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The aim of this conference is to establish the nature of the United Kingdom’s actual military strategy, as opposed to the broadly stated defence policy, and to examine how this strategy can be effectively delivered.

Defence in the Round

With the importance of defence to the UK relating to more than just current operations, the conference will provide a timely opportunity to examine the broad and complex nature of defence.

The military instrument is a principal contributor to security. The UK Government published its National Security Strategy (NSS) in the spring of this year, and the Ministry of Defence (MoD) was very much engaged in the preparation of this document. Thus, the conference will provide an opportunity for a stocktake on national defence policy and military strategy in the context of the NSS, discussing:

  • the need to demonstrate to the electorate that current defence policy is coherent with the NSS and to explore the contribution of defence to security at home and abroad;
  • the rebuilding of broad national political consensus as to the purpose and roles of Britain’s armed forces - purposes and roles defined in the 1998 Strategic Defence Review but, arguably, disrupted by the 2003 invasion of Iraq;
  • the issue of obligation versus choice in policy and military commitments, the concept of the ‘force for good’, the relationship between liberal intervention and national interest, the relevance of the military contributions to international influence and diplomacy, and the benign roles of armed forces;
  • the influence of relations with other states and organisations, such as the United States, Europe and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), in both political and military contexts, and in particular the UK’s contribution to these relationships;
  • Thinking in the MoD and the defence industrial base regarding the development of future concepts and the delivery of future capability to meet medium and long term requirements.

Confirmed contributors include:

  • Sir Paul Lever KCMG, Chairman, Royal United Services Institute
  • Tom McKane, Strategy Director, Ministry of Defence, UK
  • Professor Michael Clarke, Director, Royal United Services Institute
  • Professor Malcolm Chalmers, Professorial Fellow, Royal United Services Institute
  • Major General (ret'd) Jonathan Bailey CB MBE PhD, Director, Business Development, Boeing Defence UK
  • Professor Colin S. Gray, Centre for Strategic Studies, Department of Politics, University of Reading   
  • Professor Hew Strachan, Chichele Professor of the History of War, All Souls College, University of Oxford
  • Lieutenant General Peter Wall CBE, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Commitments), Ministry of Defence, UK 
  • The Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP, Chairman, House of Commons Defence Committee
  • Eric Joyce MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Falkirk and Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Secretary of State for Defence
  • The Hon Bernard Jenkin MP, Conservative Member of Parliament for North Essex and Member of the House of Commons Defence Committee 
  • Nick Harvey MP, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for North Devon and Shadow Defence Secretary
  • James Fanshawe CBE, Defence Adviser, Manpower Software plc
  • Professor Trevor Taylor, Head, Department of Defence Management & Security Analysis, Cranfield University
  • Simon Jewell, Managing Director - Strategic Capability Solutions, BAE Systems
  • Air Vice Marshal Kevin J Leeson CBE BSc CEng FIEE RAF, Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Strategy and Plans), Ministry of Defence, UK 

This conference will bring together policy makers, academics, officials and business in exploring these issues. In advance of the event, RUSI will publish a short paper setting out key issues for discussion. Afterwards, RUSI will publish an analysis of insights drawn from the event. At a time of growing discussion of the nature and direction of UK defence and security policy, the conference and its associated papers will provide a timely opportunity to discuss and shape a debate of primary importance to the UK.

For more information and to discuss sponsorship opportunities please contact Dr. Lee Willett on +44 (0)20 7747 2611 or email

For all other enquiries please contact Sabrina Downey, Events Director, on +44 (0)20 7747 2622 or email 

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