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Articles and Papers

Some articles and papers I have written, mostly from the last decade. Themes:

1) Defence is a function of the nation as a whole - not just our regular armed forces and current defence suppliers. 

2) We owe those who serve whether full-time or part-time, uniformed or civil service, our loyalty. We owe those who contract, whether supplying goods or services, clarity of thinking and fairness in dealing. We need structures and processes to ensure that goes both ways.

3) The Achilles heel of Britain's defences is a failure of institutional memory. This matters in a fast-changing world - Churchill said ‘[t]he farther back you can look, the farther forward you are likely to see.'

The need for a larger role for citizens in Defence
A letter to the Daily Telegraph on the use of citizen forces in Ukraine Here

A commentary for RUSI on how we lag behind our major Five Eyes partners on reserve forces issues and suggesting that the key is recognising the importance of senior reserve officers in making decisions affecting reserve forces Here

An article for Conservative Home, drawing parallels between the situation our military planners face now and those Haldane faced in 1908  Here

An article for Conservative Home, looking at the wider ways in which the civilian population can help in national resilience   Here

An article for the Times in 2014, examining the lessons of the two world wars for the peacetime construction of military reserves  Here

Improving Britain's approach to Equipment Procurement
In defence, new ideas get bogged down in bureaucracy. Let’s cut the red tape. In autumn 2020, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) published an imaginative paper on science and technology strategy, committing extra, welcome funding to this field. To turn its vision into actual equipment for the armed forces, however, it also needs the right structures, processes and authority – and they are not there today. This piece for The Article argues that it's time to shift the spotlight onto the serious structural flaws in the MOD. Full article here.

Five suggestions for improving defence procurement in an article for ConservativeHome   Here

A better approach to Forces Family accommodation:

An article for Conservative Home website opposing the proposal to abolish the entitlement of officers to military accommodation and providing some historic context

paper published by the Centre for Social Justice critiquing the Future Accommodation Model and exposing some of its shortcomings. A more balanced approach is suggested, highlighting the difference between Naval families, concentrated almost entirely on three bases, with affordable housing and spousal job opportunities, and the needs of the other two services.

Getting a grip on our territorial waters and Economic Exclusion Zone
Written during the final stages of Britain's negotiations with the EU, this article proved somewhat prescient and the underlying point is still relevant 

Lebanon - the key to the Middle East - an opportunity for Britain 
Lebanon matters to Britain and the West, this article for ConservativeHome argues. It is at a critical junction: on the one hand, offering substantial commercial opportunity, but with the spectre of destabilising an important and dangerous region, on the other. Britain is well-placed to help steer Lebanon on the right path by building on some excellent work already in train. 

Military History

A novel set in the time of King Alfred, the man Winston Churchill described as the greatest Englishman of all time.

An article for the online US Civil War Book review magazine. It reviews The Cousins' Wars, by Kevin Phillips, best known as one of Ronald Reagan's speechwriters. The book traces the roots of America's Civil war to the 16th Century struggle in England. Brazier praises its remarkable scholastic depth but argues that it suffers from a strong Whig Protestant bias, in its analysis of the English Civil War, and especially in its failure to recognise that struggle's roots in the Reformation a century before. He argues that Phillips puts too much emphasis on economics and not enough on social structure.

An account of the military life of Garnet Wolseley, Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Modern Major General' who as military secretary to Cardwell invented the geographic regimental system, moving the Army from numbered regiments to county-based ones. The commander on a series of campaigns, he also played a critical role in developing military technology: Military History Monthly May 2012. (Back copies are available here)

An account of history's most written about battle and America's bloodiest: Gettysburg. Modern pundits often suggest either that a Union victory was probably inevitable or that Lee failed to spot an opportunity on the Union Right flank. This analysis suggests that the supposed opportunity on the right was illusory and that, far from being inevitable, on each of the three days the Confederacy came close to a breakthrough, with the deaths and/or incapacitations of key commanders critical in saving the Union on the first two. He also points to the understated steadiness and consistency of Meade in his role as Union commander. 4 parts: Military History Monthly June - September 2013. (Back copies are available here)

The XD Operations. One small TA unit, operating under Naval command in small parties destroyed more oil in 1940 than Hitler's estimated prewar reserves Military History Monthly April 2018 (Back copies are available here