Docent Mikael Weissmann, PhD

Land Warfare | Urban Warfare | Hybrid Threats and Foreign Interference| Intelligence Analysis | Russian Warfare & Influence | China | Asia

STAFF-RIDE IN THE ARDENNES 2023

This week I have co-organised a Staff-Ride for a course on land operations and tactics for the Joint Higher Command and Staff Program at the Swedish Defence University together with Lt Col Per Lindahl, Head of the Land Operations Division. It has been a very successful trip where we used four different themes –  Technology, Logistics, Urban Warfare and Tactics – as a starting point for discussions and seminars at various themed terrain locations.

We also spent a day studying and reflecting on the consequences of the profession, leadership, courage and symbolic values during a visit to Verdun.  

New research project on Resilience and Psychological Defence

Together with colleges at among others the Swedish Defence University, RISE and the Swedish Institute of International Affairs and partners in Denmark, Ukraine and Finland we have won research funding from the Swedish Psychological Defence Agency for major research project on Building Resilience and Psychological Defence: Countering hybrid threats and foreign influence and interference.  The project will run over three years and includes four parallel modules focusing on respectively 1) Case studies, 2) International actors and cooperation bodies, 3) Sweden and psychological defence, and 4) Synthesis. More information about the project can be found here: [URL]

 

NEW BOOK: Advanced Land Warfare: Tactics and Operations

My new co-edited volume on Advamced Land Warfare: Tactics and Operations is just out on Oxford University Press. Download full volume or chapters here: https://academic.oup.com/book/45784  (OPEN ACCESS)

The book:

  • Zeroes in on the evolving role of land forces, focusing particularly on the changes that have taken place in the art of commanding and executing combat and on the role of rapid technological innovation and information dissemination in shaping warfare
  • Revisits established military theory and thinking (some of it neglected in recent years) with lessons learned from contemporary land warfare
  • Provides various perspectives on key contemporary developments in land warfare, while also presenting case studies on land tactics and operations in different national contexts
  • Draws on the knowledge and insights of leading scholars of war and senior officers to provide a current understanding of the central issues of land warfare
  • Explores how land forces remain a crucial feature of warfare as evidenced by recent wars in Ukraine, Syria, Mali, Yemen and Nagorno-Karabak

Table of Contents

Foreword, Dr Meir Finkel
1:Approaching Land Warfare in the 21st Century, Dr Niklas Nilsson and Dr Mikael Weissmann
Part 1: Land Warfare
2:The Future of Manoeuvre Warfare, Dr Christopher Tuck
3:Commanding Contemporary and Future Land Operations: What Role for Mission Command?, Dr Niklas Nilsson
4:Combat Logistics in the 21st Century: Enabling the mobility, endurance, and sustainment of NATO land forces in a future major conflict, Dr Christopher Kinsey and Colonel Ronald Ti
5:The Command of Land Forces, Jim Storr
6:Tactical Tenets: Checklists or Toolboxes, BA Friedman and Henrik Paulsson
7:Urban Warfare: Challenges of Military Operations on Tomorrow’s Battlefield, Dr Mikael Weissmann
8:Emerging Technologies: From Concept to Capability, Dr Jack Watling
9:Interoperability Challenges in an era of Systemic Competition, Air Commodore (Rtd) Andrew Curtis
10:The moral component of fighting: Bringing society back in, Dr Tua Sandman
11:Military Health Services supporting the Land Component in the 21st Century, Gen (Rtd) Professor Martin CM Bricknell
Part 2: Case studies
12:The Operational Cultures of American Ground Forces, Dr Bruce I. Gudmundsson
13:1. People’s Liberation Army Operations and Tactics in the Land Domain: Informationized to Intelligentized Warfare, Brad Marvel
14:A Strategy of Limited Actions: Russia’s Ground-Based Forces in Syria, Dr Markus Balázs Göransson
15:The Role of Israel’s Ground Forces in Israel’s Wars, Dr Eado Hechet and Dr Eitan Shamir
16:Tactics and Trade-Offs: The Evolution of Manoeuvre in the British Army, Dr Alex Neads and Professor David J. Galbreath
17:Caught between a rock and a hard place: the French army, expeditionary warfare and the return of strategic competition, Dr Olivier Schmitt and Dr Elie Tenenbaum
18:Trends in the Land Warfare Capability of Poland and the Visegrad States, 1991-2021, Scott Boston
Conclusions
19:Towards a versatile edge: Developing land forces for future conflict, Dr Mikael Weissmann and Dr Niklas Nilsson

ISA 2023 Annual Convention

March 15th – 18th I attended the International Studies Association’s Annual Convention in Montreal, Canada together with our research group. We organised a panel on “Future challenges for the intelligence and security services” which I co-chaired with Dr Cris Matei of the Naval Postgraduate School. The panel included four presentations:

Intelligence as Policy Impact – is it measurable?
by Per Thunholm (Centre for Total Defence, Swedish Defence University)

Hybrid Threats and the Intelligence Community
by Bjorn Palmertz (Research Institutes of Sweden, RISE)

Current operations intelligence and intelligence assessments: information flows and the tension between quality and speed
by Niklas Nilsson and Mikael Weissmann (Swedish Defence University)

Future threats: what is to be expected?
by Mikael Weissmann (Swedish Defence University)

 

 

 

 

 

Exploring Urban Warfare then, now and in the future

During 1-4 March I conducted a staff ride in the Netherlands with a focus on urban combat and resistance under occupation together with Patrik Wiklund from the Military History Division of the Swedish Defence University. Special focus was put on the Battle of Nijmegen and the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944 and the experiences of German occupation in Amsterdam during the second world war.

We also visit Eben-Emael and Grebbeberg to discuss innovation and creativity in war, the importance of willingness to fight and the role of history and war games in PME.

 

 

Staff Ride reconnaissance in Belgium & France

On 27 Feb – 1 Mar a team from the Land Operations Divisions, with support from the Military History Division, conducted a reconnaissance and experience-sharing exercise in Belgium and France. During the trip, we studied examples from both world wars, studying the 1940 Spring Offensive, the Battle of Somme 1916 and the Battle of Amiens 1918.  The aim was to draw lessons from previous executions within the Staff Course of the Swedish Defence University.



Visit to the Netherlands Defence Academy/Royal Military Academy

On 2 March I visited the Netherlands Defence Academy/Royal Military Academy in Breda together with Patrik Wiklund from the Military History Division of the Swedish Defence University. We had meetings with representatives from the academy, discussing staff rides and other areas of shared concerns including urban warfare and staff rides with representatives from the Military History  & Strategy Division and the Military Operational Sciences Division.

En handbok om fältövningar

I just published a handbook on planning and conducting staff rides in Swedish titled En handbok om fältövningar: Att planera och leda en fältövning.

The full text can be downloaded here: https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7655034  The Swedish text is a development of our peer-reviewed English article “Staff Rides as a Pedagogical Tool in Professional Military Education (PME): Planning and Conducting Historical Staff Rides” in the Journal on Baltic Security available here

Abstract:
Praktiska pedagogiska redskap är en central del i utbildningen av officerare. Detta är ett område där det finns en lång tradition, både på Försvarshögskolan och inom Försvarsmakten mer generellt. Detta är också ett område där Försvarshögskolan alltid har varit framträdande, där metoder som applikatoriska exempel (applex), krigsspel, fältövningar, stabstjänstövningar och taktiska problem under lång tid har använts. Denna handbok riktar in sig på ett av dessa pedagogiska redskap: fältövningar. 

Handboken är disponerad som följer: först ges en historisk bakgrund till fältövningar och vi diskuterar vad en fältövning är och vilka typer som finns. Därefter flyttar fokus till tankar kring att planera och genomföra en fältövning. Här diskuterar vi planeringsfasen, lärdomar kring nyttan av att rekognosera inför genomförande och tankar kring fältövningens pedagogiska genomförande. Handboken avslutas med en diskussion kring hur man bör tänka när man planerar och genomför en fältövning, både praktiskt och pedagogiskt. Här presenteras även en schematisk modell kring fältövningens pedagogiska dynamik för olika målgrupper baserat på deras förförståelse och olika fältövningars komplexitet.

 

New Article on Staff Rides as a pedagogical tool

 My new peer-reviewed article on “Staff Rides as a Pedagogical Tool in Professional Military Education (PME): Planning and Conducting Historical Staff Rides” has just been published in Journal on Baltic Security. It has been co-authored by Major Jonas Björkqvist and Patrik Wiklund at the Swedish Defence University.

Abstract:
The use of various practical pedagogical tools is an important part of officer training. This is also an area where there is a long tradition in the training of officer cadets and officers in staff colleges as well as in the Armed Forces more generally. This article focuses on staff rides aimed at teaching tactics and operational arts based on historical examples. This type of staff-rides aims to learn from history with a bearing on the present and the future.

The article is organized as follows: first, the article gives a short overview of the history of staff rides, followed by a discussion on different types of staff rides. Then the focus shifts to ways to plan and carry out a staff ride. This includes the planning phase, reconnaissance, and the different pedagogical tools that can be used and their implementation. The article concludes with a discussion of how to think when planning and carrying out staff rides, both practically and pedagogically. The article here presented a schematic model of the pedagogical dynamics of the staff ride for different target groups based on their pre-understanding and the complexity of different field exercises.

Citation:
Weissmann, Mikael, Jonas Björkqvist, Patrik Wiklund, “Staff Rides as a Pedagogical Tool in Professional Military Education (PME): Planning and Conducting Historical Staff Rides”, Journal on Baltic Security 8(2022), no. 2, 61-82. FULL TEXT

Operation Mercury – The Battle of Crete

On 2-6 November Major Jonas Björkqvist and I conducted a Staff Ride in Crete studying Operation Mercury, the German airborn invasion of Crete in May 1941. This trip is part of a development project to enhance our teaching for  Officer Cadets at the Swedish Defence University.

The focus was on Constructive Alignment and the use of War Games as a pedagogical tool in Staff Rides and Case Studies.

 

To learn more about our approach to Staff Rides, please read our article “Staff Rides as a Pedagogical Tool in Professional Military Education (PME): Planning and Conducting Historical Staff Rides” in the Journal on Baltic Security, the peer-reviewed journal of the Baltic Defence College.  [Full text]

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