Olsen: New wars

Oslo Files 4/2007
On New Wars: Contributions from the conference “New Wars” in 2007.​

​​Oslo Files on defence and security no. 4/2007
Title: On New Wars: Contributions from the conference “New Wars” in 2007.​
Author: John Andreas Olsen (ed.)
Pages: 224

Download "On New Wars​" 

"This book is an important contribution to a discussion that will continue into the future."
Professor Oyvind Osterud, University of Oslo, in Norwegian Military Journal.

On New Wars seeks to answer what is “new” about new wars and military theory by linking the present and speculation about the future of war with historical awareness. The past may be an imperfect guide to the future, but we have to make the most out of it because it is the only reliable compass that we have. The book is divided into three parts, with three chapters each. The first part provides a conceptual framework for thinking about new wars, the second examines characteristics and commonalities and the final part looks at the validity of some of the military concepts that dominate current literature, especially effects based operations and fourth generation warfare.

One central argument is that wars are ever-changing – the combination of who fights whom, when, where and why will always be unique – but although the ends, ways and means may vary over time, it is first and foremost the character of war that changes, not the nature of war itself – war remains, as Carl von Clausewitz reminds us, “a permanent feature of the human condition.”



  • War and Strategy by Hew Strachan
  • Thinking about the Utility of Force in War Amongst the People by Rupert Smith
  • Military Theory and Epistemological Challenges by Harald Høiback


  • What is Really New about the New Wars ? – A Reply to the Critics by Herfried Münkler
  • The Future of War: What are the new complexities? by Christopher Coker
  • Consolidating Peace in the After math of War – Reflections on “Post -Conflict Peace -Building” from Bosnia to Iraq by Mats Berdal


  • Effects based Operations and the Fighting Power of a Defence Force by Alan Stephens
  • The Future of Military Theory: The Need for a Method of Verification by Antulio J. Echevarria II
  • On Boyd, Bin Laden , and Fourth Generation Warfare as String Theory by Frans Osinga

Part IV Military implications

New perspectives on military power in the Arctic by General Sverre Diesen, Norwegian Chief of Defence


Publisert 1. april 2007 15:08.. Sist oppdatert 5. september 2019 10:36.