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The Role of the Military and Police in the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands

  • Jon FraenkelEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

The July 2017 end of the 13-year 2003–17 Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) presents an opportunity to look back at what this achieved, how the mission was constituted, and how it compares with other contemporary so-called state-building missions in places like Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, Sierra Leone, and East Timor. In other settings, intervention missions rebuilt security forces from scratch. In Solomon Islands, which had no domestic military forces, the initial surge in the foreign military presence was short-lived. Over the 13 years as a whole, the policing operation was the core focus of RAMSI (despite much propaganda emphasis on the civilian components). RAMSI pursued a ‘two forces’ model, with key objectives of the mission being delivered by an organisationally separate ‘Participating Police Force’ (PPF), largely comprising officers from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) force. In the initial phases of RAMSI, the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) was largely left on the sidelines, encouraging a deep sense of demoralisation among the senior officers. Over the longer run, the RSIPF was reconstituted, with a new generation of younger officers emerging. Major disturbances accompanying the 2006 election, and more sporadic public order breakdowns thereafter, encouraged Australia to extend the policing operation beyond the termination of the military component and, in 2013, beyond the end of the civilian parts of RAMSI. This chapter assesses the initial core organisational framing choices of RAMSI, examines what has been achieved, and asks what the likely legacy will be.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Victoria UniversityWellingtonNew Zealand

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