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Dr Rod Thornton

Dr Rod Thornton

  • Academics
  • Supervisors

Associate Professor/Senior Lecturer

RAF Division Academic Director.

Research subject areas

  • Conflict
  • Security

Contact details

Biography

Dr Rod Thornton specialises in the study of the Russian military, particularly its emphasis on sub-threshold warfare activities – such as cyber and psychological operations.

He originally served for nine years in an infantry regiment of the British Army (1980-88). During his time, he spent four years in Germany and three years in Northern Ireland. He left to go to university in 1988. After a degree in Russian and Serbo-Croat, he subsequently rejoined the Army to serve as an interpreter in Bosnia (1992-93). He then began a career in academia after time spent living in both Moscow and Kiev (Kyiv). He went on to teach, firstly at King’s and then at the University of Nottingham and at the University of Hewler in Erbil, Kurdish Region of Iraq. He returned to King’s in 2013 where he was seconded to teach at the Qatari Staff College. Down the years, Rod has taught on a wide variety of topic areas – including international affairs, guerrilla warfare, counter-insurgency, terrorism, the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, Russian history and the history of the Middle East.

Research Interests

  • The Russian armed forces
  • Russian sub-threshold warfare
  • Russian cyber capabilities
  • UK homeland resilience
  • Russian military high-tech systems

Along with a series of articles and book chapters, Rod has written a book entitled ‘Asymmetric Warfare’ with Polity Press (2007). He is currently working on a book about the Russian armed forces.

This encompasses the study of its army, navy and air force but also its activities in the sub-threshold space. Recently, Rod’s research concentration has been on Russian cyberspace operations. In light of Russian sub-threshold warfare activities, his research also encompasses homeland resilience capacity in the UK. He recently received a British Academy grant to look at UK homeland resilience capacity during the COVID-19 crisis.

Teaching

Rod teaches across a broad range of subject areas related to international affairs and defence and security issues. He is based at the UK Defence Academy, Shrivenham.

PhD students

Andrea Rebora (AI and cyber)

Ewa Cholewa (Insurgents in Nigeria)

Andrew Jensen (Russian and Chinese cyberspace operations)

Keng Meng Tan (Offensive cyber)

Muhammet Serif (Baltic States state resilience)

Joe Cheravitch (Russian psychological warfare)

Publications

And Marina Miron, ‘Learning the lessons of COVID-19: homeland resilience in the United Kingdom - is it now time for both a dedicated civil defence organisation and a paramilitary force?’ Defence Studies, Summer 2022. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/14702436.2022.2110481

 

And Marina Miron, ‘Winning future wars: Russian offensive cyber and its vital importance in Moscow’s Strategic Thinking,’ Cyber Defense Review, Vol. 7, No. 3, Summer 2022. https://cyberdefensereview.army.mil/Portals/6/Documents/2022_summer_cdr/09_Thorton_Miron_CDR_V7N3_Summer_2022.pdf?ver=0LhzDv4-cUkzkAqiTz401g%3d%3d, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14702436.2022.2110481

 

And Marina Miron, ‘The Role of "Aktivnost'' Today in Russian Military Strategic Thinking and the Crucial Target of the "Protest Potential of the Population",’ in Pentti Forsstrom (ed), Russian Concept of Deterrence in Contemporary and Classic Perspective, National Defence University (Finland), December 2021. https://www.doria.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/182808/Russian%20deterrence%20Seminar%202021_web.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y

And Marina Miron. ‘Emerging as the ‘Victor’(?): Syria and Russia’s Grand and Military Strategies’, in Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 34/1 (June 2021). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13518046.2021.1923991?tab=permissions&scroll=top

 

And Marina Miron, ‘Rethinking homeland resilience’, Reform (October 2020). https://reform.uk/research/building-resilient-state-collection-essays

 

‘Covid-19: How a pandemic shows the flexibility of the new Russian military’, Russland-Analysen, Issue 387, 30 May 2020. https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.laender-analysen.de%2Frussland-analysen%2F387%2Fflexibilitaet-des-neuen-russischen-militaers%2F&data=01%7C01%7Crod.thornton%40kcl.ac.uk%7C5e752ef09ac146b5ebb808d804b036de%7C8370cf1416f34c16b83c724071654356%7C0&sdata=PR9wx8E4zZ7yXo%2FQyjPQJeqgKIUzZlWVt5uwzx%2Fl%2Fks%3D&reserved=0.

 

And Marina Miron, ‘Towards the “Third Revolution in Military Affairs”: The Russian military’s use of AI-enhanced cyber warfare’, RUSI Journal, 165/3, 2020. https://rusi.org/publication/rusi-journal/towards-%E2%80%98third-revolution-military-affairs%E2%80%99-russian-military%E2%80%99s-use-ai

 

And Marina Miron, ‘Deterring Russian Cyber Warfare: The Practical, Legal and Ethical Constraints Faced by the United Kingdom’, Journal of Cyber Policy, 4/2, (2019). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23738871.2019.1640757

 

‘Countering Prompt Global Strike: The Russian Military Presence in Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean and its Strategic Deterrence Role’, Journal of Slavic Military Studies, 32/1 (2019). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13518046.2019.1552655

 

Dr Rod Thornton PURE Profile

Rod is a member of King’s Cyber Security Research Group.