Category Archives: Publication

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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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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Will Trump make China great again? The belt and road initiative and international order

“Will Trump make China great again? The belt and road initiative and international order” – new article in Chatham House’s International Affairs with Astrid H. M. Nordin) – full text on  https://doi.org/10.1093/ia/iix242 

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Summary of BRI report published Hong Kong Trade Development Council

Summary of my report  on Sweden’s approach to China’s Belt and Road Initiative published by Hong Kong Trade Development Council. See http://china-trade-research.hktdc.com/business-news/article/The-Belt-and-Road-Initiative/Sweden-s-approach-to-China-s-Belt-and-Road-Initiative/obor/en/1/1X3CGF6L/1X0ACL54.htm 

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Sweden’s approach to China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Still a glass half-empty

New paper on Sweden and the Belt and Road Initiative just out: Sweden’s approach to China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Still a glass half-empty (UI Paper, No.1 2017 with Elin Rappe).

Executive summary
In 2013 China’s President Xi Jinping launched the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative, later renamed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which involves China undertaking to make infrastructure investments worth billions of US dollars in the countries along the old Silk Road connecting China with Europe. While commonly seen as an infrastructure initiative aimed at strengthening the Chinese economy, it is also a political project with far-reaching strategic aims.

This UI Brief outlines how China has approached the BRI with Sweden, how Sweden has responded and the perceptions of major Swedish stakeholders. It finds that Swedish officials are often highly cautious, maintaining a wait-and see policy. While also cautious, members of the business community are cautiously optimistic and have been more actively following BRIrelated developments, seeking out avenues for potential business. The actual impact of BRI in Sweden, however, is so far very limited.

The Brief concludes that Sweden’s approach to BRI has been too reactive and too passive. It argues that both the government and the business community need to engage more actively with the BRI in order to maximize its possible benefits. To this end, a national strategy is needed that includes the government and the business sector. Better coordination is also needed between government agencies and to link existing intra-governmental cooperation with the business community. Their importance cannot be overemphasized as the BRI is a political project, not an idealistic free-market endeavour.

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Endast genom anfall kan ett avgörande nås

Our findings on why the offensive dominates in military tactical thinking among Swedish army officers just published in the Proceedings and Journal of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences:

“Endast genom anfall kan ett avgörande nås: Varför dominerar offensiven militärt taktiskt tänkande?” (with Övlt Peter Ahlström), Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademiens Handlingar & Tidskrift [Proceedings and Journal of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences], No 2 April/June, 2017:6-18. [OPEN ACCESS]

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Belt & Road Iniative

Today’s contribution sharing knowledge on the Belt and Road initiative – https://insights.nordea.com/b-r-bridging-divide-china-nordics .

You might also want to read my original article on the Swedish approach to the BRI/OBOR – http://fhs.diva-portal.org/…/g…/diva2:1067710/FULLTEXT01.pdf .

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