New article co-authored with Elin Norrman on Military Strategic Communication at the Tactical Level in Counterinsurgency Operations focusing on Sweden in Afghanistan. The article investigates the implementation of strategic communication at the lower segment of the military hierarchy in counter-insurgency (COIN) operations. It focuses primarily on the experiences of communicating strategically at the tactical level in manoeuvre forces, using Sweden in Afghanistan as a case study.
It is found that the tactical level often distances itself from the communicator tasks, arguing that this belongs to other units or personnel. However, the tactical level also pinpoints the vital role they play in shaping attitudes and beliefs in the area of operations. The results thus indicate a type of cognitive split in the perception of the communicator role among the manoeuvre forces.
Furthermore, the study reveals several obstacles in effectively executing strategic communication in the military domain. The most prominent areas are contradictions in messages due to force-protection measures and lack of synchronization.
To cite: Norrman, Elin and Mikael Weissmann, “Military Strategic Communication at the Tactical Level in Counterinsurgency Operations: The case of Sweden in Afghanistan,” Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademiens Handlingar och Tidskrift [Proceedings and Journal of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences], No 3, 2020: 19–47. Full text available from http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-9509
KKrVAHT_Military Strategic Communication in Counterinsurgency operations -Norrman&Weissmann 2020
I just published a new article in Baltic Defence College’s Journal on Baltic Security – HYBRID WARFARE AND HYBRID THREATS TODAY AND TOMORROW: TOWARDS AN ANALYTICAL FRAMEWORK.
This article first traces the origin of hybrid warfare and the label game surrounding the concept, asking whether it is merely old wine in a new bottle, and if so, whether it is still a useful concept. It is found that while being old wine in new bottles, it is still a good wine well worth drinking. While there is not much new in the concept itself, it is a useful tool to think about past wars, today’s wars and the wars of the future. Thereafter, this paper analyses how hybrid warfare and hybrid threats are to be understood in the context of peace, conflict and war. It is shown how hybrid warfare and threats fit into our traditional understanding of conflict dynamics.
Full text (OPEN ACCESS): https://doi.org/10.2478/jobs-2019-0002
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.
Conference proceedings from the workshop ” Hybrid Threats and Asymmetric Warfare : What to do?” has now been published. Read the key points and conclusions here [FULL TEXT].
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).
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.
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]
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 .
New open access article in Washington Quarterly – “Sanctions Reconsidered: the Path Forward with North Korea”.
Read it to understand how North Korea survives, why sanctions (do not) work and what to do about it.