In Pursuit of Conceptual Excellence

The Evolution of British Military-Strategic Doctrine in the Post-Cold War Era, 1989-2002

by Markus Mäder (Author)
©2004 Thesis 372 Pages


Traditionally, the British Armed Forces did not care about doctrine. During the 1990s, however, they undertook intense efforts to explore, debate and publish doctrinal issues. They developed a coherent understanding of the military’s role in a post-Cold War era characterised by regional instabilities and asymmetric threats. This conceptual evolution was triggered mainly by the strategic change from 1989 onwards, when Western security concepts shifted from nuclear deterrence and containment towards stability projection and crisis response. As a result, territorial defence forces were replaced by expeditionary and rapid reaction capabilities. Simultaneously, the military were also challenged by the need to absorb a surge of technological innovations and to adapt to a changing relationship with society at large.
This contemporary history study analyses Britain’s doctrinal evolution from 1989 to 2002 in the light of these strategic, technological and social changes. It examines the emerging, specifically British post-Cold War military-strategic thinking and explains why doctrine, both single-service and joint, gained unprecedented relevance as an instrument of transformation in an increasingly complex environment.


ISBN (Softcover)
Großbritannien Militärpolitik Ost-West-Konflikt Beendigung Sicherheitspolitik British military-strategic doctrine Conventional military power Consolidation of post-cold war doctrine Paradigmenwechsel British armed foreces British defence d
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2004. 372 pp., 2 ill.

Biographical notes

Markus Mäder (Author)

The Author: Markus Mäder graduated in general history and geography from the University of Zurich in 1999. He then worked as a research assistant at the Center for Security Studies, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. After having served as a staff officer in KFOR in 2001, he resumed his Ph.D. studies as a visiting fellow at the Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College London. He now works at the Directorate for Security Policy (DSP) in the Swiss Ministry of Defence.


Title: In Pursuit of Conceptual Excellence