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Imposing Thresholds in a Global Digitized Contest

11-12 June 2020

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For the 2019 conference presentations, click here

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.

This Year’s Agenda: Imposing Thresholds in a Global Digitized Contest

Between the return of great power competition and the durable disorder afflicting much of the Middle East and Africa, the international security environment is becoming less stable. Although fighting is widespread, few of these conflicts reflect what we understand to be conventional war. The boundaries between peace and war have become blurred. In this space how can armies impose thresholds on hostile activity that protect national interests, engage partners, constrain adversaries, and prevent escalation to direct armed conflict? Operating in the ‘grey zone’ has often been framed as an activity distinct from – and requiring different skills – to high-end warfighting. But if there is a continuum between these states, then how can forces compete effectively, while remaining prepared to fight at high-intensity?

Cyber and information operations are increasing the risk and political hurdles for deploying forces, while layered standoff is making theatre entry a growing challenge. Given that virtual presence means actual absence, deployed land forces, building relationships and understanding in order to enable quick effect, are critical to preparing the operating environment for effective deterrence and warfighting. Moreover as understanding the battlefield requires the transfer of ever-larger volumes of data, and as communications and bearer networks are contested, armies must re-examine how they operate, to continue to deliver timely and relevant policy options around the world. But if armies are forward deployed, and perpetually in contact with adversaries, what permissions and 'licence to operate' do they need, and how do current command and control structure need to adapt?

Speakers include:

  • General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith KCB, CBE, ADC Gen

  • Lieutenant General Chris Cavoli

  • Major General Maria Barrett

  • Professor Patrick Porter

  • Professor Nina Kollars

  • Dr Sean McFate

  • Dr Lester Grau

    More to be announced in due course

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