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Future military capabilities

Published: Friday, 19th December 2014

The conference report following the recent Ditchley conference, “Future military capabilities and their uses”, held at Ditchley Park earlier in December is now published.

Ditchley conferences often range widely and this one was no exception. Participants spent more time on the context and the nature of the threats we face than on the kinds of equipment we might need to combat them. But this partly reflected the widely differing defence needs and perceptions across the countries represented in the room, and in particular the significantly different situations in Europe and Asia, the two regions on which most time was spent. There were nevertheless interesting common reflections on the relative importance of technology and people, and the need for hard choices when few if any countries can afford to go for full spectrum capability.

There was also a common interest in the difficulty of persuading politicians and public of the need to keep up defence capability, and the provision of resources accordingly, and the requirement for a properly convincing narrative to this effect.

Those attending did not arrive at neat solutions for all the problems discussed, but some broad recommendations did emerge and are included at the end of the Note summarising the discussions.

To read the full report click here.