Upon first appearing, a new journal usually carries, together with a profession of faith in the goals it intends to pursue, a presentation of the motives uppermost in the minds of those who launch it, and of the circumstances that made the launch possible. This new journal will not deviate from standard practice on this score.
Res Militaris is an old project. The idea was, and still is, to provide European social science research in the military field, broadly defined, with a publication outlet, and thus to open a dialogue with long-established American journals which have so far dominated it. The concept which the present writer first envisaged, in late 1996 (with constructive feedback from Wilfried von Bredow, Christopher Dandeker and David Segal), involved a trilingual (English, French, German), European paper journal. For want of adequate support, that project remained on the shelf for over a decade.
However, faith and persistence eventually carried the day. Technology, in the form of electronic publishing, the support and determination of a former doctoral student, Laure Bardiès, and seminal funding from the Fondation Saint-Cyr suddenly changed the equation in 2009, and put the project back on track. Luck had it that some fifty personalities drawn from sixteen countries - scholars, officers, journalists - answered the call and accepted to sit on the editorial board and patronage committee that a self-respecting scientific journal requires. In the meantime, the option of a trilingual review had been dropped as too heavy to sustain, and the linguistic diversity of Europe reduced to English and French. It was likewise decided that the pace of electronic publication would involve three issues a year, plus possibly special thematic issues. Res Militaris shall be open-access as long as the Fondation Saint-Cyr's generous support is available.
The military field's substantive domain is vast, and the journal shall exclude none of its numerous facets. Its purpose is to advance scientific thinking on the role, place and legitimacy of military force in today's world, the change affecting its uses, causes or reasons as well as consequences, and the functional and sociopolitical aspects of martial institutions. An interdisciplinary social science review, Res Militaris shall invite contributions from sociologists, political scientists, historians, geographers, economists, anthropologists, psychologists, philosophers, law and management scholars alike. Also welcome shall be submissions from practitioners or witnesses of military action - service members, defence correspondents, diplomats, national or international senior civil servants, and NGO activists.
The readership targeted is diverse, and the editors' hope is that it will be broad in both geographical and professional terms. The journal is meant, of course, for scholars specializing in the topics addressed, and their doctoral or graduate students. It also caters for the needs of officers, journalists, diplomats, civil servants, cadres of political parties, public or private international organizations, or associations for whom such substantive issues are of special interest. Over and beyond those groups, the review aspires to reach out to educated citizens eager to grasp the many-faceted change which affects the use of force in our world.
But better perhaps than a long drawn-out programmatic discourse, the contents of this inaugural issue will give readers some idea of what Res Militaris is all about.