McMullen 2017 Review

The 2017 McMullen Naval History Symposium at the U.S. Naval Academy was a significant achievement of the naval academy bringing together naval historians and thinkers from around the globe.  Lectures and seminars were spread over multiple panels and days’s demonstrating the broadness and depth of research currently embarked upon in naval history and thinking from researchers around the world and a variety of origins. This commitment to naval history in the United States Navy, echoed by the Chief of Naval Operations Naval history essay contest is a clear indicator that the US Navy is moving toward’s tapping into the vast repository of wisdom available to them that is contained within their and other nations maritime history. As ever, the welcome and organisation of the U.S. Naval academy was in the highest traditions of the U.S. Navy.

It also demonstrated the reality that War Studies/Laughton Unit has the largest and most significant group of academic researchers and research students in the field anywhere in the western world at this point. This was demonstrated at the 2017 McMullen Naval History Symposium at Annapolis, the largest regular naval history conference on the calendar. Not only was the conference co-ordinator a War Studies Ph.D., Commander/Dr. B J Armstrong, but there were 19 Kings speakers, including those with at least one degree from War Studies, and staff. Additional KCL graduate students were in attendance, from the UK and the USA. Not only was the by far the largest non-US participation, but everyone commented on the quality of the work on show, the range of scholarship, and the long term effort that has gone into creating this happy situation from researchers not just of Kings but institutions around the globe. The central fact was a sustained, long term engagement with the subject, dating back to 1970, in a Department that focused on the study of war, and was closely engaged in the delivery of high end defence education was clearly on show at McMullen.

Professor Sir John Laughton taught Alfred Thayer Mahan and Julian Corbett how to combine the study of naval history with the development of national strategy. The US Navy understands this, and values the connection.

The major announcement at the conference was the establishment of the John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research at the US Naval War College, Newport RI, led by Dr. David Kohnen, a recent War Studies Ph.D. The mission statement of the Center is: ‘The John B. Hattendorf Center for Maritime Historical Research serves as a central resource for naval history matters, from exploration and theory to strategy and operations. In addition to contributing to the curriculum and publishing original research, our faculty helps preserve our institutional history’.

You can read through a tweet history using #mcmullen2017.

You can view the launch presentation of the Hattendorf Center here:

External blogs on the event*:

Reflections on the 2017 McMullen Naval History Symposium

Conference Report: McMullen Naval History Symposium 2017

*External content is not the responsibility of the Department or Unit.

** With thanks to PhD researcher Stephen Phillips for  the donation of event photographs.