Giving peace a chance: operation Lagoon, Bougainville 1994: a case of military action and diplomacy

Author/s (editor/s):

Bob Breen

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 142

Operation Lagoon was the first combined South Pacific region peace-keeping operation commanded by the Australian Defence Force. The mission was to protect a pan-Bougainvillean peace conference to be held at Arawa.
Time was the enemy of Operation LAGOON. Higher ADF headquarters kept the operation secret for too long. There was insufficient time to conduct reconnaissance or to develop plans or to build a cohesive South Pacific Peace Keeping Force (SPPKF). Political expediency over rode military judgment.
Brigadier Peter Abigail and his commanders and staff at 3rd Brigade in Townsville were given just four weeks in September-October 1994 to establish a joint headquarters, assemble, stock and load an Australian logistic support force, administer, train and equip a combined force of Fijians, Tongans, New Zealanders and Ni Vanuatu and deploy these force elements by sea and air to Bougainville.
Giving Peace a Chance commemorates those who carried out the operation, and describes the frustrations, failures and achievements of that operation.

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