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Weissmann, Mikael, DocentORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-5426-8238
Biography [eng]

r. Mikael Weissmann is Associate Professor in War Studies and Head of Research- and Deputy Head of the Land Operations Section at the Swedish Defence University. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. He is a member of CSCAP-EU and the European Think-Tank Network China (ETNC).

His research focus on East Asia with focus on the role of China and war studies. He is an expert on in particular:
– Power Shift in East Asia
– the Belt & Road initiative- the South China Sea
– North Korea
– Sino-Russian relations
– Cross-strait relations.

His research on war studies focus on land operations, with particular emphasis on
– hybrid warfare and threats
– military tactical thinking
– land tactics
– strategic communication at the tactical level.

 

Biography [swe]

r. Mikael Weissmann is Associate Professor in War Studies and Head of Research- and Deputy Head of the Land Operations Section at the Swedish Defence University. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. He is a member of CSCAP-EU and the European Think-Tank Network China (ETNC).

His research focus on East Asia with focus on the role of China and war studies. He is an expert on in particular:
– Power Shift in East Asia
– the Belt & Road initiative- the South China Sea
– North Korea
– Sino-Russian relations
– Cross-strait relations.

His research on war studies focus on land operations, with particular emphasis on
– hybrid warfare and threats
– military tactical thinking
– land tactics
– strategic communication at the tactical level.

 

Publications (10 of 39) Show all publications
Weissmann, M. (2019). Hybrid warfare and hybrid threats today and tomorrow: towards an analytical framework. Journal on Baltic Security, 5(1), 17-26, Article ID https://doi.org/10.2478/jobs-2019-0002.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hybrid warfare and hybrid threats today and tomorrow: towards an analytical framework
2019 (English)In: Journal on Baltic Security, ISSN 2382-9222, Vol. 5, no 1, p. 17-26, article id https://doi.org/10.2478/jobs-2019-0002Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article first traces the origin of hybrid warfare and the label game surrounding the concept, asking whether it is merely old wine in a new bottle, and if so, whether it is still a useful concept. It is found that while being old wine in new bottles, it is still a good wine well worth drinking. While there is not much new in the concept itself, it is a useful tool to think about past wars, today’s wars and the wars of the future. Thereafter, this paper analyses how hybrid warfare and hybrid threats are to be understood in the context of peace, conflict and war. It is shown how hybrid warfare and threats fit into our traditional understanding of conflict dynamics.

Keywords
Hybrid Warfare, Hybrid Threats, Russia, irregular warfare, gray zone, conflict dynamics, new generation warfare, Sweden, warfare, asymmetric warfare
National Category
Political Science Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Krigsvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-8701 (URN)10.2478/jobs-2019-0002 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-08-06 Created: 2019-08-06 Last updated: 2019-08-12Bibliographically approved
Weissmann, M. & Li, M. (2019). Introduction to the Special Issue: power, Narratives, and the Role of Third Parties: Understanding Power (Shift) in East Asia. Asian Perspective, 43(2), 215-221
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Introduction to the Special Issue: power, Narratives, and the Role of Third Parties: Understanding Power (Shift) in East Asia
2019 (English)In: Asian Perspective, ISSN 0258-9184, E-ISSN 2288-2871, Vol. 43, no 2, p. 215-221Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

"POWER" REMAINS A CENTRAL, IF NOT INDISPENSABLE, CONCEPT IN THE SOCIAL sciences and humanities. In no discipline is this clearer than international relations (IR), where the distribution of power is believed to explain many outcomes in international politics, particularly the propensity for war and peace (Mearsheimer 2010; Friedberg 2011). The importance of the concept notwithstanding, academic and policy debates about international power have long occurred within overly restrictive conceptual boundaries, focusing on the distribution of power defined as tangible assets to explain international politics at the expense of other ways in which power is exercised. Even though this materialist theory of power has failed to help us understand some of the most conspicuous international developments of recent decades, it continues to permeate the literature about international politics.

There are few places in the world where power is as crucial to shaping international dynamics as in East Asia. The critical question of whether a power shift is ongoing in the region, from Japan and the United States to China, is a central preoccupation of contemporary IR. Given the actors that are involved, the region is arguably the epicenter of a possible global power shift from the West to the East, and from the North to the South. In the East Asian region, a power shift has been seen as impending for more than two decades (Betts 1993; Friedberg 1993; Roy 1994). Today, the concept of a regional power shift is widely accepted both among scholars and observers outside of academia (Shambaugh 2005; Mearsheimer 2010; Layne 2018). A consensus has emerged that there has been a redistribution of capabilities among the major players in the region, although there are different opinions about the extent and outcome of such power shift (Li and Kemburi 2014; see also the Asian Perspective special issue "The East Asia Power Shift: A Critical Appraisal," vol. 38, no. 3, 2014; of particular interest is the introduction by Linus Hagström and Bjorn Jerden).

This special issue goes beyond materialistic power theory to examine the role and impact of narratives themselves in the (apparent) power shift in East Asia. It investigates the extent to which the narratives produced and spread by key actors succeed in producing effects on third [End Page 215] parties, exploring if and how they succeed in shaping their preferences, interests, and identities regarding contested issues in East Asia. Its focus is on the narratives about China, Japan, and the United States. The underlying idea is that it is the narrative(s) that ultimately define(s) the dynamics of the East Asian security setting and IR more broadly, creating a framework for what actions are possible, when, and for whom. In short, it is ultimately the victorious/dominant narratives that themselves define what is seen as legitimate and illegitimate, what is normal and abnormal, and ultimately what is within the realm of possibility and what is not.

Special emphasis is put on third parties, as it is they who are the audiences and ultimately the judges of what narrative to accept or is most attractive. For example, the fact that narratives about a more "assertive" and "threatening" China have received increased attention and acceptance is limiting China while at the same time opening new space for Japan and US foreign policy, as they are perceived as important to manage China's purported rise.

This special issue starts with an article by Mikael Weissmann titled "Understanding Power (Shift) in East Asia: The Sino-US Narrative Battle about Leadership in the South China Sea." Weissmann analyzes competing US and Chinese narratives about the South China Sea. He argues that the practice of calculating power shifts in terms of changing distribution of material capabilities is inadequate. The article aims to complement existing literature by taking ideational and normative dimensions of power into account. The article asks what the Chinese narrative of power and leadership in the South China Sea looks like and how it is perceived by others in comparison with the dominant US narrative. Weissmann concludes that while a "hard" power transition is ongoing, China's preferred narrative has yet to become widely accepted and...

Keywords
China, South China Sea, United States, power (political), power (military), power shift, power transition, soft power, narratives, Japan, BRI, Singapore
National Category
Globalisation Studies Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Krigsvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-8648 (URN)10.1353/apr.2019.0008 (DOI)
Funder
Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, MMW 2013.0162
Available from: 2019-06-24 Created: 2019-06-24 Last updated: 2019-07-15Bibliographically approved
Weissmann, M. & Ahlström, P. (2019). Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most offensive of them all?: Explaining the offensive bias in military tactical thinking. Defence Studies, 1-19
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the most offensive of them all?: Explaining the offensive bias in military tactical thinking
2019 (English)In: Defence Studies, ISSN 1470-2436, E-ISSN 1743-9698, p. 1-19Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This article explores why the offensive predominates military tactical thinking. With survey results showing an offensive bias among 60 per cent of senior Swedish officers and as many as 80 per cent in the case of the army, it is clear that this is not just a problem of the past but is equally relevant today. The article asks why there is a tendency to perceive and understand offensive tactics as the preferred choice and the way to conduct battle that should be encouraged and preferred. Drawing on existing research and the findings of a pilot study, ten propositions for why the offensive bias exists are tested using a mixed-method approach. Based on the findings, the article develops a model to understand why the offensive dominates military tactical thinking. It is found that the two key constitutive factors behind the offensive bias are military culture and education. These factors most directly and profoundly influence an officer’s identity, perceptions, and thinking. Military culture and education, in turn, work as a prism for four other factors: military history, the theory and principles of war, doctrine and TTPs, and psychological factors.

Keywords
cult of the offensive, attack, offensive, tactical thinking, tactics, education, military culture, Sweden, army
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Krigsvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-8506 (URN)10.1080/14702436.2019.1599287 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-04-10 Created: 2019-04-10 Last updated: 2019-04-15Bibliographically approved
Weissmann, M. & Björnehed, E. (2019). Praktisk examination och examination av praktik: Möjligheter och begränsningar. Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademiens Handlingar och Tidskrift (2), 91-103
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Praktisk examination och examination av praktik: Möjligheter och begränsningar
2019 (Swedish)In: Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademiens Handlingar och Tidskrift, ISSN 0023-5369, no 2, p. 91-103Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

The ability to lead armed combat is central to an officer. It is clear that the military professionis about more than possessing theoretical knowledge. Thus, in order to achieve an educationalprogram that includes the skills and abilities of the military profession there is a need to lookbeyond traditional written examination and apply practical examination in various forms.In this article we argue that while all practice can and should be examined through practicalexamination, not everything that is practically examined has to be practice. More specifically,this article will focus on the possibilities and limitations with practical examination. Focuswill be on the education of officers within the context of war studies. The article approachesthe issue on the basis of the legal framework for higher education in Sweden, research onteaching and learning in higher education and practice at the Swedish Defence University. Theoverall purpose is to understand practical examination with regard to what is allowed, howit is done with judicial security, and how it can be done in practice. The article also discusseswhat should be practically examined and how this should be done.

Keywords
Praktisk examination, examination, praktik, högskolepedagogik, autentisk examination, officersutbildning, krigsvetenskap
National Category
Educational Sciences Political Science Pedagogy Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Research subject
Krigsvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-8714 (URN)
Available from: 2019-08-18 Created: 2019-08-18 Last updated: 2019-08-19Bibliographically approved
Weissmann, M. (2019). Understanding Power (Shift) in East Asia: the Sino-US Narrative Battle about Leadership in the South China Sea. Asian Perspectives, 43(2), 223-248, Article ID https://doi.org/10.1353/apr.2019.0009.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Understanding Power (Shift) in East Asia: the Sino-US Narrative Battle about Leadership in the South China Sea
2019 (English)In: Asian Perspectives, ISSN 0066-8435, E-ISSN 1535-8283, Vol. 43, no 2, p. 223-248, article id https://doi.org/10.1353/apr.2019.0009Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this article I study the competing US and Chinese narratives about the South China Sea. Arguing that the practice of calculating power shifts in terms of the changing distribution of material capabilities is inadequate, I complement existing literature by taking ideational and normative dimensions of power into account. I ask what the alternative Chinese narrative of power and leadership in the South China Sea looks like and how it is perceived by others in comparison with the dominant US narrative. While a "hard" power transition is ongoing, China's preferred narrative has yet to become widely accepted and the US narrative will remain dominant for now. Nevertheless, China has been making progress in shifting the narrative of what the future could look like with China's vision for a post-US regional and global order now seen as a possible alternative.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019
Keywords
China, South China Sea, United States, power (political), power (military), power shift, power transition, soft power, narratives
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Globalisation Studies
Research subject
Krigsvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-8647 (URN)10.1353/apr.2019.0009 (DOI)
Funder
Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, MMW 2013.0162
Available from: 2019-06-24 Created: 2019-06-24 Last updated: 2019-07-15Bibliographically approved
Hickman, K., Weissmann, M., Nilsson, N., Bachman, S.-D., Gunneriusson, H. & Thunholm, P. (Eds.). (2018). Hybrid Threats and Asymmetric Warfare: What to do?. Paper presented at Hybrid Threats and Asymmetric Warfare: What to do? Stockholm 14-15 November, 2017, the Swedish Defence University, Stockholm, Sweden. Stockholm: Land Operations Section, Tactical Warfare Division, Dept. of Military Studies Swedish Defence University (SEDU)
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Hybrid Threats and Asymmetric Warfare: What to do?
Show others...
2018 (English)Conference proceedings (editor) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The international security environment has seemingly departed from a post-cold war period of everlasting peace and has instead evolved into a volatile and increasingly grey area of war and peace. Security challenges arising from both hybrid wars and hybrid threats are high on security agendas in Sweden and Europe as well as internationally. However, despite the attention there is a lack of research that addresses how such “new” wars and threats should be handled. While studies do exist on specific issues, a comprehensive approach to how hybrid wars and threats are to be handled is still lacking. This is particularly the case when it comes to the sharing of experiences between states. This workshop constituted a first step towards developing such a comprehensive approach.

The workshop’s aim was to be a bridge across disciplinary boundaries as well as between researchers and practitioners within and outside Sweden; integrating each group’s extensive experiences and knowledge into a coherent whole. Besides producing and disseminating new knowledge, the intention of the workshop was to establish a foundation for long-term collaboration; the first step in the creation of a European Network on Hybrid Warfare Capabilities that can work across borders and link state of the art of research and practice.

Although mainly a scientific workshop, a number of practitioners were invited, with a mix of presentations by academics and practitioners. This was intended to foster innovative and reflective discussions across the academic-practitioner divide. The workshop also aimed to develop new ideas associated with hybrid threats/warfare in order to facilitate future cooperation

These proceedings include a summary of the key points made by the presenters, along with conclusions and policy recommendations derived from the ensuing discussions. Conference programme and a list of abstracts for the papers and presentations can be found in the appendix.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Land Operations Section, Tactical Warfare Division, Dept. of Military Studies Swedish Defence University (SEDU), 2018. p. 41
Keywords
Hybrid, warfare, assymetric threats, grey area, Asymmetric Warfare, hybrid warfare, Hybrid Threats, military, cyber, lawfare, Sweden, armed forces, army
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Krigsvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-7301 (URN)
Conference
Hybrid Threats and Asymmetric Warfare: What to do? Stockholm 14-15 November, 2017, the Swedish Defence University, Stockholm, Sweden
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, F16-1240:1
Available from: 2018-02-27 Created: 2018-02-27 Last updated: 2018-02-28Bibliographically approved
Weissmann, M. & Ahlström, P. (2018). Offensivens roll i taktiskt tänkande: Slaget vid Caporetto 1917. In: Tommy Jeppsson (Ed.), Tankar om defensiven: (pp. 14-24). Stockholm: Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademien och Försvarshögskolan
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Offensivens roll i taktiskt tänkande: Slaget vid Caporetto 1917
2018 (Swedish)In: Tankar om defensiven / [ed] Tommy Jeppsson, Stockholm: Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademien och Försvarshögskolan , 2018, p. 14-24Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [sv]

I detta kapitel studerar vi offensivens roll i det taktiska tänkandet vid tolfte slaget om Isonzo, mer känt som slaget vid Caporetto, i oktober 1917. Underlag har utgjorts av litteraturen kring slaget samt av erfarenheter från en fältövning på plats i Slovenien. Författarna, tillsammans med lärarna på sektionen för markoperationer och chefen för militärhistoriska avdelningen vid Försvarshögskolan, analyserade på plats slaget och följde i fotspåren på dåvarande löjtnanten Erwin Rommel för att förstå de taktiska förutsättningarna, vägvalen, besluten och dess effekter.

I detta kapitel utgår vi från resultaten av vår egen forskning kring militärt taktiskt tänkande bland svenska officerare, från existerande forskning kring taktiskt tänkande samt från svensk doktrin och reglementen med betoning på Arméreglemente taktik (ART).

När man studerar slaget vid Caporetto finner man att det är uppenbart att offensiven och offensivt tänkande har varit förhärskande. Detta gäller såväl Caporetto som de föregående elva slagen om Isonzo liksom den efterföljande jakten efter de italienska trupperna mot Tagliamento. Men varför var offensiven förhärskande? De militära målen och operationsmiljön ger förstås en grundförklaring – då italienarna ville nå Trieste behövde de gå på offensiven, och när Österrike-Ungerns försvar närmade sig kollaps och det operativa rummet saknades var motoffensiv att föredra (i alla fall om tyskt stöd kunde uppbådas). Samtidigt står det klart att offensiven var dominerande i det militära taktiska tänkandet hos såväl italienare som tyskar – de två huvudaktörerna i det studerade fallet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademien och Försvarshögskolan, 2018
Keywords
offensiven, taktik, taktiskt tänkande, armén, Caporetto
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) History Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Krigsvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-7309 (URN)978-91-88581-05-1 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-03-03 Created: 2018-03-03 Last updated: 2019-04-25
Nordin, A. & Weissmann, M. (2018). Will Trump make China great again?: The belt and road initiative and international order. International Affairs, 94(2), 231-249
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Will Trump make China great again?: The belt and road initiative and international order
2018 (English)In: International Affairs, ISSN 0020-5850, E-ISSN 1468-2346, Vol. 94, no 2, p. 231-249Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Under President Xi Jinping's leadership, Chinese foreign relations have moved from keeping a low profile, to a more assertive bid for international leadership that is beginning to take form in the ‘belt and road initiative’ (BRI). This initiative focuses on connectivity in policy coordination, facilities, trade, finance and people-to-people relations, in order to connect China to key parts of Asia, the south Pacific, east Africa and Europe. Networked capitalism and the national unit, which are often seen as spatial opposites in the global political economy, are both exercised through the BRI in mutually supporting ways. Networked capitalism is not challenging the national spatial unit, nor vice versa. Rather, they conglomerate to reinforce Chinese government narratives which portray China as the new trailblazer of global capitalism—thus illustrating and justifying a new Sinocentric order in east Asia. Likely winners of this constellation, if it is successful, are megalopolises in Eurasia, and most of all the Chinese Communist Party. Likely losers are countries that are not included in the BRI, most notably the United States. In a context where President Donald Trump is signalling a more protectionist stance and the United States is withdrawing from free trade pacts like the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Trump may ironically enable Xi's dream of making China great again.

Keywords
China, BRI, Belt and Road, OBOR, Trump, United States, USA, international order, world order, Xi Jinping, Chines foreign policy, Silk Road Economic Belt, Central Asia, Russia, Europe, infrastructure, network, capitalism
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Krigsvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-7296 (URN)10.1093/ia/iix242 (DOI)
Projects
Power Shift in East Asia
Funder
Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, 2013.0162
Available from: 2018-02-18 Created: 2018-02-18 Last updated: 2018-03-09Bibliographically approved
Hagström, L., Weissmann, M. & Hanssen, U. (2017). Allt bör göras för att bygga relationer med Nordkorea. Dagens Nyheter
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Allt bör göras för att bygga relationer med Nordkorea
2017 (Swedish)In: Dagens Nyheter, ISSN 1101-2447Article in journal, News item (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.)) Published
Keywords
Nordkorea, sanktioner, Asien, Kina, USA
National Category
Globalisation Studies Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies)
Research subject
Krigsvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-7089 (URN)
Available from: 2017-11-06 Created: 2017-11-06 Last updated: 2019-09-09Bibliographically approved
Weissmann, M. & Ahlström, P. (2017). Endast genom anfall kan ett avgörande nås: Varför dominerar offensiven militärt taktiskt tänkande?. Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademiens Handlingar och Tidskrift (2), 6-18
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Endast genom anfall kan ett avgörande nås: Varför dominerar offensiven militärt taktiskt tänkande?
2017 (Swedish)In: Kungl Krigsvetenskapsakademiens Handlingar och Tidskrift, ISSN 0023-5369, no 2, p. 6-18Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article analyses why the offensive dominates tactical thinking among Swedish officers. Having found that the large majority of Swedish officers think that the offensive dominates tactical thinking in the armed forces (6:1, 16:1 in the case of the army) ten possible reasons are identified and analysed. It found that the key factors for the dominance are military culture and education which together produce and reproduce the offensive bias. These are the factors with the most direct and deepest impact on the officer identity and understanding, form the foundation for tactical thinking, and work as a prism for other important factors.

Keywords
War, War studies, Defence, Offensive, Sweden, Army, Land operations, Ground operations, Tactic, Krig, Armén, Sverige, Krigsvetenskap, anfall, attack, offesiv, taktik, strategi, operationer
National Category
Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalisation Studies) Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified
Research subject
Krigsvetenskap
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:fhs:diva-6960 (URN)
Available from: 2017-08-10 Created: 2017-08-10 Last updated: 2018-01-24Bibliographically approved
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ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-5426-8238

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