Military change and transformation

Military transformation refers to the processes of significant change that the institution of the armed forces undergoes, usually with the scope of improving military capabilities or operations (Kugler 2006; Reynolds 2007; Prezelj et al. 2016). Military transformation is a dynamic process. Factors such as security threats or public support can influence the armed forces’ responsibilities, but also choices in relation to organisational structure, operations, mobility and deployability (Prezelj et al. 2016). Military transformation is a “process that clearly needs an effective monitoring mechanism”; therefore, it is rather military change and adaptation that we could expect in hybrid orders.

Mechanisms of military change can be of three types: innovation, adaptation and emulation (Posen 1984; Rosen 1991; Farrell and Terriff 2002; Grissom 2007; Schmitt 2015). Military innovation is defined as the “development of new military technologies, tactics, strategies and organisational structures” (translated from French, Schmitt 2015: 152). In this book, we will learn more about the processes of military innovation in post-conflict contexts or during peacetime. During peacetime, the processes of innovation do not occur only at a technological level in order to win a war but can also take the form of political or strategic innovations. Military adaptation refers to the “adjustment of existent military means and methods, generally under the demand of an [armed] conflict” (Schmitt 2015: 152). This book demonstrates that the adaptation processes can transcend armed conflicts’ demands. Military adaptation during peacetimes can be targeted, for example, at gaining legitimacy. Third, military emulation is understood as the dynamics of imitations of military means and styles, usually of other armies. Importantly, the processes of military emulation can facilitate the processes of norms diffusion or institutional isomorphism (DiMaggio and Powell 1983; Frumkin 2004; see also Schmitt 2015: 153). Institutional convergence through norms diffusion may occur via the coercive, mimetic or normative processes of institutional isomorphism (DiMaggio and Powell 1983). ‘Coercive isomorphism’ is rooted in ‘political influence’, being the consequence of pressure exercised by other organisations or actors at a formal or an informal level (DiMaggio and Powell 1983: 150). This pressure can also include societal expectations in relation to the military. Coercive isomorphism can take the shape of persuasion, invitation or more coercive pressure to comply, for example, through sanctions. Coercive isomorphism can occur as a result of alliances or agreements to which the military is party, as well as requirements of legislative or structural adjustments, for example between the armies of two or more countries. Security integration in the European context might be an example of a context requiring some sort of legislative alignment. The processes of mimetic isomorphism are linked to military emulation, being usually responses to uncertainty, in the sense that ‘uncertainty encourages imitation’ (DiMaggio and Powell 1983: 150). I argue that mimetic processes of military emulation do not solely relate to other armies, but armies can also imitate non-military actors. It is mimetic isomorphism, via imitation of not only armies, but also civilian actors, which we could expect to be observed in fragile and insecure states. This is because imitation is theoretically anticipated to happen in poorly organised societies, with ambiguous goals and volatile environments (March and Olsen 1976; DiMaggio and Powell 1983: 151) and that military adoption of more civilian functions (e.g. governance) requires the imitation of civilian means and styles. Normative isomorphism constitutes, along coercive and mimetic isomorphism, a third source of institutional change. Normative isomorphism is rooted primarily in ‘professionalization’ (DiMaggio and Powell 1983: 152). One way to understand professionalisa- tion is as “the collective struggle of members of an occupation to define the conditions and methods of their work”, to control “the production of producers” (Larson 1979: 40) or “to establish a cognitive base and legitimation for their occupational autonomy” (DiMaggio and Powell 1983: 152). This definition of professionalisation is somewhat distinct from Huntington’s definition of military professionalisation (Huntington 1957: 7-10), understood as a professional military that would refrain from staging coups d'etat or intervening in politics due to a highly professional military ethic. As it has been argued in a previous sub-section, military professionalism has failed to explain the series of military coups in the case applied in this book and beyond, despite the high numbers of military officers going to the United States and Europe for military training and despite the Pakistan armed forces displaying high levels of professionalism understood as “expertise, responsibility and corporateness” (Huntington 1957: 9-17).

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