Strategic Defence and Security Review: four future scenarios

Discussion in 'Strategic Defence & Spending Review (SDSR)' started by Rayc, Sep 23, 2010.

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  1. Rayc

    Rayc RIP

    Strategic Defence and Security Review: four future scenarios and how they might play out

    Thomas Harding, The Daily Telegraph's Defence Correspondent, looks at four possible future scenarios for Britain's armed forces.

    The future is grim, full of muscle-flexing former superpowers, emerging global powers, nuclear attacks, cyber warfare and the inevitability of climate-related conflict. At least, those are the images in the crystal ball consulted by defence planners, who have the near-impossible job of predicting future threats and the Armed Forces needed to meet them.
    The assumption before we got bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan was that if you made forces for the high end of warfare, they could easily adjust to low-end fighting. The streets of Basra and the compounds of Helmand disproved that idea, as the death toll among forces ill-equipped and poorly trained for counter insurgency became apparent.

    On September 11 2001, British forces were configured largely as an unwieldy armoured force, with fast jets and frigates to fight a Soviet threat. For nearly a decade that equipment has barely been used but the threats are too numerous to do away with the big guns. “We have the prospect of a major war in the 21st century,” says Professor Gwyn Prins, the future conflict specialist at the London School of Economics.

    The MoD’s seminal document, the Future Character of Conflict, predicts that by 2029, control over resources will “increase the incidence of conflict”, as world population rises to 8.3 billion. Boundary disputes, such as in the Arctic, Gulf of Guinea and South Atlantic will “become inextricably linked to securing energy supplies”, with Britain “critically dependent upon energy imports”. This will demand “strong regional influence and, if necessary, the ability to project and maintain military power”. The paper warns of high-end warfare (without mentioning Iran). It adds (without mentioning China) that “it cannot be assumed that the West will retain sufficient military advantage over rising powers in all circumstances, which may embolden actors where previously they had been deterred.” The possession of nuclear weapons “perceived as essential for survival and status” will remain “a goal of many aspiring powers”.
    And above all this lies the unknown impact of climate change, which might make flooding and drought prime movers of conflict. Planners can be forgiven for regarding the future as dark and uncertain.

    Read more about the scenarios:

    Scenarios etc

    This is an interesting scenarios for the British Armed Forces which may play out.

  2. It's OK, armchair admirals here say we have no need for two new and large aircraft carriers.
  3. Jesus the end is neigh

  4. Even though they are going ahead with both

    Mr Harvey said work at the shipyards was guaranteed for "years to come".

    Speaking on the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme, the Liberal Democrat minister said: "Well the first carrier of course is pretty much 25% built now.
    "I cannot imagine any circumstances in which we wouldn't finish the build.
    "As for the second carrier, I would simply point the Scottish political community to the fact that there is an existing contract between the Ministry of Defence and the shipyards that guarantees them a certain level of work so whether that will be on the second carrier or anything else, the work is guaranteed for several years to come."

    He added: "If I were in their shoes, it's exactly what I would be doing as well but I don't think they need to be in panic mode because there are legally valid agreements there."

    BBC News - Armed forces minister reassures over carriers order
  5. Well, that's at least four wars that aren't going to happen. These 'horizon scanning' predictions are usually rubbish. If you went back thirty years to say, 1980, the predictions were all for Cold War conflicts, but we ended up fighting Argentinians, Iraqis, Yugoslavians and Sierra Leonians, amongst others, with a serious lack of Soviet troops storming through Europe.

    If planning and funding is aimed at these 'predicted' wars, then we are really going to be caught out (again) when we end up fighting the Swiss, the Finns, The Seventh Day Adventists and whichever other unlikely opponents history throws in our path.
  6. er.. What is the ranking of "Highly likely", "Very likely" and "Very possible" on a scale of 1-10? Sounds a tad ishy tbh.

    I do like the last one there:
    • Likelihood: Highly possible
    • Readiness: Not ready

    I also think they should add a third point akin to "level of disruption" or something similar.
  7. The last one at least is BS. World War 3? Seriously?
  8. All those scenarios read like a sales brochure for Brit kit, a lot of which isn't yet in service, and is IMHO therefore total bollocks.

    More realistic scenarios are that we send a nominal formation with minimal equipment to preserve national pride, or sit this one out as too expensive, or use Trident (at long last) as a last resort.

    Anything in Asia or Africa, forget about Brit involvement. Europe may require an augmented armoured brigade. The rest, forget it.
  9. Too many people are confidently predicting what won't happen over the next 30 years for my liking. What odds would they have given a bunch of terrorists trained in Afghanistan hijacking several airliners simultaneously and targeting the Capitol, the Pentagon and the WTC?

    Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.