Civilian crisis management is an ambiguous element of the European Union's Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). To some degree, this is a problem of language: ‘civilian crisis management’, as a term, is broad and difficult to define. Potentially, it denotes any policy or instrument directed at the management of crises that is not a military policy or a military instrument – a description that raises more questions about the definition of ‘military’ and ‘non-military’ than it answers. As a subject, civilian crisis management is particular to the EU and has no parallel in the lexicons of UN, OSCE or non-European regional organizations.