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Defence and Security Issues Discussed in the 21st Century
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The DSF's Co-founder, Lady Olga Maitland
Welcome to The Defence and Security Forum

The Defence and Security Forum was founded by Lady Olga Maitland in 1983. It was originally a campaigning organisation known as Families for Defence launched to challenge the anti-nuclear protest movements such as CND. Families for Defence’s remit was to promote the NATO case for multilateral nuclear disarmament. In the course of doing so the purpose was to focus on the importance of a proper provision for the defence of the United Kingdom.

Major General Patrick Cordingley, our Chairman Our Keynote Topics

  • International Relations
  • Economics
  • Politics
  • Defence and Security
Defence and Security Forum's Committee -  Lady  Olga Maitland Honourable Patrons
Delegates discuss the issues.
Major General Patrick Cordingley, our illustrious chairman

Lady Olga Maitland is a well known campaigner on defence and foreign affairs issues.

In March 1983 she launched a pro-NATO campaign against the anti-nuclear protest movement, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. At that time they were calling for one-sided nuclear disarmament in the face of a Soviet build up of medium range nuclear weapons.

Campaigning under the banner of Families for Defence and supported by her vice chairmen, who subsequently rose to the top ranks of Parliament, Dame Angela Rumbold, Rt. Hon. Mrs.Virginia Bottomley, MP, Rt. Hon. Ann Widdicombe, MP, and Mrs. Angela Browning, MP , Olga Maitland led a vigorous debate across the country into television studios, on the radio, in the universities and town halls. She organised high profile demonstrations against the anti-nuclear protest movements which took place in Trafalgar Square, Greenham Common airbase, Molesworth airbase, Faslane submarine base etc.

At the same time she challenged them during the Talks about Talks summits between the Americans and the then Soviets in Geneva. Olga Maitland's campaigns took her to Washington where she had a one-on-one meeting with President Reagan in the Oval Office at the White House, and to Rome where she had an audience with H.H. The Pope. Finally in Moscow during the Reagan – Gorbachev Summit Olga Maitland met with all the leading members of the Soviet government including a private meeting with Primakov, as well as the head of the Soviet Peace Committee, Generich Borovic.

With the ending of the Cold War and the collapse of Communism, it was decided to change the remit of Families for Defence from a campaigning wing to a defence and foreign affairs policy group, Defence and Security Forum.

Issues that Defence and Security Forum have undertaken have included supporting the Kuwaiti people during the Gulf War, when DSF linked up with the Free Kuwait Campaign in London. After the liberation, DSF has lent active support to the National Committee for the Kuwaiti Prisoners of War held in Iraq. Olga Maitland was invited by the chairman H.H. Sheikh Salem al Sabah to visit Kuwait and meet the families of the POWs. She then she had arranged a number of high profile events drawing attention to their detention in Iraq by Saddam Hussein.

In 2001 Olga Maitland visited Northern Iraq/ Kurdistan as a guest of the President Masoud Barzani. She met with the survivors of chemical weapons attacks by Saddam Hussein in 1988, all of whom continue to have serious health problems. She was also made aware of the importance the Kurds attach to the Safe Haven status which the then Prime Minister John Major put into place with the former President George Bush, Senior in 1991.

Olga Maitland has been a journalist since 1964. She began her career reporting crime and hard news with the Fleet Street News Agency. In 1965 she joined the Sunday Express as a reporter becoming a leading columnist from 1975 to 1991. She freelanced until 1998 when she joined the Daily Mail until 2001.

In 1986 Olga Maitland began her political career as a Conservative candidate for Holborn and St. Pancras in the ILEA elections. In 1987 she stood as Parliamentary Candidate for Bethnal Green and Stepney. In 1997 she was elected Member of Parliament for Sutton and Cheam with a majority of 10,750. She was defeated in 1997 by 2,000 and stood again for the seat in 2001, but was defeated.

During her Parliamentary career Olga Maitland was a member of education, health and the procedures select committees. She took through Parliament two Private Members Bills, the Prisoners Return to Custody Act 1995, and the Offensive Weapons Act 1996. She introduced two Ten Minute Rule Bills on Juvenile Crime, 1993 and Solvent Abuse, 1994.

She was an officer of the Northern Ireland, Defence and Foreign Affairs backbench committees.

In 1996 Olga Maitland was appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Rt. Hon. Sir John Wheeler, PC, MP, Minister of State, and Deputy Secretary of State, Northern Ireland with special responsibilities for security.

Lady Olga Maitland is currently an adviser to a number of companies and governments.

Olga Maitland published in 1989 'Margaret Thatcher - The First Ten Years' 1997 'Faith In the Family.'  She was founder and chairman of Families for Defence until 1991.  Since then she has been the President of Defence and Security Forum.

Rt.Hon. Lord Mayhew of Twysden, Vice President (Biography)

Major General Patrick Cordingley,  Chairman (Biography)

Colonel Philip Howes, OBE, Treasurer and Trustee (Biography)

You may read the biography of the individual where 'Biography' appears. You may do this by simply clicking upon it.

Defence and Security Forum provides a permanent reminder to politicians, media and the public of the need to produce sufficient resources to ensure the defence and security of this country.

This is achieved in the first instance by debating current issues on television, radio, in the press, in university lectures and debates, conferences etc.

Defence and Security Forum organises public campaigns on major issues of the day as they did in the months leading up to the Gulf War seeking public support for the liberation of Kuwait.

The DSF has had the great privelege of granting honourable patronage to a small number of distinguished people over the years.  These people are:
  • Rt. Hon Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham
  • Baroness Cox
  • Sir Ranulph Fiennes Bt
  • General Sir Michael Gow GCB
  • Rt Hon. The Earl of Lauderdale
  • Rt. Hon. Lord Lamont of Lerwick
  • Sir Alfred Sherman
  • Professor Norman Stone
  • Rt. Hon. Sir John Wheeler, JP, DL

A DSF speaker. Lady Olga Maitland talking to delegates. A DSF speaker
Delegates enjoying the debate. Lady Olga Maitland chatting to a delegate. Cordingley

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