8 April 2020 – CHACR Weekly Take Away Newsletter: Issue 3

This is the third issue of the weekly CHACR Take Away newsletter.  In these newsletters, you will find links to the latest products by the CHACR, but also links to key reports and studies by external experts and institutions which we think you should pay attention to.

A Word from the Director                                                                                      Before COVID struck us and the Integrated Review loomed large, against a background of straitened times financially, the Army was wrestling with some major force development issues. How does one compete in the ‘constant competition’ of global affairs, when others (like Russia for example) are competing using a very different set of rules from us? NATO remains the ‘cornerstone of UK Defence Policy’, yet how seriously are we committing, and will we commit in future, to NATO in our current and projected force postures and commitments? What is the balance in demand and tasking for 3 Div and 6 Div (and 1 Div come to that)? What does a 21st Century force look like (with a new emphasis on AI, machine-learning, dispersion, range, hypersonic capabilities, self-projection, unmanned warfare and cyber)? What does the language of ‘Sunrise and Sunset capabilities’ mean for the Army?

Regardless of Coronavirus, all of those questions and projections for force development remain relevant and important. COVID-19 has not made them any less apposite than they were before. But COVID-19 has also, starkly, reminded us that, regardless of the shortage of resources in the Treasury, and regardless of carefully crafted projections and policies, there are certain events that just occur, and keep occurring, in the most unpredictable of ways, at the most inconvenient of times, which, in an old-fashioned and off-message sort of way, simply demand large numbers of disciplined, available, flexible, wilco, hardworking and robust people. (And if those people are also first aid trained and in possession of plenty of logistic capability that isn’t reliant upon just-in-time civilian structures so much the better.) Those across Whitehall who are engaged now in wrestling with COVID-19 would be well-advised to be writing heavy notes in the margins of their notebooks to remind themselves, once this is all over, that they had an Army to call upon that was able (at a pinch) to meet their needs.

Maj Gen (Ret) Dr Andrew Sharpe