Page 86 - The Chapka 2016
P. 86

  The Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Analysis
The Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research (or more generally ‘the CHACR’) is a new organization formed by CGS in 2016 as the Army’s own ‘think tank’, with the intent of reinforcing the conceptual component of fight- ing power and supporting his effort to drive new intellectual rigour into the Army’s conduct of all its business.
The CHACR is based in Robertson House (formerly the Army Staff College) at Camberley. Students of Lancer history will know that the building is named after Field Marshal Sir William Robertson, who joined the 16th Lancers as a trooper, was commissioned from Staff Sergeant and finished his ser- vice as Chief of the Imperial General Staff during most of the First World War. This remarkable man is, and will surely remain, the only British soldier to have gone from OR1 to OF10. The building sits alongside the General Staff Centre and Centre for Army Leadership, although unlike them the CHACR it is not part of the Sandhurst Group. Instead the CHACR reports to Director Strategy in the Army Headquar- ters, although part of its remit is to be an independent voice offering new insights and an ability to challenge established policies and thinking. For this reason its Director is a con- tracted civilian, although Dr Andrew Sharpe will be known to many as a retired Major General. He heads a small team of three military staff and three academics, whose job it is to act as a hub for scholarship and research across the Army. This involves extensive external engagement to harvest thinking on Defence by Universities and think-tanks, conducting its own research programmes and supporting internal thinking whether by teams or individuals.
To date the CHACR’s principal outputs have been a series of study days that have brought external speakers together with senior members of the Army’s leadership and staff to examine such diverse subjects as the ‘whole force approach’, the resur- gence of Russia, ‘warfighting at scale’, deterrence, maximizing talent and UN operations, many of which are themes central to CGS’s Army narrative. However, from 2017 the CHACR will focus increasingly on research programmes supporting: current operations in the Middle East; land force development (through Exercise AGILE WARRIOR) and; the reconstitution of mass to deliver warfighting capacity. Alongside this work the CHACR will be reaching out to wider audiences through a series of speaker events at the Churchill Hall at Sandhurst and ‘road-shows to brigades and units across the Field Army; [indeed we are due to visit The Royal Lancers in April 2017.]
The CHACR is a small and novel enterprise, but it is intend- ed to be a catalyst for fundamental changes in the way the Army and its workforce think about the profession of arms and the future. Consequently, there are increasing numbers of opportunities for individuals of any rank to enhance their academic qualifications and reflect upon their professional business, whether through full-time or part-time study up to PhD level funded through the Higher Defence Studies Pro- gramme. There are also a number of Fellowships available at major ‘think tanks’ in London like Chatham House and RUSI. Already several Lancers have been beneficiaries of these opportunities and I would warmly encourage others to follow their lead. Any who are interested should refer in the first place to the DIN or call the CHACR for further advice.
SO1 Fighting Vehicle Systems
– Defence Science and Technology Laboratories
Dstl remains a great place to work with variety and opportunity aplenty. All things related to mounted close combat, survivability and Sci- ence and Technology continue at pace. At a time of tightening budgets and scrutiny by HM Treas- ury, there is a constant desire to justify and confirm every decision made, however life is still fun.
In the field of armoured vehicles there is much go-
ing on. The new Mechanised Infantry Vehicle pro-
ject is underway and will eventually deliver an 8 x
8 vehicle for use within the Strike Brigades. The
question as to which vehicle, how many and at what
cost occupies much of the team’s time. The AJAX
family of vehicles get ever nearer their production
timetable. There are many issues still to be ironed
out and Dstl collaborates closely with DE&S to identify where the contractor still needs to meet the Army’s requirement. At the heavier end of the fleet, Challenger 2 Life Extension Pro- gramme has been awarded to two ‘primes’ to produce contenders and Dstl is assisting with the assessment of their bids and pro- viding technical advice. Meanwhile, Warrior 2 moves forward in its demonstration phase prior to a decision to manufacture.
The world of survivability is also busy. The need for active protection to defeat anti-tank missiles grows ever stronger and effort is ongoing to look at both soft-kill and hard-kill systems. Better cam- ouflage, better armour, better paint and many other areas are also being examined. Every week is differ- ent and challenges are presented every day.
We continue to do a lot of research in conjunction with industry and academia on future vehicle sys- tems. Of note, is work with QinetiQ and Thales on how we improve the lot of vehicle crews in urban areas where operations are especially challenging. We are also looking at how we improve the integra- tion between mounted and dismounted close com- bat with better situational awareness. In the longer
term, the question of what to replace CR2 and WR with is being investigated with the Future Ground Combat System project.
Outside the office, the wearing of Lycra continues from time to time and I have qualified as a military ski instructor. I am therefore selflessly ready to offer my time to anyone needing me to deploy to the Alps on Adventurous Training... [ed. standby!]

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