Grand Strategy; World Order; NATO; Civil-Military Relations; European Security; Global Governance

How Do EU and NATO Adapt. Crises and Evolutionary Stable Strategies in a Context of Multipolarity and Great Power Competition

Keywords: World Order | NATO | Transatlantic |  Strategy | EU | Multipolarity.


In a context of great power competition, with multiple centers of power and agency, international security organizations seek to develop evolutionary stable equilibriums, which go beyond survival, containment or domination, but instead aspire to remain stable over time. Specialist literature claims that adaptation and transformation of agencies take the form of punctuated equilibrium (Gersick 1991) or incremental change (Mahoney and Thelen 2010), or that despite crises, organizations do not always adapt. Notwithstanding, the strategic underpinnings during processes or adaptation in organizational settings have been less explored. Aiming to fill this gap, this project argues that, in an era of uncertainty and great power competition, cooperative security regimes aim to become 'building blocs of order' (Mearsheimer 2019) by developing evolutionary stable strategies. This research employs data on expert perceptions (over 40 interviews and surveys conducted with high-level NATO, EU and governmental officials and other key informants) on strategies and determinants of strategic adaptation in the EU and NATO in the period from the post-Cold War until the times of Brexit and Trump.

European Security and Defence Post-Brexit. 

Keywords: Brexit | Security & Defence Regimes | Foreign Policy | Strategy | EU-NATO.

Research Outputs

Baciu, Cornelia-Adriana, Doyle, John (Eds.). 2019. Peace, Security and Defence Cooperation in Post-Brexit Europe. Cham: Springer International.

This research project aims at generating an academic discussion related to security and defence transformation in Europe after Brexit. A new strategic environment (e.g. Brexit, the rise of emergent powers), novel constellations of security threats (e.g. hybrid, cyber) and post-Trump transatlantic differences have triggered a re-thinking of the EU security and defence policy. A series of defence cooperation initiatives (e.g. PESCO) could modernise the defence capabilities and increase inter-operability between the defence forces of EU member states. Defence innovation, such as plans to build a new European fighter jet or advancements in the drone sector, could increase the capacity of EU as a security-provider to its citizens on one side and to societies in fragile states on the other side. The new capabilities might also provide that element of strategic autonomy highlighted in the EU Global Strategy 2016. Nonetheless, collective endeavours might be correlated with collective action problems. This research project explores the prospects and challenges associated with the EU security and defence landscape post-Brexit.

Change in Civil-Military Relations and Military Transformation in Insecure and Fragile States 

Keywords: Military transformation | civil-military collaboration | NGOs | hybrid security | Pakistan.

This research project generates a middle-range theory of military transformation. Applying Pakistan as a case study and a mixed-methods design, it explains how NGO-military interaction can democratise security and defence governance and discusses the factors determining institutional change and transformation of the military. Particularly in countering hybrid conflicts and threats in countries affected by multiple insecurities, NGOs and armed forces are anticipated to work together towards cumulative efforts and achievements in maintaining security and stability.  

The research findings have a series of implications for policy and research. Inter alia, they inform the European Union’s global security strategy about mechanisms promoting democratic security governance and societal resilience in fragile states affected by complex insecurities. Secondly, the results advance theories of civil-military cooperation and hybrid security. 

Completed Research Projects

PILOT-FIELD RESEARCH IN PAKISTAN. Funded by the ZEIT-Stiftung Hamburg – Conduction of preliminary interviews with leaders of civil society organisations operating in the conflict resolution sector, military staff and government officials for advancing the PhD research proposal [Islamabad, Lahore, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa] 05/2015-06/2015.

FIELD RESEARCH IN INDIA AND PAKISTAN. Funded by the Cluster of Excellence, University of Konstanz – Conduction of expert-interviews in the framework of the Master’s dissertation entitled ‘Azaadi-Alternatives in Kashmir’ [Islamabad, New Delhi, Muzaffarabad, Srinagar] 08/2011 - 09/2011.

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Institutional Affiliation

Foreign Policy Institute

Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies

Johns Hopkins University

Washington, DC

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