London. 14 April 2020. General Sir Richard Barrons KCB CBE, former Commander of Joint Forces Command, joined DSEI Senior Defence Advisor, Air Vice-Marshal (ret’d) Gary Waterfall, to discuss the need for the Armed Forces to adapt to meet the demands of the evolving battlespace.
Gen. Barrons asserted that the world in future will be dominated by China as a major political force, but that “our security and prosperity will be shaped by an aggressive Russia and what will become the centre of the world in Asia.” He also said that the need for urgency to adapt to Russia’s growing threat was not reflected in the Integrated Review.
Part of that adaptation is recognising that the modern battlespace will be undergoing a “profound change” in a world of transparency, meaning conventional military forces are somewhat outmoded. The development of long-range missiles means that the UK needs to “redesign how we operate” with a strong emphasis on a foundation in data and AI.
Gen. Barrons stated that this British innovation would have an enormous role to play in this redesign, starting with a shift to synthetic training which “can be done better and cheaper” than conventional methods. Gen. Barrons was keen to stress that the combination of man and machine was something which would be prevalent in the future battlespace but something of which we should not be frightened.