Paper Launch: A UK Joint Methodology for Assuring Theatre Access

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Join RUSI experts Dr Jack Watling, Justin Bronk and Dr Sidharth Kaushal to discuss their new paper and outline the key principles of the methodology and the implications for UK defence.


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The British military is expeditionary and seeks to confront adversaries abroad before they can pose a threat at home. As such, it requires the capability to move maritime, ground and air forces into contested areas without being destroyed, and to sustainably conduct operations once there. This is known as theatre entry capability, and is a precondition for the utility of the British military in most foreseeable situations. Adversaries are fielding increasingly capable and integrated anti-aircraft and anti-ship networks that threaten the ability of British forces to conduct theatre entry with their existing equipment and doctrine. These anti-access networks differ from older air-defence or coastal-defence systems in their level of integration, redundancy and consequent resilience. Therefore, if the British armed forces are to retain the capacity to conduct sovereign power-projection operations overseas or in support of allies in Europe, they need a new methodology for breaking through these systems.

The number of components within these defence networks makes the complete destruction of the system too resource-intensive to be a viable strategy. Nor – given the levels of integration – will the destruction of a small number of key nodes bring about the system’s collapse. For this reason, US concepts for degrading A2/AD architectures provide a poor guide for the UK as they assume a level of resource that is beyond the UK’s capacity. The problem is larger than any single service and must be tackled by the Joint Force.

This paper seeks to outline a methodology for assuring theatre access for UK forces. At the launch, authors Dr Jack Watling, Justin Bronk and Dr Sidharth Kaushal will outline the key principles of the methodology and the implications for UK defence.

If you have any questions, please email Zivile Kuleviciute, Events Manager, at zivilek@rusi.org.

Read the Whitehall Report


A UK Joint Methodology for Assuring Theatre Access


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