This article in the Telegraph caught my eye earlier this week (click the image to view)
It describes tentative progress in Mogadishu
Whilst the prevailing military and security trend is to proclaim the end of enduring deployment, the death of COIN and the rise of a warmed over version of the Revolution in Military Affairs called Strategic Raiding it is interesting to note that away from the spotlight the African Union, supported by a range of capabilities from Western nations has just got on with the job and is now achieving good results.
This tells me a couple of things;
- The fashion as described above is just wishful thinking; engaging with the local population, confronting the enemy and staying in for the long haul is as effective s ever.
- Forward presence, mentoring, collaboration with regional forces and providing a range of technical, training and other capabilities is an effective model where we lack the manpower to provide the force densities required across a given area.
What does this mean for the UK?
We still need to maintain a balanced force but and the illusory attractiveness of strategic raiding is no compensation for having forces capable of enduring operations in coalitions with others.
We might discuss numbers, relative proportions and partners but retreating behind the shield of long distance air and sea power whilst proclaiming the end of land campaigns is no substitute for active engagement with the problem.