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FrontlineCombat and Cohesion in Twenty-First Century$
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Anthony King

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198719663

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198719663.001.0001

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Beyond the Battlefield

Beyond the Battlefield

(p.291) 14 Beyond the Battlefield

Christopher Dandeker

Simon Wessely

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the effects of social factors beyond the battlefield and their effects on military performance in twenty-first-century military operations. It focuses on the effects of social and legal norms on the combatant status of soldiers and the implications for their military performance. An overarching theme in the discussion concerns the ideas of the soldiers’ ‘contract of unlimited liability’ with the state and ‘the duty of care’ of the state, which has both moral and legal connotations: a moral obligation of governments (and the public) to provide medical and other support for their soldiers in operations, and legal requirements, breaches of which are justiciable and action may arise from this consideration by soldiers and/or their families. This distinction between the moral and legal aspects of the duty of care lies at the heart of debates about the meaning of the ‘military covenant’ in the UK.

Keywords:   duty of care, military covenant, medical support

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