The Transformation of Europe's Armed Forces: From the Rhine to Afghanistan

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As a result of new strategic threats, Europe's land forces are currently undergoing a historic transformation which may reflect wider processes of European integration. Europe's mass, mainly conscript armies are being replaced by smaller, more capable, professionalised militaries concentrated into new operational headquarters and rapid reaction brigades, able to plan, command and execute global military interventions. At the same time, these headquarters and brigades are co-operating with each other across national borders at a level which would have been inconceivable in the twentieth century. As a result, a transnational military network is appearing in Europe, the forces in which are converging on common forms of military expertise. This is a groundbreaking study of the military dimensions of European integration, which have been largely ignored until now. It will appeal to scholars across the social sciences interested in the progress of the European project, and the nature of the military today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“At a time when European armed forces are fighting a war in Afghanistan, this is a timely study of their post Cold War transformation. Stimulating without being critically contentious and systematic without being dull - clarity of argument gives the book its definitive scope.” – Christopher Coker, Professor of International Relations, LSE

“Broad in scope and meticulous in its scholarship, this important study offers an expert and incisive analysis of military thought and practice in twenty first century Europe. The Transformation of Europe’s Armed Forces should be read by all those with an interest in British and European defence policy and in the evolving relationship between armed forces and liberal democratic society.” – Paul Cornish, Professor, Chatham House

“Antony King has blended sociological, strategic and military perspectives to produce a timely and illuminating analysis of the transformation of Europe’s armed forces. Military ‘transnationalisation’ is discussed against the background of the different strategic positions of leading European military powers; the potential outcomes of the war in Afghanistan are used to assess whether transnationalisation will occur in a re-invigorated or weaker NATO. This innovative book will appeal to a wide audience and to anyone interested in the future of European military institutions.” – Christopher Dandeker, Professor of Military Sociology, Department of War Studies, King's College London

"This is a typically Anthony King book: beautifully written, researched in depth and built on an irrefutable timeline worthy of the best historians. And yet, Professor King is not an historian; he is a sociologist. It is this fresh perspective which gives the book vigour..." - Julian Lindley-Finch, RUSI Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521760942
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2011
  • Pages: 326
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Anthony King is Professor of Sociology at the University of Exeter. Since 2003 he has been conducting intensive research on the armed forces, observing military training, exercises and operations and has developed close relations with the armed forces at the highest levels. He has co-written parts of Britain's new counter-insurgency doctrine and is working for NATO's Regional Command South Headquarters in Kandahar. On the basis of this work, he has contributed to public debates about security and defence policy, appearing on the BBC and in the Guardian, Prospect and RUSI.

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Table of Contents

Preface; Part I. Strategic Context: 1. Towards a sociology of military transformation; 2. Europe's new military; 3. The capacity for autonomous action?; Part II. Operational Transformation: 4. The operational network; 5. The operational renaissance; 6. Operational art; Part III. Tactical Transformation: 7. The empowered brigade; 8. Elitism; 9. Cohesion; 10. Co-ordination; 11. The future of Europe's armed forces.

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