Disruptive Security Technologies: Challenges to Norway’s Total Defence Concept

Led by Bruno Oliveira Martins

Feb 2021 – Oct 2021

​Emerging security technologies are increasingly portrayed as having disruptive effects in security and defence.

Emerging security technologies are increasingly portrayed as having disruptive effects in security and defence. With the growing use of dual-use technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and drones in military operations and civilian scenarios – as well as the increasing technological complexity of some of these systems –, there is an emerging knowledge gap surrounding disruptive innovation and its impact on both security and defence, on the one hand, and the society at large, on the other hand. This knowledge gap brings new challenges to the Total Defence concept, a central pillar of Norway's security and defence strategy.

In order to address the challenges related to the fast evolution of security technologies, this project will provide cutting-edge knowledge on the topic, as well as a systematized framework to facilitate the Norwegian Ministry of Defence's (MoD) decision-making processes, and to facilitate international cooperation with Norway's key allies. Ensuring societal security and defence today requires innovative thinking in crisis management, a good understanding of security technologies, and novel ways of conceptualizing civil-military relations. Research situated at the intersection of these dynamics is needed to advance strategic thinking on the Total Defence concept.

The project aims to answer three central questions: (1) What is disruptive innovation and in which ways does it impact security and defence? (2) How should the Total Defence concept be adapted to better capture the challenges of increasingly wired contemporary societies? (3) How are civil-military relations challenged by the growing importance of dual-use technologies in both security & defence and the society at large?

In order to explore these issues, the project employs several different methods, including semi-structured interviews, a questionnaire, as well as data analysis through an interdisciplinary framework emanating from the literatures on civil-military relations and innovation studies. The inquiry is expected to provide input to revisions of the Total Defence Concept reference document and to generate new concrete proposals to reinforce and re-interpret civil-military relations.

This project puts together an international team of experts and partners from both PRIO and Carnegie Europe, and is designed to constitute a new iteration of the 2019 MoD-funded PRIO project "Counter-Drone Systems", drawing on some of its findings and building on the networks established.

Project members:

  • Senior Researcher Bruno Oliveira Martins (Project leader)
  • Raluca Csernatoni (Carnegie Europe)
  • Senior Researcher Kristoffer Lidén
  • Doctoral Researcher Stine Bergersen
  • Research Assistant Nora Kristine Stai
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