The period that followed the end of the Cold War and the fall of the communist regimes of the Soviet Union and eastern and central Europe has been one of profound transformations in the international order. In a context of accentuated uncertainty and ?fuzziness?, most countries have been redefining their strategic orientations, rethinking defense policies and reshaping military organisations. In the face of a clear lack of empirically based research covering recent developments in this field in Portugal, this project aims at a global description and understanding of the transformations that have been occurring within the Portuguese Armed Forces and its relation with society during the past two decades. Using as overarching analytical frameworks the models proposed by authors such as Moskos and Wood (1988) and Moskos, Williams e Segal (2000), it specifically focuses on the adjustment strategies and social dynamics affecting the Portuguese military at three main levels: civil-military relations, organisational processes and the military profession.
In what concerns civil-military relations, transformations in the relationship between the armed forces and society will be observed in terms of its political and social aspects. Among the first, some crucial aspects are the following: defense policy (strategic orientations, mission definition and threat perception), decision-making processes in defense and military issues, political discourse on security and defense issues and military budgets/expenditure. Among the second, essential features are: public attitudes towards the military, media relations and public relations? policies of the armed forces.
As far as military organisation is concerned, we will observe the internal dynamics of change in terms of force structure and personnel accession policies, the impact of ?professionalization? and the end of conscription, female participation in the military, restructuring and reequipment policies, and ? with a special emphasis ? the participation of the Portuguese military in peace missions. Finally, at the level of the military profession the focus is on the impact of structural changes on both the general profile of the military profession and on professional identities, education and socialisation (social origins of the officer corps, education and training, professional identities, military professional representation). All three dimensions will be analysed in the light of a double contextual framework: a) in space (international comparisons and macro dynamics that frame the ongoing changes) and b) in time (evolution trends).
From the methodological point of view, the project displays a mix-methodological design, combining extensive and intensive research tools. This is why it resorts to a variety of research techniques: analysis of official documents, legislation and statistical sources; a national survey to the Portuguese public opinion on security, defense and military issues, a major survey among a representative sample of the Portuguese military, in-depth interviews to key-actors (military and political leaders and policy-makers, leaders of military associations and journalists) and also direct and participant observation within one of the new missions of the Portuguese Armed Forces.
Research conclusions will be publicly presented at a conference to be organised upon completion of the project. Results are expected to 1) pave the way for future projects, namely those aiming at developing case studies on specific topics concerning the Portuguese Armed Forces (focusing on particular services, missions, units or groups); 2) promote the integration of the Portuguese case in cross national comparative projects that may result from the participation of the PI and the other team members in international fora, and 3) to support military decision-making and policy definition in the organisational adjustment process in the making and monitoring of its future developments.