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Australian Journal of Defence and Strategic Studies


AJDSS Volume 1 Issue 1

Civil-military relations in an age of disruption - The inaugural J.G. Grey Oration

Eliot Cohen

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The J. G. Grey Oration

Williamson Murray once said that war is neither a science nor a craft but rather an incredibly complex endeavour, which challenges men and women to the core of their souls. It is to put it bluntly, not only the most physically demanding of all the professions but also the most demanding intellectually and morally. From this, it is understandable why militaries and national security professionals must hone their intellectual armoury so that it is adaptive for the contemporary and future security environment.

No one embodied this intellectual investment more than Professor Jeffrey Grey. Jeff was one of the finest military historians our nation has produced. Starting with his thesis on the Korean War, over the course of three decades Jeff personified intellectual excellence in the profession of arms. An excellence that gave him a worldwide reputation in the field and led to appointments such as the prestigious Major General Matthew C. Horner Chair of Military Theory at the United States Marine Corp University and president of the Society for Military History. However, it is through his tutelage of thousands of midshipmen and cadets in the Department of History, and later the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Australian Defence Force Academy, that his legacy on the Australian Defence Force is most recognisable. Today, there is not a member of the Australian Defence Force's leadership that has not been influenced by Jeff and his teachings. Influences that will not only impact Australia's military and national security discourse now but into the future, as an inheritance like few others.

So it was not a difficult decision when a proposal was raised to establish a visiting chair in Defence Studies at the Australian Defence College to name it after Professor Jeffrey Grey. It is a recognition of his contribution to intellectual excellence in the profession of arms and an acknowledgement of Jeffrey Grey as a luminary, whose work will continue to inform and shape Australia's national security discourse for generations to come.

In this vein, it was only fitting that the inaugural Professor Jeffrey Grey Chair was Dean Eliot Cohen, noted US national security policymaker and the Osgood Chair at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. A renowned scholar in Western security thought and, like Professor Jeffrey Grey, a teacher whose pupils today represent leading strategic and security thinkers across the world, as well as recognised strategic military practitioners and national security policymakers.

The Australian Journal of Defence and Strategic Studies is proud to present Dean Eliot Cohen's Inaugural J.G. Oration.





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