Civil–military cooperation in crisis management in Africa: American and European Union policies compared

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Cooperation between civilian and military actors has become a catchphrase in international crisis management and development policy in the 21st century. This paper examines the crisis management policies adopted in Africa by the United States and the European Union (EU), respectively. It is hypothesised that both actors’ crisis management policies are likely to be path dependent, despite recent significant changes in policy preferences. It is shown that the priority combining civilian and military resources in American crisis management is only implemented to a limited degree. It is consistent with the persistent predominance of the Pentagon and of the military instruments in US Africa policy. It illustrates the conspicuous institutional path dependency of US Africa policy, which by some is described as ‘militarised’. The EU has been able to apply both civilian and military instruments in crisis management in Africa, suggesting the policy is not path dependent. The European situation is arguably attributable to the widespread consensus among European actors that it is necessary to combine civilian and military instruments in crisis management.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of International Relations and Development
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)333-353
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Africa
  • civilian–military cooperation
  • crisis management
  • European Union
  • fragile states
  • United States

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