This post is the latest exploration of how one might structure an army for a future guided by the RUSI doctrines; Strategic Raiding, Global Guardian and Contributory, as compared to both the RUSI balanced force from FDR7 and the Future Force 2020 from the SDSR. The analysis is based around what RUSI perceived to be a balanced force structure in the event of a 12-15% cut in Defence spending, which they didn’t advocate per-se, merely putting it out there as a useful indicator of trend reductions. The purpose of the exercise is to show the trend of reductions, using the RUSI balanced force as a baseline that allows us to juggle the numbers further in creating a more asymmetric force structure as they recommend.
The RUSI paper released today deals with the realm of deterrence, and principally the naval means by which a maritime power such as Britain requires presence to achieve this, the paper is titled; Why things don’t happen – Silent principles of national security. Its argument lies in a refutation of the Admiralty strategy of preserving high-end war fighting capability against the Treasury tendency to argue that an insufficient capability is in fact sufficient because its inadequacy has yet to be demonstrated. France has long maintained a hi-lo naval force structure, notably with its Floreal and La Fayette class frigates, to provide for constabulary and diplomatic duties in addition to specialised vessels such as the Horizon class AAW vessels and the FREMM class ASW/GP/AAW frigates. The latter are principally tasked with escorting High Value Assets (HVA’s) and providing area defence to a naval task-group, perhaps its is time to force the Admiralty to accept the same prescription……
For to concentrate purely on high-end war fighting is to create a fleet so limited in numbers that any loss is catastrophic and therefore its employment improbable, and its utility nullified.
This article has been steadily brewing for some time, but its arrival has been hastened by the thoughts of a Think Defence article; Political Statement of Interest and Intent? It stems from the apparent internecine war between the Service Chiefs in the run up to the looming Defence cuts, and the alleged failure to consider first-principles and desired outcomes when formulating the SDSR.
This debate appears to revolve around the fading relevance of Single service tasks, and where the focus should settle in this new world of ‘jointery’.
In the previous paper this blog set out some tentative ideas, in the hope of attracting comment more than anything else, and fortunately plenty of comment was received, all of it useful. DominicJ, Jed, Jackstaff and Steve Coltman all have the gratitude of this blogger, much was learned, many ideas rethought, and now its time to have another stab at the matter.
So what is the aim of the exercise, what capability is desired, and how should it be sustained?
Malcolm Chalmers is the author of the latest RUSI paper on Britain’s Future Defence Review, and his interest in this paper is to seek a balanced force against the tide of coming cuts. His concern would be to de-emphasise legacy skills whilst preserving a regenerative capability on the understanding that while they are not crucial now we live in an uncertain world, and as such we must insure against the unknown.
First and foremost it is recognised that we are overspent, over-tasked, likely to witness Defence budget reductions, and must therefore reduce the scale of our capabilities.