The Strategic Leadership Programme (SLP), delivered by the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom with support from Cranfield Defence and Security, was run in 19 different countries last year.

2017 saw the five-day course, which aims to assist leaders with the challenges of complex decision-making, being run in more places than ever before and taking in Fiji, Nepal, Sri Lanka and The Occupied Palestinian Territories for the first time.

Other destinations last year included Bangladesh, Georgia, Ghana, Kuwait, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, Sudan and Ukraine, while an annual residential variant, the Senior Strategic Leadership Programme (SSLP), was also run at Shrivenham for senior officers and officials from 30 countries.

Dr Bryan Watters, Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Defence Management and Leadership (CDML) and founding director and designer of the course, said: “Around 600 military and civilian leaders from UK allies around the world joined the SLP last year. Along with contemporary thinking on leadership, strategy, change, ethics and risk, we also covered specific issues tailored to individual countries or regions.”

In addition to armed forces personnel, the course attracts delegates from the wider security sector, including interior and justice ministry members, national security service employees, lawyers and members of parliament.

“We are helping with capacity building, too,” added Watters. “South Africa, for example, has developed its own version of the Programme which is now run independently.”

In 2018 the course will visit Cyprus, Jamaica and Mexico for the first time, as well as Botswana, Bosnia, Chile, Kosovo, Macedonia, Malaysia and Qatar, in addition to other countries visited in 2017.

The Strategic Leadership Programme was first run as a one-off programme in South Africa in 2007 by the UK Ministry of Defence. In 2010 Cranfield engaged in the course and with the Defence Academy’s International Section developed it to what it is today. Destinations are chosen as part of the Defence Engagement Strategy following a board chaired by the Assistant Chief of Defence Staff – Defence Engagement.

Dr Watters runs the Cranfield academic input to the SLP with Dr Alex Neads and Dr Iftikhar Zaidi of the CDML’s Leadership and Change Management Group along with Colonel Yori Griffiths and his team in the International Section of the Defence Academy.

Read a case study article used on the course, Leadership in the ‘Wicked’ Problem of Bosnia’s civil war: A case study examining ethical decision making under duress, recently published in the Leadership journal.

Strategic Leadership Programme 2017
The SLP ran for the first time in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 2017. 33 participants attended the sessions in Ramallah, delivered through translation