Dr Annette Idler recognised at Excellence in Impact Awards 2018

Congratulations to CCW's Dr Annette Idler, who received a 'Highly Commended' award at the inaugural O2RB Excellence in Impact Awards for her work on Changing Character of Conflict: Violent Non-State Actors and Borderlands. 


Dr Idler's research on the Colombian Peace Process focuses on the role of non-violent state groups in the evolving climates of conflict, security and transnational organised crime. It combines ethnographic fieldwork with wider theoretical debates on security, and this 'glocal' approach to people-centred security has helped support the major partners in the Colombian Peace Process. The impact of Dr Idler's research has been to reduce conflict and civilian suffering in Colombia and other conflict zones, as well as to help shape the debate on that and wider conflicts.

Dr Idler was presented with the Highly Commended Early Career Impact Award at a ceremony at St Anne's College, Oxford. The O2RB Excellence in Impact awards are a collaborative iniitiative between the University of Oxford, the University of Reading, the Open University and Oxford Brookes University to foster and celebrate achievements in social science research beyond academia. 

Congratulations to Lt Gen Sir John Kiszely in being the first recipient of the Duke of Wellington Medal for Military History.

General Kiszely, member of the CCW Advisory Board, has been named as the first recipient of the Duke of Wellington Medal by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) for his book, Anatomy of a Campaign: The British Fiasco in Norway, 1940. The winner emerged from a strong shortlist of authors writing on military history. 

RUSI's Duke of Wellington Medal aims to reward on an annual basis the best English language writing on military history, interpreted widely to include the role of the armed forces, the conduct of wars, and the impact of conflict on nations and societies, over any period up to the present day.

Anatomy of a Campaign (Cambridge University Press) looks at the British campaign in Norway in 1940, which was widely considered an ignominious and abject failure. General Kiszely draws on his own experience of working at all levels in the military to assess the campaign as a whole, its context and evolution from strategic failures, the intelligence blunders and German air superiority to the performance of the troops and the serious errors of judgement by those responsible for the higher direction of the war. His book contributes to the understanding of not only the outcome of the Norwegian campaign but also why more recent military campaigns have found success so elusive.

CCW Annual Lecture 2018: 'Causes of Wars, Old & New' by Professor Sir Adam Roberts KCMG FBA

CCW Annual Lecture 2018
Wednesday 23rd May, 5.00pm
Pichette auditorium, Pembroke College, Oxford, OX1 1DW


By Professor Sir Adam Roberts KCMG FBA

The causes of both civil and international wars have long been the subject of much debate and also academic study. Numerous methodologies have been employed, including those of the anthropologist, the demographer, the economist, the meteorologist, the philosopher, the psychologist, the social scientist, and the strategist. Each of them sheds light on the subject, but none provides on its own a satisfactory answer to the very wide-ranging question of what causes wars – and also how they can be prevented. Adam Roberts suggests that the absence of a unified theory of the causes of war is not a disaster. However, the present period of growing nationalism and great power rivalry forces us to look again at the causes of international as well as non-international armed conflicts.

Adam Roberts is Emeritus Professor of International Relations at Oxford University, and Emeritus Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford. He was one of the founding members of CCW and served on its Academic Board before his retirement, and is now Honorary Fellow and Member of the CCW Advisory Board.

Sir Adam was President of the British Academy (2009-13). He is an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics & Political Science (1997- ), of St Antony's College Oxford (2006- ), and of the University of Cumbria (2014- ). He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by King's College London (2010), Aberdeen University (2012), Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo (2012), and Bath University (2014). He is a Foreign Honorary Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2011- ), and a Member of the American Philosophical Society (2013- ). He was a member of the Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London (2002-8); member of the UK Defence Academy Advisory Board (2003-15); and member, Board of Advisers of the Lieber Institute for Law and Land Warfare, at the United States Military Academy, West Point, September 2016– .

Sir Adam remains actively engaged in research and is a regular speaker at CCW events. His main research interests are in the fields of international security, international organizations, and international law (including the laws of war). He has also worked extensively on the role of civil resistance against authoritarian regimes and foreign rule, and on the history of thought about international relations. 

Dr Annette Idler's Research on International Security Architecture featured in World Economic Forum update

Dr Annette Idler's research on codifying the current international security architecture was mentioned this week in the World Economic Forum's weekly members' update, 'In Focus', which is circulated to around 5,000 experts worldwide.

"In November of 2017, at the annual meeting of the Council in Dubai, Council member Dr. Annette Idler of the University of Oxford—an expert on conflict, security, and transnational crime—presented a paper codifying the current international security architecture. The Council agreed to use present trends to develop scenarios for the future, which led to three connected presentations at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos last month."

Dr Idler's paper is available to read here.


Annette Idler speaking at Balliol College's Lady Dervorguilla Seminar

Lady Dervorguilla Seminar

'The Convergence of Conflict and Organised Crime' by Dr Annette Idler

23 February 2018, 8.00pm
Middle Common Room, Holywell Manor (no disabled access)

Dr Annette Idler (Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Politics and International Relations) will give a talk on ’The Convergence of Conflict and Organised Crime’.

In this talk, Dr Idler unpacks the intricate relationships between armed conflict and transnational organised crime. She demonstrates how tracing illicit supply chains reveal security challenges that are analytical blind spots to conventional frameworks on the ‘crime-conflict nexus’. These challenges include first, the mismatch of local and global perceptions that undermines the perceived legitimacy of governments; second, the persistence of illicit power structures throughout war and peace time; and third, the interconnectedness of multiple forms of organised crime that perpetuate conflict and fuel wider insecurity.

Annette Idler is the Director of Studies at the Changing Character of War Centre, Senior Research Fellow at Pembroke College, and at the Department of Politics and International Relations, and Affiliate at the Latin American Centre, all University of Oxford. She is the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council’s Fellow on International Security and Research Associate at the Graduate Institute Geneva’s Centre on Conflict, Development and Peacebuilding. Dr Idler’s work focuses on the interface of conflict, security, transnational organized crime and peacebuilding. Drawing on ethnographic methods in her research, over the past decade, she has conducted extensive fieldwork in and on the war-torn and crisis-affected borderlands of Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, including more than 600 interviews with local stakeholders. Her work appeared in journals such as Stability: International Journal of Security and Development and Perspectives on Terrorism and her book Borderland Battles: Violence, Crime, and Governance at the Edges of Colombia’s War  is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. Dr Idler advises governments and international organizations, is a regular expert for media outlets such as Al Jazeera, BBC and the Washington Post, and has published numerous policy briefs. Dr Idler previously worked with UNDP’s Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery, the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and the German development cooperation. She holds a doctorate from the Department of International Development, University of Oxford, and an MA in International Relations from King’s College London’s Department of War Studies.

CCW in the News: Richard Harknett's Seminar on 'The Distribution of Power in Cyberspace'

Richard Harknett's talk on 'The Distribution of Power in Cyberspace: Adjusting to the new seam of power competition' as part of this term's CCW Tuesday lunchtime seminar series was mentioned in an article about his appearance before the Senate last week.

"Harknett most recently returned from a three-country tour where he spoke on cybersecurity and government topics to the Royal War Studies Society at the Dutch Ministry of Defence, on the “Changing Character of War” at Oxford University and in briefings with the office of the president of Slovenia..." 

Read the full article here: http://magazine.uc.edu/editors_picks/recent_features/harknett_cybersecurity.html

Congratulations to former CCW Visiting Fellow, Doug Delaney, on the release of 'The Imperial Army Project'

Congratulations to former CCW Visiting Fellow, Doug Delaney, whose book, The Imperial Army Project, has been released by Oxford University Press. 

The Imperial Army Project
Britain and the Land Forces of the Dominions and India, 1902-1945

Douglas E. Delaney

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  • The first major study of the British imperial army project, fostering a greater understanding of how the military system of the British Empire functioned
  • Uncovers how a vast military coalition, encompassing multiple countries and systems across five decades worked successfully
  • Takes a long-term perspective, from the end of the Edwardian era to the completion of the Second World War
  • Explores hitherto-untapped archival collections across six countries to offer fresh insight on how the military establishments of the United Kingdom, India, and the dominions related to each other and worked together

Doug Delaney's book will be available from OUP from 4 March 2018. 

Congratulations to Steve Coulson for publishing his new paper: 'Lanchester Modelling of Intelligence in Combat'

Congratulations to CCW Visiting Research Fellow, Steve Coulson, whose paper on 'Lanchester Modelling of Intelligence in Combat' has just been published online at: https://academic.oup.com/imaman/advance-articles.

The print version of his paper will be released shortly. 

Abstract: While the utility of intelligence as force multiplier during warfare is widely accepted there have been few attempts to quantify its benefits. In this paper Lanchester combat models are developed to understand how superiority in intelligence can compensate for an inferior force ratio and how the time for one side to defeat the other is affected by the use of intelligence. It is found that intelligence does act as a force multiplier; however, its utility to compensate for inferior force ratio is less than commonly appreciated, proportional to the square root of the relative advantage in intelligence. Similarly, the time to defeat is proportional to the inverse of the square root of the relative advantage in intelligence, so that greatly increasing one side’s superiority in intelligence only produces a modest decrease in the time to defeat. The Lanchester combat models are extended to a hyperbolic system of partial differential equation (PDE) to investigate how intelligence influences manoeuvre warfare. These suggest that high tempo attacking operations are less sensitive to the effects of intelligence than slower operations.


Job Opportunity: Centre Administrator

Job Opportunity: Centre Administrator

Pembroke College, University of Oxford is looking for an experienced administrator to provide support to its Changing Character of War Research Centre (CCW). CCW, which also has links to the Department of Politics and International Relations, is part of the Oxford War and Peace Network and brings together scholars and practitioners with a common interest in the study of war. The Centre Administrator provides vital administrative support to the CCW Director and academic staff, and will be actively involved in all areas of the Centre, including the delivery high-profile events and publications.

'The Great War and the Middle East'  nominated for Military History Monthly Book of the Year

Rob Johnson's The Great War and the Middle East (OUP, 2016) has been nominated for the Military History Monthly book of the year. 

Voting takes place online at www.military-history.org/awards and will stay open until 5 February 2018, with winners to be announced at Senate House in London on 23 February. If you enjoyed Rob's book, do give him your vote.

Chief of the Defence Staff’s Strategy Forum: UK Defence Space Strategy

The Changing Character of War Centre was delighted to host the Chief of the Defence Staff’s Strategy Forum on Tuesday 28 November 2017. Held in the Harold Lee Room at Pembroke College, the conference addressed the theme of ‘UK Defence Space Strategy’. In addition to the many attendees from the Ministry of Defence, the presentations and discussions saw the participation of personnel from both British and foreign armed forces, the UK and European space agencies, private sector organisations, and academic institutions.

Upon arrival, the audience were welcomed with an introductory speech by General Sir Gordon Messenger, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff. This was followed by opening addresses by Will Jessett, Director of Strategic Planning at the Ministry of Defence, and Professor Fred Lamb from the University of Illinois. Professor Lamb examined the risks in developing ways of interfering with, damaging, or disabling space assets, instead emphasising “machine learning, … [and] cooperative relationships with many advanced countries, to build resiliency.”

Mr Jessett and Professor Lamb were joined in a panel discussion by Dr Rajeswari Pillari Rajagopalan, from the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), and Carissa Christensen, founder and CEO of Bryce Space. Dr Rajagopalan discussed the challenges in space defence for India, with key implications for the UK as a strong partner and ally, especially concerning international agreement in space. Moreover, Ms Christensen provided a wide range of insights on the growing role of private sector enterprise in the space domain.

Finally, the event involved four syndicate discussion sessions, providing a seminar-style focus, in which all of the conference attendees took part. Each session addressed a specific question concerning contemporary space security, with an aim to provide Ministry of Defence policy makers with options regarding the opportunities, risks and solutions available for formulating the Ends, Ways and Means of a UK Defence Space Strategy. 

The Changing Character of War Centre would like to thank General Sir Gordon Messenger, the speakers, and all the participants for a thought-provoking and valuable day.

Adrian Garside receives Marjan-Marsh Award 2017

Adrian Garside receives Marjan-Marsh Award 2017

Congratulations to CCW Visiting Research Fellow, Adrian Garside, who will be collecting the Marjan-Marsh award on behalf of the Community Wildlife Ambassadors in South Sudan today at King's College London. The Marjan Centre is part of the War Studies Department at King's College London, and the Marjan-Marsh award is given annually to someone who has made an invaluable contribution to an area where conflict and conservation overlap