It has been several weeks since my last blog; I apologise for my absence, but there has been a real benefit to this hiatus. In my absence, I took time to organise the prize-giving for the British Army Military Book of the Year 2019, with the winner, Dr Jonathan Boff, being awarded the Prize by the Commander Field Army, Lieutenant General Ivan Jones at Prince Consort’s Library last night. Dr Boff’s Talk will be both podcasted by ‘The Wavell Room’ and made available in video format on our new You Tube channel shortly. While War Talks and BAMBY are moving into the digital age; I hope the Talks continue to bring informal professional military education #PME to those with an interest and joy to military geeks like me! I have also been able to finalise the programme for the next series of War Talks which will commence in mid-January 2020, this blog is dedicated to publicising the new, Seventh Series.
The Seventh Season commences on Thursday, 16th January 2020 when Dr Klaus Schmider of the Department of War Studies at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, will deliver a Talk entitled, ‘Turning Point: Reassessing Hitler’s Declaration of War on the United States’. Dr Schmider’s Talk takes its content from his forthcoming book on the subject published by Cambridge University Press and promises to provide a fascinating revision of current thinking on Germany’s enigmatic decision in December 1941. Our second Talk in January will take place on Tuesday 28th and will be given by Mrs Melanie Rovery, the Editor of IHS Jane’s Unmanned Ground Vehicles, Mrs Rovery will speak on the subject of, ‘A Revolution in Warfare: The Future of Unmanned Ground Vehicles’. This should be a highly accessible Talk and I would encourage commanders to use this as an easy entry to informal professional military education for their soldiers.
February opens with a Talk by Ms. Abigail Watson, Director of the Remote Warfare Programme of the Oxford Research Group who will speak at the Library on 11th February 2020. Ms. Watson will speak about her research into Remote Warfare in Africa in a Talk entitled, ‘Fusion Doctrine in Five Steps: Lessons Learned from Remote Warfare in Africa‘. We move away from international relations for our second Talk in February, with an old friend of the ‘War Talks’, Brigadier Ben Kite, speaking about his newly released book, ‘The British and Commonwealth War in the Air 1939-45‘, on Tuesday 25th February 2020; get along to your local bookshop now to ensure you have a copy for signature!
March sees us move away from history and firmly into the domain of war studies with a Talk to which I have been personally been looking forward for over a year. On Tuesday 10th March 2020, we expect to hear from an Israeli academic, Dr Raphael Marcus, on the subject of his superb work, ‘Israel’s Long War with Hezbollah: Military Innovation and Adaptation Under Fire‘. Dr Marcus’ Talk may be subject to a change of date due to shifting commitments, but he will be speaking in early March. Our second Talk in March 2020 will be given by Dr Ziya Meral of the British Army’s Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research at RMAS. It is expected that Dr Meral will speak on the subject of Turkey’s role in NATO, although this will be subject to confirmation in the next few days.
Our final Talk in the season will be given by Dr Patrick Bury of the University of Bath who will deliver a talk on the subject of his most recent book, ‘Mission Improbable: The Transformation of the British Army Reserve‘ rounding off a short, but finely balanced season in which we examine military history, international relations, defence industrial policy, and war studies. The full programme is at the foot of this page. The Eighth Season will commence at the end of April 2020 and run until August that year. I will also be releasing details of the British Army Military Book of the Year 2020 in the next few days, my third year as organiser of this event. To conclude this part, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to those who have assisted with the BAMBY and War Talks over the past year, both are run at no extra cost to the Army and provide incredible levels of engagement and value for money. In short, I am very proud of both my little programmes.
Before I go, I’d like to thank my colleagues at RUSI for appointing me to the Military Sciences Advisory Board and to the membership of the Military Writers Guild in America for asking me to become a member. It is becoming increasingly apparent that my future lies outside the Army, an unrequited love is always the hardest, and it is becoming clear that the Army is far more ambivalent towards me than I am to it. Tomorrow morning will see some very fine soldiers promoted to WO1, I will not be among them, my time of trying to be among them is also coming to a close. They truly are the best, I know that I will never be amongst them. Onward to pastures new.
All the very best, hope you enjoy your ‘Silly Season’,