica of European courses. In July 1996, the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College presented its first four-week, stand-alone module on peace support operations.
The module consists of a series of presentations, lectures and discussions. The expert knowledge and experience of the Directing Staff (each has had experience in at least three missions) is supplemented through the extensive utilisation of expertise from outside the College. Guest lecturers are drawn, for example, from other government departments, universities, the NGO sector, and UN agencies. Experts from other African countries also help with the presentation of the module. The overall aim of the Peace Support Operations study is to introduce students to the principles and procedures involved in the planning, co-ordination and conduct of peace support operations.
The main elements covered by lectures and presentations are:
These lectures are complimented by syndicate discussions and presentations on the following topics:
Students are also required to present their findings on a number of case studies on UN peace operations. Information for this task is provided by a series of five films on UN peace operations and an extensive list of relevant and up-to-date readings which are available in the College library.
The module concludes with Exercise BLUE VOLTA, a four-day map exercise which is an adaptation of the Camberley exercise which has been conducted with British assistance in a number of countries in Africa. BLUE VOLTA is conducted with the aid of resource staff from extra-military agencies such as MFA, UNHCR, UNDP, etc. This assists in the students' conception of the integration of civilian and military facets of contemporary peace support operations.
The mix of students with and without peacekeeping experience enriches the
learning experience of the initiated and uninitiated alike, and adds quality to
the discussion periods and debate. The first course was attended and validated
by a member of the Camberley Staff College. A measure of the latter's confidence
in the quality of presentation is provided by the fact that three Ghana Armed
Forces Command and Staff College Directing Staff were subsequently invited to
Camberley to act as resource people for the presentation of a similar module at
that staff college. Although the curriculum is based on a combination of British
doctrine and Ghanaian peacekeeping experience and designed to meet Ghanaian
requirements and objectives, a willingness was expressed to adjust the existing
package to meet broader OAU requirements.
The peacekeeping package is subject to ongoing evaluation by both Directing Staff and students. Each lecture and exercise is subject to a comprehensive debrief, and necessary adjustments are made to the programme at the end of each year.
The effective national and regional dissemination of the peacekeeping knowledge acquired is aided by the fact that forty per cent of the course consisted of students from six other African countries, and that graduates of the College are future unit commanders and general staff officers.
The Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College is a small, low-budget staff college with modest facilities and infrastructure. However, the budgetary limitations are well compensated for by the high quality of the Directing Staff. The college does not engage in the generation of new peace support doctrine, for it is felt that this is something that should be conducted at the international level. The research efforts of Directing Staff and students therefore focus on extracting relevant operational and tactical lessons from past and ongoing peace operations. The College has already been commissioned by the UK to produce a glossary of UN peacekeeping terminology in English and French. This one-off project has produced a pocket-sized publication with the English terminology juxtaposed to the French, allowing for easy reference by peacekeepers in the field. A total production run of 5000 copies is planned, with 3000 copies to be presented to UN HQ for distribution. Distribution of a similar English-Portuguese glossary is also planned.
Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College has succeeded in designing and implementing a high-quality peacekeeping package at the Senior Command and Staff Course level for Ghanaian and other African students, and exhibits the potential and desire to become an acknowledged regional centre for the presentation of such training. It is envisaged that there will be a much broader student base for the 1997 Peace Support Operations Studies. The inclusion of representatives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and the NGO community is presently under consideration by the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College Control Board.
The present student capacity of the Senior Division is 40. This ceiling is determined largely by the availability of accommodation. Existing tuition facilities would allow for the expansion of this capacity to 70 students per year, although the latter would require capital expenditure to the tune of US $ 500 000 for the following:
Without this expansion, it would still be possible to maximise the value of the peace support operations studies by expanding attendance of the four-week phase through the enrolment of 20 to 30 more students, and/or conducting a second four-week course during the College recess in August-September. Of course, the former option also raises problems of accommodation, as the costs of hotel accommodation for 20 to 30 students for one month would be exorbitant. However, a combination of the two approaches would realise the potential of 140 peacekeeping graduates per year.
6 JUNGLE WARFARE SCHOOL
The Ghana Armed Forces has historically contributed the following categories of personnel for peace operations:
Over the years, the Ghana Armed Forces has deployed units and individuals on peace operations under the premise that its commanders, staff officers and soldiers possessed the basic, militarily transferable skills which were required to conduct a third-party intervention under authority of the UN. However, the Army has realised that while basic military training lays a firm and essential foundation for the conduct of peace operations, the increasing complexity of contemporary peacekeeping demands the development of specific skills and attitudes. This need has been addressed at the level of unit command and staff training at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, as outlined above.
In an attempt to formalise the hitherto uncoordinated approach to peacekeeping training at the sub-unit level and below, a Peacekeeping Training Wing was established in 1994 as part of the existing Jungle Warfare School, with the same status as the Jungle Wing. Junior leaders and sub-unit commanders enter the Jungle Warfare School after qualifying for their rank and posts in conventional training presented by their respective corps schools. The Peacekeeping Training Wing was tasked with forming the doctrinal basis for the standardised sub-unit leadership training for peace operations. The Peacekeeping Training Wing was mandated to do the following:
The Peacekeeping Training Wing functions under the authority of the Jungle Warfare School HQ, but has its own Commanding Officer with the rank of major, and two officer instructors with the rank of captain. The Peacekeeping Training Wing also has a Wing Sergeant Major (warrant officer class 2), two instructors (sergeants) and two lance corporals for administration and logistics. It maintains basic peacekeeping-specific equipment scales, e.g. road block equipment, calthrops, etc.
The Peacekeeping Training Wing focuses on the core skills and techniques for all types of peace operations, and includes these in the extended syllabi of the following courses conducted by the Jungle Warfare School:
This necessitated extending all the above command courses by two to three weeks, for the adequate teaching of the following basic core skills syllabus at the section commanders' level:
The platoon sergeants, platoon commanders and company commanders courses follow the same basic syllabus at higher levels of instruction and application, with a number of additional topics added at each level. For example, platoon sergeants are also schooled in negotiating techniques, camp security and civil/military operations. On the platoon commanders course, emphasis is placed on subjects such as map marking, VIP briefing, the legal aspects of peacekeeping, and investigations and mediation. At the company commanders level, attention is paid to additional aspects such as movement control and various types of operations, contingency plans and SOPs, and the whole issue of the use of force.
Many of the core skills and attitudes taught at the Peacekeeping Training Wing will be reinforced during unit pre-deployment training. The significance of the programme at the Peacekeeping Training Wing is that it entrenches the concept of background peacekeeping training at the lowest levels of command and instruction, making peacekeeping part of the professional baggage and military ethos of all career soldiers in the Ghana Armed Forces.
7 SPECIALIST TRAINING
Specialist training for engineers and military police is considered the responsibility of the respective corps training schools. However, the Ghana Armed Forces has mandated an outline programme for the background peacekeeping training of these specialists. For example, engineer training should cover at least the following:
On the other hand, the military police are required to undergo training in the following:
Once these specialist elements have married up with the core infantry unit in the concentration area, their pre-deployment training and integration with the contingent becomes the responsibility of the unit commander.
8 PRE-DEPLOYMENT UNIT PEACEKEEPING TRAINING
Unit training for peacekeeping is conducted in the form of mission-oriented training which is specific to the area of operations, prior to deployment to that area. This training endures for six weeks, and includes the following aspects:
9 COMMENTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS BY HOST COUNTRY
The visit by the OAU survey team was welcomed as an initiative which might lead to the collation of ideas on peacekeeping training and the establishment of some form of commonality within Africa. Operational experience has made the Ghana Armed Forces highly aware of the need for a much larger measure of doctrinal and procedural standardisation if African contingents are to work together as part of an effective peacekeeping force. There is a pressing need for the integration of various national efforts in this regard.
While the glossary of UN peacekeeping terminology, mentioned above, is regarded as a good beginning for the aforementioned, the Ghana Armed Forces recognises that while African countries collectively have vast experience in peacekeeping, the difference in approach between individual countries is equally vast.
For example, differences in tactical doctrine between Francophone and Anglophone troop contributing countries have created a crisis for ECOMOG. There is thus a clear need for the regional harmonisation and standardisation of peacekeeping training.
There is also an urgent need for logistic support to African troop contributors. The Ghana Armed Forces has paid a very high price through attempting to marshal its own resources for the ongoing participation in ECOMOG.
Apart from the well-documented problems of logistic support per se for African forces, there is an essential need for harmonising and standardising logistical systems and procedures, as well as the whole concept of logistics, if the idea of inter-operability is to become a realty. Logistics training should become a prominent focus of peacekeeping training efforts. UN logistic training teams could travel to African countries to assist in such an endeavour.
The Ghana Armed Forces have no objection in principle to participation in peace support operations with either a Chapter VI or a Chapter VII mandate. Indeed, the sentiment was expressed that Ghana Armed Forces contingents would be more confident if deployed with a mandate that would enable them to use an appropriate level of force under circumstances where this essential for the safety of personnel and the accomplishment of the mission. However, it was stressed that the utility of this aspect of the mandate for any specific mission is dubious, unless contingents are adequately and appropriately armed and equipped for the type of contingencies envisaged by such a mandate.