International Society of Military Sciences


Please note that this is a personal site.  For the official site, see

Origins and Evolution of the Society

    Since the end of the Cold War the staff colleges and defence academies of the world have been increasingly focused on education for the new unknowns, rather than training for the certainties that passed with the fall of the Berlin Wall. As more of them sought to offer bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, many institutions found themselves without a comfortable peer group, being unlike the civilian universities to which they looked for models and accreditation.  As the civilian and military faculty of these institutions came under pressure to research and publish, they needed contacts with a larger military academic community. 

    The Society was first conceived as an association of defence universities by Allard Wagemaker and Alexander Bon in 2007.  The first meeting of seven national institutions and the Baltic Defence College took place in Amsterdam, May 2008.  Because of the legal implications of the word “association” the alternative “society” was accepted.

Council Meeting at the Marine Barracks, Amsterdam, May 2008

clockwise from left: Walter Feichtinger (Austria), John Olsen (Norway), Fleming Hansen (Denmark), Hannu Kari (Finland), Joan van Aken (NL), Gerry Larsson (Sweden). Also present were: Allard Wagemaker (NL), Benedikt Hensellek (Austria), Alexander Bon (NL), Rene Moelker (NL), Thomas Jaramicius (Baltic Defence College)

    The 8 May 2008 meeting in Amsterdam resulted in a list of working groups and subjects of interest, and a draft letter of intent. It was agreed that the mission of the organization would be “To build a network for the creation and diffusion of research and knowledge about war, conflict management and peace support efforts.”  Conferences, workshops, a newsletter, and points of contact within each institution would be the focus of the organization’s activities.  The name “International Society of Military Sciences” was accepted secretarially after the meeting in preparation for signing the letter of intent at Copenhagen in the margins of the Conference of Nordic Commandants and two conferences sponsored by the Royal Danish Defence College.

Members of the Council, the Conference of Nordic Commandants, and the Royal Danish Defence College Military History Conference at Copenhagen, October 2008.

    Deans or Commandants signed the letter of Intent at Copenhagen on 22 October 2008, and the Council met again to develop guidelines for governance.  The Presidency of the Society was to rotate between member states annually, with the incumbent institution responsible for a conference at the end of its mandate.  It would establish a board to manage the annual conference, consisting of the President, President-elect, and other appointments deemed necessary.  The Council would also appoint chairs of Research Working Groups, which would aim to hold at least one workshop a year. 

    At the third meeting of the Council, held at the Landesverteidigungsakademie in Vienna, 3 March 2009, Working Group Chairmen were asked to assemble lists of ongoing research within their institutions and areas of interest, and plans were advanced for the first annual conference, to be held at the Royal Marine Barracks in Amsterdam in November, on the theme, “Security in 2020 in a Multipolar World”.  The web site for the Society was developed by the Royal Netherlands Defence Academy and a roster of researchers and subject experts was initiated. 

Members of the Netherlands Staff College Course at the War Studies Panel of the First Annual Conference (see notes from conference)

    The first year of the Society culminated with a successful international conference sponsored by the Royal Netherlands Defence Academy, and held at the Marine Barracks, Amsterdam, on 25-26 November 2009.  The Council met for the fourth time on the afternoon of 24 November, discussing both the conference and the future of the Society.  Expansion of Council membership was an issue which had divided members of the council from outset.  While individual members are welcomed from any country or institution, it was agreed that institutional membership and representation on the Council would remain limited to the founding eight institutional members, while expansion to include new institutions would be investigated under the upcoming Swedish presidency, with decisions to be on a consensus basis at the 2010 annual conference.

Notes and Minutes from the Council Meetings

This links to a password-protected page for use by Council Members to preserve institutional memory; email me if you are a council member and need access to these notes



October 2008


May 2008


November 2009