Limit search to available items
Book Cover
Author Elliott, Christopher L.

Title High command : British military leadership in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars / Christopher L. Elliott
Published Oxford : Oxford University Press, [2015]
Online access available from:
ProQuest Ebook Central Subscription    View Resource Record  


Description 1 online resource
Contents Cover -- Half-title -- Title -- Copyright -- Dedication -- Contents -- Foreword -- Maps -- 1. Prologue -- PART 1: WHAT HAPPENED -- 2. A Case to Answer? -- 3. Jumping to the Conclusion -- Deciphering the Code -- Armed Forces are Different -- Some Wars are Different -- Warfare in a State of Evolution -- Soldiers Will Die and They Will Cause Death -- 4. Inside the Ministry of Defence -- A Walk through the MoD -- Seeing One of the Chiefs -- The Motivations of the Actors -- Other Influences -- 5. The Tribes and The System -- Defence Politicians -- Civil Servants in the MoD -- The First and Second Permanent Secretaries -- The Military in the MoD -- Different World Views -- The Royal Navy -- The British Army -- The Royal Air Force -- Officers are Similar but Different -- Officers Behaving Badly -- The Culture of the MoD -- Did it Matter? -- 6. Setting the Conditions for Success and Failure -- The Weinberger Doctrine -- The Powell Doctrine -- No Useable Doctrine -- Blair's Doctrine -- Problems for the Military -- What did the Changes Mean for the UK? -- 7. A Long Peace is Shattered -- The Twin Towers -- 8. War Comes to Afghanistan in 2001 -- Hunting al-Qaida -- ISAF -- A Limited Success -- 9. The War on Terror Opens in Iraq in 2003 -- Aftermath of the Invasion -- Hard Fighting -- Operation Salamanca/Sinbad and The Deal -- Out of Step -- 10. Battle Returns to Afghanistan in 2006 -- NATO Expands its Role -- Unified Command -- Helmand -- The Taliban Attack -- Why Helmand? -- 11. Emerging Criticism and Flawed Strategies -- A Capable Army -- Someone Was to Blame -- Strategy -- Good Strategy -- Contradictions in UK Strategies -- How were these Strategic Inconsistencies Left Unchecked? -- PART 2: WHY IT HAPPENED -- 12. Making Military Decisions -- Sorting Out the Levels of Decision-making
The Defence Crisis Management Organisation (DCMO) -- High-level Decision-making in Main Building -- The Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ) -- Orphaned Commanders -- 13. The Chiefs -- The Development of the Chiefs of Staff System -- Selection of a Service Chief -- Military Chiefs in a Political World -- Selection of the Chief of the Defence Staff -- The Chief of the Defence Staff -- Preparation for the Top Job -- The Chiefs of the Defence Staff in Action -- The Chief of the Defence Staff as the War Commander -- Conclusion -- Part 3: WHAT NEXT? -- 14. The Aftermath -- Why Did it Go Wrong? -- How Things Could Improve -- Who is to be in Charge and How should Decisions be Taken? -- Choosing and Training the Chief -- 15. Fit for the Future? -- Annex 1. Events and Principal UK Defence Personalities -- Annex 2. Principal UK Field Commanders -- Annex 3. Summary of Eight Contradictions in UK Strategy -- Annex 4. List of Titles, Acronyms and Ranks -- Notes -- Bibliography -- Index
Summary From 2001, Britain supported the United States in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Victory" in such conflicts is always hard to gauge and domestic political backing for them was never robust. For this, the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were held responsible, and paid the price, but the role played by the High Command in the Ministry of Defence also bears examination. Critics have noted that the armed services were riven by internal rivalry and their leadership was dysfunctional, but the truth is more complicated. In his book, General Elliott explores the circumstances that led to these wars and how the Ministry of Defence coped with the challenges presented. He reveals how the Service Chiefs were set at odds by the system, almost as rivals in the making, with responsibility diffuse and authority ambiguous. The MoD concentrated on making things work, rather than questioning whether what they were being asked to do was practicable. Often the opinion of a junior tactical commander led the entire strategy of the MoD, not the other way around, as it should have been. While Britain's senior officers, defense ministers and civil servants were undeniably competent and well intentioned, the conundrum remains why success on the battlefield proved so elusive
Notes Vendor-supplied metadata
Subject Great Britain. Ministry of Defence.
Afghan War, 2001- -- Great Britain.
Iraq War, 2003-2011 -- Participation, British.
Form Electronic book
ISBN 0190257148 (electronic bk.)
9780190257149 (electronic bk.)