Face future threats but keep troops

Article published in The Daily Mirror, 16 March 2021. © Richard Kemp

The Government is right to focus major funding on new threats like cyber and new capabilities like AI and unmanned systems.

But defence planners, rightly eager to avoid the traditional British sickness of ‘fighting the last war’, often become dazzled by the new at the expense of the old.

The reality is that not all future enemies will fight in the so-called grey zone.

It is a mistake to cut large numbers of troops, combat planes and warships.

Our major enemies such as Russia, China and Iran watch how we respond to lesser threats and take advantage of any weakness of capability or political will.

As Boris Johnson said yesterday, the US remains our major ally.

When trouble hits, boots on the ground are always the top of their shopping list.