Shield was founded in 2017 by a student in the War Studies department, King’s College London (KCL). Shield is a platform for analysis, discussion and debate on defence and security matters.

For students, Shield represents an excellent opportunity to become a published author while at university – a valuable asset on your CV. For academics, Shield is a chance to gain early feedback on your ideas, and to develop your arguments further. Authors are welcome to republish elsewhere, provided that first publication is acknowledged. Last but by no means least, Shield is an opportunity for practitioners to engage with the academic community and ask questions, suggest research directions and offer insight into situations.

Shield is open to anyone with an interest in defence and security, whether you are a student, an academic or an industry practitioner, and whether you are internal or external to King’s College London. This breadth of input promotes active debate, offering the possibility of improving upon and extending the thinking and strategies offered within articles. To this end, please feel free to comment on Shield articles. Constructive challenge and intellectual debate is encouraged.

Shield aims to benefit defence and security thinking by merging the academic and practitioner streams in an informal online publishing environment, where the emphasis rests on original thought and strong research skills, rather than deep knowledge and specialisation in the industry. That is, submissions from first-year undergraduates are just as welcome as articles penned by academics or industry practitioners of many decades (after all, a fresh perspective can bring new insights, while experience remains invaluable).

We accept this is a trade-off, and our approach may result in some ideas that may seem impractical to those working in the field. The payoff, however, will be immediate access to the freshest thinking on defence and security – perhaps in the form of new ideas, new technology or new analysis of a current situation.

Sometimes very diverse ideas can suddenly combine to create a flash of inspiration, and we believe this is valuable, so we try to offer a range of perspectives. Articles here do not represent the views of Shield, but the opinions of authors. Sometimes, several articles will appear on the same topic that disagree with each other. In doing so, we hope to stimulate your thinking on a topic and to provoke conversation and debate.

Shield is not about attempting to create perfection in written form; there is plenty of opportunity to do that in the academic world, whether in essays or journal articles. Our aim is to create solid, readable articles with interesting ideas and strong arguments, and get them to the reader as quickly as possible.

The culture we want to create is for articles and comments, while remaining intellectually stimulating, to feel somewhat conversational in style. Although every article will echo an individual’s writing style, Shield would like reading and commenting on articles to feel similar to the kind of conversation you might have over coffee. When you sit down with a friend or colleague, and you are both interested in defence and security, you can discuss heavyweight problems and ideas, but there is an informality that allows for true creativity. It is difficult to replicate this kind of casual brainstorming online, but Shield ultimately aims to become a platform for the exchange of ideas between friends and colleagues.