The Strategic Planning of EU Military Operations - The Case of EUFOR TCHAD / RCA

5 / 2008
Alexander Mattelaer


On 28 January 2008 the European Union launched the military operation EUFOR in Chad and the Central African Republic. Its mandate was to contribute to the security of the civilian population, the numerous refugees from neighbouring Darfur and the local presence of the United Nations. This paper describes and analyses the planning process of this operation at the political-strategic and military-strategic levels with the aim of understanding how the military instrument was intended to generate the desired political effects. The paper argues that, from a military perspective, the EUFOR operation is based on the concept of humanitarian deterrence: the threat of military force is used to discourage potential spoilers from targeting the civilian population. As with any military operation, the planning of EUFOR was plagued by various elements of friction. At least some of this friction seems to flow from the mismatch in expectations between the political-strategic and military-strategic levels. The various political and military-technical constraints within which the operation was planned resulted in an operational posture that is less decisive than what the political ambitions would have suggested.

About the author

From October 2006 onwards, Alexander has been working at the IES as a doctoral researcher in the domain of European security and defence. His research focuses on the planning of military strategy in crisis response operations. Having studied in detail the issue of military intervention in Sub-Saharan Africa, special attention goes to analysing the usefulness of the military tool for stabilisation purposes.