British Army Agile Warrior Future Land Forces Conference 2019

British Army’s Future Land Challenges Conference #AW_FLC19

Agile Warrior Takes On British Army Force Development ‘Horizon 2’

Brigadier Kev Copsey, Head of Future Force Development at British Army HQ, opened the three-day Agile Warrior: Future Land Challenges Conference at RSA Larkhill today, Tuesday, 15 January.

According to its brief, the Agile Warrior Future Land Challenges Conference aims to examine the force design implications for British Army Force Development ‘Horizon 2’, also known as the Conceptual Force (Land) 2035, with a focus on the Future Operating Environment, the Human Dimension and Ways of Operating.

British Army HQ were keen to attract contributions from soldiers, academics, and industry experts to provide informed debate on the challenges facing land forces in the future. Stepping up to the task are Professor Anthony King (Chair in War Studies at Warwick University), Dr Rob Johnson (Oxford Changing Character of War Centre), Richard Watson (Futurist-in-Residence at Imperial College, London), Dr Tracey German (Deputy Dean at the Defence Studies Department, King’s College London, and Joint Services Command and Staff College), LTC ‘JJ’ Snow USAF (US SOCOM/Sofwerx), Graham Fairclough (Cybersecurity Adviser with Cordillera/David Kilcullen), Dr Paul Latawski (Royal Military Academy Sandhurst), Duncan Stewart (QinetiQ), and Rupert Streatfeild (SO1 Concepts Development, Concepts Branch, Army Headquarters), amongst others.

Questions to be raised and hopefully answered include: What are the risks of living and operating in an ever-connected world? How can the British Army ensure access to technology? How does the British Army need to prepare itself to make ready, deploy, employ, and sustain a totally mobilized Army? To what extent should the army be allowed to enhance its personnel? What is the impact of childhood/adolescent obesity and physical inactivity on the recruitment and accession of the future force? What is needed to train and educate the best future soldiers? Which capabilities, authorities, and methods do we require to be able to manoeuvre and sort effects in the information environment? How does information manoeuvre enable tempo? How do we integrate advanced technology like AI, ML and autonomy into the UK’s forces? How might the British Army enable Mission Command and dispersed operations on a multi-domain battlefield that includes manned, unmanned, semi-autonomous and autonomous systems both friendly and adversary? What is the British Army’s role in destroying, degrading, disrupting, or suppressing key enemy capabilities in the deep area?

Over the course of the Future land Challenges Conference, Brigadier Ewen Murchison DSO will predict Global Strategic Trends, Dr Duncan Stewart will discuss the Future of Warfighting and Dr Tracey German will look at the Future of the State in an age of populism and identity politics, while Imperial College’s Futurologist Richard Watson will attempt to help the British Army be ‘less wrong’ by suggesting an approach to understanding demographics and populations, and not just technology.

Image: a soldier from Falcon Squadron, the Royal Tank Regiment, on exercise in Jordan (Crown Copyright, 2016). Falcon Squadron were recently deployed on Operation MORLOP following the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury.