The military component of a mission consists of all of the troops and military experts on mission deployed to a mission.
Force Headquarters (FHQ) is the structure at the mission headquarters that coordinates the activities of the military component.
- Force Commander
- The Force Commander (FC) is the head of the military component and is responsible for aligning the operations of the military component with the objectives of the broader mission.
- Deputy Force Commander
- The Deputy Force Commander (DFC) assists the FC in exercising command functions, either in absentia or through delegated authority.
- Force Chief of Staff
- The Force Chief of Staff (COS) directs, coordinates and supervises the military staff at Force Headquarters. In smaller missions, the DFS and FCOS functions may be performed by the same individual. Should not be confused with the mission chief of staff.
- Deputy Force Chief of Staff
- The Deputy Force Chief of Staff (DCOS) deputizes in the absence of the COS and oversees the work of the operational sections (U-2, U-3, U-5, U-6) of the Headquarters staff. In large missions, there may be additional deputies to oversee the support (U-4, U-8, U-9) and/or personnel sections (U-1 and U-7) of the Headquarters staff
Force Headquarters structures are modular and may differ from mission to mission but are generally organized on the basis of the continental staff system.
- U-1: Personnel (PER)
- U-2: Information (INTEL)
- U-3: Operations (OPS)
- U-4: Logistics (LOG)
- U-5: Plans
- U-6: Communications (COMM)
- U-7: Training (TNG)
- U-8: Engineering (ENG)
- U-9: Civil-Military Coordination (CIMIC)
Embedded staff officers
Military staff officers are also embedded in other components of the mission, including the integrated structures overseen by the mission Chief of Staff (e.g. JOC and JMAC) and in the mission support component.
Each individual military unit in a peacekeeping mission is deployed under a memorandum of understanding signed by the United Nations and the troop-contributing country as part of the force generation process. The General Assembly established a typical rotation period of 12 months for contingents. Troop-contributing countries are reimbursed for personnel and contingent-owned equipment at rates established by the General Assembly.
Infantry battalions are the standard building blocks of military components in peacekeeping missions. The Infantry Battalion Manual (UNIBAM) is a reference guide for battalion commanders in two volumes covering the role, capabilities and tasks of infantry battalions in peacekeeping missions.
In addition to infantry battalions, missions also have specialized units. Medical, signal, logistics, construction engineering, transportation and movement units (including military transport helicopter units) are enabling units and are subject to the tasking authority of the civilian director or chief of mission support. Manuals for eleven different types of military units intended as reference guides for commanders in the field and staff in peacekeeping operations were finalized and issued over the course of 2015.
- Military Aviation Unit Manual
- Military Engineer Unit Manual
- Military Force Headquarters Support Unit Manual
- Military Logistics Unit Manual
- Military Maritime Task Force Manual
- Military Police Unit Manual
- Military Reconnaissance Unit Manual
- Military Riverine Unit Manual
- Military Signals Unit Manual
- Military Special Forces Manual
- Military Transport Unit Manual
National Support Element
Contingents may also deploy with a national support element (NSE) to provide administrative and logistical services with national standards of support that may exceed or differ from the stated UN requirement. Members of NSE are considered United Nations personnel with the status of expert on mission but the contributing country does not receive personnel reimbursement for members of NSE.
Military Experts on Mission
Military observers (UNMO) are unarmed military officers with the status of expert on mission deployed to monitor and supervise ceasefires, truces and/or armistice agreements. Military observers are part of the military component, reporting to the Force Commander. UNMOs are generally deployed in teams across the mission area. A UNMO Operations/Administration Cell at FHQ led by the Senior Military Observer (SMO) handles administrative requirements and manages the operational activities of UNMO teams.
- 2016.25 Policy on UN Military Observers in Peacekeeping Operations
- 2010.30 UN Military Experts on Mission Manual
- 2013.10 Policy on Military Capability Studies
- 2016.23 Guidelines on Military Support for Public Order Management in Peacekeeping Missions
- 2016.24 Guidelines on Use of Force by Military Components in Peacekeeping Operations