OPS4201 Specialization in Land Operations

Course code: 
Course name in Norwegian Bokmål: 
Landoperativ fordypning
Program of study: 
Master i militære studier
Level of study: 
Teaching semester: 
2022 Spring
Assessment semester: 
2022 Spring
Language of instruction: 
Person in charge: 
Sigbjørn Halsne
Course content

The course aims to provide the students with an insight and specialisation within the most key military theories and doctrines that have guided the development of military operations on the ground since 1970. The aim of the course is for the students to understand the theories and doctrines underpinning modern land operations at the tactical and operational levels. The course will build on the teaching of the previous course of Policy, Strategy and Military Force. Furthermore, the aim of the course is to help the students to problematise and understand the possibilities and limitations of the contributions of ground forces in the subsequent course Military Startegy and Joint Operations.

Learning outcome


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

  • discuss the key military theoretical ideas that have laid the foundations for high and low intensity land operations after 1970.
  • discuss the most important developments within high and low intensity doctrines regarding ground forces after 1970.
  • describe key factors affecting theories, doctrines and operations concerning ground forces today.

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

  • critically analyse the differences and similarities between the concepts of high and low intensity operations, and assess potential application of these concepts for current operations.
  • critically analyse and apply key Western military theoretical ideas after 1970 within both the high and low intensity spectrum.
  • critically analyse the development and content of the key doctrines of high and low intensity operations after 1970, as well as assess the potential application of these doctrines for Norwegian ground forces today.

General competence

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

  • reflect on theories concerning ground forces and the role of doctrines in the design of land operations.
  • independently, critically and constructively reflect on theories, doctrines and operations.
Working and learning activities

This module mainly utilizes seminar teaching as an educational method. Included in this are self-study, colloquium groups, lectures and seminars. The main principle of the module is to give students the best possible time to read, analyze and understand the curriculum. Lectures are meant as an arena where students can discuss, or go more in-depth on specific issues within the topic. In the seminars, the students have the opportunity to test and exchange knowledge with their fellow students and thereby expand their own and others' knowledge. The seminars are student-driven, but will be supported by instructors.

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.


Pensumliste OPS 4201 (Landoperativ fordyping) 2021

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Dalsjø, Robert et al (2019) “Bursting the Bubble – Russian A2/AD in the Baltic Region: Capabilities, Countermeasures, and Implications. FOI. Report 4651. Stockholm. pp 9-20 and 72-79).

Det kongelige Forsvarsdepartement. (2017) Prop. 2S – Viderutvikling av Hæren og Heimevernet – Landmaktsproposisjon, Oslo.                                                                                          

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Forsvarstaben, Forsvarets fellesoperative doktrine (Oslo: FSJ 2019), Forord og kapittel 1, Innledning                                                                                                                            

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Hæren (2021), Konsept for utvikling av Hæren – Utkast. Elverum: Hærens Våpenskole  

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Kitson Frank, (1971). Low-intensity operations, London: Faber & Faber Limited, s. 1-9.           

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Leonhard, Robert. (1991). The Art of Maneuver, Novato, CA: Presidio, kapittel 1 (utdrag) og kapittel 3, s. 13- 26 og s. 61-77                                              

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McMaster, HR. (2015) «Continuity and Change: The Army Operating Concept and Clear Thinking About Future War», i Military Review, Mars-April 2015, s. 6-20                    

Mearsheimer, John, “Maneuver Mobile Defense and the NATO central front, i International Security, årgang 6, nr 3, 1981-82, s. 104-122.                                                                           

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Norges offentlige utredninger (2016) En god alliert – Norge i Afghanistan 2001-2014 (Oslo),kapittel 8, s. 109-136              

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Porch, Douglas, (2011) “The dangerous myths and dubious promise of COIN”, i Small Wars and Insurgencies (22:2), s. 239-257.              

Posen, B. (1986). The sources of military doctrine: France, Britain, and Germany between the world wars. Cornell University Press, kapittel 1, s. 13-33.

Snyder, Jack, the Ideology of the Offensive, (London: Cornell, 1984), kapittel 1, s. 15-34      

TRADOC (2018) “The U.S. Army in Multi-Domain Operations 2028”. pp. 1-46 https://www.tradoc.army.mil/Portals/14/Documents/MDO/TP525-3-1_30Nov2018.pdf

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USMC (1940). Small Wars, Washington: United States government printing officer, s. 1 og 11-16.                                     

Watling, Jack. (2020) “The Key to Armenia’s Tank Losses: The Sensors, Not the Shooters” at: https://rusi.org/publication/rusi-defence-systems/key-armenia-tank-losses-sensors-not-shooters


Form of assessmentGroupingDurationType of durationGrading scaleProportionOral examinationCommentSupported materials
Individual paper assignmentIndividual -A-F100 %Not required
Form of assessment:Individual paper assignment
Type of duration:-
Grading scale:A-F
Proportion:100 %
Oral examination:Not required
Supported materials:
Sigbjørn Halsne
Approval signature: 
Helge Danielsen