Human security and the military role

Finding the utility of military force to protect civilians from violence

Toggle expand



Military forces often fail to protect civilians from physical violence, even when providing protection is their key objective.

Avoiding collateral damage is no longer enough to protect civilians in armed conflict. Military forces must sometimes counter armed groups that target civilians and tailor their operations to deter, coerce, or destroy the perpetrators’ will and ability to attack civilians.

Military forces must reduce the threat to civilians in any type of operations, whether in defence of national integrity or in protecting non-combattants from violent perpetrators in armed conflicts.

Toggle expand



Understanding the threats to civilians is key to better protect them from violence. Threats to civilians vary greatly; from genocide to mob violence. The utility of force to protect varies accordingly.

Through twelve short video lessons, this course provides a systematic approach to threat analysis, planning, implementation, and assessment of military operations to protect civilians.

With the help of a «flipped classroom» design, the course is ideal for self-study, interactive learning and comprehensive courses where the role of the military in providing human security is a topic.

It is now more dangerous to be a woman than to be a soldier in modern wars
Major-General (ret.) Patrick Cammaert
Former Deputy Force Commander UN Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Research and development team

Petter HF Lindqvist

Project lead

Lindqvist is an Army Colonel at Norwegian Defence University College, specializing on the use of military force to improve human security in armed conflict. His operational experience covers four decades of UN and NATO operations, including Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and South-Sudan.

Stian Kjeksrud

Research and script

Dr. Kjeksrud is an Associate Professor at the Norwegian Defence University College, heading its research program on UN peace operations. Kjeksrud served as an officer and soldier in Afghanistan, North Macedonia, Kosovo, and Lebanon.

Alexander William Beadle

Research and conceptual development

Beadle is a researcher at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment and a PhD-candidate at the University of Oslo, heading a research project on global trends and the future of warfare. He has also worked extensively on understanding the utility of force in protecting civilians from violence, leading to several publications.

Gustav Nyquist

Video producer and editor

Nyquist is an experienced video content producer working at the Norwegian Defence University College’s section for Advanced Distributed Learning. He has extensive experience from movie production, documentary and information film.

Archive material: Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK)