Presentation- Thalès -June 29-Brussels
Civil-military crisis management: Challenges and Perspectives
- An academic point of view after the presentations made by two practitioners and
- Not focused on international but on internal crisis management.
- I will try to bring some food for thought using two very interesting publications
issued by John Hopkins University last year. This work was coordinated by D.
Hamilton who is director of the Centre for Transatlantic Relations of the School
for Advanced International Studies. The European contribution was quite large.
Nordic experts mainly, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian and Finnish but also
German, Austrian, Swiss, British and French experts contributed to it.
- Also, the Marshall Centre is working on this topic. Published 7 chapters of a book
dedicated to this topic. The book will be available in a few weeks.
1. The role of the military in crisis-management is still marginal while
problems to be faced could become more and more important.
a) Military assistance to Authorities is not new. They provide help from time to
time to national emergency management agencies or rescue services in connection
with natural disasters or other emergencies. But in general armed forces are
used as a last resort and under strict conditions. This is generally the case in
Europe. Of course, countries like France and Italy have a history of cooperation
between the Police and the Military. Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands do
not restrict homeland security missions of their armed forces. But a country like
Germany has been very cautious for historic reasons. Spain and Poland put certain
restraints on the domestic use of their armed forces.
b) A new element which could make this situation more difficult: with Al Qaeda
inspired terrorism, risks to the Homeland have become more and more
unpredictable in terms of their nature and scope. Engineered disasters, such as
multiple simultaneous terrorist attacks or incidents involving CBRN materials
have become more likely. Consequently, the military might be required to
perform a broader range of tasks to protect the homeland.
2. The US Military is doing studies and developing scenarios in order to meet
these new challenges.
a) First, a number of Rand studies have pointed to the need of military doctrine,
organization, training, leadership development and materiel in light of the new
homeland security tasks. These tasks would be: reassurance ( presence, guard
duty, etc…); providing facility security and infrastructure protection ( patrolling,
air defence systems, etc…); WMD protection (detection, decontamination,
evacuation, search and rescue, medical treatment); and consequence management
( crowd control, provide utilities, food and shelter, removal of debris,
b) Second, the US Department of Defence has issued a strategy for Homeland
Defence and Civil Support in which it addresses overall questions regarding
tasks, priorities, organization, training and materiel.
c) Third, Northcom – the US Command in charge of defence of the Homeland-
has drafted plans for the Military’s role in Homeland Security, based on 15
different crises scenarios. Current planning spans from modest support missions
with civil authorities in the lead to major emergency management efforts after a
mass casualty CBN attack – a scenario in which the Military is foreseen to task
the lead due to the scale and the severity of the crises.
3. But , and this is one of the main thesis of these publications, a global
approach seems necessary where civilian and military stake holders work
together. And there, we will face three problems:
a) a structural one.
- National police forces, emergency management agencies, the armed forces
and the corporate sector need to develop common planning scenarios and
common planning goals at the strategic level. The efforts should be joint, not
-At the operational level, we must be sure that important issues do not fall
between the cracks in a layered system. It also needs to be clarified who is
responsible for what. Finally, mechanisms of coordination, clear lines of authority
and a common situational picture are important elements to ensure an effective
multi-agency response to major incidents. International coordination and
standardization when it comes to forging the structures would, obviously, add
further robustness to national systems.
b) a cultural one. Yet, though forging new structures is important, arguably it is
not sufficient. Structural reforms do not in themselves ensure cooperation. On the
contrary, they might trigger defensive reactions. People have to be culturally
prepared and accept these changes. A starting point could be to utilize common
education, exercises and drills of civilian and military actors to build mutual trust.
The aim is to promote a common culture of cross-cultural cooperation
c) a political one. Many countries are reluctant to deploy troops at home for
historical reasons. This clearly cannot be overcome overnight and will need
guarantees for civil liberties if the role of the Army is going to increase.
These challenges can possibly be met at two different levels.
1. At the technical level, studies are being carried out in order to define a
A German expert, Heiko Borchert argues that the overall approach needed to
address comprehensively this problem can be found in the concept of
“transformation” developed to advance the effectiveness of the armed forces.
Here, transformation can be understood as a strategic multilevel and prospective
interagency process which also has an international dimension.
It must be effect-based. It should, for example, prevent serious risks from arising
through the fight against the proliferation of WMD, the protection of critical
infrastructure or the stockpiling of vaccines.
This requires different things.
First, that the decision-makers have a clear idea of the capability they have at
their disposal (it must be capability-based”);
Second, that all security relevant actors are involved (consequently, operations
must be “network-centric”).
Third, that strategies be tested in advance (Here a “concept development and
experimentation” approach is needed)
And fourth that they rely on a “common relevant operational picture”. In effect,
conducting joint operations requires joint situational understanding.
2. At the political and institutional level.
Here I will develop two points which will possibly prove the interest to rely on
the “Nordic approach” if we want to progress further in the integration process
needed to face the new security challenges. We have to distinguish between the
theory and the practice.
a) The theory.
First point. The Nordic countries offer us a comprehensive conceptual
framework perfectly adapted to the new requirements. It is the modern concept
of “Societal Security”.
It must be recalled that a number of European countries developed a “ Total
Defence” concept with roots going back to World War II and its immediate
aftermath. This concept was originally geared to the physical survival of the
Nation and its people in the case of major war and was premised on the notion
of territorial integrity.
The new concept of “Societal Security” retains the core principle of Total
Defence, ie the need for a comprehensive societal effort including all the
elements of the society, while widening the notion to embrace a broader, all-
hazards approach to risks and threats.
Second point. Total defence focused on comprehensive mobilization of
society’s resources to support the Military in case of a traditional conflict with a
foreign enemy. Instead of mobilizing civil society to assist the Military in the
face of external attack, the Military is now one element to be mobilized as part
of an overall response to major societal disruptions.
b )The practice.
This policy is starting to be implemented in Finland, Norway, Sweden and
Denmark although with differences and some difficulties.
In Finland, the armed forces are integrated in the process.
In Norway, a Royal decree passed in 2003 provides for the armed forces to assist
the police in certain circumstances (accidents, disasters, arrest dangerous people,
protect major societal values). In that case, the armed forces would be under
police command. Nevertheless, actions involving the armed forces only are not
excluded in exceptional circumstances.
Sweden is adapting its legislation. A 1931 law is forbidding the use of armed
forces on the territory. But this problem should be overcome.
Finally, homeland security civil-military cooperation has been intensified in
2004 in Denmark. DEMA (Danish Emergency Management Agency) has been
transferred from the Ministry of Interior to the Ministry of Defence. But this has
raised critics: some people saw in this decision a militarization of the system.
Moreover a compromise had to be found with the Police which retain some
responsibilities in some defined cases.
To sum up, the political orientation taken by these countries seems to be the good
one, even if there are hurdles to overcome and even if things are not evolving
everywhere as quickly as wished
a) First point. The use of the armed forces will probably be more and more
necessary in Homeland Security operations. The armed forces are preparing
themselves to face this possibility and some Governments are ready to let
them operate independently in exceptional circumstances.Parallel to this
development, a global approach based on the concepts of “Transformation”
and of “Societal Security” is being promoted by academics in the first case
and by Governments in the second. This approach obviously offers big
technical advantages. It also allows a better control on the armed forces and
consequently provides more guarantees for liberties.
b) Second point. Daniel Hamilton believes that the USA could benefit from
this “Nordic” integrated approach.
In fact, some examples of ill functioning crisis management in the USA are
given in these publications which support this choice.
-The September 11 Commission has documented how the rescue effort in the
Towers of the World Trade Centre was hampered by the absence of
coordination, unity of command and a common situational picture.
- Coordination of the rescue effort in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina
involving Federal, State level and local personnel was hampered by the
existence of 3 parallel chains of command instead of one.
-Slow relief effort in New Orleans in the wake of Katrina was not due to a
shortage of personnel – the US was eventually able to muster 70000 troops, 21
military vessels and 215 aircraft in the region hit by Katrina but due to
reluctance on part of civilian actors to request this help.
c) Third point. At the end of last year, the US Government decided that John
Hopkins University would lead a national consortium that will investigate
how the Nation can best prepare for and respond to large scale incidents and
disasters. The Centre for Transatlantic relations will lead international
dimensions of the Consortium work.
It would probably be useful for the Commission and for the Member-States to
follow this work which would certainly take into account the “Nordic”
d) One more word. We usually believe that the US-European relationship is a
one way-street. We have here an example of a two-way street and of how
Europeans can influence US thinking./ .