Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL2082: The Changing Character of Warfare

This module descriptor refers to the 2016/7 academic year.


NQF Level 5
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr David Blagden (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


This module will provide you with an overview of the “Western” way of warfare and its evolution since the end of the Cold War. While conventional warfare between states is presently sporadic, policy documents such as the NATO Strategic Concept and the UK’s National Security Strategy underline the sustained build-up of conventional military capabilities in many regions and states throughout the globe. These conventional elements of military power are now progressively accompanied by a rise in asymmetric warfare challenges, such as terrorist and insurgent violence. Emerging societal trends, such as the professionalization of the armed forces, as well as emerging technologies, such as electronic warfare and network-enabled capabilities, meanwhile, have the potential to challenge existing balances of power, change the conduct of war and the nature of civil-military relations. States seeking security are expected to keep abreast of such changes whilst, for many, dealing with the realities of terrorism, violent state collapse and low-intensity warfare around the globe has also become a daily challenge.

No pre-requisite or co-requisite modules are required in order to register for this module. It will provide you with a basic introduction to the nature of war as an instrument of foreign and defence policy and how this role has evolved over the last several decades. It will also provide you with a basic understanding of the role and of the effects that war has in contemporary international relations. As such, this module is suitable for both specialist and non-specialist students who are interested in studying war and the changing character of warfare from an inter-disciplinary perspective, thus, rendering it suitable for interdisciplinary pathways.

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