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From national strategy to strategy in policy - 24 October 2022

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Chair: Dr James Smith, Visiting Research Fellow, Department of War Studies, King's College London

Speaker: Professor Beatrice Heuser, Chair of International Relations, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow

Speaker: Professor Andrew Lambert, Professor of Naval History, Department of War Studies, King's College London


This special Corbett 100 lecture will hear Professor Beatrice Heuser lecture and discuss with Dr James W.E. Smith and Professor Andrew Lambert the evolution of strategy. They will explore the ‘historical’ school of thinking on strategy, how strategic thought has struggled to be reflected in national strategy and policy in the past, and if the case remains so today. As part of the discussion, they will also closely look at the crucial role that British Historian Sir Julian Corbett had on the evolution of strategic thought. Like Prussian Army Officer Carl Von Clausewitz, Corbett understood that sound contemporary strategy lay in the combination of sophisticated historical analysis and strategic theory. To conclude, Dr Smith will question Professor Heuser and Professor Lambert about strategy and strategic thought’s current and future state.


The Corbett 100 makes the centenary of the death of the death of British historian, strategist and philosopher of seapower and maritime strategy, Sir Julian Stafford Corbett (1854-1922).


About the speakers

Dr James W.E. Smith is a Research Fellow in the Department of War Studies. He completed his PhD in the Department in 2021. He created the Corbett 100 project in 2019, which marks the centenary of the historian, strategist & philosopher of seapower and maritime strategy, Sir Julian Stafford Corbett (1854-1922). He is working on his first book about the relationship between UK/US defence unification and organisation and how nations think about national strategy. He is involved in various research fields and projects at King’s, such as naval history, maritime strategy, strategic studies, strategic space research and helped found the King’s Wargaming Network. He is also a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and visiting associate researcher at the U.S. Naval War College.


Professor Beatrice Heuser is a historian and political scientist. She holds the chair of International Relations at the University of Glasgow. Heuser has a B.A. in History from Bedford College, a M.A. in International History from the London School of Economics and a D.Phil. in Political Science from the University of Oxford. She has taught in the Department of War Studies and at the University of Reading and held visiting professorships at several Parisian universities, the universities of Reims and Potsdam, Sciences Po’ Paris and Reims, at the University of Rome III, at the Bundeswehr University near Munich and the Russian Foreign Ministry’s university MGIMO. Beatrice spent a year at NATO Headquarters as a Consultant/Intern and worked as Director of Studies of the German Bundeswehr’s military history research office. She is affiliated to or currently serving on academic advisory boards of several research institutes, including the French Institute of International Affairs (IFRI), the Royal United Services Institute, Chatham House (RIIA), the German Institute for Contemporary History, and the French government’s strategic studies think tank IRSEM. Some of her publications include:

War: A Genealogy of Western Ideas and Practices. (Oxford University Press, 2022)

Strategy Before Clausewitz: Linking Warfare and Statecraft, 1400-1830. (Routledge, 2017)

The Evolution of Strategy: Thinking War from Antiquity to the Present. (Cambridge University Press, 2010)


Professor Andrew Lambert is the Laughton Professor of Naval History in the Department of War Studies and Fellow of King’s College. His work focuses on the naval and strategic history of the British Empire between the Napoleonic Wars and the First World War and the early development of naval historical writing. His work has addressed various issues, including technology, policy-making, regional security, deterrence, historiography, crisis management and conflict. His recent publications include: The British Way of War: Julian Corbett and the Battle for a National Strategy (Yale 2021) and Seapower States, (Yale 2018), which won the 2018 Gilder Lehrman Book Prize in Military History. Past publications include: The Crimean War: British Grand Strategy against Russia 1853-1856. ‘The Foundations of Naval History: Sir John Laughton, the Royal Navy and the Historical Profession and ‘Nelson: Britannia’s God of War.’

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Event details

24 October 2022