The military role in filling the security gap after armed conflict: Three cases

Peter Neuteboom, J.M.M.L. Soeters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


During stabilization operations, the host nation and the international community are often confronted with a security gap, which could be a prelude to an explosive growth of crime and public disorder. In the absence of a functioning local police, an alternative is that the (international) military temporarily intervenes as interim police. This article analyzes how the Netherlands’ military performed during security gaps in three (post)conflict areas: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Iraq. It concludes that army units frequently were involved in interim policing and de facto operated as hybrid organizations, without leaving the military paradigm behind. Policing is generally not seen as a primary task of the military, however. To adapt to the reality of security gaps and to increase the operational effectiveness in the field of public security, the military would benefit from reflecting on their current military paradigm and on what they could learn from current policing practices.
Keywords: stabilization operations, security gap, public security, interim policing, policing by the military
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-733
JournalArmed Forces and Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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