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Scandinavian Military Studies *

Latest articles published by Scandinavian Journal of Military Studies
  1. Heightened political tensions and advances in technological development have prompted Scandinavian countries to increase investment in military research and capability development. The aim of this study is to gain a better understanding of why actors sharing similar strategic cultures implement new technology for military purposes differently. The research is founded on a cognitive-psychological perspective comparing two cases of innovation processes: Swedish nuclear weapons development during the Cold War and developments in Swedish cyber defence during the first decades of the 21st century. The main finding is that military innovation is better explained through a consideration of shared mental models of new technology than it is through a consideration of strategic cultures. The analysis shows there are implications for capability development. First, military innovation processes are only initiated if and when new technology appears militarily relevant to an actor; thus, the ability to correctly assess the military relevance of technology at an early stage is crucial. Second, the forming of shared mental models can both contribute to and counteract military innovation and, thus, decision-makers need to be aware both that mental models can be shared and that confirmation bias affects actors on a collective level. Third, it is likely that military innovation processes benefit from mental models being challenged and from diverging mental models being made evident. Consequently, it is good practice, also from this study’s perspective, to diversify and welcome different views on the use of new technology. Further studies are solicited in order to develop practical guidelines.

    Published on 2022-04-14 10:13:32
  2. This article studies Russian military strategy, concepts and capabilities as we find them today and as we are projected to find them in 10 to 15 years and explores potential weaknesses in Russian military power. In this light, it scrutinises defence efforts made by NATO and its key allies and makes an assessment of military strategies and concepts to deter and, if needed, to deal with Russian action in the High North of Europe. The article applies a net assessment and competitive strategies approach, entailing study of Russian, Norwegian and NATO ends and concepts. Within this framework, the study discusses Norwegian response options, arguing that Russia’s layered defence in the European High North can be effectively deterred and defeated. This requires investment, firstly, in capabilities which both mitigate Norwegian and NATO weakness and offer the possibility of exploiting Russian weaknesses, and, secondly, in prudent and suitable strategies and operational concepts.

    Published on 2022-03-01 12:20:05
  3. This article discusses the ways in which the F-35 Lightning aircraft might affect the command and control (C2) of the Royal Norwegian Air Force. It emphasises the importance of coordination answering questions regarding the effect of the implementation of the F-35 on interdependencies with other capabilities. This foundation is further used to discuss possible implications for elements central to C2 such as procedures, personnel, and communication and information systems. Based on the capabilities of the F-35 system, we find a development of interdependencies across domains and C2 levels in the Norwegian armed forces; the complexity of these interdependencies, influenced both by the execution of air operations and by environmental contingencies, means that the organisation needs to be flexible in its use of coordination mechanisms. We find that interdependence, and the coordination necessary if it is to be successful, have implications for command and control of air operations involving F-35 aircraft. We suggest the organisation should adopt a more active use of both hierarchical and horizontal structures to accommodate the sharing of knowledge and information across domains and C2 levels. Procedures need to include methods and systems for the delegation of authority, and personnel require knowledge of interdependencies and multi-domain operations. Finally, communication and information systems need to be available, interoperable, and robust.

    Published on 2022-02-16 11:24:41
  4. Sensemaking and dynamics concerning transactive memory systems (TMS) were crucial to the outcome of the battle of Kamdesh, which took place in Afghanistan on October 3rd 2009. A small outpost of predominantly American soldiers suffered an attack by a numerically overwhelming enemy force. The Americans came close to being wiped out but managed to turn the battle in their favor.

    The article looks at both dynamics inside the unit on the ground, as well as within the emerging team constituted by ground force components and air support. A key takeaway is that sensemaking is a critical process, where poor execution can make a group vulnerable to psychological shock, which in turn could threaten to destroy the group. Furthermore, the article looks at how rotating key personnel in combat areas can impact group performance and survival negatively. Finally, different possibilities for how organizing tasks may develop in emerging teams is explored, finding differences in the emphasis on differentiation and integration of knowledge in various team constellations at work in the battle.

    In conclusion, the article proposes that optimizing for high team performance outweighs the costs this has for handling more common but less complex and critical combat incidents.

    Published on 2022-02-01 11:39:44
  5. Soldiers’ morale is an important determinant for the success of military operations. However, the military morale literature lacks studies that rely on a theoretical background, use comparative data from pre-deployment periods, or specify the factors that affect morale during deployment. This article aims to provide a theoretically-informed analysis of aspects understood to influence the morale of Danish soldiers during deployment in an active warzone. We use an explorative approach to investigate the main determinants of morale in a deployed unit using the following eight factors: cohesion, esprit de corps, leadership, shared purpose/common goal, resilience, preparedness and training, discipline and working conditions. The theoretical background provided by van ‘t Wout and van Dyk provides a multidimensional focus on morale, focusing on cohesion, leadership, discipline, purpose, and work environment. The data were obtained from questionnaires given to the soldiers in the Danish battlegroup prior to and during deployment in the southern part of Afghanistan in 2007; 423 were included in the study. Our results indicate that leadership, cohesion and common purpose are the three most important determinants of forming the perception of morale.

    Published on 2021-12-29 12:08:32