Expanding the Learning Curve
RUSI.org brings together leading historians to explore military problems of the present from the perspective of the past.
Expanding the Learning Curve
Meeting the challenges of modern war through historical perspectives
In a wide ranging survey, we consider how armed forces met the challenges of their day - and what lessons we can derive for today's policy debates.
The present difficulties facing the British armed forces underline the importance adapting to twenty-first century warfare. RUSI.org explores key contexts that offer options and insights for today's policymakers.
Articles in this collection provide an international consideration of doctrinal and organisational reform of armed forces during major wars, counter-insurgency operations and peacetime. We further illuminate the evolving relationship between the armed forces, the media and the wider public.
Extracting Counterinsurgency lessons:
The Malayan Emergency and Afghanistan
Dr Karl Hack
An analysis of the general principles underlying British success in Malaya can still provide transferable 'lessons' and important policy implications for Afghanistan.
Beyond the 'Learning Curve': The British Army's Military
Transformation in the First World War
Dr William Philpott
The British army's experience on the Western Front, still viewed in emotional terms by the wider public, must be placed in the context of a fundamental transformation in the conduct of warfare that occured between 1914 and 1918.
The reluctant pupil? Britain's army and
learning in counter-insurgency
Dr Huw Bennett
The British Army's experience in Northern Ireland underlines the importance of flexibility rather than fixed or outdated doctrine in countering insurgencies.
British Policy on the North-West Frontier of India 1877-1947: A Suitable Precedent for the Modern Day?
Dr Christian Tripodi
An assessment of British imperial rule in this region underlines those methods of political and military control not to repeat.
Does the Royal Navy Matter? Aspects of National Identity and the Navy’s vulnerability to future budget cuts
Dr Duncan Redford
The Navy’s vulnerability to future spending cuts stems from evolving perceptions of national identity rather than a failure of present naval policy.
The Information Campaign and Countering Insurgency: Lessons from Palestine 1945-1948
Dr Kate Utting
The historic difficulties of forging a credible and successful 'story' in support of counter-insurgency operations are forcibly demonstrated by the British experience in Palestine.
Learning Without Reference: the Israeli Defence Forces in its First Twenty Years
Dr Gil-li Vardi
Lacking the military traditions and coherence of other armies, the doctrine and traditions of the Israeli Defence Force was formed under unique and unusual circumstances.
The Russian Army and Irregular Warfare
Dr Alex Marshall
Difficulties in fighting insurgencies in Afghanistan and Chechnya have led current Russian Army commanders to revisit important counter-insurgency lessons from the past.
In the Public's Eye: The British Army and Military-Media Relations
Dr Stephen Badsey
The British Army's lack of media awareness in recent campaigns comes as a surprise given its long and relatively successful history of military-media relations.
Click here for Series II (Spring 2010): Warring Partners