Report

Si vis pacem, utique para pacem: individual empowerment, societal resilience and the armed forces

December 17th 2015 - 15:09

Watch an introductory video to the study below.

Analyses of the international security environment typically provide somber overviews of the various drivers and manifestations of conflict and instability around the world. Recent developments such as the terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and elsewhere, a Middle East in flames, a resurgent Russia, incessant violence in West Africa or turmoil in South China Sea only reinforce this view. By framing our analysis of the security environment in these terms, debates about how to anticipate and respond to these current and future threats invariably focus on those forces of instability and conflict.

This report argues that there is an alternative, complementary way of framing security that is equally real and equally actionable for defense organizations: a resilience-centric one, focused on a society’s immune system against conflict. This resilience paradigm does not center on the agents of conflict, but rather on the agents of resilience, namely individual citizens. The key argument here is the notion that individual empowerment helps to make societies more resilient and less prone to become unstable or to descend into conflict.

Examining trends and initiatives in various domains such as economics, politics, education, technology, health and the environment, this report shows that in spite of existing perceptions that the world is falling victim to ever more violence and instability, developments that help to build empowerment and that improve resilience continue unabatedly. Advocating a bottom-up approach, it argues that defense organizations can contribute in multiple ways to fostering individual empowerment in the theatres where they operate, and can thus bring much more to the table in terms of stabilizing societies apart from their military wherewithal. In other words, if you wish for peace, do not only prepare for war, but also for peace. Hence the title si vis pacem, utique para pacem.

The report can be downloaded via the button on the right.
Introductory video:

Frank Bekkers is Director of the Security Program. He is also theme leader of the Strategy and Change Program. He studied Applied Mathematics at the University of Amsterdam and spent most of his career at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), specializing in the area of Defence, Safety & Security. At TNO, he held a range of positions, including program manager, senior research scientist, group manager and account director. From 1996-1997, he worked as program manager for Call Media and Intelligent Networks for the telecom company KPN.

Stephan De Spiegeleire is senior scientist at HCSS. He has Master’s degrees from the Graduate Institute in Geneva and Columbia University in New York, as well as a C.Phil. degree in Political Science from UCLA. He worked for the RAND Corporation for nearly ten years, interrupted by stints at the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik and the WEU’s Institute for Security Studies. Mr. De Spiegeleire started out as a Soviet specialist, but has since branched out into several fields of international security and defense policy.

Tim Sweijs is a Senior Strategist. He is the initiator, creator, and author of numerous studies, methodologies, and tools for research projects in horizon scanning, conflict analysis, international and national security risk assessment, and capability development. He has led multicenter research projects for both private and public sector organizations – including the European Commission and various European governments.

Willem Oosterveld is a Strategic Analyst at HCSS. He holds degrees in political science, law and history, having studied in Amsterdam, Leiden, Paris, New York and Harvard. A former Fulbright scholar, he earned a PhD in the history of international law from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.