Vol. 7 No. 1 (2024): Journal of Intelligence, Conflict, and Warfare--Volume 7, Issue 1
Journal of Intelligence, Conflict, and Warfare--Volume 7, Issue 1

The world is facing a new era of conflict and war. While we concentrate on the lethality of state versus state war, we must increasingly consider state versus non-state conflicts as well as wars in which citizens become soldiers. These wars are fought by militias and other armed groups—such as the Wagner Group in Ukraine and the Rapid Support Forces in Sudan—who engage in action against citizens and noncombatants. 


There has been an increase in the number of conflicts globally and the nature of these conflicts brings vastly different, yet no less impactful, consequences for societies and their citizenry. In light of this shifting global security landscape—in which the domains, weapons, and impacts of war bring both kinetic and non-kinetic damage— it is time to adopt a new lens in order to understand how we must preserve stability. It is time to think in terms of new international relations theoretical perspectives to engage the multivariate threat landscape which includes new domains, new weapons, and new combatants not seen through the conventional lens.  


Critical security narratives might help us see invisible insecurities that we were not aware of and, more so, not aware we were not aware of. Those disruptors to our peaceful living which are not only unknowable and unpredictable, but also simultaneously present in our daily life. Adopting a critical view of security and society allows for the identification of the vulnerabilities that are presently unseen, those threats located in the spaces in between traditional conceptions of state-based security that seek to disrupt or harm the stability of the relationships between communities within a state and the stability of increasingly globalised societies the world over. 


In order to see these threats, we need to widen our understanding of war and kinetic violence and open it up to soft wars and the soft violence and soft harm that this form of conflict brings.  This can take the shape of civic conflict in which identity groups vie for dominance and legitimacy in both the offline and online world. Misinformation and disinformation via word bombs and meme missiles target the fabric of societies, taking aim at non-combatants and seeking to weaponize them in an effort to undermine the stable functioning of day-to-day life. The non-kinetic impact brought by soft war is, arguably, just as damaging to society as kinetic war. The long-lasting discord is experienced as increased polarisation and the limiting of the spaces, places, and patterns of social and cultural behaviours within communities. 

These wars are identity wars, fought outside the traditional lens of security, and they centre on the human infrastructure of society. 

The articles and briefings included in this new issue of the Journal of Intelligence, Conflict, and Warfare explore several key themes within the modern security threat landscape, at the state and substate level, and point to innovative strategies through which we might mitigate impacts. In the opening article, “Middle Power Cybersecurity in the Indo-pacific: An Analysis Through the Lens of Neo-middle Power Diplomacy”, Thomas J. Murphy and Dr. Stephen R. Nagy explore the shifting nature of great power competition in an increasingly online and interconnected world, noting the importance middle powers in helping the international system navigate this new terrain. On page 25, Dr. Frederick Appiah Afriyie explores the underlying factors driving the conflict in Sudan in his work “Untangling Sudan’s Discord: Decrypting the Intricate Threads of Turmoil”. Using structural violence theory, Dr. Afriyie’s piece examines the ways in which the conflict in Sudan has encompassed an invisible form of violence, resulting in conditions of severe insecurity for those on the margins of society. In addition to these insightful contributions, we are pleased to include Briefing Notes from the 2024 CASIS Vancouver Digital Roundtable Series, delivered by Dr. Simon Dalby (“Security and Climate Change: Challenges and Issues”); Dr. Scott Watson (“Intersections of Influence: Exploring the Nexus between Mass Media and Security”); Dr. Reza Hasmath (“A Peaceful Rise: How China Sees its Global Role in 2024”); Dr. Jean-Christophe Boucher (“Canadian Foreign Defence Policy: Keeping up with Changing Global Landscapes”); and Dr. Michael Soules (“The Intersections of Terrorism and Civil War”).  

As the scholarly debate about critical security issues continues to unfold, the Editorial board and I hope these critical explorations of security threats carry the discussion forward. 


Sincerely yours,


Candyce Kelshall

JICW Editor-in-Chief