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Mission Exploitation Symposium (MXS) OP HERRICK 15

13-14 June 2012, Sandhurst

Learning Lessons - Past and Present


We have designed and co-delivered many learning events - from small workshops to large conferences - in an effort to gather lessons on live and previous operations for the defence community. Why? Because we’re against…


  • mistakes being repeated and goals not being realised because we didn’t listen, learn, challenge and collaborate;

  • unproductive talk-fests, stovepipes, cynical self-interest, and just going through the motions; and

  • the tendency to undervalue local insights, strengths and aspirations.


The British Army asked us to experiment with more interactive and authentic means to share reflections at the Mission Exploitation Symposia (MXS) for troops returning from Afghanistan. In 2012-14, we designed and delivered deep dives and syndicate discussions on Company Command, Transition, and Partnering or Mentoring of Afghan troops and police.

NATO’s Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe (DSACEUR) asked us to help him deliver a conference ‘with a difference’ on how to achieve more effective civil-military interaction when addressing the security challenges of the 21st Century. We convened experts in Washington D.C. and London prior to the main event at Wilton Park in April 2012, which informed the 2-page pre-reading material for delegates.

We have planned, facilitated and reported on high level conferences on counter-insurgency (COIN) that have included the military, public servants and academics from around the world. For example, to redress the lack of attention paid to the experiences of the developing nations who are at the forefront of confronting these challenges in the absence of an international security presence, we ran a Wilton Park conference in July 2010 on how host countries end internal conflict in ways that build durable peace settlements.

Earlier in March 2010, we co-designed, facilitated and reported on another Wilton Park conference on the effectiveness of development in COIN. Due to the quality and record turnaround time of the reporting, the final documents informed senate hearings, live diplomatic engagements, and books subsequently written by respected practitioners.


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