Legitimacy: The Lynchpin of Military Success in Complex Battlespaces
Forthcoming, Thomas Ayres and Jeffrey Thurnher, Legitimacy: The Linchpin of Military Success in Complex Battlespaces, in Complex Battlespaces: The Law of Armed Conflict and the Dynamics of Modern Warfare (2018).
30 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2018
Date Written: January 4, 2018
The need for legitimacy is among the key reasons Nation-States willingly yield sovereignty and adhere to the law of armed conflict. This chapter examines the importance of legitimacy to States and the ways States seek to garner it through their military operations. To fully detail the importance of legitimacy to forces operating on complex battlefields, this chapter is organized into the following subparts. The initial section explores how legitimacy is increasingly recognized and understood to be a foundational principle of war. It surveys the ways legitimacy is stressed in military doctrine and public pronouncements. Next the article details how modern militaries, by their actions, improve the legitimacy of their States’ military operations. It focuses particularly on military uses of transparent investigations and, as required, prosecutions of misconduct on the battlefield. Then the paper delves into an analysis of external pressures affecting States’ abilities to frame legitimacy. Finally, the article concludes with findings that legitimacy is essential to success on the complex battlefield and that States are justified in pushing back against the ongoing trend of outside interference on States’ abilities to establish the boundaries of the law of armed conflict.
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