What Does the Air Force Do for Peacekeeping?

Education Center September 21, 2021

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. Dedicated in 1981, the day is devoted to preserving and strengthening the ideals of peace around the world. The United Nations (UN) has been deploying personnel for peacekeeping operations since 1948. Today, UN peacekeeping operations consist of over 70,000 military personnel contributed by national armies from across the globe.

What is a peacekeeping mission?

A peacekeeping mission can be an effective tool for assisting countries affected by conflict. This may be achieved by providing security, impartiality and non-use of force. As of September 2021, there are 13 active UN peacekeeping missions across three continents, and more than 100,000 field personnel including military, police and civilians.

What role does the US military play in peacekeeping?


The United States (US) played a vital role in the formation of the UN after WWII. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the US has a say in every peacekeeping mission. Although UN peacekeeping missions often take place far beyond US shores, they are critical to national security.

US Air Force peacekeeping missions

The United States Air Force (USAF) plays an essential role in peacekeeping in several ways, providing both air power and humanitarian aid. Air power can enhance efficiency and reduce risks associated with direct peacekeeping efforts. The US has also demonstrated an immense capability to airlift massive amounts of supplies and personnel in humanitarian and relief efforts.


Fairchild C-123K Provider

Historically, the role of air power in peacekeeping concentrated on transportation and logistical support. With the largest, most advanced fleet of cargo aircraft in the world, the USAF is able to deliver precision airdrops of lifesaving supplies like food, water and medicine, to areas that need it most. Visitors can see examples of these cargo planes, such as the KC-135E Stratotanker and Fairchild-Chase C-123K Provider, at Utah’s Hill Aerospace Museum.

Global peace and stability

Peacekeeping missions assist with countries in conflict, whether internally or with neighboring regions. These conflicts not only affect locals but also citizens around the world, providing a fertile ground for extremist organizations. As a force for global peace and stability, UN peacekeepers implement stabilization measures in potentially hostile areas.

Around the world, USAF peacekeepers put their expertise to work to help preserve fragile peace, discourage further conflict and make a positive difference in disaster areas. As the international climate requires a variety of military forces to promote global security and peace, the US military works closely with the UN to employ logistics, communications, intelligence, supplies and more to peacekeeping missions.

In addition to the support aircraft already mentioned, Hill Aerospace Museum hosts a wide range of aircraft used in variety of peace keeping missions around the world. Click here to learn more about our full collection.

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