The British Army, which is persistently engaged on operations and training exercises overseas, has a vital role to play in supporting how our country is viewed by the world.
The Engage stand of Army Expo 22, taking place on Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA) during September, showed how we work with our allies and partners across the globe.
The York-based 1st (UK) Division organised the displays which highlighted, among other things, our operational success with the UN in Mali, the role of the new Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB), and our continued support to the brave armed forces of Ukraine.
Brigadier General Laurentin, the Division’s General Officer Commanding (GOC), said: “We are mobilising to provide capable, lethal forces to develop understanding, demonstrate UK presence, support our partners, and counter the influence of Russia.
“We have built and continue to develop networks of insight, interest, and influence; using mutually beneficial partnerships to compete globally and counter the influence of our adversaries, staged through the Army's network of Land Regional Hubs in Germany, Kenya, Oman, Brunei, and Belize.”
The need to align with allies and partners is as evident as it ever has been, given the current geopolitical climate.
Engage forms part of the new Integrated Operating Concept (IOpC), brought in under the Future Soldier programme announced last year; the other tenets of the IOpC are Constrain, Protect, and Warfight.
While the British Army has always been at the forefront of engagement, the newly-codified model places more emphasis on working with allies and partners to achieve a better effect in the battlespace.
Brigadier General Laurentin said: “This persistent engagement, working alongside wider Defence and our partners across government, is the embodiment of Global Britain; bringing not only boots on the ground, but also the mutual transfer of education, technology, and trade.”
The best example of this model in recent practice has been our robust support, through comprehensive training programmes and equipment donations, to those defending Ukraine against Russian aggression.
The ministers and press that attended the Engage stand were given operational vignettes from our Ukrainian friends and those from the SFAB in our Army who have been involved in their training.
In a topical example of engagement, Brigadier General Laurentin is an Armee de Terre officer, serving in our country as part of an exchange agreement with France.
He concluded: “These partnerships give us a sense of emerging threats and warn decision-makers of rising instability. Where instability does emerge, the British Army is out in front; forward deployed, operating with an alliance network to counter malign actors.”