Review: Air Power in UN Operations – Wings for Peace

5 Star, United Nations & NGOs
Amazon Page
Amazon Page

Walter Dorn (editor) et al

5.0 out of 5 stars Pioneering Practical Work on Future of Aviation — Not Just UN — in Peace and War, August 29, 2014

This book — I disclose that my chapter is one of two concluding chapters — is one of the most practical, comprehensive, and perhaps — we all hope — inspirational books to be published on aviation applications for peace and war in recent memory. Since Look Inside the Book is not available, I will first list the parts and chapters, and then summarize my appreciation for this pioneering endeavor.

01 Planning, Organizing, and Commanding Air Operations in the Congo, 1960
02 Peacekeepers in Combat: Fighter Jets and Bombers in the Congo, 1961-1963
03 A Fine Line: Use of Force, the Cold War, and Canada's Air Support for the UN Organization in the Congo

04 Above the Rooftop of the World: Canadian Air Operations in Kashmir and Along the India-Pakistan Border
05 Humanitarian Relief in Haiti, 2010: Honing the Partnership between the US Air Force and the UN
06 Flying Humanitarians: The UN Humanitarian Air Service

07 Aerial Surveillance: Eyes in the Sky
08 UN Observer Group in Lebanon: Aerial Surveillance During a Civil War, 1958
09 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Supporting UN Operations: A Commercial Service Model?

10 The UN Iraq-Kuwait Observer Mission and the Southern Non-Fly Zone, 1991-2003
11 Observing Air Power at Work in Sector Sarajevo, 1993-1994: A Personal Account

12 Air Operations in Somalia: “Black Hawk Down” Revisted
13 Operation Deliberate Force in Bosnia, 1995: Humanitarian Constraints in Aerospace Warfare
14 Combat Air Power in the Congo, 2003-
15 Allied Air Power over Libya

16 Advances in Aviation for UN Peacekeeping: A View from UN Headquarters
17 Peace from Above: Envisioning the Future of UN Air Power [free online, search for < 2014 Peace from Above: Envisioning the Future of UN Air Power >]

Thirteen authors came together to create this work under the editorial leadership of Professor Walter Dorn, bracketed by the field experience of LtGen Romeo Dallaire, whose book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda is essential reading in the global to local security literature, and the combined UN aviation field and headquarters leadership of Kevin Shelton-Smith, Chief of the UN Aviation Projects and Planning Department.

It was my privilege to hear all these authors present their views at the conference sponsored by Canada, and I consider all of them to be extraordinary world-class figures whose aggregate knowledge as offered in this book is priceless to any Air Force anywhere — and of course to UN leaders including those seconded from Member states who need to understand the progress the UN has made in what is arguably the single most important foundation for UN safety and security in expeditionary operations (intelligence is the other plank, the UN is challenged in that arena and likely to remain so for the next decade or two — but for one view of the possible, search online for < 2012 Robert Steele: Practical Reflections on United Nations Intelligence + UN RECAP > and see the book in my signature line.

Since I have listed the table of contents to help those considering the purchase of the book, I will not do my summary review, but there is one brilliant observation made at the conference by Robert C. Owen of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, to wit: “Bandwidth is more expensive than pilots.” While I strongly support the use of drones and especially micro-drones for humanitarian relief — and applaud all that is being done by Dr. Patrick Meier and CrisisMappers — I consider the Western move away from live pilots to be one of the most dangerous, ill-considered, and deeply unprofessional developments in modern aviation history. Technology is not a substitute for thinking — a thinking pilot with 360 degree situational awareness and the judgment to NOT achieve a 98% collateral damage ratio such as CIA has compiled with its assassination drones, is priceless.

I consider the editor, Professor Walter Dorn, to be the dean of the UN scholars, and one of the world's top authorities on peacekeeping technologies — indeed he is a member of the new UN High-Level Panel on Peacekeeping Technologies, and I am very much looking forward to the book that will emerge from that. Until then, my all time favorite UN publication is A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility–Report of the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change.

Best wishes to all,
Robert David Steele Vivas
PEACEKEEPING INTELLIGENCE: Emerging Concepts for the Future

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