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The Global Peace Operations Initiative: Background and Issues for Congress

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Publication Date: April 2009

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RL32773

Topic: International relations (International peace and security)


The Administration has requested $102.6 million in FY2007 funds for the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), a multilateral, five-year program with planned U.S. contributions of some $660 million from FY2005 through FY2009. Its primary purpose is to train and equip 75,000 military troops, a majority of them African, for peacekeeping operations by 2010. GPOI also supports an Italian training center for gendarme (constabulary police) forces in Vicenza, Italy. In addition, GPOI is promoting the development of an international transportation and logistics support system for peacekeepers, and is encouraging an information exchange to improve international coordination of peace operations training and exercises in Africa. In June 2004, G8 leaders pledged to support the goals of the initiative.

GPOI incorporates previous capabilities-building programs for Africa. From FY1997-FY2005, the United States spent just over $121 million on GPOI's predecessor program that was funded through the State Department Peacekeeping (PKO) account: the Clinton Administration's African Crisis Response Initiative , i.e., ACRI and its successor, the Bush Administrations's African Crisis Operations Training i.e., ACOTA. (The term ACOTA is now used to refer to GPOI's training program in Africa). Through mid-2005, the United States trained troops from nine African nations -- Benin, Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, and Senegal. Subsequently, three African nations were added to the roster: Gabon, South Africa, and Zambia, and a fourth, Nigeria, is scheduled to join the program in 2006. Some $33 million was provided from FY1998-FY2005 to support classroom training of 31 foreign militaries through the Foreign Military Financing account's Enhanced International Peacekeeping Capabilities program (EIPC).

In mid-2005, the Administration began expanding the geographical scope of GPOI to selected countries in Central America and Europe with funding from supplemental funding in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY2005 (H.R. 4818, P.L. 108-447). It also has established a communications network in Asia.

Congressional action on FY2006 foreign operations legislation left uncertain the amount of FY2006 GPOI funding. The Administration request was $114.4 million. In FY2006 foreign operations appropriations, Congress did not allocate a specific amount for GPOI and funded the total State Department PKO account, which contains GPOI funds, at $20 million under the Administration's request.

A major issue for the second session of the 109th Congress may be whether international training efforts through GPOI and its predecessor programs are having the desired effect. Results of a study contracted by the State Department in September 2005 and currently underway may influence Congressional opinion. Another issue may that may concern Members is whether the State Department exercises sufficient control and oversight over private contractors.

This report will be updated as events warrant.