-This course has been of an immense value to us, says the commanding officer of the Swedish ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) task force, lieutenant colonel Carl Magnus R Svensson.
His task force was stood up in the beginning of august this year and is expected to join MINUSMA in the middle of January 2015. The time up to the deployment will be spent on preparations and pre-deployment training and will be very busy indeed.
- We have to accept that this is in many ways a new environment, both for us and the UN. It has been quite a few years since the Swedish armed forces deployed a formed ground unit to a UN-mission and the UN itself is also fairly new to the idea of having an integral intelligence asset such as our unit. So we have a lot to learn about the UN, how it works and how it runs the mission in Mali and the expert knowledge available to us here at SWEDINT has saved us a lot of work, says colonel Svensson.
The course culminates in an exercise in which the task force staff is expected to develop and issue a fairly complex set of orders to subordinate units in a fictitious peace keeping scenario, using methods and knowledge acquired during lectures on such diverse subjects as protection of civilians, UN planning processes, legal framework, rules of engagement and gender issues.