You are here: Home About CASSIS Research Fellows Limpho Moteuli Ndleleni Military in Non-traditional security duties.

Military in Non-traditional security duties.

Research project within the interdisciplinary research project "Security Complex Europa-Africa"

Armed forces are established by their states, and traditionally their primary role is to protect the territorial integrity of their countries and people by defending them against external aggression and internal security threats, and by being offensive where necessary (Edmunds, 2006; Fluri & Shalamanov, 2003). Nonetheless, in the modern world offensive warfare has become rare, and with the international law rendering aggressive actions unlawful, there is a shift from being offensive to being defensive (Edmunds, 2006; Fluri & Shalamanov, 2003).
According to Tebas (2016), the armed forces’ focus has shifted from the traditional security to more of a secondary role shaped by the professionalism of contemporary armed forces and the changing needs of the society, as was predicted by Hugo many years ago (1802-1885): “A day will come when the only fields of battle will be markets opening up to trade and minds opening to ideas” (Barroso, 2013, p. 2). Military concepts and ideas are becoming relevant in the market place, thus subjecting the armed forces to various security challenges.
Being faced with these challenges requires researchers and decision makers to work together in mapping a way forward in achieving sustainable development. Bozkurta and Ergen (2014) claimed that defensive strategies are not only applicable in a war zone or military context, but marketers also use defensive strategies to protect their products and services against their competitors through effective segmentation, positioning, and branding while maximizing profits and providing value. Militaries and other security agencies too commercialize these concepts to pursue their secondary roles, one of which has been identified as a driver of socio-economic development. Infrastructure and engineering projects, harvest assistance, and educational programmes seem to be most pursued by militaries globally (Edmunds, 2006; Fluri & Shalamanov, 2003).

Furthermore, as a result of changing needs of states, militaries engage more in secondary roles, through various commercial activities and as a way of responding to market trends (Mani, 2007). Although contemporary militaries are shifting their focus due to market trends, in developing countries this shift is motivated by the need to supplement budgets in order to attain adequate equipment to be used during conflict (Mora & Wiktorowicz, 2000). It therefore becomes evident that participation in economic activities can be done by militaries that are faced with an imminent threat and those that are not, as long as there is spare capacity and a goal to achieve. This shifting focus channels the militaries into participation in other economic activities, hence my study motivation in exploring strategic ways of using the military in non-military duties to develop the community.


Bozkurta, F., & Ergenb, A. (2014). Art of war and its implications on marketing strategies: Thinking like a warrior. International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science, 3(3), 37-47.
Edmunds, T. (2006). What are armed forces for? The changing nature of military roles in Europe. International Affairs, 82(6), 1059–1075.
Mani, K. (2007). Militaries in business: State-making and entrepreneurship in the developing world. Armed Forces & Society, 33(4), 591-611.
Mora, F. O., & Wiktorowicz, Q. (2000). Economic reform and the military: China, Cuba, and Syria in comparative perspective. International Journal of Comparative Sociology, 44(2), 87-128.
Tebas, J. A. (2016, November 30). Economic Intelligence and Armed Forces: A necessary Symbiosis. Madrid, Spain: Instituto Espanol de Estudios Estrategioos.



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