RUSI Land Warfare Conference 2018

Held annually on behalf of the Chief of the General Staff, the RUSI Land Warfare Conference is the UK’s pre-eminent gathering of the land forces community

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locationChurch House, London

Overview

This year the Land Warfare Conference, held annually on behalf of the Chief of the General Staff, considered how land forces can achieve competitive advantage from 2025 and beyond.

The international system is undergoing a major transition – the unipolar world has disappeared, replaced by uncertainty and instability. At the same time, the tempo of technological change and the pervasiveness of information are driving changes in the character of conflict. It is not yet clear where the intersection of these changes will lead and where the next competitive advantage will come from, whether on the battlefield or beyond.

Regardless of those changes in the character of conflict, land-based forces will continue to act within the framework of manoeuvre – seeking always a position of advantage over adversaries.

The conference sessions explored the following themes:

  • How has manoeuvre evolved through history? Is it now more than three dimensional?
  • What doctrine, capabilities and structures will be needed to out-manoeuvre adversaries?
  • How will Land capabilities contribute to successful outcomes at the operational and strategic levels?
  • International Chiefs Panel: How will allies manoeuvre beyond 2025?
  • What are the human factors that bear on 21st Century manoeuvre?
  • How should armies train for 21st Century manoeuvre?
  • Closing Keynote: Chief of the General Staff

Main Image Credit Land warfare


Watch the recording of the sessions


To watch the RUSI Land Warfare Conference 2018 sessions please click on the video below, to select a session please follow the instructions on the playlist.

Speech Transcripts and Speakers

  • I’m delighted to be here today. This Conference is always a major event. But this year it feels bigger and even more relevant than usual.

     

    It’s not just the Conference’s status as a premier, if not the premier, international military event in Land Warfare. It’s the unique challenges of the times in which we live and work as military professionals and security experts.

     

    An Era of Unprecedented Threats

    We have heard a lot about threat over the past twenty-four hours and over the last year far greater military minds than mine have been publicly outlining their concerns.

     

    The First Sea Lord, Sir Admiral Philip Jones, General Sir Nick Carter, as CGS, General Sir Gordon Messenger, our Vice Chief, and of course our former Chief of the Defence Staff. They all spoke not of potential threats that we could face at some undefined point in the future, but threats that we face now. I thought that Sir Stuart Peach spoke extremely candidly during his annual lecture at RUSI about the proximity of these threats, both in terms of time and space.

     

    Of course, the cynic might see all this as some sort of a coordinated attempt to make a bid for more resource something that is, as you saw from Deborah Haynes’ question yesterday very much a hot topic, no less so than in the Lancaster Household. Being married as I am to a Health Minister can make for some interesting discussions! But to believe this would be to ignore the significance of a number of worrying global trends: resource scarcity, fragile states, rising populations, migration, regional tensions, trade disputes, hostile states. I could go on.

     

    I believe that these threats are as acute now as they were in 1963 when RUSI made the bold decision to write to The Times warning the public of escalating dangers but to suggest that the threats we face now are the same as those that we faced during the Cold War would not only be irresponsible, but dangerous. To do so would be to risk strategic malaise.

     

    Back then, things were more straightforward. Ideological divides were clearer, and what constituted war and peace was considered self-evident. But national security in the 21st Century doesn’t fit comfortably into those traditional boxes. It’s not just the range of dangers we’re facing but the breaking down of tradition boundaries, physical and virtual. Our adversaries have recognised this and they are adapting.

     

    Spin the globe and look at the world from Russia’s perspective. Consider how they might view threats and whilst we don’t know whether they view conflict as inevitable, they are preparing. Some commentators have suggested that Russia’s use of proxy forces and hybrid methods suggest that they don’t intend to get their hands dirty.

     

    There is an alternate thesis that Russia have concluded that they are not ready for major combat operations, that they have learnt the lessons from Georgia and the relative failure of their annexation of Crimea, and are now investing hard in the future of their conventional forces.

     

    On this basis, it is a myth to think that Russia won’t use hard power at some point in the future. Fires and mass remain central to their way of warfare. You only have to look at Syria to see this in action, in what has become a testing ground for the integration of Russian land, maritime and air capabilities. Russia has at the same time been carving out an advantage in the sub threshold environment using cyber and hybrid methods to cause disruption and to obfuscate.

     

    With a new appetite for risk, and a new determination not to be bound by the rules of the international order, information is being weaponised to sow confusion and create tensions. Tensions that in turn create divisions and opportunities that they can exploit. The ‘cracks’ to which the CGS referred yesterday. In this anarchic ungoverned space, they are calibrating their activity to understand where the threshold for international response sits. This introduces dangers of escalation and miscalculation.

     

    Tensions once grew slowly, providing us with advance warning of potential conflict but we can’t rely on that any longer. We must be ready to respond, at very short notice, and in a wide variety of contexts. But of course Russia is not our only threat. We face a multitude of other challenges: hostile states, global extremist organisations, the rise of nationalism, political fragmentation, organised crime, terrorism and these threats have become so much more acute given the proliferation of sophisticated military hardware that was once the preserve of Tier 1 militaries.

     

    But as we take forward our Modernising Defence Programme, the big question we’re asking today is what does “the new normal” mean for our Army? One thing we do know is that the land domain remains vital.

     

    Essential Importance of Land Power

    As Sir Mark Sedwill said yesterday, our primary imperative is the protection of our people and HMG’s interests, here and around the world but our rules based system is not self-sustaining and it is very much underwritten by hard power. Wars can be won and lost in the land environment, and it is with land forces that we will continue to confront aggression, seize hostile territory, hold it and deny its access to the enemy.

     

    As we do that, the Division must remain the centre pillar to our Joint Force. A benchmark for a credible deterrent and war-fighting capability. The Division is where concurrent tactical actions in multiple domains are planned and co-ordinated, where long range area and precision weapons bring reach and influence and where we can look past the clutter of the close fight, using systems like Watchkeeper.

     

    It is the Division which provides the umbrella of theatre missile and air defence systems along with offensive and defensive cyber and electronic warfare while aviation extends its scope for manoeuvre. And it is the Division which orchestrates the modern battlefield information system enabling the Joint Force, meshing decisive Special Operations Forces with cyber operations to achieve information advantage and assuring multi-national interoperability through its open system architecture.

     

    Whilst every individual element has utility in its own right, it is the collective capability of the Division that gives it the ability to dislocate and overwhelm an opponent. It is the ability of the Division to be greater than the sum of its parts that will allow it to fight and increase the chances of victory. But to be truly successful we need to out think, anticipate, innovate and integrate.

     

    21st Century Division – Innovative and Integrated

    That’s why I’m very pleased to announce Exercise Autonomous Warrior, a radical new approach to securing operational advantage. Some of you may have seen the stand set up in the Hoare Memorial Room.

     

    Later this year, a battlegroup from 1 Armoured Infantry Brigade will spend a month on Salisbury Plain, putting the most innovative ideas in Robotics and Autonomous Systems through their paces. They’ll work alongside the Royal Marines and the RAF Regiment, and will be joined by the US Army and observers from our other Allies.

     

    The Army will be putting cutting-edge proposals from industry through their paces - over 70 new systems from 45 commercial partners. Ground-breaking innovations in A.I., unmanned autonomous vehicles, force protection and situational awareness will be tested to the limit in the toughest of simulated operational environments. This is partnership in action, the Army and wider Defence, industry and academia working together to get cutting edge technology to our front line.

     

    This partnership is an illustration that our 21st Century Force won’t just be innovative with our kit, but integrated with our Whole Force: generalists and specialists; tank commanders and data analysts; industry and employers; and regulars and Reservists. Now, as a Reservist of some 30 years, the Reserve Forces are close to my heart. With Reserves Day next week, now is an opportune moment to reflect on the increased flexibility and the unique expertise that they add.

     

    So, under the Modernising Defence Programme we’re looking carefully at our Reserve Forces, with the aim of enhancing national resilience by giving our Armed Forces even more flexibility. As part of that work, we will be testing our arrangements for mobilising large numbers of Reserves. But the need for agility goes beyond the work we do with Reservists and it must be about more than just a single Division.

     

    It is also about the enablers from across the Army, without which the Division would be unable to function. Furthermore, our resilience is founded on our ability to generate a second, follow-on Division to meet the NATO demand signal providing vital wide-area security and stabilisation.

     

    So, if we’re to out-think, out-fight, and out-manoeuvre our adversaries, we must continually invest in our Whole Force and that not only means across the Army, but more so than ever, from across the whole of Defence, and indeed the whole of Government. This is fusion.

     

    21st Century Division – Information Dominant

    Fighting and winning not only requires the masse of well-equipped conventional forces on the battlefield, but also the ability to dominate in the information environment, fighting in the virtual as well as physical space. Conflicts are not just won or lost on the battlefield but in the heads and hearts of the people and their leaders. Our adversaries believe that truth is malleable, that disinformation, the blurring of boundaries, and the creation of tension will together create an environment in which they can achieve their aims. We need to counter that to make sure the truth is heard.

     

    Our Army knows it can’t afford to look in the rear-view mirror years down the line and wonder what our cyber deterrent might have been. That’s why we’re making our Division fully networked. We’re breaking down some of the silos that often divide our military hierarchies, dissolving cultural barriers between specialisms and embedding understanding of cyber and the other new domains into the very heart of our Divisional structures.

     

    And we’re giving them the very highest quality of training and preparation. The Defence Cyber School at Shrivenham is already laying the foundations of the skills needed to operate on the modern battlefield and exercises such as Cyber Warrior have marked a step change in our collective capability.

     

    We are already seeing this pay dividends on operations. For instance, during the fight against Daesh, our forces weren’t just training Iraqi and Kurdish troops in how to defuse bombs and build bridges. They weren’t simply using Typhoon and Tornado to destroy the extremist threat. Behind the scenes they were also countering and rebutting their false narrative. Showing the so-called caliphate for the hollow charade it really was. Tying our enemies in knots in the virtual world so we could destroy them in the real world.

     

    21st Century Division - Internationally Responsive

    Finally, the 21st century Division must be international by design. One of our greatest strengths is our network of allies and partners and it’s great to see so many of you represented here. At a time of global problems requiring international solutions, it’s vital that we continue working alongside you all. Whether it’s in NATO, providing reassurance to our Eastern European allies, whether it’s as part of the UN where the Army has been at the forefront of a commitment that has doubled in recent years or whether it’s as part of our Joint Expeditionary Force of nine like-minded nations, which recently trained together for the first time in Exercise Joint Warrior in Salisbury.

     

    And just as we operate with multi-national groups, we are determined to keep expanding our bilateral alliances not just with our great friends the US, France and Germany but with other less traditional allies like Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania, to name just three, where many of the significant “below threshold” challenges from our adversaries are directed.

     

    Like many of our allies, we are committed to plans for the defence of Europe. To that end, we hold some forces, such as 16 Brigade, at very high readiness. The rest of our modernised war-fighting Division are able to follow on quickly behind where our agile new STRIKE brigades will make the most of AJAX and the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle. We’re looking hard at the effectiveness of our infrastructure in Germany – particularly vehicle storage, heavy transport and training facilities.

     

    And, with our allies, we continually test our ability to deploy the combat mass we may well need at short notice. Besides our Enhanced Forward Presence in Estonia, we must also continue our investment in NATO’s international HQ, the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. And we must build on the success of other initiatives such as the UK-German wide river crossing capability.

     

    Most of all, we must test ourselves as near as possible for the demands of war. So, we can take immense heart from the success of the recent Warfighter exercise in the United States in which our 3rd Division performed credibly under the 18th Airborne Corps, fighting alongside the US 4th Infantry division, our successful exercises in Germany with a Danish Battle Group and the ongoing Combined Joint Expeditionary Force exercises with France.

     

    However, the Army should not just be about reacting to events. In a more dangerous world we must do everything we can to strengthen the international rules-based-order and that means whilst preparing our forces for the worst case, being persistently engaged overseas, so that we can better anticipate threats, build our partners capacity to deal with them, to deter our adversaries and prevent conflict upstream. And perhaps most importantly we need to be clearer at all levels of Defence, across Government and within international alliances, about responsibilities and permissions, without which we risk strategic paralysis. I was particularly taken by Lord Hague’s comments yesterday about the need for a new Article 5B.

     

    Conclusion - Whole Force

    So, in this hybrid age we are making the 21st Division and Army a reality. One that is able to manoeuvre in the physical and virtual domain that is stronger than the sum of its parts, that is international by design, that is integrated into the Joint Force and that is fused with the rest of capability across government.

     

    Above all, a force that will leave our adversaries and allies alike in no doubt whatsoever that the UK as it has always done retains the strength, the will and the skill to defend our nation, our values and our way of life.

     

    Thank you.

  • So in drawing this year’s conference to a close I’d like to thank you all for your participation; to Karin and RUSI, to Guy Swan and AUSA and to our sponsors. 

     

    I think you’ll agree we’ve covered a lot of important ground – too much for me to do full justice to now and we’ve shared some well-judged insights; you’ll all have your own but I think on reflection my key observations revolve around:

    • Nature and diversification of competition 
    • Diffusion, competition and new threats
    • Scale, pace and urgency of change
    • Criticality of Allies and Partners – evolving opportunities and of shared challenges and insights - warfare after all is a human endeavour.

     

    But whatever you personally concluded, I hope you all leave with a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for us all. 

     

    Some of them in the not too distant future – since I think we almost certainly still under-estimate the change that is going to take place within the next decade – well within the Service lifetimes of most people in this hall. 

     

    This is a fascinating time to be a brand new Chief of the General Staff; a new Chief gets literally hundreds of letters, one or two of them actually quite supportive and encouraging, but what they all do in one tone or another is to offer advice and taken together they reflect the opinions, the views and the prejudices of a wide community of security and defence observers; and of course the odd crank. And occasionally it’s difficult to tell the difference. 

     

    It's become a truism, they generally say, that we live in exceptionally unstable times and that the world has never been more unpredictable. That is the condition of the world; it’s always been unstable and its always been unpredictable and our current worries, many assert, could certainly be much worse. 

     

    After all, in the year I joined the Army we fought an unexpected war in the South Atlantic, we still retained significant forces committed to Internal Security in Northern Ireland, and we were confronted by what we then called the Group Soviet Forces Germany across the Inner German Border, equipped with amongst other things, tactical nuclear weapons and a range of chemical and biological agents.

     

    In all (that year) we had over 280 soldiers killed that year; more than in any year since, more than at the height of Iraq and Afghanistan, and 28 of them were killed in the United Kingdom, 11 of them here in London, including the elder brother of a friend of mine. 

     

    ‘That was a real enemy’ they say and I don’t disagree. But we don’t live in the past and certain fundamental changes seem to be underway that have real meaning for our future; much of it linked to rapid technological change which I think marks out the times we live in now from those that went before. 

     

    The other leitmotif is the money. People worry about it. So how can we justify claim to resource over the heads of others; well, to my mind, as compelling a case as any is that what can be afforded for Defence should be in direct proportion to the threat; just so long as we can demonstrate that our efficiency is at the very edge of arduous and exacting whilst consistent with our operational outputs and objectives; and I can’t promise any respite in that regard.

     

    Therefore, given I’ve only been in the job several days, in the spirit of these times I thought I might offer something of a hybrid – one part reflection on the strategic context and the changing nature of the threat, and one part on what I think is important for the Army in particular as I take over.

     

    And for those of you who have planes and trains to catch and want it in a nutshell, my focus as CGS is the future, preparing the Army of tomorrow, which is why you’ll find in the Army that I command some of the brightest and the best of all generations in those appointments that sign and shape our future; and the further out we’re looking the younger those teams should be. 

     

    Which is going to be a challenge given that the world’s always been volatile and unpredictable. So what’s so different today? 

     

    I think it’s not only the re-assertion of state-based threats; true as that is but it is, also I think, the pace of the change associated with the permanent and escalating technical revolution that I spoke about yesterday, combined with the proliferation and cross-contamination of risks compounded by the widening spectrum of threat. 

     

    I think we all agree that the nature of warfare is broadening beyond the traditional physical domains and that warfare today is characterised by a persistent full-spectrum competition, whilst our own freedom to operate in time and space of our choosing is increasingly challenged by the proliferation of integrated land, maritime, air and space systems operating at ranges measured sometimes in the thousands of kms; whilst the pace at which strategic threats can manifest themselves has accelerated exponentially; cyber, net-speed, unconstrained by geography and the laws of nature; whilst the difficulty of attribution complicates our response times and emboldens the aggressor to ever-greater risk.

     

    And it’s not just about capabilities either; malign intent and the inclination to use force today to change the facts on the ground both seem to be on the rise. Putin’s State of the Nation three months ago painted a darkening geo-political picture.

     

    Russia today is not a status quo power; it’s in revisionist mode and its intent is now matched by a growing arsenal of long-range precision capabilities; and it’s not just Russia. We are confronted by the consequences of a global order challenged by other revisionist powers, of rogue states; that want a world shaped along their own authoritarian lines.

     

    At a minimum they’re a reminder that democracy and Human Rights are not universal values; and they’re a reminder that the international rules-based system isn’t self-sustaining. It’s underpinned by power, hard power, predominantly although not exclusively American hard power, which we Europeans can’t take for granted; and the United States itself now recognises that its military edge needs sharpening in responding to the expanding competitive space and the subsequent erosion of US-led western military advantage. 

     

    And what’s true for the United States is also true for us. 

     

    So I think that the misplaced perception that there is no imminent or existential threat to the UK and that even if there was it could only arise at long-notice is wrong; along with the flawed belief that conventional hardware and mass are irrelevant in countering Russian subversion and that the answer lies somehow in disruptive technology and that the quicker we can field those technologies the less useful the traditional measures of combat power become as indicators of National Power. 

     

    To my mind, that is to misunderstand the Russian challenge; their strategy of the integrated employment of political, diplomatic, economic, information and other non-military measures is predicated on a solid foundation of conventional military power – hard power. And their asymmetric approach is a deliberate and targeted strategy to expose Western vulnerability especially in the non-traditional domains. 

     

    We may read Russia less well today than the Kremlinologists of the past but their lack of respect for weakness, especially military weakness, hasn’t changed one bit – and as we’ve become more sceptical about the necessity or advantage of intervention – Georgia, The Ukraine, Syria, Montenegro, Libya, Salisbury; how much longer do you want that list to grow? 

     

    So, if we agree that the risks are potentially growing, then we need a more proactive, threat-based approach to our capability, including placing some big bets on those technologies that we judge may offer exponential advantage because given the pace of the race, to fall behind today is to cede an almost unquantifiable advantage from which it might be impossible to recover. 

     

    The message is: Think Big, start Small and be prepared to hold the capability to scale rapidly. 

     

    So the challenges for the Army are four-fold: 

    We need to address the proliferation and diversification of threats and work out how to create and sustain an asymmetric advantage in a much more competitive and dynamic Land environment.

     

    We need to continue to argue the relevance and importance of Land Power in response to those who would challenge its utility in the cyber-age; an argument compounded by the potentially toxic legacy of intervention. 

     

    In the wake of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya there is still debate over the wider utility of armed force which in many respects exists not to fight conflicts but to preserve peace albeit through the credible threat of the use of force; and there can be no room for complacency in reinforcing these arguments. 

     

    And for that deterrent effect, the currency is a capable, manned, trained and equipped Army, that is ready to fight and demonstrably so; an Army that matches operational agility, with sustainable degrees of organisational and structural stability, adapted to iterative cycles of experimentation, capability development and the demands of alliance obligations and the associated interoperability challenges.

     

    But the hooks exist and it makes sense to play to our strengths; and the Army is starting to adapt to a profile of use which is far more relevant to the security challenges ahead; considerable steps have been taken to escape the binary mindset of peace and war, operations or training. 

     

    In most respects it is now one continuous spectrum and the Army’s outputs are contributing to reducing the risk of conflict through Protection and Security tasks such as Enhanced Forward Presence in Estonia and Poland, and security upstream through building stability overseas and capacity-building and reinforcing those essential international partnerships and alliances.

     

    Including exploiting our unique set of bilateral and multi-national alliances and testing the boundaries of sovereign ownership with revised mechanisms for the pooling and sharing of capabilities because this is in every sense a team sport and we’re going to have to go further together. 

     

    The Army needs to be used and it needs to be useful; proportionately, continuously and demonstrably; whilst continuing to lend intellectual energy to the debate as to how warfare is changing in the Information Age because it feels as though we’re on the cusp of a step-change. But I think the concepts and associated technologies are still little understood, especially by the senior and by definition older end of the organisation and those who perhaps have the best grasp of their potential application are still quite junior and probably today find it just as hard to get their voice heard as we did.

     

    So, there is definitely something here about how the Army thinks and prepares itself for the future whilst having to deal with the reality of today, not least because Russia seems to have taken a different body of lessons from the historical evidence of intervention over the last 15-20 years including the utility of hard power in changing the facts on the ground. 

     

    And it’s demonstrated that it’s prepared to use military force to protect its vital national interests. I hope Mungo Melvin, our resident Crimean expert, might agree that Russia took the view that it couldn’t cope with losing influence in The Crimea, whilst the West probably could; and Russia therefore took a rational risk, judging correctly, that The Crimea was ‘doable’. And the logic for Syria was similar and no amount of Information Advantage is going to change that calculus or the hard facts. 

     

    There are some recurring watchwords amongst all of this – agility and adaptability, interoperability, integration and tempo; what do they mean for us? 

     

    Well, I think it points us in several directions, and the Minister has helpfully already highlighted many of them this morning; I’ll maybe underline just a couple.

     

    The first is the emphasis on training and experimentation in the context of a force operating in high-intensity conditions particularly in complex terrain, dense electronic environments and under persistent surveillance.

     

    This is multi-domain manoeuvre at the very high-end requiring exceptional special-to-arm competence, concise operational staff work, precise control and intimate co-ordination with both Air and Allied forces; and doing so at points of the compass where the active demonstration of utility and capability reinforces our deterrent effect.

     

    We are already training to the threshold of failure to promote learning and experimentation, and the integration and exploitation of technologies, that link the physical, virtual and cognitive domains but to go further and faster we need to expand our simulation capabilities, better understand how we might improve the human/digital interface and we need to better visualize what task-organization in the Virtual domain looks like.

     

    And we must continue to improve our digital collaboration and capacity for sharing; because we have got to do this in partnership with allies as the challenge of interoperability only increases as we take technological leaps forward. Maybe a start would be an agreed doctrine for the application of emerging technologies.

     

    The second point I would emphasize is the necessity to accelerate the pipeline between operational concepts to requirements through acquisition to fielding. We need a quicker route to demonstration and rapid prototyping so that if we are going to fail, we fail early and cheaply whilst carrying the lessons forward with families of evergreen platforms – platforms that are adaptable and modular, and critically integrated from the outset into the data network to ensure compatibility with what we can only assume will be a growing armada of autonomous platforms and even more alternative virtual systems. 

     

    My last point is about how people fit into all this because the demands on them are only growing. We’re asking them to be combat ready today and prepared for tomorrow; persistently engaged overseas to deter and protect whilst remaining positively engaged and connected at home, contributing to both national security and to enhancing our national prosperity. 

     

    And for that we need to draw on the Whole Force; not just regulars, reservists, civil servants, contractors and industry partners; that’s the force we went to war with in 1991, 27 years ago; I’m talking about a different sort of Whole Force, I’m talking about the sort of people whose skills are going to be necessary to underwrite success on the 21st Century battlefield.

     

    And this isn’t just a challenge for the Army, it’s a strategic challenge for the whole of Defence; because to compete we need new non-traditional skills; skills not normally associated with those looking for careers in Defence or the Army. People whose aptitudes are highly sought after in a global market and whose instincts are more independently-minded and less hierarchical than some in uniform would feel comfortable with. And they will make different demands on our leadership if we’re to attract this more diverse team and integrate them successfully into a team of teams that goes close to reflecting the core values of our Army. 

     

    It’s for Defence to overhaul the policy, that’s essentially an issue about mobility and flexibility, but we will need to provide the leadership, the inspiration and the motivation that goes beyond a common set of values because that produces a decent Army.

     

    What I’m talking about is a Winning Army. A Winning Army founded on comradeship, self-respect and self-discipline; a Winning Army imbued with initiative and daring, with originality and self-confidence, with professional knowledge and infectious energy in all its commanders at every level. I’m talking about an inextinguishable will to win; a relentless pursuit of professional excellence and a determination not to be thwarted by the inevitable setbacks. And that’s to be matched by an entrepreneurial spirit that encourages and rewards an open, collaborative and challenging culture.

     

    I place a great premium on the hard-won lessons from the battlefield: on decentralisation, on intelligent cooperation, speed of action and low-level initiative coupled with the confidence to underwrite those honest mistakes of subordinates that develop their warfighters’ instinct and experience. And a code of leadership that values the irrepressible sense of humour of the British soldier; that keeps things in proportion and fundamentally has a sense of humility and an honest sense of decency. 

     

    All of these things exist in our Army; if they didn’t I wouldn’t be stood in front of you today as CGS but occasionally commanders need to breathe new life into these things and that time is now.

     

    If I were to brand it, it would be as intelligent, dynamic and adaptive warfighting professionals – recognising that we’re paid to fight and to win. It’s a unique responsibility on behalf of our nation and as commanders and leaders our prime responsibility is the nurture and nourishment of the fighting spirit of our men and women. 

     

    It’s what they joined the Army for and their martial spirit is the only true test of our readiness. If we keep it bright, my experience is the rest will follow. And we are all custodians of something exceptionally precious, not just our Army, but our nation’s Army and it’s made of flesh and blood - and beating hearts.

    • The Rt Hon Mark Lancaster TD MP, Minister of State for the Armed Forces
    • General Mark Carleton-Smith, Chief of the General Staff
    • Gen Salvatore Farina, Chief of Staff, Italian Army
    • LTG Joseph Anderson, Deputy Chief of Staff, Headquarters Department of the Army G-3/5/7
    • LTG Christopher Cavoli, Commander, US Army Europe
    • Lt Gen Patrick Sanders, Commander Field Army
    • Major Kitty McKendrick, CGS Fellow, Chatham House
    • WO1 Glenn Haughton, Army Sergeant Major
    • Lord Hague of Richmond
    • Dr Karin von Hippel, Director-General, RUSI
    • Prof Hugh Durrant-Whyte, Chief Scientific Advisor, MOD
    • Dr David Kilcullen, CEO, Cordillera Applications Group
    • Gen Sir Rupert Smith, Author ‘Utility of Force’
    • LTG (Retd) Ben Hodges, Pershing Chair, Center for European Policy Analysis
    • Ms Elisabeth Braw, Senior Consultant, Control Risks
    • Lt Gen (Retd) Prof Sir Paul Newton, Director SSI, Exeter University

Sponsors

  • Newton

    Conference sponsor

  • NSC

    Conference sponsor

  • The British Army

    Conference sponsor

  • Association of the United States Army

    Conference sponsor

  • Airbus

    Conference sponsor

  • DXC Technology

    Conference sponsor

  • Lockheed Martin

    Conference sponsor

  • L3 Mission Integration

    Conference sponsor

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