What is the solution? It is time for the United States to push for the creation of a standing U.N. Peacekeeping Force. This proposal offers three major advantages. First, it would reduce the need for national contingents from willing nations in high risk scenarios. Second, it would facilitate the professionalization of a force that specializes in complex contingencies and is trained, organized, and equipped for sustained peacekeeping missions. Reliance upon volunteers who are committed to the mission, prepared to comply with international law, and are dedicated to the expectation for protecting civilians and enforcing U.N. mandates would be a clear improvement. Third, the deployment of a dedicated force of professionals would eliminate the political repercussions now faced by national leaders when their units are attacked and sustain fatalities. Multinational units comprised of highly trained volunteers would minimize the risks faced by political leaders who would not be held accountable at the ballot box for casualties.
In 2010, I was among those interviewed for the position of defense intelligence senior leader for human intelligence (HUMINT). I made two points during that interview: First, in a declining fiscal environment, the best way to pay for a defense spy program would be by cutting in half the Measurements and Signatures Analysis Intelligence program, which is under the oversight of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) director. It is the most over-hyped and underperforming national collection program.
Second, micro-pockets of excellence notwithstanding, no one serving in the Pentagon (or CIA) was qualified by mindset or experience to create the Defense Clandestine Service (DCS). I was particularly pointed about the complacency and ineptitude of the entrenched civilian cadre, and the inexperience and uncertainty of their constantly changing uniformed counterparts.
Here are my observations on whether there should be a DCS, and if so, how it should be trained, equipped and organized.