SC142 Begins Field Study 1 in the UK
Senior Course 142 made a first stop in London to kick start Field Study 1. On 13 March 2023, the delegation was received by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), located on King Charles Street, London, where Course Members were briefed by representatives of the Ministry of Defense and the FCDO.
The day at the FCDO began with an Office Call between Lieutenant General Olivier Rittimann, Commandant of the NATO Defense College and Admiral Sir Tony Radakin KCB ADC, UK Chief of Defence Staff, who then delivered his welcome remarks to the NDC delegation.
In his speech, ADM Radakin underscored the importance of the UK’S relationship with the EU and US security matters, crucial for a strong and lasting nuclear alliance, whose relevance has only been reaffirmed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. He then spoke of NATO, the UK’s role in the Alliance, and issues related to member countries’ defence budgets and expenditures. The UK CHOD also kindly answered questions put by Course Members regarding the UK and NATO’s priorities, Africa, and budgets and spending.
The academic session, moderated by COL Jeremy Miles, Faculty Advisor and UK Senior National Representative at NDC, continued with a presentation on the UK’s support to Ukraine, led by Brigadier Chris Ordway, Head (Military), Euro-Atlantic Security of UK MoD. He spoke of the security challenges around the globe and the war in Ukraine, highlighting how the UK is supporting Ukraine to defend itself against the Russian aggression, by way of arms and weapons deliveries. Brigadier Ordway also underscored the importance of negotiation as a path to ending wars. Negotiation, China’s role in negotiation and Russian expectations were some of the topics raised by Course Members during the questions and answers session which followed the presentation.
The next lecturer was Mr Chris Clark, Senior Policy Advisor in the Defence Cabinet Office, who presented the headline outputs from the Integrated Review, which is an important document that provides a comprehensive articulation of the UK’s national security and international policy, released in 2021. As Mr Clark described, the integrated review refresh of 2023 updates the government’s security, defence, development and foreign policy priorities to reflect changes in the global context since the Integrated Review of 2021. The core of this important document are the four pillars of the strategic framework, which also encompass “shaping the open international order of the future, “strengthening security and defence at home and overseas, “deter, defend and compete across all domains”, “protecting the UK and the wider international security against threats, “addressing vulnerabilities through resilience” strengthening UK vulnerabilities and “generate strategic advantages” by enhancing UK’s strengths and updating the approach for maximizing influence and freedom of action. The Q&A, mainly focused on the Russia and China relationship, the war in Ukraine and budget expenditures.
The final briefing was about UK priorities for the next NATO Summit, which will be held in Vilnius on 11-12 July 2023. The briefing was presented by Ms Claire Cameron and Mr Matt Baugh, Joint Directors Euro-Atlantic Security Policy of MoD/FCDO. The briefers talked about the previous Summit which was held in Madrid in June 2022, and the importance of the NATO Strategic Concept, and its significance for the future. Common deterrence and defence, together with ongoing support to Ukraine to increase its capability to defend itself from Russia, will be some of the topics which will be discussed in Vilnius. Global changes, the relationship between NATO and the Ukraine, industrial cooperation between NATO and the EU will be very important matters for discussion as well. At the end of the presentation, the two briefers answered many questions on the Asia Pacific area, support for Ukraine, deterrence against cyberthreats, and terrorism across the globe.
The academic segment ended with closing remarks made by Mr Ben Fender, Director of Eastern Europe and Central Asia of Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, who spoke of the potentially unpredictable consequences of the war in Ukraine, further adding that the next three months will be crucial.