Modern warfare history book – “Military Cultures in Peace and Stability Operations” (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) – Chiara Ruffa interview – MHIO Episode 20

Dr. Chiara Ruffa has recently published a book about military culture. It’s based on her research with French and Italian military units that had deployed to Lebanon and Afghanistan. I spoke to her about the book.

2:20 – In 2006, Chiara was working for the UN in the Central African Republic in support of the peacekeeping mission. This inspired her interest in the topic this book is about and in her graduate studies.

4:04 – While the book focuses on current events, it traces the military cultures of France and Italy from the 19th century. These cultures affects how militaries carry out their mandates.

8:00 – Peacekeeping operations are a very particular type of operation in that there is much more latitude in interpreting the mission and how to carry it out.   This is important because of the high volume of peacekeeping operations being carried out.

13:53 –Chiara would like multi-national forces to be more open in talking about cultural characteristics of units that are deployed.

17:00 – Military culture is most important at the service level.

25:00 – NATO has standardized much of the ways in which peacekeeping is done however cultures create variations.

26:05 – French military culture has revolved around assertiveness since the Revolution. But this was modified when de Gaulle in 1962 reaffirmed the idea of civilian control over the military.

30:18 – Italy had a shift in military culture that was affected by WWII and by the Cold War. Italian officers push for using the Italian military for peacekeeping. Italy has a change in the culture in the 1990s.

34:13 – Chiara’s first problem in the research was how she would collect data on these militaries. She didn’t have much access to begin with. She started by going to Lebanon and working with French and Italian troops.

46:50 – Chiara had to learn about military organizations from scratch when she started her research.

48:30 – Chiara still wonders how cultures shape Standard Operating Procedures.

1:01:00 – The book will hopefully cross the gap between security studies and peace studies in Europe.

1:05:45 – She’s on twitter at Ruffa.Chiara.

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Guests: Chiara Ruffa

Host: Cris Alvarez

Tags: military, history, military history, conflict, war, interview, non-fiction book, France, Italy, Afghanistan, Lebanon, peacekeeping, stability, operations