By Stephen P. Kretsinger Sr., PQC contractor with the U.S. Army Combined Arms CenterMarch 8, 2017
The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College hosted British Lt. Gen. Nicholas Arthur William Pope, CBE, deputy chief of the General Staff, in the 2017 Kermit Roosevelt Exchange Lecture Series. His lecture was entitled "The Special relationship… viewed from the end of the telescope" and focused on the relationship between the U.S. and British militaries.
"There is a special relationship between our countries," Pope said, "Relationships can start in the most obscure place, for the most obscure reasons. And like many special relationships -- from a military perceptive -- ours started on a battlefield."
Pope described the unique relationship between the two countries through three prisms; political, military and public perception.
"According to a U.K. poll, in 1942 most British citizens favored Russia over the United States," Pope said. "By 2010, most considered the U.S. Britain's top ally."
He attributed the special relation to three things: common geographic strategic interests; common values, history and culture; and institutionalization of shared intelligence, military and nuclear capabilities. Pope also discussed the three reason the relationship was so important: the strategic uncertainty of the world, the current state of austerity and a diffusion of power.
"America has been the world's global power for 70 years, but there are more actors coming into the world stage," Pope said. "The tectonic plates of power are shifting suddenly as we enter the 21st Century. When plates sort of shift like that, it leads to fractures. During fractures, you need to look for partners. America will continue to be the world's leading nation in absolute terms. In relative terms, the power balance will shift."
Pope was educated at Desborough School in Maidenhead and Jesus College at Cambridge, and was commissioned into the Royal Corps of Signals in 1981. He earned the rank of brigade major at Headquarters, 19th Mechanized Brigade in 1997 and was deployed in that role to Bosnia. He was the commanding officer of the 30th Signal Regiment in 2000 and became the deputy director of Defense Resources and Plans at the Ministry of Defense in late 2002. Pope went on to be Commander of 1st Signal Brigade at Rheindahlen in 2005 and was subsequently deployed to Afghanistan. He was named strategic communication officer to the Chief of the Defense Staff in 2011 and became director of Battlefield Maneuver and Master-General of the Ordnance in later that same year. After that assignment, he became Director General Capability in October 2013, and Deputy Chief of the General Staff in December 2015.
Kermit Roosevelt was the son of President Theodore Roosevelt and the cousin of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. He fought for both the British and U.S. armies in World War I and World War II. The Kermit Roosevelt Exchange Lecture Series began in 1947. Pope is the 71st guest speaker in the series.
The idea for an annual exchange of American and British military lecturers came from Kermit's spouse, Belle Wyatt Willard Roosevelt, who intended it as a memorial to her late husband. Her ideas were captured in a letter to Gen. George C. Marshall dated June 17, 1944.
"My husband, Kermit Roosevelt… attempted to carry out in his own life his conviction that the development of a closer relationship between individual English and Americans, and a better understanding between the military forces of the United States and the United Kingdom would contribute in large measure to the preservation of world peace. In view of this conviction of his, it seems appropriate… to set up this memorial," she wrote.