Disputas: Torunn Laugen Haaland
Cand. polit. Torunn Laugen Haaland ved Institutt for forsvarsstudier vil forsvare sin avhandling for graden dr.polit. (doctor rerum politicarum): Small Forces with a Global Outreach. Role perceptions in the Norwegian Armed Forces after the Cold War
"The homeland defender in the Norwegian Armed Forces after the Cold War"
• Professor Øyvind Østerud, Institutt for statsvitenskap, Universitetet i Oslo;
• professor emeritus Bertel Heurlin, Institut for statskundskab, Københavns Universitet; og
• professor Marina Nuciari, Universitetet i Torino
Leder av disputas: Professor Janne Haaland Matlary, Institutt for statsvitenskap
Veileder: Seniorforsker Rolf Tamnes, IFS og professor Arild Underdal, Institutt for statsvitenskap
Small Forces with a Global Outreach. Role Perceptions in the Norwegian Armed Forces after the Cold War
Dissertation submitted to the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Science, University of Oslo in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of doctor rerum Politicarum, June 2007.
Torunn Laugen Haaland
When the Cold War ended, only a small part of the Norwegian armed forces had taken part in real-life military operations, and hardly any members of the force had combat experience. Operational experience stemmed from peacekeeping operations, first of all from UNIFIL in Southern Lebanon, and from other smaller engagements primarily in the Middle East. As a result, the armed forces’ warrior mentality had become a very abstract phenomenon, with clear signs of occupationalism noticeable. Strong unions had ensured that officers were paid overtime for participation in exercises outside regular working hours, and officers could not be ordered to take part in operations abroad. Almost two decades later, this situation has changed. Norway’s participation in the Gulf War, in peace support operations in Somalia and the Balkans, and in the stabilisation operations in Afghanistan and Iraq has brought real life operational experience to the Norwegian armed forces. This thesis analyses how these forces, traditionally based on conscription and focused on national defence, were affected by these experiences. Its main topic is to what extent and how the military’s role perceptions were altered as a result of the deployments abroad, and whether traditional role perceptions have been replaced by new ones.
The thesis draws on international research on armed forces and society. As a starting point for the analysis, four role perceptions are identified: the warrior, the homeland defender/citizen soldier, the state employee and the mercenary. This role categorisation is partly developed from the works of three American social scientists: Samuel Huntington, Morris Janowitz and Charles Moskos. More recent research on military role perceptions in international peace operations is also presented and compared with my own findings.
The analysis is based mainly on three types of sources: first, internal correspondence between Headquarters Defence Command and other parts of the Norwegian military organisation as well as the Ministry of Defence; second, contingent reports produced by the forces deployed abroad; and third, contingent memory books, which comprise the troops’ informal records of their experiences during a mission. The research approach is thus “a textual recovery” of perceptions, rather than an ethnographic one. This means that collective meanings or perceptions are extracted from the subjects’ own written words.
Perceptions of purpose and role are expressed in decisions about international deployments and defence reform in the home organisation, and in the reports from the forces in the field. The analysis begins with Norway’s participation in the Gulf War in 1991. Norway’s participation in UNPROFOR in former Yugoslavia and UNOSOM in Somalia, and the first steps towards the development of more robust international forces at home, are the next topics. Norway’s participation in NATO operations in the Balkans during the second half of the 1990s (IFOR, SFOR, KFOR and Allied Force), and the conversion of Norwegian defence policy and defence structure at the end of the century, then follow. At the end of the thesis I sketch out some developments that have taken place after 2000 and discuss whether and how the insights gained in this thesis are applicable to the present challenges faced by the Norwegian Armed Forces.
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