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.
In November I am organising a workshop on “Hybrid Threats and Asymmetric Warfare: What to do?” in Stockholm 14-15 November, 2017 at the Swedish Defence University (SEDU). It is organised by the Land Operation Section, Dept. of Military Studies at the Swedish Defence University (SEDU) in collaboration withthe Centre for Conflict, Rule of Law and Society, Bournemouth University and the
Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies (CATS). It is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ) (Grant No: F16-1240:1)
The international security environment has seemingly left the post-cold war parenthesis of everlasting peace and evolved into a volatile and increasingly grey area of war and peace. Security challenges arising from both hybrid wars and hybrid threats are today high on security agendas in Sweden, Europe as well as internationally. However, despite the attention there is today a lack of research that address how such “new” wars and threats should be handled. While studies do exist addressing specific issues, a comprehensive approach to how hybrid wars and threats are to be handled are still lacking. This is particularly so when it comes to experience sharing between states. The here proposed workshop will be a first step towards developing such a comprehensive approach.
The aim of this workshop is to bridge across disciplinary boundaries as well as between researchers and practitioners within and outside Sweden, utilising each group’s extensive experiences and knowledge in to a coherent whole. The aim of the workshop is to besides producing and disseminate new knowledge, to work as the foundation for long-term collaboration, being the first step in the creation of a European Network on Hybrid Warfare Capabilities that can work across borders as well as being a channel between the state of the art of research and practice.
Though being mainly a scientific workshop, a number of practitioners will be invited. Our aim is that each session shall include a mix of presentations by academics and practitioners. The workshop will also include round-table discussions to facilitate innovative and reflective discussions across the academic-practitioner border. To facilitate the production of new knowledge and the development of future cooperation we are not expecting finished papers from all participants, but instead we want to put emphasise on facilitating the development of new ideas associated with hybrid threats/warfare broadly speaking.
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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