Ministry of Defence


Somewhat to my surprise, I was asked to make the keynote speech to the forum on “Beyond Deterrence: Re-thinking UK Security Doctrine”, hosted by the Ministry of Defence’s Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre (DCDC) and the University of Oxford Changing Character of War Programme at Merton College, Oxford in July 2015.

This took me back to the old days of Oxford Research Group, when I often felt like Daniel in the lions’ den, having to expose taboo issues in the presence of very senior military leaders and Ministry of Defence policy makers. There was steely silence in the room when I said:

“Research into human psychology over the past 30 years has demonstrated beyond doubt that we delude ourselves if we assume human beings to be rational. Deterrence theory assumes human beings to be rational. To base a strategy employing unimaginable destructive power on a false assumption is inexcusably dangerous. It should be wrapped in its opaque shroud, given a decent burial, and put to rest without delay”.

You can read the full article on the Oxford Research Group website:  http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publications/briefing_papers_and_reports/beyond_deterrence_rethinking_uk_security_doctrine