General William Scott Wallace (Ret’d) Former Commanding General. Gives us his insight into the captivating topic of Complex Threats and the 21st Century.
We live in dangerously complex times. Complex because of the combinations of social problems that seem to plague developed and developing nations, and dangerous because there is no shortage of ideologically motivated actors – both good and bad – who seem to be hell-bent on using commercial technologies and their home field advantage to advance their social and political agendas. The great challenge that lies in the lap of governments, alliances and “wanna – bez” is to: satisfy the needs of people, establish reasonable security and order, and do so in a time of constrained budgets.
One has but to look at today’s headlines to see complexity in action. A government overturned by popular uprising in Tunisia, violent demonstrations in Yemen and Egypt, the shaky transition of government in Iraq, a continued insurgency in Afghanistan, and tens of less newsworthy conflicts all suggest that we are in the midst of what the US Army’s Chief of Staff has coined as persistent conflict. This conflict is fuelled by the migration of populations, the emergence of urban Mega-cities, youth bulge in many unstable areas of the world, the proliferation of communications technologies which connect haves and have-nots, environmental problems, and on and on.
It seems to me that we have three fundamental choices. One is to ignore the problem in hopes that it might go away – it won’t. Second is to run around screaming that the sky is falling and grabbing any solution which might offer immediate gratification – knowing that we have treated only the symptom. Third is to apply thought, logic and a long and perhaps strategic view to the problem – I choose door number 3.
What you might ask is behind door number three ? I don’t know exactly, but I have some thoughts. First is the notion that nothing occurs without security, or the perception thereof. There is no stability, there is no real governance, there is no economic nor intellectual development without a stable security environment. If that notion is correct, then it follows that investments in the means by which a nation or group of nations provides such security is not a luxury but an absolute necessity – following close behind such needs as air, water and food.
What does any of the above have to do with an International Armoured Vehicle Conference ? – everything, if one realizes the sole purpose of an armoured vehicle (or any vehicle for that matter if it is in use by security forces) is to carry boots to the point of need and to support those boots once they are on the ground. If that is true, then there are a few enduring requirements which must be a part of any such vehicle old or new.
The vehicle must provide protected mobility. The vehicle must allow for ease of egress – ready to act upon hitting the ground. The vehicle must allow for soldier and crew evacuation in the event of emergency. The vehicle must have acceptable mobility characteristics both on and off road. The vehicle must be heavy enough to protect (tactically), but light enough to project (operationally). The vehicle must have appropriate lethality to the circumstance – both on board and in support. Finally, the vehicle must be able to facilitate the command and control of boots, mounted or dismounted, moving or stationary. This is what this Conference needs to address – the right vehicular capabilities for a reasonably defined 21st security environment and at a reasonable cost. I look forward to the dialogue.
On Thursday 10th February listen and interact with General William Scott Wallace delving deep into the topic of “Increasing the realism and effectiveness of combined training to enable mission success” at International Armoured Vehicles fourth focus day:
DEVLOPING TRAINING AND SIMULATION TO MEET CURRENT MOUNTED FORCE CHALLANGES.