Research at the IRSEM

With the Research Institute being at the heart of the Military School, the IRSEM is unique in that it serves as an interface between the world of defence and the university life. In this capacity, it aims to develop a study centre on the theme of war in France.

The IRSEM sends its researchers all over the world to set up and conduct their fields of research. The IRSEM researchers produce :

- internal research meeting the needs expressed by Ministry of Defence organisations.

- external research intended for the scientific community, published in the IRSEM collections or in peer-reviewed books and journals in French and English.

Although it is divided in 5 domains, l'équipe de recherche works on cross-related topics by putting emphasis on an interdisciplinary approach. It is made up of about thirty permanent researchers and is strengthened each year by the presence of post-doctoral, doctoral students, apprentices and research assistants.


Research topics


Economic and environmental approaches to conflicts

This research area relies on quantitative approaches (economic and statistical analytical tools) to understand the dynamics encountered in armed conflicts. It also dwells on the multifaceted relationship and interdependence between the environment and conflicts. Indeed, the environment strongly impacts the dynamics of conflicts meanwhile conflicts significantly damage the environment. This interdependence is analysed using a double analysis: the environment as a conflict-causing factor (as a result of climate change, competition to access of natural resources, etc.) and the assessment of the direct and indirect impact of the conflicts on the environment.

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Technological challenges related to armed conflicts

This topic refers to the impact technological changes can cause on the dynamics of armed conflicts as well as defence strategies and security policies. To achieve this, research is conducted on a plethora of thematic, such as operational defence (automation, robotisation, knowledge on the environment, etc.), new threats and vulnerabilities (cyber, greater access to technologies, networked systems, etc.) or mutations of industrial defensive tools (digitisation, dual-use nature of technology, etc.).

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Regional studies

At IRSEM, regional studies are separated within two global geographical and at time, transversal fields. On the one hand, the “Northern Regional Issues” (QR North) covers Europe, the United States, Russia, the post-Soviet region, China, Japan and the Korean Peninsula. On the other hand, “Southern Regional Issues” (QR South) focuses on the Arab world, Africa and South Asia. As far as transversal issues are concerned, the QR North area monitors power developments, influence and manipulation of information strategies. Moreover, it also focuses on the role of the army as well as the evolution of conflict during certain political regimes. The QR South area is interested in political authoritarianism and economic liberalisation in emerging countries. It also analyses the role and status of armies and security devices in the proper functioning of contemporary Arab states as well as ideologies, nationalism and the reinstatement of the regional interstate equilibrium.

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Defence social science, military sociology

This research area covers a range of issues related to the sociology of the military world, including its relationship with civil society and the impact of societal developments. Among these issues, we can identify the changes encountered in the sociology of military personnel, the links between army forces and political decisions as well as the values and the importance of socialisation.

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Confliction Transformation

This field of study focuses on any issue linked to modern developments among multiple forms of conflicts, including armed conflicts. It covers a large array of areas, such as nuclear power, international law, military history, cyber defence, intelligence, but also terrorism in the context of asymmetrical warfare.

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