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Talking Strategy

Sep 27, 2022

Strategy is an intensely practical consideration, and in this episode, we examine strategy from the perspective of a practitioner. Lord Peter Ricketts was the UK’s first National Security Adviser and joins us to share his experience of strategy-making at the highest levels of government.

Lord Ricketts reflects on the difference between crafting a strategic concept for a state or alliance and drawing up a strategy for a conflict or for the management of a major crisis, such as the coronavirus pandemic. His experience in government includes chairing the Joint Intelligence Committee, directing the formulation of the 2010 UK National Security Strategy, as well as holding top diplomatic posts including that of Permanent UK Representative to NATO and the EU, and Ambassador in Paris.

Building on his book Hard Choices: What Britain Does Next (Atlantic Books: May 2022), Lord Ricketts explains the strategy-making process, both in the context of particular conflicts – he was involved in government decisions to intervene in Kosovo, Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan, and mainly not to intervene in Syria – and in drawing up a wide-ranging National Security Strategy requiring an inter-ministerial approach. This inside perspective and explanation of processes and obstacles is an invaluable guide for practitioners and students of public policy alike.