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Maritime Reserves: Grasping the Opportunity

This paper illustrates how Britain has once again neglected its vulnerable ports, coastal CNI and littoral, with all its pipelines and cables, despite a modest investment in HMS Proteus, and that the only affordable way to fill the gap is with reserves, including by drawing on those who earn a living from the sea.  It pays tribute to the quality of the men and women in the Maritime Reserves and charts some recovery since the grim, unplanned cuts of 20/21, with a particular strength emerging in information warfare, but suggests that much more could be done for very little cost, by making more use of reserves as our major Five Eyes partners do.
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Depth and New Capabilities

This paper argues for the increased use of Air Reserves as one important and affordable response to the challenges and developments that now face the air service. Control of the air, enjoyed by British and allied forces for many years, is vital in any operation, but cannot be taken for granted against peer adversaries. The war in Ukraine shows how critical air power is, but also how complicated the air dimension has become, including with the widespread use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and civilian drones. The RAF faces the combined challenges of a heightened and diverse strategic threat, difficulties in securing the right talent, and heavily constrained resources. In the case of aircrew, it is also wholly dependent on a slow and costly pipeline for producing pilots that can consume roughly half the average career the RAF gets from its pilots. Furthermore, there is evidence that post- Covid, shortages are emerging in the civil airline sector, threatening a new drain on b

Mass, mobilisation and reserve forces

In learning lessons from Ukraine, most of our major allies have recognised that the affordable route back to providing mass on the battlefield in war is the development of reserve forces in peace. This study compares our Army Reserve to the reserve ground forces of our major Five Eyes allies, who share our expeditionary focus - and volunteer tradition. It shows how expanding our reserve capability and learning lessons from our sister countries can deliver mass, draw on civilian skills and reconnect Defence with the wider nation. Papers on air and maritime reserves are to follow. Paper is  here

Getting to the heart of the problems with procurement

In defence, new ideas get bogged down in bureaucracy. Let’s cut the red tape.   In autumn 2020, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) published an imaginative paper  on science and technology strategy, committing extra, welcome funding to this field. To turn its vision into actual equipment for the armed forces, however, it also needs the right structures, processes and authority – and they are not there today.   A piece for the Article in which I argue that it's time to shift the spotlight onto the serious structural flaws in the MOD. Full article here .