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  • Author: Paul Cornish, Andrew M. Dorman
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Whichever party or parties form the next UK government, a Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) is expected to begin soon after the general election in May. The review might be a 'light touch' exercise—little more than a reaffirmation of the SDSR produced by the coalition government in 2010. It seems more likely, however, that the review will be a lengthier, more deliberate exercise and one which might even last into 2016. For those most closely engaged in the process the challenge is more complex than that confronted by their predecessors in 2010. The international security context is more confused and contradictory; the UK's financial predicament is still grave; security threats and challenges will emerge that cannot be ignored; the population's appetite for foreign military engagement appears nevertheless to be restricted; and prevailing conditions suggest that the risk-based approach to national strategy might be proving difficult to sustain. Two key questions should be asked of the review. First, in the light of recent military experiences, what is the purpose of the United Kingdom's armed forces? Second, will SDSR 2015–16 sustain the risk-based approach to national strategy set out in 2010, and if so how convincingly? Beginning with a review of the background against which SDSR 2015–16 will be prepared, this article examines both enduring and immediate challenges to the national strategic process in the United Kingdom and concludes by arguing for strategic latency as a conceptual device which can complement, if not reinvigorate, the risk-based approach to national strategy and defence.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: Malcolm Chalmers
  • Publication Date: 10-2014
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The World Today
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Britain's 2010 National Security Strategy, published shortly after the coalition government took office, was entitled 'A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty'. It made no mention of the two existential challenges—the possible secession of Scotland from the United Kingdom, and the risk of a British withdrawal from the European Union. Yet either event would be a fundamental transformation in the very nature of the British state, with profound impact on its foreign and security policy.
  • Topic: Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Britain, United Kingdom, Europe, Scotland
  • Author: Chad Michael Briggs
  • Publication Date: 09-2012
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The effort to tie together environment and security is not a new endeavour. The Epic of Gilgamesh spoke of floods, possibly referring to actual changes in the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, resulting in clashes over water access and land use. Stories from the Third Punic War (albeit of disputed veracity) spoke of the Romans sowing the fields of Carthaginians with salt in order to prevent the communities from rebuilding. Environmental factors have been crucial in warfare throughout history, from storms warding off the Spanish Armada in Elizabethan times to the decimation of European troops by disease during the Crusades. Later colonial powers, recognizing that the conquest of land overseas required also the conquest of nature, established schools of tropical hygiene and medicine to provide adaptation strategies for new environmental conditions.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Stuart Griffin
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: The campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan have had profound effects on both the British and US militaries. Among the most important is the way in which they have challenged traditional assumptions about the character of unconventional conflict and the role of the military within comprehensive strategies for encouraging sustainable peace. In the UK, the most important doctrinal response has been JDP 3-40 Security and Stabilisation: the military contribution. Security and Stabilisation is an ambitious attempt to synthesize elements of counterinsurgency, counterterrorism, peace support and state-building within a single doctrine that reflects the lessons learned from recent British operational experience. This article examines the purpose, impact and potential value of this important innovation in British doctrine. To do so, the article explores the genesis of Stabilization; analyses its impact upon extant British doctrine for counterinsurgency and peace support; discusses its relationship with the most important related US doctrines, FM 3-24: the counterinsurgency field manual and FM 3-07: the stability operations field manual; and debates the function of doctrine more broadly. It concludes by summarizing the primary challenges Security and Stabilisation must overcome if it is to make a serious contribution to the theory and practice of such complex interventions.
  • Topic: Security, Counterinsurgency
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, United States, Iraq, United Kingdom
  • Author: Nick Ritchie
  • Publication Date: 03-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: In 2010 the coalition government conducted a major review of defence and security policy. This article explores the review process from a critical perspective by examining and challenging the state-centrism of prevailing conceptions of current policy reflected in the quest to define and perform a particular 'national role' in contrast to a human-centric framework focused on the UK citizen. It argues that shifting the focus of policy to the individual makes a qualitative difference to how we think about requirements for the UK's armed forces and challenges ingrained assumptions about defence and security in relation to military operations of choice and attendant expensive, expeditionary war-fighting capabilities. In particular, it confronts the prevailing narrative that UK national security-as-global risk management must be met by securing the state against pervasive multidimensional risk through military force, that military power projection capabilities are a vital source of international influence and national prestige and that the exercise of UK military power constitutes a 'force for good' for the long-term human security needs of citizens in both the intervened and intervening state.
  • Topic: Security
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom
  • Author: John Heathershaw, Nick Megoran
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: International Affairs
  • Institution: Chatham House
  • Abstract: Western geopolitical discourse misrepresents and constructs Central Asia as an inherently and essentially dangerous place. This pervasive 'discourse of danger' obscures knowledge of the region, deforms scholarship and, because it has policy implications, actually endangers Central Asia. This article identifies how the region is made knowable to a US-UK audience through three mutually reinforcing dimensions of endangerment: Central Asia as obscure, oriental, and fractious. This is evidenced in the writings of conflict resolution and security analysts, the practices of governments, the activities of international aid agencies and numerous lurid films, documentaries and novels.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Central Asia