THE BLOG

British Forces Are Incapable of Acting as Extensions of Foreign Policy

21/07/2014 15:22 BST | Updated 18/09/2014 10:59 BST

Geopolitical fall out emanating from the crash of flight MH17 is yet to be fully realised. A definitive truth of the circumstances surrounding what transpired has not been fully consolidated. In such situations the dark arts of assessment and guesswork are at the forefront of all deliberations surrounding the deaths of nearly 300 people.

Many believe separatists fired an anti-aircraft weapon system, which then brought down an aircraft they'd initially believed to be a Ukrainian military flight. One suspected weapon is the BUK launch system.

The term 'effective use' doesn't necessarily mean being able to operate something to a high standard. The effective use of a rocket is to destroy something, which in the case of MH17 is exactly what is suspected to have happened. This may negate some arguments regarding the level of training required to operate such a device.

As recently as five years ago the British Army used GENFORCE to train military intelligence Analysts. Based on historical cold war - basically Russian - formations and equipment, it was a tool utilised to fine tune the assessment and conjecture of trainee Intelligence Corps Junior Non-Commissioned Officers.

Since then, training has focussed more towards the counter-insurgency (COIN) operations of Iraq and Afghanistan. After becoming immersed in a campaign war footing of enduring COIN operations in the middle-east, the Ministry of Defence stands downwind from a crossroad of choice.

Continuing prospects of 'Cold War 2', highlights that defence mentality in the UK needs to decide whether it continues down the counter-insurgency rabbit hole or re-learns what was once considered to be its bread and butter. With a depleted regular armed forces - post SDSR - and a lack of volunteers for the reserve forces, it's unclear whether they can do either of these two options.

At this current time, our armed forces can no longer act as extensions of British foreign policy when we may need them to.

Despite these international and strategic concerns, grieving continues for the families, friends and associates of nearly 300 people. Such events are beyond tragic, even for people not directly connected with those who died aboard flight MH17.

Whether a family member or merely a fellow football fan, you don't need a direct link with the deceased to feel a sense of horror or outrage; that very fact simply makes us human. Yet the national security implications of a second cold war, still loom on the horizon.