4 August 2020 – CHACR Weekly Take Away Newsletter Issue 19

This is the 19th issue of the weekly CHACR Take Away newsletter.  In these newsletters, you will find links to the latest products by the CHACR, but also links to key reports and studies by external experts and institutions which we think you should pay attention to.

A Word From The Director

As summer leave approaches (indeed some of you will be reading this whilst already on that leave) I suspect that not many of you this year will be sitting by the villa or hotel pool or on a sunny Mediterranean beach. But, whether taking your break at home or abroad, filling the long days with a stack of books remains the best of ways to rest your body while exercising your brain. And it is important, I believe, to be as varied in your reading habits as possible: you can’t expand your mind with narrow reading. As Matthias Strohn observes elsewhere on the pages of this website, Sir Michael Howard explained long ago that the only way to understand history in a truly useful way is to study it in breadth and in depth. I agree completely – so, as a military professional, one would be expected to read widely about one’s profession (from global strategic trends, to doctrine, to technological developments to military history), but, at the same time, to try to avoid wave-topping subjects and thus relying upon the most superficial of insights. For the academic fellows on the CHACR team a common and slightly depressing frustration is to be asked to research a subject (often against very tight deadlines, but sometimes with time to conduct the research in real depth and with real meaning) and to produce a well-balanced and nuanced paper on the subject in question, only to receive, almost by return email, a request to provide a one-page exec summary for ‘busy officers’ so they ‘do not need to read the whole piece’. Well, for the next few weeks, one hopes, you will not all be ‘busy officers’, so please take the opportunity to ‘read the whole piece’ in as many different ways as possible. In this edition of the CHACR newsletter we have done our best to provide you with an eclectic, entertaining and informative range of things to read over the coming month. We have tried to provide you with Sir Michael’s exhortation to ‘breadth’. We would urge you to try to read as widely as you can and, should any particular subject, topic, or book catch your imagination or your attention in such a way as to leave you wanting more, then please find your own ways to dig in to your own chosen ‘depth’. Have a good summer.

Maj Gen (Ret) Dr Andrew Sharpe