This is our final look at the last Joint Concept Note published by the MoD. It is about the UK’s Future Force Concept and looks at how the UK military will function in the cyber, air, land, and maritime domains both independently and in conjunction with NATO and other partners.
Here’s what we thought:
Though I don’t believe this report tells us anything particularly new, it is an excellent reference work for anyone seeking to gain an understanding of ‘where the MoD is at’, and where it sees itself in relation to the world going forward. In particular, the report is broken down into the main military domains (air, sea, land, space), with additional comment on the new cyber landscape. Of course we should note here that over all of this report is hanging the ever diminishing budget for UK defence forces which have in a sense forced the hand of the MoD in some areas where we can no longer make the same level of investment that we once could.
However, in some ways, this could be to our benefit… As the report notes, traditionally, maritime systems have been designed to last for anything up to 50 years. However, with the rapidly changing environment, such lifespans are no longer sustainable, as new technologies are fast rendering expensive investments obsolete. If the limited budgets forces us to look beyond the traditional ‘old’ way of doing things then we may be able to extract additional value from our investments, or at least be more selective in our investments, focussing on our strengths such as innovation, skills and training, and forming closer working relationships with our allies.
Mike Ryder, Lancaster University
This concept note seems to be a good analysis of how the UK military can do more with less people, less money, and less advantage over of adversaries. This note seems to be both pragmatic and optimistic. NATO seems to be the cornerstone of future British force deployments. As a Brit, it is a bit disappointing to think that the UK military is scaling down its ambitions as an independent force. But, as we know, the world becoming more complex requires lots of money, materiel, and personnel. Something that the UK government has decided not to fund. Considering that most of the threats in this note don’t require nuclear weapons, it does raise the question of whether they should be a top priority in the future. But, of course, the risk of not having them in a renewed era of state aggression could be too much for any government to take.
I don’t know what any of the answers are. I’m not sure anyone really does. But, this concept note is a great step towards considering some answers.
Joshua Hughes, Lancaster University
What do you think?