Ian Edward Shields OBE
Ian Shields joined the RAF in 1977 and, after training as a navigator, commenced his operational flying career on the Vulcan in 1981. After the Vulcan’s retirement he transferred to the Hercules and began a long association with tactical air transport. Following a series of ground and staff appointments, as well as flying tours that encompassed flying training, air refuelling, strategic and tactical air transport, aeromedical evacuation and famine relief, he was promoted to wing commander in 1997. He undertook Advanced Command and Staff training at the Joint Services Command and Staff College Bracknell in 1999/2000 where he gained an MA in Defence Studies from Kings’ College, London.
Command of No 47 Squadron followed, during which time he was the deputy commander of the team that re-opened Kabul airport. For this and his command of No 47 Squadron he was appointed OBE in 2003. After a tour at the Ministry of Defence, he was seconded to the Senior British Military Advisor’s staff at the US’ HQ CENTCOM from February to August 2005 following which he gained an MPhil in International Relations from Queens’ College, Cambridge. He taught on the Advanced Command and Staff Course at Shrivenham 2006/7 and on promotion to group captain in August 2007 assumed his final position as Assistant Director, Air and Space, at the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre. He retired from the RAF in 2010 to undertake a PhD at Cambridge University in International Relations.
Mr Shields has written widely on the employment of air and space power with several articles and book reviews published in the RAF’s peer-reviewed Journal, Air Power Review. He has presented to, and been published by, the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, and has spoken at a number of conferences in London and at Cambridge University on issues such as the employment of Air and Space and the future nature of conflict.