Lieutenant General Sir David Capewell (Ret)

Former Chief of Joint Operations British Armed Forces

Conference Day One

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

12:00 PM SHAPING THE UK’S AMPHIBIOUS CAPABILITY: THE FUTURE OF BRITISH LITTORAL STRIKE OPERATIONS, AND THE FUTURE COMMANDO FORCE

This panel discussion brings together the officers at the forefront of the UK’s rapidly changing littoral/amphibious strike capability. This panel will talk through the developments in UK thinking around the future of its amphibious capability; practical developments on the road to achieving the Future Commando Force; and the further definition of future requirements.

Key questions covered will include:

  • The future of the Littoral Strike Ship
  • Doctrinal/organisational changes in the way the Royal Navy and Marines operate
  • How the Future Commando Force will meet the A2AD threat
  • Deploying amphibious forces in the face of aggressive peer/near-peer actions


2:30 PM CONNECTORS PANEL DISCUSSION: THE UTILITY OF ORGANIC AVIATION AS PART OF THE JOINT FORCE APPROACH TO COUNTERING THE A2AD/CIADS CHALLENGE

Anti-Access and Area Denial (A2AD) and modern close-in air defence system (CIADS) present a challenge for amphibious forces and joint forcible entry operations (JFEO) in mutually contested
spaces. The realities created by the proliferation of precision long-range fires, mines, and other smart-weapons must be accepted and innovative ways to overcome those threat capabilities must be sought.

Troops making landfall in the amphibious operations of today do so in much the same way that their grandfathers and great-grandfathers did during World War 2: via amphibious assault vehicles and landing craft. Today, we can add air-cushioned vehicles to these modes of transports, along with rotary-wing aircraft. But the fact remains that the process of getting troops from ship to shore takes about as long today as it did in 1944 – but now our troops are faced with the additional challenge of the A2AD threat, which renders whole swathes of ocean impossible (or at least unreasonably costly) to navigate – and the traditional large, slow connectors unacceptably vulnerable on their approach to the shore. The challenge of meeting the ship-shore demand in an environment where there is an active A2D threat is therefore probably the greatest challenge faced by any amphibious force today.

This panel will look into the role of Organic Aviation in mitigating this threat, as part of a wider Joint Force approach. We will examine new technologies and new doctrines that are – or will – make it possible for amphibious forces to answer the ship-shore connector challenge, in the era of the A2AD threat.

  • Leaving aside the technologies of tomorrow, is there a ‘go-to’ approach for the application of organic aviation today which can mitigate the A2AD threat?
  • What is the likely contribution of UAS and EW technologies in reducing risk to not only the amphibious force itself, but also manned air platforms providing support to the landing force?
  • How can forces meet the connector challenge in environments where aviation is denied? Does the answer lie in light vehicles that can navigate A2AD detection systems undetected?
  • Unmanned systems offer the ability to deceive and misdirect using assets that can be risked, what role can robotics and unmanned systems play to deliver mass and lethality at reach on target?


5:30 PM INTERACTIVE CHAIRMAN’S CLOSING THOUGHTS AND KEY TAKE-AWAYS

Led by Sir David, this session will summarise the day’s central discussion points and highlight key take-aways. The session will include open discussion with delegates to round off a busy day and draw out some key lessons learned and challenges identifies.

Conference Day Two

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

10:00 AM THE CHALLENGES OF COMMAND AND CONTROL IN A CONTESTED AMPHIBIOUS ENVIRONMENT

This panel discussion brings together leading Marine officers and Army personnel, working on the leading edge of Amphibious and Information warfare. At a time of resurgent peer and near-peer threats, and a return to conventional operations, it is more important than ever that the joint force pursues closer communications integration – specifically, more cohesive command relationships, and information systems.

This panel will look at:

  • Setting out existing and emerging challenges, and their impact of amphibious operations
  • The role of (and need for) disaggregated communication with the amphibious battlespace
  • The organization of joint force command and controL
  • The role of information, as well as its maintenance and capture

2:30 PM MARITIME SPECIAL OPERATIONS

Maritime irregular warfare represents an enduring and mounting challenge as nations prepare to meet hybrid maritime threats. Amphibious forces and Special Forces are the first to respond to such activity, and so we are taking the opportunity here to examine the subject in greater depth in terms of specific mission requirements, geographical changes and humanitarian operations. Topics under consideration will include:

  • Understanding the future requirement of amphibious force for a range of missions
  • The importance of a flexible amphibious option within humanitarian missions
  • How sea-level rise will impact future maritime special operations

5:30 PM INTERACTIVE CHAIRMAN’S CLOSING THOUGHTS AND KEY TAKE-AWAYS

Rounding off two days of presentations and discussions, this session will summarise themes and trends identified over the two days as well as highlight key take-aways from the first day.

Sir David will takes put the amphibious capabilities that have been discussed into a wider view of force development. This session will lead into the wider implications for defence and implication for balanced investment decisions across the armed forces. Audience participation will be actively encouraged.

The session will also serve to provide some items to consider ahead of the Capability and Innovation sessions of the following day.

Conference Day Three: Capability and Innovation

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Check out the incredible speaker line-up to see who will be joining David.

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