Select Committee on Defence Fifth Report

4 Effects-based operations

50. The concept of "effects-based operations" lies at the heart of the Defence White Paper, which describes it as follows:

Effects-Based Operations is a new phrase, but it describes an approach to the use of force that is well established—that military force exists to serve political or strategic ends. We need a new way of thinking about this that is more relevant to today's strategic environment. Strategic effects are designed to deliver the military contribution to a wider cross-governmental strategy and are focused on desired outcomes. Our conventional military superiority now allows us more choice in how we deliver the effect we wish to achieve. We have begun to develop our military capabilities so that we can provide as wide as possible a range of options to fulfil operational objectives without necessarily resorting to traditional attritional warfare.[56]

The MoD's claim that the approach inherent in effects-based operations is well-established, is correct—much of it would be familiar to any student of the Prussian military thinker Carl von Clausewitz, or indeed the Chinese strategist, Sun Tzu. The concept embraces both kinetic and non-kinetic effects, although in our inquiry it has appeared to be the kinetic effects that are best understood and emphasised.

51. The MoD frequently distinguishes between kinetic and non-kinetic military effects. Kinetic effects are achieved by projectiles of some kind hitting a target and leading to tangible destruction; non-kinetic effects are achieved by some less tangible physical force—such as electronic jamming—having an effect on a target. We accept the essence of this distinction, but in an environment of effects-based operations it is also important to recognise that non-kinetic effects on targets can also be achieved by actions with no physical force at all—such as psychological operations, information operations, political initiatives, and so on. During Operation Telic coalition forces targeted some Iraqi officers with phone text messages to urge them not to fight and to demonstrate that their identity was well known to the allies. Coalition military planners were using a highly non-kinetic technique of psychological warfare that appears to have had some real military impact on the will of Iraqi forces to fight.

52. We note that MoD has only "begun to develop" capabilities to provide a range of options other than having to resort to traditional attritional warfare methods. We are disappointed at the apparent lack of progress in developing capabilities to provide non-kinetic options.

53. In the New Chapter, the MoD emphasised network-centric capability in the delivery of military effect. This development of capability enhancements through the linkage of platforms and people through a network, is now termed 'network enabled capability' (NEC) by the MoD, with the centrality of networking replaced by an emphasis on its enabling characteristics.[57]

54. The Defence White Paper discusses speed, rapidity, agility and the need to shorten the time between "sensor" and "shooter". According to MoD's analysis, the ability to respond quickly and decisively to achieve maximum effect should also act as a force multiplier, allowing the same military effect to be achieved with less. They further argue that NEC will improve communication and understanding of strategic and military intent throughout the chain of command and that through NEC the command structure will improve its responsiveness to events on the ground and have the flexibility to respond in near real-time to fleeting targets, even where higher-level decision making is required prior to engagement.[58]

55. However, shortening time for decision makers and between sensors and shooters through the network has important implications for the relationship between the decision-makers and the troops on the ground. It requires decision-enabling information systems that the UK does not yet posses. It may also raise challenges to the British concept of mission-command, as people at the strategic or grand strategic level are able—thanks to technology—to reach across the tactical and operational levels of command and make decisions about what is happening on the ground. This has been termed "the long screwdriver" effect. (We discuss this effect in Chapter Five below). We concluded in our SDR New Chapter report that "the doctrinal basis for embracing these technologies needs to be rigorous and clearly understood if the benefits of the network are to be realised by the UK Armed Forces".[59] In the interim we have not seen the evidence that this has been achieved. Indeed, in discussing the effects-based approach to force planning, the White Paper candidly notes that, "the concept is still at a relatively early stage".[60] The Government in its reply to our New Chapter report attempted to argue that not much was changing:

A key conclusion of the new Chapter was we need a series of adjustments and refinements to existing military means, not a step change in capability or concept of operations.[61]

We believe however, that the implications are significant.

56. While technology appears to be driving much of this process, MoD does acknowledge that the utilisation of information is at least as important:

we need to be able to deploy and configure forces rapidly and have the capability for rapid decision making, accompanied by the precise delivery of force. These characteristics need to be underpinned by an improved ability to exploit information that can then be translated into synchronised responses to achieve decisive military effect. The ability to detect the emergence of threats, to understand their nature, and our adversaries' motivations, intentions and capabilities allows us to target their weaknesses and better identify our own vulnerabilities.[62]

The ultimate application of effects-based operations might involve only the discrete or limited use of destructive force, an enhanced application of information warfare and the embracing of non-lethal technologies. Indeed the concept of the indirect approach is one that was understood by earlier strategists—Sun Tzu wrote:

to gain a hundred victories in a hundred battles is not the highest excellence; to subjugate the enemy's army without doing battle is the highest excellence.[63]

57. The effects-based operational concept was originally developed by air force planners, building on the experience of developing long lists of targets for destruction by air strikes, but has been embraced and applied to the joint environment of air, sea and land. Taken to its logical extreme, effects-based operations will need to embrace all instruments of national power to reduce, or contain, potential sources of threat, through persistent and effective coercion.

58. The White Paper lists eight strategic effects that the Armed Forces will be asked to provide: prevent, stabilise, contain, deter, coerce, disrupt, defeat and destroy.[64] Effects-based operations are therefore designed to give policy makers tools other than those solely of kinetic effect, in order, for example, to achieve the goal of containing or preventing threats to national security. The capabilities available to achieve these goals, however, remain primarily kinetic in nature.

59. In our Lessons of Iraq report, we warned against taking too far the argument that because military operations can contribute effects to the overall political context, military planning should explicitly seek to create effects that support the over-arching political objectives.

The priority for military planning must be the achievement of military objectives. We are concerned that too great a focus on effects-based planning and on the part military action can play as one component in a spectrum of political and diplomatic activity may further complicate the tasks of military planners and commanders who are already operating in an ever more complex battle space and under more intense and intrusive scrutiny than ever before…The ultimate success of a military operation of this type can be determined only as part of an assessment of the success of the overall process of which it was part. The risk is that in making that assessment the military is judged against a range of outcomes which are beyond their control and which are likely to be too complex and abstruse to be capable of being sensibly made a part of military planning.[65]

MoD needs to accept that this complexity requires new planning tools. Another challenge is to prevent the process of achieving "effects" becoming more important than the ends sought, as has been found by the US in some circumstances.[66]

60. Effects-based operations need to go beyond war-fighting to the end of the campaign, through the various phases of crisis, war-fighting, stabilisation and reconstruction, and peacekeeping. The key effect is that achieved at the end of the campaign, but inevitably planning will have to be adjusted as the campaign progresses. It may be that the latter phases can only be planned in outline at the start. As the distance increases from intensive war-fighting, so does the difficulty in effects-based planning, specifically as the number of actors increases and the non-kinetic methods increase in relative importance.

Network-enabled capability

61. While sometimes discussed interchangeably, "network-enabled capability" (NEC) is not the same thing as "effects-based operations" (EBO), nor is it the same as all capabilities that support effects-based operations. Network-enabled capabilities can be enablers of true effects-based operations, but need not be. They are simply one part of the possible contributions towards EBO. Too often in the British debate on effects-based operations, the focus has been on the enabling capabilities rather than the effects sought. At times this important point, though accepted in the White Paper, has not been articulated publicly. The repeated emphasis on reducing the time between "sensor and shooter" in statements risks clouding the objectives behind the process of embracing new technologies, and true effects-based operations. CDS told an audience at RUSI that:

The critical elements in delivering military effect will be: sensors—to gather information; an effective network—to fuse, communicate and exploit the information; and strike assets—to deliver decisive action. Technology will be a key driver for change and will present us with new opportunities—for example the effective means by which to link "sensor to shooter" through Network Enabled Capabilities.[67]

62. Furthermore, too often the debate about NEC is at the relatively straightforward end of the spectrum (weapons effects, decision times etc) rather than at the difficult end (political outcomes, coalition building, alliance management, government structures, the role of other government departments, and political-military interaction at grand strategic level). We believe that this approach risks emphasising technology at the expense of a thorough consideration of the utility and application of military force and its judicious and appropriate use in effects-based operations. In our view the three critical elements identified by CDS (sensors, a network and shooters), which were previously set out in the New Chapter, will require a vital fourth element of effective decision-making, which is not a consequence of NEC but a requirement for the realisation of EBO.

63. Decision-makers at higher levels will increasingly have information previously only available to those on the ground and in a form that may provide a more nuanced and complete picture than that available at the tactical level. They may then relate this picture to the effect that they are seeking and believe that their strategic vision should override the tactical and operational decision-making procedures. All of this could be occurring in near real time.

64. The UK is at the start, not the end, of the process towards being able to carry out effects-based operations. Non-kinetic effects-based operations, drawing on information operations and non-destructive power of various sorts, remain an aspiration. Indeed it is still unclear how successful these were in Iraq, even for the US. Operations are increasingly going to be undertaken in non-traditional environments. The challenge is to understand how to operate in a "non-linear battlespace"—i.e. one that does not follow traditional chronological campaign stages. It may often be an urban environment which will require increasing discrimination and proportionality by all the services due to the close proximity of civilians. This will require as much development, or even transformation, of the human dimension, as of high profile technological advances. We believe that MoD's discussion of these emerging trends has not always distinguished sufficiently clearly between the concepts of network-enabled capability (NEC) and effects-based operations (EBO). NEC may contribute to the delivery of military effect in support of EBO, but it is not a prerequisite for it, or indeed, necessarily the main contributor towards an effects-based operational outcome. This lack of clarity in much British discussion of these trends may not be unconnected to the question of platforms which we discuss below.

65. To date discussion of effects-based operations has focussed on shortening the time to achieve kinetic effects and reducing collateral and unnecessary damage to peripheral targets. The broader psychological effects have been exploited only to a limited extent in military activities. These effects are of course well understood by the asymmetric adversaries that the UK is likely to face in the future, especially terrorists, for whom psychological effect beyond the immediate target is generally more important than the precision and nature of the kinetic effect itself. Thus much of the network-enabled capability that attract the greatest attention are merely swifter ways to achieve more precise effect. But the implications of the White Paper are far greater. A concept that began as a way to achieve an effect that previously required direct physical destruction has been expanded to the political strategic level. Those "grand strategic" effects are increasingly being linked with tactical decisions by subordinate commanders on the ground.

66. The challenge is to define what effect is sought and for that goal to be resilient enough to survive the start and progress of operations. Moreover, while physical effect can be measured through techniques such as battle-damage assessment (BDA), the grander objectives of high-level effects-based operations are notoriously difficult to identify and measure meaningfully. In February 2003 during our SDR New Chapter inquiry, the Director General of the Joint Doctrine and Concepts Centre, Air Vice Marshal Iain McNicoll, told us that planning for effects-based operations "would involve understanding to a greater degree than I think is possible at the moment every aspect of the strategic environment in which both you and your opponents are operating".[68]

67. Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which were trumpeted as containing examples of transformational capabilities, do appear to have demonstrated some of the capabilities and potential of effects-based operations, but mostly still at the kinetic end of the spectrum. But even in Operation Telic assessing the effectiveness of the kinetic end of effect proved problematic for the UK. In its response to our Lessons of Iraq report, the Government admitted as much:

We agree that timely Battle Damage Assessment (BDA) is important. During Operation Telic, however, the scale of the air campaign meant there was insufficient resources available to carry out the BDA task during major combat operations.[69]

The Government also warned that improvements in this vital area for effects-based operations were not to be taken for granted:

Technical and intelligence availability issues continue to limit our ability to conduct BDA as effectively as we would wish; future developments of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) platforms may alleviate this.[70]

68. While the improvements in precision, accuracy and firepower are obvious, we have found less evidence that adequate resources have been devoted to the provision of the intelligence capabilities, including human intelligence, and cultural understanding which are essential to underpin these technological advances.

69. Furthermore, it remains, as one American commentator has noted, more an art than a science to judge what kinetic or non-kinetic activity will produce a particular effect.[71] In our Lessons of Iraq inquiry we discussed some of these issues with the Director of Targeting and Information Operations during Operation Telic, Air Vice Marshal Mike Heath. He argued that the division or separation of kinetic from non-kinetic effects had to be removed:

The sooner we move away from information operations and kinetic operations, the better. What we are trying to deliver now is effects-based operations that embrace the whole gamut of military and cross government capability. I believe we have arrived and delivered a force multiplier—not the MoD but Whitehall—and it is important we understand that.[72]

We agree and support the Government's goal of better fusing all elements of national capability to strategic ends. However, we believe that the limits of what the military can achieve in effects-based operations on their own needs to be understood by all parts of the MoD and across Government departments.


70. A focus on capabilities and platforms is in some ways understandable—in effects-based operations one needs to be able to forecast how the enemy will respond to kinetic and non-kinetic coercive effects. Given the difficulty in doing this, the tendency is to fall back on a focus on the kinetic end of the spectrum—i.e. shortening sensor to shooter times. The objective in effects-based operations is to attack the enemy's coherence and ultimately the will to fight, through the exploitation of asymmetric advantages in knowledge and, precision and mobility. Furthermore, shortening sensor to shooter times is just one aspect of "knowledge superiority"—there may be occasions when shortening such times is not actually beneficial to effects based objectives, placing too much emphasis on rapidity which alone will not guarantee the desired effect. Presence can be as important an effect as traditional kinetic activities in some operational contexts.

71. It should also be remembered that asymmetry works both ways. Just as we seek to understand the enemy as a complex and adaptive system, so our opponents have at times been equally focussed on our system. The Secretary of State noted just how significant the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 had been:

New York, Washington and Pennsylvania were a series of coordinated attacks on one day—and the yet the terrorists have changed the entire landscape of global security policies as a result.[73]

72. In fact it could be argued that much of the thinking behind effects-based operations owes more than a passing nod to our strategic opponents of the moment—the terrorists. Effects-based planning essentially seeks to achieve mass effects without mass forces. This is exactly what terrorists have long sought, the ability to achieve mass effect, without having mass capability, usually by precise shocking attacks, designed to have psychological effects. (Although their capacity for strategic change has rarely if ever been achieved.) The difference is that MoD appears to have reversed the argument, and is using it as grounds for reducing existing mass capabilities. We are not convinced that mass "effect" alone will be enough in meeting the challenges faced by the UK, since in many situations the UK will still require the capacity for mass "presence" as well.

73. The suspicion has grown that the focus on agility, effect without mass and the move away from a platform focus has less to do with an intellectually coherent strategy of effects-based warfare than with the need to "cut our cloth" as best we can. Sir Kevin Tebbit, Permanent Under Secretary at MoD, told the Committee of Public Accounts that difficult choices must be made in framing the defence planning assumptions:

We fielded a force (to Iraq) in less time within the parameters of our Defence Planning Assumptions. We did better than we should have done notwithstanding the weaknesses…There were still deficiencies. How can we make those good? We have a lessons learned study…the implementation of those lessons if we really want to get much faster with this size of force…will cost a great deal of money. Twenty-five of our recommendations in those studies would each cost over £100 million and another 50 of them would cost between £1 million and £100 million. The cost of being able to put a force of this size, 46,000 people, into battle in anything less than what we achieved, in less than four and a half months would be enormous. You pay your money and you take your choice.

…to really be able to conduct expeditionary warfare with this size force more rapidly than we have managed on this occasion would be very expensive. That is not to say we cannot do it with smaller packages, 9,000 brigade level, medium scale, but this was a very large operation.[74]

Therefore costs are at the heart of these discussions, but no costs have been provided or even hinted at in the White Paper. It is impossible to assess whether the application of NEC to fewer platforms will really produce greater (or even equal) effect, without any discussion of the costs of embracing these technologies and the structural implications for the armed services of such developments.

74. If, however, agility, adaptability and precision can be provided with fewer platforms, as the White Paper indicates will be the result of current thinking, why not enhance the existing number of platforms that we currently posses? This would ensure that not only can the UK Armed Forces be agile, but also that they can actually be so in more than two and a half places at once. In recent times it has been clear that MoD has been unwilling to commit to new operations until existing commitments have been either scaled-back or relinquished—a function of the number of platforms (and troops) available, not simply their relative adaptability and capacity for precision. Therefore, reducing numbers of platforms simply because they are individually more capable does not necessarily make the UK Armed Forces able to do more. It might, in fact, leave the UK able to do fewer things—albeit more effectively. We believe that a policy of reducing the existing number of platforms in advance of acquiring the new capabilities (and of demonstrating their effectiveness) is potentially dangerous.


75. Sir Kevin Tebbit accepted in evidence to us that the Armed Forces have been asked to do a great deal in the period since the original SDR and that operational tempo has stretched service personnel.[75] It is therefore odd to find that the MoD solution is to say that platform numbers and people numbers are less important than before. Sir Kevin told us:

We need to move to a sense of defence effects, the effects we can create by our force structure rather than simply platform numbers and people numbers. It does not mean to say that numbers are not important, but they are no longer the driving measure of defence capability that they were.[76]

76. The logic might be easier to accept if there was a sense, as there was after the end of the Cold War, that we had too many platforms with capabilities we no longer needed in such numbers. But in fact boots on the ground, ships off the littoral and airborne platforms overhead will need to be present to deliver the effect. The First Sea Lord commented:

…in the final analysis if you have got one of something it cannot be in two places at once it does become an issue in terms of numbers. [NEC] is not the absolute panacea to everything, there has to be a balance there.[77]

The former Chief of the Defence Staff, Lord Boyce echoed these sentiments:

however clever the new technology, it does not allow a unit to be in two places at the same time…much of the future hi-tech that is given so much hype is not suited for what goes on operationally for the vast majority of the time…mundane, albeit important, low intensity peace keeping tasks.[78]

77. We agree. The Committee has found no serving service personnel complaining of over supply of either platforms or numbers of personnel. Indeed, although the Secretary of State claimed in his appearance before us that Operation Fresco "had absolutely no effect on the numbers (of troops available for Iraq) at all",[79] our inquiry into Operation Telic and the effect of the fire-fighters dispute revealed that the Armed Forces were at the limit of what they could achieve with the numbers that they had. Network-enabled capability would not have delivered the effect to the fire fighters dispute any better if the numbers of troops had not been available. We concluded that:

Although the Armed Forces commitment to Operation Fresco did not prevent them from putting together an effective force package for the operation in Iraq, it did limit the total numbers. It also adversely affected some elements of the force (by for example requiring high readiness units to move at short notice from fire-fighting to deploying to Iraq). In the longer term it could have undermined the Armed Forces' ability to sustain combat operations.[80]

Overall, the demands that Operation Telic placed on UK Armed Forces in the context of other operational requirements were very close to the maximum that they could sustain.[81]

Furthermore, during our recent visit to Iraq, we were told in no uncertain terms that the men and women of the Armed Forces believed that Operation Fresco combined with Operation Telic had placed unsustainable and unreasonable burdens on them and their families.

78. The Secretary of State denied that he was intending to reduce numbers as result of NEC. Rather the intention was to "enable those armed forces to conduct a greater range of tasks". [82] CGS however admitted to us that reductions in the size of the army were being looked at and would probably happen, although they would be "relatively marginal".[83] However, in further questions it emerged just where the cuts could be expected—in the infantry. CGS told us:

The regimental system is bedrock to having the defining capability of the infantry which we have today…there is no guarantee…that the size of the infantry we have today is set forever…

Meanwhile, the Secretary of State indicated to the Committee that he did not have the same attachment to the existing regimental system as some of his predecessors:

the titles of regiments have been changed over the years, there have been amalgamations. I come from the East Midlands and the Sherwood Foresters have a very proud tradition but these days people do not join the Sherwood Foresters per se. Elsewhere in the East Midlands we saw the establishment of the Anglians who have very quickly established a proud tradition which is strongly supported. We are talking about recruiting 17-, 18- and 19-year-olds and sometimes that is overlooked in the debate about regimental loyalty. They are loyal to the regiment they join and that is the basis on which their loyalty continues.[84]

79. We accept that there is every justification in seeking to benefit from advances in technology to deliver decisive effect when it is required. However, we believe the UK's future security challenges, on the scale of effort envisaged, require the retention of the existing scale of forces, plus the benefits of network-enabling capabilities. Otherwise, the Armed Forces will be unable to operate without again placing unsustainable demands on service personnel.

80. Another important consideration appears to have been overlooked in much discussion of platforms—attrition. The UK has been fortunate not to have suffered significant losses in recent operations, but this is not something that should be assumed by defence planners. In the case of a relatively small-scale military such as the UK's this problem can rapidly become acute. If MoD continues to reduce the number of platforms to the bare minimum, the Armed Forces will become increasingly vulnerable to any significant losses. For example, if the Royal Navy was reduced to a fleet of destroyers and frigates in the low 20s, which may well be the result of the current review in MoD, it would only be able to provide a force of four or five vessels for regular deployment. In the Falklands campaign, the Royal Navy lost four ships sunk and four badly damaged, losses which today would be devastating. The First Sea Lord told us:

In terms of overall numbers…there are concerns if you go down below certain levels…If you get down to too low numbers and you have to get involved in something where [ships are lost] it becomes very significant.[85]

During Operation Telic, the loss of two Sea King helicopters in a collision removed a significant capability at a crucial moment in operations which had to be filled by other coalition assets. We asked CAS about attrition rates on a smaller number of platforms, as single role aircraft were replaced in favour of multi-role aircraft. He told us this was always considered as part of deciding on force packaging for each specific task.[86]

81. Below certain numbers of key platforms, force packaging for major operations would not leave enough for other enduring commitments if any significant attrition was suffered—a danger that should not be ignored. If today's Royal Navy suffered the sort of losses seen during the Falklands war during an operation, it appears to us that the UK would be left with a fleet barely able to support existing operational commitments. We believe that if the number of platforms in certain key areas (such as large surface ships) was significantly reduced, the UK Armed Forces would be vulnerable to any significant combat attrition in future operations. We have not seen evidence that this factor has been taken seriously enough into account by MoD in its approach to platform numbers.

82. To date, the adoption of network-enabled capability has suggested that the tempo of operations may well increase and with it the pressures on commanders in the decision cycle. The effect on UK forces therefore will continue to be "stretching" rather than less demanding. We are concerned that MoD continues to focus on platform numbers—only in reverse.

83. The dangers of being seduced by concepts of "rapidity", "tempo", "deep fire" and "full-spectrum dominance" and allowing technology to drive doctrine and force structuring appear to us to be significant. Situational awareness (knowing where you, your allies and the enemy are) is easier to achieve on a conventional battlefield—far harder in the complex urban and cultural environments where we are increasingly likely to ask our troops to deploy.

84. We believe MoD has not addressed the issue at the heart of effects-based operations—the difference between the "projection" of force and the "presence" of force. We fully support the idea of devoting further resources to enabling assets and achieving more deployable forces. We do not however believe this should be at the expense of reasonable scale. In high-tempo high-intensity operations (and in engaging targets of opportunity), projection forces may be sufficient. But as extensive peace support operational experience has demonstrated, the UK may also be called upon to provide presence and for that there is still no substitute for numbers. We believe that true effect is a product of quality and scale. Effects-based operations may in some circumstances reduce the required numbers of people and platforms, but they cannot be regarded as an all purpose substitute. Although there were no announced plans to reduce the size of the Army in the White Paper, the indications are that MoD is looking at cuts in the infantry and armoured units. We believe that any reduction in the establishment of the Army would be premature.

The balance of skills

85. Traditionally the armed services have argued that the skills of the war-fighter best equip service personnel to "scale down" to do other tasks. CDS argued that training separately for peacekeeping operations and war-fighting risked a two-speed military. CGS was adamant that:

you can always adjust from that war fighting standard, you can come downwards for less demanding operations, the reverse is arguably not true…if commitments are high it makes making people available for that sort of training…more difficult.[87]

86. We note the argument of the head of the Army, but believe that it highlights another problem with the White Paper. It articulates an overtly expeditionary strategy for the Armed Forces in the future, with an increasing emphasis on operational deployments, which are exactly the things that will make training cycles much harder to maintain in the absence of additional resources—which are unlikely to be provided. The result may well be a continuation of the post-SDR experience of excessive deployments breaching guidelines on avoiding excessive periods of deployed service, with resultant effects on stretch in the Armed Forces.

87. Effects-based operations will require a different approach to not only the centrality of war-fighting skills in the training cycle, but also the appropriate balance of skills provided in pre-deployment training before operations. The UK Armed Forces may have to be trained to scale up to (or at least across to) effects-based operations, not down from war-fighting. Effects-based operations will require skills not of a lower order than those associated with war fighting, but in addition to those war fighting skills—a point we do not believe has been sufficiently recognised.

88. We understand the necessity of placing high intensity war-fighting at the heart of military training, but question whether the continued emphasis on war-fighting skills is the correct way of approaching the challenges of effects-based operations. We recognise that while effects-based operations may alter the balance between capabilities, the concept does not do away with the need to have armed forces that can fight wars of the most demanding type. However, in the wider strategic context, effects-based operations place new demands on individuals at all levels to understand the impact of their actions. We question whether the current emphasis on training for war, supplemented by limited pre-deployment training which hone skills for peace support operations, are adequately equipping our service personnel for these much wider demands. The current preoccupation with speed, agility, parallel operations, decisiveness and tempo misses a vital human aspect of effects-based thinking, which has significant ramifications for the way we train our Armed Forces. We are not convinced that these have been adequately addressed by the White Paper.

89. Opponents initially defeated in conventional terms have often gone on to regroup and present a continuing threat prevail later. In what are likely to be increasingly complex, often urban operations, the "deterring" and "coercing" described in the White Paper, will require a sophisticated understanding of the psychology of the enemy and the population within which they may be hiding. This understanding is less likely to be enhanced by rapid decision-making and urgent operational tempo, than by long, thorough, patient and careful engagement with the civilian population. The British have shown themselves capable of this sort of activity, for example in the tremendous work being undertaken by the Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan, which have led the way in cross-department effects-based thinking. But they have depended upon resources on the ground, not technological solutions to political problems in an insecure environment. Much of the talk about effects-based operations and network-enabled capability is still stuck in the world of kinetic effect and physical destruction, with the higher order psychological effects remaining elusive. The skills we are asking of our Armed Forces in support of these operations are of a significantly different and additional nature to what has previously been asked of them, even for war-fighting and to ignore this risks sending them unprepared into complex and dangerous situations.

90. Effects-based operations are going to require whole scale changes in how militaries operate and structure themselves and while the White Paper hints at this, it offers little guidance on how it intends to get there. We were surprised to hear from CDS that he did not expect the White Paper to have significant consequences for how the Armed Forces approach recruitment and training:

I do not see the White Paper or anything that we intend to do is going to materially change the sort of things that we do at the moment…[provided] you have the right training regime and…the right training facilities, it is not difficult.[88]

91. We believe that the advent of true effects-based operations may have very significant implications for the nature of military training and indeed on the structure of the Armed Forces.

56   DWP 1, para 4.4.  Back

57   Ibid., p 3, fn 2. Back

58   DWP 1, para 4.7. Back

59   HC 93-I (2002-03), para 97. Back

60   DWP 1, 4.3. Back

61   Defence Committee, A New Chapter to the Strategic Defence Review: Government response to the Committee's Sixth Report of Session 2002-03, Third Special Report of Session 2002-03, HC 975, para 37. Back

62   DWP 1, para 4.5. Back

63   Sun Tzu, The Art of War, (c.453-221 B.C.). Back

64   DWP 1, para 4.3. Back

65   HC 57-I (2003-04), paras 517-8. Defence Committee, Third Report of 2003-04, Lessons of Iraq, HC 57-I, II & III. Back

66   Heridon, et al 'Effects based operations in Afghanistan', pp 26-30, Field Artillery, (Jan-Feb 2004) p 30. Back

67   Walker, Michael, 'Delivering Security in a Changing World: Annual Chief of Defence Staff Lecture, December 2003', RUSI Journal, (February 2004), p 39. Back

68   HC 93-I (2002-03), para 89. Back

69   HC 635 (2003-04), para 33. Back

70   Ibid. Back

71   Anthony H. Cordesman, The Iraq War, Strategy Tactics and Military Lessons, (Washington, 2003) p 29.  Back

72   HC 57-III (2003-2004), Q 1672. Back

73   Speech to Durham University Union Society (30 October 2003), Back

74   Sir Kevin Tebbit to PAC, Q 171,HC 273-I (2003-04), 21 January 2004. Back

75   Defence Committee, Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts, 12 May 2004, HC 589-I, Q 45. Back

76   Sir Kevin Tebbit, Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts, 12 May 2004, Q 29. Back

77   Q 71 Back

78   HL Deb, 24 March 2004, col 726 Back

79   Q 149 Back

80   HC 57-I (2003-04), para 56 Back

81   Ibid., para 57 Back

82   Q 106 Back

83   Q 230 Back

84   Q 137 Back

85   Q 244 Back

86   Q 208 Back

87   Q 56 Back

88   Q 40 Back

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