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Conceptualising modern war - Karl Erik Haug

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Conceptualising modern war
Karl Erik Haug
Hurst & Company
UK Publication Date

Since the end of the Cold War, scholars, military historians and analysts have struggled to agree a workable definition of contemporary warfare with reference to the conflicts that have erupted since 1989, whether in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq or Afghanistan, to name only a few. Among the many attempts to hit the right conceptual note are asymmetrical war, 'Fourth' Generation War' and, perhaps the most influential of all, 'New Wars'. In addition to these attempts to define war, the West's military establishments, with the Pentagon in the vanguard, have worked hard to map out new strategic and tactical concepts in order to try to win these wars. Two of the more influential from recent years are Network-Centric Warfare (NCW) and Effects-Based Operations (EBO). The contributors contend that very few of these terms and concepts are particularly useful when it comes to defining war or to creating a winning strategy. On that basis it is easy to ridicule every one of these terms and concepts, but the aim of the contributors to this book -- who include Hew Strachan, David Kilcullen, Steven Metz, Helen Dexter and Ian Beckett -- is instead to search for meaning where meaning can be found. Can these terms and concepts tell us something about the development of war and how wars can be won?

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Karl Erik Haug is Associate Professor of History at the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy in Trondheim where he has been teaching since 1999. His fields of interest and publishing include Norwegian foreign policy, military history and international relations. Ole Jorgen Maao is Associate Professor of History at the Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy in Trondheim. He had served nearly 20 years as an officer within the Norwegian Air Force, before becoming a full time scholar in 2006.

'I recommend this book to professional and student alike. The collection of essays gives an excellent description and explanation of the many terms used to categorize our recent military endeavours. In doing so the concepts behind the choice of categories are exposed, which reveals much about our approach to warfare.'
General Sir Rupert Smith, KCB DSO OBE QGM, author, The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World

'War, Clausewitz's chameleon, constantly changes its colours or outward manifestation, while retaining its essence. We are witnessing a colour shift, as this volume shows brilliantly, but it is more subtle and complex than commonly alleged. With trenchant critiques of key concepts like asymmetry and generations of warfare, this carefully researched collection weeds out much of the nonsense and half-digested ideas found elsewhere. The well-judged summary critiques of recently fashionable concepts such as Effects-Based Operations, Network-Centric Warfare, and Transformation should be set texts for students. An outstanding and timely evaluation of strategy debates since the end of the Cold War.'
Beatrice Heuser, Professor of International Relations, University of Reading, author of The Evolution of Strategy and of The Strategy Makers - from Machiavelli to Clausewitz

Keyword Index
War.|Military art and science.|World politics - 21st century.
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