On 13-14 June, BSI ran a highly successful Cultural Property Protection (CPP) Exercise Support Workshop in London.
The aim of the workshop was to share perspectives on designing and delivering CPP civil-military exercise content, building on collective training experience during recent command post and field training exercises in order to:
- Enrich future exercise scenarios such that CPP is encountered as a factor with true operational impact.
- Suggest individual training objectives relating to the training of staff officers with CPP responsibilities, and/ or staff officers with some CPP training.
- Inform CPP doctrine development.
States party armed forces are charged with safeguarding as much cultural property as possible during the conduct of armed conflict. This can only be achieved by safeguarding by design, factoring proactive safeguarding into operational plans; and putting in place measures to avoid damage and destruction before it occurs, mitigating, in particular, the anticipated effects of combat events, manoeuvre, and logistical activity.
Additionally, during stabilisation activity subsequent to combat operations; when functioning as the occupying power; and during ‘first responder’ disaster relief operations, armed forces may be tasked with contributing to cultural property ‘first aid’ conservation activities at the site of recent violent or catastrophic events, as well as supporting host nation, or occupied state party, efforts to suppress the illicit trade in cultural property. This too demands proactive planning. All of this must occur in collaboration with, or on behalf of, states parties owning the heritage in question, and always in a subordinate role, even when functioning as an occupying power.
The workshop advocated that taking a proactive stance to CPP has the potential to enhance operational effectiveness at all levels of command. In particular, well-judged CPP planning may promote freedom of manoeuvre, the maintenance of a chosen tempo of operations, and create conditions for positive STRATCOM opportunities: CPP should be regarded a mission enabler, not a drag on operational efficiency. However this is dependent on comprehensive civil-military cooperation (CIMIC), raising questions about how to factor CPP into individual and collective training, beyond general awareness.
The workshop comprised six syndicate discussions and feedback, aiming to draw out and share thematic content as well as lessons identified from the growing body of diverse experience in this emerging field:
- Rear area
- Close operations
- Deep operations
- Counter insurgency and counter terrorism
- Peacekeeping and monitoring missions
- Disaster relief
The workshop was organised by Dr Paul Fox, Blue Shield International and Newcastle University, and took place over two days. Attendees came from a diverse pool of experience, including Blue Shield staff; NATO CIMIC staff and HQ ARRC; British Army CPP and training staff; CPP staff from the USAF Culture and Language and Center and the US Naval War College; the OSCE; the ICRC; heritage lecturers, students and practitioners (from maritime, site and collection-based backgrounds), and the Heritage in the Crossfire Project.
A summary of the workshop notes can be downloaded as apdf – BSI CPP Exercise Content Workshop Summative notes