CSDP missions in the field: scenario study

The field scenario analysis report consists of a detailed study of information exchange, situational awareness practice and operational control taking the case of EUCAP Nestor in the Horn of Africa and enlarging the context through complementary case studies on EUNAVFOR Atalanta and EULEX Kosovo. Interviews were conducted with staff from EUCAP Nestor, as well as from the EU Delegation to Somalia, EUNAVFOR Atalanta and UNSOM in three different locations: Nairobi (Kenya), Mogadishu (Somalia) and Berbera (Somaliland). In addition this report integrates findings from desk research and interviews conducted on the EULEX Kosovo mission and the EUNAVFOR Somalia – operation Atalanta military operation.

In line with the overall approach of the CIVILEX Project, this analysis takes an integrated look at the factors that influence information exchange, situational awareness and operational control by reviewing the institutional, organisational and technological aspects of a specific CSDP field scenario in Horn of Africa.
The study of EUCAP Nestor highlights a number of field-related aspects, leading to recommendations, with regard to the institutional dimensions; information and communication structures, flows, and operational needs in the field. These include:

  • Institutional aspects: Particularly for missions at an early stage and operating in a new context for civilian CSDP with an enlarged scope of the mandate, as was the case for EULEX Kosovo in 2008 and for EUCAP Nestor some five year later, the need for improved standardisation of institutional processes, in particular between CPCC and FPI, with regard to ensuring operational readiness remains paramount. It seems that in light of the advance in information technologies since the beginning of CSDP more than 15 years ago access of missions to information available at the Brussels level (CPCC, FPI, EEAS geographical desks …) need further improvement aided by shared information spaces. This could be aided by more harmonised SOPs for information exchange and situational awareness, which would have the additional benefit of allowing CSDP officials to move more easily from mission to mission (which has also been the case for personnel in the scenario who have served in several CSDP missions). While maturational effects in EULEX Kosovo have helped to ease civil-military cooperation, there remains a need to constantly revise and improve SOPs and SOIs in order to allow better civilian-military information exchange. Furthermore, against the background of increasingly less benign environments, the need for a comprehensive field security information exchange and situational approach covering the whole range of civilian external action, including CSDP operations, EU Delegations, EUSRs and others was highlighted. To this end a better integration of the CSDP missions’ MACs in the overall information analysis structures of the EEAS could be considered.
  • Organisational aspects: The design of an OCP should not only facilitate vertical (between mission and Brussels staff) but also horizontal (between peers in different missions) communication in particular working areas. Standardised systems for mission support tasks should in particular be developed (e.g. human resources, asset management). Interoperable or shared systems (e.g. shared drive) could be developed in order:
          o To support formal and informal information-sharing among FPI and EEAS staff in Brussels as well as between mission staff in the field and FPI and EEAS in Brussels on day-to-day administrative issues;
          o To foster information-sharing between missions and as such contribute to mutual learning from missions on administrative, human resources and other mission support tasks;
          o To provide quality gains;
          o To increase maintainability.

    Harmonised approaches to work processes in the domain of human resources, procurement, finance, logistics etc., should be further developed (which was identified in earlier studies with regard to the MSP, and was confirmed during the field interviews). At the same time it remains essential that an OCP takes into account the diversity of CSDP missions. The OCP should respond flexibly to the operational needs related to the missions’ mandates and contexts, and resulting demands from mission personnel. Furthermore, the OCP design requires promoting information security as well as mission security. This requires organising information access management centrally within missions according to access levels (including HQ checks and audits).

  • Technical aspects: Based on the above the following technical options will need to be considered to make the OCP suitable for the CSDP missions. The OCP system:
          o Must be customizable to new mission mandates, activities and locations;
          o Must enable secure information exchange with adaptive levels of security, depending on the operational context and threat level;
          o Must enable user friendly secure information exchange;
          o Core functions (staff communication, HR, finance, procurement, assets) must continue to function without internet connection;
          o Should enable secure information exchange with non-EU partners (e.g. military, host government) via encrypted gateways to a shared information portal/files share;
          o Should enable flexible deployment (and changes in) back office / front office locations;
          o Should provide a single federated, classified network for both EU and non-EU actors to join in (and/or mutual recognition on ID credentials and SOP/SOIs within a federated setup).