Contingent Owned Equipment

Deployment in the Field

The United Nations is financially responsible for the costs of contingent deployment to the mission and arranges a commercial contract or Letter of Assist (LOA) with the contributing country to transport the equipment, either by Sea, Rail, Road, or in special circumstances by Air. LOA are like commercial contracts but are only arranged between the UN and contributing countries Governments. Troops are normally transported by air to the peacekeeping mission area, with a cargo limit of 45kg per person. Equipment is deployed for the duration of the service in the mission area by the contingent. Personnel rotations, whereby contingent members are replaced with new personnel occur on a periodic basis, usually every 6/12 months.

Initial Provisioning and UN support

COE Inspectors confer during an onsite inspection.    February, 2007, Fishtown, Liberia.  Photo courtesy of Ethbatt

Once a contingent arrives in the field, it may need to be responsible for the initial provisioning of all its needs – i.e., to be self-sufficient in providing its own rations, water, fuel, and lubricants for the first 30 to 90 days. Following this initial provisioning period, the UN will normally provide rations, water, fuel and lubricants using commercial contracts, for the remainder of the contingent’s service in a mission.


Inspection regime

Unit commander guiding COE inspectors on arrival inspection.  Monrovia, Liberia, February 2007.  Photo Sean Carroll

Upon arrival in the mission area, the Contingent Logistics Officer is expected to immediately contact the mission COE focal point. The initial contacts will consist of the introductory COE Briefing, introduction of the contingent self-reporting system, and coordination and planning for the first inspection. 

The contingent should supply the following documentation to their COE contact before the inspection:

Using this information, COE Inspectors conduct the arrival inspections, establish and maintain inventories of equipment, and identify major equipment and self sustainment shortfalls or inefficiencies. When not on camp locations conducting inspections, COE staff is in continuous contact with their contingent counter-parts concerning regular inspection planning, contingent self-reporting, and mission support issues. COE staff work closely with the mission’s Military and Police components and the logistics sections of the Mission Support Component i.e. Transport, Air Operations, Engineering, Medical, Movement Control, Supply, Communications and the mission’s joint operations and logistics centers.

The same arrangements used in the deployment phase-- UN arrangements for moving troops and equipment to port, etc -- are in effect for redeployment/repatriation. The COE staff conducts departure inspections, and the mission is responsible for base camp closure, rear party support, and provision of a departure security force if required.

COE/MOU Management Review Boards (CMMRB)

Since January 2008, most peacekeeping missions have established COE/MOU Management Review Boards (CMMRB), the purpose of which is to oversee the implementation of the mission’s COE program, ensuring that the MOU remain aligned with the requirements of the mission. The CMMRB are composed of senior representatives of the mission’s Military, Police and Mission Support Components. Some of the key areas of responsibility of the CMMRB include:

DPKO/DFS receives CMMRB reports and takes action based on the findings and recommendations, including contact and coordination with the permanent missions to resolve surpluses/deficiencies in major equipment or the provision of self sustainment services and other logistic support or operational capabilities.

About COE staff in the mission

COE Inspectors review contingent vehicles, UNMIS.  January 2007. Photo Barry Braimah

The number of COE inspectors per mission varies depending on the size of the mission, the number of MOU to verify, and other factors. Typically, a mission will have a COE Unit consisting of inspectors, a database manger, and administrative support staff. COE Unit staff will be joined by technical experts (civilian/military/police personnel) on days of inspections.

Mission COE staff have a variety of backgrounds, many involving national or international logistics support operations. Many have served in the military, with specialties in transport, information technology, and administration. Others have experience as inspectors in the private sector. Some have advanced University degrees; some have previous peacekeeping experience, either as UN staff or service as soldiers. Despite this diverse background, COE staff share at least one thing in common: a desire to serve in United Nations peacekeeping operations.