Defence Research Network

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Monthly Members' Newsletter

For new friends, welcome! We are an interdisciplinary network of Masters, PhD and Early Career Researchers focused on defence, security and military topics in relation to policy, strategy, history, culture and society. We hope you find our network interesting, exciting, informative, and supportive.

For old friends, thanks for your continued involvement. We would be nothing without you! This March, we're reflecting on the theme of the 'welfare of veterans and military families', sharing some researcher spotlights, connecting with research clusters/centres and telling you about what we've learnt at recent conferences.

Scroll down to get up to date with the news, opinions, and events from our members...

Welcome to the Defence Research Network Newsletter!

We are so fortunate as a research network to meet many early career researchers doing amazing work, one topic which always gets lots of interest is the 'welfare of veterans and military families'. So we made it our monthly theme for March to tie in with the Forces in Mind Trust conference. So, why did we choose the 'welfare of veterans and military families' as our focus? 

We've all heard of the shell shock suffered by soldiers in the First World War and in recent decades the phrase 'Post Traumatic Stress Disorder' (PTSD) has embedded itself in the public lexicon. There is now an acceptance that to be faced with the horrors of war may mean the ultimate sacrifice but for those who return there is an increasing recognition of the legacy of war. But, reflecting the breadth of new research, much of which is featured elsewhere in this newsletter, we wanted to open up a conversation inclusive of PTSD but which goes beyond it too, one that asks about the whole person and recognises the impacts on military partners and families too.

We have another jam-packed newsletter for you with 'in the news' coming from our very own DRN alumni, a very well attended Twitter Hour to report on, a focus on research clusters and centres, a bunch of fascinating reports and articles on our theme as well as an early career researcher spotlight. So, read on, enjoy and share with us anything you'd like to see in April's newsletter on the theme of 'maritime operations'.

Hannah West and Jemma Humphries
Co-Chairs of the Defence Research Network

In the News... 
As the Russian military invasion of Ukraine continues, our thoughts remain with the people of Ukraine in these dark hours and all those affected by this war. It is a privilege this month to share news written by former committee members reflecting on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, Dr Sophy Antrobus, Dr Allyson Edwards and Gav Topley. Please click on the images to read articles by Sophy and Allyson and watch/listen to Allyson and Gav. If you have been commenting on defence-related current affairs in the media or via blogposts or podcasts, please let us know as we would love to feature them.
Researcher spotlight 
We are delighted to be sharing with you the profiles of three early career researchers whose work relates to this month's theme. Next month we will be focussing our researcher spotlight on anyone currently serving and studying for a Masters or PhD so do get in touch and let us know about you and your work.

Dr Caroline Micklewright is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Exeter University and an Associate Lecturer at New Buckingham University.  Prior to entering academia, she was a logistics officer in the Royal Air Force specialising in Air Transport and Information Systems.  Her PhD explored power, identity, and gender within the masculine military institution.  She is currently working on the Military Afterlives Project at Exeter University which aims to understand how British veterans and their families have experienced the transition out of the military and back into civilian life.  Her current focus centres on publishing her PhD research, improving the outcomes of veterans, and championing the main streaming of gendered thought in organisational policy and decision making.
Dr Caroline Micklewright | LinkedIn
Tom Kersey is a research assistant and PhD candidate at the veterans and families research institute for military social research at Anglia Ruskin University. His PhD Narratives of chronic pain in armed forces veterans, focuses on what it is to be a veteran with chronic pain and how veterans cope with and manage with their pain on a day-to-day basis. Outside of his PhD Tom is involved in research that explores how chronic pain is communicated in military veteran romantic couples which he is currently recruiting for. Tom also has research interests in how veterans use arts as a vehicle for wellbeing and has recently been involved in a mystery arts box project with blind veterans.
Lucy Robinson is a second-year DPhil candidate in Education at the University of Oxford, funded by an ESRC Grand Union DTP studentship. Her DPhil research aims to engage in a meaningful and creative way with service children to explore how military life shapes their identity and school experiences. Prior to her DPhil, Lucy completed her PGCE and MEd in Primary Education at the University of Cambridge. Lucy is a committee member and Twitter manager of the Defence Research Network and a Trustee of a grant-giving charity for service children, the Armed Forces Education Trust. 
Dr. Eric Spikol earned his PhD at Ulster University in 2020 and is currently working at the Stress, Trauma, and Related Conditions (STARC) lab of Queen’s University Belfast on the UK Veterans Family Study (UKVFS). Funded by Forces in Mind Trust, this study is a multi-university collaboration investigating the psychosocial determinants of psychological health and well-being in Armed Forces Veteran families across the UK. There exists a serious lack of research exploring the experiences of partners/adult children of UK Veterans, especially research into positive topics such as resilience and well-being, which the UKVFS aims to address. It is hoped that the findings from this study can be used to benefit Veteran families across all nations of the UK. For more information, please visit the study website:
Welfare of Veterans and Military Families 
This section highlights some recently published reports and articles relating to this month's theme. Thanks for everyone who has been in touch to share their work, we love hearing from you all.
Dr Becky Randles, Senior Researcher at the Westminster Centre for Research in Ageing, Mental Health and Veterans  at the University of Chester took part in this month's Twitter Hour and shared with us her two recent publications with Dr Alan Finnegan. Click on the article titles above and below to access them.
Dr Erik Spikol, one of our featured ECRs in the Researcher Spotlight section, shared this systematic review on the mental health and wellbeing of Veteran families in the 5 Eyes Alliance countries. They found very little research concerning the UK and no research examining the positive aspects of mental health and wellbeing in Veteran families, which we found very surprising. The lack of research (especially on resilience and wellbeing) informed how they built their online survey:
On the 9th of July 2021, the Rethinking Military Spouses: Critical Research Group hosted a webinar titled ‘Bringing the Homefront to the Forefront: UK Perspectives on Critical Research with Military Spouses’. This report provides some information about the event and includes an overview of the main points of discussion. Click on the image to read the report.
The War Widows InTouch ( programme provided members of the War Widows’ Association (WWA) with iPads and/or iPad training to empower individuals digitally, and to support the development of new skills to connect with others online. The project aimed to connect members of the WWA across the UK, as well as improve their digital access, digital confidence, and digital skills. 

This study was carried out independently, aiming to explore and evaluate the implementation and running of the programme. Specifically, this study aimed to examine the perceived impact of the intervention(s) from the perspective of participants and the instructor, reflect on the perceived facilitators and barriers to implementing the intervention(s), and map perceived changes to social isolation, loneliness, and well-being.
Dr Emma Long and Dr Harriet Gray have both recently published these great articles exploring support to military partners and the unpaid labour of military wives respectively. Click on the images to read the articles.....
Who we've been talking to...
This month we have been reaching out to research clusters and centres to learn a bit more about what they do and share this with our community. We recognise that as early career researchers it can be difficult to get a sense of what is out there but we know how important it can be to connect with other researchers and we hope you will want to reach out to some of these too. Next month we would like to run a feature about serving military personnel who are studying for Master/PhDs that looks at the different routes to pursuing these studies across the services and we are very keen to learn more about this so please get in touch if you can help.
The Military War and Security Research Group at Newcastle University was established in 2012 to investigate military, war, and security phenomenon from multiple and transdisciplinary perspectives. In recent years the MWSRG has focused upon gender and security, and innovated creative social research methods to understanding military and geopolitical formations.
The Network for Strategic Analysis (NSA) is the first fully bilingual Mobilizing Insights in Defence and Security (MINDS) programme of the Department of National Defence of Canada. Co-directed by Justin Massie (UQAM) and Stéfanie von Hlatky (Queen’s University), the Network brings together more than 80 renowned scholars and seasoned practitioners. One of its key objectives is to train the next generation of security and defence experts by integrating students into the development and dissemination of knowledge and through the professional development of young researchers, with a particular concern for equity, diversity and inclusion.

LinkedIn :
The research cluster on Conflict, Security & International Order is administratively part of the Department of Politics, Languages & International Studies, but it serves the broader interests of the University of Bath interdisciplinary community of researchers who focus their research on issues of conflict and security. The cluster facilitates research cooperation within peace and conflict studies, and within security and military studies, as well as between specialists of security, military, war and specialists of peace.
The cluster’s web site is at

The cluster will become part of the new Centre for the Study of Violence, led by Professor Brad Evans, from Summer 2022.
Previously the Gulf War Illness Research Unit, the King’s Centre for Military Health Research (KCMHR) was launched in 2004 as a joint initiative between the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience (IoPPN) and the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. KCMHR draws upon the experience of a multi-disciplinary team and is led by Professor Sir Simon Wessely and Professor Nicola T. Fear. We undertake research investigating military life using quantitative, qualitative, and digital methods. Our flagship study is a longitudinal investigation of the health and well-being of the UK Armed Forces personnel. Our findings are regularly reported in the press and have also been used to inform policies that impact health and well-being of the Armed Forces Community.
We are keen to develop further collaborations, especially to support early career researchers. If you’re interested in knowing more about our work, and want to get involved, please email or visit our website
The Peace, Conflict and Security research group is an interdisciplinary forum for sharing research, knowledge and research practice focused on the intertwined fields of peace, security and conflict studies. The group supports the University of Portsmouth’s cross-Faculty Security and Risk theme, and their work exploring the changing character of security contributes to knowledge of these issues and produces policy-relevant research to address them. They also organise events, offer opportunities for PhD students to present their research and engage with external partners through our work.
Bringing together researchers and postgraduates from across the University, the Centre for European and International Studies Research (CEISR) is a supportive and intellectually stimulating place. They welcome linguists, historians, sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists and specialists in area studies. Their work crosses multiple fields in humanities, social sciences and the arts. They host regular events to promote their research and nurture their culture. They host strategic research projects on topics such as EU language policy, the Transnational European Union, the History of the Jewish Press in Central Europe, Port Towns and Francophone Africa in a comparative and transnational context.

Twitter: @CeisrUop
Sandhurst Trends in Conflict
by Hannah West
Thursday 3rd of March saw me venture to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for the Sandhurst Trends in Conflict Symposium on Practicing/Employing/Working/Doing/Making Security: the Women, Peace and Security Agenda in Military Operations. 

I particularly enjoyed the opening panel on 'applying the WPS agenda' with Rachel Grimes, An Jacobs and Katerina Krulisova, and Steve Maguire exploring the toxicity of language and the contested nature of terms from gendered mainstreaming, institutional culture and the challenge to military masculinity. It was a refreshingly critical opening that set the tone for an open conversation throughout the day. 

Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, Director of the Centre for Women, Peace and Security at the LSE and Founder and CEO of the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), provided a thought-provoking keynote that explored the importance of women around the peacekeeping table, the easy marginalisation of gender from policy when under pressure and yet struck an optimistic note in reflecting on generational change.

The afternoon was divided between panels on 'the WPS agenda in contemporary operations' and 'integrating WPS in military practice'. I was encouraged to hear critiques of institutional culture and the lack of measurement of effect although there was a resignation that the WPS agenda could only be justified by an operational effectiveness argument. I was frustrated to be hearing valid but, sadly, still ongoing complaints that have been observed consistently through the history of women's integration in the Armed Forces, something I tried to draw attention to in my own presentation. I reflected on the determination of individuals to drive forward this agenda but the ongoing intransigence of the institutional culture. 

I found it a really useful day with a well though out programme which was well attended with a great cross section of academics and practitioners. My only concern is how this community maintain connected beyond this one day, I would be keen to see the re-establishment of an ongoing knowledge exchange network to sustain this critical examination.

My sincere thanks to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for hosting the symposium and to Dr Max Thompson and Dr Andy Melancon for their hard work. I would thoroughly recommend keeping your eyes out for the next in the series (we will be too and posting it in the newsletter). 
Forces in Mind Trust Conference
by Lucy Wray
Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre Conference 2022
“Research from the Four Nations (England, Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland)” 
The Forces in Mind Trust Annual Research Centre Conference took place on the 24th of March. This annual conference aims to provide a holistic overview of research, policy and experience on matters relating to the Armed Forces Community.

This article gives a quick overview of the conference, with details of policy. Full details of this conference, sessions, questions and information shared will be available on the Veterans Research Hub by (hopefully) the 1st of April. If you are interested find out more at

The conference was opened by the new Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust (FIMT) Mike Ellicock. Alongside the existing approach the FIMT take Mike explained he wanted to build on the 10 years of work conducted by the FIMT. He proposed 3 questions to consider past, current and future research around military to civilian transition to include the following questions:
  • What are the barriers in each domain?
  • What works to identify barriers?
  • What can we do to collectively bring about change?
Following on from the FIMT presentation, an outline was given by the newly established Office for Veteran Affairs (2019) now led by Jessie Owen and Sam Tillotson. Their key strategy document was released this year “Strategy for Our Veterans” (2021) and outlines the aspirations for this cabinet office. Their role is to encourage thinking about the Armed Forces community at a policy level and also to promote sharing of best practice and research. The approach of the OVA and FIMT thus further support the work of the existing people and organisations already involved in this space.
The conference was divided in to 4 main sessions set about representing work done in each of the Nations of the UK. The Scottish Veteran’s Commissioner outlined his role over the last few years and highlighted that Wales and NI had incoming Veterans commissioners too. These individuals will work with the Armed Forces Community and parliaments to best represent the needs of the Armed Forces Community and promote the work of the Armed Forces Covenant (

Sessions centred around housing, the criminal justice system, social prescribing and peer support and finally health and wellbeing. In the social prescribing session our marvellous committee member Lt Col (Rtrd) Sally Coulthard discussed her amazing work with the Defence Gardens Scheme, initiated through her Churchill Fellowship; for more information please visit Reading Force discussed there work, where they offer a connection for families and peers through a shared experience of reading ( These two projects are available throughout the UK, so please do look at the amazing work they do.

As mentioned the Veteran Research Hub will have more details of each session from the conference. However, I wanted to mention some research that is taking place which may require support from our network and highlight support that may be relevant. The Northern Veterans Hub are in the process of doing an incredible and emphatic project aimed at understanding suicide better through narrative enquiry. They have close links with this phenomenal charity please do look and share.

The conference was a chance to reconnect for 3 of the DRN members (pictured) and also to discuss the work we do with others. If you have recently found the DRN through this event we’d love to know, and hello to everyone I talked to. It made me reflect that within the health and wellbeing space there is potentially a group of early career researchers who could connect and share some of the amazing and rapidly growing work in the health and wellbeing/ social science space. If you would like to connect with others in this way please do let us know.

Throughout the conference we were tweeting references and publications that were pertinent to the discussions taking place, for more information please see the DRN twitter feed. Thank you for reading.
From Left to Right: Our very own Lucy Wray, Dan Leightley and Sally Coulthard of the DRN!
ITSS Verona Summer School 2022
Deadline for registrations: June 7th, 2022
The ITSS Summer School will help you build your future as an expert in international Security. They excel on innovative thinking by providing reliable knowledge and content. Their professors are scholars from all corners of the globe, with firsthand experience that challenges and innovates the dominant discourse on Security. The summer scholl will tackle themes such as terrorism, grand strategy of the US and China, the reemergence of the Greater Middle East, the reality of modern Iran, the evolution of modern conflict and human rights, and the future of the cyber domain. All modules focus on practical examples, live interviews, and debates to make everything as interactive and stimulating as possible. More details and how to apply here.

Roundtable on Ukraine and Russia-Taiwan and China

The University of Nottingham's Taiwan Studies Programme and the Centre for the Study of Subversion, Unconventional Interventions and Terrorism (SUIT) present a roundtable with experts on Ukraine, Russia, Taiwan and China. The discussion will focus on the war in Ukraine and assess its implications for democracies defending their sovereignty against ambitious authoritarian neighbours. Register here.
Conference: RUSI Missile Defence Conference 2022
Registrations for the RUSI MDC 2022 are now open. The event will delve into the ways in which long-range strike capabilities will influence deterrence and defence in the future operational environment. The conference will be held in-person but online participation is also possible. For details on registration and pass prices, follow this link.
As always, keep an eye on our Twitter for new events and opportunities posted/retweeted every day!

Planning a future event?
If you are planning a defence-related event and you would like to reach an audience of like-minded researchers, we'd love to come along! Drop us an email and we can include it in our next newsletter.
If you are interested in any of our events but don't want to go alone, or simply want to expand your network, please reach out on Twitter or drop us an email and we can connect you with fellow DRN members who may be planning to attend.

If you would like to advertise any upcoming opportunities, please let us know via email.
Edited by André Carvalho
Research Associate in the Department of War Studies
Deadline: May 8th, 2022
The Department of War Studies is seeking up to 3 post-doctoral research associates to work with Dr Maeve Ryan at the Centre for Grand Strategy as part of the new Ax:son Johnson Institute for Statecraft and Diplomacy (AJI). Applications will be considered postdoctoral researchers and from current PhD students nearing the completion of their PhD. Applicants must have completed their PhD by the time they take up the fellowship. These posts will be offered on a full-time, fixed term contract for 2 years. There are 3 positions available. For more details and how to apply, follow this link.
Research Assistant - Australia Chair
CSIS seeks a Research Assistant to join the Australia Chair to work on various research projects and analysis as well as managing related events and event series. The employee is responsible for conducting research on a variety of issues related to the U.S.-Australia alliance and broader Indo-Pacific affairs, assisting with project management within the program, and programmatic administrative tasks. For more details and how to apply, follow this link.
Associate Professorship in International Relations
Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR)
The Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR), in association with New College, is seeking to appoint an Associate Professor in International Relations, with a specialism in international security. The successful candidate will be expected to conduct advanced research; to teach, supervise, and examine in international relations at the undergraduate and graduate level; to contribute to graduate research design and methods teaching sequences; to play a part in the administrative work of the Department and the College; and to act as a College Supervisor for graduate students. Applications are welcome from both early career and established scholars with a completed doctorate in international relations, or a closely related field, and an outstanding portfolio of research and publications in international security, broadly understood, with wide openness in terms of international security subfield, scholarly approach, and method. Details at this link.
Assistant Professor in Intelligence and Security
Deadline: April 25th, 2022
The Institute of Security and Global Affairs (ISGA) of Leiden University seeks to expand its academic staff by appointing an assistant professor with teaching and research expertise in intelligence studies. More details at this link.
Instructor of Wargaming at the US Army War College (US citizens only)
The US Army War College is looking for instructors to provide dedicated and focused subject matter expertise in the theory and application of wargaming to senior level professional military education (JPME II). Details about the position and how to apply here.
Job opportunity: Research Assistant at CNA
The Strategy, Policy, Plans and Programs (SPP) division of CAN is looking for a Research Assistant on Countering Threats and Challenges. For further detail and information, you can follow this link.
Courses/Certificates: Wargaming at MORS Analytics
In partnership with Virginia Tech, the Military Operations Research Society will be offering a series of courses and certificates in wargaming. There will be three separate courses on the matter, covering themes from modelling games on homeland security to tactical wargames.

Certificate in Wargaming (04-08 April, 2022): click here
Certificate in Gaming Homeland Security (14-18 March, 2022): click here
Designing Tactical Wargames (03-05 May, 2022): click here
Call for Contributors: Defence-In-Depth
The Defence-In-Depth blog is run by Kings College London and has recently featured a number of blogs from DRN members. Their content is well suited to the breadth of our network and they are keen to hear from you with contributions from a wide range of subject areas. To submit a piece or discuss your ideas, contact the editor at
From our community...
We are delighted to be able to share this recent publication from amongst our network:
  • Dr Haim Abraham (@HaimAbraham) has shared his recent publication: Tort Liability, Combatant Activities, and the Question of Over-Deterrence, Law & Social Inquiry 
We are delighted to share the news that Virginia Sherborne, who has been a Twitter Hour regular and DRN supporter, has recently been awarded her PhD from the University of Sheffield. We asked Dr Sherborne to share with us a bit more about her research....
Her PhD was linked to the Military Mesothelioma Study (MiMES) funded by the charity Mesothelioma UK as part of its ‘Supporting Our Armed Forces’ (SOAF) project. SOAF aims to provide a specialist national service for patients with mesothelioma and their families who are in the British military community. Mesothelioma is an incurable, fatal cancer of the body’s pleural lining (usually of the lungs or abdomen) caused by asbestos exposure. Armed Forces personnel have been found to be at risk from different types of exposure, such as in naval boiler rooms, accommodation blocks and helicopter wiring. Because of mesothelioma’s decades-long lead time, cases in the military context are usually amongst veterans. Details of the MiMES’ findings are given by Ejegi-memeh et al. (2020).
As a counsellor specialising in bereavement and trauma, Virginia chose to explore the psychological effects of this illness. After identifying gaps in the research literature (Sherborne et al., 2020), Virginia focussed her study on the carer’s perspective. She decided on a two-stage design, using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) methodology. First, she carried out a secondary data analysis of the existing MiMES interview transcripts, to gain initial insight and identify sensitising issues. This was particularly important as she was an ‘outsider’ civilian researcher. Virginia found that being involved in the Defence Research Network helped her ask questions from military insiders and gain confidence in understanding the British veteran context. She is very grateful for the networking opportunities the DRN offers.
The second stage of the study was semi-structured interviews. These began in September 2020, during the Covid pandemic. This made recruitment harder but also made interviewing more accessible and practical as Virginia had to use videoconferencing. Six participants were interviewed – a small sample, but an appropriate size for IPA. Whilst the participants shared the experience of being an informal carer for a British veteran with mesothelioma, there was also diversity among them, including in terms of gender, UK region, type of mesothelioma, military/civilian status and age.
The themes developed from the two sets of data are shown in the table below:
Stage of study Super-ordinate themes Subordinate themes
Secondary data analysis Control and responsibility The chain of command
    Controlling language and thinking
    The out-of-control body
    The proactive carer
  Openness: is it safe? Secrecy and intimacy
    Official secrets
    Becoming vulnerable
  Human connections: getting support (No subthemes)
Main interview study Going the extra mile Just keeping on going
    Expecting and receiving committed back-up
  Staying the same person The recognisable patient
    The recognisable carer
  Needing to know Choosing what to share
    Information exchange and professionals
    Raising awareness
The participants identified some aspects of the psychological effects of mesothelioma as being linked to military culture. Other aspects appeared to be influenced by it but this was outside of the participants’ awareness. The findings were discussed under the following headings:
  • caring for and caring about
  • the militarised body and pain
  • sharing information
  • guilt, betrayal and traumatic stress.
The University of Sheffield granted Virginia a three-month scholarship after her PhD viva to write two articles from her thesis. She is currently writing these, intending one for a peer-reviewed academic journal and one for a practice-facing journal such as Nursing Standard. Conference abstracts have been accepted by the British Thoracic Oncology Group and King’s Centre for Military Health Research. Virginia looks forward to meeting other members of the DRN at the conferences of King’s Veterans’ Mental Health and Forces in Mind Trust in March 2022. She is keen to hear Prof. Dominic Murphy speaking about moral injury in UK veterans, as this was one of the psychological effects identified from her own study.
March Twitter Hour: The welfare of veterans and military families
Edited by Lucy Robinson
This month’s #TwitterHour happened on Wednesday 16th March on the theme of 'The welfare of veterans and military families’. Below, we share the highlights. Let us know if you have resources, articles, events, books to recommend or share around this theme. #DefResChat
Q1: Can you tell us about your current research interests or professional experience in the field?
  • I research military-connected communities. Current projects include @DefenceEc which create research-backed resources & support for young military kids (with @MargRogers11). My PhD looked at military partner identity and using social media for information & support.
  • My PhD is looking at the effects of increased load and fatigue on the lower limb and trunk biomechanics during an explode anaerobic military task
  • My DPhil research is focused on the identity and school experiences of service children. I see education as a powerful force in supporting service children's welfare. #DefResChat
  • Tentatively joining in as my project is still to be finalised but my DProf will be focused on veteran mental health. I'm a psychotherapist working in complex treatment with veterans (and a veteran myself).
  • I have recently finished a PhD exploring the psychological effects of the asbestos-related cancer mesothelioma in the UK military context. This illness has a long lead time so affects veterans. #DefResChat
  • I’m specifically interested in mental health and also improving support in primary and secondary healthcare for veterans, I have just finished a project in primary healthcare and have some publications on help-seeking and MH prevalence!
  • My research focuses on power &working class young men. I’m interested in Junior soldiers, young offenders &what @BritishArmy @_YJB & education can learn from each other. I also founded @advice_lads a group for peer support & signposting for young men- 30-50% of members = military
Q2) What are your top tips for navigating this area of research/professional practice?
  • Don’t underestimate the power of relationship building in bringing stakeholders with you, especially when your findings have the potential to be challenging. Finding creative ways to empower young people & build trust &rapport will be central to  producing ethical meaningful data
  • #DefResChat this is such a good point @gavtopley thinking about the ethics of the research is a great way to think more about researching with your participants.
  • As a civilian, I found doing The Military Human training course (York St John) very helpful #DefResChat
Bonus question! How do you find navigating access to the military community and do the charity sector have a role in this?
  • #DefResChat the @DefenceResNet is a great place to start to meet other researchers and networks. Depending on what you're researching contacting researchers/ charities in appropriate areas can be beneficial
  • For my area of research, service children's charities play a central role. They help the researcher to understand the research context - particularly about what's going on in professional practice and policy. @ArmedForcesEduc @NavalChildren @LittleTroopers_ @CorporalScotty
Q3: What do you think the Armed Forces can do to improve communication between military families?
  • Some excellent podcasts have been effective at improving communication/connection/community. Promotes different 'types' of families, accessible in own time. Tag @MilitaryLife_au!
  • I think the question of access is complicated when working with military families because whilst they are supposedly outside MOD remit, in many cases reaching this community requires going through a gatekeeper which can often be someone close to the MOD/part of it. #DefResChat
  • Doing research which is not MOD-sponsored/endorsed can be a barrier to access. I don't know if we researchers could do more to communicate with these gatekeepers about our research? #DefResChat
  • Reflecting on this, has social media impacted on how military families can be recruited?
  • I think yes, but community can still be hard to reach and has had poor experiences with 'outsiders' in the past; can be skeptical of engaging with unknown people. Insider access still crucial for recruiting, even on socmed.
  • On novel methods @mynamessarah3 uses parody and comedy to draw out some really interesting and important points whilst engaging members of the military community.  Important to realise that often humour/the arts  can open dialogues that are otherwise difficult to broach
  • Important to listen. Some may value a bit of distance out of work. Others may seek community. Also important ‘family’ is a broad term. Singles accommodation has tackled privacy but perhaps at the cost of increased risk of isolation? Lots to do I feel- Starting with listening
  • It’s a good question. The welfare office (hate the word welfare) and community engagement team are crucial here. Accessibility to information is key!
  • Could families her access to Defence Connect as contractors do? Just limited access to groups for families to chat about postings/SFA options etc. They are fantastic on Facebook but not sure floorplans and addresses of patches is best on open social media!
  • Opening up more of bases to families would be great. Allow families to use more facilities. Crucially medical and dental.......
Q4: What aspects of welfare do you think are particularly pertinent to focus on for the future?
The offer as a wrap around. Community. Debt/finances should imo receive more focus in initial training. Explore Risk trajectories to understand the journey prior to, during &post service & address risk factors/barriers to wellbeing before they become a welfare. Remove stigma
There is more focus holistic support for service personnel, veterans and their families/ support networks. Spurred on by this promise now enshrined in law. To reference @gavtopley more listening needs to happen to understand welfare needs.
Spouses - often isolated, limited ability to earn, over reliant on their military partner financially and socially placing them in a vulnerable position for a variety of issues. Also the degree to which the military relies on the unpaid labour of partners to function

April's theme: Maritime operations
For the first time, the DRN is having a focus on 'Maritime Operations' to tie in with the Falklands Anniversary. So if your research or interests lie in this broad field then do get in touch, we'd love to hear about your work. We will be looking to showcase some early career researchers in research spotlights in the newsletter so don't be shy! And we welcome any suggestions for 'in conversation' pieces with more established academics working in this area.

And let us know about any relevant events from book launches to webinars.

We will be holding a Twitter hour on the 'Welfare of veterans and military families' mid month so keep an eye on @DefenceResNet for more information and check out the website for a preview of the questions for the next #DefResChat. You can also find all our previous #DefResChats on the Archive section of our website. Make sure to tag @DefenceResNet and hashtag #DefResChat to join the conversation.
Find Out More
Do you have a blog or publication you would like to promote? Don't hesitate to share it with us via email and we can add it to our newlsetter.
What we're reading
New Books
From the Fires of War: Ukraine’s Azov Movement and the Global Far Right
Michael Colborne 
This newly published book looks at Ukraine’s infamous Azov movement – its roots, ideologies, inspirations and global ambitions. It outlines its evolution from a fringe far-right militia into a multipronged and dangerous social movement. The author conducted interviews with senior figures  and members in the Azov movement, and discussions with numerous observers, experts and others with knowledge of and close to the movement. The Azov movement / Battalion has gathered significant attention in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, and thus this book will be of interest to anyone wanting to find out more about it.
You can buy a copy 
Russian Realism: Defending 'Derzhava' in International Relations
Andrei P. Tsygankov 

As the title suggests, this book analyzes Russian realism, more specifically, the notion of Derzhava as the foundation of Russian realism. Russian realism is influenced by its "vision of Russianness”, formed by the country’s historical, cultural/religious experience, and its position in the international system. This vision revolves around the importance of survival, preservation of a strong state, and protection of national interests from external infringement. This book will be of particular interest to those wishing to understand Russian foreign policy.

You can buy a copy 
Pause for thought...

The theme of 'welfare of veterans and military families' allows us as researchers to consider a different side to war and conflict - the home front both in our homes and in our minds. 

For this month's pause for thought I want to pose a question on knowledge production, specifically surrounding how as researchers we can understand the multiple experiences of war, both on the physical front line, and at home. Who has 'legitimate' experiences of war? Do the partners, children and other family members left behind during a deployment, have a lived experience of war? Or are these experiences something different entirely. 

When we consider knowledge production in any research area, there are often designated groups of people who have lived experiences of the phenomena under examination. This grants them the authority and influence to shape how our knowledge on that phenomena is created and then used. 

When it comes to the study of war, a large and sweeping phenomena, often the experiences of 'soldiers on the frontline' is kept quite separate from the experiences of those 'left behind', yet both could be considered experiences of the same thing. 

Tell us your thoughts on knowledge production when it comes to the study of war - who does and does not have authority to create knowledge?
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