Chief Operating Officer

Dr. Mike Martin

Mike joined Common Purpose in 2015 as Global Communications and Marketing Director following a career running businesses, writing, and mapping societies in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Somalia and the Congo. He is now Common Purpose’s Chief Operating Officer, as well as acting as the Global Risk and Security Advisor.

Mike’s career began in the British Army where he pioneered their Cultural Advisor Programme (explained in this Sunday Times profile). He worked as an advisor to several senior British generals in Helmand, and completed a PhD which led to the publication of a book on the conflict: An Intimate War. The book sets out how the UK and the US failed to understand the socio-political environment in Afghanistan.

Since leaving the army in 2012, Mike worked in Somaliland and Myanmar for a risk management company as Research Director. There, he set up a new division that helped multinational clients understand and navigate the social, political and cultural environments in which they found themselves operating. In-between times, he took a Land Rover expedition across the Democratic Republic of Congo, an account of which forms the basis for his second book: Crossing the Congo.

In his spare time, Mike maintains an interest in conflict and strategy, particularly relating to Afghanistan, and he is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London. He is also writing his third book which explores the cognitive basis of warfare.