CCW Annual Lecture 2019 The Lost Art of Strategic Thinking

Date and time

29 May 2019 17:00 to 20:00


The Pichette Auditorium, Pembroke College, Oxford, OX1 1DW

This event is free and open to all. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception. 

The talk will explore why modern governments find it so hard to make grand strategic choices.  It will give a practitioner's insight into the forces which pull political leaders towards short-term crisis management and consider whether the nature of democratic politics in a digital age is a constraint on longer-term policymaking. It will make the case for re-learning the art of strategic thinking as Britain and other Western countries face the need to re-think the basic assumptions of their national security policies in a world of great-power competition in which the international security institutions are more contested than at any time since the post-war period.

Lord Ricketts was a British diplomat for 40 years. In the final stage of his career, Peter served as Permanent Under Secretary at the FCO 2006-10, and as Britain’s first National Security Adviser from 2010-12. In that capacity he established the National Security Council, and oversaw the 2010 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review. He was Ambassador to France 2012-16. Earlier in his public service, Lord Ricketts specialised in security and crisis management issues. He served twice in the UK Delegation to NATO, in the 1970s and again as Permanent Representative from 2003-6. He was Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, and Political Director in the Foreign Office from 2001-3, dealing with policy on the Afghanistan and Iraq interventions, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After retirement, he was appointed a cross-bench member of the House of Lords (=non-political) and divides his time between business activities (including as a Strategic Adviser to Lockheed Martin UK) and public policy work. He is a Visiting Professor in the War Studies Dept of King’s College London, and a Senior Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute. Among his charitable activities, he is Chairman of the Normandy Memorial Trust, charged with building a national memorial in France to all those who fell under British command during the Battle of Normandy in 1944.

Lord Peter Ricketts
Lord Peter Ricketts