United Kingdom

Young Army officers must be 'more unconventional' in warfare and master 'cyber and space' 

Young Army officers have been told they will be expected to be 'more unconventional' in warfare and master the 'new domains of cyber and space'.

The Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sandhurst graduates that the highly anticipated Integrated Defence and Security review, spearheaded by Dominic Cummings, would soon be published and would bring with it new expectations of officers.

Speaking at the Sovereign's Parade at the Royal Military Academy, Mr Wallace said the review would deliver 'a force to meet tomorrow's battles'.

'As young officers, be prepared to be more active, more deployed and more unconventional,' he said.

A British Army soldier from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment secures the helicopter landing strip (HLS) during operation Southern Beast on August 6, 2008 in Maywand District in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan

'I want the Army to be once again forward deployed across the globe and I want you all to have the capabilities to challenge in new domains of cyber and space.'

The 'deep and far reaching' review would see the Armed Forces 'engage more, compete more and shift towards a continuum of 'operate' to 'fight',' he added.

Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace arrives to attend the first cabinet meeting since the Covid-19 lockdown at the Foreign Office in London, United Kingdom on July 21, 2020

Speaking on the eve of the 75th anniversary of VJ Day, Mr Wallace paid tribute to the 'resilience, bravery and integrity' displayed by those soldiers who fought in the Second World War.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, said that new officers can 'learn from those who fought' before them, whose success 'was underpinned by their courage'.

'Constant adaptation, integration and experimentation are vital features of the way we will modernise our Armed Forces today,' he said.

The Prime Minister will today mark VJ Day by paying tribute to the 'Forgotten Army' in a speech at the National Service of Remembrance at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

The Integrated Review of foreign policy, defence, security and international development was billed in last year's Queen's Speech as the deepest and most radical re-evaluation of the UK's place in the world since the Cold War ended.

A soldier from the Royal Anglian Regiment lays down rounds from the mounted gun on a Foxhound armoured vehicle during a military exercise on Salisbury Plains on July 24, 2020 near Warminster, England

However, the Commons Defence Committee warned that there must be much greater transparency if its far-reaching ambitions are to be achieved.

With Mr Cummings reportedly playing a major role, the committee urged the Government to publicly identify the key players - including who will chair the review in Mr Johnson's absence.

It said the review needs to include a thorough assessment of the economic, diplomatic and military activities and the internal political dynamics of hostile foreign states, such as Russia and China.

It also requires a coherent vision of how Britain's armed forces will fight and operate in the future, setting out the platforms, weapons and personnel that would be provided to ensure that vision was realised.

A Royal Marine watches for Taliban movements after an airstrike was called in on a Taliban position on March 18, 2007 near Kajaki in the Afghan province of Helmand

Committee chairman Tobias Ellwood said it is essential that decisions are based on 'a clear view of the world and a detailed vision for the UK's role within it' rather than 'short-term economic considerations'.

'Number 10 has described the Integrated Review as the most comprehensive policy review since the end of the Cold War; however, we are concerned that the gap between this expectation and reality is widening,' he said.

'To ensure the review takes a strategic approach, there must be broader engagement and consultation of external stakeholders, and yet so far the committee has seen little evidence that this has taken place.

'The Defence Committee, alongside colleagues in the Foreign Affairs and International Development Committees, have repeatedly called for clarity and transparency from the Government. These calls have, at times, been left unanswered.

The highly anticipated Integrated Defence and Security review is spearheaded by Dominic Cummings (pictured outside Downing Street earlier this week)

'A number of unknowns remain, including the key players at the heart of the review. A policy review of this importance should not take place behind closed doors.'

A Government spokeswoman said: 'As part of the Integrated Review, the Government will on Thursday publish a Call for Evidence, enabling us to hear from the public and our stakeholders to inform the long-term strategic aims of our international policy and national security, rooted in our national interests

'The Integrated Review will cover all aspects of international and national security policy, such as defence, diplomacy, development and national resilience. It will also take account of the implications of COVID-19, setting a strong direction for recovery at home and overseas.'

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