The Phoenix Think Tank draws extensively on the experience and expertise of prominent serving and former naval practitioners and leading academics in the field of naval history and strategic studies. The PTT also provides a platform for less established naval authors producing analysis and commentary on contemporary developments in the defence sphere.

 

Vice Admiral Sir Jeremy Blackham KCB

Jermey Blackham joined the Royal Navy in 1961. He became Commanding Officer successively of the minesweeper HMS Beachampton, the frigate HMS Ashanti and then the destroyer HMS Nottingham. He was appointed Director of the Royal Navy Staff College in 1986, Director of Naval Plans at the Ministry of Defence in 1989 and then Commanding Officer of the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal, which was deployed in the Adriatic Sea at the start of the Bosnian War in 1992, before becoming Chief of Staff at Naval Home Command in 1993. He went on to be Director-General of Naval Personnel Strategy at the Ministry of Defence before being made Assistant Chief of the Naval Staff (and, concurrently, President of the Royal Naval College, Greenwich) in 1995. His last appointments were as Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet in 1997 and then Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Equipment Capability) in 1999 before retiring in 2002. In retirement he became UK President of EADS, the defence contractor.

12-06-2011 - Speech by Vice Admiral Sir Jeremy Blackham

A speech given by Vice Admiral Sir Jeremy Blackham at a dinner for a couple of Conservative Associations and on which he drew in giving evidence to the HCDC on 5th June. Read more...

 

 

Sukey Cameron MBE

Educated in the Islands and in the United Kingdom, Sukey was Executive Secretary of the Falkland Islands Association from 1979-82, moving to the Falkland Islands Government Office when it was established in 1983, where she took on an administrative and management role. Sukey was appointed as the Falkland Islands Government’s London Representative in June 1990. She was awarded the MBE in 2003 for services to the Falkland Islands.
She has frequently defended the Rights of Falklanders to remain British and has said 'There is nothing to negotiate with Argentina', Speaking on the 30th Anniversary of the conflict.

24-05-2013 - The Legacy of the Falklands War

This speech, given on 17th May 2013 at the Annual San Carlos dinner at Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth, reproduced with the kind permission of its author. Read more...

 

 

Jason Chuma USN

Lt. Jason H. Chuma is a U.S. Navy submarine officer who has deployed to the U.S. 4th Fleet and U.S. 6th Fleet areas of responsibility. He is a graduate of the Citadel, holds a master’s degree from Old Dominion University, and has completed the Intermediate Command and Staff Course from the U.S. Naval War College.

11-02-2014 - Why Does Air-Sea Battle Need a Strategy?

Creating a good strategy is hard. Strategy must be tailored to a specific situation and as the situation continues to evolve, so must the strategy. Effective strategy is based in the current geo-political situation, looks at what you want the end result to be, and determines how to utilize all elements of national power (political and diplomatic, informational and social, economic, and military) to accomplish this. Read all...

 

 

Captain Michael Clapp CBE RN

First saw active service off Korea. He was involved in the start of the Cyprus insurrection and was then pressed as an observer onto the first ‘long course’ gaining experience in ASW and ELINT. For two years he flew in 849 Naval Air Squadron on Airborne Early Warning (AEW) duties. He completed the RAF Staff Navigator’s Course, qualified on Sea Venoms in All Weather Fighting (AWF) and trialled the Buccaneer Mk1 and then served as the Senior Observer in 801, the first operational Buccaneer Mk1 Squadron. He then commanded 801 NAS, the first operational Buccaneer Mk2 squadron. He commanded three ships, one of which was during the Indonesian Confrontation when he was mentioned in despatches. He served twice on the Naval Staff and twice in Joint training jobs, the second as the Naval Director of the Joint Maritime Operational Training Staff (JMOTS) and then, in 1982, he commanded the Falkland’s Amphibious Task Group.

05-05-2011 - Britain's Fast Jet Forces – National Interest versus Vested Interest

Air Marshal Anderson, Director General of the Military Aviation Authority, has been speaking privately to MPs in defence of the RAF’s fast jet forces – warning that “without such an air defence capability, the UK would not be able to guarantee security of its sovereign air space”. His premise was that the UK would be “unable to respond effectively to a 9/11-style terrorist attack from the air.”[1] He also argued that the RAF offered a “flexible political and military tool”, whose use was often less costly in every sense than the large-scale commitment of ground forces. He summarily dismissed the views of ‘armchair theorists’ who do not agree with him. Read more...

 

 

Rear Admiral P G V Dingemans CB DSO

Rear Admiral Peter George Valentine Dingemans, CB, DSO, FIMgt was awarded the DSO during the Falklands campaign. He has recently penned a book, 'My Incredible Journey' which is available on Amazon.

01-05-2013 - A Discussion on Maritime Strategy

Since the Tudor period, Britain’s survival has been contingent on its ability to defend its shores and maintain free passage for its oceanic trade. At times, this was achieved by the singular mastery of the sea and, at others, in concert with allies. The past century saw a shift to the latter outlook, as the British Empire dissolved and the United States of America grew to become the “defender of the last resort”.  Now, the United States looks to the Pacific and rising Chinese power – at Europe’s expense. Read more...

 

 

Commander Graham Edmonds

Commander Graham Edmonds RN joined the Royal Navy in 1966 and retired in 2007. During a wide-ranging career that included service in ten warships around the world he acquired considerable expertise in maritime air warfare and gunnery. Currently a Board member of the UK National Defence Association, he is also a defence researcher.

30-03-2015 - Ballistic Missile Defence - Britain's Missing Shield

Since the 2010 formation of the coalition government, Prime Minister David Cameron regularly reaffirmed his commitment to UK defence requirements. This most strikingly emerged with the Prime Minister's active lobbying for the September 2014 'Wales Pledge' on defence spending across NATO. [1] And yet despite engagements such as Operation Shader - Britain's commitment in the fight against ISIS - we can often see the gap between rhetoric and reality. Read more...

16-04-2014 - Air Power - The Metonymy of the RAF

In the foreword to Air Publication (AP) 3000, “British Air and Space Power Doctrine (4th Edition 2009)”, a Royal Air Force (RAF) open document that describes national ‘joint’ air power doctrine, the then Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, sets out his strategy to implement the RAF ‘vision’.  He states that “this sound conceptual basis … reflects the inherently joint nature of air operations and the contribution to other components.”  Juxtaposed with this introduction is the amplification that the RAF “provides a decisive air power capability to the Joint Force, while retaining a unique and independent ability to project national influence whenever and wherever it is required.  The principles that underpin today’s RAF were equally evident in 1918, when Lord Trenchard’s vision of an independent air force was rooted in the experience of expeditionary warfare and a tradition of joint operations.” Read more...

 

 

Commander Paul Fisher

Commander Paul Fisher RN qualified as a Principal Warfare Officer (PWO) and specialised in Anti Air Warfare. he commanded a patrol boat in Northern Ireland and a destroyer in the Persian Gulf during the UN embargo of Iraq. More recently having played a key role in the BAE Systems element of the bid to build new aircraft carriers for the UK, he is interested in iconoclastic strategy development and naval futures.

16-04-2014 - Air Power - The Metonymy of the RAF

In the foreword to Air Publication (AP) 3000, “British Air and Space Power Doctrine (4th Edition 2009)”, a Royal Air Force (RAF) open document that describes national ‘joint’ air power doctrine, the then Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, sets out his strategy to implement the RAF ‘vision’.  He states that “this sound conceptual basis … reflects the inherently joint nature of air operations and the contribution to other components.”  Juxtaposed with this introduction is the amplification that the RAF “provides a decisive air power capability to the Joint Force, while retaining a unique and independent ability to project national influence whenever and wherever it is required.  The principles that underpin today’s RAF were equally evident in 1918, when Lord Trenchard’s vision of an independent air force was rooted in the experience of expeditionary warfare and a tradition of joint operations.” Read more...

 

 

Commander Steve George MSc CEng FRAeS

 

28-03-2012 - How Carrier Operations Work

In the current discussions over ownership and operation of a maritime fixed wing strike capability it has become apparent that, in some quarters, there is a lack of knowledge of how this capability is delivered. This has led to senior officers describing aircraft carriers as ‘floating airfields’ that offer ‘a useful alternative basing option’ for aircraft normally operated from land bases. Such statements imply that aircraft operate from a ship in essentially the same way as they do from an airfield. They don’t, and this essay will show how they differ. Read more...

 

 

Captain Alan Hensher MBE RN

 

24-02-2014 - Defence of the Realm

In the current discussions over ownership and operation of a maritime fixed wing strike capability it has become apparent that, in some quarters, there is a lack of knowledge of how this capability is delivered. This has led to senior officers describing aircraft carriers as ‘floating airfields’ that offer ‘a useful alternative basing option’ for aircraft normally operated from land bases. Such statements imply that aircraft operate from a ship in essentially the same way as they do from an airfield. They don’t, and this essay will show how they differ. Read more...

09-12-2012 - The Maritime Dimension of UK Defence Strategy

In today’s world the threats to our security, global interests and indeed our way of life have become more complex and less predictable than at any time in our history. Interwoven with the conventional and nuclear threats from rogue states is the terrorist threat, of which piracy is just one aspect, with yet another layer of complexity and uncertainty.  All these threats have been enhanced by the advent of the Internet and satellite systems bringing instant communications and cyber warfare. Read more...

09-07-2012 - Commando Helicopter of the Royal Navy and Royal Marines

This well recognised maxim arguing for deterrence has endured from the 4th century to be as important as ever in a dangerous and uncertain world. Moreover, it finds full and modern day expression in the UK’s amphibious forces as one of the most capable and flexible tools of war. An amphibious task group has the ability to deploy, support and rapidly re-deploy a self-contained highly trained force that has not only proved crucial to British success in many crises and conflicts but instrumental in preventing several more. Read more...

 

 

Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson KBE CB DSC

Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson KBE CB DSC served for 38 years in the Royal Navy.  He spent most of his career at sea, and also commanded British Forces Falklands Islands (including Army and Royal Air Force elements), retiring as Deputy Commander in Chief Fleet in 2011. As a Flag Officer he has served as the Naval Secretary and he also ran the Navy’s sea training organisation.  Sir Richard was appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours List.

18-12-2013 - Britain's Reliance on and Protection of Maritime Interests

Britain is an island nation – but its influence has been global. Plymouth, which is hosting the ‘Britain and the Sea 2’ symposium, is an ocean city.  Explorers, privateers, scientists and navigators alike have left its sheltered waters to cover the world. It was through this city, and their efforts, that the British Empire was formed, an Empire on which ‘the sun never set’, and where sea power joined trade and communications between more than a quarter of the world’s population. Read more...

 

 

Commodore Steven Jermy CMarTech FIMarEST FNI

An Observer who saw active service flying anti-submarine helicopters from HMS Invincible during the Falklands War. His most recent operational tour was as Strategy Director in the British Embassy in Kabul in Afghanistan 2007. Commands included HM Ships Tiger Bay, Upton, Arrow, Cardiff, the 5th Destroyer Squadron and the Fleet Air Arm. His staff appointments were in the Ministry of Defence Directorate of Policy Planning and as Principal Staff Officer to the Chief of Defence Staff. He gained an MPhil in International Relations from Pembroke College Cambridge in 1992 and graduated from the Royal College of Defence Studies in 2008. He now writes and lectures on modern strategy, including strategy in Afghanistan. His book, Strategy into Action: Using force wisely in the 21st Century, will be published by Knightstone Publishing in January 2011.

22-01-2014 - Perfect Storm?

The international community’s security attention is on the Middle East and interrelated homeland terrorism. These are important areas, of course, but geopolitical events elsewhere suggest that matters of greater long-term international importance are afoot; in particular because of, first, extended global economic stagnation; second, increasing energy insecurity; and, third, early climate change impacts. It would be unwise to forecast trajectories in any of these three areas, but, nevertheless, parallel events could develop that had concerning consequences for international security in general, and European and Asian security in particular. It is thus important that we think through how the future strategic context will be affected, so we can consider what strategic preparation might be necessary. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Britain's Fast Jet Forces – National Interest versus Vested Interest

Air Marshal Anderson, Director General of the Military Aviation Authority, has been speaking privately to MPs in defence of the RAF’s fast jet forces – warning that “without such an air defence capability, the UK would not be able to guarantee security of its sovereign air space”. His premise was that the UK would be “unable to respond effectively to a 9/11-style terrorist attack from the air.”[1] He also argued that the RAF offered a “flexible political and military tool”, whose use was often less costly in every sense than the large-scale commitment of ground forces. He summarily dismissed the views of ‘armchair theorists’ who do not agree with him. Read more...

 

 

Rear Admiral Jeremy Larken DSO

Rear Admiral Jeremy Larken DSO was initially a specialist submariner. He was Navigation Officer of HMS Valiant, the first all-British nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN). He was appointed Project Officer for the development of anti-submarine protection of aircraft carriers by SSNs and Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPAs), seconded in this capacity to the USN Second (Atlantic) Fleet. He held three submarine command appointments, the last an SSN squadron. He commanded the Guided Missile Destroyer HMS Glamorgan and, in 1982, HMS Fearless the headquarters ship for the Falkland’s Amphibious Task Group. As Commodore Amphibious Warfare he flew his Broad Pennant in both HMS Intrepid and HMS Ark Royal. His unusually broad career gave him both deep experience of amphibious rotary-wing operations and a high-level insight into maritime land- and carrier-based fixed-wing requirements and tactics in the context of holistic joint operations. He concluded his service career in the MoD supervising all UK commitments outside the NATO geographic area. He runs a company specialising in leadership under pressure, strategic risk and crisis management.

05-05-2011 - The Framework for an Objective, Comprehensive Strategic Defence Review: Identifying the Risks, their Liklihood, and the Necessary Tri-Service Responce

The paper examines what is required of the UK’s armed services.  It seeks to contribute to the Government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review currently under way. The paper uses a disciplined objective approach.  A risk matrix is offered, using the classic parameters of Impact and Likelihood.  We believe this provides an adaptable, rigorous and powerful basis for analysis, open to any user.  Here we apply it to calibrate and compare the likelihood of fifteen categories of threat against the impact each would have on the Realm and its defence responsibilities.  In doing so, it identifies short, medium and long-term threats to national security. Read more...

12-06-2011 - Letter to Press by Rear Admiral Jeremy Larken

In asymmetric warfare, the aim of the weaker protagonist is not so much what it can do to the strong, but what it can induce the strong to do to itself.  The defeat that Greenpeace inflicted upon Shell in the Brent Spa affair is an example in the commercial field.  The atrocity of 9/11, the ninth anniversary of which we currently observe, for all its horror inflicted little actual damage on the infrastructure of the USA.  The response of the USA and its allies and its affect on our culture has been a different matter and on a grander scale.  We have imposed internal security measures detrimental to civilised freedoms.  We have been enmeshed in Iraq and now Afghanistan, at great aggregate cost in lives and treasure, and to sadly questionable positive effect, for either direct UK interests or the broader world order. Read more...

 

 

Richard Little RN

 

08-01-2013 - Maritime Security off Somalia and in the Indian Ocean

While the UK no longer owns the almost total dominance of trade by sea that it had a century or more ago, it still depends for its survival on sea-borne trade for some 95% of its essential food, fuel and raw materials. This cargo is now carried mainly in ships of foreign flag but it is the safe delivery of that cargo that matters to our public. While some of this trade is coastal: from and to the EU, the majority still comes from far away.  With the increasing prosperity of Commonwealth and other developing nations, fixing a final end to piracy will become ever more important. Read more...

22-04-2012 - The Thirty Years on Threat to the Falkland Islands

Margaret Thatcher wrote in her memoirs : “I was told by a Russian general that the Soviets had been firmly convinced that we would not fight for the Falklands and that, if we did fight we would lose. We proved them wrong on both counts and they did not forget the fact.” Read more...

 

 

Vice Admiral John McAnally CB LVO

John McAnally joined the Royal Navy in 1967. He served on HMY Britannia from 1980 and commanded successively the frigates HMS Torquay and HMS Alacrity from 1984. He then became Commanding Officer successively of the frigates HMS Ariadne and HMS Hermione as well as Captain of the 6th Frigate Squadron from 1987. He went on to be Assistant Director of Naval Plans in 1989, Director of Naval Logistics Policy in 1993 and Director of Naval Staff in 1994. After that he became Flag Officer, Training and Recruiting in 1996 and Commandant of the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1998 before he retired in 2001. In retirement he became an advisor to Flagship Training and is the current chairman of the Naval and Military Club in London.

05-05-2011 - The SDSR

What do I think about the outcome of the Strategic Defence and Security Review? I wanted to report to Shipmates earlier. Trafalgar dinners followed by presiding over the International Maritime Confederation left me short of time. It also seemed worth reading others immediate reflections and taking time to simmer down. But the more I think about it the more wound up I get. Not least by the way in which the late decision to scrap the Fleet Flagship ARK ROYAL was leaked overnight before the Captain could tell his horrified Ships Company- an outrage for which a public apology is merited. So are the short answers to my question to agree with American comment: a punch in the gut for the Royal Navy and UK Defence is in dreamland? Read more...

 

 

The Reverned John Morris RN

The Rev. John Morris was a Naval Chaplain who served at sea and with the Royal Marines.  His speech was given at the Trafalgar Day Service in Exeter Cathedral on Sunday 19 October 2014.  Rev. Morris is now the Chaplain of the Lord Wandsworth College, Long Sutton, Hook, Hampshire.

25-10-2014 - Trafalgar Day Service, 2014

I am honoured to be asked to preach again in this glorious cathedral.  A few years ago I had the privilege of standing here on remembrance Sunday and I asked my wife whether in her wildest dreams she had ever imagined me being here again.  The pulpit in the cathedral isn’t the right place to relate her exact words, but lets just say that it appears I don’t feature in her wildest dreams…  Looking down I’ve just received a look.  If anyone’s freezer is short of freezing power I think I can point you in the right direction for help.  I notice that there are few heads nodding in sympathy – and they’re all men. Read more...

 

 

Rear Admiral Chris Parry CBE

Chris Parry joined the Royal Navy in 1972 and then became an Observer in the Fleet Air Arm in 1979. He was mentioned in despatches during the Falklands War for the rescue of 16 SAS men from Fortuna Glacier, South Georgia, and for his role in detecting and disabling the Argentinian submarine ARA Santa Fe. He later commanded HMS Gloucester, HMS Fearless and the United Kingdom's Amphibious Task Group. Since June 2008, he has worked as a writer, broadcaster and speaker, establishing a considerable reputation as one of the country's leading military theorists and strategists, with his remarkably prescient views and penetrating presentations about the future of geopolitics, security and warfare.

24-03-2012 - Britain has to decide upon the Royal Navy's role

Vigorous debate about the role, size and shape of the Royal Navy is all the rage at the moment. Numerous broadsides are being exchanged over whether the Navy is equipped to defend the Falklands; the affordability and configuration of future aircraft carriers; the appropriate numbers of destroyers and frigates; and the introduction of new uniforms that wouldn’t look out of place in a fast food outlet. Read more...

 

 

Cole Petersen Canadian Army

 

09-11-2014 - Over the Beach – The Enduring Utility of Amphibious Operations

In a previous issue of this Journal, Brett Friedman wrote of the continued relevance of amphibious operations and the advent of a 21st century renaissance. Although Friedman gave some good anecdotes on where amphibious operations could be of use, his article left unaddressed whether, after advances in modern warfighting, amphibious operations are tactically feasible or relevant forms of military operations.[i] Certainly, history has had its share of naysayers. In the fall of 1949, General Omar Bradley forecasted to the Senate Armed Services Committee that “large-scale amphibious operations will never occur again.” A year later, United States Marines would conduct a large-scale amphibious assault against the Korean port of Inchon. Following the British 1974-75 and 1981 Defence Reviews, amphibious capability was deemed as unessential and left to wither away, only to see an about face in 1982 as British amphibious forces steamed to the Falkland Islands.[ii] Read more...

 

 

Major General Julian Thompson CB OBE

Major General Julian Thompson CB OBE served in the Royal Marines for 34 years, mainly in Commandos; including command of 40 Commando RM and later of the 3rd Commando Brigade in the Falklands War of 1982. His staff appointments included a tour as an Assistant Secretary to the Chiefs of Staff Committee. He instructed at the Army Staff College Camberley and is a graduate of the Royal College of Defence Studies. He is now a military historian, and a Visiting Professor at the Department of War Studies, King's College London.

12-06-2011 - To The Daily Telegraph

SIR – by using the lack of air cover provided by carriers in the Falklands as a reason for not building the Queen Elizabeth class carriers, Con Coughlin is mistaken (Defence News 17 September 2010).  In the 1982 Falklands War there were too few aircraft available to cover two widely separated naval task groups, the carrier and the amphibious groups, plus the land forces.  The carriers themselves were too small for the roles they had to play – fighter support, ground attack, anti-submarine, land force logistic support, and insertion of Special Forces.  In spite of that, it was carrier-launched aircraft that unlocked the stalemate at Goose Green by attacking Argentine anti-aircraft guns being used in the ground role against 2 PARA.  I never heard either of the two parachute battalions complain, or the three commandos who also took part in the land war. Read more...

04-05-2011 - The Future Defence Structure of the UK — What we Need to Keep and What we Can Cut

Anyone who says they know what form the next war will take, and where it will be, is guilty of strategic hubris.  There are two kinds of wars: wars of necessity and wars of choice.  Wars of necessity arise when there is the threat of a direct attack on us or on a vital interest.   The latter includes our lifeblood oil, gas, and seaborne trade; and British interests and dependencies worldwide, for example the Falkland Islands.  Wars of choice include Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo.  No national vital interests were at stake.  Wars of choice are by definition conflicts that you can choose not to become involved in.  With that in mind we can decide what we need for our defence. Read more...

04-05-2011 - SDSR Critique

The topics for discussion on the Strategic and Security Defence Review (SDSR) in much of the media seem to centre around two themes: Afghanistan and kit – and sometimes a blend of both.  A review that calls itself Strategic should neither concern itself with a current operation, nor the equipment needed to fight it. The question that such a review should address is: what are the UK’s armed forces for? The answer is to serve the Nation’s interests and this covers a range of eventualities... Read more...

 

 

Commander Sharkey Ward DSC AFC

Commander 'Sharkey' Ward was architect and Chief Tactical Instructor (CTI) of all Sea Harrier FRS Mk1 Operational and Tactical procedures prior to the Falklands. One of the highest qualified All Weather Fighter Pilots of recent times. Qualifications and Appointments include: Ship's Diver, Instrument Rating Instructor (IRI), Air Warfare Instructor (AWI), Nuclear Planning Officer at NATO AFNORTH (drafted SACEUR's Mine Warfare Policy), Senior Pilot 892 Phantom F4-K squadron in HMS Ark Royal and Sea Harrier Project Desk Officer in MoD. He commanded the Sea Harrier Intensive Flying Trials Unit, 700A, Sea Harrier Headquarters Squadron, 899 and then 801 Naval Air Squadron in HMS Invincible in the Falklands. Won the Director's Prize at the Royal Naval Staff College, Greenwich. Became Air Warfare Adviser to the First Sea Lord. After voluntarily leaving the Service in 1985, he advised Pentagon and State Department on Gulf Intelligence and Operations in the Iran/Iraq war. Author of Sea Harrier over the Falklands. Featured in the book, What do leaders really do? by Jeff Grout and Liz Fisher.

24-01-2015 - "Caught with our Pants Down" 1982 and 2011/12

The extraordinary comments from Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, (CFK), describing UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s emphatic refusal to discuss Falklands/Malvinas Islands’ sovereignty as “mediocre and almost stupid[i] are a portent of things to come – the possible international ridicule of the British Government. Read more...

04-11-2011 - Rewriting History to Support Vested Interest - Black Buck

As we approach the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War, it is to be expected that single service public relations staffs will make every effort to emphasise the importance of their contribution to victory in the conflict. However, it is essential to keep such claims in proportion if bad procurement decisions are to be avoided. Read more...

21-09-2011 - Amphibious, Littoral or Expeditionary

Secretary Panetta, as we explore ways across the Department to adjust to a new period of considerable fiscal austerity, there emerges a clear imperative that our Nation retain a credible means of mitigating risk while we draw down the capabilities and capacities of our forces. Our Nation faces an uncertain future; we cannot predict where and when events may occur that might call us to respond to protect our citizens and our interests. There have always been times when events have compelled the United States to become involved, even when such involvement wasn’t desired; there is little doubt that we will have do this again in the future. Complicating matters is the fact that since the 1990s,our nation has significantly reduced the number and size of our bases and stations around the world. Read more...

07-09-2011 - Airpower: A view from a Navy Pilot

Some things do not change.  The Latin adage, “Si vis pacem, para bellum”, remains as relevant today as it was in ancient times.  Her Majesty’s Royal Navy has taken full note of this for centuries past because, of the three armed services, it is the predominant medium for ensuring the safety of our trading routes and offshore interests – upon which we continue to rely for our prosperity. Read more...

07- 07-2011 - Air Power Projection Options

The current situation of Britain with its commitments across the globe and operations in Afghanistan and Libya highlights the role of airpower in modern international power projection/intervention operations… however is Britain pursuing the correct course? Read more...

05-05-2011 - Flying Navy - What it Entails

As I try to provide you with a sense of feeling for the sea, the Royal Navy and the Fleet Air Arm I should like to draw a parallel with the true life story “Papillion”. As you read that book you can only try to imagine what it was really like being incarcerated on Devil’s Island off the South American coast and living in appalling conditions. At the same time, the excitement of the author’s journey through hell and his eventual escape is absolutely gripping. It is a totally different world from where you sit reading this text.  So is life at sea in the “Andrew”. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Joint Force Harrier

Okay, in another break from the series of entries I have up till now been following, this piece is going to focus on the Royal Navy’s/Royal Air Force’s Joint Force Harrier. This force is under threat in the forthcoming budgetary battle, an annual event which has been made worse by the current economic climate. So here are some reasons this force is under threat, and the reasons why in my mind it should not only be saved, but if at all possible expanded by at least one if not two active squadrons. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Cross Decking Fixed Wing Aircraft Between Aircraft Carriers

This paper briefly discusses the manner in which the new UK-France Defence Accord could be developed to provide cost savings in defence expenditure whilst retaining the necessary military capability that is required to satisfy national strategic objectives. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Interservice Rivalry

Inter-Service rivalry is probably as old as any armed service unit. It can often be good for morale and efficiency, especially if it sharpens up teams to train and fight better together. The rivalry can, of course, take many forms.  However, for the good of the Realm, it is often best played out on the rugger field at Twickenham and not in the media or MoD.  Sadly, this is their only level playing field. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Flying from our New Carriers - The RN or RAF Ethos

This paper describes the experience and expertise required for an aviator to become fully qualified as a Carrier-borne All Weather Pilot. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Britain's Fast Jet Forces – National Interest versus Vested Interest

Air Marshal Anderson, Director General of the Military Aviation Authority, has been speaking privately to MPs in defence of the RAF’s fast jet forces – warning that “without such an air defence capability, the UK would not be able to guarantee security of its sovereign air space”. His premise was that the UK would be “unable to respond effectively to a 9/11-style terrorist attack from the air.”[1] He also argued that the RAF offered a “flexible political and military tool”, whose use was often less costly in every sense than the large-scale commitment of ground forces. He summarily dismissed the views of ‘armchair theorists’ who do not agree with him. Read more...

04-05-2011 - Defending Britain's Trade

This short paper proposes a formal and mutually beneficial Defence Pact between Britain and her trading partners within the Arabian Gulf. Read more...

 

 

Admiral Alan West GCB DSC PC

Baron West of Spithead was, from June 2007 to May 2010, a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office with responsibility for security and a security advisor to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Prior to his ministerial appointment, he was First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff from 2002 to 2006. He is the current Chancellor of Southampton Solent University.

16-05-2013 - The Right Honourable Lord West of Spithead Addresses the House of Lords

“It is upon the navy under the good Providence of God that the safety, honour and welfare of this realm do chiefly depend”. Thus ran the preamble to the Articles of War, written more than 300 years ago. There is no doubt that naval dominance of European waters was the longest, most complex and expensive project ever undertaken by British state society. As a result a small, weak, insignificant offshore island was able to develop into the world’s greatest power. More recently, the prime reason we survived the German wars of the first half of the 20th century was the strength of the Royal Navy. Read more...

11-09-2011 - Defence - The Most Important Duty of Government but Sadly, not a Vote Winner

In 1998 the Labour Government produced a Strategic Defence Review to almost universal acclaim. It had taken the best part of two years to complete and, for the first time since World War II, was conducted in conjunction with the Foreign Office and its policy objectives. Some twelve years later the Coalition Government produced its Strategic Defence and Security Review to almost universal condemnation after some five months in power. In theory it was driven by the requirements of the National Security Strategy but that link was somewhat tenuous. Indeed the lack of coherence of some of the decisions – paying off the newly refitted HMS ARK ROYAL and scrapping our best, indeed only real close support aircraft, the Harrier – has left military experts, academics and allies dumbfounded and our rivals and possible enemies, contemptuous.  Bizarrely, there were other options that would have achieved greater savings with less strategic risk. Read more...

 

 

Admiral Sir John Woodward GBE KCB

A professional submariner who commanded two SSKs, one SSN, the SM Commanding Officers Qualifying Course, the Submarine Sea Training Organisation and finally the entire submarine Flotilla as Flag Officer Submarines and COMSUBEASTLANT. His surface ship experience started in cruisers, went on to destroyers, eventually including command of the T42 Class destroyer HMS Sheffield in 1977 and then the Falkland’s Carrier Battle Group in 1982. In his ‘spare’ time, he qualified as a Torpedo and AntiSubmarine [TAS] officer, as the senior Operations Room Officer in a Leander Class ASW frigate and, via a course primarily designed for post-graduate naval engineer officers, as an engineer OOW on nuclear submarine propulsion plant. After a three year appointment as Director, Naval Plans [the longest in 40 years], his final appointment in the MOD was as DCDS[C] effectively head of Defence Operations working directly to CDS himself [Field Marshal the Lord Bramall].

07- 07-2011 - Air Power Projection Options

The current situation of Britain with its commitments across the globe and operations in Afghanistan and Libya highlights the role of airpower in modern international power projection/intervention operations… however is Britain pursuing the correct course? Read more...

07- 07-2011 - Expeditionary Forces

Government [Labour and Coalition] policy on Defence since 1998 requires the capability to deploy military force globally, often called “Expeditionary Force”. If this is to be done on anything but the lightest scales, sea control and transport is a prerequisite, along with the maintenance of an ‘adequate’ air situation overhead. Read more...

22-05-2011 - Core Defence Force - A Different Perspective

We should always remember that we are a maritime nation and not just an extension of continental Europe. Our perpetual interest is the defence of our economic prosperity which depends primarily upon the free passage of our trade upon the high seas and the deterrence of those who would harm us there. Our strategic defence policy and the configuration of our armed forces should always reflect that. Three decades of MoD experience in the Naval Staff and the Central Staffs have convinced me that a fundamental change in the way we do business in Whitehall is necessary if we are to satisfy our strategic defence requirements at sensible cost in a period of extreme financial stringency. Read more...

05-05-2011 - A Rebuttal of MoD/RAF Misinformation to Ministers

I apologise for troubling you but I feel it to be important that you should be more fully informed on a range of matters. As ever, the devil lies in the detail and I’m afraid there has to be a lot of that here. Before addressing the contents of Liam Fox’s letter which was a response to an original letter from Alan Hensher to his MP, Andrew Tyrie, I wish to draw your attention to a separate letter from yourself dated 28th of March 2011 in which you stated... Read more...

 

 

 

Professor G H Bennett

Dr G.H. Bennett is an associate Professor at the University of Plymouth.  He is author of over a dozen works of history covering diplomatic and political history together with the air, sea and land campaigns in the Second World War.  His works include: British Foreign Policy during the Curzon Period (Macmillan, 1995), British Naval Aviation in World War II (Tauris, 2007), Destination Normandy: Three American Regiments on D-Day (Praeger, 2007) and The RAF’s French Foreign Legion: De Gaulle, the British and the Re-birth of French Airpower 1940-45 (Continuum, 2011).

20-09-2013 - The Lessons of History in 2013

If you ignore history, fail to understand its lessons, or don’t continue to question the continuing relevance of those lessons then you are either condemned to repeat the mistakes of the past or to be channelled along lines that lead to fresh problems.   This is perhaps especially true when National Security and Foreign Policy are concerned.  In this short paper I want to look at two passages of history.  The first involves the Battle of the Atlantic and how we think about it (what we get right, what we get wrong and what we just plain miss) in terms of lessons for maritime security.  The second involves an example (government defeat in the House of Commons in the motion on Syria on 29 August) of the way in which some of these issues can combine with other factors in damaging and unexpected ways. Read more...

03-09-2013 - Government Defeat in the Motion on Syria

It would be easy to consider the defeat of the Government motion on Syria in the House of Commons on 29 August 2013 as the result of temporary circumstances, the work of the awkward squad on the backbenches who initiated a rebellion, or an accident stemming from the vagaries of party management and Westminster procedure. However, it is suggestive of a medium term shift (the last 10 years or so) in a key element of British foreign policy: the relationship between politicians, public and the nation state over foreign and military policy.  In the run up to the debate, Members of Parliament were deluged with messages from constituents, and a number of backbenchers have maintained that in voting against the government  they were acting in accordance with the views of their constituents. With the next general election looming on the political horizon even the most cynical analyst would have grounds to accept these claims at face value. Read more...

24-03-2012 - Value of Teaching Naval Heritage in Armed Forces Training

Service in HM Armed Forces is like no other line of employment.  It calls on individuals to demonstrate the highest standards of loyalty to the Crown, to the service and to their fellow sailors, soldiers and airmen.  In no other line of employment is there the same expectation that, in certain circumstances, the individual might have to display extraordinary levels of courage, endurance and determination.  In no other line of employment is there a bottom line which may involve individuals in laying down their lives in the interests of the country. The education and development of members of HM armed forces must necessarily go well beyond simple processes of induction, training and professional development related to the particular function which individuals are being prepared to undertake. Read more...

27-10-2011 - UK Armed Forces Future Force Structure - An Outline for 2025

The UK Government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010 accurately diagnosed the problem that has faced Her Majesty’s Armed Forces over the past quarter of a century.  With its package of cuts, and determination to pursue ‘global responsibilities and global ambitions’, it goes on to guarantee that the problem will become still more acute.  While the armed forces are required by SDSR 2010 to conduct their affairs within the circumstances of seriously straightened national finances, there appears to be no attempt to similarly retrench British foreign policy, and thereby limit the resultant defence commitments.   United Kingdom armed forces are thus expected to do “the same” with less. Read more...

 

 

Alex Blackford

Alex Blackford holds a BA (Hons) in Arabic, Middle Eastern Studies and Persian, and is training for the Royal Marines Reserve while applying for the regular Corps.

11-11-2013 - Ain't Ready for Marines Yet? The Sacred Cow of British Army Organization

I’d like to rustle a few feathers and take a swing at the sacred cows that are the British Army’s system of dividing its Infantry along regimental lines and of training its officers and men separately. When it comes to writing about sacred cows in the British military, it is my humble opinion that none are more sacred (and more bovine!) than the regimental system that is still displayed in the British Army today. Read more...

 

 

Michael Campbell

 

24-06-2014 - The Royal Navy's Cold War Posture and Operation Corporate: Impact and Lessons

This dissertation will focus upon the Royal Navy during the Cold War period from 1966 to 1990. In particular it will examine the affect the Cold War had upon the Royal Navy’s contribution to Operation Corporate and then the impact this conflict subsequently had upon the Royal Navy. By doing this, a full understanding of how the Royal Navy was affected by the geopolitical situation from the 1960’s up until 1990 will be reached. Read more...

 

 

Alex Calvo

Alex Calvo, a guest professor at Nagoya University (Japan), focuses on security and defence policy, international law, and military history, in the Indian-Pacific Ocean Region. He tweets at Alex__Calvo and his work, which includes “China’s Air Defense Identification Zone: Concept, Issues at Stake and Regional Impact”, Naval War College Press Working Papers, No 1, US Naval War College, 23 December 2013, available at http://www.usnwc.edu/Publications/Working-Papers/Documents/WP1-Calvo.aspx, can be found at https://nagoya-u.academia.edu/AlexCalvo

10-04-2015 - Asymmetric Naval Warfare: Next Stage in the South Atlantic?

More than 30 years after the Falklands War, the South Atlantic remains a focus of tension, given Argentina’s refusal to acknowledge the right to self-determination and rule out the use of force. In conventional terms, generally speaking the balance of forces has moved in favour of the UK, despite the current carrier gap (while two Queen Elizabeth II class carriers are being built) and deterioration of amphibious capabilities. British defence planners seem to rely first and foremost on the air and anti-aircraft assets permanently deployed at Mount Pleasant plus the few but powerful Royal Navy units in the region. Read more...

 

 

Dr. Alexander Clarke

 

28-03-2012 - Options for Future Amphibious Aviation

Abstract: The basic premise of this work, is that Is there a one size fits all solution for Britain’s strategic needs? In a global world where problems can arise in second demanding instantaneous responses; where weapons purchases are increasing by both state and non-state actors, can Britain afford to generalise its forces rather than specialise them? Read more...

07-07-2011 - Warcraft (Stealth Paper 2)

If what is said above is true, stealth technology is perhaps the ultimate deceit[1]. In the last couple of decades this new component has been mainly added to the air threat, and the stealth plane has almost obtained the status of a ‘must have component’ for any nation which feels it should be taken seriously. However, many people’s appreciation of stealth technology differ.  For instance, the views expressed in the media vary from treating it as some sort of black magic against whom there is no defence, to a condescending appreciation of “it just a passing evolution and soon countermeasures will be widespread”.  The opinion of the authors is that as always in appreciating new technology the threat has been both overblown and underestimated. Read more...

20-06-2011 - Taking the Politics of Government out of Procurement

This work explores other methodologies of defence management, specifically the idea of putting procurement and budget under the control of the legislature (Parliament in the case of the UK) to provide for a longer term[1] strategic overview/oversight to support and control procurement; and what possible benefits such a system might bring to the UK. Read more...

20-06-2011 - Smoke and Mirrors (Stealth Paper 1)

This work is an examination of the effects of stealth on naval warfare, and whether stealth aircraft represent an insurmountable threat to ships, as is propagated by its supporters. Read more...

19-05-2011 - Arsenal Ships

The recent Libyan crisis has highlighted the potency of modern cruise missiles, whilst of course not being the first time they have been used.  However, their key role in not just attacking targets but in neutralisation of enemy air defences is something which has grown with experience and is something which they are proving better and better at. There is though a problem.   To be utilised properly they require a level of saturation.  Whilst 112 Tomahawks were enough for Libya[1], to deal with problems in nations with more capable/more aggressive air defences, more are needed.  This is a guiding light for this work. Read more...

16-05-2011 - Blog: Why we need a Fleet, but also need Ferraris

You do not know how much it hurt to write that for a lifelong Aston Martin fan…but it’s important for the point, Britain needs high end warships for war fighting, she needs the Astutes and the Darings – even with all the strange decisions[1] she needs them to provide the technological edge to make up for lack of numbers, to continue providing for her security in an age where her principal ally is more and more focused on the Pacific and the problems of that area; rather than those of Britain and Europe. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Would Britain Benefit from a Definition Lead Security Programme?

Japan, Australia and many other countries have chosen to start fixing criteria, rather like the governments of Blair and Brown fixed for the NHS, they have decided that by having a statement that all procurement can be judged by they can keep it true, keep it value for money and keep defence on target to achieve the aims the government wishes. So would Britain benefit from such a definition/statement and what would the definition look like? Read more...

05-05-2011 - Type 45 & PAAMS / SeaViper

As I have said before the type 45s are in form a very well designed modern destroyer, they have lots of good points which have to born in mind when considering them; for example their striking stealth design. However, they have a glaringly bad point that they whilst they carry the brilliant Aster missiles (the equivalent of the SM-2 Block IV, but not the exceptional SM-3 ABM) – the primary reason for this entry, and are fitted for but do not carry the stalwart Harpoon SSM. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Cruisers; The Big Boys? Or Just Really Big Toys?

This might seem a strange topic for consideration, after all the total number of cruisers within the worlds navies are very small, in fact there is only one in service outside of the realm of the Superpowers – and even with this it is only the navies of Russian and United State which posses and operate them. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Destroyers

Since they first evolved from Torpedo Boat Destroyers; destroyers have maintained an image of, as well as necessity for being fast, manoeuvrable and of surprisingly large endurance considering their size. The reason they needed this combination of qualities, was the raisin d’être; escorting and protecting larger more vulnerable units such as carriers, merchantmen or amphibious ships. The modern destroyers are of 7,000tons plus, in fact the USNs DD(X) will be over 12,500tons. They often have a capability for area air defence, as well as providing the capability to deal with a wide range of other targets. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Corvettes

Okay so this, I am afraid, is another of those joining the dots entries I am adding so that when the next large one is put out there it will not be such a great leap from the first. This is focusing on those little vessels, which the more I learn about the more I think are of growing importance in modern naval warfare; after all for navies such as Israel’s they are their largest ships (Sa’ar 5 Pictured). I am of course referring to the very humble, but multi-mission capable corvette. Read more...

05-05-2011 - The Royal Navy's New Aircraft Carriers

Okay, this will be a slightly shorter missive than the last, but as I am working on another long one I thought I would lay some ground work out there, to highlight points in the previous post, as well as to lay the foundations for the next. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Is Britain Dooming Herself to Repeat the Mistakes of the Past

In 2018, perhaps 2020 or later whenever the new carriers are made operational, Britain, if it continues on its present path will once again be carrying out an experiment in carrier aviation – an experiment which it, and only it, has done before and found that it did not work. As it did in 1918, it will put the Royal Air Force in charge of the Fleet Air Arm. This will have occurred by default due to the disbanding of the Fleet Air Arm Harrier squadrons which will undoubtedly decimate the fragile morale of that organisation already much mismanaged by successive British governments – and something which will result in the pilots, the observers, the fitters, the engineers and all their collective experience & understanding of both the capabilities and the intricacies of carrier air power leaving the Royal Navy. Read more...

05-05-2011 - A Better Option for Britain's Security

This paper examines the alternative way ahead for the procurement of a multirole fast jet fighter for embarkation in the new Queen Elizabeth class carrier. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Converntional Deterrence: The Theory (1 of 3)

This report is a development on the works of Ambassador James Cable, Admiral Jackie Fisher and many others before them. Britain is a nation with worldwide commitments but even more so, worldwide interests. War is bad for trade and weakness is bad for economies such as ours that are dependent upon trade. Sometimes even the oldest allies cannot or will not help – this is especially true when they think you will not be able to reciprocate. This report therefore considers whether there is a way of giving Britain enough strength, capability and presence, without pouring money out of it, and without becoming totally dependent upon other nations or the will and whim of whichever regime is in control of them. It concludes that there is a way, that if enough ships of the sizes and capabilities described and required was constructed Britain would become as independent diplomatically as it had ever been. Furthermore, it would be capable of having its presence felt in very non-threatening way while being strong enough to deter most aggressors. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Future Surface Combatant – is this the Successor of the Leander Class?

The Royal Navy is shrinking, and many are pointing to the new escorts, the Future Surface Combatants (FSC) as something which can reverse that trend; or at least stabilise it, whilst replacing the Type 22 and Type 23 Frigates. To be successful therefore the FSC will need to also take on the mantle of the Type 12L Leander Class; a class which in its time managed to stabilise much, and which participated in operations with distinction and significance throughout their 30 years of service with the Royal Navy; i.e. providing the largest group of escorts in the 1982 Falklands war. The 26 vessels of this class mirror the 28 that the FSC is proposed; the question is though is the FSC enough like the Leander class to succeed?  Before this can be answered both of these classes have to be examined. Read more...

05-05-2011 - A Study of the Royal Navy's Requirements

Broadly speaking the Royal Navies requirements/missions are not that different from any others; what is different is perhaps no other navy is expected to do so much on so little money and especially with so little men and material. Britain is a…Medium Power, it’s not that big, but its friends are and we like to keep up with the club; but unfortunately our governments often take on more commitments than the forces are actually designed for; as in a similar situation to Australia we have a ‘balanced force’ which has a little of everything and enough of nothing. The Royal Navy is the worst example of this in a very bad set, currently we have no guardship in the Falklands, because the Foreign Minister committed us to the EU anti-piracy taskforce of Somalia, before bothering to ask the Defence Minister let alone any naval officers if they had the ships to spare. This event I feel serves to highlight my point – overstretch has not just been reached, but the band has broken. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Frigates

The workhorses of the majority of modern naval forces, these ships were originally and still are at the forefront of the surface based anti-submarine warfare effort. However, as the Cold War developed and they became more and more important in making up the numbers of escorts; frigates have grown both in versatility and breadth of weaponry carried, as well roles for which they are to fulfil. These factors have in turn lead to a growth in size of the vessels themselves, something which is shown by the chart below. Read more...

05-05-2011 - Chinese Super Weapons and Submarines

This is a break from the run of entries brought about by repetition I have kept viewing on so many other sites; namely that the Chinese have managed to out-technology all other nations and can now precision attack carrier groups with ballistic missiles; and that due to the only useful warships in modern warfare are submarines. Well I will start with the beginning... Read more...

 

 

Dr. Anthony J. Cumming

Following his PhD at the University of Plymouth in 2006, Anthony J, Cumming won the Julian Corbett Prize for Research in Modern Naval History the same year. His book, The Royal Navy and the Battle of Britain (Naval Institute Press, 2010), was published to critical acclaim and the following article is based on a paper given for the Britain and the Sea Conference held in Plymouth in September 2012.

03-03-2014 - History of Airpower Series - Paper 3: The Battle of the Atlantic vs. The Strategic Air Offensive Over Germany: Was the Second World War Prolonged Unnecessarily?

In the light of Prime Minister David Cameron’s (b.1966) recent tribute to the crews of the Royal Navy’s Vanguard-class nuclear submarines and his justification for a British nuclear deterrent, it seems timely to review the post-war history of our nuclear and conventional deterrents. At the same time, there has been media speculation about whether Britain is gradually reverting back to her pre-1966 position on maintaining forces East of Suez. Read more...

22-06-2013 - History of Airpower Series - Paper 4: Rivalry and Retreat - The Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in the Missile Age, 1945-1970

Last year (2013) marked the 70th anniversary of the climax of the Battle of the Atlantic, the longest running continuous campaign of the Second World War. These operations were fought by the Allies with the objectives of securing supply lines and imposing a naval blockade on the Axis powers. Spilling into adjacent waters as diverse as the Arctic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, the battles were fought by men and ships of the Royal Navy; Royal Navy Patrol Service; Merchant Navy; Royal Canadian Navy and United States Navy against the Kriegsmarine and Luftwaffe... Read more...

23-10-2012: The Royal Navy and the Battle of Britain: Air and Sea Power Development 1909-1940

The main problem with writing the history of World War II is that most Britons do not want any fundamental changes to the traditional interpretations about how Great Britain and her allies emerged victorious in 1945.  After all, the world shattering events that took place between 1939 and 1945 have already received intense scrutiny.  Possibly the main reason for this is that the British won, so it is easy to ask, why anyone should bother to investigate further or correct any myths? Read more...

 

 

Professor Eric Grove FRHistS

Professor of Naval History and Fellow in Security Studies at Liverpool Hope University. Previously Professor of Naval History and Director of the Centre for International Security and War Studies at the University of Salford, and Deputy Head of Strategic Studies at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth. Publications include:- World War Two Tanks; Vanguard to Trident; The Future of Sea Power; Fleet to Fleet Encounters; and The Royal Navy Since 1815. Professor Grove has taught and lectured in North America, Australasia and Asia and frequently contributes to radio and television programmes on naval history and the wider security agenda.

16-08-2014 - The Falklands - Lessons Learned

The Falklands War of 1982 came as a surprise to the United Kingdom Government in every respect. Not only was the attack unexpected in tactical terms, but also in strategic. The UK was fully committed at the time to a defence posture orientated to land and air operations on the Central Front in Europe. Maritime operations were conceived largely for securing sea control in the Eastern Atlantic. There was little place for amphibious warfare in this universe. It had clung on by the skin of its teeth after the withdrawal from East of Suez in 1971, with a new emphasis on servicing NATO’s strategy of ‘Flexible Response’ on the watery flanks of NATO. But the Mediterranean Southern Flank was abandoned in the Defence Review of 1975 and, with the growth of Soviet sea denial capabilities in the north, it seemed that ground forces – even the Royal Marines who had specialised in arctic and mountain warfare – would be flown in by air in a ‘pre-inforcement’ operation, rather than arriving by sea in the  British contribution to amphibious component of the NATO striking fleet. Read more...

22-10-2012 - Lord Chatfield and his critique of British Defence Policy making

Although his name is nowadays largely forgotten, Admiral of the Fleet Lord Chatfield has a claim to be the most significant Naval Officer of the Twentieth Century. Less of a self-publicist than Fisher, Chatfield, after an extended period as First Sea Lord masterminding rearmament, became a cabinet minister, succeeding Inskip as Minister for the Coordination of Defence in Chamberlain’s cabinet in 1939. He remained in office as a member of the War Cabinet and Chairman of its Military Co-ordination Committee. First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill saw himself as the leading member of this body and eventually he manoeuvred Chatfield out of office. Read more...

 

 

Michael Jones

 

07-11-2013 - In Defence of the Royal Navy

Recently, Foreign Policy published an article by Robert Beckhusen scathingly titled ‘Here are all the things the British Military can’t do anymore’. Despite the blurb’s promise of a broad and considered overview of the British armed forces, Beckhusen has in fact penned a one-man vendetta against the Royal Navy, burdening his audience with a blow-by-blow account of perceived failings. His shock conclusion, which makes scant reference to either the army or the RAF, is that Britain’s defence budget is not what it was at the apex of the Cold War. Quelle Surprise! Read more...

 

 

Professor Andrew Lambert FRHistS

After completing his doctoral research, Andrew Lambert was lecturer in modern international history at Bristol Polytechnic from 1983 until 1987; consultant in the Department of History and International Affairs at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, from 1987 until 1989; senior lecturer in war studies at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, from 1989 until 1991; senior lecturer in the Department of War Studies at King's College London from 1996 until 1999, then professor of naval history, from 1999 until 2001; and then Laughton Professor of Naval History, and Director of the Laughton Naval History Research Unit. He served as Honorary Secretary of the Navy Records Society from 1996 until 2005 and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. Lambert's work focuses on the naval and strategic history of the British Empire between the Napoleonic Wars and the First World War, and the early development of naval historical writing. On 1 May 2014 he was awarded the Anderson Medal by the Society for Nautical Research for his book The Challenge: Britain against America in the Naval War of 1812 (Faber and Faber 2012).

24-01-2015 - Review: Empire of the Deep, the Rise and Fall of the British Navy by Ben Wilson

There is a good case to be made that the British Navy is the greatest fighting force the world has ever seen. In a series of conflicts that defined and developed the essence of Britishness, the Royal Navy defeated the greatest powers of every age to keep these islands secure and build a global maritime empire. Along the way, it created a lexicon of national glory: the Armada, Quiberon Bay, the Nile, Trafalgar, the Battle of the Atlantic and the Falklands. Read more...

 

 

Jonathan Noy

Educated on the South Coast, Jonathan undertook both under- and post-graduate degrees within the Department of War Studies, King's College London, focussing dually on naval history (particularly the 1880s to the conclusion of Cold War) and the Rhodesian Bush War. Publications include an extended article in Arquebusier Volume XXXII/II, a critique of the Royal Navy's response to the Jeune École, an essay on the origins and evolution of the NID, and an operational simulation of the final years of the Rhodesian Bush War.

03-07-2013 - A Big Fleet, the Channel School and Scuttling: Were Late Nineteenth Century Criticisms of the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean War Plans Strategically Sound?

This paper will examine British Mediterranean naval strategy in the two largely overlooked decades prior to Admiral Sir John Fisher’s ascension as First Sea Lord and the widely held ‘modernisation’ of the Service. It will contend that far from being a staid and intellectually mired organisation, developments in the form of the Naval Intelligence Department, Navy Records Society and the advent of ‘scientific’ historical analysis as a basis to inform strategy allowed the comprehensive rebuttal of reactionary and strategically unsound proposals from ‘Scuttlists’ and ‘Big Fleet’ advocates, who were informed by a demonstrably false aggrandisement of the Jeune École threat. Read more...

 

 

Tom Perigoe

Tom Perigoe did work in information technology for financial services including assessing cost and risk. With Alexander Wooley, Tom is co-author of Exporting Democracy published in Public Diplomacy Magazine.

08-05-2015 - The Falklands, 33 Years Later - Deterrence & Defence: Singapore & Crete Reprised?

primary interests, the Falkland Islands are in some ways reminiscent of Singapore and Crete circa 1941: All share defence by a garrison, and a few aircraft, with powerful warships standing by. All enjoy access to resources and an ally near-by - but one without decisive tactical or strategic strength. All are sited near an important strait, in an area contested by nations with opposing interests, and within striking range of their land-based aircraft. Read more...

 

Dr. Duncan Redford

Dr Duncan Redford is Leverhulme Research Fellow at the Centre for Maritime Historical Studies, University of Exeter, and the author of ‘Submarine: a Cultural History from the Great War to Nuclear Combat’ (IB Tauris).

04-05-2011 - Pre-SDSR 2010

Whatever the outcome of the cutting process there are a number of factors that should be considered.  First, the degree to which Britain is prepared to allow key capabilities to be met by allies.  Of course, it can be argued that since 1966 at the latest Britain has been reliant on one ally – the USA – but this review will ensure that certain capabilities will have to be met either in part or in full by one or other of Britain’s European NATO and EU allies.  This means a great deal of political effort will be needed to build real trust with Britain’s EU and NATO allies to ensure that they support Britain and vice versa, even on matters of national rather than EU interest.  It will also take a great deal of political bravery to face the hostile headlines when the capabilities Britain will be relying on allies to provide are announced and even worse headlines if in a crisis they don’t. Read more...

04-05-2011 - The Strategic Defence and Security Review: a Critique

This paper critiques the recent SDSR statement on the future shape of Britain’s Armed Forces. Read more...

04-05-2011 - Carriers give Politicians Options – not Dead Ends

Many of our allies still consider Britain to be a maritime power – even if we don’t’ The Strategic Defence and Security Review will ensure that Britain’s Armed Forces end up looking very different from today. Getting the balance right between short, medium and long-term threats, commitments, orders of battle, procurement plans and the desires of each of the three Services will be difficult. One issue that encapsulates the hard decisions that will be taken is debate over whether Britain should keep the two aircraft carriers being built for the Royal Navy. Read more...

 

 

Martin Rotheram

 

04-05-2011 - The E-2 Hawkeye

The 2010 SDSR has resulted in a new major defence capability option. The SDSR changed the new Aircraft Carriers to a catapult and arrester gear configuration to operate the F-35C Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). However this decision has an inherent major flaw because the timescale for the ships and the likely date for the F-35C are so far apart that it brings into question the viability of the plan. Read more...

 

 

Pete Sandeman

 

15-11-2013 - Joint Action for the Future

It would not be unreasonable to expect that the Royal Navy’s experienced and highly skilled aviation specialist Fleet Air Arm aviators will own and operate the aircraft that fly from the new super-carriers. Almost every other carrier-operating nation in the world follows that sensible plan. For example the navies of France and the United States, the West’s leading exponents of strike carrier operations, are navy all the way – and very effective for it. Read more...

18-05-2011 - Guest View: Save the Royal Navy

My ‘day job’ is a web designer and as I looked around online there seemed to be few independent voices on the web talking about the state of the RN other than a few forums mainly inhabited by experts and defence professionals. It seemed that there was an obvious need for an independent voice highlighting the situation in layman’s terms and trying to engage the wider public. Launched in 2007, Save the Royal Navy is a website (not an organisation) campaigning to reverse the decline in the RN aiming to educate about Britain’s need for a strong navy. Written in an accessible style, the site aims to engage the general public not just the naval expert. There are 2 main themes: 1. to highlight the good work, achievements and importance of what is being done by the RN today, despite its dilapidated condition while countering the government spin that claims everything is ‘just fine’ despite the massive cuts. 2. To push for the RN to be properly funded and for the cuts to be reversed (and this will only happen if there is significant public and media pressure on our complacent politicians). Read more...

 

 

Peter Unwin

Peter Unwin is a retired teacher and one-time Royal Marine with an abiding interest in naval matters and in researching military issues past and present. He has a degree in theology and sociology.

04-05-2011 - The Future of the British Armed Forces

The Strategic Defence and Security Review is long overdue. It is important to decide what are the purposes/justification of the armed forces and what tasks they are likely to be called upon to undertake during the next 50 years. When those are decided it is then and only then that sensible decisions regarding funding can be made. In this paper expected scenarios governing the future roles of the armed forces will be examined and suggestions as to the role-applicability, size and deployment of the relevant forces given. Read more...

 

 

Dr. Arrigo Veligcogna

Arrigo Velicogna holds an MA in War Studies (King’s College, London, Merit) and a Degree in Ancient History (Laurea in Storia, Indirizzo Antico, Universtà degli Studi Alma Mater Studiorum, Bologna, Italy, Summa cum Laude). He worked as a Roman archaeologist from 2000 to 2006 including collaboration with the Italian National Research Committee (CNR). He has published several historical articles in conflict simulation magazines both Italian and international. He has also published a conflict simulation on the Battle of An Loc (Vietnam, April-June 1972). He is now completing a PhD in War Studies at King’s College, London, on the differences in doctrine between the US Army and the US Marine Corps during the Vietnam conflict. His research field is mainly centred on naval and amphibious operations both in symmetrical and asymmetrical conflict.

13-07-2014 - Battleships and Flying Fortresses: The US Army Air Corps' Quest to Replace the US Navy

In 1918, a little more than 10 years after its debut the airplane had moved from being an eccentric curiosity to a fully-fledged weapon of war. The flimsy flyer tested by the Wright’s brothers had been replaced by machines capable to perform different roles, from air to air combat, to observation, to strategic bombardment. Yet in 1919 with the Great War having just ended the airplane faced an uncertain future in the armed forces of the United States. Pacifism and worries about economy prompted a severe cut back of military expenses. Read more...

10-02-2012 - Tanks from the Sea

It has been often argued that armoured vehicles have no place in amphibious operations and that modern amphibious operations are not anymore attritional in nature. Armour, especially heavy armour in the form of Main Battle Tanks (MBT) and Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) are at best second echelon forces, at worst relics of the Cold War. More often than not the tank is seen as a large, expensive and inflexible tank-killing weapon. Even a cursory look at history show that mechanized vehicles and tanks, light, medium and heavy have been actively developed and procured for amphibious operations not only for their tank killing capabilities, but also because of their inherent flexibility. It can even be argued, and at least one US Marine Corps Commandant forcefully did so, that without tanks the majority of World War II opposed landings would never have been possible. Read more...

20-06-2011 - Smoke and Mirrors (Stealth Paper 1)

This work is an examination of the effects of stealth on naval warfare, and whether stealth aircraft represent an insurmountable threat to ships, as is propagated by its supporters. Read more...

 

 

Hal Wilson

Hal graduated with first class honours in War Studies and History from King's College London in 2013. He wrote his dissertation on the counterinsurgency lessons of the Afghan War, and also specialised in modern naval history. He first joined the Phoenix Think Tank in late 2012, and has since also been published in Strife Journal. Hal currently works as an analyst in financial services, and is working towards entry in the Royal Navy Reserves. He has a continuing interest in British maritime history, and its lessons for current policy.

09-10-2013 - Continuity or Anomaly? American, British & French Historic Maritime Power

In 1989, the generation-spanning Cold War was brought to a close. With it, the international stage was set for western, liberal democracies to prioritise humanitarianism and international law-enforcement. In turn, for the navies of the democracies involved, this created the ascendance of two ‘key missions’ which continue to predominate in the post-Cold War era. Read more...

30-08-2015 - Whence the Threat? Lessons from Argentina's Air-Naval Arsenal in 2015

Even thirty-three years after the end of hostilities there, the Falklands Islands still enjoy close attention. Diplomatic skirmishes and oil exploration at the islands merit recurring interest. But perhaps above all, the positioning of the Argentine military draws attention which few of its other Latin American counterparts receive. Read more...

 

Alexander Wooley

Alexander Wooley is Partnerships Director for AidData. A former Royal Navy officer, Alex has written for Public Diplomacy Magazine and The Huffington Post and is author of the upcoming Discontented Drones: Stoking the Fires in the Boiler-Room of the American Empire. Alex holds an MA in Security Studies from Georgetown University.

08-05-2015 - The Falklands, 33 Years Later - Deterrence & Defence: Singapore & Crete Reprised?

primary interests, the Falkland Islands are in some ways reminiscent of Singapore and Crete circa 1941: All share defence by a garrison, and a few aircraft, with powerful warships standing by. All enjoy access to resources and an ally near-by - but one without decisive tactical or strategic strength. All are sited near an important strait, in an area contested by nations with opposing interests, and within striking range of their land-based aircraft. Read more...

 

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