I’m sure you will have inferred from my prolonged absence that the period since Christmas has been incredibly busy for me. I last wrote in my Blog at the end of January, so this is going to be one of those catch up pieces where I tell you what I’ve been up to and what I have planned for the next few months; needless to say the first quarter of 2019 has been a whirlwind. In January, I was working full-time at RUSI in London, living in Aldershot, and spending most of my time writing, none of that is now true and it makes me a little sad. The only thing that hasn’t changed is Brexit, that will still be rumbling on when I finish my next posting!
I suppose all good things have to come to an end; working full-time at RUSI was an absolute honour. I loved working in Whitehall, learning from the incredibly informed young people in the Institute, and being mentored by people like Peter Roberts and Ewan Lawson. I like to think I have made real friends amongst the researchers, friends for life. In the period from New Year until the end of March, I was fortunate to have articles published in the Wavell Room and by the Modern War Institute at West Point, to work on a RUSI Journal article with the superb Ali Stickings, and a chapter for a special report to be published by RUSI in May 19. I was also immensely privileged to be allowed to go to Georgia as a representative of RUSI to teach at the Defence Academy in Tbilisi alongside Ewan Lawson. I think I made the most of my academic placement, I’m still full of ideas for articles on such topics as Mission Command, the Changing Character of Warfare, and Adaptability amongst others, I will get round to them, one thing RUSI has taught me is to keep writing! The good news is that I am still working part-time at RUSI, assisting the Land Warfare Fellow, Jack Watling, with the RUSI Land Warfare Conference 2019.
In March I was formally assigned to the Army Media Centre at Andover, where I am the SO3 Media Ops (Digital), its a great job working with a great bunch of people. I love that I am able to use my head and be creative and that I’m able to run projects for the wider Engagement and Communications at the same time as doing my day job. In addition to the projects publicising CGS’s Innovation Prize and ensuring streaming is available for the Army at the RUSI Land Warfare Conference, I am also able to help deliver Battlefield Studies for UCL’s Institute of Education, HQ 3rd (UK) Division, and the Yorkshire Regiment, lecture to groups such as HQ Directorate of Special Forces, my Corps’ WOs and Sgts’ Conference and the Chief’s of Staff of the FINABEL nations, and organise and run the War Talks series, our 35th talk is on Tuesday! I hope to announce the details of the six Talks in the Fifth Season this weekend, what I can divulge tonight is that it will be an all-female season, particularly apt in the centenary year of Lady Astor’s arrival in Parliament. Additionally, I will be running the British Army Military Book of the Year competition in 2019 on behalf of the COS of Army Education; the Competition opens on the 23rd April and we have seven books for the judges to consider. Judges come from all across Defence ranking from Trooper to Colonel, Regular and Reserve.
Those of you that know me will also know that my real passion is Professional Military Education (PME). Ewan Lawson and I have been discussing this for some time and I was fortunate to be able to organise a RUSI roundtable event with Maj General Mullen, the Commanding General of the USMC’s Training and Education Command, it was clear that the appetite for a more twenty-first century approach to PME is not just an aspiration in the UK nor is it seen as officer sport. The times they are a changing! To that end, I’m hoping to run more events with a PME theme for RUSI in the late Summer of 2019. So what of my other aspirations? Well, I don’t think I’m going to get promoted or offered a commission any time soon, but that’s never been the point, my aspirations are in spreading the word about PME, its utility as a driver for change, and developing my career as a military academic. To that end, I am determined to start a PhD this year, to apply for more Fellowships, to do some more work in the area of Force Development, and to write lots more!
Right its time to read, Raphael Marcus’ ‘Israel’s Long War with Hezbollah’ is on my night stand!! Hope to catch you all very soon.
All the best,