A collection of discussions with those in the Profession of Arms that tries to understand the issues around how to fight, and succeed, against adversaries in the 2020s. We pose the questions as whether a single Western Way of Warfare (how Western militaries fight) has been successful, whether it remains fit for task today, and how it might need to adapt in the future? It is complemented by the ‘Adversarial Studies’ project that looks at how adversaries fight.
Bad Procurement: A Peculiarly Western Issue?
Peter Roberts talks to John Louth, Defence Acquisition guru, about the military-industrial relationship, balance sheets, not winging it, the conspiracy of optimism, the cost of technology, speed/pace/acceleration in procurement, and the futility of importing alternative models. There is no nirvana here, and better acquisition seems to require a change in culture, decision-making, and a conscious decision not to wing it. Considering the topic, remarkably free of jargon.
Outwitted, Outgunned, and Outflanked
The West has been losing wars for too long and needs to change, suggests James Heappey MP. Peter Roberts talks to the former soldier-turned politician about people, the future operating environment, the UK's Integrating Operating Concept, the enduring fog of war, and what needs to change.
The discussion culminates in a recognition that decisions over military force structures cannot wait any longer. It sets high expectations for the UK's Integrated Review over the coming months.
Wars Change Religion
The West (a contested concept in itself) has been misunderstanding the relationship between wars and religion for too long, contends Ziya Meral. Framed this way makes for a different interpretation of conflicts settings from BokoHaram, ISIS, and the Taliban to the Eastern Med. The conversation follows a journey from the mil/academic relationship to contemporary Western Values. Kicking problems down the road turns out to a defining feature of the Western Way of War.
Don't Invade Parthia
Peter Roberts talks to Michael Clarke about how to recognise great commander, and why the British military don't have time to cultivate them (when other states do so much better at creating an ecosystem that brings them to the fore). Some cracking nuggets and entertaining research from a master storyteller.
Political Risk, the Media and the Military
Do Values define a Western Way of Warfare? Does the military understand the media? What motivates Western politicians to make decisions? Lucy Fisher (Defence Editor of The Times) joins Peter Roberts to talk about the 2013 Syria vote in UK Parliament, the revered status of Western militaries, and ignoring social media.
Society and the Western Way of Peace
Does a successful and respected professional military force make a conversation with society at large over security and insurmountable conversation? Do government narratives over military threats alienate audiences? Elisabeth Braw and Peter Roberts take about preppers, supply chains, a Western concept of peace, and the lack of imagination in politics.