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16 September 2021

King's College London led research collaboration enhances 'AUKUS' partnership between UK, USA and Australia

A collaborative project by the Laughton Naval Unit with research partners in the USA and Australia supports the close ties identified in the new ‘AUKUS’ partnership

Laughton ships sea

In collaboration with research partners in the USA and Australia, the Corbett 100 project led by the Laughton Unit in the Department of War Studies supports the close ties identified in the new ‘AUKUS’ partnership announced yesterday by the British government, between the UK, USA and Australia.

The project, launched in 2019, builds upon historical and scholarly links between the UK, US and Australia through research collaboration on maritime strategy. The partnership between King’s College London, US Naval War College and Australian Naval Institute brings together researchers, veterans and active military to discuss historical perspectives on historian and strategist Sir Julian Corbett (1854-1922) and the contemporary relevance of his work on maritime strategy.

Sir Julian Corbett’s research efforts earlier in the 20th century proved strategy was a national construct rather than a set of universal principles towards efforts to secure peace and international order. His work received positive international acclaim from the United States, Australia and Japan as they developed their notion of “seapower”.

Corbett understood the critical importance of the past, once suitably analysed, in highlighting long-term national security policy trends. His major theoretical contribution came in 1911 with the publication of Some Principals of Maritime Strategy, which remains the single most important text on maritime strategy. It placed Corbett among the great strategic thinkers. As a civilian, Corbett served the British Cabinet, where his commitment to the education of the Royal Navy, the integration of naval thought into national strategy and policy, and the importance of academic rigour marked him out from the majority of contemporary writers in the subject.

The Corbett 100 project led by King’s College London academics and alumni marks the centenary of the death of British naval historian Sir Julian Corbett in 2022. The project runs between 2019 and 2023, featuring special publications and events exploring historical as well as contemporary questions including maritime strategy, defence policy, seapower, trade protection and future global security. Three events aim to discuss maritime strategy for the contemporary era. The relationships between nations at sea and the ongoing development of navies being a particular area identified of interest to each of the countries in the ‘AUKUS’ partnership. The first event will be held at King’s College London in 2022. Following the King’s conference, further events will be held in Australia and the United States.

Corbett 100 is directed between Dr James W.E. Smith, King’s College London, Dr David Kohnen, U.S Naval War College and Dr Mark Bailey, Royal Australian Navy. The project is supported through an academic council consisting of Professor Andrew Lambert at King’s College London and Professor John Hattendorf at the U.S Naval War College.

In this story

James W.E. Smith

Laughton-Corbett Visiting Research Fellow

David Kohnen

Visiting Research Associate

Andrew  Lambert

Laughton Professor of Naval History

Mark Bailey

Visiting Research Associate


Corbett 100 Conference

A conference that will bring together international scholars, serving and retired military personnel and policy makers to mark...