military personnel involved in the operation. A chief difference among missions is whether the soldier's role is that of primary party or third party, as shown in Figure 6–1.
A recent survey conducted by the Lester B. Pearson Canadian International Peacekeeping Training Center (Last and Eyre, 1995) used the distinction between combat and contact activities. Canadian soldiers in the Bosnian (N = 197) and Croatian (N = 185) United Nations (UNPROFOR) operations were asked a number of questions about their experiences during the time period November 1993 to April 1994. Ninety-six questions, arranged in nine groupings, were asked of samples at three ranks: enlisted soldiers, noncommissioned officers (NCOs), and officers. Of these, 50 questions were relevant to the combat-contact distinction: 32 deal with combat activities, 18 with contact activities. From the answers, profiles were constructed for each operation. These profiles show the relative balance of combat and contact experiences for the two missions and how these experiences vary by rank.
The results show that combat skills are important at all levels, but that contact skills are more significant with increasing rank. The proportion of combat and contact experiences for the enlisted and NCO ranks was roughly equal for both operations. Officers reported about twice as many contact (about 40 percent) as combat (20 percent) activities in the Bosnian operation and almost three times as many contact (40 versus 15 percent) activities in the Croatian operation. The most frequent combat experiences reported were being a target for rocks thrown, encountering mines, coming under small-arms fire, being restrained, and being held at gunpoint. The most frequent contact experiences reported were working with interpreters, negotiating with civilian police and belligerent factions, and interacting with local civilians.
With regard to activities involving negotiation, almost all officers and many senior NCOs reported experiences with a soldier or officer of one of the warring factions; only 29 percent of the enlisted group reported having these experiences. A smaller percentage of officers (60 percent) reported negotiating with civilian leaders of one of the factions; an even smaller percentage of the enlisted group reported these experiences (about 15 percent). With regard to mediation or conciliation, about 50 percent of the officers and senior NCOs had these experiences, compared with only about 10 percent of the enlisted soldiers.
This leads to the conclusion that developing contact skills is clearly essential for officers, and it may be important to develop them even at the lower levels. It is also apparent that contact skills are increasingly important in many of the newer operations other than war. In traditional peacekeeping operations, only senior officers could be expected to have direct interactions with the protagonists and thus require some contact skills. Junior