Friday, 1 August 2014

July 2014: Published Elsewhere

Well this month has been busy, and since submitting the last journal article I've started some more... and trying to turn my thesis into books, but saying that I have been writing and here is what's been published, so far.

Published at European Geostrategy:

European navies and surface warfare

HMS DaringRecently there was a guest article published on CIMSEC – which is worth a read – written by R. Adm. Thomas S. Rowden, United States (US) Navy, who discussed the future of surface warfare from a US perspective. Not only is it thought provoking, it serves to highlight the fact that while the US Navy may not be as strong at surface warfare as it once was, at least it is having the conversation about how to change that – which the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO) European nations do not seem to be doing.

We have the centrepiece…but what about the rest of the board?

HMS Queen Elizabeth & HMS Prince of WalesThe game of chess is played with both players having sixteen pieces, of which eight on each side are pawns. Pawns are often the most undervalued of all pieces, but as Anatoly Karpov once said ‘pawns not only create the sketch for the whole painting, they are also the soil, the foundation, of any position’. The Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers will be the Queens of British strategy for most likely the next four to five decades. However, that strategy may evolve to deal with potential threats/situations which will arise over a far longer period of time. The trouble is that security, much like the game of chess, requires more than just Queens.

Supporting British naval aviation

HMS Queen ElizabethWith the launch of HMS Queen Elizabeth, and the forthcoming launch of her sister ship HMS Prince of Wales, the Royal Navy will be starting to take on the shape it will be for the next 30-plus years. This means there is a problem, because the Royal Navy is getting just two of these capable, versatile, first rate, short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) aircraft carriers. In all likelihood therefore only one ship will be available for operations, even if the money is found to operate both (maintenance requirements will mean one vessel will be in port at any given time). This limitation becomes a strategic problem when coupled with other decisions:

Published at CIMSEC:

Why Intelligence Matters, And Nations Need Think About Collection Methods

In the military sense, intelligence means something approximating a combination of knowledge and understanding of others – whether they are friends or foe. In the modern risk averse world the temptation has been to rely upon more and more distant observation methodologies; using satellites especially to monitor communications, movement and equipment – prima facie the what, the where and the why of information available.

Monday, 23 June 2014

June 2014: Published Elsewhere

Hallo, well I've finished the journal article and submitted it, so crossing fingers, and am currently working on a few different projects; and done a fair number of other pieces recently, so as soon as they are (hopefully) posted I will put links up. But for now, as I've said many times before, I'm currently very happy to be hosting for CIMSEC/PTT a series of East Atlantic Sea Control Podcasts and this is the fourth one to be done... 

Sea Control, Sea Control: East Atlantic

Sea Control 40 (East Atlantic) – Defense Cooperation

Alex Clarke is joined by the cadre in a third panel discussion for the East Atlantic Series. They discuss multination forces: whether and how nations should combine together to maximize security and minimize cost.  The particular focus of this session is feasibility: how nations can go about building cooperative strategies and whether they would want to.
DOWNLOAD: Sea Control 40 (East Atlantic) -Defense Cooperation
plus any suggestions for future topics, please comment below... its a great panel,,,

Monday, 12 May 2014

May 2014: Published Elsewhere

Well since my computer troubles I'm still catching up some journal articles/conference papers (I was lucky enough to present to at the Global War Studies conference - now on the xx draft) that I need to have ready soon, so unfortunately have no written pieces finished for this blog; however I have one I did for British Naval History which I recommend a read off - it's an interesting period of history.

Alexander Clarke’s second article examines the Royal Navy’s reaction to the emergence of the USSR’s Sverdlov Class gun cruisers.
“Although the Russian lack of aircraft carriers would make it hazardous for their Cruisers to operate outside the range of shore based fighter cover, the presumed long range of the Sverdlov Class makes it possible for them to operate as ocean raiders, particularly if the Russians have reason to believe that Allied carriers will not be met.”[i]
Surface raiders were a potentially deadly threat to a global trading nation such as Britain; whilst submarines were a problem, they were a containable problem – especially before the development of nuclear power. However, as had been demonstrated by Admiral Graf Spee of River Plate fame [ii] and others, surface raiders were for more unrestricted – hence killing them became such a priority. [iii] Therefore when the Soviets [iv] were seen to be constructing a similar capability a reaction was only a matter of time.
cruiser 1
Figure 1.The Cruise of the Admiral Graf Spee, illustrating not only the number of its success but the range and breadth of them (Image from National Archives).[v]
The most commonly referenced British reaction to the emerging Soviet surface raider threat is the Buccaneer bomber, which were of course principally focused on not only low level nuclear strike of ground targets, but also the hunting down and destruction of surface raiders. [vi] The Royal Navy’s (RN) response though was not simply limited to this one thing, and in fact whilst carriers were focused on as the premier tool of global reach, it was realised there would never be enough available for the RN to achieve the global presence which would be required to protect the arteries of trade & supply from raiders/hunt those raiders down.[vii] Therefore just as it had during the 1920s and 1930s the RN turned to surface combatants.

Monday, 28 April 2014

April 2014: Published Elsewhere

Well since my computer troubles I'm catching up some journal articles/conference papers (I was lucky enough to present to at the Global War Studies conference - but now I have to write it up) that I need to have ready soon, so unfortunately have no written pieces finished for this blog; however as I've said before I have been asked by CIMSEC/PTT to host a series of East Atlantic Sea Control Podcasts and here is the second one to be posted... - this is special as it is the first panel one, for which a series will soon be up.
Capability Analysis, East Atlantic, Podcast

Sea Control, Sea Control: East Atlantic, Tactical Concepts

Sea Control 32 – Naval Escorts (East Atlantic)

seacontrolemblemAlex Clarke hosts Sea Control’s East Atlantic Edition from Phoenix Think Tank. He discusses Naval Escorts with CDR Paul Fisher (RN, Ret) and CIMSEC associate editor Chris Stockdale.
DOWNLOAD: Sea Control 32 – Naval Escorts (East Atlantic)
In other news I am starting a series of special podcasts I will be announcing  in detail at a later date, but which will hopefully be of great interest to everyone.

Monday, 31 March 2014

March 2014: Published Elsewhere

Well since my computer troubles I'm catching up some journal articles & conference papers that I need to have ready soon, so unfortunately have no written pieces finished for this blog; however I have been asked by CIMSEC/PTT to host a series of East Atlantic Sea Control Podcasts and here is the first one to be posted...
Capability Analysis, East Atlantic, Podcast

Sea Control 28 (East Atlantic) – The F-35

seacontrolemblemFor the inaugural edition of Sea Control’s “East Atlantic” series, Alexander Clarke brings on Steve George, former engineer with the F-35 program and Royal Navy veteran to discuss the challenges and misconceptions of the F-35 program. Remember, subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Stream Radio. Leave a comment and five stars!
DOWNLOAD: Sea Control 28 (East Atlantic) -The F-35
Tune in next week for our interview with Erik Prince!


I think it was a very interesting one to do, and many more are to come,

Monday, 10 February 2014

January 2014 - February 2014: Published Elsewhere

Well I'm still having computer troubles, so unfortunately have no written pieces finished; however I have taken part in a podcast for CIMSEC and hope that will be of interest...

Sea Control 21 – Threat Projection

Today’s extended episode is a chat on future threat projection with Dennis Smith of the Project on International Peace and Security from William and Mary, Chris Peterson of the Fletcher School’s Neptune Group, and Alexander Clarke of the Phoenix Think Tank. We talk about the next 5-10 years in maritime security, concentrating on global human security, china, and the economy. Please enjoy Sea Control 21- Threat Projection (download).
Remember, we are available on Itunes, Stitcher Stream Radio, and a bunch of other places my Google data can’t identify. Please, leave a comment and a five-star rating so we can get on the front page one day.


It was a great experience to do, and a really interesting discussion so if you have time please go over and give it a listen!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

December 2013 - January 2014: Published Elsewhere

I've been doing some more writing elsewhere, another book review on the Second World War Military Research Group ( this time on Richard Doherty's book on British Armour of the Second World War.

Richard Doherty, British Armoured Divisions and their Commanders, 1939-1945. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Military, 2013. Index. Bibliography. Illustrations. Appendix. Hbk 270 pp.
Reviewed by Alexander Clarke, PhD Candidate, King’s College London
armoured divisions
While ostensibly characterised as a naval historian, I could have specialised in two alternative areas. Firstly, the Roman Empire with a specific focus on the pre-Marian Republican Legions, their battles, campaigns and commanders, or second, the history of Armoured Warfare. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Liddell Hart’s A Greater than Napoleon: Scipio Africanus is a very well-thumbed member of my bookshelves and as such provides an interesting counterpoint to this work although it does not feature in Doherty’s bibliography – a not unexpected occurrence but something noticeable.[1]
Whilst not always an indicator of content, it is nice when a book is visually attractive; in this case it really is. The front cover is taken from an excellently atmospheric painting, by David Rowlands, of the 1St Royal Tank Regiment’s Cruiser Mk I and II tanks fighting the Italian’s at Beda Fomm. Within the covers, Doherty sets out a bold thesis, to re-write a common misconception as to the quality, capability and culpability of British Armour in the Second World War as exemplified by Beale’s Death by Design.[2] Doherty does this well providing a clear guide through a very complex part of history with a writing style that is naturally authoritative and factual, in a way that does not overwhelm or force conclusions but instead carries them along through a thought process. Whilst like any thought process there are eddies, and currents which do not always take the quickest or most straightforward route, the reader is never bored and if like me will not be able to put it down.

p.s. apologies I have been having computer troubles and am currently awaiting new parts to fix my own, I had all my worked backed up baring this months blog posts, so they are going to be delayed...although I sincerely doubt anyone was waiting with baited breath. Happy to New to everyone, I hope the resolutions that will benefit you come to fruition and the ones that won't fall by the wayside.