Tuesday, 27 October 2020
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think tanks

Ian Kearns and Ken Gude published 'The new front line: Security in a changing world' as a working paper for the ippr Commission on National Security on 13 February 2008.

The full text of the working paper can be accessed at:

http://www.ippr.org/publicationsandreports/publication.asp?id=588

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By Chris Newton

The various news reports over the past weeks and months have suggested that the government has been locked in a heated debate over the future of British strategy. On the one side it appears that David Cameron and George Osborne believed that future British force structures should be geared towards the war in Afghanistan, and therefore the Army should take priority. Liam Fox on the other hand suggested that the future force structure should take a more long term view, prioritising the Navy to ensure that Britain's maritime and trading interests are protected.

The field of strategic studies is at a similar crossroads. During the first few decades since its conception, the prime concern of strategic theorists was nuclear strategy. In the 1990s, their attention primarily turned to 'peacekeeping' and peace support operations. After 9/11 the principal interest has been counterinsurgency operations. The key question now is should strategists continue to focus of COIN theory or should they now look to other forms of warfare post-Afghanistan?

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