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Volume 5 - Issue 5 May 2015

70 Years After The End Of World War II: The Military Strategy Evolvement Throughout time, wars and conflicts have been conducted in various ways, depending on the scope, the capabilities, and more importantly based on the technologies available. The Cold War and the nuclear bomb drastically impacted warfare as direct confrontation had to be avoided because of the risk of total and mutual destruction. Today, although the nuclear risk is still present, economic restrictions have forced countries, and more specifically greats powers, to develop new ways to attack their opponents. These methods are referred to as hybrid warfare, as opposed to conventional warfare. This new category regroups all the attacks that violate the Geneva Convention and/or use asymmetric methods. Examples of hybrid warfare include terrorism, cyber attacks and the recourse to non-identified military personnel such as the “little green men” who appeared in Crimea. The appearance of these new methods thus questions centuries of military practices, forcing states to develop new defense mechanisms to face these new challenges.

NATO Troops in Afghanistan (Photo:

Contents: NATO And The Challenge Of “Hybrid Warfare” Mr. Philip Chr. Ulrich analyzes the evolution of warfare through time, beginning with from traditional warfare, moving to Total War, then the Nuclear Age and finally the more recent threats that have arisen with the development of Hybrid Warfare.

Mercenaries And Internal Conflict Dr. Andreas Stradis’s article focuses on the use of mercenaries to conduct war. World War I and II changed the pattern of warfare and involved all aspects of society, thus limiting the use of mercenaries. Since then, however, they have regained importance with the emergence of Hybrid Warfare.

- Flora Pidoux Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 5


NATO And The Challenge Of “Hybrid Warfare” By Philip Chr. Ulrich


or more than two decades, NATO has

Alliance. The clearest statements came after the Wales

operated in a post-Cold War security

Summit in September 2014, and the decisions made at

environment, and changed the nature of

this summit. These changes are supported by various

their missions since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

initiatives meant to reassure the Eastern European allies

In this period, NATO had to refocus on peacekeep-

and prove the commitment of the Alliance to support

ing operations in the Balkans and the civil wars which

all member nations in case of war. Only by adapting can

had erupted following the dissolution of Yugoslavia.

NATO continue to deter aggression against its member

Following the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11th 2001, the Alliance adapted

nations. Historical Challenges

once again to conduct their first operation using Ar-

During World War II the character of war changed;

ticle 5 in Afghanistan. The International Security

it became “total war”. This meant not only the complete

Assistance Force (ISAF) mission became the main

mobilization of the population and the production capa-

focus the Alliance for the next decade. Russia’s an-

bilities of a nation, but also the targeting of civilian pop-

nexation of Crimea in 2014 once again placed Russia

ulations. The military developments during World War

as the primary challenger, and the Alliance has to

II were substantial, both in terms of ground warfare;

adapt to the new challenge of “hybrid warfare”. Rus-

where armor became a central feature, and in the criti-

sia in Ukraine. Since its founding in 1949 NATO has

cal importance of airpower. The close cooperation be-

had to adapt to a number of changes in warfare and

tween armor and airpower defined warfare during the

to the consequent threats to its member nations.

conflict. The most significant development was, howev-

Hybrid warfare is a way for Russia to impact

er, the invention of nuclear weapons.

countries in what they consider their “sphere of in-

After World War II ended, the status of the Europe-

fluence”. This is done by presenting a more diverse

an powers changed from being dominant global powers

set of capabilities for which those nations will have

to secondary actors in a new global superpower compe-

more difficulty preparing. For this reason, NATO as

tition between the United States and the Soviet Union.

an alliance, has to adapt and support those member nations that share a border with Russia.

The emergence of super powers as well as the character of “total war” meant that alliances had become a

The numerous changes that have been put in

central feature of international politics. Individual na-

place by NATO show the willingness of the Alliance

tion states were unable to mobilize sufficient resources

to adapt to the new international context. The initia-

to wage a modern “total war”. For this reason, coopera-

tives include the creation of a Rapid Reaction Force,

tion became necessary to win in modern global con-

and increased shows of political solidarity within the

flicts. The creation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 5


were results of this new dynamic. These alliances were

Emergence Of A New Threat: Events In

necessary to meet the requirements of modern warfare


and create a credible deterrence. The nuclear arms race between the two global superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union, had great implications for NATO. It meant that a military confrontation between the two blocs would almost definitely lead to a nuclear exchange, and the subsequent destruction of both sides. This certainty of the consequences of nuclear war became known as “Mutually Assured Destruction” or MAD.

In the early days of NATO, its first Secretary General, Lord Ismay, is said to have proclaimed that the purpose of the Alliance was to “keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down.” As the Cold War ended, the hope was that the focus and purpose of NATO could change, and initiate a less bellicose relationship with its former Eastern competitors. NATO opened up towards the former member states of the Warsaw Pact as well as its former primary enemy, Russia.

Throughout the four decades of the Cold War the primary objective for NATO was to be prepared for a conventional confrontation with the Warsaw Pact. Following a decade of primarily peacekeeping opera-

Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War, only one of Lord Ismay’s old purposes is no longer relevant. Germany has grown to become the most dominant country in the European Union, and a fully

tions in the Balkans in the

integrated member of the

1990s, the terrorist attacks

Alliance. For that reason, “to

on 9/11 marked a new para-

keep the Germans down” no

digm shift in NATO’s focus.

longer seems relevant.

It triggered more than a dec-

Events from early 2014

ade of operations, which became a mix of conventional combat and counterinsurgen-

A Ukrainian serviceman operates a drone during a training session outside Kiev, November 6, 2014 (Photo: REUTERS)

cy operations in a major out-of-area mission in Afghanistan. These different missions have shown that NATO as an alliance has been capable of adapting to changing threat environments and support varying operations even in outof-area missions. Events in early 2014 show that the Alliance once again needed to change in order to secure its member states in the future. The new threat is known as “hybrid warfare” . To counter this threat, the Alliance has to rethink how it uses it capabilities and cooperate across the full-spectrum of operations.

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 5




once again made Russia

NATO’s center of attention. Thus, it still stands that the purpose for NATO is to “keep the Russians out” and “the Americans in”. Events in Ukraine have reaffirmed the need for the European Allies to keep the United States engaged, as they depend on the deterrent value of the U.S. military. Perceiving the threat of a closer relationship between Ukraine and the European Union, which looked imminent in early 2014, Russia responded. The response ended with the signing of an agreement between the Ukrainian government and Russia, rather than the European Union.


The Ukrainian people responded by beginning protests on the Maidan Square in central Kiev. In late February, events unfolded quickly as Russia responded quickly to the popular uprising across Ukraine.

Frank G. Hoffman, gives a broad understanding of hybrid warfare: Hybrid threats blend the lethality of state conflict with the fanatical and protracted fervor of irregular warfare.

On February 27th 2014, unidentified military per-

In such conflicts, future adversaries (states, state-

sonnel appeared in Crimea while a Russian mobiliza-

sponsored groups, or self-funded actors) exploit access to

tion simultaneously started along the Russian-

modern military capabilities including encrypted com­

Ukrainian border. The unidentified military units,

mand systems, man-portable surface-to-air missiles, and

who quickly became known as “little green men”, rap-

other modern lethal systems, as well as promote protract-

idly gained control over major government institu-

ed insurgencies that employ ambushes, improvised explo-

tions in Crimea. This control enabled Russian backed

sive devices, and assassinations. This could include states

separatists to declare Crimea an independent prov-

blending high-tech capabilities such as antisatellite

ince, and seek acceptance in the Russian Federation.

weapons with terrorism and cyber war­fare directed

The mobilization of Russian forces along the joint

against financial targets.

border as well as the continuation of unrest due to the

This definition shows that the scope of hybrid war-

Maidan Revolution meant that the Ukrainian govern-

fare is not necessarily limited to the military sphere;

ment was unable to effectively respond in time to the

targets can also be of a civilian nature

situation in Crimea. A referendum was held in Cri-

What is special in the challenges that NATO faces,

mea, which was used to give legitimacy to the official

is that it is a nation-state using hybrid warfare tech-

desire of the new separatist government to be incor-

niques in order to infiltrate and undermine a neigh-

porated into the Russian Federation. The separatists’

boring country. First, as a nation-state, Russia is able

“wish” to become part of the Russian Federation was

to dedicate greater resources to such operations,

rapidly accepted by the Russian parliament which al-

which allows for a wider range of capabilities to be

lowed Russian forces to enter the province under a

used, rather than fighting through a proxy. The tight

cover of apparent legality.

control over all government resources means that the

The Russian annexation of Crimea alarmed the

Russian government is able to divert capabilities to-

Eastern European allies, and has meant that NATO

wards military operations to a higher degree than

once again has to adapt to new challenges.

Western democratic governments. Second, the new threat environment presents a challenge as it is not

Defining Hybrid Warfare The challenge of “hybrid warfare” is characterized by not being easily conceptually defined and not easily detected. The subtleness of hybrid warfare was apparent in the Crimean crisis with sudden appearance of the “little green men”. One of the leading scholars on hybrid warfare, Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 5

necessarily clear when hybrid operations are launched, and therefore it can be difficult to respond. Once such operations are identified, it might be too late, as in the case of the appearance of the “little green men”. This is a clear distinction from other hybrid threats which have so far been presented by nonstate actors. These actors do not have the same level 4

of capabilities as a nation-state. This emphasizes the spe-

dimension have the potential to cripple a modern soci-

cial character of the threat presented by Russia. A chal-

ety while simultaneously having an increased deniabil-

lenge for NATO, therefore, is to develop a clear defini-

ity for the perpetrator. This again means that NATO

tion of what constitutes an attack.

members will have difficulties identifying the perpetra-

The New Threat: Russian Hybrid Warfare

tors of cyber attacks.

In their paper on Russian hybrid warfare, Heidi

An example of this is in Poland, which experienced

Reisinger and Aleksandr Golts argued that Russian hybrid

an increase in the number of cyber attacks from 5,670

warfare rests on five key aspects:

in 2013 to 7,498 in 2014. The most disturbing trend

Operations must be in “accordance with the law: actions with an appearance of legality”

Military show of force and readiness: snap inspections [mobilization of military forces]

for Polish authorities was an increase in the “dissemination of foreign ‘propaganda-disinformation’ by bloggers and contributors to online discussion forums or website comment sections.” It does seem like cyber operations are a more viable

Incursion of unidentified military personnel

Taking advantage of local tensions and local militias

way for Russia to conduct warfare. The operations

Propaganda – i.e. extensive information operations

conducted against Ukraine are the result of major military reforms which were initiated after the invasion of

All these aspects came into play prior to and during the annexation of Crimea, as well as the subsequent incursion into Eastern Ukraine.

Georgia in 2008. The invasion was not as successful as intended, and the Russian political and military leadership began reforming the military in order to improve

Russia used the excuse of the Russian-speaking minor-

performance in future conflicts. These reforms focused

ity which is oppressed by the Ukrainian government as a

on being able to quickly mobilize military forces, de-

cover for intervening in Ukraine. This narrative of pro-

ploy them near a potential conflict zone, and conduct

tecting the Russian speaking population connects the

covert incursions of Special Forces.

question of legality with propaganda.

As to the capabilities of Russia, “it is clear that these

Propaganda and apparent legality were supported by

rapid deployment units are not sufficient to carry out

the incursion of the “little green men” and the deploy-

large-scale military operations like the occupation of

ment of large conventional forces massed on the Eastern

two Ukrainian regions.” This indicates that although

Ukrainian border. For the Eastern European members of

Russia has shown great developments in hybrid warfare

NATO, this reinvigorated old fears of Russian aggression.

capabilities, they prove unable to conduct larger con-

The conduct of Russian aircraft flying close to or trespass-

ventional operations. The reforms conducted since

ing in sovereign airspace added to the frustration and fear

2008 have not yet reached a point where large-scale

of NATO members who share borders with Russia.

deployments of units are possible. The fact that Russia

The overt actions of Russian armed forces in Eastern

is unable to conduct large enough operations to defeat

Ukraine are being supported by covert operations, such as

opposition in Eastern Ukraine, is not, however, a sign

operations via the cyberspace. Cyber operations are seen

that NATO can take its time adapting to Russia’s hy-

as an integral part of hybrid warfare, as operations in this

brid threats.

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 5


In a report from spring 2015, Dave Johnson as-

One of the most important and concrete initiatives

serted that the commitment of military forces by Rus-

was the creation of a “Very High Readiness Joint Task

sia into Ukraine should in fact not be seen as “an early

Force”. This force is meant to be of brigade size and

indicator but could mark the end of a non-military

deployable within 48 hours. Such a fast responding

phase and beginning of rapid escalation.” This means

force aims to reassure the Eastern European allies that

that Russian planning is much more wide-ranging and

in case of events such as the emergence of “little green

long-term than otherwise might be the impression.

men”, NATO will be able to respond.

Johnson asserts that military might is actually a very

Another concrete initiative to reassure Eastern

late stage in operations. The implication of this is that

European allies and show the commitment of the

Russia could be conducting information operations in,

United States to the Alliance has been Operation At-

for example the cyberspace, combined with political

lantic Resolve. This operation ensured the participa-

pressure in order to destabilize or influence a neigh-

tion of U.S. units in exercises in Europe, as well as

boring country. This could be happening for pro-

the redeployment of previously withdrawn military

longed periods before it is noticed by the threatened

forces to Europe. These actions aim to deter aggres-

party. In the case of Ukraine, military forces were

sion by showing the willingness and capabilities of

only committed when such cov-

NATO as an alliance to respond

ert operations proved inade-

to any type of threats.

quate. Therefore NATO must

As Johnson asserted, if forces

prepare to counter Russian hy-

such as the Russian “little green

brid warfare. Although Russia is

men” begin to appear, it is likely

unlikely to directly invade a

that Russian operations are al-

NATO country, it may be able to foster discontent and thereby weaken the governments of East-

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg meets with the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk on 3 Dec. 2014 (Photo: NATO)

ern European states leading to a destabilization of those countries. NATO’s Response

ready at a very late stage of operations towards destabilizing and influencing a neighboring coun-

try. For this reason, NATO needs to cooperate with other international organizations such as the European Union (EU) and the Organization for Security and Co

Because the actions of Russia in the spring of 2014

-operation in Europe (OSCE). This is necessary be-

were greatly disturbing for NATO, the Alliance

cause, as noted earlier, multiple aspects of hybrid

agreed on some initiatives at the Wales Summit in

warfare focus on non-military capabilities. These

September 2014.

could be economic, political and general information

Politically, the most important point was the reassertion of solidarity within the Alliance. These political messages of assurance were followed up by concrete agreements.

operations, which stand outside of the Alliance’s responsibilities. To counteract those threats NATO is unequipped to respond to, it needs to cooperate with organizations such as the EU and OSCE. Only in this way can the civilians and militaries issues be properly

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 5


addressed, as both a military as well as civilian issue. As long as the members of the Alliance assert their solidarity with one other, it is highly unlikely that Russia will invade a NATO member state. This deterrence, however, only functions as long as the member states present a credible deterrence through military capabilities and cooperation within the Alliance. If the military capabilities of the member states are seen to decline, and cooperation and solidarity weaken, it will remove the deterrence, which has been the foundation of NATO’s success for the past seven decades. The challenge remains, both for the Alliance and the individual member states, to balance domestic needs with security concerns.

About the author

Bibliography Frank G. Hoffman, Hybrid Threats: Reconceptualizing the Evolving Character of Modern Confl ict, (Strategic Forum, No.204, April 2009) Reisinger, H. and A. Golts: Russia’s Hybrid Warfare. Waging War below the Radar of Traditional Collective Defence (Rome, NATO Defence College, November 2014) Matthew Czekaj, Russia’s Hybrid War Against Poland, The Jamestown Foundation http:// 5Btt_news%5D=43851&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid% 5D=7&cHash=513dea6e2da23e276d6cc8d3f1d08451 #.VUSo-I7tlBc Johnson, Dave, Russia’s Approach to Conflict – Implications for NATO’s Deterrence and Defence (Rome, NATO Defence College, April 2015) Operation Atlantic Resolve home/features/2014/0514_atlanticresolve/

Philip Chr. Ulrich holds an M.A. in American Studies from the University of Southern Denmark. He analyzes American foreign and defense policy for the Danish website He has previously worked as head of section at the Royal Danish Defence College, where he published several briefs on U.S. defense and foreign policy. He has also completed an internship at the Lessons Learned / Development Section at the CivilMilitary Cooperation Centre of Excellence.

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 5


Mercenaries And Internal Conflict By Andreas Stradis


ith Russian recidivism threatening

plating the emergence of new and unpredictable nuclear

in Ukraine whilst the sting of the

powers, ‘never again’ scenarios are trumped as reliably as

Crimean take-over still rankles the

they are proclaimed. So too with the reawakening Russian

international community, there is much grasping for new

bear in Eastern Europe; the strategy might be different to

concepts to explain the situation. And in a sense, ascribing

what the West had expected, but it is certainly not novel.

novelty or peculiarity to an event such as this masks its

Rather, it stands as the latest iteration in the long history

true nature: relatively new terms such as ‘hybrid’,

of the employment of mercenaries; carefully chosen and

‘asymmetric’ or ‘sub-state’ belie the more enduring as-

cleverly executed so as to be almost impossible to deal

pects of what has taken place. Less generously, one could


even say that neologisms in international affairs such as these often hide profound strategic oversight. It is safer to appear momentarily wrong-footed by a new aspect of the character of war than to be seen to have overlooked an aspect of its enduring nature, to borrow two Clausewitzian terms. Not predicting a truly new development in warfare is one thing; being surprised by a form of warfare previously consigned to the historical scrapheap is quite another, and more difficult to accept. This article therefore seeks to use Russia’s recent activities in Eastern Europe as a test-case, not only for how far military strategy with respect to mercenaries has evolved since the end of World War II, but also to question this evolution in the wider context of the whole history of warfare. In a sense, the apparently drastic emergence of recent events should highlight to us not their anomalousness, but the all-too-hasty willingness to believe that warfare had evolved. Since the so-called ‘end of history’ proclaimed by Francis Fukuyama in 1989, the West has been subject to a whole series of strategic rude awakenings, each showing that no aspect of warfare can truly be ruled out in an anarchic international environment. Whether fighting a fourth Afghan War or contem-

Whilst there may be little political appetite for expeditionary operations, mercenaries allow the home nation to retain a stake in a conflict whilst publicly appearing to be detached from it. Furthermore, when these forces are raised or recruited indigenously, the conflict retains the semblance of being internal and, crucially, the moral and political high-ground is up for grabs. In a globalised world where the glare of media scrutiny – both individual and corporate – is more intense than ever, it may simply be that the de facto way for governments to achieve strategic results will be through the use of hired hands. The Mercenary: An Ancient Profession The history of war is not, in fact, a history of professional military forces or permanent establishments. Whilst this has certainly been the case since World War II, it is worth pausing to reflect on just how small a sliver of military tradition the standing army really is. To begin with, the great European militaries only started their traditions in the 17th century, prior to which Europe relied on many hundreds of years of feudal tradition, where local aristocrats would raise armies as part of their duty to their monarch. And even with the establishment of these standing armies, it was not until the very start of the 19th

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 5


century that the world’s militaries truly began to

East India Company, was eventually absorbed by the

‘professionalise’, with the founding of the great institu-

Crown, for over a quarter of a millennium from 1600

tions that exist today: the École Militaire in France, Sand-

it operated as one of the most influential non-

hurst in England, and West Point in the United States.

governmental powers in the world. Nor was this the

Even the ancient Greeks, whose system of warring

only model in widespread use: ‘Foreign Legions’ of

city-states or poleis is often held up as the prototype of

various denominations were formed throughout this

the modern international landscape, relied heavily on

period, in some cases becoming very significant com-

mercenary forces. The truly professional fighting force –

ponents of national power, but crucially, falling into

in the sense of a paid, permanent and discrete body of

the category of mercenary force, with all the ad-

soldiers loyal to only one authority – was something of a

vantages that this entailed. From the King’s Foreign

rarity, and a far cry from the popular imagination of ser-

Legion, to the Gurkha forces of Nepal and the French

ried ranks of hoplites all loyal to their city. This is because

Foreign Legion, governments continued to place great

permanent forces of this kind were notoriously costly

reliance on the mercenary not simply as a temporary

and difficult to maintain in a whole variety of ways. Even

supplement but as an integral component of the way

the fearsome Spartans, often dubbed one of the earliest

in which power was projected and employed in the

and most effective professional fighting forces, only con-

international sphere.

stituted 10% of their city’s population, with the other

Total War: An Aberration Of History

90% being helot slaves more often than not roped in to

In order to explain the fate of the mercenary in the

boost numbers in conflicts. The Spartan system was an

Second World War, its uniqueness must be under-

anomaly, and severely limited its strategic reach because

stood. The demands of the conflict suffused every

of this military structure. As history would prove, it was

nation involved to such an extent that there was no

not until the proud Spartans were willing to dilute them-

need for the softer, more politically detached touch of

selves with the assistance of Persia that they could coun-

a mercenary force – every man and woman was part

tenance being a truly strategic force, and extend their

of the war effort, to the extent that countries faced-

influence beyond the Peloponnese. Indeed, there were

off not only militarily, but economically as well. In

certainly Greeks among the ‘barbarian’ armies of the

this scenario of ‘total war’, the need for nuanced in-

Persian King Xerxes when he famously invaded in 484

tervention options quite simply evaporated. Each na-

B.C., contravening the neat distinction of forces that

tion state was singularly directed towards the war

often persists in modern culture: even the heroic Greeks

effort because it was politically united around the ex-

had their price, and could be Persians for a fee.

istential threat posed by the enemy, so the war took

The era of large standing armies was also no stranger

on the attributes of an industrial confrontation, with

to the employment of mercenaries, most notably

every aspect of each nation’s productivity – human,

through the infamous East India Companies: these were

monetary, agricultural, or otherwise – directed to-

joint-stock corporations formed to further trade in the

wards increasing fighting power.

region, but which had de facto authority over large

But this begs the question of why the mercenary

swathes of India and employed large, professional private

returned as such an important component of state

armies. Though the most famous of these, the British Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 5


power in the post-war environment, given that the Cold

transparent, less accountable business model. But

War still shared the characteristics of a fundamental op-

should this be viewed as an entirely sinister develop-

position of states that had characterised World War II. In


short, the so-called ‘nuclear umbrella’ ruled-out total war

One could argue that PMCs are simply the logical

because of the principle of Mutually Assured Destruction

response of governments hamstrung by the unprece-

(MAD) that both the Allies and Soviets operated under.

dented levels of public scrutiny of the internet age.

In a sense, the nuclear capability restored a level of anar-

This cuts both ways: not only are governments wary of

chy to the international system, but crucially precluded

being perceived as ‘meddling’, but even in the most

the standing armies of the major powers becoming en-

publicly supported wars, the political cost of casualties

gaged for fear of total war with an unconscionable nuclear

can be strategically debilitating, as the loss of US Rang-

dimension. Thus the mercenary was catapulted into a po-

ers in Somalia in the early 1990s proved. Furthermore,

sition of even greater prominence during the Cold War,

not only are these forces more discrete, but they are

particularly in the two Superpowers’ peripheral spheres

scalable, highly efficient businesses, reflecting in many

of influence. From the Bay of Pigs in Cuba to Charlie

ways the migration of many previously national ser-

Wilson’s War in Afghanistan, mercenary forces were re-

vices to the private sector, from energy supply to

lied upon – successfully or not – for significant strategic

transport. Companies like MPRI are now deliberately

effect that regular forces simply could not have had. More

worked into US foreign policy by the State Depart-

than this, they were no longer the ‘disunited, ambitious

ment, and its management structure consists of former

and ill-disciplined’ forces that Machiavelli so deplored in

high ranking military officers that have quite literally

his infamous treatise The Prince, but highly professional

been outsourced in order to provide not only the eco-

and disciplined.

nomic but political efficiencies that a tentative 21st cen-

The Modern Mercenary Profession

tury government requires when engaging in foreign

The 21st century is in many ways continuous with the


Cold War, against Francis Fukuyama’s prediction and that

And the pattern of NATO engagement post-1989

of many others when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Still

points to PMCs as a logical solution. Sustaining politi-

bound by the ‘nuclear umbrella’, major powers also have

cal will has become the biggest strategic problem for

to operate within the context of increasing public scrutiny

the Alliance, whether in Somalia as previously men-

for their foreign interventions, whether military or non-

tioned or in Afghanistan for the 14 years since 2001.

military, from the post-ISAF training mission in Afghani-

Even the air campaign in Kosovo is illustrative of the

stan to the role of international development activity in

fact that the Alliance is struggling to convince its re-

the MENA region. Dubbed Private Military Companies

spective publics of the need for involving its troops:

(PMCs) rather than mercenaries, these 21st century forces

the air campaign was fêted as the solution to risking the

take the hired-hand to a new level of professionalism.

lives of ground forces, one which ultimately proved

Often recruited from Special Forces units, they have

ineffective. The unwillingness to commit forces to

many years of regular service to draw upon. In a sense,

Eastern Europe persists, and the way in which NATO

they embody the shift of national power from the

is engaging neatly mirrors the Russian approach: the

‘official’ space of the regular force to a deliberately less

new Rapid Reaction Force is symbolic rather than

Atlantic Voices, Volume 5, Issue 5


overly-threatening, being based on a British brigade and

Andreas completed an MSc in IR at LSE, and MA in

designed to be small, highly mobile and scalable. It is not

English Literature at Oxford. He is currently also a

an act of war. The real fight in Ukraine has only smatter-

Higher Executive Officer in the British Civil Service

ings of incidental evidence, such as NATO 5.56 maga-

Fast Stream, and a serving officer in the British Army

zines, Blackwater deployment, and Russian-made weap-


ons. Yet with the public acknowledgement of proRussian separatists as well as NATO ‘advisers’ in the region, it is clear that subliminal military activity is rife, and being kept deliberately out of view. But what makes Ukraine worthy of singling out? For the first time, a major power is taking the proxy war model to the very borders of its political competitor’s central sphere of influence. Quite understandably, this has created profound concern. What is remarkable is that major Western powers such as the US and UK are responding in kind, investing heavily in the softer elements of their own military power. In the UK, a new ‘Chindit’ formation has been raised, so-called because it shares the same designation of ‘77 Brigade’ as its infamous World War II antecedent founded by Orde Wingate. Similarly, the US has boosted the budget for SOCOM (its Special Operations Command) by $30 million, in official recognition of the resurgence of the murky, non-state dimension to modern warfare. We may be witnessing not only the resurgence of the mercenary, but a new demand made of modern military forces: that the hired-hand forms a fundamental part of the political and strategic calculus in the future. This is every bit as unnerving as it sounds, since it opens up the possibility of a foreign policy entirely divorced from the public it is meant to serve.

About the author Andreas Stradis is a Voluntary Senior Research Fellow and Member of the Executive Board for the Atlantic Council UK. He completed a PhD in International Rela-

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Atlantic Voices Vol. 5, No. 05 (May 2015)  

70 Years After The End Of The World War II: The Military Strategy Evolvment

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