The Experts’ IR Roundup in Zurich – Part 2

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The MAS ETH SPCM is offered in cooperation with leading academic partner institutions (Photo: ETH Zurich)

Our colleagues at the Center for Security Studies (CSS) recently hosted the “Security and Resources” module of their Master of Advanced Studies in Security Policy and Crisis Management program. Practitioners and scholars from around the world traveled to Zurich to discuss issues such as grand strategy, security policy development, crisis leadership and risk management. Given the fertile nature of these discussions, ISN staff members took the opportunity to speak to the lecturers and a Swiss course participant about five security-related issues currently on their minds. The following podcasts present their personal preoccupations and opinions.

1. Security Sector Reform

In our first podcast, the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces’ Albrecht Schnabel argues that Security Sector Reform (SSR) is still a relatively young concept. As a result, it attracts diverging views on what it can and should be able to achieve.

These differing views notwithstanding, most analysts agree that SSR ultimately has a dual role – reform and oversight. Fulfilling these types roles can be challenging however, as Dr. Schnabel’s illustrates in his discussion of SSR efforts by the UN and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Indeed, despite the good faith efforts of many, there invariably have been instances where SSR has failed.

2. Crisis and Conflict Management

In this podcast, Ambassador Thomas Greminger considers some of the challenges facing crisis and conflict managers in today’s complex threat environments.

Military Sociologist Karl W Haltiner then elaborates on these challenges and offers his perspective on how they might impact existing security institutions and civil-military relations.

3. Space

Colonel Claude Meier considers the importance of access to the space domain for small landlocked countries like Switzerland.

4. Defense Economics

Peter T. Baltes offers his perspectives on defense economics and some of the major problems associated with market allocation.

He then goes on to offer various solutions that might help resolve these allocation problems. (Further information on defense economics, by the way, can be accessed here.)

5. Security Policy

In our final podcast, the University of Greenwich’s Steven Haines argues that the post-Cold War security environment has provided NATO members the opportunity to engage more systematically with the current laws governing the use of force.

One consequence of this engagement is that military operations are increasingly being guided by a complex web of legal frameworks.

Podcasts from the CSS’s third module of the MAS Security Policy and Crisis Management program can also be found here.

For more information about the MAS Security Policy and Crisis Management program please visit the MAS SPCM website.



Valerie joined the ISN in April 2011. She holds a master's degree in political science from Leiden University. Valerie previously worked for an information and communication technology consultancy and served as Voter Education Officer and Political Affairs Officer for the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste. She speaks German, English, French and Bahasa

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