Michael Harwood CB CBE MA

Senior Associate Fellow


Michael Harwood retired from the Royal Air Force in July 2012 after thirty-four years' service. As a pilot (principally on the Hawk and Harrier), he faced the challenges of fast-jet flying instruction, Cold War Germany, Arctic conditions, and No-Fly-Zone enforcement as well as the testing of innovative tactics and new equipment at the Strike Attack Operational Evaluation Unit at Boscombe Down. His extensive time in the Gulf was complemented by staff tours at the Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood and the RAF HQ at High Wycombe.

At the Joint Services Command and Staff College Shrivenham, he was responsible for three aspects of education: primarily as Director, Higher Command and Staff Course; but also Air Power teaching in the round (for all courses), and an invigorating Defence module designed for Warrant Officers from all three Services.

In his final tour, probably his favourite of his entire career, he headed the British Defence Staff in the United States (based in Washington DC but with responsibilities across the whole country) and represented the UK in the United Nations' Military Staff Committee.

Mostly out of uniform now, he has the freedom with which to write, teach and engage with individuals, educational establishments, and organisations across the world. Finding much commonality with the history of the RAF in 1918, he has found himself involved with the Space Domain. Sitting still is not in his nature.

As a Volunteer Reservist, he flies Royal Air Force Air Cadets in the Grob Tutor light aircraft, probably learning as much from these teenagers as they gain from him. He is also a resolute advocate for the Air Cadet concept being adopted in nations overseas.


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