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The future of strategic studies

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Goodenough College

Mecklenburgh Square

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WC1N 2AB

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The future of strategic studies: challenges to collective defence in the modern era

About this Event

“The global strategic landscape faces unprecedented disruption. Increased competition between the great powers has combined with populist political movements and the rise of nationalism to threaten the very fabric of the rules-based world order. Against this turbulent backdrop, this inaugural event brings together eminent speakers to address the key threats and challenges faced in security and defence, academia, policy and finance, as a result of the shifting poles of global economic and political influence. At this thought-provoking and productive forum on the future direction of strategic studies, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from some of the world’s leading experts in their fields address such topics as:

• How do we view strategy in the modern era?

• What are the strategic challenges we currently face, and what are the challenges we may face in the future?

• How do we meet these challenges?

• Can we draw lessons from the past?

• What are the key factors at play in making sense of increasingly hostile rhetoric?

What to expect:

Delegates will benefit from a variety of formats, from debates to formal presentations, break-outs and panels, providing excellent opportunities for frank discussion and knowledge sharing. The event will conclude with a networking reception, hosted by Coriolis Technologies, which invites participants to the launch of MultiLateral Thinking: a new approach to understanding the reality of trade and finance flows and how they relate to conflict.”

Keynotes and Panels

Wednesday, September 18th

09.00 Opening remarks and Welcome

Jack Harding, co-author, The Weaponization of Trade; PhD candidate, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Glasgow, and Hiroshi Nakatani, PhD, specialist in strategic theories and nuclear deterrence.

09.15 Keynote

Speaker: General Sir John Kiszely, Former Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, and Director General of the Defence Academy.

10.00-11:15 War, peace and world orders

In recent years, the post-war liberal international order has come under threat, challenged by a variety of forces. Developments in the west have shaken multilateral institutions to their core, from the UK’s vote in favour of Brexit, which has called existing security arrangements with European partners into question; to the United States’ increasing reluctance to commit to ongoing collective defence through NATO. Meanwhile, China’s growing global influence and the militarisation of the South China Sea have called its ‘peaceful rise’ into question, while the consequences of Russia’s increasingly proactive and assertive behaviour have begun to be felt across the world. This panel will focus on the often-conflicting aims and objectives of the world’s great powers, and the strategic challenges facing multilateral collective defence institutions as a result.

Moderator: Prof. Beatrice Heuser, Author of ‘The Evolution of Strategy’ and Chair of International Relations at the University of Glasgow.

Participants: Dr Masashi Okuyama (Aoyama Gakuin University), Dr Derek Yuen (University of Hong Kong)

11.45 Nuclear Strategy in the Age of Complexity

What are the nuclear strategies of the twenty-first century? Nuclear politics has returned to the international stage with arguably more complexity and uncertainty than at any point in the past, meaning the answer to this question is ambiguous. The events of the Cold War cast a long shadow, most keenly felt in the form of the ‘nuclear taboo’, which colours both public opinion and policy direction. Nevertheless, the challenge of nuclear strategy in the current security environment must be urgently addressed for the future of human civilisation. This panel will therefore cover the following:

  • Why nuclear weapons are likely here to stay, and what the impact of new technology will be on nuclear strategy and the future of Britain’s nuclear deterrence.
  • What are the intersections between the nuclear dimension of strategic policy and new dimensions such as cyber?
  • How is deterrence strategy shaped by emerging technologies, domestic narratives and social factors?

Moderator: Oliver Barton (Principle Policy Analyst, DSTL, MoD)

Participants: Dr. Hiroshi Nakatani (Independent Researcher); Dr Andrew Futter (University of Leicester)

13.00 Lunch and second keynote

Speaker: Dr. Dennis DeTray, (Nazarbayev University Board of Directors, Kazakhstan) will speak about his work on US COIN in 2010 and 2011 as a member of an assessment team in Iraq and as an advisor to the 173rd Airborne Brigade combat team in Afghanistan.

14.30 -15:45 Conflict and economics

The new challenges to Western hegemony in the shape of growing Chinese and Russian influence have led to a transition in the nature of the West’s strategic thinking; many security strategies now draw less of a distinction between economic and political means. Gen. James Cartwright recently argued that the US’s traditional compartmentalisation of strategy into soft and hard power not only no longer holds relevance, but is a strategic misstep. Meanwhile Larry Kudlow, economic advisor to Donald Trump, recently referred to the US Ex-Im Bank as ‘a national security weapon’. This panel will address the nexus between war and economics through a discussion of topics including:

  • the implications of counterinsurgency for international development
  • 'strategic trade’ and its implications for global security
  • dual-use goods proliferation and how monitoring goods flows can predict the onset of political crises

Moderator: Dr. Rebecca Harding, CEO Coriolis Technologies Ltd

Participants: Marie-Hélène Bérard (CEO, MHB SAS); Mirka Skrzypczak (Head of Working Capital & Trade Products at Royal Bank of Scotland); Jack Harding (Glasgow University, Head of Strategy, Coriolis Technologies Ltd);

16.15 The future of war

In today’s hyper-connected world, the digital dimension cannot be overlooked when formulating military and defence strategy. Recent experience has shown the far-reaching implications of information wars and their ability to create a climate of tension, destabilise societies, and even advance an assailant’s ideology among a population. This session will commence with a presentation by Prof. Christopher Coker, LSE, on artificial intelligence (AI) and war and the concept of the digital warrior, and will be followed by a panel discussion on:

  • How humans will deal with increasingly digitalised warfare and the impact this will have on the entrenched tactics and strategies of conventional military forces.
  • The emerging dimensions of strategy, from cyber and space to drones, robots and the “unknowns”.
  • Novel methodologies given the strategic issues likely to emerge in the future of war.

Moderator: Prof. Christopher Coker, (LSE) author of the ‘Rise of the Civilization State’ and ‘Rebooting Clausewitz’

Participants: Prof. David Betz, (KCL); Dr. Bleddyn Bowen (University of Leicester)

17.30 Closing Remarks - The Predictions of War - Professor Brian Holden-Reid Professor of American History and Military Institutions in the Department of War Studies and Academic Member of Council at Kings College London.

18.00-20.00 Drinks Reception

Dinner & third keynote

Professor Jamie Shea, Professor of Strategy and Security at the University Exeter & former Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges at NATO

Thursday, September 19th

09.00 – 09.10 Opening remarks and welcome

09.10 – 09.45 Keynote

This keynote address will focus on the myriad ways in which the world has become even more uncertain and volatile since 2015, the new and emerging challenges to western strategic and defence policy and how the British army is adapting to meet these challenges.

Speaker: Brigadier Kevin Copsey, Head Future Force Development, UK Ministry of Defence

09.45-11:15 Intelligence and counterterrorism

Following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, the future of existing intelligence sharing arrangements have been called into question. However, as the attempted assassination of Sergei Skripal demonstrated in 2018, continued collaboration and cooperation between allies in the field of intelligence is of crucial importance to collective defence and the maintenance of international rule of law. Intelligence’s inherently clandestine nature means it is often seen as the “missing” dimension of strategic studies. As such, empirical studies on the subject are rare and yet, as threats from terrorism continue to mount, it is essential to improve our understanding of how intelligence relates to and enhances more conventional areas of strategy.

Moderator: Professor Julian Richards, University of Buckingham and Director of Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies

Dr Claudia Hillebrand, Senior Lecturer in International Relations. Dr Gordon Woo (UCL)

11.45 Diplomacy

In recent years, economic and military means have become intertwined and the rhetoric between allies is increasingly hostile. There are myriad challenges to existing international institutional structures as former partners are branded the ‘enemies across the table’. Given escalating tensions between great powers and rising threats from the missile programmes of Iran and North Korea, diplomacy is arguably more important than ever. This fascinating panel concludes the conference with a reflection on the challenges posed for diplomacy and conflict resolution in today’s febrile environment. Speakers will include current and former ambassadors and diplomats who will discuss the balance between economic and military means in foreign policy and what the future holds for institutions such as the EU and NATO.

Moderator: Dr. Rebecca Harding, CEO Coriolis Technologies Ltd

Participants: Thomas Matussek, Former German ambassador to UK and former Permanent Representative of Germany to the UN. Stephen Evans, Former UK ambassador to Afghanistan and former NATO Assistant Secretary General for Operations.

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Goodenough College

Mecklenburgh Square

London

WC1N 2AB

United Kingdom

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Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

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