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Paper Launch - The Future of the NATO Corps
The diminished expectation of large-scale warfighting in the wake of the Cold War, combined with the liberation from a rigid echelon system enabled by modern communications technology, has reduced the emphasis on the corps in Western militaries. The return of great power competition, however, has seen a renewed interest in corps-level command. But the corps’ tasks have evolved since 1991. The expanded range and precision of fires makes divisional headquarters and enablers increasingly vulnerable, requiring them to be lean tactical formations. This pushes a greater planning, sustainment and force protection burden on the corps, which is likely to also be the echelon at which tactical multi-domain deep effects are coordinated.
RUSI is launching a paper that considers the capabilities that the future corps will require and the challenges in rationalising the corps echelon within NATO. It argues that overcoming interoperability challenges requires extensive exercising with subordinate formations, which necessitates a shift in NATO from ‘rapid reaction’ to being ‘long prepared’. At the launch event the authors, Lt Gen (Retd) Sean MacFarland and Dr Jack Watling, will share their findings.