Strategy can be understood as a relationship between policy and the politics of a country on one hand, and the exercise of military power on the other. The old model of the relationship between politics and the military was popularised by Samuel Huntington, a model where the military respected the civilian role in setting political objectives in return for civilians respecting their professional autonomy when it came to the conduct of operations. However, does this model apply to the strategic challenges states are facing in this century? This lecture will consider the role of senior commanders in advising on the strategic direction of war, using examples from Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq. Instead of the old Huntington model, this lecture will argue that a new relationship model is required, in which civilians need military advice on objectives, and the military must accept that civilians will have views on how objectives are realised.
About the Speaker
Lawrence Freedman is Emeritus Professor of War Studies at King’s College London. He was Professor of War Studies at King’s College London from 1982 to 2014, and was Vice-Principal from 2003 to 2013. He was Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign and a member of the official inquiry into Britain and the 2003 Iraq War. Professor Freedman has written extensively on nuclear strategy and the cold war, as well as commentating regularly on contemporary security issues. His recent books are Strategy: A History (2013), The Future of War: A History (2017) and Ukraine and the Art of Strategy (2019). The Politics of Command will be published in the summer of 2022.