Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC)
Civil military cooperation (CIMIC) has played an increasingly important role since the conflicts in former Yugoslavia, especially in Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, theoretical deliberations about CIMIC are also taking place within NATO, the EU, and individual states, including Germany. However, the concept is currently only being implemented by nation states.
From both military and civil perspectives CIMIC is a highly contentious instrument. Many endorse the fact that civil conflict management is given priority, indicating its wider acceptance, while others hold that CIMIC remains an instrument of the military. Thus in conflict regions, and where it is already deployed, the military remains the main actor such as in the course of so-called humanitarian interventions. As a result, it becomes difficult for affected populations to distinguish between the roles of civil and military organizations – something that can significantly hamper the reconstruction of a country’s civilian structures. Furthermore, the decision-making authority for CIMIC operations stays in the hands of the military. While civilians do play a key role in conflict management itself, they cannot influence the overall situation.
CIMIC thus displays a fundamental imbalance between military and civil components. Such forms of cooperation let civil conflict management run the risk of losing its own peaceful profile and its preventive orientation. On top of this there is the lack of a gender perspective. Until now, CIMIC policies have been gender blind in respect to both their content and the participation of women.
Andreas Buro (2004): CIMIC – ein brisanter Cocktail, unter: Netzwerk Friedenskooperative