Värdering och bedömning av militära insatser och effekter. Begreppsanalys och problematisering


  • Peter Nilsson

Publish date: 2011-12-23

Report number: FOI-R--3290--SE

Pages: 51

Written in: Swedish


  • Assessment
  • evaluation
  • Measurement of Effectiveness
  • Measurement
  • of Performance


Assessment of military operations is an area that has received a lot of attention since the end of the Cold War. The transition from complicated but basically symmetrical two-part conflicts to complex stabilisation operations with a multitude of mixed actors has meant that traditional assessment of progress methods to a large extent have become obsolete. This change has also brought on the development of both assessment methodology handbooks and new organisational units but results have been scarce. This report is intended to sum up the criticism and identified shortcomings that have been directed at assessment of military operations. A core problem with assessment is the ontology. The fact that the same word is used with different meaning in different contexts, sometimes even in the same document, becomes an obstacle in discussions and development of the area. Another obstacle is the military culture and traditions. Reflection and critical thinking are not skills that are promoted in the military culture which means that assessment more often is about confirming the plan than questioning it. On top of that, the military culture is characterised by undocumented or even unknown tacit knowledge, knowledge that becomes hard to evaluate or change. The traditional knowledge and skills poses another challenge. The current assessment trend is to apply civilian methods and frameworks on military operations but there is a shortage of personnel with relevant competence. It is also difficult to apply traditional scientific methods since plans and campaigns are relatively poorly documented. Hypothesis and assumptions that constitute the very foundation of an assessment design are seldom documented. This in combination with the lack of stable theoretical conflict and intervention models forces assessment personnel to build their models from scratch or to re-construct the theories that were developed during planning, something there is rarely time to do. The transformed operational environment where public opinion and force protection is key is a challenge in itself. The increased complexity and the reduced level of control and freedom of action makes the operational environment difficult to understand and even harder to shape. If you add the military tradition of dealing with problems by breaking them down into manageable pieces the challenge of dealing with complex problems becomes even greater since the parts are often strongly interrelated and cannot be analysed separately. The conclusion of this report is that in order to develop a sound assessment function it is necessary to first develop a consistent ontology, an evaluation framework and a fundamental theoretical foundation.

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