Nurturing Future Maritime Leaders

Nurturing Future Maritime Leaders

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08 Jun 23
Message from the Editor

As Sir Richard Branson likes to say ‘invest in your people and they will invest in your business’ , the Royal Navy Strategic Studies Centre is on the case.

This year’s First Sea Lord’s Sea Power Conference took place on the 17 and 18 May as part of London Sea Week which also celebrated 50 years of the UK-NL amphibious Force and the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the Polaris Sales agreement.  The author will return to reflections on the Conference which majored on the renaissance of the ‘Art of Admiralty’ and the concept of Steel and Statecraft in another piece.  The purpose of this short article is to note the expanding role of the Royal Navy Strategic Studies Centre (RNSSC) and the welcome inclusion of inquisitive youth at the conference in the form of both the First Sea Lord’s and the Richmond Fellows (formerly known as the Future Maritime Strategists).  The mission of the RNSSC is to inform RN policy and strategy decisions by:

  • Researching contemporary strategic thought
  • Instilling a philosophy of critical thinking and challenge
  • Harnessing the intellectual capital of our people

The assembled fellows, numbered over 50, identified for their potential as our next generation of strategic thinkers they are drawn from all corners of the military maritime sector, serving, industry and academia and beyond.  They participated in the main events before breaking off to discuss some of the key themes associated with Grand Strategy –  under the theme of Steel and Statecraft – Diplomacy, Deterrence and Innovation guided by Professor Alessi Patalano and his team from King’s College London’s Centre for Grand Strategy.  The value of the afternoon was enhanced further by the Royal Navy’s Director People and Training, Rear Admiral Jude Terry’s participation throughout.  The debates that ensued were lively and rapidly explored the main contemporary examples which supported or challenged the subjects.

This initiative is a fantastic example of stakeholder organisations sewing the seeds to overcome the sea blindness that pevades our island Nation. Using the example of the RN, but recognising that is prevalent in most large organisations – there has been a temptation to invite young people to park their ‘strategic’ brains at the main gate of BRNC when they join, as by and large, they will then be too busy to use them during their operational career and then invite them to pick them up again many years down the line.  This may have been efficient but is it an effective use of the talents of our people?   A more nuanced approach to nurture strategic thought from an early age in any organisation is one to be applauded.  The impressive array of sponsors suggests the Military Maritime Industry understand this.  As Sir Richard Branson likes to say ‘invest in your people and they will invest in your business’.

If you would like to know more about the RNSSC click on the icon at the bottom of The Naval Review Home page.