Doing one’s job: translating politics into military practice in the Norwegian mentoring mission to Iraq

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Enstad, Kjetil (2020) Doing one’s job: translating politics into military practice in the Norwegian mentoring mission to Iraq, Small Wars & Insurgencies 31(2): 402–419.

​This article investigates how political ambitions are translated into military practice in the small Norwegian contribution to the International Coalition against ISIL in Iraq from 2017 to 2019. The most important Norwegian political aims do not correspond clearly to a military objective, and thus military practice must take on a symbolic function. Understanding the processes of translation that this requires and the social complexity of operating with such aims with partners and Coalition forces is not straight-forward. The analysis of my interviews with commanders and seconds-in-command concludes by suggesting that such missions may require small-state militaries like the Norwegian to reconceive what constitutes core military practices, and that practice theory or the wider disciplines of sociology and anthropology may inform such a reconception.

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