A Forward Presence Army

Throughout the Future Of series of posts I have put forward the basic premise that in order to deliver greater security the UK needs to have a smaller but highly effective core fighting force coupled with a much greater emphasis on building local security capabilities, mentoring, defence diplomacy and joining the instruments of development aid, military capability, industry & commerce, academia and UK culture (remember, i want Simon Cowell on the NSC!)

Although the Army aspect of this forward presence idea is still in the planning phase it is interesting to note rumours of a change in mind on the Multi Role Brigade structure that is predicated on enduring deployments to a more traditional light/heavy brigade mix.

Equally interesting is this video from British Forces News.

A former British military commander in Afghanistan has been tasked with the job of predicting the likely size and make up of the British Army in the next decade. Lt General Nick Carter is at the beginning of a study which will go a long way to shaping the Army of 2020. He says the force could look very different by then

Very interesting.

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November 2, 2011 1:18 am

“Horizon Scanning”

Must remember to add that to my management speak dictionary!

November 2, 2011 8:18 am

OOps, It clearly was the script of this piece I have been quoting from (but got the general wrong)

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
November 3, 2011 1:48 pm

Found this prediction from Thomas Barnett:

“- The Asia-Africa relationship will center on a “responsibility to protect.” China and India are investing throughout Africa for resources in the near term and cheap labor in the long term as both rising economic powers work to move up production chains. Moreover, as natural sellers to the “bottom of the pyramid,” both Asian giants see Africa’s rising consumer spending as simply too good a target to pass up. But all this economic dynamism will destabilize Africa, for both good and ill, reformatting a host of artificial and/or authoritarian states into more logical regional economic unions. Eventually, both rising powers will feel a responsibility to protect more than just their direct economic interests, resulting in an awkward historical growth process that America must work to enable through its Africa Command.”



With the US attention focused more and more on the Pacific/SE Asia, isn’t it more likely Africa will be left to Europe with us and the French taking the lead as usual? A continent sized “you broke it, you fix it” deal?

Having a forward presence for security, satbility and training then not only becomes a nice idea but vital?

November 3, 2011 3:51 pm

Oh good. Predicting the future. That always works.

Gareth Jones
Gareth Jones
November 3, 2011 4:42 pm

@ STV – I would reply but my crystal ball is getting interference ;p

More seriously, I get where you’re coming from and think the armed forces should be very flexible because of the difficulty of predicting when and where they will be needed next but you still have to have a strategy/overall plan so yu can a lot resources, etc. Otherwise you end up with the mess of trying to do everything on insufficient funds.

November 4, 2011 5:24 pm

Q222 Mrs Moon: Our understanding is that one of the things they are asking for is help in developing their defence and security capability. One area where it has been suggested that the UK has a problem is that the cost of our training is more expensive than the training provided by other nations. I understand the Treasury has fixed a level of training cost that is higher than that of other NATO allies. Therefore, we are an unattractive bargain when shopping around for defence and security training. Is that something you will discuss with the Treasury? Is it something you feel would be helpful for us to provide to the Libyans?

Nick Harvey: It would depend on the extent to which they were able to meet their need anywhere else. If there is a need for them to come to us for support with training, we would enter into a discussion with them. One would hope that the economic outlook for Libya, as time goes on, is sufficiently encouraging that they would pay the price that was asked for what they thought was going to be necessary. That’s not immediately, but it would have to be the expectation going forward.

Q223 Mrs Moon: So you have no plans to talk to the Treasury about making the services available at a more reasonable rate?

Nick Harvey: I have no plans to at this stage, but if this became a material issue we could engage in a discussion with the Treasury at any point.

From the Second Hearing on Libya ops, Parliamentary Defence Committee. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201012/cmselect/cmdfence/uc950-iii/uc95001.htm

John W
John W
November 6, 2011 6:50 am

All we have to do then is survive until 2020 and the time needed to change to new force and procedures.

November 6, 2011 10:51 am

I quote from someone (can’t remember which general):
“Transformation is not a goal, it is a process”

Once we get “there” it is the time to transform again