The Lynchpin of Military Success in Complex Battlespaces
Legitimacy is a critical factor in operations. States strive to maintain legitimacy of their operations for a variety of reasons. The essence of legitimacy on the battlefield is conducting operations in a manner that enables the fighting force to gain and maintain moral and legal authority. Whenever fighting takes place on a cluttered or complex battlespace, legitimacy is brought to the forefront as the potential for civilian harm is often increased. The desire for legitimacy is perhaps the main reason States voluntarily cede sovereignty to comply with international law. Adherence to the law of armed conflict is a necessary and key component of legitimacy. States, as the primary developers and adherents of international law, created the current law of armed conflict construct and are responsible for ensuring its continued viability. States understand that legitimacy and compliance with the law help shape ultimate victory in complex battlespaces. States further recognize that the law of armed conflict only functions properly when there is a delicate balance between the fundamental principles of humanity and military necessity. In recent years, however, States have been subject to attempts from external entities to tilt this balance in favor of humanitarian considerations and to reshape what are considered legitimate actions on complex battlefields. Simultaneously, States have confronted non-State actors that intentionally seek to flout international law and use it to undermine States’ abilities to respond. This chapter examines the importance of legitimacy to States and the reasons States seek to garner it through their military operations.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.