Military adaptation and new military functions

New challenges to security have opened the space for a change in the ways of doing politics, both at international and domestic levels. State-centric decision-making patterns have been replaced by ‘axes and alliances’ and ‘fluid alignments’ (Hamilton 2010: 5-6). The ‘emergence of new types of conflict’ and the shift of civilian casualties from ‘collateral damage’ to deliberate targets (Tauxe 2000: 1) in the framework of unconventional types of warfare increased the demands for adaptation in order to restore order and security, prevent massacres and enable regional stability. New approaches of peace, security and defence after the Cold War yielded a change and ‘expansion’ of the military’s traditional functions of “exercising military power coercively” to “non-coercive roles” (Takai 2002: 139; Lambert 2011: 160). In a post-traditional understanding, military forces are expected to perform several roles ranging from combat missions, readiness, deterrence, counterterrorism, border security, to conducting peace support operations, assisting local population, disarmament, de-mining, arms control, reconstruction support, as well as assisting in the establishment of civilian institutions, guaranteeing the functioning of the judicial and electoral systems, protection of minorities and cultural and religious diversity (see Bruneau and Matei 2008: 917; Oliveira 2010: 54). The military’s capacity to fulfil these functions in the framework of a sustainable, ‘positive’ understanding of peace and security requires the military forces to possess expertise in several core areas: accurate conflict assessment, multilateral operations, including cooperation with non-military actors, and efficient and timely response management (Alberts and Hayes 2003: 54; Oliveira 2010: 55-6).

1 argue that new functions and roles facilitate and even impel greater convergence between armed forces and civilian actors. It can be expected that military and non-state actors, such as non-governmental organisations for example, can play complementary roles in a series of domains, as emphasised in Table 3.1.

36 Civil-military relations

Table 3.1 Military anti Non-State Actors’ Complementarity anti Functions

Military Functions

Non-State Actors’ Functions

Provide a secure environment

Demilitarisation, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR), arms control

Disarmament of insurgents Restoration of the rule of law

Reintegration of insurgents Promote human rights and respect for the rule of law, democratic change, enable ‘social pluralism’

Enforcement of peace agreements


Protect members of minority groups

Protection of civilians

Humanitarian and reconstruction support

Humanitarian assistance and service delivery

Guarantee the functioning of the judicial, economic and political system

Research, advocacy, facilitation of high-level dialogue, public communication

Own tabulation, based on: Marcussen 1996: 406; Abiew 2003: 8-9; Barnes 2006: 32-76; Bruneau and Matei 2008: 917; Oliveira 2010: 54; Paffenholz 2010: 67.

The main functions of the military such as providing a secure environment, disarmament of insurgents, restoration of security and enforcement of peace agreements (Abiew 2003: 8-9) can be, at least theoretically, complementary to peace- and resilience-building functions of civil organisations. To be able to fulfil traditional and a series of non-traditional functions emphasised earlier, armed forces must undergo a series of adjustments, including a shift in the military doctrine (Miller and Mills 2010; Goodhand 2013: 291). Multi-track approaches of security, such as SSR and integrated/comprehen- sive security approaches, promote the constabularisation of armed forces and a “gradual decrease of the projected military force” (Oliveira 2010: 53), demanding the armed forces to enter a coherent system of complementarity in multidimensional operations and get the “ability to adapt” simultaneously (Tauxe 2000: 3).

Civil-military collaboration is assumed to be a prerequisite for military effectiveness (Abiew 2003: 7). Efficiency and sustainability imperatives necessitate unified and complemented efforts by both civilians and armed forces “in order to create the conditions for long-term stability and peace” (Abiew 2003: 5). Sustainable peace approaches need to address “the longer- term tasks of state-building, reforming the security sector, strengthening civil society and promoting social reintegration” (Eide 2001: 8). Peacebuilding and state-building are in part mutually reinforcing, requiring a close cooperation between state and non-state actors such as civil society actors. State-building “is a top-down process of institutionalisation”, understood as a function of “the means of coercion - in practical terms, armies and police - under the control of a central political authority” (Fukuyama 2007: 11). Interaction might facilitate managing expected frictions between ‘importing’ and ‘exporting’ (top-down) orders. In sum, to become effective both in traditional military functions such as deterrence, counterterrorism or counter-insurgency and in performing new functions such as ensuring societal resilience, armed forces need to change and adapt to the changing security environment and constellation of threats.

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