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05/08/2003

Britain's Defense Strategy Report, Part I

From time to time I have highlighted reports from the U.S.
Central Intelligence Agency, or other strategic policy reviews.
This week we’ll take a look at a report put out by Britain’s
Ministry of Defence (sic) and its Joint Doctrine and Concepts
Centre (JDCC). I wouldn’t have known of this had it not been
for an article I read by Andrew Chuter in Defense News, but
while much of the following themes have been touched on before
in this space, as well as in my “Week in Review” column, it’s
always good to get a little different perspective.

Titled “Strategic Trends,” the JDCC identifies the defense and
security concerns for both 2015 and 2030, and was written prior
to the beginning of the war in Iraq. A large panel of experts from
a cross-section of Britain was assembled for the work. The
analysis is broken into seven dimensions: Physical, Social,
Science and Technology, Economic, Legal, Political and
Military.

Following are a few conclusions:

--The effects of global warming, including rising sea levels,
ozone depletion, local air, sea and land pollution, as well as
water scarcity will not be causes for concern from a global
security standpoint, though in the case of water, it may
exacerbate regional tensions.

--“Global demand for energy resources will increase
substantially due primarily to development and industrialization
in South and East Asia. There is little prospect of revolutionary
breakthroughs in alternative supplies. Renewable and nuclear
energy sources will remain of moderate importance but fossil
fuels, and particularly oil and gas, will remain dominant.”

--“Oil will remain available throughout the period of the study
but is likely to cost more and suffer larger price variations after
2015. Gas will become increasingly important, will remain
plentiful and probably experience fewer price variations. OPEC
will increase its share of world oil production to over 50% by
2015, enhancing its strategic leverage.”

--“Potential adversaries will seek to exploit mountainous areas to
lessen Western comparative advantage.” Western forces are
projected to continue to avoid large-scale conflicts in such
regions where possible.

--“Both chronic and infectious disease will remain a significant
drag on human well-being despite the advances foreseen in
biotechnology. Progress will be made but infectious disease will
remain a real threat to the poor of both the developed and
developing world.”

--“Russia is likely to suffer a population decline of 8-10% by
2015, including a 50% reduction in the military recruitment age
cohort, challenging its ability to man its armed forces.”
Devastating.

--“Western armed forces are likely to continue to avoid large-
scale combat in urban areas where possible.” Like I said, this
was written pre-Baghdad.

--“It is almost certain that the US will dominate technical
innovation in all areas, and particularly defence, until at least
2015 with the EU and Japan remaining major players. The West
will therefore retain its overall technical advantage in military
technology.” India and China are not expected to become major
competitors on this front until 2030. Personally, I disagree with
this conclusion.

--“Biological weapons will proliferate further and may become
more sophisticated after 2015 and tuneable (sic) with respect
duration, survivability, transmission, lethality, resistance to
medical countermeasures, and target specificity. At the same
time more effective countermeasures will become available in
terms of detection, protection, and treatment but there is likely to
be a lag before such countermeasures are derived. There will be
an increasing risk of biological weapons being used by terrorist
and non-state organizations.”

--“Nanotechnology is unlikely to mature until well beyond 2015.
It may then have significant implications for military technology,
particularly in the fields of faster information systems, new
sensor devices, smaller mechanical systems, and improved
material properties.”

--“Advances in military technology are likely to lead to wider
development and employment of electromagnetic and blast effect
weapons by 2015.”

We’ll take the above in a little different direction next week.

Brian Trumbore


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05/08/2003

Britain's Defense Strategy Report, Part I

From time to time I have highlighted reports from the U.S.
Central Intelligence Agency, or other strategic policy reviews.
This week we’ll take a look at a report put out by Britain’s
Ministry of Defence (sic) and its Joint Doctrine and Concepts
Centre (JDCC). I wouldn’t have known of this had it not been
for an article I read by Andrew Chuter in Defense News, but
while much of the following themes have been touched on before
in this space, as well as in my “Week in Review” column, it’s
always good to get a little different perspective.

Titled “Strategic Trends,” the JDCC identifies the defense and
security concerns for both 2015 and 2030, and was written prior
to the beginning of the war in Iraq. A large panel of experts from
a cross-section of Britain was assembled for the work. The
analysis is broken into seven dimensions: Physical, Social,
Science and Technology, Economic, Legal, Political and
Military.

Following are a few conclusions:

--The effects of global warming, including rising sea levels,
ozone depletion, local air, sea and land pollution, as well as
water scarcity will not be causes for concern from a global
security standpoint, though in the case of water, it may
exacerbate regional tensions.

--“Global demand for energy resources will increase
substantially due primarily to development and industrialization
in South and East Asia. There is little prospect of revolutionary
breakthroughs in alternative supplies. Renewable and nuclear
energy sources will remain of moderate importance but fossil
fuels, and particularly oil and gas, will remain dominant.”

--“Oil will remain available throughout the period of the study
but is likely to cost more and suffer larger price variations after
2015. Gas will become increasingly important, will remain
plentiful and probably experience fewer price variations. OPEC
will increase its share of world oil production to over 50% by
2015, enhancing its strategic leverage.”

--“Potential adversaries will seek to exploit mountainous areas to
lessen Western comparative advantage.” Western forces are
projected to continue to avoid large-scale conflicts in such
regions where possible.

--“Both chronic and infectious disease will remain a significant
drag on human well-being despite the advances foreseen in
biotechnology. Progress will be made but infectious disease will
remain a real threat to the poor of both the developed and
developing world.”

--“Russia is likely to suffer a population decline of 8-10% by
2015, including a 50% reduction in the military recruitment age
cohort, challenging its ability to man its armed forces.”
Devastating.

--“Western armed forces are likely to continue to avoid large-
scale combat in urban areas where possible.” Like I said, this
was written pre-Baghdad.

--“It is almost certain that the US will dominate technical
innovation in all areas, and particularly defence, until at least
2015 with the EU and Japan remaining major players. The West
will therefore retain its overall technical advantage in military
technology.” India and China are not expected to become major
competitors on this front until 2030. Personally, I disagree with
this conclusion.

--“Biological weapons will proliferate further and may become
more sophisticated after 2015 and tuneable (sic) with respect
duration, survivability, transmission, lethality, resistance to
medical countermeasures, and target specificity. At the same
time more effective countermeasures will become available in
terms of detection, protection, and treatment but there is likely to
be a lag before such countermeasures are derived. There will be
an increasing risk of biological weapons being used by terrorist
and non-state organizations.”

--“Nanotechnology is unlikely to mature until well beyond 2015.
It may then have significant implications for military technology,
particularly in the fields of faster information systems, new
sensor devices, smaller mechanical systems, and improved
material properties.”

--“Advances in military technology are likely to lead to wider
development and employment of electromagnetic and blast effect
weapons by 2015.”

We’ll take the above in a little different direction next week.

Brian Trumbore