Human security in Defence (JSP 985)

Joint Service Publication 985 provides direction for the incorporation of a human security approach into military operations.


Human security in Defence (JSP 985)


JSP 985 is the authoritative policy on human security in defence. This is an update to the previous 2021 publication, and builds on JSP 1325: Human Security in Military Operations, published in January 2019.

As the world becomes more dangerous we must remain prepared to deter our enemies, lead our allies and defend our nation. Our updated policy recognises that conflict does not exist in a vacuum, and that populations are not passive bystanders. The impact of conflict on civilian populations and the geopolitical consequences often have a bearing on our own security, prosperity, reputations and partnerships.

In an increasingly congested and urbanised world, we must be prepared to navigate this context while minimising harm to civilians, knowing that adversaries are willing to weaponise human insecurity for their own gain.

A human security approach ensures context and gender-sensitive planning, facilitating a deeper understanding of communities’ vulnerabilities and the operating environment while delivering more conflict-sensitive outcomes and minimising harm to civilians. It builds upon the UK’s existing obligations under international humanitarian law and our UN commitments, including relevant UN Security Council Resolutions. Defence recognises the moral, legal and strategic imperatives for advancing human security to benefit individuals and enhance mission success.

JSP 985 sets out the conceptual framework for this policy, and contains advice and direction as to how UK defence can integrate the following human security themes into operational work:

  • protection of civilians
  • women, peace and security (including conflict-related sexual violence)
  • children and armed conflict
  • cultural property protection
  • building integrity and countering corruption
  • modern slavery and human trafficking
Published 15 December 2021
Last updated 9 July 2024 + show all updates
  1. Updated 'Human security in Defence (JSP 985)'.

  2. First published.