DR DAVID WHETHAM The military profession, as with all professions, is defined and governed in large part by its ethic; the rules and behaviours by which its members conduct themselves. Any professional military force, anywhere in the world, sees itself as distinct from a ‘mere’ group of mercenaries or long-term contractors, and that self-identity is… Read More Why Does Ethics Matter for the Military?
PROFESSOR WYN BOWEN The National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) 2015 has brought deterrence back to centre stage for the United Kingdom more than at any other time since the end of the Cold War. The primary context for this in SDSR 2015 is the resurgence of state based threats. This… Read More SDSR and the Return of Deterrence
DR KENNETH PAYNE In a new paper, Kareem Ayoub and I explore how Artificial intelligence will shape strategy. Here, I focus on one important aspect of that: the ability of leaders to control the use of force. Technology is sometimes seen as a threat to the British military’s philosophy of mission command. When it works… Read More Artificial Intelligence versus mission command
DR TIM BENBOW The Strategic Defence and Security Review presented a mixed picture for maritime capabilities. On balance, those at the top of the Royal Navy are likely to be raising a glass to toast the result… but the glass is perhaps only half full. Moreover (and I am trying to keep my cliché count… Read More NSS/SDSR 2015: The Maritime Issues
by Dr ROBERT T. FOLEY After many leaks, the full report of the National Security Strategy and Strategy and Defence Security Review 2015 (NSS/SDSR 2015) has been launched and released by the Government. In many ways, NSS/SDSR 2015 is a marked improvement on the NSS and SDSR of 2010 and is a demonstration of a… Read More NSS/SDSR 2015: The Missing Link
DR EDWARD HAMPSHIRE This seems, at first glance, to be a highly unusual defence review: there have been announcements of additional spending – on special-forces and on drones, of the re-creation of lost capabilities with the purchase of maritime patrol aircraft, and of the establishment of two new rapid response brigades, two new Typhoon squadrons,… Read More NSS/SDSR 2015: The 2015 SDSR in context: a very unusual defence review?
DR DAVID MORGAN-OWEN The government’s SDSR 2015 proudly proclaims to be ‘transforming the Royal Navy’s ability to project our influence overseas’ by providing for not only the two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, but also an increased number of F35s to fly from them. Commissioning both vessels is certainly a bold statement of intent on… Read More NSS/SDSR 2015: A Balanced Fleet: An Historical Perspective
by DR HUW J. DAVIES “Events, dear boy, events.” So said Harold MacMillan when asked what the single biggest impediment to the development of a coherent strategy. Unexpected events have derailed many defence reviews in recent years. The Nott Review was rendered almost immediately irrelevant by the Argentinian invasion of the Falkland Islands. Options for… Read More NSS/SDSR 2015: Rapid Strike Response to Rapid Strike Brigades – A Historian’s Initial Thoughts
DR CHRIS TUCK Strategy is, by its nature, difficult. Those things that characterise strategy – the fact, for example, that it is framed in relation to a thinking, adaptive adversary – make it relentlessly difficult to do well. This blog focuses on identifying four specific challenges that can arise in the framing of strategy. I… Read More Strategy Traps
by DR HUW J. DAVIES Research on how militaries learn, adapt, innovate and transform has been gathering pace in recent years. The primary motivation for this emerging interest has been the need to understand the means and methods by which the US Army innovated or transformed during its campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. Further studies… Read More Conference Report: Military Education and Empire.