9 July 2020 – CHACR Weekly Take Away Newsletter Issue 16

This is the 16th 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

With the Integrated Review re-emerging onto the top of Whitehall agendas, Force Development has become a renewed focus of interest well beyond the over-burdened desks of staff officers in Army HQ. So it’s timely just to observe that there is often a tendency in armies to default to thinking about kit, equipment, numbers and orbats (and, at a pinch, concepts and doctrine) when thinking about FD. Fighting power has three components – the moral, the physical and the conceptual.
And there are plenty of references that remind us how important the intangible elements of combat power really are – Napoleon its oft quoted as saying ‘the moral is to the physical as three is to one’, for example. And, we keep telling ourselves, armies are different from navies and air forces because the other services man equipment, whereas armies equip their men and women. If those two truisms are true (and they wouldn’t be truisms if they weren’t, would they), then it would serve us well to spend as much time thinking about the moral and conceptual components when we talk FD as the physical one. As we pore over numbers and orbats, and apply sums and the counting of beans to our desired outcomes we would do well to put as much effort into some of the more intangibles. Of course, the Army is thinking as hard about how it will fight as it is about with what (and how many) it
will fight. But it is beholden to everyone, not just those intimately involved in the Whitehall nitty-gritty of the discussion, to think hard about the on-going development of the moral and conceptual components. We are told that the Army must reflect the society from which it is drawn – with respect, I disagree. Society so admires the Army precisely
because it does not see its own reflection in the Army – it sees something, morally, rather better than its own reflection. So, the Army must ask itself, continuously, as society evolves, how it must be the same as that society and how it must be different. What does it take to get those ‘ordinary people to do extraordinary things’? That’s not achieved
by being morally ordinary, that’s for sure. At the same time, CGS has made it clear that he believes that winning and losing in war is as much about being out-thought as it is about being out-fought. So, FD is also about developing thinking and thinkers. And that’s not just about writing doctrine – after all we keep telling ourselves that British doctrine is so good because it tells us how to think, not what to think. So that means that we need to be good at thinking in all sorts of ways, both predictable and unpredictable. In short, FD is front and centre of the agenda in the Centre right now, but, in all of its aspects, physical, moral and conceptual, it should be at the heart of every soldier’s agenda, all the time.

Maj Gen (Ret) Dr Andrew Sharpe