New publication: How Western Soldiers Fight: Organizational Routines in Multinational Missions

In contemporary missions, soldiers often face unconventional opponents rather than enemy armies. How do Western militaries deal with war criminals, rioters, or insurgents? What explains differences in behavior across military organizations in multinational missions? How does military conduct impact local populations? Comparing ground operations by the United States, Britain, Germany, and Italy at three sites of intervention (Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan), this book shows that militaries in the field apply idiosyncratic organizational routines. Routines are vital for explaining, for example, US reliance on superior firepower, British foot patrols, and German risk aversion. Despite convergence in military structures and practices, soldiers continue to fight differently, often with much autonomy from higher military authorities and politicians. This bottom-up perspective focuses on different routines at the level of operations and tactics, thus contributing to a better understanding of the implementation of military missions, and highlighting failures of Western militaries to protect local populations.


Cornelius Friesendorf (2018): How Western Soldiers Fight: Organizational Routines in Multinational Missions. Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/9781108554091