Whats the Threat? Future Ops for UK PLC

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#1
A review of the reserve has just been announced and, rightly, many of it conclusions are based on supporting current Ops, but what of future Ops?

Almost all planning assumptions of the post cold war have been wrong. I don't think any planning considerations accurately took into account any of the major ops of the last 40 years: NI, Falklands, Gulf 1, Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq. All these Ops were conducted out spare capacity created for something else.

Is it possible to envisage a threat to the UK? I don't mean terrorism but a military attack.

What about an attack on one of our allies (Canada Oz or NZ)

An attack on a colony or protectorate. The present Government in Argentina would probably not invade the Falklands, but how stable is the Argentine? Could it go wobbly and could an incoming government make the same mistake the junta made?

Africa: Disaster relief, another Rwanda, evacuation....

Europe - another is there somewhere else about to go wobbly?

Korea?

Iran?

Central Asia?

PS My view of the planning assumptions that have been made is that the first question has been how big is the budget and everything else has fallen out of that - whatever the threat might be. Obviously its not spun like that but...
 
#2
Korea is doubtful; the ruling military know that invading/throwing Instant Sunshine at the ROK would probably be the last mistake they would ever make. The Septics would bomb fcuk out of them and the Chinese would jump up and down on anything that was left.

The NK elite has a very nice standard of living. Only about 90% of the country starves; the other 10% lives very well and will not want to risk it.

Iran is much more dangerous. An attack on Iran by the IDF could, potentially, ignite a war across the Middle East. Much would depend on how much damage/loss of life the Israelie's cause. This will determin how Iran itself reacts as well as Syria etc.

Pakistan is probably the hotspot of the moment. That has the potential to go South at Warp Factor 9. Taliban taking control of a Muslim country with nuclear weapons is a scenario that will make Spooks, politicians and soldiers across the world wake up in a cold sweat. And if it DOES happen, the West will have a very small time-frame to intervene. Because India will almost certainly try to get it's retaliation in first.
 
#3
What about an attack on one of our allies (Canada Oz or NZ)
None of those countries have to worry about direct attacks in the immediate future. Australia's looking to bulk up its military against any possible attack from China in the long term.

An attack on a colony or protectorate. The present Government in Argentina would probably not invade the Falklands, but how stable is the Argentine? Could it go wobbly and could an incoming government make the same mistake the junta made?
Not sure about the Falklands. Brunei's a vague possibility - there are severa countries coveting Brunei oil, and they have territory disputes with various neighbours (inc. China) over somewhere called the Spratley Islands.

Africa: Disaster relief, another Rwanda, evacuation....
Of course, there's always something going on in Africa; although we're starting to lose our taste for interventions in that part of the world.

Europe - another is there somewhere else about to go wobbly
The Balkans are still a lot less stable than people think. Could be a possibility.

Korea?

Iran?

Central Asia?
We're at the mercy of the Americans here. If they go for it, doubtless we'll be dragged along as well.
 
#4
The simple answer is that there are no future recognised threats outside of current ops.

Thats because our Armed Forces wouldn't be able to cope with them, due to short sighted Bean Counters and Yes men pulling the strings with the Defence Budget and manning levels. If you don't recognise it, it doesn't exist!!

If the current Pakistan situation (watch this space) happened around the height of troop deployment on Ops Herrick and Telic, there wouldn't be the resources available to provide the necessary 'interdiction' force.

I'm surprised none of the situations listed in the above posts have happened already, as the best time to play up would have been at our most stretched. Given the size of the future of our Armed Forces, the realistic role we can provide in the world is becoming less and less as they get smaller.
 
#5
BuggerAll said:
Is it possible to envisage a threat to the UK? I don't mean terrorism but a military attack.
It's difficult to differentiate between terrorism and military attack. Iran is supplying roadside bombs for use by insurgents in Iraq. Is that military action by Iran, or Iraqi terrorism? As in 1970 Africa, nations seem content to fight their wars by proxy.

While emphasising awareness of the terrorist threat to the UK, we are too quick to dismiss the real possibility of foreign countries using military force against the UK.

Last week we found out that there are only 8 RAF aircraft available to protect UK airspace. That's handy. All our bearded chums need to do now is fly 9 aircraft at London and one is guaranteed to get through. Even easier, sail a ship up the unguarded Thames as far as Tower Bridge.
 
#6
A-M, with so much money being thrown at keeping an ear to the wire, one hopes the spooks would pick up on someone trying to fill a ship with PE!
 
#7
Ancient_Mariner said:
BuggerAll said:
Is it possible to envisage a threat to the UK? I don't mean terrorism but a military attack.
It's difficult to differentiate between terrorism and military attack. Iran is supplying roadside bombs for use by insurgents in Iraq. Is that military action by Iran, or Iraqi terrorism? As in 1970 Africa, nations seem content to fight their wars by proxy.

While emphasising awareness of the terrorist threat to the UK, we are too quick to dismiss the real possibility of foreign countries using military force against the UK.

Last week we found out that there are only 8 RAF aircraft available to protect UK airspace. That's handy. All our bearded chums need to do now is fly 9 aircraft at London and one is guaranteed to get through. Even easier, sail a ship up the unguarded Thames as far as Tower Bridge.
I know who ill be pointing the finger at if this occurs! :D
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#8
I didn't mention it before but is there an internal security threat? Is there a prospect of plod losing control of a part of the UK to the extent that the military would have to be sent in? (Assuming there is any available)
 
#9
Invictus_88 said:
A-M, with so much money being thrown at keeping an ear to the wire, one hopes the spooks would pick up on someone trying to fill a ship with PE!
80+ AQ dropped off the radar a few months ago.The Saudies 'lost' them. Thats more than enough to crew a ship 8O
 
#10
Would it be likely that the forces would be called out to support the civil emergency services if the Flu Pandemic is as bad as everyone fears? Would NBC training be of any use as well?
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#11
instinct said:
Would it be likely that the forces would be called out to support the civil emergency services if the Flu Pandemic is as bad as everyone fears? Would NBC training be of any use as well?
Perhaps the QM could issue a well known idiot with a dodgy respirator.

It was not the scenario I was thinking of but it does not seem impossible.

I was thinking of a situation where the 'community' in several regional towns violently revolted. No go areas in Bradford or Farhham or some such.
 
#12
The review of the Armed Forces future requirements would have to take into consideration all possible events which could result in the British Government falling under the control of a foreign power.
This could be caused by many other misfortunes besides an armed attack from overseas and could even be pre-empted by a natural catastrophe such as an Earthquake or Epidemic.
It is no longer possible for the UK to send Troops to protect its interests globally, this can only be done using the financial muscle of multinational banking, and sadly the people with influence in that area have shown themselves to be both incompetent and morally corrupt.
Within the arena historically operated in by the traditional Army, many tasks are now redundant and have been since the cold war ended and when the current Oil War ends in the Middle East its main occupation will be keeping the peace on the British mainland.
In short, I would believe that the Armed Forces are soon to be changed quite dramatically.
 
#13
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail -> therefore prepare for all eventualities

No one can predict it

Remember the Argentines, Iraq & some parties in Afghanistan all used to be allies of the UK

Is it possible to envisage a threat to the UK? Thats what they were saying in the 30s!

Prepare for expeditory warfare be it as part of a UN mandated operation or "axis of evil".

An attack on a colony or protectorate. -> there aren't many left
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#14
jemadarjo said:
The review of the Armed Forces future requirements would have to take into consideration all possible events which could result in the British Government falling under the control of a foreign power.
This could be caused by many other misfortunes besides an armed attack from overseas and could even be pre-empted by a natural catastrophe such as an Earthquake or Epidemic.
It is no longer possible for the UK to send Troops to protect its interests globally, this can only be done using the financial muscle of multinational banking, and sadly the people with influence in that area have shown themselves to be both incompetent and morally corrupt.
Within the arena historically operated in by the traditional Army, many tasks are now redundant and have been since the cold war ended and when the current Oil War ends in the Middle East its main occupation will be keeping the peace on the British mainland.
In short, I would believe that the Armed Forces are soon to be changed quite dramatically.
I was under the impression that we have sent troops to Afghanistan (and until recently to Iraq) to protect our interests (our interests as perceived by, rightly or wrongly, by the Government: I've added this caveat so we don't get diverted by that argument)

If I understand correctly what you are saying it is that the only threat to the UK that we should be concerned about is internal unrest. My conclusion to that would be that we don't need an Armed Forces and that we should spend the defence budget on beefing up plod.

My reason for starting this thread was that I don't think decisions about the future size and configuration of the Armed Forces should be made without considering the possible threats (or tasks) that may have to be dealt with.

One could go down the European route of accepting that the US will provide us with a defence from external attack and will look after our interests in the rest of the world. (And sit whining on the side lines when we don't agree with their assessment of the threat)
 
#15
“”I was under the impression that we have sent troops to Afghanistan (and until recently to Iraq) to protect our interests (our interests as perceived by, rightly or wrongly, by the Government:q””
Most certainly, you are correct but my understanding of this adventure is that, unlike the Falkland’s, it would not of been undertaken by the UK government had other nations been agreeable to participate.
Future conflicts are quite difficult to predict, would anyone have imagined that the Russians would almost become our Friends and the Mujahedeen become our enemies.
The chance of civil unrest within the UK is quite high and the Police have shown they can respond well but have confused the War on Terror with a War on Dissent which has lost them much public support also the government believe that they have effectively disarmed the public, especially since Dunblane, but there is growing concern that sections of society have access to arms, which would effectively rule out Police involvement in Civil disorder.
 
#16
My view on all this:

Most theories of International relations will tell you that states rely on two methods to provide security for themelve: Internal and external balancing. Internal balancing involves beefing up your miitary and security apparatus; external balancing involves forming alliance networks. I would argue that the latter is less effective than some people seem to think. For example, can we really rely on the Americans to provide us with a nuclear deterrent now the Cold War is over? Moreover, any further expansion of the EU (for example, into Turkey) renders the whole project completely unworkable. Not to mention, the EU's defence network is flimsy at best.

It's also worth mentioning that if we want to sit at the top table of nations and enjoy the benefits that go with it, we need to be able to intervene around the world, including conflicts which aren't (on the face of it - more on that later) any of our business.

There's also the matter of climate change. The Sahara desert is expanding. More pressure is being placed upon shrinking water resources. Oil is running out in the Gulf states and being exploited in other areas. There's plenty of insecure states about the place, and some of them are sitting on the knife edge. And in a globalised economy, insecure states on the periphery export their insecurity to the likes of us. Here's some examples - they're based on real life, but I've kept evreything general. They happened in the past, they could happen again in the future.

- The price of oil drops: In a gulf state, unemployment rises and the standard of living falls. People who could have expected a job in the state bureaucracy now find themselves without much to do. A few years later, some disgruntled university gradutes commit a terrorist outrage.

- A violent civil war breaks out in North Africa, driving hundreds of thousands of refugees into France. The refugees stew in inner-city slums, unemployed and ignored, whilst their children turn to crime, religious conservatism and political activism - sometimes all at once.

- A state in Eastern Europe collapses into violent civil war. During the conflict, political leaders turn to profiteering, so that by the end of the war organised crime is firmly entrenched into both government and society. The country (or rather, its successor states) becomes a key route for the trafficking of people and drugs into Western Europe.

What I'm trying to say it, there's a growing capacity for these states to inflict damage upon us, sometimes from the other side of the world and sometimes without even trying to. If our political leaders are sensible, they'll provide us with a military capable of the full spectrum of operations, from peacekeeping to expeditionary warfare, and possibly without any assistance from the superpowers.
 

Andy_S

LE
Book Reviewer
#18
Perhaps before we decide what threats Britain and British interests might face in the future we should decide - given that we all understand that Britian is a geo-political entity - what "British interests" are?

Old allies?
New allies?
Former colonies?
Overseas territories?
Investments?
Er...?
 
#19
overpromoted said:
There's also the matter of climate change. The Sahara desert is expanding. More pressure is being placed upon shrinking water resources. Oil is running out in the Gulf states and being exploited in other areas. There's plenty of insecure states about the place, and some of them are sitting on the knife edge. And in a globalised economy, insecure states on the periphery export their insecurity to the likes of us. Here's some examples - they're based on real life, but I've kept evreything general. They happened in the past, they could happen again in the future.
The environmental card gets played occasionally, and often is then put to bed. Slightly surprised that it hasn't yet reared it's leafy head, since I'm placing my bets on the likely scenarios which require military intervention being related to our basic needs i.e. fresh water supply, food and energy.

We've already seen several major conflicts fought under the loose pretences of freedom from dictators when they were more to do with energy supply (and demand) in the last two decades. Certainly as energy reserves diminish whilst demands increase particulary from the 2nd and 3rd world nations, conflict is sure to follow. Events in Georgia last year caused several nations (ours included) to worry about the security of energy pipelines and the awful "What if" of them being crippled, diverted or switched off. Whether we as a nation have learnt a lesson there remains to be seen; I suspect not.

Fusion as usual is about 20 years away regardless of the antics of ITER, HiPER and the like, so nuclear fission will remain one of the preferred sources of contained, high return energies for many nations. Thus the control of the raw fuel i.e. Uranium, will be crucial and like oil, it tends to be found in the largest quantities in countries which are largely unstable e.g. Niger. So there exists some interesting possiblities for future intervention and control of that.

Fresh water supply is certainly going to be a future issue, one just needs to look at the effects on the various inland seas in Eastern Europe getting drier due to damning efforts by the Russians and other states. A war fought over water would not be unique, however the challenges in securing the critical ground (water) would be unusual.

Will we as a nation being able to respond to any of these threats? I suspect not in the way that many would wish, but respond we will I have no doubt. :roll:
 
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