Strategic Command Conference: Sharpening UK Defence’s Edge in the 2020s

This conference considers how the UK will approach the integration challenges and opportunities of persistent campaigning, at home and overseas, above and below the threshold for fighting

calendarclock - (BST)


Held against the backdrop of the substantial financial settlement for Defence but also a deteriorating security situation and the broader impact of the pandemic, the UK Strategic Command Conference will be the first major RUSI gathering in the wake of the recently released Integrated Review and the Defence Command Paper. A key theme of the Review is the need to enhance integration, which the Integrated Operating Concept (IOpC) 2025, published on 30 September 2020, describes as being across government, within the military, and with allies and partners. This integration task is the central role given to UK Strategic Command, and the Command Paper places Strategic Command at the heart of the plans for modernising the UK Armed Forces. The Conference will give the first major opportunity to consider the Integrated Review and what that means for the integration of the different parts of the UK’s armed forces in line with the IOpC.

The Conference will consider how the UK will approach the integration challenges and opportunities of persistent campaigning, at home and overseas, above and below the threshold for fighting. It will consider how multi-domain integration might be achieved within a military instrument that assumes it will routinely be more active in the homeland as well as abroad in what the IOpC calls the ‘Operate’ environment, rather than its traditional focus on pure ‘Warfighting’. It will also reflect on the implications of a move towards ‘information warfare’ as Defence seeks to transform through investment in ‘sunrise capabilities’ at the expense of those described as ‘sunset’. The Conference will address questions about how Defence can integrate across government in support of national interests, and work with allies and partners who are facing similar challenges of an increasingly dynamic operating environment.


  • General Sir Patrick Sanders, Commander UK Strategic Command
  • Lindy Cameron, Chief Executive National Cyber Security Centre
  • Heather Conley, Senior Vice President for Europe, Eurasia and the Arctic Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)
  • Lieutenant General Dennis Crall, Director, Command, Control, Communications and Computers / Cyber; Chief Information Officer Joint Staff, J6, US Joint Chiefs of Staff
  • Air Marshal Ian Gale, Director General Joint Force Development
  • Professor Anthony King, Professor in War Studies, University of Warwick
  • Lieutenant General Rob Magowan, Deputy Commander Strategic Command
  • Dr Sean McFate, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, Professor of Strategy at the National Defense University and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, US
  • Professor Katarzyna Zysk, Deputy Director and Head of Centre for Security Policy at Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies

Session recordings

Watch the video playlist for this conference.

View the Conference Report

Strategic Command Conference 2021


Explore our related content