General Lamb spent 38 years service in the British Army from which I retired in 2009 at the rank of Lieutenant General. During that time I commanded both Regular, Airborne and Special Forces, operated alongside and in charge of US and Coalition forces (I was Deputy Commanding General to General David Petraeus in Iraq from 2006-2007) and was formally recognized for my service with the MiD, QCVS, MBE, OBE, CMG, DSO, KBE and various foreign overseas awards.
General Lamb has been credited with having exercised substantial influence over the evolution of counter-insurgency in Iraq from 2006 onwards. Recent contemporary histories of Iraq paint a highly favourable impression of General Lamb as Senior British Military Representative (Iraq), suggesting that General Lamb, influenced by his experiences in Northern Ireland, convinced his U.S. colleagues to adopt the principle of “limited war” — a process requiring “patience, subtlety, and a willingness to accept that Iraqis’ own proclivities were going to drive much of the war’s outcome”, leading to Lamb’s own “strategic engagement initiative’ of 2006–7.
As part of limited war, General Lamb has emphasised the important of precision in the use of force; he is cited as inventing the “inverse ink-spot”, which reverses the traditional ink- or oil-spot approach to counter-insurgency by attacking the middle-ranks of an insurgency movement. Other phrases associated with Lamb include the terms “reconcilable” and “irreconcilable”, as more complex alternatives to “enemy” or “insurgent”; and the concept of a “squeeze box” to describe the effect of the pressure on ordinary Iraqis from extremists on both sides of the Shi’a and Sunni divide.
Paul Cornish is Professor of Strategic Studies at the University of Exeter. He was Professor of International Security at the University of Bath from 2011-2012; Professor of International Security at Chatham House from 2005-2011; and Director of the Centre for Defence Studies at King’s College London from 2002-2005. He has lectured in security and strategic studies at the University of Cambridge and at the Joint Services Command & Staff College, and has served in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (as an arms control analyst) and the British Army.
His published work, conference speeches and lectures cover a range of subjects including national strategy, cyber security, the ethics of the use of armed force, arms control and non-proliferation, counter-terrorism and the future of international security. Recent publications include Strategic Communications and National Strategy (London: Chatham House, September 2011, with Julian Lindley-French and Claire Yorke); ‘Smart muddling through: rethinking UK national strategy beyond Afghanistan’, International Affairs (88/2, March 2012, with Andrew Dorman); ‘The Changing Relationship between Society and Armed Forces’ in Julian Lindley-French and Yves Boyer (eds), The Oxford Handbook on War (Oxford University Press: March 2012); and Chinese Cyber Espionage: Confrontation or Co-operation? (Bath: Cityforum, April 2012).
Professor Cornish is a member of the UK Chief of the Defence Staff’s Strategic Advisory Panel and is a frequent commentator on national and international media.