Over the coming months Think Defence will be running a series of posts on a Future Defence Review.
I have already made a start with articles covering a range of topics that might inform such a review.
The UK’s Place in the World
Missions and Requirements
Starters for Ten
Ideas, Suggestions and Hair Brained Schemes
All posts will be categorised as FDR (see menu) for ease of reading.
Our objective has always been merely to stimulate debate, we don’t claim to hold any special knowledge or insight so hopefully the posts will generate a healthy discussion.
The scene setting posts have generated quite a bit of debate and the general opinion of much of the comments is that the UK should retreat to a role of ‘Strategic Raider’ able to mount expeditionary operations of short duration, leaving any ongoing operations to others.
Attractive in many ways, it would allow force structures and equipment plans to remain largely as is, provides for the armed forces to retain a degree of flexibility, able to flex up or down as required and finally, avoids protracted engagements that generally have a high casualty rate and poor chances of success.
The problem with adopting this stance is that it forces a degree of isolation on the UK, the likely reality is not going to be short sharp interventions and back home sharpish for tea and medals. We are entering a period of enduring conflict where even interstate conflict will take on the characteristics of unconventional asymmetric warfare.
So if we are to remain a part of NATO and maintain a strategic relationship with the USA we must recognise that whilst we must maintain a steel core of conventional ‘high end’ full spectrum capabilities for infrequent small scale UK only operations or to provide elements of a wider coalition, the bulk of our capabilities should be configured for so called unconventional operations on a continuous or enduring basis.
This will be the background to our forthcoming suggestions, ideas and har brained schemes!