Learning the Lessons from Dereliction of Duty to Chilcot: Political-Military Decision Making in the Twenty-first Century

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This panel event will examine how political-military decisions are made in the twenty-first century.

In his book Dereliction of Duty, H. R. McMaster (now President Trump’s National Security Advisor) delivers a painful analysis of the failure of political-military decision making in the early days of the US commitment in Vietnam. It recognises failings in people, structures and processes that ultimately compromised effective decision making and contributed to various strategic missteps. These lessons find a stark echo in the report of the UK’s Iraq Inquiry more commonly known as the Chilcot Report which highlighted problems in the way that strategic decisions were taken.

The Command Theme of the RUSI Martial Power Programme is initiating a research project to examine how political-military decisions are made in a number of different countries in order to identify evidence of best practice. This will be focused on those decisions that relate to the use of military power rather than to more routine business such as long-term capability planning and personnel policy.

To launch the project, RUSI is hosting a public panel discussion on 11 October to discuss political-military decision making in the twenty-first century. The panel will include academics and practitioners, both civilian and military.



The Rt Hon. the Lord Hutton of Furness, Former Secretary of State for Defence

Lt Gen (Retd) Sir David Capewell, Senior Associate Fellow, RUSI

Chris Fussell, Partner, McChrystal Group

James de Waal, Senior Consulting Fellow, Chatham House


PRICES (Excluding vat)

Standard - £25

RUSI Corporate Member - £20

Student* - £15

*A limited number of student tickets are available. Please register using a valid .ac email address.

A sandwich lunch will be available from 1200 onwards.

Please contact Louise at rusievents@rusi.org with any queries.

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