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Refocusing Concepts of Security: The Convergence of Military and Non-military Tasks

A Defence Science and Technology employee uses emerging technology as Soldiers conduct a multi storey building clearance as part of the 2017 Contested Urban Environment Strategic Challenge conducted in Adelaide South Australia.
1 November 2000
Lieutenant Colonel Ian Wing

This paper investigates two phenomena: first, the conceptual broadening of the term ‘security' and the implications of this broadening for the contemporary meaning of ‘national security'; and, second, the implications of this process for the armed forces of advanced countries, whose tasks have also broadened from their Cold War focus on warfighting.The changing theoretical meaning of security has contributed to the broadening of these tasks. This broadening is, in turn, reflected in the phenomenon of the convergence of military and non-military tasks.

An understanding of the changing theory of security is of prime importance to the practitioners of security. This is because theory informs the decision making that directs their activities and is, in turn, influenced by the effects of these activities. The paper includes the changing theoretical approaches to security and national security; the changing international security environment; the new security agenda; and contemporary international and Australian policy responses. The paper then discusses the implications of the broadened security agenda under the rubric of ‘refocused national security'. As part of this discussion, the paper provides a framework for understanding the delineation between military and non-military tasks.

Informed by the examination of theory and the broadened security agenda, the paper examines the trend towards convergence and its implications: ‘overstretch' and ‘overlap'. These implications will affect military sociology and lead to a partial redefinition of the roles of armed forces. This redefinition will have an impact on future force structures and change some requirements for military organisations and military equipment. The paper concludes with a discussion of concepts that would enhance and inform the integration of military and civilian capabilities within the increasingly complex international security environment.

Last updated
13 December 2017
Army: Courage. Initiative. Respect. Teamwork.
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