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Multilateral forces refers to an allied structure of armed force. Major wars in the 20th and 21st centuries have revolved around such international coalitions. World Wars I and II, the Korean War, the Gulf War, and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have all been characterized by their multinational character. In the wake of World War I, an increasingly interconnected global community encouraged the concept of collective security, with its associated tenet of legitimacy stemming from international consensus. Wars fought with multilateral participation, however, create significant challenges for component forces, their governments, and the local population. They may be usefully distinguished from actions that are merely “coordinated,” owing to the presence of a unified or closely coordinated command structure. This entry first presents the command ...

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