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Topic for August - UK Defence in the 21st Century

    • 99 posts
    August 5, 2019 10:18 AM BST

    Proposed Agenda is below



    What should the objectives of our defence policy be in the 21st Century? What is the future of conflict?

    Where are the shortfalls in our current approach?

    What do we need to do?



    Agenda Prompts

    Note there are too many prompts below to discuss all the items but they give a list of ideas to select from  


    What should the objectives of our defence policy be in the 21st Century?

    A deterrent?



    Rapid reaction? To support foreign policy? To reflect both hard and soft power around the world?

    Should we be trying to retain our status as a world power militarily?

    Should we focus on technological and scientific superiority?

    Are the objectives different with respect to major powers such as China and Russia, as opposed to smaller countries?

    Are there sub-objectives?

    Driving scientific and technological improvements in general life?

    Responding to humanitarian disasters and assisting poorer countries

    Internal situations and safeguarding our form of Government?

    Can we afford it?  


    What is the future of conflict?

    Is terrorism the real long-term threat as science enables more powerful weapons to be created by small groups of individuals?

    Does religion have a role in conflict?

    Is soft power important, or even more important these days than military force?

    Are sanctions a good tool?

    How important is cyber warfare and cyber conflict? Is its hidden nature encouraging usage and increasing conflict? Does it allow small groups to inflict disproportionate damage?

    Are we doing enough to combat cyber terrorism, cyber conflict (and cyber crime?).

     Do we have adequate backup policies?

    Are nuclear weapons still important to us?

    What might happen when autonomous weapon systems get deployed? Will we still need people?

    Will weapon systems enter space?

    Will travel to other planets and the resources there cause more conflict between nations? Or can it be a unifier where we see ourselves as one tribe of humans?

    Should we allow AI to make conflict decisions? Will world population growth and climate change cause more conflict?

    Will we inevitably end up destroying ourselves?

    Is there an alternative path to a peaceful world?


    Where are the shortfalls in our current approach?

    Are our armed services adequate?

    Are our intelligence services adequate? GCHQ, MI5, MI6 etc?

    Are we prioritising the right things?

    Have we got adequate funding? If not where does it come from?

    What is the public perception of Defence Spending?

    How good is our procurement?

    How can we reduce costs?

    Should we increase taxes?

    Should the Aid budget be in scope as part of soft power?

    Trident dominates our Defence spending. Is it really needed? Can we keep up financially with constant technological and scientific improvements?


    What do we need to do?

    How much of a worldwide presence do we need?

    What functions/organisation do we need?

    Should our Armed Forces be joined together so that we have just one defence force? Do we need rapid strike forces? Do we need new dedicated forces e.g. Space Warfare, Cyber Warfare? Propaganda and Fake News warfare? Should we re-instate National Service? Selectively? Are reservists a good thing?

    Where should we cooperate?

    USA Commonwealth Europe

    Will a European Army happen and how will it impact the future of NATO?

    Will Brexit impact cooperation?

    Should we be forming new alliances?

    Is the United Nations fit for purpose? Should it be more interventionist?

    Are there approaches which provide opportunities, rather than just react to threats?



    How do we react now that denying and distorting the facts is commonplace at a country level? Is Donald Trump’s approach to international affairs and negotiation likely to improve peace prospects or destroy them?   Are the officer classes too public school dominated?

    Do arms manufacturers drive conflict?

    Once the elite have an escape possibility to other planets, will they be more ready to press the button on earth? Could the conflicts in the Middle East result in another world war?

    • 99 posts
    August 23, 2019 11:04 AM BST

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