British Army general talks UK, USA partnership during Kermit Roosevelt Lecture
By Brandon OConnorMarch 9, 2020
British Army Gen. Tim Radford, the deputy supreme allied commander Europe designate, visited the U.S. Military Academy March 3 for the 74th annual Kermit Roosevelt Lecture.The annual lecture series was started in 1947 in memory of Kermit Roosevelt, the son of Teddy Roosevelt, who served in both the American and British armies during the First and Second World Wars.The series has included West Point since 1997. Each year, a general in the British Army speaks at West Point, U.S. Army War College, Armed Forces Staff College and the Command and General Staff College to foster the continued partnership between the United States and the United Kingdom. In return, an American Army general speaks at multiple destinations in the United Kingdom including the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.Radford began his remarks by tracing the alliance, which Winston Churchill called a "special relationship," back to 1859 when American Soldiers supported British forces in the Second Opium War. The partnership was solidified on the European battlefields of the two world wars, made concrete by the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and revived for a new generation through a shared sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan."These isolated examples of military cooperation are actually part of a much broader network of connections over and above the very obvious ancestral, kinship and language links that we share and the largely positive culture invasions that we've inflicted upon each other," Radford said. "I think it's fair to say that the lifeblood of the relationship grows from our common values and collective desires to preserve peace and security across the globe."Radford began his British Army career in 1985. He has served in a leadership position within NATO since 2015. During his remarks to members of the Corps of Cadets and academy leadership, he highlighted the bonds that have tied together his nation and America and called on cadets to continue it as they enter the Army as leaders in a changing world.The allied partnership between America and the UK has grown stronger since in World War I, he said, because of a focus on intelligence sharing, strategic nuclear cooperation, the combined global reach between the American combatant commands and the British Commonwealth, joint training and personal relationships forged on the battlefield.Serving together in Iraq and Afghanistan has created "unprecedented levels of trust" between the current generation of leaders in the two armies, Radford said."I really hope you build and then invest in your own transatlantic relationships and you enjoy the same levels of professional satisfaction and friendships we have had," he said. "After all, interoperability is built above all else upon relationships and mutual understanding."As the cadets prepare to begin their military careers, they will enter a world shaped by rapid changes in technology both militarily and in the civilian world, unique challenges related to climate change and competition for the global commons such as space and the digital world, Radford said.Those changes will make the ability to lean on a secure partnership such as the one forged over the years between America and the UK all the more important, he added."I would urge you to reflect on whether you think this very well-established relationship that has been 70 years in the making is still worth continued investment," Radford said. "I would personally contend that the relationship between such trusted allies as the United Kingdom and the United States is just as important now as it was back in 1942 between Churchill and Roosevelt. Albeit in a rather different context."Radford closed his remarks by sharing his leadership advice with the future Army officers in attendance. He called on them to find "a walking stick" to lean on during their career such as a hobby they can use as an escape and rest from the stresses of their careers.He also encouraged them to start by becoming builders with the technical expertise to do their jobs, but to transition to being architects who can set the plans for others."As you get more senior, your real value is not as a builder, but as an architect," Radford said. "To be able to express a clear and unambiguous vision, to design and articulated a creative, prioritized framework with which to achieve it. Then, more importantly, to have the skill to be able to influence others to support it and carry it out."The annual lecture is a chance for cadets to hear the perspective of a senior officer in the British Army, as their careers will require them to work alongside Soldiers from America's allies and partners.