The British Army’s latest plan to update its military forces – Future Soldier – is the most ambitious for a generation and more. It lays out the blueprint for a key part of British strategy and foreign policy for decades to come – if things go well, that is.
But as Clausewitz knew, there should be a warning attached. Military plans tend not survive the first few moments of contact with the enemy. Most of the big UK strategic reviews, and defence white papers have been overtaken within a year or so. Most famously the John Nott white paper ‘The Way Ahead’ of 1981 was blown apart by the Falklands conflict a year later – and that forced a reversal in cuts and a re-orientation to a less continental and more oceanic defence and security policy.