As I am on Leave this week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to preview the upcoming Talks in the Defence Studies Talk Series for which I have recently received titles. The first two talks by Dr Matthew Ford (@warmatters), and Lt Gen (Ret’d) Sir John Kiszely (@johnkiszely) have been incredibly well received with an audience in excess of fifty at the last Talk. Thematically, the Series will continue to look at innovation in the widest sense with an eye to the Army’s Master Question List, but suggestions from the floor regarding subject’s and speakers are always gratefully received. In September 2017, we have Professor Gary Sheffield (@ProfGSheffield) speaking on the 12th and Drs Stuart Mitchell (@SBTMitchell) and James Kitchen speaking on the 26th.
The three Talks I’d like to preview begin with the talk by Dr Dan Todman. Dan, a graduate of the LSE, received his PhD from the University of Cambridge and subsequently taught in the Dept of War Studies at RMAS. In 2003, he moved to Queen Mary University of London where he is currently a Senior Lecturer. In 2005 his book The Great War: Myth and Memory won the THES Best Young Academic Writer prize and his book Britain’s War: Into Battle 1937-41 has been shortlisted for the Longman History Today Prize 2017. Dan’s subject for the talk will be ‘…a flat spin about the flying bombs’ – the ‘V’ Weapon Offensive and Allied Reactions, June – September 1944′. His Talk will examine civil-military relations, reaction to shock, and adaptation and adaptability in contact, using Hitler’s vengeance weapons campaign in the Summer of 1944 as a case study. The Talk will move us away from a purely Army-focussed subject to discuss a joint solution to a military problem. I would therefore welcome attendance from our Light Blue and Dark Blue colleagues, to pose the really difficult questions for which the Talk Series has become well known. Dan’s talk will be on Tuesday 3rd October 2017 at 1800 hrs at the Prince Consort’s Library, Aldershot.
Our next speaker, is Dr Jacqueline Hazelton. Jill Hazelton is a graduate of the University of Chicago, receiving her PhD from Brandeis University. Before returning to academia, Jill had a successful career as a journalist for the Associated Press, assigned to posts in New York, Washington, and Tokyo. Jill is currently an Assistant Professor in Strategy and Policy at the United States Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island. Her recent article, ‘The Hearts and Minds Fallacy: Violence, Coercion, and Success in Counterinsurgency Warfare’ published in the Journal of International Security has been very well-received, but has proved controversial, challenging conventional wisdom and asking whether coercion is more likely to lead to a successful outcome in counterinsurgency than the creation of good governance. Her Talk entitled, ‘Counterinsurgency: Fighting for a Better Peace’, will follow the theme of her recent article arguing that coercion is indeed more likely to bring a successful outcome to a counter-insurgency campaign than more population-centric tactics. Jill will be both the first woman, and the first foreign, speaker to deliver a Talk in the series, I would encourage more of both to come and speak, drop me a line if you are interested and can address your subject to current military problems. Jill’s Talk will take place on Tuesday 10th October 2017 at 1800 hrs in the Prince Consort’s Library, Aldershot.
The third of my previews will be delivered by Dr John Greenacre. John Greenacre retired from the British Army as a Major in the Army Air Corps in 2011 after a twenty-four year career. He holds an MA from Cranfield University in Military Studies and received his PhD from the University of Leeds. John is a Lecturer in History at the University of Suffolk and will be the first ‘soldier-scholar’ to deliver a Talk in the Series. His PhD thesis, ‘The Capability Development of Britain’s Airborne Forces during the Second World War’ was published in 2010 by Pen & Sword Books under the title ‘Churchill’s Spearhead’. John’s talk subject will be, ‘Flexible Enough to Adapt’: British Airborne Forces’ Experience during Post-Conflict Operations 1944-1946.’ The Talk will examine the experience of British airborne engaged on ‘stabilisation operations’ either side of the end of the Second World War, namely Greece 1944, Norway 1945 and Java 1946. John will also look at whether there are common threads to the experience of all three operations, how the airborne forces committed coped with them, and what we can learn from their experience in the era of hybrid warfare. John’s Talk will be held at Prince Consort’s Library, Aldershot on Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 1800 hrs.
Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to you all for supporting the War Talks/Defence Studies Talk Series (be sure to vote in the Twitter poll!), and this Blog. The other day, Major James Elliott, a real friend of this project, discovered a tag line which I think encapsulates the spirit of both the Blog and the Series, ‘Training prepares for the Known: Education prepares for the Unknown’. I would encourage anyone reading this, particularly our young NCOs, to seek out the expertise of the ETS Branch and look to improve their professional military knowledge now. It is too late to learn when you are deployed; trust me, you’ll wish you had.
‘If your Officer’s dead and the Sergeants look white,
Remember it’s ruin to run from a fight: So take open order, lie down, and sit tight,
And wait for supports like a soldier’
All the best,