The Alphen Group Geopolitics, Strategy and Innovation


Chair’s Note, 11 September 2019

Chair’s Note

11 September 2019

On this day each year my mind is cast back to 2001, and the shock at seeing the comfort blanket in which much of Europe (not all) had wrapped itself in the wake of the Cold War torn away. The attacks of 911 ended one world and began another, a world which is still not fully clear. It also led all of us to question almost everything about our security and defence. Nothing was certain then; little is certain today.

This month we will post two films by TAGGERS Ben Hodges and Jamie Shea that both ask a necessary question that would have been unthinkable some years ago, whither NATO? In these two short and brilliant movies the clear answer they both give as to why we still need the Alliance is the essence of the leadership for which the TAG was established. But for what?

TAGGER Paul Cornish offers us a lead with not only an outstanding vision of the nature of future war in his piece “War Clouds on the Horizon”, but also the need for new thinking in high place if we are to cyber-defend ourselves in one of the new battlespaces of the digital war age.  

TAGGER Rob de Wijk will next week offer us his vision of how Europe can strike a new defence balance between cost and capability in his forthcoming TAG blog “A New Defense Posture for Europe: Minimum defense, Maximum deterrence”. Having been a friend and admirer of Rob’s for many years what he offers is typically grounded vision allied to a plan of action. Something of which Europeans are in desperately short supply.

Me? I am finishing off my new book for Oxford University, “Future War and the Defence of Europe”, which I have co-written with my friend John R. Allen and friend and fellow TAGGER Ben Hodges. It will, of course, be brilliant and very reasonably-priced. Watch this space!

Julian Lindley-French