Chair: Dr Philip A. Berry, Lecturer in War Studies
Speaker: General the Lord Richards of Herstmonceux GCB CBE DSO DL, former Chief of the Defence Staff - the professional head of the British Armed Forces.
The Centre for Defence Studies, King’s College London is pleased to host an online conversation with General the Lord Richards of Herstmonceux. Lord Richards will consider the UK’s future role in the world, including how this will be shaped by the Integrated Review, the implications of the US presidential election result on American foreign policy and transatlantic relations, and the prospects for real peace in Afghanistan.
With the international geopolitical environment in a state of flux, the UK faces difficult choices in crafting a long-term strategy to meet existing and future challenges. Currently, the government is conducting an Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy (IR) which will shape the UK’s future role in the world. However, against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and associated spending pressures, several questions remain unanswered about the shape and nature of the IR.
On the other side of the Atlantic, there is also a great deal of uncertainty about the future course of US foreign and security policy. The outcome of the election is likely to have major implications for the international security environment and the future of transatlantic relations.
Another country facing an uncertain future is Afghanistan. Despite the US and the UK expending vast amounts of the blood and treasure during the war in Afghanistan, it remains to be seen whether this will help to produce lasting peace and end decades of conflict in the country.
General the Lord Richards of Herstmonceux GCB CBE DSO DL
General Richards led operations in East Timor, Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan. He is particularly well known for his command in Sierra Leone in 2000 when he interpreted his orders creatively to achieve much more than was at first thought possible, ensuring the ultimate defeat of the RUF rebels and the avoidance of much bloodshed in the capital Freetown. He went on to command NATO forces in Afghanistan during the Alliance’s expansion of responsibility across the whole country. Having first commanded the British Army, in 2010 he became Chief of the Defence Staff, the professional head of Britain’s armed forces and their strategic commander as well as the Prime Minister’s military adviser and a member of the National Security Council. In this capacity, amongst many other tasks, he played a major role in the Libyan campaign in 2011 and in devising the UK’s final strategy for Afghanistan. He retired in July 2013.
His UK operational awards include a Mention in Despatches, Commander of the British Empire, Distinguished Service Order and Knight Commander of the Bath; the first officer to receive an operational knighthood since World War 2. In 2011 he received the annual Churchillian Award for leadership. He was created Baron Richards of Herstmonceux in February 2014 and now sits in the House of Lords. Amongst other appointments he is a visiting Professor of Exeter University and an Honorary Fellow of both King’s College London and Cardiff University. He is a governor of Ditchley Park, an adviser to a number of governments and commercial businesses, and Chairman of Equilibrium Global. He is also actively involved with a number of charities, especially the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League of which he is the Grand President. His autobiography Taking Command was published in October 2014.
Dr Philip A. Berry
Dr Philip A. Berry is a Lecturer in War Studies in the Centre for Defence Studies at King’s College London. Prior to this, he worked as a Researcher in the House of Commons. Dr Berry holds a PhD in International Politics from the University of Dundee, where his research examined Anglo–American counter-narcotics policies in Afghanistan in the post-2001 era. His work on the subject has been published in The International History Review and Diplomacy & Statecraft and his book, The War on Drugs and Anglo-American Relations: Lessons from Afghanistan, 2001-2011, was published in 2019.