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08 February 2019

Dr Rod Thornton contributes to The Journal of Slavic Military Studies

Dr Rod Thornton provides an insight into Countering a Prompt Global Strike: The Russian Military Presence in Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean and Its Strategic Deterrence Role


Dr Rod Thornton, a Lecturer in the Defence Studies Department contributed an article for The Journal of Slavic Military Studies, providing an extensive report on the Russian military involvement on land in Syria and in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Dr Thornton considers, in particular, why the point is constantly being made in Russian political and military circles that these two commitments will be ‘permanent’ in nature. He began by providing the rationales for the initial establishment of a Russian Eastern Mediterranean naval flotilla and the later sending of ground troops with air support to Syria, then goes on to show what benefits — geopolitical, political, military, and, in particular, strategic — have accrued to Russia from the combination of these two missions.

The article concludes by showing that these benefits are too substantial for any Russian political leader to contemplate a withdrawal from Syria at any point in the foreseeable future.

Read the full article here.

Prior to academia, Dr Thornton served nine years in a British Army infantry regiment. He saw service in Germany, Cyprus, Northern Ireland. On leaving the Army in 1988, he took a degree in Russian and Serbo-Croat and, on graduation, rejoined the Army to serve as an interpreter in Bosnia (1992-93). He became a civilian again and took two masters degrees (MSocSc in Russian and East European Studies and an MA in Security Studies). 

He's worked for King’s College London at the Qatari Command and Staff College, has been back at the Defence Academy since 2016 and is now involved in Professional Military Education issues.

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