Sunset to Sunrise: From the Age of Armour to the Digital Age

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Sunset to Sunrise: From the Age of Armour to the Digital Age

30th March 2021 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

In the wake of the UK Government’s Integrated Review and accompanying Defence Command Paper, the UK Armed Forces are set to undergo a seismic structural change in how they operate. In particular, the British Army is to significantly reduce troop numbers in addition to a reduced heavy armour capability. However, there is more funding available for the emerging domains of space and cyberspace, to complement an increased pioneering of artificial intelligence and robotics – the so-called sunrise capabilities.

Unveiled last year by the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, the new Integrated Operating Concept is envisaged to gradually reduce the so-called sunset capabilities of conventional troop numbers and armour capability. They are to be replaced by the emerging sunrise capabilities, in order to refocus on the wars of tomorrow. However, as recent conflicts have amply demonstrated, conventional troop numbers and armour still reign supreme.

In this new digital defence age, where global pandemics, civil wars, migratory processes, and natural disasters all show no regard for artificial borders, the British Armed Forces must adapt, and adapt quickly, to this new globalised era where great state rivalry is the defining geopolitical characteristic. What balance then must be struck between these sunset and sunrise capabilities? And has the recent Defence Command Paper struck the right balance?

The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to this timely and informative debate, where we will be joined by three renowned expert speakers to discuss the recently unveiled Integrated Review and Defence Command Paper. We will discover what challenges and opportunities this brings to both the UK Armed Forces, but also to British defence strategy going forward.


Dr Simon Anglim is a teaching fellow and military historian at King’s College London. He previously taught at Brunei University and in the Sultanate of Oman. His research interests include insurgency and counterinsurgency, the strategy and history of special forces and unconventional warfare from the Second World War to the present.


The Rt. Hon. Tobias Ellwood MP is a British Conservative Party politician, soldier and author. He served in the Royal Green Jackets and reached the rank of Captain. He currently serves as the Member of Parliament for Bournemouth East and served as a UK Government Minister at the Ministry of Defence from 2017 to 2019. He has been the chair of the Defence Select Committee since January 2020.


Dr Jack Watling is Research Fellow for Land Warfare at the Royal United Services Institute. Jack has recently conducted studies of deterrence against Russia, force modernization, partner force capacity building, the future of corps operations, the future of fires, and Iranian strategic culture. Jack’s PhD examined the evolution of Britain’s policy responses to civil war in the early twentieth century. Prior to joining RUSI Jack worked in Iraq, Mali, Rwanda, Brunei, and further afield.


Rob Clark is a Research Fellow for the Global Britain Programme at the Henry Jackson Society. He completed a BA in International Relations and Arabic (First Class Honours) at Nottingham Trent University, and an MA in International Conflict Studies (Distinction) at King’s College London. Robert’s main research interests include emerging technologies within defence, alliance building and the trans-Atlantic partnership, and authoritarian threats to the global order. Robert’s most recent publications include for the NATO Defence College and Civitas. He has regularly submitted evidence for both the Defence and Foreign Affairs Select Committees, and is a regular contributor for the UK Defence Journal, in addition to writing for The Telegraph, CapX, and The Wavell Room. Robert served for nine years in the British Army, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.


You can RSVP for your tickets HERE



30th March 2021
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm


United Kingdom


Henry Jackson Society
+44 (0) 20 7340 4520


Dr Simon Anglim, Tobias Ellwood MP, Dr Jack Watling, Rob Clark


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