OPS2303 Complex operations

Kursnavn på engelsk: 
Complex operations
Bachelor i militære studier med fordypning i ledelse – Militærmakt og sikkerhetsoperasjoner
2022 Vår
2022 Vår
Daniel Ekrem Helgesen
Om emnet

This module aims at providing the cadets with a foundational understanding of complex conflicts, and how the different character of conflicts influences the tactical level. Complex operations MILSIK is part of the existing module Complex operations and will follow the progress of this module.

The module will initially clarify the relation between high- and low-intensity warfare. Then the focus will shift to one of the most common forms of low-intensity warfare: peacekeeping.

In the first week you will study the overall differences between high and low intensity operations. The module will address why wars can have widely different characters and the characteristics of low intensity conflicts in general. Then the module will focus on peacekeeping. You will study the role of peacekeeping in international relations, the origin and development of the concept, its principles and overall tactical approach. Robust peacekeeping and the specific challenges this concept entail will receive special attention. The last part will be conducted as a map exercise, in combination with a matrix game, where you can apply your knowledge on military planning in the context of a peacekeeping operation.

The module will be concluded with a field training exercise within the peacekeeping framework.

English is a supporting subject and is integrated with the course program, having classes each theoretical week. English is also the working language of this module.



Upon the completion of the module, the students will be able to:

  • Account for the main characteristics of low intensity conflicts
  • Be aware of the role of peacekeeping in the international system, and the development of peacekeeping over time
  • Understand the principles of peacekeeping
  • Understand the ideas of protection of civilians and responsibility to protect and how these influence military operations


Upon the completion of the module, the students will be able to:

  • Analyse missions at the company level within the framework of peacekeeping

General competence

  • Plan and conduct operations with land forces at the tactical level within the context of contemporary peace operations
Praktisk organisering og arbeidsformer

The theoretical part of the module utilises individual studies, cadet driven study groups, lectures, and seminars. The main principle is to give the cadets as much time as possible to read, analyse and understand the different topics. Lectures are meant as an arena where the cadets can discuss the topics raised by the syllabus, or to explore specific topics more in-depth. During the seminars, the cadets can test and exchange knowledge with their fellow cadets, and thus expand their own and other’s knowledge. The cadets run the seminars, but instructors will support if needed.

The practical part of the module will utilise a variety of map-exercises, war-games, and simulations. The purpose of these is to give the cadets the opportunity to apply their theoretical knowledge on practical and realistic exercises.


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.

  • Amnesty International (2016). If Men Are Caught, They Are Killed, If Women Are Caught, They Are Raped. pp 4-25.        
  • Annan, Kofi (1999), "Two concepts of sovereignty", The Economist (18 Sept).
  • Beadle, Alexander William (2014). Protection of civilians – military planning scenarios and implications (Oslo: Forsvarets Forskningsinstitutt), pp 7-21, 66-67.
  • Berdal, M. (2000). Lessons not learned: The use of force in ‘peace operations’ in the 1990s. International Peacekeeping, 7(4), 55-74.
  • Berdal, Mats (2008), "The Security Council and Peacekeeping" in Lowe, Vaughan et.al, The United Nations Security Council and War (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp 175-204.
  • Clausewitz, C. V. (1976). On War, red. and translated by Michael Howard and Peter Paret. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, Book I, chapter 1, pp 75-89.
  • Erskine, Emmanuel A (1989), Mission with UNIFIL: An African Soldier's Reflections (New York: St. Martin's Press), pp 20-49.
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  • Freedman, Lawrence (ed). (1994). War, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp 309-351
  • Hew Strachan (2010) Strategy or Alibi? Obama, McChrystal and the Operational Level of War, Survival, 52:5,  pp 157-182   
  • ICISS (2001), The Responsibility to Protect, s.xi-xiii, 1-9.
  • Jones, Adam (2006), "Bosnia and Kosovo", in Genocide: A Comprehensive Introduction (London: Routledge), pp 212-224.
  • Kaldor, Mary, Old Wars, Cold Wars, New Wars and the War on Terror, lecture at London School of Economics (Feb 2005).
  • Karlsrud, John and Osland, Kari M (2016), “Between self-interest and solidarity: Norway’s return to UN peacekeeping?”, International Peacekeeping, 23:5, 784-803.
  • Kelly, Max and Giffen, Allison (2011). Military Planning to Protect Civilians: Proposed Guidance for United Nations Peacekeeping Operations (Washington: Stimson Center), pp 13-35.                                                
  • Kitson Frank, (1971). Low-intensity operations, London: Faber & Faber Limited, pp 1-9.                              
  • Kjeksrud, Stian, Beadle, Alexander og Lindquist, Petter (2016). Protecting Civilians from violence, Oslo: FFI/ NODEFIC, pp 1-26.
  • NODEFIC. Human security and the military role. https://forsvaret.inkrement.no/
  • Smith, Rupert (2007). “Thinking about the utility of force in war amongst the people”, in On New Wars, ed. John Andreas Olsen, pp 28-43.
  • Tharoor, Shashi (1995), "Should UN peacekeeping go 'back to basics'?", Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, 37(4), pp 52-64.
  • UN Doc. UNSC Res/1291(2000), pp 1-6.     
  • UN Doc. UNSC Res. 425, 426 and 427.
  • United Nations (1978). Report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Security Council resolution 425 (1978). 
  • United Nations (1996), “UNPROFOR” in The Blue Helmets. (New York: UN Department of Public Information), s. 556-563.
  • United Nations (1996). “United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL)” in The Blue Helmets. (New York: UN Department of Public Information), pp 83-85, 88-96
  • United Nations (2000), Report of the Panel on United Nations Peace Operations [Brahimi Report], pp 9-12, 14-20.
  • United Nations (2008). United Nations Peacekeeping Operations. Principles and Guidelines. pp13-40, 47-52.
  • USMC (1940). Small Wars, Washington: United States government printing officer, pp 1 and 11-16.
VurderingsformGrupperingVarighetVarighetstypeKarakterskalaAndelJusterende muntligKommentarHjelpemidler
Individuell paperinnleveringIndividuell6Uke(r)A-F 100%Not required The students are required to write an essay of 3,500 words during the module. Questions for the essay will be handed out at the start and the students are expected to hand in their essay at the end of the module. The essay will be graded A-F and will count for 100% of the grade in the module
Vurderingsform:Individuell paperinnlevering
Andel: 100%
Justerende muntlig:Not required
Hjelpemidler:The students are required to write an essay of 3,500 words during the module. Questions for the essay will be handed out at the start and the students are expected to hand in their essay at the end of the module. The essay will be graded A-F and will count for 100% of the grade in the module
Daniel Ekrem Helgesen