Lawrence Freedman

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For other people with a similar name see Lawrence Friedman (disambiguation)
Sir Lawrence Freedman at Chatham House in 2013

Sir Lawrence David Freedman KCMG, CBE, PC, FBA (born 7 December 1948) is Professor of War Studies at King's College London, and was a foreign policy adviser to Tony Blair.[1] He has been described as the "dean of British strategic studies",[2] and is a member of the 2009 United Kingdom Iraq War inquiry.[3]


Freedman was educated at Whitley Bay Grammar School, the Victoria University of Manchester (BA), University of York (BPhil), and University of Oxford, where he was a student of Nuffield College (Fellow 1974/5) and the Faculty of Social Studies.[3] His DPhil thesis, submitted in 1975, was entitled, The definition of the Soviet threat in strategic arms decisions of the United States: 1961–1974.[4] He also held a part-time lectureship at Balliol College at this time.[5]

Freedman's wife Judith is KPMG Professor of Taxation Law and a Fellow of Worcester College at Oxford University.[6] They have two children, Sam and Ruth.[3]


Freedman held positions at the International Institute for Strategic Studies and Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) before he was appointed, in 1982, Professor of War Studies at King's College London. He has been Vice Principal (Research) at KCL since 2003 and a Fellow since 1992.

Freedman was elected Fellow of the British Academy in 1995 and appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 1996[7] and Knight Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George in 2003.[8][9] Sir Lawrence Freedman contributed to the preparation of the 1999 Chicago speech in which Tony Blair set out the 'Blair doctrine'.

During the 2003 Iraq invasion, Freedman wrote an article for The Independent newspaper in which he said:

"Another familiar refrain in Washington is that the US has long since given up expecting to be loved but is content to be respected. Even if it takes time to dislodge Saddam's regime, the US – and also Britain – will emerge from this conflict hardened in their power and ready to exercise far greater influence over not only the development of Iraq but also the wider Middle East. For them the key question will be whether, having carried so much of the burden of the war effort, they can also carry the post-war effort without much wider international support, and the extent to which they are prepared to share influence to obtain it. The problem of coalition formation will not stop with the war's end."[10]

Freedman is the Official Historian of the Falklands Campaign and author of The official history of the Falklands Campaign (2 vols, London: Routledge, 2006).[11]

Freedman's principal areas of interest include contemporary defence and foreign policy issues.[12] He has written extensively on nuclear strategy and the cold war, as well as commentating regularly on contemporary security issues. His recent books include an Adelphi Paper on "The Revolution in Strategic Affairs", an edited book on Strategic Coercion, an illustrated book on The Cold War, a collection of essays on British defence policy and Kennedy's Wars that covers the major crises of the early 1960s over Berlin, Cuba and Vietnam. In addition, a book on deterrence was published in 2004.[13] His most recent book, A Choice of Enemies: America Confronts the Middle East (New York: PublicAffairs, 2008), won the 2009 Lionel Gelber Prize and the 2009 Duke of Westminster's Medal for Military Literature.

Selected papers[edit]


  1. ^ DeGroot, Gerard (13 December 2013). "‘Strategy: A History’ by Lawrence Freedman". The Washington Post (Katharine Weymouth). Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Corn, Tony (9 September 2006). "Clausewitz in Wonderland". RealClearPolitics. Retrieved 30 March 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c "Biography of Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman". Retrieved 25 November 2009.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  4. ^ OLIS web OPAC, University of Oxford.
  5. ^ Debrett's People of Today (2009).
  6. ^ "Judith Freedman". Oxford Law. University of Oxford. Retrieved 19 December 2012.  External link in |work= (help)
  7. ^ The London Gazette: no. 54427. p. 8. 14 June 1996. Retrieved 16 May 2009.
  8. ^ Oxford University Strategic Studies Group (OUSSG)
  9. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 56797. p. 3. 31 December 2002. Retrieved 16 May 2009.
  10. ^ Freedman, Lawrence. "America needs a wider coalition, however difficult". The Independent. Archived from the original on 20 June 2009. Retrieved 19 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "Current research & consultancy projects: Lawrence Freedman". King's College London. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  12. ^ "Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman". King's College London. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 
  13. ^ "Biography: Lawrence Freedman". King's College London. Retrieved 25 November 2009. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Wolf Mendl
Head of Department of War Studies, KCL
Succeeded by
Christopher Dandeker