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'The fusion of military and political activity in 21st Century combat' (Policy and Practice)

Publication date: Sep 30, 2013 11:57:00 AM

Start: Jan 16, 2014 5:30:00 PM
End: Jan 16, 2014 7:00:00 PM

Location: Medical Sciences 131 AV Hill LT Medical Sciences building, Malet Place, WC1E 6BT

Emile Simpson

emile simpson

Emile Simpson served in the British Army from 2006-12 as an infantry officer in the Royal Gurkha Rifles. He completed three tours in Southern Afghanistan, as well as service in Brunei, Nepal, and the Falkland Islands. He previously read history at Oxford University, and subsequently returned as a Visiting Defence Fellow to the Oxford Changing Character of War Programme. He also holds a graduate diploma in English law. War From the Ground Up: Twenty- First-Century Combat as Politics is his first book.

In the Afghan conflict, and in contemporary conflicts more generally, liberal powers and their armed forces have blurred the line between military and political activity. The clear-cut conception that the use of force in war serves to defeat and enemy has been challenged by practices developed to deal with complex multi-player political eco-systems, in which the persuasive value of an action is as important as its military effect against an enemy. The consequent politicisation of tactical action is not new, but is nonetheless catalysed by the information revolution, and hence appears to point to the future of conflict.

This lecture will describe this evolution, using first hand experience from Afghanistan, and suggest that while a fusion of military and political activity is often necessary to be operationally effective in modern warfare, so too does this carry risks in terms on the broader delimitation between war and peace.

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