Human security and the military role

Finding the utility of military force to protect civilians from violence

The video lessons of this learning pathway will provide insights on the role and utility of military forces in armed conflicts - where the goal is not to win territory or to defend state borders, but where people and populations are the objectives to be won and safeguarded.

These lessons challenge existing approaches, but more importantly, they provide ideas on when to do what, including some practical tools to use in the planning, implementation and assessment of protection operations.

Get started
“Protecting the people is the mission”
ISAF Commander Stanley A. McChrystal, 2007
New military role

Avoiding collateral damage is not enough to protect civilians in armed conflict. Military forces must counter armed groups that target civilians. Military protection operations must be designed to deter, coerce, or even destroy the perpetrators´ will and ability to attack civilians.

Understand the threats

The type of threat civilians face determine how military forces can protect effectively. Understanding the threats is key to better protect civilians. The threats to civilians vary greatly; from genocide to mob violence. The utility of force to protect varies according to the threats.

New thinking required

Armed conflict is no longer just about defending territorial integrity of nation states. Militaries are expected to provide physical protection to populations caught in internal armed conflicts. Using force to improve human security demands new thinking among militaries. The lessons provide ideas on how to protect from different types of threats based on a decade of research on perpetrators of violence and military protection operations.

A complete learning package on military use of force in protection of civilians

What you will get in this compressed course here is a package of 10 short lessons, for self-study and interactive learning. The lessons will also be a typical part of a more comprehensive curriculum where military use of force in contemporary conflict is a topic. And it is all based on research at the forefront of the topic, providing unique insights on the use of military force to protect in contemporary conflict.

Get started
“[...] the United Nations and Troop- and Police-Contributing Countries need to adapt to a new reality: The blue helmet and the United Nations flag no longer offer “natural” protection.”
Lieutenant General (Retired) Carlos Alberto dos Santos Cruz, 2017