This course is discontinued

STV9220 – Alliances, Coalitions and the Use of Force

Course content

After the end of the Cold War, inter-state conflicts have been rare. Instead, alliances and coalitions, especially NATO, have used force against states and other actor’s in the international system; in Kuwait 1991, Bosnia and Kosovo during the 1990s, Afghanistan from 2001, Iraq from 2003, Libya in 2011, and ISIS from 2014. The results have been mixed, and the problems of coalition warfare have been plentiful. Many factors have impeded efficient coalition operations, for example a low level of interoperability, national caveats, cultural differences, civil-military friction, and lack of strategic thinking.

For PhD students writing dissertations on different aspects of the use of force the course will be very useful. The course will also be open to selected and invited specialists who are not in a PhD study program, such as military officers, and officials working in defence and foreign ministries. This will ensure a fruitful interaction between academics and practitioners. The students will also have the opportunity to participate in a conference on strategy at the Norwegian Defence University College with renowned international scholars and practitioners as speakers.

Learning outcome

The aim of the course is to scrutinize the advantages and disadvantages of using military force for political purposes through alliances and coalitions, and how to study alliance behaviour and coalition warfare scientifically.


PhD candidates at UiO: Apply for the course in StudentWeb.
Other candidates: Application form

Application deadline: 5 May 2017

There is no participation fee, but the cost of travel and accommodation, if needed, must be covered by the participants. Applicants will be notified about the outcome of their application as quickly as possible after the deadline.

If you have questions regarding admission, please contact Guro Schmidt Øvregard


Time: 12 - 16 June 2017
Venue: room 830, Department of Political Science, University of Oslo

The course participants will attend a strategy conference at the Norwegian Defence University College, the 13th and 14th June, Building 10, located at Akershus Fortress in central Oslo.

Confirmed speakers at the conference are

  • General (R) Charles Cleveland (US Army), Dr. Antulio Echevarria (US Army War College),
  • Dr. Jakub Grygiel (School of Advanced International Studies, SAIS),
  • Dr. Harald Høiback (the Norwegian Defence University College),
  • Dr. Peter Jackson (Scottish Center for War Studies),
  • Dr. Benjamin Jensen (US Marine Corps University),
  • General (R) John Kiszley (British Army),
  • Dr. Kersti Larsdotter (the Norwegian Defence University College),
  • Dr. Janne Haaland Matlary (University of Oslo and the Norwegian Defence University College),
  • LtCdr Thomas Slensvik (the Norwegian Defence University College),
  • Dr. Hew Strachan (St Andrews University), Dr. Martin Zapfe (ETH, Zürich),
  • Dr. Jan Ångström (Swedish Defence University).


The required literature, approximately 900 pages, will be discussed at the seminars (see the schedule for detailed information), and the students must therefore be prepared to introduce the literature at the seminars.

The discussions during the seminars will revolve around different kinds of research design, epistemological and ontological issues, sources, etc.

Three questions will be of central importance when discussing the literature:

  1. What is the research problem and how well is it formulated?
  2. How is the research problem converted into a research design/strategy, and how well- founded is the research design (are there, for example, alternative designs and why so)?
  3. How rigorous are the results as regards validity, reliability, alternative interpretations, etc.


  • Kersti Larsdotter, Associate Professor of Strategy and Doctrine, Norwegian Defence University College, and Associate Professor of War Studies, Swedish Defence University
  • Janne Haaland Matlary, Professor of Political Science, University of Oslo and Adjunct Professor at the Norwegian Defence University College.
  • Magnus Petersson, Professor of Modern History at the Norwegian Institute of Defence Studies, and Associate Professor of History at Stockholm University.


Active participation in seminar discussions and completion of an analytical essay (7,500–10,000 words), either a review on a topic that is consistent with the course’s purpose or a draft research design for a PhD project, is required to pass the course. The essays shall be sent to Janne Haaland Matlary and Magnus Petersson no later than September 1st, 2017.

Facts about this course






Spring 2017

12-16 June 2017


Essay (7500 - 10000 Words)

Submission deadline: 1 September 2017

Teaching language