No time for Uncertainty. The European Defense and Security in the Time of Terror: Threats, Challenges and Opportunities

We are organizing a panel at the next SGRI conference (Trento, June 29-July 1).

As reported in there website: The annual SGRI Conference is an opportunity for scholars throughout Italy to come together and discuss topics that are relevant to international relations. The 2017 Conference will be held for the sixth time in Trento from June 29th to July 1st and will be organized by IPLab (International Politics Laboratory), a joint venture involving the Bruno Kessler Foundation and the University of Trento.

Here you’ll find a list of the all panels.

Here below the details of “our” panel (“No time for Uncertainty. The European Defense and Security in the Time of Terror: Threats, Challenges and Opportunities“):

Chair: Giampiero Cama (University of Genova)
Discussants: Francesco N. Moro (University of Bologna) & Fabrizio Coticchia (University of Genova)

Date: TBD
Room: Sala Grande

According to the European Union Global Strategy “terrorism, hybrid threats, economic volatility, climate change and energy insecurity” are significantly endangering Europe (EUGS, 2016). The EUGS emphasizes the need for an “appropriate level of ambition and strategic autonomy”, enhancing common efforts especially on cyber, counterterrorism, energy and strategic communications. In other words, Member States should “move towards defence cooperation as the norm”, providing a greater contribution to collective security, working closely with its allies and partners, such as NATO. The panel aims at collecting empirical papers that, through different methodological perspectives, try and understand how current transformations (political, such as Brexit and Trump election but also technological, such as the “rise” of drones) are impacting traditional European and national security practices.

The panel explores how Member States, as well as the EU, have faced so far the above- mentioned challenges, examining in details the following key-areas: (a) shared assessments of internal and external threats (e.g., Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, including the role of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems and satellite communications); (b) the evolution of digital capabilities to secure data, networks and critical infrastructure; (c) the transformation of (national and European) counter-terrorism; civil-military relations in operations; (d) the development of European procurement (especially regarding full- spectrum land, air, space and maritime capabilities); (e) the military doctrines at the national and regional level.

Confirmed Papers: 

  1. Edoardo Baldaro (Scuola Normale Superiore – Pisa), The EU in the Sahel: Assessing Strengths and Limits of the European Integrated Approach to Conflict
    Nowadays the EU is facing renewed security threats coming from its instable Eastern and Southern borders. State fragility and civil conflicts in the peripheries are considered as factors that can endanger European internal security and cohesion, asking for concrete initiatives and responses by European institutions. The European Union Global Strategy (EUGS)introduces a new ‘integrated approach to conflict and crisis’, in order to propose innovative and shared solutions concerning conflict-management and crisis-relief.Adopting an ideational and social constructivist approach to the study of European foreign policy, this article aims to explore the “fragile state” and “resilience” concurring policy paradigms informing this new European strategic concept. Analysing the EU’s initiatives in the Sahel, one of the regions where the EU elaborated and tested its renewed approach, the paper underlines ideational and practical weaknesses of the European action, focusing the attention on three dimensions: 1) inter-agency efficiency and cooperation; 2) EU – member states coordination; 3) effects on local governance and environment. We finally argue that even if the EUGS is going in the right direction, the EU still suffers from cognitive problems and lacks internal cooperation.

    In the conclusion I argue that even if the EUGS is going in the right direction, the EU still suffers of cognitive and normative problems and pays a lack of internal cooperation, all factors that can still put into question the EU’s approach to fragility and conflict in the South.

  2. Eugenio Cusumano (Leiden University), Migrant Rescuing as Organised Hypocrisy: EU Maritime Missions Offshore Libya Beyond Humanitarianism and Border Control
    In October 2014, the Italian Navy maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) operation offshore Libya Mare Nostrum was replaced by the EU border agency Frontex operation Triton, followed in 2015 by the Common Security and Defence Policy mission EUNAVFOR Med ‘Sophia’. Both Triton and EUNAVFOR have increasingly advertised their  involvement in SAR operations. As the two missions focused on reducing illegal entries to Europe rather than SAR, their commitment to migrant rescuing was not matched by consistent action. This paper conceptualizes the mismatch between humanitarian rhetoric and activities primarily meant to reduce migrant flows as a form of organised hypocrisy. Based on a decoupling between talk and action, organised hypocrisy allowed EU maritime missions to reconcile contradictory pressures from their external environment, such as EU willingness to reduce maritime migrations and the normative imperative to act against the loss of life at sea
  3. Artem Patalakh (University of Milan Statale), Soft Power Revisited: How Attraction Works in International Relations
    The paper puts forward a constructivist interpretation of how Joseph Nye’s soft power works in International Relations (IR). In particular, it focuses on the functioning of attraction, soft power’s main pronounced mechanism. On the basis of a theoretical literature review, the author identifies three primary issues that require further specification in Nye’s account, namely a clear disentanglement between hard and soft power, a psychological mechanism behind attraction and the relationship between agentic and structural forces in the soft power relationship. To address these issues, the author locates soft power in the constructivist IR paradigm, viewing power in its broadest terms (as including all the four “faces” of power). Then, the author applies French and Raven’s typology of power bases to build a framework that classifies attraction into three types, each with a particular psychological mechanism: “rational” attraction (which means that actor A is positively evaluated by actor B of the basis of its actions that do not aim at other IR actors), “social” attraction (which implies that A is positively evaluated based on how it treats other IR actors) and “emotional” attraction (which happens if B is positively evaluated by A, because B is useful for A to fulfill its identity, its perceived position among other IR actors). Having said this, the author uses insight from social psychology to provide theoretical explanations for each type of attraction, illustrating them with relevant examples from contemporary international politics.

  4. Mirco Elena (USPID)

 

 

See you soon in Trento…

 

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Venus in Arms at ISA Baltimore…Papers and Panels

Also this year Venus in Arms will be at the ISA Annual Convention, which will be held in Baltimore (22-25 February 2017). Almost 6000 attendees are estimated!

Here you can find all the info about the conference

Here you can browse the programme

Our Fabrizio Coticchia and Francesco Moro will present two papers. Here below some details on their (very promising) panels:

Military Learning
Thursday, February 23, 10:30 AM – 12:15 PM

The papers on this panel examine not only lessons learned, but the processes by which military organizations learn and update tactics and appraise their effectiveness. Some focus on internal pathways and others consider how lessons are learned by bystanders watching foreign wars.

Chair and Discussant: Terry Terriff (University of Calgary)

Papers

  • The Sources of Military Learning: Organisational Learning and Military Change during the Iraq War and ISAF – Tom Dyson (Royal Holloway, University of London)
  • Through military lenses. Security perceptions and learning in the case of Italian armed forces
    – Lorenzo Cicchi (EUI – European University Institute), Fabrizio Coticchia (University of Genoa),  and Francesco N Moro (University of Bologna)
  • The Influence of Foreign Wars on Domestic Military Policy: The Case of the Yom Kippur War’s Influence on the American Military – Jonathan E. Czarnecki (Naval War College Monterey), Robert Tomlinson (U.S. Naval War College)
  • Explaining Military Tactics: Organizational Routines and the British Army in Multinational Missions – Cornelius Friesendorf (Goethe University Frankfurt and Peace Research Institute Frankfurt)
  • Forgetting the Past?: Vietnam, the Cold War, and US Army Doctrine from Active Defense to AirLand Battle – Peter Campbell (Baylor University)

Narrative encounters with foreign and security policy
Thursday, February 23, 1:45 PM – 3:30 PM

It has been suggested that we in International Studies have witnessed something of a ‘narrative turn’ in recent years; this ‘turn’ has manifest in several ways. First, scholars have begun to elicit narrative accounts of the life experiences of their research participants, to understand how people in various institutions narrate their own subjectivity. Second, analysts have turned to narrative materials – fiction books, journals, blogs – as rich sources of information about global politics. Third, researchers have begun to treat global policies and documentary materials (such as presidential statements, reports, and resolutions) as forms of narrative, and investigated these sources for the presence of meta-narratives, the better to understand how we make sense of such materials through our story-telling capabilities. This panel contributes to debates about narrative in all three of these ways, and in so doing represents a methodological, theoretical, and empirical contribution to this emerging field of study.
Chair: Michael Alan Lewis (George Mason University)
Discussant: Laura Mills (University of St Andrews)

Papers

  • Feeling Unsafe ~ Exploring the Impact of Nuclear Evacuation – Ronni Alexander (Kobe University)
  • Narratives of border crossing among Syrian refugees arriving into Germany – Isis Nusair (Denison University)
  • A different story: strategic narratives, security issues and peace movements in Italy – Andrea Catanzaro (University of Genova) and Fabrizio Coticchia (University of Genoa )
  • (In)security, violence and masculinity –ontological narratives of the Black Sea Region in the 21st century – Ivan Cristina Mihaela (The National Intelligence Academy Mihai Viteazul)

 

See you soon in Baltimore

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Learning From Others? Emulation and Change in the Italian Armed Forces Since 2001

As illustrated in previous posts, military transformation represents our main current research issue. We’ve just published a book on this topic and we are still working on Italian (and European) military transformation.

Here you’ll find our latest paper, which has been published (in early view ) on “Armed Forces&Society“. The title is: “Learning From Others? Emulation and Change in the Italian Armed Forces Since 2001” (F. Coticchia and F.N. Moro, 2016).

Here below the abstract:

How does military change take place in states that are not able to develop autonomous solutions? How does transformation occur when limited resources are available? What are the “sources of military change” for armed forces that do not possess the (cognitive and material) resources that are essential for autonomous development? In articulating an answer to these questions, this article draws from the theoretical debate on interorganizational learning and looks at the mechanisms that drive “learning from others.” We argue that adaptation and organizational learning often had to look for, and then try and adapt, off-the-shelf solutions that required relatively more limited resources. Empirically, the article focuses on the Italian Armed Forces, which have rarely attracted scholarly attention, although it emerged from almost total lack of activity in the Cold War to extended deployments in the 2000s.

Stay tuned for additional results of our analysis (we are now working also with surveys..)

 

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The Transformation of Italian Armed Forces in Comparative Perspective – Book presentation

Venus in Arms will present “its book” on the transformation of Italian Armed Forces at the University of Genoa (on next Monday, December 14th, 3pm, DISPOAlbergo dei Poveri, P.le E. Brignole, 2)

 In a previous post we have already illustrated the seminars organized by the University of Genoa on the evolution of contemporary security. We are really glad to present our book within such framework.

Here you’ll find a detailed description of the manuscript:”The Transformation of Italian Armed Forces in Comparative Perspective. Adapt, Improvise, Overcome?”, F.Coticchia and F.N. Moro (Ashgate, 2015).

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Here below a summary of the book:

European armed forces have undergone deep changes in the past two decades. Given the breadth of the debate and the size of transformations that took place, it is somewhat surprising that relatively few academic studies have directly dealt with changes in force structure of European militaries, and the Italian armed forces in particular. The focus of this book is the organizational dimension of the restructuring of armed forces through 3 different lenses: doctrine and strategic framework, budget and resource allocation, and force structure and deployment. The key issues addressed relate to how these factors interact in shaping transformation. Of particular interest is the theme of learning, which is how armed forces endogenize change in the short and long run. This study provides valuable insights into the extent to which armed forces manage to adapt to the emerging strategic and operational challenges they have to face and to illustrate the weight of institutional legacies, resource constraints and inter-organizational learning in shaping transformation. Focusing on the Italian case in comparative perspective and based on a large variety of military operations from airstrikes to peacekeeping and counterinsurgency, the book provides an innovative viewpoint on military transformation and significantly contributes to our understanding of contemporary security that is deeply shaped by the lessons learnt in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq and Libya.

Here you can download the introduction.

See you soon in Genoa.

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ViA 2015: La trasformazione militare italiana (e molto altro)

Terminata la pausa estiva, Venus in Arms è di nuovo pronto a rituffarsi sui temi della difesa e della sicurezza (e molto altro). In questo breve post di inizio Settembre illustreremo brevemente gli argomenti che saranno al centro della nostra attenzione nei prossimi mesi, nei quali cercheremo sempre di collegare analisi e studi “accademici” a riflessioni legate al dibattito corrente.

Primo aspetto al centro del nostro lavoro sarà la trasformazione militare italiana, ovvero l’argomento del nostro ultimo libro. Il volume analizza il processo di cambiamento delle forze armate italiane nel nuovo secolo, attraverso una prospettiva comparata (Francia e Gran Bretagna). L’analisi illustra l’interazione tra alcune dimensioni della trasformazione (budget, impiego sul campo, dottrina) e la loro influenza sul percorso di cambiamento e adattamento avvenuto negli ultimi anni nella Difesa italiana. Attraverso interviste, documenti ufficiali e fonti secondarie sono state esaminate in dettaglio le operazioni in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libano e Libia.

Una particolare attenzione è stata dedicata alla dimensione istituzionale del cambiamento. In linea con quest’ultimo aspetto, in futuro ci focalizzeremo sulla dimensione dell’apprendimento, attraverso survey e questionari.

Nelle prossime settimane organizzeremo alcuni seminari di presentazione del libro, che riporteremo per tempo sul blog. Un po’ di pubblicità non fa mai male, naturalmente.

Un altro aspetto che continuerà ad occupare costantemente le pagine di Venus sarà la Difesa italiana, soprattutto alla luce della pubblicazione dell’ultimo Libro Bianco e della riforme ad esso collegate. Stiamo lavorando proprio sull’ultimo documento strategico e a breve saranno qui riportati i risultati delle nostre analisi.

In chiave comparata ci dedicheremo poi al rapporto tra l’evoluzione della Difesa italiana e quella tedesca avvenuta nell’era post-bipolare. Abbiamo già passato un po’ di tempo di Germania per interviste e analisi. Quindi aspettatevi un bel po’ di materiale da leggere e discutere (non in tedesco, tranquilli).

Una parte consistente del nostro lavoro sarà poi dedicata ai temi della political violence, del ruolo della criminalità organizzata (nazionale e transnazionale), dei conflitti contemporanei.

Al tema dei foreign fighters saranno dedicati alcuni post, i quali riporteranno i risultati di alcuni analisi che abbiamo condotto di recente in merito al caso dell’ISIL.

Non ci dimenticheremo del controverso tema degli F-35, cercando però di spostare la discussione da una prospettiva budget-driven a qualcosa di più articolato, come fatto in passato.

La sicurezza europea, scossa dalle crisi interne e regionali e dal dramma immane dei profughi, non potrà che essere esaminata in dettaglio, così come la trasformazione della NATO.

Infine, i guest-post cercheranno di ampliare l’orizzonte interdisciplinare di ViA, da analisi tradizionali di Relazioni Internazionali agli studi di intelligence fino ai “nuovi” metodi di insegnamento in materia di IR, sicurezza e scienza politica. Ogni contributo alla discussione è ben accetto ovviamente.

Sarete sempre tenuti al corrente dei principali appuntamenti con conferenze e seminari (in più qualche dettaglio sulle trasferte che faremo in Europa League).

Insomma, molta carne al fuoco. Senza dimenticarci l’appuntamento settimanale con la nostra Top-5, che raccoglie i migliori “5 pezzi facili” che provengono da blog, riviste, giornali di tutto il mondo. La dimensione “pop” del sito non verrà trascurata, soprattutto nella spasmodica attesa del nuovo capitolo di Star Wars.

Stay tuned

 

 

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Our book…

We are pleased to announce that we’ve just received the first copies of our book: “The Transformation of Italian Armed Forces in Comparative Perspective. Adapt, Improvise, Overcome?“, F. Coticchia and F.N. Moro, Ashgate, 2015.

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Here you’ll find the full contents list.

Here the first reviews.

We consider the manuscript as the ViA’s book. The blog will provide you further details on our research on military transformation in Europe. First of all, here you can download the introduction.

Let us know what do you think about…

 

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ViA at the Italian Standing Group on International Relations (SGRI)

Venus in Arms will present two papers at the VIII annual Conference of the Italian Standing Group on International Relations (SGRI). The event is a “two-day session that brings together scholars, researchers and PhD students from Italian academia to discuss issues related to global politics, European studies, foreign policy, regional dynamics and international theory“.

The 2015 Conference will be held for the fourth time in Trento from June 26th to June 27th and will be organized by the Bruno Kessler Foundation‘s Research Center on International Politics and Conflict Resolution (FBK-CERPIC).

Here you’ll find the updated programme of the conference, with panels and papers.

Here the details of the venue.

As stated before, ViA will present two papers:

  • Italy’s military intervention to face new security threats: an analysis of the national debate in three intervention cases (Darfur, Somalia and Haiti)“, Fabrizio Coticchia and Michela Ceccorulli. The panel, chaired by Pierangelo Isernia, focuses on “Italian Foreign Policy in Comparative Perspective”.  The session II analyses: “The Italian Foreign policy on Military interventions and Humanitarian aid”
  • Learning from others? Emulation and adjustment in Italian military transformation“, Fabrizio Coticchia and Francesco N Moro. The title of the panel is panel is: “Catch me if you can! European Security and Defence Integration and International Relations”. The Chairs are Lorenzo Cladi and Andrea Locatelli

See you in Trento!

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 60 (Bisa in London)

This week the Top-5 is BISA-centred. We have already presented our paper at the Annual Convention in London.

Our first suggestion is to look at the updated programme of the Conference. We’ve been part of a lively panel of coalition politics and foreign policy.

We’ve been also at a panel on military transformation in Europe. Quite interesting. On this issue we remind the forthcoming contribution by ViA.

This year the conference theme is  inequality. “The landscape of global security studies remains dominated by questions about inequalities of power and the uses to which those inequalities are put”.  The workshop on inequality at the BISA  is scheduled on Thursday afternoon. It seems promising.

On the UK and its future in the EU, we suggest this interview to the European Parliament President, Martin Schultz. “David Cameron’s campaign to ditch the EU’s mission as one of ‘ever closer union’ has no chance of success, said the president of the European parliament”

Moving from conference to conference check the forthcoming Italian Standing Group on International Relations. Via will be there with 2 papers. See you in Trento.

 

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Learning in Crisis: The Sources of NATO’s Institutional Memory

Venus in Arms promotes the first post-ISA2015 event that deserves attention for those of you interested in military transformation.

We suggest the following seminar: “Learning in Crisis: The Sources of NATO’s Institutional Memory” by Heidi Hardt (University of California Irvine), at the European University Institute (EUI), Florence, February 25.

This is a Joint Seminar: Europe in the World Research Seminar Series & RSCAS Seminar Series, European University Institute – EUI. 

The event will take place at Seminar Room, Villa Malafrasca (4.30pm), via Boccaccio 151, Florence. Here the map

Here below the abstract of the presentation:

With the conflict continuing in neighbouring Ukraine, NATO faces a security environment characterised by declining defence budgets but increasing demands. This talk will discuss preliminary findings from an ongoing study of how NATO – the world’s most active military organisation – retains institutional memory in crisis management. The study builds on recent elite interviews with more than 57 interviews with NATO permanent representatives, international staff and other officials.

See you there.

 

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Top 5 by Venus in Arms – week 42 (ISA version)

This week we present a different version of the “Top 5”. Indeed, here below you’ll find our Top 5 of the most interesting and promising panels  at the next ISA’s 56th Annual Convention. As we’ve already illustrated in a previous post, Venus in Arms will be the 2015 Annual Convention in New Orleans (February 18-21), presenting papers on public opinion and (counter)narratives, Italian operations in Libya, Haiti and Somalia.

We will provide a detailed account of the Conference (“Global IR and Regional Worlds. A New Agenda for International Studies”) at the end of the next week. So far, here the list of “our favorite panels” (in chronological order):

1) “Parties, Coalitions, And Foreign Policy“.Wednesday, February 18, 10:30 AM – 12:15 PM. This panel addresses the influence and impact of indivdiual political parties as well as coalition government on foreign policy. The Discussant of the panel will be Juliet Kaarbo.

2) “Economic Austerity And Military Power“. Wednesday, February 18, 1:45 PM – 3:30 PM (yes, as it always happens, two interesting panels at the same hour).  How do states implement military spending cuts? When do states demilitarize and when do states engage in strategic reform in response to cuts? What are the effects of these mandated cuts on military effectiveness, strategy, and power? The panel on military spending cuts takes both contemporary and historical approaches to shed light on these questions.

3)”Foreign Fighters: A Decade Of Scholarship“. Wednesday, February 18, 1:45 PM – 3:30 PM. This roundtable will host several scholars who have written extensively on the topic. The Chair of the panel will be David Malet

4) “Game Of Thrones And World Politics: Empirical Investigations“.Wednesday, February 18, 4:00 PM – 5:45 PM. The panel examines the relationship between the Game of Thrones books and/or HBO hit series and “first-order” global political phenomena. The aim is to focus specifically on empirical investigations of the circulation of pop culture ideas in actual foreign policy / global processes. the Chairs are Dan Drezner and Charlie Carpenter. Here a fantastic presentation of the panel.

5) “The Un-Informed Public? Foreign Policy And Public Opinion“. Friday, February 20, 4:00 PM – 5:45 PM. This panel brings together papers that explore the influence and impact of public opinion on the formulation and conduct of foreign policy. ViA will be at the panel as a Discussant.

We will be also at the “IR Blogging Awards and Reception, Sponsored by Sage and Duck of Minerva

You’ll find additional details on the whole program me here

 

See you in New Orleans

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