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ICM Course: The Future of Crisis Management

National Defence University
Publication date 18.9.2019 12.03

The Finnish Defence Forces International Centre’s Integrated Crisis Management Course (ICM) is organised together with Crisis Management Centre Finland CMC Finland. The course aims to increase awareness and understanding of comprehensive crisis management approaches and to improve cooperation between different actors. We met with three teachers from the course. Their interviews will be published during September.

Danish Kenneth Albret is an officer, who has served in the Danish Armed Forces for some 36 years. He has worked abroad for decades, in various duties for a number of international and regional military and civilian organisations.

Albret has taught on over 23 different comprehensive crisis management courses

He has mainly worked outside Denmark since 1988, in crisis management related duties for the UN, the EU and NATO - both as a civilian and as a soldier. Currently, he is an instructor and a consultant. As part of these duties, he mentioned that he has trained police, gendarmerie, National Guard and border guards in West Africa while working for the EU, assisted in humanitarian actions in Albania, and kept a fragile peace in Kosovo with NATO. Additionally, he has been on five UN missions as a military observer and staff officer. Currently he is an instructor, a consultant and a civil- military coordinator for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).

He has taught on integrated crisis management (ICM) courses in Finland and East Africa dozens of times, and since the beginning has had a focus on the understanding of comprehensive approach to crisis management by NATO, and how to communicate it to other organisations. On the ICM course Albret is also responsible for teaching matters related to humanitarian activities, such as the UN’s sustainable development goals, and how this important area is visible in the framework of countries and how it relates to the UN Peacekeeping efforts.

You Cannot Put Actors into Silos in Training

Also, Albret emphasises a close cooperation and ‘building of trust’ between different organisations as the key to successful crisis management. He says that ever since the first Finnish Centre of Expertise in Comprehensive Crisis Management ICM course he participated in, back in 2010as an instructor, there has been discussion about its name.

− Crisis management solutions or resolutions cannot be divided into unique military, political or economic solutions. You need a comprehensive and integrated solution. In the ICM course we look at conflicts through the lenses of international and regional organisations, such as the UN, the AU, the EU, NATO, OSCE and so on, and their engagement to solve security disturbances in sometimes fragile states that have multiple conflict origins and causes and as well changes character over time. The way that the organisations treat to resolve or assist others in resolving these conflicts, have a variety of names and that is how the amalgam of ‘integrated’ and ‘crisis management’ came about, though we utilise a specific UN scenario, ‘Carana’, which involves the insertion of a generic multidimensional, integrated UN Peace Support mission, UNAC. This is how and why we ended up using the name of the course that we did, Ken Albret explains.

During the past ten years, however, the security environment and conflicts, as well as UN mandates have become much more complex than before, so we are again rethinking the course content and the name. Today, the UN continues to look at states and populations, and where they are headed, as a holistic whole. The mandates are increasingly more comprehensive, so looking only at individual truces or peace treaties is no longer enough. Albret surmises that in the future comprehensive and integrated crisis management will be increasingly more connected to comprehensive peace operations.

− Today, in order for any UN Security Council mandated operation to meet its goals to assist any government coming out of conflict , it must include a level of humanitarian assistance and international development strategies, the liberal ideas of rule of law and human rights, a system of democratisation and popular involvement. In addition, it has to be tailored to relate to the state's own perspective and plans. Thus, perhaps politics and peacekeeping are growing closer together. I think that the restructuring and re-tasking of the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), which will become the Department of Peace Operations (DPO), and the Department of Political Affairs (DPA), which in turn will become the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA), is a clear indicator of this idea.

It Is Important Students Are From Different Organisations

Ken Albret mentions that ICM Course is a unique opportunity to build understanding across organisational boundaries. The personnel within these organisations that are conducting the implementation of assistance, are also responsible for who is sent on mission. For FINCENT, the job is to also adapt to the changing peacekeeping environment and to link its activities stronger with the civilian actors, such as CMC Finland. The most important thing is that all parties understand what the others do and where we are headed. ICM course provides a good opportunity for this.