The Alphen Group Geopolitics, Strategy and Innovation


Chair’s Note, 20 May 2019

Chair’s Note, 20 May 2019

Let me first offer congratulations to TAGGER Anna Wieslander on her richly-deserved election this past week to the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences, which dates back to 1796. My thanks also to Paul Cornish for his excellent piece, and our first substantive blog, “The truth behind the JEDI War Cloud contract battle may now be coming out”.  Paul’s analysis of the changing nature of the US military-industrial complex and the even more complex relationship between strategic innovation, defence investment and corporate competition is timely and sobering. It is well worth a read. Next week Holger Mey will consider the future of nuclear policy. Knowing Holger, as I do, his piece will no doubt go off with a bang.

Interesting week this week. As I write this I am sitting in a hotel room overlooking beautiful Tallinn. My presence here is in support of the excellent Lennart Meri conference. An hour ago I chaired an excellent panel entitled “The Word is Very Powerful. Is the US now Smaller or Bigger on the Map?  My leadership of the session was supported by Ian Brzezinski and Rachel Ellehuus from, respectively, the Atlantic Council and CSIS in Washington, David Kramer from the University of Florida, and Christian Molling, Research Director from the German Council on Foreign Relations. In other words, a stellar team with years of experience that spans the divide between academia and policy, pretty much like the TAG itself. My takeaway is thus: Americans and Europeans must not under-estimate the changes that are taking place on both sides of the Atlantic and in the relationship that exists across it. Nevertheless, North Americans and Europeans need, and will need each other more not less. Without transatlantic solidarity rooted in strategic realism there is little chance the people here in Estonia will be able to sleep easy in their beds.

The issue of strategic realism was also at the centre of my address to NATO generals and admirals at the wonderful NATO Defence College on Thursday in Rome.   Entitled, “The Future of NATO”, I pulled no punches in my assessment that the purpose of the Alliance is to master the future of warfare in all its many forms in order to preserve peace. The longer Europeans appease a dangerous reality that stretches across policy, society, security and defence capability, and increasingly futuristic technology, the more likely that Europe’s future could involve a very nasty shock.

So, on that cheery note…until next week.

Julian Lindley-French,

Chair,

The Alphen Group

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