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February 24th 2012 - Whither Warfare Conference helps British Army plan how to reinvigorate the Army Reserve

General Sir Peter Wall, Chief of the General Staff, writes today in The Times about how the British Army is responding to the vision for reserve forces to play a more significant part in the British Army’s future. To this end, CGS led a Whither Warfare conference this week organised for the Army by General Dynamics UK’s Research Foundation. Entitled “The Future Army Reserve”, the conference created valuable input for the Army as it develops its plans for the reserve, some of which General Wall published today in his Times article.p>

The conference was held at the Ministry of Defence on Whitehall, London and saw involvement bykey participants in the discussion such as Commander Land Forces General Sir Nick Parker; a number of regular and reserve Major Generals including the Duke of Westminster, Deputy Commander Land Forces; MPs including Mark Lancaster, who currently serves in the Territorial Army and sits on the Armed Forces Bill Select Committee, plus Julian Brazier and Madeleine Moon, who both sit on the House of Commons Defence Committee. Senior mentors at the conference were Sir Ian Andrews, former 2nd Permanent Under Secretary at the Ministry of Defence; Professor Hew Strachan who is Chichele Professor of the History of War at All Souls College, Oxford University; and Major General Per Ludvigsen, Inspector General Defence Command Denmark.

Attendees at the conference probed the issues to be addressed to enable the re-sizing of the regular Army to 82,000 by 2020 and the compensating increase in the Reserve, covering both the effect on the Army itself but on its relationship with industry and the MoD.

“We have held several Whither Warfare conferences with the Army, some on narrow topics such as equipment, but most covering wider issues like officer development, conflict prevention, enabling operational command, as well as this latest on the Future Army Reserve,” said Dr. Sandy Wilson, president and managing director of General Dynamics UK. “Learning about and understanding the Army’s views on these issues in an open forum helps us and the wider defence industry understand the future shape of defence. This week’s conference will have wide-reaching implications for industrial engagement in the future.”

As well as organising the conference itself, General Dynamics UK played a key part in facilitating the gathering of participants’ inputs using an interactive feedback tool that enabled all members of the audience to contribute ideas and views as the conference progressed.

Closing the day, General Sir Nick Parker, Commander Land Forces, said that the passion and commitment shown by participants at the conference was hugely encouraging.

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