MILM4101 Politics, strategy and military power

Course code: 
Full course name in Norwegian Bokmål: 
Politikk, strategi og militærmakt
Program of study: 
Master i militære studier
Level of study: 
Teaching semester: 
2020 Autumn
Assessment semester: 
2020 Autumn
Language of instruction: 
Person in charge: 
Øystein Tunsjø
Course content

This course examines security policy and strategy in a broad international, historical and theoretical context. The course will provide the students with a deepened understanding of key conditions affecting Norwegian security and defence policy and the roles, possibilities and limitations of military power as an instrument of policy. The course is divided into three sections:

  1. The first section of the course focuses on international politics, security policy and strategy, and connect these themes to how military strategy has been developed in a critical-historical perspective and the relationship between states and the role of military power. Following this, the focus turns towards factors that shape security policy and strategy. The emphasis is on examining strategies for security and the use of military power.
  2. The second section of the course focuses on key international developments, the behavior and strategies of the top-ranking states and the major international institutions security policy and ability to act strategically. 
  3. The third and final section's main concern is to illuminate long lines within current Norwegian security and defence policy and how international and national conditions have given them expression. Here, the development of the Norwegian Armed Forces and use of Norwegian powers are also expanded upon with an emphasis on understanding the frameworks for the role of the Norwegian Armed Forces within national preparation and crisis management.

Overall, the course will provide the students with a holistic view of how international and national conditions, agencies and motivations affect Norwegian security and defence policy, in addition to a picture of the foundations and frameworks for the application of military power. After completion of the course, the students will have an increased insight into how political considerations constitute the premises for how military power is directed and applied, the framework conditions for military operations and an ability to critical think about how, and on what basis, decisions concerning military force are made.

Learning outcome


After completion of the course, the student is able to:

  • analyse and define the concepts of security and strategy.
  • explain the most important conditions that have shaped Western strategic thinking and military theory from the 19th century until today.
  • analyse key conditions affecting international cooperation and conflict, including states security policy and strategy.
  • account for key legal regulations and ethical criteria for the application of military force ad bellum.
  • describe various security policy strategies and means, and discuss strategy choices with an emphasis on how the use of military power can obtain political goals.
  • analyse trends in international post-Cold War policies, including trends within: (i) the distribution of power, geopolitics, and conflict lines; (ii) the foundation of power, behaviour and role of the Great Powers (USA, Russia, China); and (iii) the apparatus and role of the institutions (NATO, EU and UN).
  • account for the basic features, developments and influencing conditions of Norwegian security and defence policies during and after the Cold War, including total defence and allied cooperation.
  • discuss the significance of various frameworks for the use of Norwegian forces in operations abroad and at home, with an emphasis on the frameworks for the role of the Norwegian Armed Forces within national preperation and the alliance.
  • account for sivil-military relations and an principles in the Norwegian crisis management system.
  • account for key trends in Norwegian military thinking and doctrine development, and discuss what has influenced this thinking and military freedom.
  • discuss strategic alternatives for Norway and the alliance under contemporary security challenges.


After completion of the course, the student is able to:

  • analyse the security behaviour of states and their strategies and use of instruments, emphasising Norwegian and the alliance strategies and the possibilities and limitations of military power.
  • assess how Norwegian and international security policies provide framework conditions and prerequisites for military decision-making at a strategic and operational level.
  • use historical knowledge and assess the origins and relevance of strategic theory to understand security policy and the role of military power.
  • communicate the academic knowledge both orally and in writing in a structured and deliberate manner.

General competence

After completion of the course, the student is able to:

  • reflect on and discuss the possibilities and limitations of military force in light of theoretical knowledge, legal and ethical assessments, historical experiences and the context of security policy.
  • contribute to relevant professional expertise in decision-making processes affecting security and defence policy, including being able to promote well-informed assessments of the military profession within various political and strategic framework conditions.
Working and learning activities

Lectures in class, videolectures, group work with oral presentations of results in class or by video/online, required task, panel debates/seminars, self-study, written assignment.

Sensor system

Examination is carried out according to the Regulations for Admission, Studies and Examinations (in Norwegian, “Forskrift om opptak, studier og eksamen”) at the Norwegian Defence University College.


Anvist (obligatorisk) litteratur utgjør ca. 1500 sider. Justeringer vil forekomme før emnets oppstart.

DEL I: Internasjonal politikk, sikkerhetspolitikk og strategi

Uke 36: Introduksjon om internasjonal politikk, sikkerhetspolitikk og strategi

Anvist litteratur: 248 sider (inkl ca 20 sider Minervatekster)

Bruøygard, T. (2019). Norges sikkerhetspolitiske hovedproblem. Minerva.

Diesen, S. (2019a). Hvordan kan Finnmark forsvares? Minerva.

Diesen, S. (2019b). Forsvaret av Finnmark – en siste gang. Minerva.

Hobson, R. (2005). Krig og strategisk tenkning i Europa 1500–1945: samfunnsendring, statssystem, militærteori. Oslo: Cappelen. (s. 131–328, 195 s.)

Jankov, A. (2019). Finnmark skal forsvares. Minerva.

Jervis, R. (1999). Realism, Neoliberalism, and Cooperation: Understanding the debate. International Security 24(1), 42–63. Hentet fra (22 s.)

Walt, S. M. (1998). International Relations: One World, Many Theories. Foreign Policy, 110 (Spring). Hentet fra (s. 29–32 & 34–46, 15 s.)

Uke 37: Faktorer som påvirker sikkerhetspolitikk, strategi og bruk av militærmakt

Anvist litteratur: 226 sider

Allison, G. T. (1969) Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis. The American Political Science Review 63(3). Hente fra (s. 689-718, 30 s.)

Berntsen, T. A. & Tyreid, T. (2016). Etikk og militære operasjoner. I M. Andersen & G. Ødegaard (Red.), Militære fellesoperasjoner – en innføring. Oslo: Abstrakt. (s. 105–125, 18 s.)

Heier, T (2019) Et Farligere Norge? Bergen: Fagbokforlaget. (s. 13-32, 87-126, s. 57).

Johansen, S. R. & Staib, J. T. (2016). Rettslige rammebetingelser for anvendelse av militærmakt. I M. Andersen & G. Ødegaard (Red.), Militære fellesoperasjoner - en innføring Oslo: Abstrakt. (s. 89–103, 11 s.)

Snyder, G. H. (1984). The Security Dilemma in Alliance Politics. World Politics, 36(4). Hentet fra (s. 461–495, 34 s.)

Walt, S. M. (2015). Alliances: Balancing and Bandwagoning. I R. J. Art & R. Jervis (Red.), International politics: Enduring concepts and contemporary issues (12. utg.). Boston: Pearson. Hentet fra (s. 125–132, 7 s.)

Waltz. Kenneth N. (1959) Man, the State, and War: A Theoretical Analysis. New York: Columbia University Press. (s. 1-15, 198-223, 39 s.)

Waltz. Kenneth N. (1979). Theory of International Politics Reissued by Waveland Press Inc, Long Grove: Illinois, 2010. (s. 116-131, 161-176, 30 s.)

Uke 38: Strategier

Anvist litteratur: 85 sider

Art, R. J. (2015). The Four Functions of Force. I R. J. Art & R. Jervis, International politics: Enduring concepts and contemporary issues (12. utg.). Boston: Pearson.Hentet fra 164–171, 8 s.)

Bruøygard, T og Qviller, J. (2020) Marinekorpsets endringer og konsekvenser for forsvaret av Norge. Utsyn (s. 4)

Bowers, I. (2018). Small State Deterrence in the Contemporary World. Oslo: IFS Insight 9. Hentet fra,%20small%20state%20deterrence%20in%20the%20contemporary%20world.pdf (s. 6)

Levy, J. S. (2008). Deterrence and Coercive Diplomacy: The Contributions of Alexander George. Political Psychology, 29(4), 537–552. Hentet fra (11 s.)

Schelling, T. C. (2008). Arms and Influence. New Haven: Yale University Press. (s. 35-91, s. 56).

Del II: Stormaktene og institusjonene

Uke 39: Internasjonale utviklingstrekk, stormakters adferd og strategier

Anvist litteratur: 262 sider

Bukkvoll, T. (2016). Why Putin went to war: ideology, interests and decision-making in the Russian use of force in Crimea and Donbas. Contemporary Politics, 22(3), 267–282. Hentet fra (16 s.)

Beckley, M. (2018). The Power of Nations: Measuring What Matters. International Security, 43(2). Hentet fra 7-44 (37 s.)

Light, M. (2015). Russian Foreign Policy Themes in Official Documents and Speeches: Tracing Continuity and Change. I D. Cadier & M. Light (Red.), Russia’s Foreign Policy: Ideas, Domestic Politics and External Relations (s. 13–29). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. (16 s.)

Melby, S. (2017). USAs ledervilje svikter: maktpolitiske utfordringer og nye nasjonale forutsetninger. Bergen: Fagbokforlaget. (s. 191–221, 33 s.)

Posen, R. B. (2015). Emerging multipolarity: Why should we care? I R. J. Art & R. Jervis (Red.), International politics: Enduring concepts and contemporary issues (12. utg.). Boston: Pearson. (s. 552–560, 9 s.) Hentet fra

Ross, R. S. (2013). US grand strategy, the rise of China, and US national security strategy for East Asia. Hentet fra Strategic Studies Quarterly7(2). (s. 20–40, 21 s.)

Trenin, D. (2015). Russian Foreign Policy as Exercise in Nation Building. I D. Cadier & M. Light (Red.), Russia’s Foreign Policy: Ideas, Domestic Politics and External Relations. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. (s. 30–41, 12 s.)

Tunsjø, Ø. (2018a). The Return of Bipolarity in World Politics: United States, China and Geostructural Realism. Columbia University Press. Hentet fra (s. 1–49, 126-149, 71 s.)

Tunsjø. Ø. (2018b). Another Long Peace? The National Interest, 158 (nov/des), (s. 33-43, 10 s.)

Zysk, K. (2015a). Managing Military Change in Russia. I J. I. Bekkevold, I. Bowers & M. Raska (Red.), Security, Strategy and Military Change in the 21st Century: Cross-Regional Perspectives. London: Routledge. Hentet fra 155–177, 23 s.)

Zysk, K. (2015b). Mellom fredsretorikk og militær opprustning: Russlands sikkerhetspolitiske og militære adferd i nordområdene. I T. Heier & A. Kjølberg (Red.), Norge og Russland: Sikkerhetspolitiske utfordringer i nordområdene. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. (s. 71–84, 14 s.)

Uke 40: Institusjonenes rolle og evne til å handle strategisk

Anvist litteratur: 218 sider

Berdal, M. (2003). The UN Security Council: Ineffective but Indispensable. Survival, 45(2), 7–30. Hentet fra (23 s.)

Fiott, D. & Parkes, R. (2019). Protecting Europe: The Eu’s response to hybrid threats. Chaillot Paper 151. Hentet fra (s. 1-33, 33 s.)

Hilde, P. S. (2019). Forsvar vår dyd, men kom oss ikke for nær. Norge og det militære samarbeidet i NATO. Internasjonal Politikk, 77(1). Hentet fra (s. 60-70, s. 10)

Kirby, P. & Shepherd, L. (2016). Reintroducing women, peace and security. International Affairs, 92(2), 249–254. Hentet fra (6 s.)

Matlary, J. H. (2018). Hard Power in Hard Times: Can Europe Act Strategically? Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. Hentet fra (s. 271–283, 12 s.)

Ringsmose, J. & S. Rynning (2017). Now for the Hard Part: NATO’s Strategic Adaptation to Russia. Survival, 59(3), 129–146. Hentet fra (18 s.)

Efjestad, S & Tamnes, R. (2019). NATO's Enduring Relevance. Whitehall Papers, Vol 95, Issue 1, Hentet fra (s. 8-25, 18 s.)

Saxi, H. L. (2019). The rise, fall, and resurgence of Nordic defence cooperation. International Affairs 95(3). Hentet fra (s. 659–680, s. 21)

Saxi, H. L. (2017). British and German initiatives for defence cooperation: the Joint Expeditionary Force and the Framework Nations Concept. Defence Studies, 17(2), 171–197. Hentet fra (26 s.)

Schilde, K. E., Anderson, S. B. & Garner A. D. (2019). A more martial Europe? Public opinion, permissive consensus, and EU defence policy. European Security, 28(2). Hentet fra (s. 153-172, 19 s.)

Svenbalrud, H. K. (2012). Fundament og ornament: FN som “hjørnestein i norsk utenrikspolitikk”, 1970–2005. Internasjonal Politikk, 70(2), 159–181. Hentet fra (22 s.)

Tamnes, R. (2019). Småstatsrealisme i 70 år. Internasjonal Politikk, 77(1). Hentet fra (s. 49-59, s. 10)

DEL III: Norsk sikkerhetspolitikk, strategi og Forsvarets rolle

Uke 41: Norsk sikkerhets- og forsvarspolitikk og det nasjonale krisehåndteringssystemet

Anvist litteratur: 231 sider

Bogen, O. & Håkenstad, M. (2015). Reluctant reformers: the economic roots of military change in Norway, 1990–2015. Defence Studies, 17(1), 23–37. Hentet fra (12 s.)

Børresen, J., Gjeseth, G. & Tamnes, R. (2004). Norsk forsvarshistorie: bind 5: Allianseforsvar i endring 1970–2000. Bergen: Eide forlag. (s. 370–385, 16 s.)

Diesen, S. (2013). Det militære instrument i norsk krisehåndtering. I T. Heier og A. Kjølberg (Red.) Mellom fred og krig: norsk militær krisehåndtering. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. (s. 45–52, 8 s.)

Engebretsen-Skaret, S. S. (2013). Spesialstyrker i norsk krisehåndtering. I T. Heier & A. Kjølberg (Red.), Mellom fred og krig: norsk militær krisehåndtering. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. (s. 142–158, 17 s.)

Forsvarsdepartementet & Justis- og beredskapsdepartementet. (2018). Støtte og samarbeid : En beskrivelse av totalforsvaret i dag. Oslo: Forsvarsdepartementet. Hentet fra. (s. 9–64, 55 s.)

Håkenstad, M. (2019). Den væpnede dugnaden: Totalforsvaret under den kalde krigen. I Norheim-Martinsen, P.M. Det nye totalforsvaret. Oslo: Gyldendal. (s. 25-40, 15 s)

Johansen, S. (2019). «Nød kjenner ingen rett»? Totalforsvar, Beredskap og Folkerett. I Norheim-Martinsen, P.M. Det nye totalforsvaret. Oslo: Gyldendal. (s. 117-133, s. 16)

Skogrand, K. (2004). Norsk forsvarshistorie : 4 : Alliert i krig og fred 1940–1970. Bergen: Eide forlag. (s. 362–377, 16 s.)

Smith, E. (2015). «Ministerstyre» – et hinder for samordning? Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift, 32(3), 258–266. Hentet fra (8 s.) 

Tamnes, R. & Eriksen, K. E. (1999). Norge og Nato under den kalde krigen. I C. Prebensen & N. Skarland (Red.), NATO 50 år: Norsk sikkerhetspolitikk med NATO gjennom 50 år. Oslo: Den Norske Atlanterhavskomité. Hentet fra (s. 7–38, 32 s.)

Tamnes, R. & Offerdal, K. (2014). Introduction. I R. Tamnes & K. Offerdal (Red.), Geopolitics and Security in the Arctic : Regional Dynamics in a Global World (s. 1-11). London: Routledge. Hentet fra (11 s.)

Tamnes, R. (2015). Et lite land i stormaktspolitikken. Internasjonal Politikk, 72(3), 384–393. Hentet fra (10 s.)

Åtland, K. (2013). Norsk krisehåndtering og forholdet til Russland. I T. Heier & A. Kjølberg (Red.), Mellom fred og krig: norsk militær krisehåndtering. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. (s. 160–174, 15 s.)

Uke 42: Norsk militær tenkning og bruk av norske styrker

Anvist litteratur: 197 sider

Bjerga (2019). Forsvarets bistand til politiet. I Norheim-Martinsen, P.M. (Red) Det nye totalforsvaret. Oslo: Gyldendal, (s. 81-99, 18 s).

Bjerga, K. I. (2011). Militær tenkning mellom teori og praksis. I T. Heier (Red.), Nytt landskap – nytt forsvar: norsk militærmakt 1990–2010. Oslo: Abstrakt forlag. (s. 164–205, 42 s.)

Bjerga, K. I. & Håkenstad, M. (2013). Hvem eier krisen? Politi, forsvar og 22. juli. I T. Heier & A. Kjølberg (Red.), Mellom fred og krig: norsk militær krisehåndtering. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. (s. 54–74, 21 s.)

Bjerga, K. I. & Haaland, T. L. (2010). Development of Military Doctrine: The Particular Case of Small States. Journal of Strategic Studies, 33(4), 505–533. Hentet fra (26 s.)

Forsvarsdepartementet (2017). Instruks om Forsvarets bistand til politiet. FOR 2017-06-16-789. Oslo: Forsvarsdepartementet. Hentet fra (3 s.)

Gade, J. G. & Hilde, P. S. (2016). Å gå til krig – et politisk perspektiv. I M. Andersen & G. Ødegaard (Red.), Militære fellesoperasjoner: en innføring. Oslo: Abstrakt. (s. 73–88, 16 s.) 

Libya-utvalget (2018), Evaluering av norsk deltakelse i Libya operasjonene i 2011, rapport utarbeidet på oppdrag fra Forsvarsdepartementet og Utenriksdepartementet. Hentet fra (s. 171-177, 7 s.)

Matlary, J. H. (2013). "Give War a Chance" i Libya: Strategi på politisk nivå? I O. Bøe-Hansen, T. Heier & J. H. Matlary (Red.), Strategisk sukksess? Norsk maktbruk i Libya og Afghanistan. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. (s. 111 - 126 , 15 s.)

NOU 2016:8 (2016). En god alliert – Norge i Afghanistan 2001–2014. Hentet fra (s. 45–58, 13 s.)

Oma, I. M. (2014). Innenrikspolitiske spenninger om militær deltakelse ute. I T. Heier, A. Kjølberg & C. F. Rønnfeldt (Red.), Norge i internasjonale operasjoner: militærmakt mellom idealer og realpolitikk Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. (s. 79–87, 9 s.)

Oma, I. M. & Bjerga, K. I. (2018). Avskrekkende snubletråd i Baltikum? (IFS Insights 3/2018). Hentet fra (11 s.)

Tamnes, R. (2014). Roller og funksjoner i sentraladministrasjonen. I D. H. Claes, K. Heidar & C. Holst (Red.), Politikk i grenseland. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. (s. 55–71, 17 s.)

Slensvik, T. & Ydstebø, P. (2016). The Norwegian joint operational doctrine as a case: Heritage, content, process. Journal of Strategic Studies, 39(2). Hentet fra (s. 297-314, s. 18)

Uke 43: Aktuelle sikkerhetsutfordringer og norsk strategi

  1. Brief om operativt nasjonalt planverk; 2) rolle-spill; og 3) oppsummering av emnet
Mandatory courseworkCourseworks givenCourseworks requiredPresence requiredComment
Annet - spesifiser i kommentarfeltet 1 1Required
Obligatoriske arbeidskrav:
Mandatory coursework:Annet - spesifiser i kommentarfeltet
Courseworks given: 1
Courseworks required: 1
Presence required:Required
Form of assessmentGroupingDurationType of durationGrading scaleProportionOral examinationCommentSupported materials
Written examIndividual5HoursA-F50 %Not required Ingen hjelpemidler tillatt.
Written take-home examIndividual3DaysA-F50 %Not required Det gis én samlet karakter i emnetAlle hjelpemidler tillatt.
Form of assessment:Written exam
Type of duration:Hours
Grading scale:A-F
Proportion:50 %
Oral examination:Not required
Supported materials: Ingen hjelpemidler tillatt.
Form of assessment:Written take-home exam
Type of duration:Days
Grading scale:A-F
Proportion:50 %
Oral examination:Not required
Comment: Det gis én samlet karakter i emnet
Supported materials:Alle hjelpemidler tillatt.
Øystein Tunsjø