I K. Ydén (red.) Directions in Military Organizing, Försvarshögskolan 2005.
“The truth is that military conflict has changed and we have been reluctant to recognize it… Odd missions to defeat transnational threats or rebuild nations are the order of the day, but we haven’t as yet adapted.” (Tony Zinni 2004)
“Every organization exists to serve some market, whether that consists of the citizens for a police force, the students for a school system, or the customers for a manufacturing firm.” (Henry Mintzberg 1983)
The end of the cold war and the rapid diffusion of information technology have changed the tasks of the Swedish armed forces and the means available to perform those tasks. The ideas of network-centric warfare and the need for international interoperability are already well established. Together they have resulted in the idea of focusing on international peace-keeping operations carried out with speed and flexibility and in close cooperation with other armed forces. In this chapter I argue that there are two factors–the success of the market system and the rapidly increasing systemization of society–that combine to play a decisive role in driving more radical changes. Together, these factors will mean a revolution for our armed forces, demanding radical changes in both the military institution and the task of defending the nation.
The Swedish armed forces are still organized to defend the nation against an invasion from the east. Everyone seems to agree that this is no longer adequate. When we begin to initiate major changes there are two methods to choose between. We can be innovative and formulate as clear as possible a notion of the new organization that we want to create, and then devise the means necessary to create it. Or, we can be conservative, focusing instead on the organization we have, finding ways of changing it only to the extent, and when, it is absolutely necessary. These are conservative times in Sweden. Look only at the way we handle our relations with Europe, the EMU debacle, tax reforms, alcohol politics, healthcare, and the new service economy, to give a few examples. We are looking backwards as we move into the future, being more conservative than innovative.
We are by no means alone in our reluctance to change. The defence organizations of NATO are faced with very much the same sorts of changes and they all struggle with how to handle them. The complaints of the American general Zinni quoted above (from Urquart 2004, p. 32) are not unfounded. There is a general consensus among military sociologists, at least, in the discussion in and around NATO about the nature of the changes needed, and yet changes are difficult to implement. Large, publicly financed organizations are difficult to change. There are powerful economic interests which are threatened by the sorts of changes envisioned and the strength of the military institution with its long tradition and relative isolation from the rest of society makes it hard to change. To change such organizations you want generally accepted, powerful visions, but the problem is that in times of rapid social changes by the time such visions have been generally accepted, they are ready to be replaced.
1 A New World
Towards the end of the 20th century there are four changes that are particularly important for the Swedish armed forces: the collapse of the Soviet Empire, the information technological revolution, membership in the European Union, and the global success of the market system. These changes are all related to each other in complex ways, and I shall have something to say about those relations below, but let us just content ourselves here with a quick general overview of these changes and their possible impact on the Swedish armed forces.
The Soviet Collapse
Since World War Two, the Swedish armed forces were organized to meet an attack from the Soviet Union or its allies. War would mean an invasion from the east and the defence system was organized accordingly. The Soviet collapse and the ensuing weakening of the former empire, the end of the cold war, the merger of the two German states, the formation of independent Baltic states, and the incorporation of former communist states in the European Union, in less than a decade made the Swedish armed forces hopelessly out of date. The only really rational response to these changes would perhaps have been to dismantle the armed forces completely already in the early 1990s. Instead, we began a torturous reorganization effort, closing down piece by piece the old invasion defence organization. In the meantime, we began a frantic search for an alternative motivation for our armed forces. Two major candidates have been found, and one of them is only slowly becoming politically possible. They both have to do with two other changes in the world at this time.
Even if computers had been around since World War Two, it was in the 1990s that they really created a revolution. With the digital convergence of computers, telephones and media, and by placing them all on the Internet, with the World Wide Web as interface, the possibilities of networked, integrated, electronic services in all areas of human enterprise simply exploded. The use of information technology began to change all human activities. New possibilities for acquiring, transmitting, processing, storing, retrieving and visualizing information, new possibilities for communication and cooperation, for supervision and control, began to change the conditions of human activities, human cooperation, and use of all sorts of technology.
In military affairs, information technology (Internet) had a key role in the development of network-centric warfare (NCW). The increasing use of information technology was changing the interaction between people, technology, activities and organization in the army. The ideas of NCW was a response to these changes, using them to introduce faster, more effective, more focused military initiatives, more effective use of weapon systems and human competence.
The Swedish armed forces were quick to adopt and develop many of the ideas of network-centric warfare as they were first introduced in the US. But it was not a general acceptance and very quickly voices were heard which played down the sort of enthusiasm exemplified by the US “Joint Vision 2010” in which the fantastic superiority of information warfare with networks of sensors and robots were proclaimed. A less technical version of network-centric warfare began to be discussed, in which focus was more on the capacity of small, flexible, self-organizing, operational units to carry out local initiatives using networked information technology to share a common understanding of the situation at hand. Thus, the notion of network-centric warfare was used to change the nature of the armed forces from massive invasion defence to the fast and flexible initiatives more relevant in a global, mobile, service society.
The European Union
Sweden managed to stay out of both the First and the Second World War. After the wars this resulted in Sweden staying out of NATO, proclaiming itself to be neutral in the cold war, relying on a strong, independent defence force without allies. One effect of all this was that Sweden hesitated to join the European Community and it also made the rapid globalization of the 1990s more traumatic than it otherwise might have been. When Sweden entered the European Union, it was clear to many that this would soon mean membership in NATO or perhaps in a new European military alliance yet to be seen. In the last decade we have seen a rapid integration of the European countries turning national questions into European ones. As we become dependent on a common market it is that market we have to defend, and we can only do it together. The common market is a common market also for threats against our security.
Our role in the wars as an independent supplier of war material was continued after the wars, based on our very strong defence system with advanced, Swedish technology for all the military branches, including the air force. With the increasing integration of Europe and more generally of the world at large, it soon became obvious that this would have to mean adaptation to NATO standards. When the Swedish armed forces are looking for a new role, for new tasks, to supplant the task of fending off a Russian invasion, the task of making the Swedish defence system compatible with NATO, naturally will offer itself. Whatever will happen, globalization will ensure that this will never be wrong. The only problem is political as long as the government has to pay emphatic lip service to the idea of an independent Swedish defence force.
The change from platform-centric to network-centric warfare meant increased integration and cooperation between units, demanding advanced information technology, of course, but also standardized technology, operations, and processes. Interoperability very quickly became a key notion in the Swedish version of network-centric warfare. A defence force focusing on initiatives could form units to play a role on the international scene, participating in European and United Nations activities to secure peace around the world. But in order to play this role its units had to be interoperable with other such units, which in effect would mean that our armed forces would have to adopt NATO standards.
The Market System
The global society taking shape in the beginning of the 21st century is dominated by the market system. So far we have only seen a few first examples of what will happen to the old defense organizations in such a society. Will the market system turn war efforts into business, and if so into what kind of business? Already we have seen some indications of such a development in the ongoing war in Iraq with outsourcing of military functions, private armies, corporate financing-a bit like Joseph Heller described it in the novel Catch 22. But how far can such a development go?
Warfare has always been economically disruptive, but in a society built on a global market system it will be more disruptive than ever. One wonders if full scale wars will be at all possible in such a world. Local actions to attack and protect the market system will occur, of course, but will there ever be major wars incapacitating that system? Will it be possible to pursue war without the global market system supplying energy, transportation, products, financial services, communication?
If what used to be a defence force to protect the Swedish territory from invading Russians turns into an international, NATO-interoperational, action force, then one may very well ask why this force should be financed by the Swedish tax payers. What is the motivation for such a force? Is there anything about it that makes it deserve to be called a national defence force? In what sense is it “national”? In what sense is it a “defense force”? It is not difficult, of course, to come up with motivations for such a force that fit well a more market oriented thinking. With such an international force, Sweden will be a worthy member of the European Union. Such a force can act as a sales force for the Swedish defense industry. But with such motivations, the armed forces look more like a trade council than an army.
Four major processes of change which operate on our societies are in focus in this chapter:Industrialization continues to automate work processes and increase the efficiency of production and service provision, globalization spreads industrialization and creates a connected world market, rationalization continues to demystify institutions in favor of market relations, and systemization leads to a world-wide, integrated system of social, economic and political relations. In the 1990s these processes came together to revolutionize our societies and very quickly turn the 20th century modern armed forces into expensive dinosaurs in need of change. Like other such organizations, the Swedish armed forces are challenged by these major social changes to change their reason for being, organization, and business idea.
We can use Aristotle’s theory of change to distinguish the dimensions of change. When changing an organization you can focus on tools, activities, organization or mission. Changes in one of these will, of course, affect the others, but as you move up from tools to mission the more radical the changes will be. In this chapter, I will discuss such changes, beginning with changes in tools and activities, going on to changes in organization and then, finally, to changes in mission.
2 Network Centric Warfare
It is now 10 years since most of us first heard about Internet. In these 10 years, Internet has developed from an exotic technology at technical universities to become an everyday tool, at home, at work, in school, in the pocket. Internet has become the technology of 21st century service society with a role similar to that of machines in 20th century industrial society. Internet is the technology for work, education, public service, commerce, service provision, media and entertainment. Internet is also the technology for management and control of industrial processes, transports and other complex industrial systems.
The development of Internet has been dominated by US companies like Cisco, Intel and Microsoft. The Americans were also first to see the impact of information technology on the art of war. When beginning to discuss in the early 1990s, what they called, a revolution in military affairs (RMA), they focused on the new information tools and how they would change the activities of war. When these notions were developed further in the ideas of network-centric warfare the technological focus remained strong even if sometimes a language was used that seemed to include a wider perspective.
Central texts like Cebrowski and Garstka (1998) are good examples. They begin by grounding their discussion in what used to be called “the new economy,” saying things like: “Here at the end of a millennium we are driven to a new era in warfare. Society has changed. The underlying economics and technologies have changed. American business has changed. We should be surprised and shocked if America’s military did not.” They go on to stress that we are only beginning to see where these changes will lead, but that “we can gain some insight through the general observation that nations make war the same way they make wealth.” Then follows a technology focused and very conservative characterization-in terms of sensor grids, transaction grids and information grids-of the change they envisage.
The new economy did not have any major impact on defence thinking in Sweden. But the technical content of network-centric warfare was quickly incorporated in projects developing the Swedish armed forces in the late 1990s. A project like ROLF 2010 had a similar technical focus, and was more focused on systems for information representation and simulation than on how to organize the actual operations. Reports of projects applying the ideas of network-centric warfare to the Swedish situation as late as in the spring of 2004 still give the impression that such warfare is only a technically more advanced version of territorial defense.
This technological fascination of the armed forces is intriguing. Technology is a tool and to most of us it is what we can do with the tools, rather than the tool itself that is in focus. As Heidegger used to say, it is only when the tool breaks down that it comes into focus. To developers of technology the situation is different, of course, but the armed forces are not a research and development centre for new technology, even if it sometimes may look very much like one. Perhaps it is simply that when you have nothing to shoot at, you will have to attend to the gun itself, taking it apart, putting it together again, playing with it. Simulation becomes reality when there is no reality to simulate. Maybe this is part of the reason why the organization of military activities plays such a marginal role in the development of the armed forces, especially in times when realistic practice of war is too expensive. The soldier and his new tools, together they give us reason to focus military technology and the psychology of the individual, his cognitive and other skills to use the tools. The way the use of those new tools is to be organized, the way the activities of network-centric warfare are to be managed, never really comes on the agenda.
Even if we are mainly interested in how the new tools of information technology will make possible development of the activities of war, we would do well to raise our eyes a bit and look beyond the mere tools to see what those new tools have meant in civil society. When information technology is introduced, industrial society undergoes important changes. With information technology the production of goods is automated, complex machine systems are introduced that need information technology for supervision and control, production planning and control systems with automatic information input makes possible a revolution in flexible production management.
These changes are at the heart of what we may call the information technological revolution, and yet, these changes are not the most important changes in that revolution. Thanks to these changes, there is an enormous increase in productivity which starts a chain of changes that moves the focus of society away from industrial production to management and administration, to sales and services, and to the market. These latter changes go beyond the changes in tools and activities in the factories, and instead move the focus from the factories to the offices and then to the market, and as a result there is a more radical reorganization of industrial society.
In information society, service society, market society, or whatever you prefer to call it, factories have become relatively uninteresting. It is not the production of goods that count. That production has been outsourced to low-salary countries in Asia. It is the branding, marketing, services and sales that make a difference. To use the language of the automotive industry, it is not even the market but the after market that is the important one. That is, it is not the production, it is not the automobile, but the services provided to the automobile owners that bring in the money.
If we don’t take this reorganization of society into account, the revolution of military affairs we introduce will just be a revolution in a factory that runs the risk of being outsourced. Thus, even when our focus is on changes in military tools and activities made possible by information technology, we had better look beyond the tools and activities to see how the use of such tools is organized in society, how they influence business ideas, change focus and management culture. If network-centric warfare is only a revolution in the factory, it will soon become uninteresting. But if we understand it as a change in military affairs similar to the changes in society caused by information technology, then it is worth our attention. So, let us take a look at those changes.
3 War is a Mobile Service
At the end of the 20th century, western societies began to change their focus from production of goods to performance of services. The increasing importance of services was first noticed in the 1960s (Bell 1973). The notion of a post-industrial “service society” indicates at least two important aspects of this new society, namely that the dominating occupation in this society is service work rather than factory work and that services rather than goods are the dominating product.
When working life changes from factory work to service work, offices take over as the major places of work. Industrial society turns into office society. But offices will only dominate society for a few decades before administrative work begins to be automated and service work changes from administration to communication, services, development, marketing and sales. For most of us working life becomes dominated by meetings. The ties to a specific work place – a factory, an office, a hospital, a school – are severed, the idea of specific working hours are questioned, and we move towards a working life that is much more integrated with our social life, our everyday life.
When services become more important than goods, society becomes more mobile. Services are more like a dimension of reality than something attached to a certain place. With information technology as the major technology for service provision, society becomes an always open, always on society. Services are available anywhere, anytime. With Internet you can work, study, manage your finances, do your shopping, consume media, care for health and friends, wherever you are in the world, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The 20th century armed forces protect industrial society, its infrastructure and factories, against invasions from the outside. The enemy will arrive over land, in the air or over sea, and will launch troops that our armed forces will have to fight back. The 21st century open, mobile service society, without boundaries, needs mobile armed forces which can intervene and disarm threats against society which can originate in our midst but which can also originate in places far away. The 21st century defence organization is no longer built around heavy military installations, is no longer protecting our territory, our factories, against massive physical assaults. Instead it is a mobile resource, ready to intervene on short notice against all sorts of threats and disturbances to an increasingly global, shared social system and its various functions.
Such disturbances go on all the time, on smaller and bigger scale, and in an increasingly integrated world they respect no national borders. For a country like Sweden, this means that the armed forces are no longer limited to practice in peace, waiting for an increasingly distant future war. The distinction between war and peace begins to be eroded. The armed forces are asked to participate in a constant stream of international missions. Such missions demand a defence organisation very different from the 20th century one. From having been an enormous public educational institution, with extremely little market value, our defence force is encouraged to change into a small number of specialized, operative forces, able to intervene quickly on an international market.
The resources of industrial society, its capital, is a complex industrial system made up of an extensive production system with its infrastructure for transport, energy and telecommunication. In the beginning of the industrial era, this system depends on a large number of relatively uneducated workers, who carry out more or less routine tasks in production, transportation, basic management and services. When there is a war, this system must be defended and the defence force in an industrial society is a similar system with military installations and infrastructure. The defence system works in the same way as the industrial system itself, and depends on a large number of, relatively uneducated, soldiers trained to carry out routine tasks in the event of war.
As an industrial society develops, industrial production is automated and fewer workers produce more with increasingly powerful technology. Simple tools are automated in machines, machines are combined in technical systems, and the control of these systems becomes more and more automatic. Craftsmen become operators who become engineers with overall understanding of processes and with supervisory tasks running a complex production system. Machines take over routine work and people are called in to do innovative problem solving and development. Industrial society rids itself of its armies of routine workers and they are replaced by the college educated project leaders of service society. Defence organisations naturally follow suit. Huge armies of soldiers are now beginning to be replaced by small units of specialists, well educated and well paid computer engineers and weapon systems specialists.
The more obvious aspects of network-centric warfare have to do with this change. An increasingly advanced industrial society needs an increasingly advanced defence force. The task remains the same, but the means will of course have to change as industrial society develops. The mass armies disappear and soldiers become specialists, but there is no radical change of the defence task. But this view is too narrow. For one thing, the political situation in the world has changed the identity of the enemy. In the beginning of the 21st century, infrastructure and factories have to be defended first and foremost against terrorism, sabotage and accidents, only secondarily against other regular defence forces.
Industrial society tried to prepare for war and other international crises by ensuring that production could go on even if the country was cut off from its environment. By keeping large reserves of oil and other necessary goods, by having a well functioning and comprehensive agriculture and food industry, the country was prepared to manage long periods of international isolation. In 21st century global society, this is no longer realistic and without much ado, Sweden has abandoned the idea of surviving isolated from the rest of the world. The idea now is to avoid isolation altogether by active participation in the international community. Peace keeping operations organized by the UN, a joint defence organisation within the European Union, a possible membership in NATO, and at worst isolation on a European level, has replaced the 20th century idea of national reserves and self-sufficient food production.
International peace operations are heavy duty police work in countries threatened by civil war, with a history of often vicious and bloody internal conflicts. Such operations involve exactly the sort of activities for which the 20th century defence force was educated: dispatching units for organized but speedy transport, to set up a post, working in threatening conditions, to defend a bridge, railway station, or airport. The only difference is that such international operations stop short just before real combat begins. Instead they mean a more service oriented service, with elements of disaster relief, diplomacy and social care. For a defence force like the Swedish that has never really seen combat this is nothing to complain about. No wonder international operations have become the obvious solution to a defence organisation looking for a reason for being.
4 The Market System
Service society changes the activities of our armed forces, changing them from a routine production oriented factory to a flexible network organisation for providing mobile services. This is a major change, but it is more a question of making more efficient, realizing the potential, introducing new tools into, an organisation that always was a service provider, even when it got stuck in 20th century industrial production thinking. At the same time that industrial society turns into service society, however, the market system gains importance, and the market system will introduce more radical changes in how military affairs should be organized.
The market system is a coordination mechanism for commerce and trade. The market organizes cooperation between people who want to do business with each other: buy a house, a car or a quart of milk, exchange apartments, find a new job or a new partner. The market system supports these, more or less occasional interactions between people, but the market can also be used to focus on results, competition and cost effectiveness in organisations. Bureaucracies, clans and sects can be invaded by the market and the result is a breakdown of obligations in favour of more instrumental relations. On a market you choose the most cost effective alternative. In a market oriented society, companies will view their employees as production means rather than as people. But then again, when the educational level increases, organizations change into networks of empowered, market oriented individuals demanding a stake in the profit.
An excellent introduction to the market system is Charles Lindblom’s excellent little book The Market System. The market system is “a method of social coordination by mutual adjustment among participants rather than by a central coordinator” (Lindblom 2001, p. 23). “There are two functions of coordination. One is … coordination for social peacekeeping … the second purpose is … coordination for cooperation” (op. cit., p. 20). The market system plays an important role fulfilling both these functions. The market system is “the big globalizer…quickening the restless movement of labor and capital over the face of the earth” (op. cit., p. 13). “The Internet … opens up possibilities of mutual adjustment that are not yet even imaginable” (op. cit., p. 26).
Some would argue that the market system is only another way of formulating Darwin’s theory of evolution and thus a system that, as organisms, we live by whether we like it or not. All attempts at creating systems which circumvent the market system will only introduce double standards and biased market relations. Be that as it may, the market system is stronger than ever in the world today and it is easy to see why. Only 100 years ago, we lived in an economy dominated by self-subsistence. Since then, the growth of industrial production has been enormous, and the world today is a business world with a rapidly growing consumer market. The market system has proved a marvellous system for organizing a society with rapid technological development and it has brought us incredible wealth and luxury. Business companies have replaced the family, church, and army as model organisations for many of us, and the market system is triumphing around the world.
When amateur athletes become professionals, when unselfish nurses with a calling go on strike for higher wages, when officers are thinking only of their career, when politicians use any means to become reelected, then it is the market system we see encroaching on traditional values like honor, charity, patriotism, religion and duty. The market system favors instrumental rationality and does not encourage value rationality, having no place for absolute values.
Modern societies are strange mixtures of absolute values and instrumental rationality, of traditional institutions and the market system, the US society perhaps the strangest mixture of them all. The modernization and liberalization now spreading to countries like China and India create huge tensions within these countries between a traditional culture and a modern, commercial, consumer oriented market culture. Europe is struggling with emerging such conflicts between their immigrants from traditional peasant cultures and their own traditional groups in a society dominated by market liberal values. Islamic fundamentalism has plagued an enlightened country like France and fundamentalism in any form is of course a barrier against the market system-except perhaps in the United States.
The market system threatens old institutions by questioning their rationality, efficiency, motives and legitimacy. By always asking for results, rational thinking, openness, and merit based evaluations, the market system undermines organisational forms built on tradition and emotion. Secret societies, traditional institutions, professional secrets, vocations, honor systems and absolute values, all fare badly when the market system encroaches on them. There is a crass and commercial aspect of such intrusion which is much deplored, but at the same time there is an enlightening aspect which is much appreciated. And very few will say no to the increasing wealth, the progress of medicine, the comfortable life, and all the entertainment that the market system will bring.
5 Market Society
When industries in the 20th century increase their productivity, when industrialization is spread around the world, and when information technology and efficient transportation systems create a growing common market, then we see an increase in competition and our societies change accordingly. Focus is shifting from production to sales. Customer relations, consumer markets, brands, original design and innovations become more important. Production oriented factory societies turn into market societies. In market society, production is typically outsourced, and the old industrial companies have changed into innovative sales, design, and development organisations that use increasingly fanciful methods to protect their brands and positions on the market. Market places replace factories as models for social activities.
20th century companies were factories, relatively stable organisations with a large number of faithful employees spending their whole working life in one and the same company. For the employees, the company was an important part of their identity, the company had a culture, and it was a community with psychological ties, a feeling of belongingness and loyalty. The company was more than a functional production machine, it was an institution. When competition increases and the market becomes more influential, then the organisations lose their stability. Organisational changes come more often, companies change by mergers, acquisitions and outsourcing. Employee relations become more flexible with short time contracts and an increasing number of consultants and personnel for hire. In postmodern organisation theory one begins to speak of “organizing” rather than “organisations” to describe companies as processes rather than objects.
Working life in 20th century Sweden was dominated by routines. The employees had well defined work tasks, often documented and regulated. As long as they performed these according to norm everything was fine. The ruling ideology was that as an employee you preferred not to be evaluated or measured, and absolutely not by someone external who was unfamiliar with the nature of your work tasks. And as long as you performed your work tasks you took it for granted that you could go on performing them until retirement. To be employed thus meant to be withdrawn from the market system. If the company went bankrupt, you would lose your job, of course, but big companies rarely ever founders.
Under pressure from increasing competition on the global market, American companies in the late 20th century are beginning to change into loosely connected networks of consultants, self-employed, and personnel for hire. These networks hang together as long as the market makes it profitable for all involved. There are already a number of publications in the US which document this change. Peter Cappelli summarizes the trend:
“Most observers of the corporate world believe that the traditional relationship between employer and employee is gone, but there is little understanding of why it ended and even less about what is replacing that relationship. What ended the traditional employment relationship is a variety of new management practices, driven by a changing environment, which essentially brings the market-both the market for a company’s products and the labor market for its employees-directly inside the firm.” (Cappelli 1999, p. 1)
The fundamental market principle is simple: supply and demand. There must be a demand for whatever you do for you to be able to keep on doing it. When the influence of the market system increases you will be reminded of the reason for your employment. What is your contribution to the company income and how much do you cost? In many companies in the 20th century this was a question impossible to answer. On the market it is impossible not to have an answer to these sorts of questions.
Like most radical, long-term social changes, the trend towards a service and market society is driven by a powerful technological development. The changes are much more extensive, and go much deeper, than what can be seen from focusing on tools and activities only. When the market system increases its influence on society, it means that the demands increase on companies, organisations and individuals to motivate their existence. Public organisations come under pressure to fulfill reasonable and applicable market conditions. An increasing public knowledge level at the same time introduces conditions on businesses to act with more social responsibility. Business companies and public organisations thus become more similar and a new society begins to emerge with new boundaries and new forms for private-public partnership.
The market system carries with it an increasing economical awareness in the public sector and a more task oriented, business-like ideology. Local political councils turn into procurers of services from public agencies and companies. From there it is only a small step to the conclusion that it is this role as procurer that is really the responsibility of the public sector. Procurement becomes the most important public servant activity. What sort of organization, public or private, domestic or foreign, national or international, that provides the service is irrelevant as long as the procurement fulfills the conditions defined by the political bodies. If procurement shall make any sense, you need competition between service providers and this will in practice mean private alternatives to public agencies. And, as a consequence, we will have private hospitals, subways, airports, prisons, security guards, military service support personnel, and why not battalions?
Cappelli is writing from an American perspective and the development has by no means been as rapid in Europe as in the US. Maybe Europe will remain different from the US and not within a foreseeable future become as market oriented as the US, but there is no reason to doubt that we will develop in the same direction. And when our companies become more networked and our public sector becomes more like companies, what will happen to organisations like the armed forces? Is there any reason to believe that this sort of change will have any impact on the armed forces? After all, it is our money that is being spent.
In the American military organisation we have already seen a number of examples of this sort of change. There is now an extensive outsourcing of support tasks, not the least in the war in Iraq (Singer 2003, Radden Keefe 2004). Perhaps it is not so strange that a country like the US doesn’t hesitate to privatize war, but will we see a similar development in Europe? One thing is certain, and that is that if the market system continues to increase its influence on the European society, we will see more and more of the following sort of phenomena: outsourcing, privatization, deregulation, focus on results, competition, individual rewards, institutional erosion and market-oriented management.
There are thorny issues raised by the appearance of a privatized military industry, some of which are discussed by Singer (2003). Perhaps the most difficult one is the question of control and responsibility. If a soldier deserts he risks being executed, but if a private warrior leaves his post, he will at most be fired and his employer sued for breach of contract. How would a position in favor of the market system respond to such an argument? Well, maybe control will be lost when military action is outsourced to private companies. That may be one of the disadvantages to be weighed against the cost-effectiveness won by competition between companies. But then again, how much control do we have in the public armed forces? How effective are the threats of punishment? And what role will those threats play when the market system and a higher educational level have made us less prone to obey authorities, more focused on looking out for ourselves? The armed forces are an institution safeguarding traditional values like honor, duty, patriotism, obeying authorities, giving your life for your country, and so on. Private military companies will have less of those values, but so will the public armed forces in a world in which the role of the market system is growing.
6 Armies on the Market
A growing market system will introduce competition in areas which previously were not (openly) subject to competition. Healthcare, education, social service are areas which in Sweden are dominated by public monopolies, but which in the last decade have become intruded upon by attempts at establishing private alternatives. The police force has become complemented with a growing number of security guards in combination with various citizen security initiatives guarding neighborhoods, subway trains and yacht harbors. The armed forces are not unique and as soon as the borderline between defence as a public activity and private activities is blurred, then competition will begin.
Thus, when the Swedish armed forces are involved in international peace operations they will meet with other armed forces as well as with other public organizations. The competence, quality and efficiency of the Swedish armed forces will be compared and evaluated. Perhaps we shall have to compete for a place in such operations? Perhaps such operations will be purchased by the international bodies, thus really creating a market? What if deficiencies in the Swedish defence education become obvious? Perhaps they could be remedied by introducing more elements of civil education? When the Swedish national defence college comes closer to the civil university system, we may see a process which eventually will merge the two?
Many have argued against universal conscription when the armed forces change from focusing on the threat of invasion to international operations. A defence organization made up of small, flexible, specialized and highly competent units, ready to take off quickly to carry out unspecified international operations, has no real use or place for universal draft. This is especially true to the extent that the armed forces are broken up into a number of specialized roles. Then there is no longer any place for the huge masses of “cannon fodder”.
The actual nature of the armed forces is directly dependent on political decisions, and political parties have ideologies to withstand social changes and at least locally slow down the speed of change. Thus one can choose to keep conscription referring to its democratic value. One can resist privatization and the influence of the market system on the armed forces by arguing that the special nature and task of those forces make them necessarily public. Sweden is different from many other countries in this respect, however. Here ideologies, ethics, traditional values, play a relatively minor role in politics, and there is nothing here like the glorification of the army in the US. After a brief shock, we should expect the market system to have a strong impact on our armed forces.
As the market system increases its influence on our society, we can expect changes which go well beyond changes in tools and activities and add up to a more market oriented way of organizing the armed forces by changing their business from production to sales, theirorganization from factory to market, their leadership from management to innovation and marketing, their competence from routines and drill to a complex variety of technical, social and innovative abilities, by increasing their operational flexibility and networking with other organizations, and by changing their means of coordination from information management tocommunication.
The major effect of the market system on the armed forces will be an increasing effort to show their value to society and its citizens. How this will be achieved is still to be decided, but the armed forces will survive only to the extent that they are seen to serve their market. We will see armed forces organized by the market, which means a more open and visible defence force. Rather than the secret and separate organization of the past, we will see armed forces that are integrated with the rest of society, with outsourced functions, consultants and project employees, cooperating with other organisations and even companies with similar business ideas. Leadership qualities will be encouraged which involve innovation, marketing, negotiating good contracts, transforming complex tasks into quantifiable activities, focusing on results. We will see armed forces without conscription, but with temporary and engaged participation from citizens, with college educated personnel, with civil professional experience, and technical, social and innovative ability to compete on the market and meet customer demands.
Instead of a large, inert organization with large, proprietary systems, we will see a fast and flexible defence force with new tasks, in new, often temporary alliances, often with companies and civil organizations, itself a part of civil society, relying on the technology and infrastructure of civil society. Rather than itself financing technological innovation, the armed forces will make use of technology developed for more general use, often by the media and entertainment industry. In the 21st century, Hollywood has taken over Pentagon’s role as the major innovation force. The market society armed forces will be even more dependent on advanced technology, but on a smaller, more intelligent, mobile and flexible technology rather than on the large, complex systems of the past, a technology for networking, communication and cooperation, rather than for information processing and management, armed forces organized for fast and effective operation rather than detailed and complex administration.
7 Trends and Changes
The actual nature of the armed forces is directly dependent on political decisions, but these decisions are in their turn a reflection of more general social changes. Whatever activity we are involved in, be it defense, education, healthcare, justice or science, as experts we tend to believe that decisive changes ought to be based on long experience in combination with careful analysis. On the contrary, decisive changes in activities like these normally depend on more general changes in society as a whole. These changes can come quickly and sweep through society like vogues, or they can grow stronger more slowly. Initiatives to change an activity seldom come from within and are seldom based on expertise and facts about the activity. Those who know most about an activity normally have the most to lose when it changes.
As an expert on an activity it is easy to forget that activities only exist as long as they are demanded by society. “Every organisation exists to serve some market,” as Mintzberg (1983, p. 53) observes. When societies change, activities become obsolete. The nature of our armed forces depends on major social trends, and is only partially determined by what experts believe. It may seem strange that people with little knowledge about an activity should have such influence on its nature, but that is what democracy means. And that is what the market system means. It is to remind all experts about this uncomfortable truth that the expression “Customer is king” has been coined. The defence force is no exception. It serves some market and that market determines its nature.
Most modern organizations have experts with different opinions about the essential activities of the organization. Sometimes these differences can lead to conflicts between the office and the shop floor, between administration and the field. School bureaucrats and teachers tend to have very different opinions about teaching; healthcare officials seldom share world view with doctors and nurses. Activities look very different from behind a desk in the office building compared to in the class room or emergency ward.
In the armed forces, there are differences between the soldiers who, with personal experience of field practice, will stress the unique nature of the military, the active use of violence, killing, death, fear and courage, and the administrating officers at headquarters who, like the author of this text, argue more abstractly from behind an office desk. Even if the nature of military action of course will change with a changing society, so the soldiers argue, war will remain a bloody affair with all that means. The killing of enemies, the danger the soldier is subjected to, and the special, authoritarian management this necessitates, are characteristics which will not change and which restrict the adaptation of military affairs to changes in the rest of society.
Founded as this reasoning is, in personal experience and a very different perspective, it is difficult to refute. But it is difficult not to hear in this sort of reasoning an atavistic residue of a world well lost in this part of the world at least-a world in which killing, physical danger, and authoritarian management was a general characteristic of society. Such reasoning is similar to how teachers with (too) much experience discuss future educational systems in terms of classroom methods. If in such a discussion, you question the very idea of classrooms, such teachers will no longer have anything to contribute. The future of our armed forces is best discussed, not by reference to Clausewitz, Korea or Vietnam, but in the context of an unprejudiced discussion of the vulnerability of 21st century society. So, let us turn to such a discussion.
8 An Integrated World
It is awesome to stop and think of how many people are involved to make possible such simple everyday activities like reading the paper over breakfast, taking the bus to the office, having a cup of coffee in the local coffee shop, or buying a banana at the fruit stand. They say there are a million people directly involved in transporting food into Manhattan every day. Our world is an integrated world and much of the integration is achieved by the networking activities of commerce. There is no system organizing the provisioning of Manhattan, except the market system operating locally to build a complex, integrated network of activities that together keeps Manhattan eating too much. With Internet this local networking and the integration of the world attain global dimensions.
The collapse of the Soviet Union, the rapid diffusion of information technology, the increasing globalization of society, and an expanding market system, are four factors which combine to change the world, and as we get them in perspective it is more obvious that they really are aspects of one and the same process of change. I call this process “the systemization of society” and its result is an integrated world market system, radically different from the relatively isolated, industrial nation states of the 20th century. National economies today become more and more dependent on the functioning of that world market system, and nations will have to find means of collaborating with other nations to protect that system.
The systemization of society is a process and it uses many different means and has many dimensions. Internet and information technology more generally play a central role in this process, but so do systems of transportation, deregulation of infrastructures and financial systems, removal of trade barriers, an expanding media industry with movies, music and sports, tourism, global consumer product companies, global organisations and their negotiations and treaties. The systemization of society still has a long way to go, until we can really speak of an integrated world society. As the process goes on, nation states merge into larger units and unions, and we may very well see conflicts appear between these larger units. Those conflicts may even take the form of war as we now understand it. We will definitely see a great number of smaller wars take place between ethnic groups as the process unfolds.
The systemization of society is a complex process resulting in a more integrated society, tying the whole world together in a complex system of interactions. The process of systemization is driven by the market system, but it goes beyond the local networking of actors on the market to add a global dimension to this networking. With Internet it becomes possible to act globally and negotiate deals across the world. Local markets merge and turn into one huge global market. The provisioning of Manhattan turns into a global business opportunity. The market system really becomes a system, a global system with the vulnerability of such a system. Local networking will break locally and will be repaired locally, but a global system can suffer global breakdowns which will cause local breakdowns resulting in a complex mess difficult to repair.
As service society develops, the social system grows in complexity and is integrated, as supervisory control system, with the old industrial system. In discussions about the security of a country like Sweden, the focus will shift from the infrastructure of industrial society to the vulnerability of an increasingly complex and integrated social system. It remains true, of course, that without electric power Sweden will come to a standstill, but the increasing functionality and complexity of the social system means that our dependence on that system increases. To paraphrase Karl Marx we could say that the current social change will turn industrial society upside down. As long as the infrastructure and the production installations were operational in industrial society, the rest would take care of itself. In service society the infrastructure has become dependent on a functioning social system. What used to be a relatively simple operation, paying for something, now demands the functioning of a global, increasingly complex system (on Internet). If that system goes down, the world will stop. When industry delivers service rather than products, dependable operation rather than ball bearings, cold storage rather than refrigerators, and this service depends on online supervision and payment, what will happen when the integrated system for payments, supervision and service goes down?
The rapid expansion of the use of Internet and the consequent rapid integration of the social system, nationally and internationally, has made our society dependent on a system in rapid and uncontrolled change. An increasingly global industrial system is integrated with partly national public systems in an increasingly complex system of service provision, and with a common dependence on an increasingly complex and integrated use of Internet as service technology.
The vulnerability of this social system becomes more obvious as our understanding grows on how dependent we are on this system. At the same time we are ill prepared to handle breakdowns and threats to this system. Walk into a travel agency, bank or retail shop when Internet is down and you will find that services can no longer be provided. They all have to be online to be able to deliver the most simple services. The least one would expect is back up routines saying what to do when the system is down. These are trivial inconveniences, and the breakdowns are few and momentary, but society as a whole is not much better prepared to deal with more serious breakdowns.
The increasing complexity of the social system, the increasing systemization, does not in itself increase the vulnerability of society. On the contrary, the systemization gives us a better overview and control of the infrastructure for a more efficient allocation of resources. A breakdown somewhere in the electric supply system, for example, can now be compensated for by drawing on other components in the system. When electricity was supplied by isolated power stations, a breakdown in such a station would mean a local black out. When the production and distribution of electricity have been integrated in one huge power grid, with Internet as a system for management and control, we no longer have to suffer such local black outs. On the other hand, if Internet itself suffers a breakdown, if there is a breakdown of the power grid itself, the black out may be more general. That all the power stations are functioning is no consolation when the system controlling the production and distribution of electricity is down.
The increasing systemization will make society more secure, but only if we develop a satisfactory defence of the system. Local disturbances can be more easily managed, but at the same time we open up for more extensive disruptions. In the 20th century we built a global machine for production and distribution of goods and a global communication system with a growing output of services. Today you can have almost anything produced almost anywhere and have it transported almost anywhere almost as fast as you like. The global market system is the core of an open society with unbelievable economical dynamics. But this open social system also invites sabotage and terrorist actions with enormous immediate and medial effects. To close down the market system would mean economical crisis, stagnation, ruin. To balance security and openness you need good judgment and understanding of the nature and significance of the system.
The security of service society depends on its people and the technology they use. With the development of Internet the vulnerability of society depends more and more on this technology. The ambition must be to make Internet so secure that the human factor will not be capable of threatening its security, intentionally or unintentionally. Today we are far from realizing this ambition and one problem is that this task has not yet received its dedicated owner. The rapid development, extension, complexity and global integration of Internet make it difficult for a single organisation to claim ownership of this task. Who owns the social system in an increasingly integrated world?
In the 20th century it was reasonable to say that the social system was government owned and this was explicitly so in a state of war. The government also owned and controlled a large part of the infrastructure. In the 21st century the infrastructure is privatized and market principles are introduced in more and more areas. Planned economies are losing their attraction and the idea of a government owned social system is questioned point by point. The market system is growing and the role of government is to cooperate with the market rather than to control it. At the same time, government agencies and private companies merge in an increasingly integrated system for service provision.
The development of service society has just begun and the dependence on Internet is growing quickly. The social system becomes more integrated and its complexity and opaqueness increases. The security of service society must be organized, governments must take a more dedicated responsibility for its security and one obvious question is, of course, what role the armed forces will have in this work.
Looking backwards, there is a long and bloody history of war to define the role of armed forces. Whatever defending the nation might mean, that role essentially involves military action or the threat of such action. Looking into the future can it be that defending the nation will no longer essentially involve military action? Can it be that the major threats to our nation no longer can be met by military action? Should the task of defending the nation then go to someone else? Or, can the armed forces change so radically that they no longer have military action as their essence? When we discuss the changes necessary to make our armed forces more adequate for the demands of 21st century, and if we want to be really radical in our questioning, these are the sorts of questions we should ask. Let us end, then, by asking those questions.
9 Defending the Market
Already in the 1960s, the sociologist Morris Janowitz (1960) formulated a new mission for the armed forces. Rather than defending national territories those forces would increasingly act as an international police force, “a constabulary force” as Janowitz put it, participating in international peace-keeping operations. Since then, there has been an intense discussion about the future of the armed forces, often focusing on the uniqueness of military action, often discussing the relations between the military and civil society, often pointing out long term trends, such as the demilitarization of western society, the increasing professionalization (abandoning conscription) and constabularization of the national force.
When discussing changes in the armed forces, we can distinguish between changes in mission, organisation, activities, and tools. These all depend on each other, of course, and normally change together. If there are radical changes in the mission, then organisation and activities will often change too. A rational approach to social institutions should perhaps always begin with the mission and then infer the rest from that. Form should follow function. But normally we are less than rational, in this sense, of course. Social institutions survive, even when their missions become obsolete. Instead of terminating the institution, we prefer to invent a new mission to fit the given institution and thus let it continue its existence. We let function follow form.
The mission of the Swedish national force is defined by its heritage as a military organisation. The fact that Sweden has not been at war for about 200 years does not change the fact that war is very much in focus when the armed forces define their mission. This conservative commitment to an ancient form for national intercourse is of course shared with other armed forces, but it threatens to make the armed forces obsolete in a rapidly changing society with equally rapid changes in what it takes to defend the nation. To defend the complex service society of the 21st century means to defend a global social system. Even if the more traditional tasks of the armed forces do not disappear overnight, their importance will diminish in an increasingly integrated, global market society. To defend that society you need different tools and competencies than those we normally associate with the military, and unless the armed forces develop those tools and competencies, their role as armed forces will eventually disappear.
To defend Sweden is to defend the Swedes, their lives, health, well-being and property. It is to defend the Swedish government, public sector and industry, Swedish assets, infrastructure and factories, the Swedish institutions and the political system, the Swedish way of life. This is an extensive task and in a changing society the task will change. The more complex and integrated society becomes, the more dependent society becomes on a complex system of technology, institutions and human competence, the more the task of defending the nation will have to include defending this system. A discussion of the general nature of the armed forces of the future must be grounded in an understanding of the complexity and vulnerability of the society of the future.
20th century industrial society needed to defend its infrastructure and factories against invasions by foreign, enemy defence forces. This was the task of the armed forces. That infrastructure and those factories also had to be protected against sabotage and vandalism in peace, but this was the responsibility of the police. Towards the end of the 20th century, international terrorism began to undermine this difference between war and peace by posing threats on a scale which the police force could not manage. The increasing systemization of society was leading to a more radical change in the very nature of national defence. In a global society the threats against society always comes from within.
In the integrated, global service market society, production is outsourced, and the factories are scattered all over the world. The resources of this society, its capital, are its well educated people and a complex system of services, including the system they have created for managing the industrial production system. Service society is a complex system of political institutions, international treaties, financial instruments and institutions, market places and owner relationships. This system is run by a well educated elite and is constituted by an increasingly complex, information technological, global network. To defend this global system, in war and in peace, you need a global organisation, and on a national level a defence organisation with well educated specialists.
These organisations need the sort of competence that those have who run this global system in peace, that is, competence to understand the operation of the global system, industrial technological competence to defend the infrastructure, and information technological competence to defend the technology of service society. It should be cause for concern that, rather than attacking these tasks with force, our armed forces divide their attention between backing out of an old defence organisation that has survived itself, and committing themselves to well meaning but, from a defence political viewpoint, relatively insignificant, international peace-keeping operations.
If the essence of our armed forces is its activities-military action-then for them to survive we shall have to find a mission involving such activities. But if our armed forces are defined by their mission-defending the nation-and the nature of that mission changes, then we may very well decide to give military action a marginal role in the defence force. Two years ago we created a new agency in Sweden, the Swedish Emergency Management Agency, responsible for managing serious crises, to reduce the vulnerability of society and improve the capacity to handle emergencies. This is a small agency, but if the armed forces do not begin to change now, we should perhaps give the mission of defending the nation to that agency?
10 A New Mission
I began by observing that there seems to be a general consensus among military researchers about the reasons for and general direction of the changes waiting the armed forces. There are, of course, differences in opinion, especially concerning the consequences of the increasing influence of the market system on the military system. Naturally, there is strong resistance against these changes in the armed forces themselves and a general conservative resistance to change in an organisation that has lived so long in isolation from any kind of market. The Swedish armed forces have become increasingly split in two very different parts: soldiers and civil servants. The soldiers are young, the civil servants older. The civil servants are the ones who have to come up with new concepts for the armed forces. They are the ones who have to convince the politicians that the armed forces still have an important role to fulfil and they struggle frantically today to come up with new ideas for that role. To summarize my discussion in this chapter, there are at least 5 such roles available:
1) The traditional role: This role means defending the territory with JAS fighters, submarines, tanks, infantry, and so on, but with greater strength and more flexibility thanks to the use of advanced information technology and network-centric ideas. To fulfill this role, the armed forces have to change, and the changes are radical, but to fulfill this role only, there is no change in mission, or really in organization, even if the old organization will be thoroughly revamped. Projects aiming at this change can be inspired by President Bush’s words: “We must build forces that draw upon the revolutionary advances in the technology of war…one that relies more heavily on stealth, precision weaponry, and information technologies.”
2): The international role: This role is an extension of the traditional role, an international peace-keeping role along the lines existing today, with a force ready to engage in military action if necessary to keep the peace, with network-centric ideals, with NATO-interoperational tools, activities, organization and mission, giving the force a capacity for successful joint operations with NATO forces. Fulfilling this role will also involve marketing of the Swedish military industry products and services.
3) The European role: This is yet another step, joining, or perhaps even merging, the Swedish armed forces with other European armed forces, creating a European force that can fulfil both of the previous roles, but now for Europe as a whole rather than for Sweden alone.
4) The service role: This is a role in which the isolation of the armed forces has been overcome. They have responded to an increasing pressure from the market system to produce visible results. This role can be mainly national or a combination of national and international. This is a role with a focus on peace rather than war, and on being as useful as possible in peace. In this role the armed forces become an extended police force and rescue force carrying out constant services. This role will change the identity of the forces, making them less attached to the uniform, less eager to estrange themselves from the rest of us, making them merge more with civil society. Military action as such will become more and more marginal to these forces. But they will continue to carry out relatively simple services-guarding things, extinguishing fires, saving lives-involving physical strength, courage and discipline.
5) The security role: The fifth role is more demanding, more advanced, with the intelligence agencies in a more prominent role. In this role, the armed forces take on the main responsibility for national security, and in the 21st century this means protection of an extremely complex socio-technical system of industrial infrastructures and information technological networks, extending well beyond the borders of the national territory. This force will build more on the civil servants of today’s armed forces, more on the intelligence experts, engineers, economists, researchers, than on the soldiers.
As the market system increases its influence in the world and the general level of knowledge is raised, the citizens of Sweden will begin to ask what they get for the 40 billion Swedish crowns they spend every year on their armed forces. And they will demand better and better answers. The first role will answer all those who still live in the past, an older generation who can remember the cold war and the threat of nuclear war, the Cuba crisis, the Hungarian revolt, the invasion of Czechoslovakia.
The second role will appeal to a younger generation, but they will of course ask about the cost-effectiveness of such a peace-keeping force. International peace-keeping operations can be motivated by concern for other nations and people, but of course they are also preventive actions to avoid more large-scale military conflicts with repercussions for ourselves. Such operations resemble foreign aid in general in their effects, making the world a safer place by eliminating the worst misery. Foreign aid can be viewed as long term peace-keeping operations. But then one will ask about the discrepancy in resources spent. Why spend 15 billion crowns on long term foreign aid and 40 billion on emergency operations?
The third role will not appeal to many Swedes today, I am afraid, but presumably that will change as globalization proceeds and people become more and more aware of the fact that Sweden is an integrated part of Europe. Again, voices will be heard about the relative weight carried by Sweden in the joint European armed forces, but those voices will be answered by a complex bureaucratic procedure in Brussels deciding the proportion allotted each country.
The fourth and fifth roles represent much more radical breaks with the past, with the traditional ideas about the mission and role of our armed forces and it will take a few years before they become attractive for a substantial number of Swedes. The fourth role will totally change the technological system used by the armed forces. They will really lose their nature as armed forces, becoming more of an extension to, or part of, the police and emergency force, relying more on information technology and rescue vehicles than anything else. Similarly for the fifth role except that this role will demand a much more advanced expertise, giving the forces a higher status as the only ones who really understand the world of the 21st century in all its complexity.
The choice of roles is not exclusive, of course. Right now the two first roles still dominate the discussion. My simple prediction is that as the current development of society continues, the armed forces will follow suit and end up in a combination of roles three, four and five. If we could agree on something like that, and then use some of our energy and mental resources to describe carefully what the armed forces would look like in order to fulfil those roles, and then go on to devise courses to establish such forces-would that not be a more rational way of changing the armed forces than the one we practice right now? And if it is politically impossible today to be so rational, should we not then do something about politics?
The armed forces used to have an important role not only defending the nation, but defining the nation. With universal (male) conscription, military service was an important ritual in becoming a Swedish adult. With regiments everywhere, from Boden in the north to Karlskrona in the south, the armed forces were always present, always visible. In many towns, the armed forces were the major employer. And, of course, at national festivities they would be there, guarding the royal castle, guarding the royal family. Together with the territory, our language, the church and the royal family, the armed forces had an important role defending the very idea of a Swedish nation. But those days are gone. Together with the church, the armed forces have lost their place in our national heart. They have become marginalized in today’s media society, and we may well wonder why? Did they not understand the importance of building a communications department for public relations and marketing? And now it is too late. Or maybe not.
Sports have taken the place of the armed forces. The Swedish soccer team, hockey team, track and field are the heroes of our time who fill our national hearts with pride. (Notice that they can do this in spite of being thoroughly commercialized and professionalized, part of the market system.) And sports are everywhere in society and in media. But perhaps the international battalions that are now being formed can be marketed as our heroes abroad and, when regiments disappear and conscription is abandoned, those battalions can help save the armed forces from total oblivion? They could be marketed like national sports teams and even be perceived as such. But could they become as popular as the national soccer team?
We used to have armed forces to define and defend the nation. They gained their importance from having both of these roles. They have lost their role in defining the nation and with that they have lost much of their attraction and role as haven for traditional values like honor and duty. When Sweden becomes part of a new Europe, a state in the United States of Europe, then the nation of Sweden will begin to disappear and Europe becomes the nation to defend. Or, perhaps nationalism will then lose its role as social force and it is not the European nation that is defended but the European Common Market. And then perhaps our international battalions will be as market oriented as the soccer players on our national soccer team.
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