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Discussion Meeting
Brigadier (Retd) Ben Barry, Senior Fellow for Land Warfare, IISS
Arundel House, London
Wednesday 08 May 2013, 12-1pm

Hard Fighting, Hard Times, Hard Choices: Strategic Challenges Facing Modern Armies

Land warfare has been the predominant form of armed conflict since 9/11. Meeting the unforeseen challenges of countering insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan required the land forces of the US and its allies to adapt, making changes as great as those made in the world wars. Many of the tactical and technical lessons of these wars are of wider utility, as are lessons of land wars in Georgia, Lebanon, Gaza, Libya and Mali.

All armies have finite financial and human resources and the costs of military equipment and professional soldiers are continually increasing. This event will show that modern armies face many common challenges, particularly the hard choices about which capabilities to field in the future. These decisions will be particularly difficult for US, NATO and European armies that face a general loss of confidence in the utility of force, scepticism about the value of ‘boots on the ground’ and reducing defence budgets. And the shift of geo-economic power and influence towards the BRICS nations and Asia-Pacific will have implications for these regions’ armies. 

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Ben Barry is a former British Army officer. The author of A Cold War; British Operations in Bosnia, his previous appointment was to analyse the lessons of British Army operations in Iraq.

This meeting was chaired by Adam Ward, Director of Studies IISS. It took place in the fourth-floor Council Room at Arundel House.

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The Military Balance 2013

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