International Organization

I. The International Policeman in an Armed World—Lessons from the Past

Headquarters-Field Relations: Some Notes on the Beginning and End of ONUC

Lincoln P. Bloomfield1

Of the many aspects of the UN operation in the Congo (ONUC) that gave rise to controversy, some were unique and can reasonably be chalked up to novelty and inexperience. One, however, is as old as military history itself. This is the matter of political control of a force once it is in the field. Two levels are involved: first, control of the field operations by headquarters; second, control of the military force in the field by the civilian authority—in this case the representative of the Secretary-General.


1 Lincoln P. Bloomfield is Director of the Arms Control Project, Center for International Studies of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a member of the Board of Editors of International Organization.