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Chief of the General Staff Outlines ‘Era of Truth Decay: Subversion and Disinformation’

The Chief of the General Staff (CGS), General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, has spoken for the first time to a public audience in detail about the Army transformation plan, Future Soldier, outlining an “era of Truth Decay: Subversion and Disinformation.”

CGS delivered the opening speech the annual Land Warfare Conference at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in London. The conference theme was ‘Integrating for Operations Today and Warfighting Tomorrow’.  

Within his speech, CGS outlined how new technology will be at the heart of future operations in the Land domain.

“Transformation from mechanisation to digitisation is going to be…significant; from hardware to software…. Conventional and unconventional capabilities will come together in hybrid combination; boots to bots, proxies to pixels.”

Expect more emphasis on a wider coalition of partners and allies…on support and influence, and on prosperity CGS Maj Gen Sir Mark Carleton-Smith

Rapidly Changing Digital World

The conference comes after the announcement of the Army’s Future Soldier transformation plan, as part of the Integrated Review.

Future Soldier outlines a rapidly changing digital world, where the British Army needs to be innovative.

This includes innovation in technology and in ways of working; being open to new ideas from the commercial sector, the Defence industry, and from our own people.

The Army will be supercharged by an experimentation programme led by a dedicated unit to rigorously test the force.

In addition to this innovation, the Army will always need the ability to move quickly to a war footing, with a credible warfighting capability. 

Persistent Presence

As part of Future Soldier, the Army will not just train in case of war but will be continuously working to keep the country safe.

Having more regularly deployed troops– known as ‘persistent presence’ – will give the Army the ability to anticipate and react quicker to emerging crises.  It will deter enemies and make sure we are ready to move quickly to a warfighting position.

Specialist units, such as Air Manoeuvre Forces, Security Force Assistance battalions, and Army Special Operations Forces, will help the UK to spot developing issues or identify or respond to unpredictable activity.

Dr Jack Watling, Research Fellow for Land Warfare from RUSI, said:

“In a world where force is seen as in increasingly viable option, deterrence and readiness are critical to protecting national interests.”

The RUSI Land Warfare Conference, the 20th held by the RUSI, attracted more than 600 attendees from around the world. It was held for the first time as a hybrid event with both virtual and in-person guests. Attendees were from the British Army as far afield as Mali, Kenya, and Estonia, and international delegates from more than 30 countries.

Panel discussions were held throughout the rest of the conference, chaired by Deborah Haynes, Foreign Affairs Editor for Sky News; Professor Peter Roberts, Director Military Sciences, RUSI, and Air Commodore Paul O,Neill, Senior Research Fellow, RUSI.

Other speakers included the Chair RUSI, Rt. Hon Sir David Lidington, senior military staff from the US and Germany, and representatives from academia and industry.