Academic staff – University of Copenhagen

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Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen

Mikkel Vedby Rasmussen

Professor with special responsibilities

Current research

What if the military was a business? Military strategy normally deals with winning a campaign, but seldom deals with the organisation and costs of the military organisation itself. In a time of austerity that question is more relevant than ever. Taking my point of departure in American and British examples my research projects deals with what strategic studies can learn from business studies

Primary fields of research

Strategy is something you do; and doing strategy is increasingly a challenge in and of itself for those politicians, officials and military officers tasked with strategizing.

Based on my recent concrete experiences with the challenges in strategizing and utilising business theories of strategy, this project will analyse the current problem of strategy and seek to enable more coherent and effective strategizing.

The projects aim to have a high impact in terms of academic publication as well as in policy terms. I will use my experience and expertise to engage policy-makers and shape ideas and innovate policy on the basis of my findings. This engagement will include writing op-eds, using social media and be available to interviews etc. in electronic media.

Strategic Leadership: Design and Decisions

This work package focuses on the crisis of strategic leadership in Western national security and explains the rise of design strategy as attempt to address this crisis. I will have a special focus on military affairs, with a point of departure in the US military. The point of departure will be the understanding that strategic leadership in national security, particularly in defence, can benefit from insights gained from the study of strategic leadership in business. As such, this work package engages the recent trend of merging insights business and military strategy.

Strategizing by Numbers: Metrics and Management

The NATO countries commitment to spending two percent of GNP on defence and twenty percent of the defence budget on procurement is framing the debate on the European allies ability to address current security challenges and risks, including Russia, and has become the centre for the traditional burden sharing debate between the United States and Europe. This work package will analyse how such metrics shape the notions of what is an adequate defence posture arguing that it reinforces entrenched ways of conceptualising military force. Instead of being a yardstick of defence reform, the two percent commitment becomes an argument for ring-fencing existing structures and procurement patterns. This work package engages with the literature on evaluation and management by metrics arguing that insights from how metrics is used in public governance in general can fruitfully be used for the study of military/security governance.

The History of Global Strategy: Scenarios and Security

Global warming, the rise of China, Russian resurgence and a number of other trends are defining security discourse. The future is present in a security discourse that focuses on scenarios for how trends become threats. This work package will trace how this way of thinking was born in the beginning of the twentieth century when an increase in global interconnectedness and technological development made strategizing about what might be the result of these developments. At that time the concern was the rise of Russia, Germany and the United States, and the telegraph, the railway and rapid industrialisation were the driving force between the concerns in the London and Paris of how the balance of power was shifting. It is the concern with these shifts in power and the strategies developed to deal with them which is the focus of this project as it tracks the history of global strategy. This work package will give a conceptual and historical perspective to current debates about scenarios and security placing these debates on a more coherent theoretical footing as well as using a historical perceptive to address the more alarmist scenarios.

Strategizing Europe and the High North

The resurgence of Russian power has put a number of changes in the security landscape of Northern Europe and the High North into focus. This work package will use insight from the other work packages to a number of specific, policy-studies of challenges and opportunities for European and Danish security strategy. A particular focus will be deterrence in the Baltic and developments in the Arctic.

 

Selected publications

  1. Published

    Banzai!: Letters from Iwo Jima and Choosing the Enemy in Risk Society

    Rasmussen, M. V. 19 Jun 2013 Eastwood's Iwo Jima: Critical Engagements With Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima. Schubart, R. & Gjelsvik, A. (eds.). New York: Columbia University Press, p. 263-275

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewBook chapter

  2. Published

    The Military Métier: Second Order Adaptation And The Danish Experience In Task Force Helmand

    Rasmussen, M. V. 2013 Military Adaptation in Afghanistan. Farrell, T., Osinga, F. & Russell, J. A. (eds.). Palo Alto: Stanford University Press, p. 136-158

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewBook chapter

  3. Published

    The Risk Society at War: Terror, Technology and Strategy in the Twenty-First Century

    Rasmussen, M. V. 2006 Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 224 p.

    Publication: Research - peer-reviewBook

Selected activities

ID: 10671