From The Guardian I Agree that Army must have the kit to do the job on the ground But Britian is an Island nation. john UK military chiefs clash over future defence strategy First Sea Lord defends navy and insists Britain must keep 'hard power' Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, Chief of the Naval Staff and First Sea Lord. The battle over the future shape of ÂBritain's armed forces will spill into the public domain tomorrow when the First Sea Lord launches a forceful defence of the Royal Navy in a bid to protect it from swingeing spending cuts. In a direct riposte to claims today by the head of the army that Britain has put too much emphasis on "hugely expensive equipment", Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope will say that the UK's influence and commercial interests depend on a fleet that can operate worldwide with full capabilities "including high-intensity warfare". He will argue that the armed forces need to fight and win wars with "hard power". "We must look beyond Afghanistan â¦ we must be prepared for surprises and strategic shocks. The Falklands war was such an event. It came in from left-field." His intervention comes a day after General Sir David Richards delivered a speech in which he painted a very different picture of Britain's defence needs, arguing it was not only a question of shifting emphasis from the navy and RAF towards the army, but recognising future conflicts will differ from past ones. His comments reflect concern over the way the military deals with unconventional attacks, and came as the Taliban launched an audacious guerrilla offensive in Kabul, setting off explosions and exchanging gunfire with security forces near luxury hotels and the presidential palace. Twenty fighters took part in the assault and at least six people died. Richards said: "We will be involved in a different type of conflict in the 21st century. Conflict today, especially because so much of it is effectively fought through the medium of the communications revolution, is principally about and for people â hearts and minds on a mass scale. "Defence must respond to the new strategic, and indeed economic, environment by ensuring much more ruthlessly that our armed forces are appropriate and relevant to the context in which they will operate rather than the one they might have expected to fight in in previous eras," Richards told the International Institute for Strategic Studies. In a thinly disguised attack on the number of fast jets in the RAF and weapons platforms being ordered for the navy, he said "too much emphasis is still placed on â¦ hugely expensive equipment". "Hi-tech weapons platforms are not a good way to help stabilise tottering states â nor might their cost leave us any money to help in any other way â any more than they impress opponents equipped with weapons costing a fraction," he said. "We have traditionally viewed state-on-state conflict through the prism of putative tank battles on the German plains or deep strike air attacks against strategic sites." Presenting a list of equipment most needed by the army â and not as expensive as those in the RAF or navy inventory â Richards said: "Operating among, understanding and effectively influencing people to gain their support and trust requires mass â numbers â whether this is 'boots on the ground' â¦and high-speed littoral warships, or UAVs, [unmanned drones] transport aircraft, and helicopters." He added: "We can't afford to continue as we are, so must take a risk against capabilities that are more relevant to 'traditional' 20th century conflict." Stanhope will challenge this view. He will say that Britain's defence is "intimately tied to Britain's wider position of influence in the world â¦ It is far more than an insurance against future crisis." He will say the navy "contributes significantly to the overall business of defence across the globe, and to fully understand the full scope of this business we need to assess in strategic terms how we use it and the other services for the overall benefit of the taxpayer," according to an advance text of his speech seen by the Guardian. Navy chiefs are concerned that some of their projects, including two new aircraft carriers, US fighters to put on them, and the replacement Trident submarine nuclear missile system will be victims of cuts in the post-election defence review promised by all parties. The different emphasis placed by the heads of the army and the navy is Âstriking. Stanhope dwells on the need for "hard power" and what he called "persistent military activity" â including decades of patrolling the Gulf â as well as the need to "ensure that we are ready to respond at short notice to the unexpected but not unforeseen". But Richards said last night: "We must put much more emphasis on preventing conflict, on ensuring fragile states do not become the Afghanistan of tomorrow. Our opponents are agile and unconventional, experts at exploiting asymmetric advantage."