Military Doctrine: Past, Present, and Future

Doctrine and its Development: The Evolution of Military, Air and Maritime Doctrine

Study Day at Pembroke College, Oxford
Monday, 6 March 2017, 10.30am to 5.00pm

Following on from two recent events on ‘Strategy’ and ‘Operational Art’, this study day seeks to consider conceptual and policy questions relating to the development of doctrine. Its aim is to ask questions about the formulation of military doctrine. What considerations influence the development of doctrines for different services and tasks? Does doctrine form contrasting functions in war and peace? Can the UK improve its processes of doctrine writing by taking note of the lessons of the past? The study aims to bring together academics and practitioners in order to develop a deeper understanding of an often overlooked dimension to military thought, training and planning.

The Study Day will examine the historical record, considering what lessons have been drawn from the past. What made doctrine successful in the past? Was success due to the quality of the doctrine-writers themselves, or did success depend upon its dissemination and support from senior leaders? Can military history reveal why and when doctrine failed to contribute to operational capability and training? Why and in what way have some nations been better at the development of doctrine than others? Has Britain been especially poor at developing doctrine – and, if so, why?

Papers will include:

Prof Alaric Searle (Salford/CCW): Military doctrine: Lessons from History?

Dr Rob Johnson (Oxford): Doctrine and its Development

Lt.-Col. (ret.) Dr James S. Corum (Salford): The Experience of Writing US COIN Doctrine under David Petraeus

Col. Ben Cattermole: Current Doctrinal Development

Dr Matthias Strohn (RMA Sandhurst): German Interwar Military Doctrine

Dr Brian Hall (Salford): British Army Communications Doctrine, 1914-20

Dr David Jordan: Air Power Doctrine

Dr Steven Main (Russian Military Studies Office): Russian Military Doctrine

The study day will take place in the Harold Lee Room at Pembroke College from 10.30am to 4.30pm and will be followed by a book-launch for Alaric Searle’s Armoured Warfare: A Military, Political and Global History (Bloomsbury Academic, Feb. 2017).

Please register via Eventbrite.