The article analyses how the boundaries of postmodern military organizations are changing and how these evolutions affect their relations with the civilian society. The case of the Belgian Defence and the deployment of its military personnel in the streets are used as a case study to illustrate this transformation. Since January 2015, in response to the imminent terrorist threat in Belgium, military units have been deployed in support of the police to monitor sensitive areas, guard buildings and patrol the streets. The article analyses, first, how the population reacted to these new “proximity” roles and, second, the impact of these homeland deployments on the expeditionary readiness of the Belgian Defence and its capacity to carry out its primary missions.
The empirical analyses are, based on several quantitative and qualitative surveys, carried out among the Belgian population and the personnel of the Belgian Defence. In particular, the impact of the evolution of the public’s support over time on the blurring of the traditional roles of the military and the use of the military for internal security tasks is analysed.
Irina Goldenberg, Manon Andres, Johan Österberg, Sylvia James-Yates, Eva Johansson and Sean Pearce
Defence organisations are unique in that they comprise integrated military and civilian personnel working in partnership with each other (e.g., in headquarters, on bases, on missions, in academic settings). Many defence civilians are supervised by military supervisors and managers, while others are themselves responsible for managing military personnel. At the same time, despite often high levels of partnership and integration, military and civilian personnel are governed by very different personnel management systems, and have distinct cultures. These factors can affect the nature and quality of the collaboration and influence personnel outcomes and organisational effectiveness. Indeed, defence organisations are increasingly recognizing the importance of optimizing integration between their military and civilian workforces, with many adopting organisational terms implying that the military and civilian workforces form a cohesive whole: the Defence Team (Canada), the Whole Force Concept (United Kingdom), One Defence Team (Sweden), and Total Defence Workforce (New Zealand).
This paper presents results from the Military–Civilian Personnel Survey (MCPS), which was administered in 11 nations as part of a NATO Research Task Group on the topic of military-civilian personnel collaboration and integration (NATO STO HFM RTG-226). This survey was the first systematic examination of large samples of military and civilian respondents, and the first to examine military–civilian relations from the perspective of both military and civilian personnel. The results presented here are based on three open-ended questions included in the survey, which asked respondents to identify 1) the most important factors for establishing and maintaining positive military-civilian personnel work culture and relations, 2) the challenges of working in a military-civilian environment, and 3) the main advantages of working in a military-civilian environment. Results of 5 nations, including Canada, Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (n =1,513 military respondents and n = 2,099 defence civilians) are presented. Results indicate that mixed military-civilian work environments present both unique challenges and advantages, and identified the factors considered to be important for enhancing integration and collaboration between military and civilian personnel. Given that many cross-national patterns emerged, these findings provide useful insights for enhancing military and civilian personnel integration and collaboration across nations.
*Adapted from the material first reported in Goldenberg, I. & Febbraro, A.R. (2018; in publication). Civilian and Military Personnel Integration and Collaboration in Defence Organizations. NATO Science and Technology Organization Technical Report - STO-TR-HFM-226. DOI 10.14339/STO-TR-HFM-226. ISBN: ISBN 978-92-837-2092-8.
Jarkko Kosonen, Puustinen Alisa and Tallberg Teemu
While studying citizen-soldiers, their dual identity as a soldier and a civilian have been highlighted. A citizen-soldier’s role is linked to citizenship and its obligation. The dual identity or critical voices of conscription or reserve forces have neither been recognized in research nor been debated publicly in Finland. The aim of this article is to analyse the reasons why some conscripts raise critical voices concerning their relationship with conscription and their role as reservists. The study is based on the interviews of 38 non-military service men and 33 men who resigned from the reserve in 2017. The data was analysed using content analysis. According to the results, the main problems with regard to conscription and armed defence, among the conscripts, relate to inequality of the conscription system, obligation to serve and lack of discretion. For individual conscripts as citizen-soldiers, the problem of killing has special weight when they reflect upon their own role in the possible act of war. Conscripts and their expertise could be used more extensively in a wider range of security-related issues than in armed defence alone.
Tessa op den Buijs, Wendy Broesder, Irina Goldenberg, Delphine Resteigne and Juhan Kivirähk
This article focuses on military role identity by assessing the relations between demographic variables and warrior and peacekeeper role identities and by examining the potential influence of these role identities on self-esteem, organizational commitment and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB) in a cross-national sample. A questionnaire was distributed to military members in four participating countries: Belgium, Estonia, Canada and the Netherlands (n = 831). The findings show that demographic variables (i.e., age, gender, marital status and unit) are related to military role identity, and that military role identity predicts self-esteem, organizational commitment and OCB. In particular, multiple regression analyses demonstrate that peacekeeper role identity predicts self-esteem, organizational commitment and OCB, whereas warrior role identity only predicts organizational commitment and OCB, and further, that peacekeeper role identity is a stronger predictor of the outcome variables measured. The theoretical and practical implications, including providing commanders with information to assess their units’ mindsets, and mechanisms to improve self-esteem, commitment, OCB, are discussed. Finally, the limitations of this study and its potential for future research are described.
Like all repetitive human interaction, even war has been institutionalized and fought according to conventions and norms. Historically, this institutionalization is apparent from the way war has been compared to the duel, first in the 14th century and most famously by Carl von Clausewitz 5 centuries later. This article continues this train of thought and argues that the observed limits of Western “professional orthodoxy” and “strategic vocabulary” can be traced to how war has been institutionalized by the military profession. This offers an alternative explanation to the prevailing views of why the West has struggled in contemporary wars: it is the fundamental mismatch between these professional norms in the West and those held by their opponents that forms the biggest asymmetry in contemporary war. As this asymmetry is unlikely to disappear, these professional norms need to be reconsidered: just like the aristocracy with the duel by the late 19th century, the Western military profession appears stuck in an institution that is increasingly becoming obsolete. Without such reconsideration, the attainment of decision – the central strategic objective in war – and hence victory in future wars will remain uncertain.
Helga Myrseth, Sigurd William Hystad, Reidar Säfvenbom and Olav Kjellevold Olsen
We investigated the development of specific military skills in Norwegian cadets during the three-year military academy training as well as the impact of perfectionism and self-efficacy on the development of these skills. Latent growth-curve models were performed with perfectionism as a time-invariant predictor and with self-efficacy as a time-varying predictor. There were significant increases in the Individual Coping Capacity (ICC) and Cooperation in Difficult Situations (CDS) subscales but not in the Motivation to Achievement (MA) subscale. The initial skill levels were not related to the growth of the skills. Both adaptive and maladaptive perfectionism predicted initial values of ICC and CDS, explaining 5% of the variance in the initial ICC levels and 12% of the variance in the initial CDS levels. Perfectionism variables did not explain the development of the three types of military skills over time. Moreover, self-efficacy significantly predicted ICC at all time points and CDS and MA at all time points except at T3. We therefore concluded that cadets with high adaptive perfectionism scores are likely to have higher initial skill levels and that self-efficacious cadets are expected to show a greater development of military skills during military academy training.
Numerous societal change processes such as globalization, professionalization and social and technical acceleration have challenged military organizations. The aims of this study were to (1) gain a deeper understanding of coping strategies used by the military leaders at the strategic level to manage everyday organizational demands and (2) relate these strategies to multidisciplinary models of organizational challenges. Owing to an insufficiently developed base of research, an inductive approach was used. Interviews were performed with 23 Swedish brigadier generals and colonels. Five coping strategies were found for handling the negative organizational aspects: repair work, catching up, reproducing, using formal and informal strategies and managing loyalties. The theoretical concepts of narcissistic, anorectic and greedy organizations were used as a framework when interpreting the inductively generated coping strategies. It was suggested that the specific connection found between individual-level coping strategies and theoretically framed organizational challenges is new. The results of this study are discussed theoretically and may be valuable in educational settings when evaluating the working conditions and performance of high-level officers.
Helga Myrseth, Olav Kjellevold Olsen, Einar Kristian Borud and Leif Åge Strand
The aim of the current study was to explore gaming problems in post-deployment veterans and to investigate whether boredom and loneliness can predict levels of gaming problems. The general well-being of veterans post their deployments to war zones is linked to an array of negative health consequences, and veterans may be at risk for developing gaming problems after homecomings. Problems that may be related to engagement in gaming include coping with negative emotions, such as boredom and loneliness, which are often faced by homecoming veterans as well. The sample in this study comprised Afghanistan veterans (N = 246), with a mean age of 37.5 years (standard deviation = 9.6 years), and 8.8% of the veterans showed symptoms indicative of problem gaming. This is not higher than that found in the general adult population in Norway. Logistic regression analyses showed that boredom proneness (lack of internal stimulation) and enhancement motivation were independent significant predictors of gaming problems, after controlling for age, gender, coping motivation, social motivation, anxiety, depression, loneliness, lack of external stimulation, hazardous drinking, and combat exposure. These factors accounted for as much as 65.8% of the variance in gaming problem status. We conclude that veterans who are highly motivated by enhancement motives and score low on lack of internal stimulation may be prone to developing gaming problems.