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British Military Transformation and Afghanistan. Professor Theo Farrell Dept of War Studies King’s College London. US military transformation. 2001 QDR: transformation “at the heart” of a “new strategic approach” Rooted in RMA of 1990s

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British Military Transformation and Afghanistan

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British military transformation and afghanistan

British Military Transformation and Afghanistan

Professor Theo Farrell

Dept of War Studies

King’s College London

Us military transformation

US military transformation

  • 2001 QDR: transformation “at the heart” of a “new strategic approach”

  • Rooted in RMA of 1990s

  • Transformation = technology + new concepts and organization

  • Core concepts: NCW and EBO

Opportunity socio tech change

Opportunity: socio-tech change

Imperative strategic change

Imperative: strategic change

British military transformation and afghanistan

NCW benefits-chain



Situation awareness


Mission effectiveness

Origins of ebo

Origins of EBO

Twenty days later

Twenty days later…

Human centric warfare

Human-centric warfare

Advert for rma

Advert for RMA

Nato survey responses

NATO survey: responses

Impact of it

Impact of IT

Importance of nec

Importance of NEC

Future is ebao

Future is EBAO

Large formation warfare

Large formation warfare?

European opinion

European opinion?

  • A new paradigm of warfare

  • Network enabled & effects based

  • Expeditionary & medium weight

Many transformation gaps

Many transformation gaps

  • Britain: culture & cost constraints

  • France: strategic use

  • Germany: bureaucratic obstacles

  • Spain: rhetorical use

  • Romania: new narrative

British military transformation

British military transformation

Must “move away from simplistic platform-centric planning, to a fully ‘network-enabled capability’ able to exploit effects-based planning and operations, using forces which are truly adaptable, capable of even greater precision and rapidly deployable”

Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon

Defence White Paper 2003

Network enabled capability

Network Enabled Capability

  • NEC “at the heart of our transformation.”

  • NEC = “the coherent integration of sensors, decision-makers, weapon systems and support capabilities to achieve the desired effect”

    DWP 2003

Future combat systems rip

Future Combat Systems, RIP

Nec evolutionary approach

NEC evolutionary approach

  • Initial state (2012)

  • Transitional state (2017)

  • Mature state (2030)

Acquiring nec

Acquiring NEC

  • NEC embedded across the equip plan: in 60% of 500+ projects

  • Key progs: DII, BOWMAN, SKYNET 5,

  • Transforming battlespace and business space

  • DSTL study on NCW benefits-chain: human element

Effects based approach to operations ebao

Effects based approach to operations (EBAO)

British military transformation and afghanistan

National Strategic Aim/

National Strategic Objectives


DC 2

Operational End-state

Create the security conditions that enable:

Lasting peace in which the threat of violence and civil war has been curtailed

Country ‘X’ to generate mature political structures, supported by reliable infrastructure and governance, providing prosperity and security for all its people.

Self-Governance Established

DC 1

Interim Governance Provided


Political Process

DC 3

DC 4

Secure Environment Maintained

DC 6

Self-Sustaining Security Established

Elected Government Empowered


Centre of



DC 5

DC 7

DC 8

(Ability to


Electoral Process Reformed

Sustained Infrastructure Established

Key Infrastructure Restored

Transforming in contact

Transforming in contact

British campaign 2006 2008

British campaign, 2006-2008

  • 16 bde: ‘inkspot’ to platoon house

  • 3 cdo: chasing the Taliban

  • 12 mech: big sweeps

  • 52 bde: ‘clear, hold, build’

  • 16 bde: Kajaki Dam

Clearing central helmand

Clearing Central Helmand

  • 3 Cdo 2008 - Op SOND CHARA

  • 19 Bde 2009 - Op PANCHAI PALANG

  • 11 Bde 2010 – Op MOSHTARAK

Op panchai palang


Op moshtarak


Nec battefield pull

NEC: battefield pull

Ebao in afghanistan

EBAO in Afghanistan

  • soft effects and influence ops

  • cultural understanding

  • messaging: “talking our way in”

Military success

Military success!

Ouch the 2010 sdsr

Ouch! The 2010 SDSR

  • CSR 2010: real cut 8% over 4 yrs

  • Most cuts in 2013-15

  • Inherited overspend £38 bn

  • Def expenditure as % GDP:

The shrinking force

The shrinking force

Future of fres

Future of FRES?

Future character of conflict

Future Character of Conflict?

Stuck with mastiff and ridgeback

Stuck with Mastiff and Ridgeback

The adaptable posture

The adaptable posture

  • More than a buzz word?

  • CT, cyber, and natural disasters

  • Adaptable in Afghanistan:

    - deliver range of civil effects in non-permissive environments

    - secure and stabilise for civilian partners

The adaptable force

The adaptable force

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