Friday, April 06, 2007

PCR Project- The Danish Approach to State-Building

Our friends at the PCR Project posted on a recently published article on The Danish Approach to State-Building:

Anja Dalgaard-Nielsen, head of the Research Unit, Political Violence, Terrorism and Radicalization, at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), has just published her findings on the Danish military and its approach to state-building. Full report is available here.

The research findings are provocative- Dalgaard-Neilsen concludes that deployed Danish military units are evaluated as conducting good reconstruction support tasks, when measured against basic principles of good development work.

Exec summary:
'The Danish armed forces, together with the armed forces of other nations, have come under political pressure to accept a range of state-building tasks, including support for reconstruction. This is the case in areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan where few civilian and humanitarian organisations are willing to operate. This report analyses how the Danish armed forces have approached and prioritised reconstruction support and asks how their performance might be improved. It is based on empirical evidence collected over a period of five months of “embedded” research, during which the author took part in the daily activities of deployed Danish units in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It points out how the Danish units assigned reconstruction support tasks are neglected in a number of ways by their own organisation and show how they nevertheless perform well as measured against basic principles of good development work. It draws on Edgar H. Schein’s theory of organisational culture to explain this pattern and shows how civil tasks, while clashing with some aspects of the culture of Danish armed forces – notions about mission and means to fulfi l the mission – are compatible with other parts – notions about human beings and human relations. The report closes with a discussion of which political, organisation, and educational initiatives would enhance the current performance of reconstruction support tasks.'