The Risk Society at War: Terror, Technology and Strategy in the Twenty-First Century

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Press:Cambridge University Press Cambridge University Press; First Edition edition (January 15, 2007)
Publication Date:2007-1-15
Author Name:Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen


In the globalised world of the twenty-first century, security policy in Western societies is driven by a wish to prevent future threats from becoming reality. 
Applying theories of 'risk society' to the study of strategy, this book analyses the creation of a new approach to strategy.
The author demonstrates that this approach creates new choices for policy-makers and challenges well-established truths within the study of security and strategy.
He argues that since the seventeenth century the concept of strategy has served to rationalise new technologies, doctrines and agents.
By outlining the history of the concept of strategy in terms of rationality, Rasmussen presents a framework for studying strategy in a time of risk and uses this framework to analyse how new technologies of war, pre-emptive doctrines, globalisation and the rise of the 'terrorist approach to warfare' can formulate a new theory of strategy.

Book Description

The means-end rationality that previously guided Western strategy is no longer relevant to the twenty-first century security environment. 
This book presents a framework for studying strategy in a time of risk and uses this framework to create a new theory of strategy.

About the Author

Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen is director of the Centre for Military Studies at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. 
He was a member of the Danish Defence Commission of 2008, was a co-writer of the Danish white paper on defence in 2004, and in 2007 to 2008 was part of a Defence Department commission on emergency services.
He has also testified to the foreign affairs and defence committees at the Danish Parliament, and in 2007 the Norwegian Foreign Ministry asked him to write a position paper on the future of foreign policy.
In 2009, he gave a presentation to the NATO-military committee and briefed the NATO Secretary General.
Professor Rasmussen has taught classes at the University of Copenhagen and the Royal Danish Defence College, and has recently lectured at the Baltic Defence College, the Norwegian Air War College, St Andrews University, the Finish National Defence University, the London School of Economics and the NATO Defence College.
He publishes regularly in Danish newspapers and is often used as a commentator in the Danish media.
From 2006 to 2009 he was the Head of the Danish Institute for Military Studies while on leave from his position at the University of Copenhagen.
Previously, he worked at the Danish Institute for International Affairs as a Project Director for a large MoD funded project on defence and security issues.
He is also an Adjunct Professor of the Baltic Defence College.
Professor Rasmussen received his PhD from the University of Copenhagen and holds an MSc in Political Science from that university as well as an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics.


History,Military,Strategy,Science & Math,Technology,Politics & Social Sciences,Politics & Government,Political Science

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  •     In the twenty-first century people in Western societies are more secure than ever in history. But the standards by which we measure our safety have changed in a fundamental way. In The Risk Society at War Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen depicts the emerging dangers in a globalising world. New threatening actors are appearing. Non- state acors with a different set of values and a different rationality are the new kids in town. The Cold War was waged in a rational means-end framework. Technological innovations, new actors seem to challenge the traditional strategic environment of the Western powers. Rasmussen explores in a highly theoretical way this change in warfare. But in the end you have got a fairly good impression of the new doctrines governing the use of armed force. Strategy is no longer a question of definitely defeating the enemy, total victory is not possible. Strategy is about managing risks and acknowledging that eliminating one risk can cause other unexpected boomeranging effects. Rasmussen wrote an illuminating theoretical analysis of modern warfare. You better be aware of it!!

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