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Disruptive Innovation through Military Design : a Collaboration between the US Joint Special Operations University and the Polish Army


[ 1 ] Instytut Sztuki Operacyjnej i Taktyki, Wydział Wojskowy, Akademia Sztuki Wojennej | [ P ] employee

Scientific discipline (Law 2.0)

[6.3] Security studies

Year of publication


Published in

Special Operations Journal

Journal year: 2020 | Journal volume: vol. 6 | Journal number: nr 2

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • Design theory
  • Innovation
  • Military design
  • Military education
  • Military strategy

PL This article presents a five-year journey for the Polish Armed Forces and U.S. Special Operations Command’s Joint Special Operations University in establishing military design education, theory, and practice within the Polish military. Military design is presented as a significant development in defense theory that draws from complexity theory, systems theory, scenario planning, postmodern theory as well as social paradigm theory as applied to security contexts and war. Military design is a recent development and in part a reaction to traditional, mechanistic, and linear planning and strategy methodologies becoming insufficient in contemporary security environments. The increasing complexity of modern security challenges coupled with institutional barriers to challenging well-established military doctrine, decision-making methodologies, and belief systems concerning war and warfare have ushered “military design” to the forefront of numerous militaries; designing for war is not without controversy and debate over methodological application and relation to existing warfare methods. JSOU and a small team of Polish Army educators would work in tandem to implement military design theory as currently provided within the SOCOM enterprise to international partner nations such as the Polish Armed Forces and Polish Special Forces. The JSOU andragogic approach to design education emphasizes building design facilitation capacity within the partnered organization, and this article explains the five-year process to stand up Polish-centric design concepts and customized education oriented toward Polish security challenges and attuned to cultural as well as geopolitical considerations.

Date of online publication


Pages (from - to)

139 - 160




License type


Ministry points / journal


Ministry points / journal in years 2017-2021