Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

Emile Simpson, the fusion of military and political activity in 21st century combat

A lecture on the changing character of 21st century war from Emile Simpson, who has served three tours in Afghanistan and written a critically-acclaimed book based on his experiences there.

In the Afghan conflict, and in contemporary conflicts more generally, liberal powers and their armed forces have blurred the line between military and political activity. The clear-cut conception that the use of force in war serves to defeat and enemy has been challenged by practices developed to deal with complex multi-player political eco-systems, in which the persuasive value of an action is as important as its military effect against an enemy. The consequent politicisation of tactical action is not new, but is nonetheless catalysed by the information revolution, and hence appears to point to the future of conflict. This lecture will describe this evolution, using first-hand experience from Afghanistan, and suggest that while a fusion of military and political activity is often necessary to be operationally effective in modern warfare, so too does this carry risks in terms on the broader delimitation between war and peace. Emile Simpson served in the British Army from 2006-12 as an infantry officer in the Royal Gurkha Rifles. He completed three tours in Southern Afghanistan, as well as service in Brunei, Nepal, and the Falkland Islands. He previously read history at Oxford University, and subsequently returned as a Visiting Defence Fellow to the Oxford Changing Character of War Programme. He also holds a graduate diploma in English law. His first book, War From the Ground Up: Twenty- First-Century Combat as Politics, has received widespread critical acclaim.

Category: Public Lectures and Seminars: Arts Celtic Studies and Social Sciences
Time: 4pm - 5.30 pm
Location: Civil Engineering G10
Target Audience: All Welcome
Admission Price: € Free
Contact: David Fitzgerald

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