All posts by mikaelweissmann

Explaining the offensive bias in military tactical thinking

New article with LtCol (ret) Peter Ahlström in Defence Studies that explores why the offensive dominates military tactical thinking. Our article, “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most offensive of them all? – Explaining the offensive bias in military tactical thinking” is published open access, so anyone can download the article free:
https://doi.org/10.1080/14702436.2019.1599287 .

Abstract:
This article explores why the offensive predominates military tactical thinking. With survey results showing an offensive bias among 60 per cent of senior Swedish officers and as many as 80 per cent in the case of the army, it is clear that this is not just a problem of the past but is equally relevant today. The article asks why there is a tendency to perceive and understand offensive tactics as the preferred choice and the way to conduct battle that should be encouraged and preferred. Drawing on existing research and the findings of a pilot study, ten propositions for why the offensive bias exists are tested using a mixed-method approach. Based on the findings, the article develops a model to understand why the offensive dominates military tactical thinking. It is found that the two key constitutive factors behind the offensive bias are military culture and education. These factors most directly and profoundly influence an officer’s identity, perceptions, and thinking. Military culture and education, in turn, work as a prism for four other factors: military history, the theory and principles of war, doctrine and TTPs, and psychological factors.

KEYWORDS: Militarycult of the offensiveattackoffensivetactical thinkingtacticseducationmilitary cultureSwedenarmy

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First spring seminar with the Hybrid Warfare Research Group

On April 4th Dr Johan Engvall ot the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI) will visit the Swedish Defence University’s Hybrid Warfare Research Group. He will speak on his recent report “OSCE and Military Confidence Building: Lessons from Georgia and Ukraine” .

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Preparation of next years higher staff course

Preparing the elective course in Ground Operations for next years Higher Staff Course at the Swedish Defence University. New program, new courses. A lot of work, but this is going to be fun!

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Research visit to Singapore

This week I will be conducting a visit to Singapore to work on a Special Issue on “Power, Narratives, and the role of third parties: Understanding Power (Shift) in East Asia” for Asian Perspective with my RSIS co-guest editor Dr Li Mingjiang. This issue is part of Prof. Linus Hagström and my Power Shift in East Asia project funded by the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation.

I will also be visiting, among others, the East Asia Institute at National University of Singapore and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS).

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Stockholm Belt & Road Observatory – web launch

Now the official site of the Stockholm Belt and Road Observatory has been launched:  https://www.ui.se/english/research/asia/SBRO

The Stockholm Belt and Road Observatory is an independent research network dedicated to questions arising in relation to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and China’s growing global footprint.

Gathering expertise from several leading Swedish institutions, the observatory serves as a platform for collaboration and knowledge sharing for actors in academia, government, civil society and the business sector.

The observatory was officially launched at a seminar on 4 June, 2018. The event included discussions about how the BRI is impacting Sweden and Europe, how the BRI relates to Chinese global leadership, and how to handle challenges emerging from the BRI.

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Op-ed on how to manage China and BRI

Today I am co-authoring an op-ed in SvD Debatt , ”Sverige bör få EU att ställa tydliga krav på Kina”, on how Sweden ought to handle China’s global ambitions. We are arguing that there is a need for a common ground among Swedish actors and to develop a shared position within the European Union and not least to set clear requirements. This is of course not easy, but as China’s ambitions will remain a fact of life there is a need to adapt.

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Launching the Stockholm Belt and Road Observatory

Today we held a seminar titled “Making Sense of China’s Belt and Road Initiative – What’s at Stake for Sweden and Europe?” marking the establishment of the Stockholm Belt and Road Observatory, a research network created to tackle questions arising in relation to BRI and China’s growing global footprint for which I am the head coordinator.

You can listen to the full seminar here:

 

 

 

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Oxford University Press blog: How Trump is making China great again

FULL TEXT HERE

Over the last year, scholars, pundits, and policymakers interested in China have rhetorically asked whether US President Donald Trump will make President Xi Jinping’s China “great again.” There is now mounting evidence that the answer to that question is “yes.” Since his inauguration, there are a number of ways in which Trump has contributed to China’s rise, and Xi Jinping’s tightening grip on power.

To begin with as we, and others have suggested elsewhere, Trump is making China great again by withdrawing from global responsibilities so that space is left for Xi’s China to step into. Trump’s ‘America First’ policy has involved announcements of withdrawal from international responsibilities and agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), UNESCO, the Paris Agreement on climate change, and UN talks on migration. He has threatened to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal, a free-trade agreement with South Korea, and NAFTA.

At the same time, Xi’s China has pursued the opposite policy, investing in exactly the kinds of overseas initiatives that built America’s global influence, including foreign aid and investment, overseas security, and education. The ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ – China’s massive connectivity project and Xi’s flagship foreign policy – has fortuitously emerged in this newly opened space.

CONTINUE HERE

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