Twenty-Five Years after Bosnia: The Corps in Contemporary Security

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An online conversation between the current and former Commander of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps on the role of the corps twenty-five years after its deployment to Bosnia.

The Allied Rapid Reaction Corps provided the framework headquarters for the international intervention in Bosnia under the command of then General Michael Walker. Twenty-five years later the ARRC has taken up its role as the first NATO War Fighting Corps to be held at readiness since the end of the Cold War.

Under the command of Lieutenant General Sir Edward Smyth-Osbourne the corps stands at the heart of NATO's deterrence posture.

But how have corps level operations evolved in the intervening twenty-five years? To explore the role of the modern corps, and to reflect on the lessons of ARRC's previous operational deployments RUSI is hosting a virtual discussion between now Field Marshal the Lord Walker of Aldringham and Lieutenant General Sir Edward Smyth-Osbourne.

The event will be chaired by RUSI's Director of Military Sciences, Professor Peter Roberts. Together they will compare the challenges facing the corps echelon today, and twenty-five years ago.

Speaker Biographies

Field Marshal the Lord Walker of Aldringham GCB CMG CBE DL 


Michael Walker was born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, in 1944.   He spent the first 14 years at various schools there before the family returned to the United Kingdom and he completed his schooling at WoodhouseGroveSchool in Yorkshire.   Having decided not to take up a reserved cadetship at the BritanniaRoyalNavalCollege in Dartmouth on leaving school, he taught at a boys’ preparatory school, Town Close House, in Norwich (1962/3) before enlisting in the Army and attending the RoyalMilitaryAcademy, Sandhurst for 2 years.   He was commissioned into The Royal Anglian Regiment in 1966 and spent his cold war years serving in Germany, Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Norway, Gibraltar and the United Kingdom.


When the Berlin wall collapsed he was commanding an Armoured Brigade in Detmold, Germany and his subsequent military career took him via Chief of Staff of the 1st British Corps through command of 2 Infantry Division, North East District and Eastern District in York (1991/2); Assistant Chief of the General Staff in London at the Ministry of Defence (1992/4); Command of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, which spent a year as the Land Component Command for the Dayton Peace Agreement Implementation Force in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1994/7); Commander in Chief of the United Kingdom’s Land Command at Wilton in Wiltshire 1997/2000);   Chief of the General Staff at the Ministry of Defence (2000/3) before his final tour as Chief of Defence Staff in London (2003/6).     He was Colonel of his Regiment (1998-2003), Colonel Commandant of The Army Air Corps (1994-2004) and Honorary Colonel 3rd Battalion the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (1994/9).    Whilst serving he was President of the Army Skiing Association, President of the Army Lawn Tennis Association and Admiral of the Army Sailing Association. He retired after 42 years of military service in April 2006.  He was elevated to the peerage in December 2006 and served as Governor of The Royal Hospital Chelsea from 2006 to 2011. He was appointed an Honorary Field Marshal by Her Majesty in 2014.



Lieutenant General Sir Edward Smyth-Osbourne KCVO CBE

Born in Devon and bred in Cornwall; educated at West Downs, Eton and St Andrews; he elected to become a regular soldier and joined The Life Guards in West Germany in 1983.  At Regimental Duty he served in the normal appointments ranging from Troop Leader to Commanding Officer in the United Kingdom, Europe, Central America, Balkans, Middle East and Asia.  At Staff he was, at various times, Chief of Staff 42 (North West) Brigade; Staff Officer Grade 2 Tactical Operations at the British Army Training Unit Suffield, Western Canada; Military Assistant to the Commander in Chief; a Staff Officer in the Ministry of Defence, Director Force Reintegration, Headquarters International Security Assistance Force, Afghanistan; and Deputy Commander, NATO Rapid Deployable Corps  ̶  Italy.  In command he has led the Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Task Force in Kosovo; the Household Cavalry in Great Britain and Afghanistan; 38 (Irish) Brigade in Ulster; London District and the Household Division.  He holds the appointments of Colonel The Life Guards and Goldstick in Waiting; Colonel Commandant Royal Armoured Corps; Honorary Colonel Tayforth Universities Officer Training Corps; and President of Army Telemark.  Military education included the Staff College at Camberley and the Higher Command and Staff course at the Defence Academy. 



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