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Civil-military interaction

Interaction of civil/civilian and military strategic options and a comprehensive approach building on both is not new to European security. Also in the Cold War, strategies linked military and civil approaches to security, such as NATO’s combined approach of deterrence (military posture) and détente (political negotiations), following the Harmel Report of 1967. Already the North Atlantic Treaty of 1948 establishing NATO had linked, and continues to link until today, a military dimension (common defence) and a civil dimension (such as development of peaceful relations and economic exchange among its member states, and political consultation - including the possibility to declare a common position - on security issues of common concern).

  • In the context of the EU and its Common Security and Defence Policy, civil-military interaction is typical conceived of the following two dimensions:
    • Civil-military co-ordination (CMCO) at political-strategic level: A coherent approach within the EU internal framework to a crisis management concept for a current case. Civil-military coordination reaches beyond functional aspects and follows the idea of shared responsibility.
    • Civil-military co-operation (CIMIC) at tactical-operational level: Harmonized interaction in the field with the environment and other actors to best perform crisis management functions.
  • As a broader concept, civil-military relations refer to the civil military elements in national policy, as part of security governance. It includes the idea of continuous balanced dialogue between the military and civil sectors.

While in the early 1990s, civil-military interaction was conceived of a succession of actors and instruments in crisis management (first military intervention, then civil recovery and reconstruction). By the late 1990s, the idea had changed to a mixed approach, following the need for multifunctional forces and mixed capabilities in complex emergencies. In the early 2002s, the concept of civil-military interaction was developed further to adopt a focus on effects-based operations rooted in a broad variety of capabilities of different kind, defined, developed and deployed together.


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