Non-state actors and non-military security

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Course Programme Spring 2010

Department of Political Science, University of Iceland

Course ASK203F– 3 credits (ECTS: 6)

Alyson JK Bailes, Visiting Professor, Department of Political Science

Office hour for students: Fridays 1200-1300 in Oddi 228 – tel 525 5209,


Special Note: all sessions in this course will be open to the public and the basic course materials will be publicly available through the University website or in print. Participants who are not taking the course to gain credits for a university degree are, however, not expected to stay for the second part of each session (after a coffee break) which involves interactive work with the students. Representatives of the various kinds of non-state actors playing a role in Iceland’s own security will take an active part in the appropriate sessions.
General Information and Course Objective
Traditional security analysis was often limited to military transactions and power-play between nation-states and their agents (including armies). The late 20th-early 21st century has seen a broadening-out of the concept of ‘security’, and a new understanding of how actors of many different kinds can affect it for good or ill. Non-state insurgents in weak states, and terrorists, are now commonly classed as threats: but other non-state players such as NGOs, business, civil society and the media can play positive as well as negative roles. This course provides an introduction to the (fast evolving) ways that analysts and policy-makers now look at non-state actors, and the range of principles and practical solutions put forward for dealing with them. It starts from a developed-world viewpoint but also notes the importance of these challenges for the Southern hemisphere. The course moves on to explore the main non-military, or ‘functional’, dimensions of security that preoccupy Western policy-makers today - such as infrastructure, environment and energy security - and to discuss ways of handling them both severally and in their multiple interconnections. To close the circle, it offers tools for tackling the question of how non-state actors impact upon security in its non-military forms, and vice versa.
The planned course outcome is that course participants should acquire an up-to-date and comprehensive understanding of:

Definitions and main concepts relating to non-state actors in the security context

Main roles played by such actors for good or ill, and options/instruments for policy response

Current definitions and concepts in the field of non-military security: ‘package’ definitions and individual dimensions

Practical manifestations of policy challenges in the most prominent non-military dimensions including those that are important for Iceland

Aspects of interplay and cooperation between official and non-state actors in Iceland in at least some of these fields

The general range of possibilities for non-state actors playing a role in non-military security fields and the merits of different options for official control of, or engagement with, them.
University participants will be expected to demonstrate these understandings, and a grasp of relevant facts and examples, in the final examination.


Lectures will take place each Friday, with a one-week break for Easter, from 1320-1540 hours in room ARNAGARDUR 311 (outside participants please see site map at to find the building, if necessary)

The first session takes place (NB ONE WEEK LATER THAN NORMAL!) on Friday 22 January 2009. Arrangements for making up the lost week will be discussed later in the term.

  • Each session will consist of (a) an introductory lecture by Alyson Bailes or a guest speaker, with opportunity for questions and answers, and (after a short break) (b) an interactive debate or exercise for which students will often be asked to make special preparation - individually or in groups. Some sessions will have two main speakers representing different viewpoints.

  • Advance reading is also prescribed for most sessions, and is required for successful completion of the course (details for certain sessions will be provided later in the term).

  • A supplementary reading list will be available online for those who wish to explore the subjects further, or to write their thesis within this field.

  • An essay theme with two choices will be prescribed and details will be placed on Ugla no later than 5 February. An opportunity will be made at a subsequent session for university participants to discuss the task. Essays will be no more than 3500 words in length plus references/bibliography (approx. 10 pages in A4 format with double spacing), and must be handed in no later than midnight on 9 April.

  • The credits given for the course will be divided as follows: half each for the essay and for the final examination (in early May)

  • Participants will be informed of any additional seminar-type events held during the course period on relevant subjects, which they are welcome to attend.

Course Reading

The set reading for the course is not based on any single book but does include several chapters from three works: the SIPRI publication ‘Business and Security: Public-private relationships in a new security environment’ (eds. A Bailes and I Frommelt, OUP 2005, all chapters downloadable at ), Barry Buzan’s ‘Peoples, States and Fear’ (2nd edition, ECPR classics 2007) and Paul D Williams (ed.), 'Security Studies: An Introduction' (Routledge 2008). These and all other texts for prescribed reading will be made available during the course either as pdfs deposited in the ´Námsefni' section of the University' s intranet, Ugla, or – when freely available online - through URL references as seen in the programme below.

Further materials, including texts of the presentations as given, will be made available in the University intranet ‘Ugla’ for HÍ participants, and at for outside participants.

Before coming to the session on 22 January please read the chapter on ‘Individual Security and National Security’ from the B. Buzan book (in Námsefni), and glance at ‘The Shifting Face of Violence’ by AJK Bailes, K Krause and TH Winkler, DCAF Policy Paper No 18, text at

1. 22/1/10 Course introduction, statement of goals and guidelines, getting to know each other.

Basic Definitions I: Which non-state actors are relevant for security and defence?

- Lecture

- Interactive Exercise on classifying ‘good’ and ‘bad’ actors

2. 29/1/09 Basic Definitions II: Modern concepts and dimensions of ‘security’

Advance reading: 'What role for the private sector in "societal security", a paper by Alyson JK Bailes for the European Policy Centre, Brussels, text at, FIRST PART UP TO PAGE 15 ONLY; and at ‘A World of Risk’ by AJK Bailes, Introduction to SIPRI Yearbook 2007, available on Ugla. Please study, print out, and bring with you the 1-page ‘Security Spectrum’, available on Ugla.

- Lecture on sectoral/functional dimensions, including an introduction to ‘risk’-based analysis

- Presentation of the ‘double triangle’ image: the three broad divisions of modern threats/risks require collaboration of the three main sectoral actors - government, business, and society

- Interactive Exercise on the inter-relationship of different dimensions of security: priorities, domino effects, resource allocation?

3. 5/2/10 Actors I: Terrorism and Anti-Terrorism Policy

Advance reading: Ganor B. Defining Terrorism: Is One Man’s Terrorist Another Man’s Freedom Fighter? (Herzliyya: International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, 1998,

Stepanova, E., first chapter ('Introduction: terrorism and asymmetry') in 'Terrorism in Asymmetrical Conflict: Ideological and Structural Aspects' SIPRI Research report no 23 of 2008, available online at

Paul. R Pillar, 'Counter-terrorism' from Paul D Williams (ed), 'Security Studies: an introduction' (text to be placed in Námsefni)

If wished, check out the data at Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT) Terrorism Knowledge Base,

(If you'd like to read more by Ekaterina: see also Stepanova E. Anti-Terrorism and Peace-Building During and After Conflict, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Policy Report no. 2 (SIPRI: Stockholm, 2003), available online at
- Lecture on definitions and current patterns of terrorism as a 'non-state' phenomenon

- Interactive Exercise on options and institutional roles for tackling terrorism

4. 12/2/10 Actors II: Non-state actors in conflict

Advance reading: M Brzoska, ‘Collective violence beyond the standard definition of armed conflict’ (from SIPRI Yearbook 2007) – in course-book; pieces by U Schneckener and H Wulf in ‘Revisiting the State Monopoly on the Legitimate Use of Force’, DCAF Policy Paper 24, text at

If wished see also (on roles of companies) J.Maresca, ‘Business investment, humanitarian problems and conflict’ and S. Adejumobi, ‘A View from Africa’ (from ‘Business and Security’ at, and J Bray, ‘Public-Private Partnerships in State-Building and recovery from Conflict’ (Sept.2006),; and on private military and security companies, C Holmqvist, ‘Private Security Companies: the case for regulation’, SIPRI Policy Paper no. 9, text at <http:/>

- Guest Lecture by Dr An Vranckx, University of Ghent, including an introduction to ‘conflict economics’

- Prepared debate with student inputs on the handling of non-state actors in post-conflict peace-building

  • Discussion of essay assignment as necessary

5. 19/2/10 Actors III: The role of NGOs and civil society

Advance reading: ‘In the Line of Fire: Development in Conflict’ by Stephen Commins, at the ‘Development and Practice’ website, download the book ‘Development in a State of War’ at and see pages 8-15; international NGOs’ voluntary accountability charter, text in Ugla and for background see You may also glance again at the ‘triangle’ document (session of 23/1) for range of societal and individual roles

‘Map exercise’ on NGO roles in international peace missions and issues arising

6. 26/2/10 Actors IV: Business as part of the problem and the solution

Advance reading: AJK Bailes, ‘Business and security: public-private sector interface and interdependence at the turn of the 21st century’ (from ‘Business and Security’ at and ‘A New Deal Between State and Market’ (from ‘Denationalization of Defence: Convergence and Diversity’ eds JH Matláry and Ø Østerud 2007) – to be placed in Ugla Námsefni

- Lecture and introduction of a graphic table of business roles in defence and security

- Guest presentation on Corporate Social Responsibility by Dr Páll Ásgeir Daviðsson, Reykjavik University

Structured debate on governance solutions for corporate actors

7. 5/3/10 The meaning of ‘human’ security

Advance reading: K. Krause, ‘Towards a practical Human Security Agenda’, DCAF Policy Paper 26 0of 2007, text at;

E Sköns, ‘Analysing risks to human lives’ (from SIPRI Yearbook 2007, text at; and the ‘Human Security Report’ website,

- Presentation: Introduction to different definitions and uses of the ‘human’ angle; focus on 'Humanitarian Intervention'

- Prepared student contributions and debate on pros and cons of various recent academic studies/databases on ‘human’ security


8. 12/3/10 Health Security

Advance Reading (i) Colin Mc Innes, 'Health' – a chapter from 'Security Studies: An introduction', ed Paul D Williams; (ii) 'Pandemics' by Peter Clevestig from Nayef Rodhan ed, 'Potential Global Strategic Catastrophes', 2009

Guest lecture by Dr Haraldur Briem, Iceland’s National Medical Officer for epidemics, on Health and Disease as a factor in human and state security: in North and South, in conflict and peace

Prepared debate with student contributions on ‘domino’ effects of a major pandemic

Discussion and decisions on structure and other details of the final course examination

9. 19/3/10 Environmental Security

Advance Reading (i) Issues matrix ‘Climate Change, Energy, Security’ by Alyson Bailes (to be placed in Ugla); (ii) go to and read the first two of the four introductory articles by Thomas Homer-Dixon, ‘On the Threshold: Environmental Changes as Causes of Acute Conflict’, and ‘Environmental Scarcities and Violent Conflict: Evidence from Cases’

Further optional reading: Lassi Heininen, ‘A New Northern Security Agenda’ to be placed in Ugla) and you could skim the first and last parts of ’Changing Climates: Interdependencies on Energy and Climate Security for China and Europe, a Chatham House (London) report, online at

Guest Lecture by Ellý Katrín Guðmundsdóttir, head of environment and transport department, Reykjavik City Hall: including security implications of environmental degradation and pollution, natural disasters and climate change with mention of the Nordic and Arctic regions

Prepared debate with student contributions contrasting possible security impact of climate change in Iceland and elsewhere

10. 26/3/10 Energy Security

Advance reading: ‘Energy and security: regional and global dimensions’ by Kamila Proninska, SIPRI Yearbook 2007 – text at

- Lecture, explaining the difference between ‘the security of energy’ and ‘security and energy’ (ie the impact of energy issues on other security processes); introduction of a comparative ‘risk model’ of different energy resources comparing external and internal risks

- Response by Gústaf Adolf Skúlason, deputy director general of Samorka – Icelandic Energy and Utilities, identifying the range and hierarchy of risks relevant to Icelandic conditions

Interactive Exercise on energy ‘threat’ scenarios

11. 9/4/10 Infrastructure Security

Advance reading: Jan Metzger, 'The concept of critical infrastructure protection', chapter in 'Business and Security' at and ‘Towards a Global culture of Cyber-Security’ by M Dunn and V Mauer (chapter in the International CIIP Handbook, ETH Zurich 2007, full text at

- Guest Lecture by Bödvar Tómasson, EFLA consulting engineers, using Icelandic conditions as an example to define the concept

- Discussion of how this relates to international experience and issues for international cooperation

- Interactive Exercise on 1-2 scenarios for infrastructure breakdown and civil emergency planning, in Iceland and elsewhere

Revision assistance: Course members will be invited to work individually to complete a graphic table of actor types and the security dimensions where they play a role. The table will be available in ‘Verkefni’ on Ugla.

12. 16/4/10 A Comprehensive Security Policy for the Future

Advance reading: ‘Designing a Comprehensive Security Policy for Europe and European States’, a book chapter (2008) by AJK Bailes, to be placed in Ugla.

Review of connections and balance among all aspects of security considered so far: with the addition of Economic Security

Discussion of the issues and results in the 2007-8 research project on 'Societal Security' in Norden, including implications for Iceland and attitudes to the concept in the Icelandic elite; comparison with the 2009 'risk assessment' report.

Exercise: to construct a set of 'societal' priorities for Iceland in the next decade; to discuss challenges arising, and the ways and means of policy and systemic change.

Final discussion of revision issues and exam plans

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