Challenging Contemporary Wisdom

On 13 December 2017 the Ways of War Centre hosted the first of a series of seminars designed to challenge contemporary conventional wisdom on key defence and security issues.  Recognising the role of critical thinking to the generation of ‘intellectual advantage’, each seminar will match a leading practitioner with an academic partner to explore the ‘ambiguity paradox’ caused by an increasingly complex operating environment and the corresponding need for insightful thinking and decision making.

The December seminar focused on Command and Control, asking the question ‘is it fit for purpose in the 21st Century’?  Contrarian-in-Chief Lieutenant General Sir David Capewell and Capt Dr David Reindorp RN explored five related focus questions with an audience from the MOD, armed services, academia and industry.  Consensus suggested that it (C2) was not fit for purpose and required rethinking in a variety of areas including the UK’s national security decision making apparatus, and the relationship between politicians, commanders, those under command and the society they all serve.

The seminar concluded that while MOD has got better at closing the gap between tomorrow’s wars and yesterday’s equipment, it now needs to do likewise with concepts.  Many of which remain rooted in the past and show little sign of attracting the rapid, agile development pathways now seen in Defence acquisition.

The next seminar takes place on April 25th and will challenge the UK’s defence acquisition model and strategy.   Air Chief Marshal Sir Brian Burridge (ex-Vice President Finmeccanica) will act as Contrarian-in-Chief.  For further details or to register interest please contact Dr David Reindorp d.reindorp@reading.ac.uk

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