Human Security in Future Military Operations

Authors: Mary Kaldor and Iavor Rangelov

Within the framework of International Humanitarian Law, the killing of civilians is permitted in war if it is necessary to achieve the military objective. From a human security perspective, the rules of engagement are just the opposite; the killing of combatants is permitted provided it is necessary to protect civilians.

This chapter explores what this means for future military operations. It starts by tracing the growing interest in human security within NATO and some national militaries, notably the UK. It then considers what human security in future military operations might mean in practice – the core human security roles, principles, and legal regime for the military – and outlines the implications of adopting human security for military budgets and new technologies. The chapter argues that human security is an alternative to war and its universal adoption would mean the end of organised collective violence between two groups. Were human security to be adopted by some states and not others, it could mean dampening down of conflicts and a defensive non-escalatory response to acts of aggression, genocide, or massive violations of human rights.

This chapter was published in the Routledge Handbook of the Future of Warfare