Last British troops leave Camp Bastion in Helmand, Afghanistan
will be no clear victories and no clear defeats in the wars of the
future, the head of the British army has warned, with the “perceptions”
of those involved just as important as action on the battlefield.
Nicholas Carter, chief of the general staff and formerly Britain’s most
senior officer in Afghanistan, said in a speech on Tuesday that “the
character of conflict has changed in this information age in which we
remarks come just three months after the last British soldier was
withdrawn from Helmand, marking a close to the country’s longest
conflict of the modern era.
generation of officers and soldiers from Afghanistan instinctively
understood the nature of conflict was fundamentally shifting, Sir
Nicholas said in an outline of a sweeping new doctrinal approach for the
UK’s land forces.
The British army is still trying to define a role for itself amid swingeing cuts to troop numbers
enacted as part of the last five-yearly strategic defence and security
review in 2010 and amid a more isolationist political climate in
That task has been a priority for Sir Nicholas and his predecessor Sir Peter Wall, who stood down last September.
army is particularly vulnerable to further cuts to the Ministry of
Defence’s budget — widely expected to fall in the next parliament — even
though senior officials have warned this would mean the military’s
structure and capability having to be radically overhauled.
The army was leading the way in shaping Britain’s ability to deal with an uncertain strategic environment and the growing threat of hybrid warfare, Sir Nicholas stated in a speech at Chatham House, the international affairs think-tank in London.
its new doctrinal approach — dubbed “integrated action” — strategists
and tacticians would be encouraged to think of allies and adversaries as
“audiences” to be influenced while the use of traditional “hard power”
would feature far less, he said.
need to breed a generation of staff officers who understand that if you
remove the weaponry from a Reaper platform [the UK’s armed drones], you
get an additional 12 hours of endurance for surveillance.”
power” methods such as psychological operations, diplomacy, aid and
covert action will be tools in which troops will have to become expert,
At the forefront of this new warfare will be the revitalised 77th Brigade, also known as the “Chindits”,
who will spearhead the “new way of operating”, according to Sir
Nicholas. The Chindits will have as many as 1,500 personnel whose tasks
will range from traditional psychological and media operations through
to battlefield and operational diplomacy, as well as more complex
digital information and subversion campaigns on social media.
is now multidimensional. It started being two-dimensional with fire and
movement. We introduced a third dimension with air and artillery. We
moved through manoeuvre in the electromagnetic spectrum and we now find
ourselves in an era of information manoeuvre.”
Nicholas added. “It is a truism that war is about minds, not stuff. It
is much harder now to distinguish between defeat and victory. It is much
more about the perception of those who are involved.”
ROLAND SAN JUAN was a researcher, management consultant, inventor, a part time radio broadcaster and a publishing director. He died last November 25, 2008 after suffering a stroke. His staff will continue his unfinished work to inform the world of the untold truths. Please read Erick San Juan's articles at: ericksanjuan.blogspot.com This blog is dedicated to the late Max Soliven, a FILIPINO PATRIOT.
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