Strengthening the Defence Sector through Circular Economy Initiatives

Circular economy principles are already widely adopted in the civil sector, however, the defence sector lags behind, facing several challenges that hinder its uptake. Western countries are increasing defence expenditures despite financial constraints, resulting in a steady rise in carbon emissions from military processes. Circular economy practices, which are not yet widespread in this sector, present an attractive long-term solution to both these concerns. In a turbulent security landscape, amid an environmental crisis, a shift from the ‘take-make-waste’ (Knight, 2023) approach to a circular economy model is crucial as it offers the sector economic resilience, autonomy, operational efficiency and civil-military synergies in times of instability, strengthening the sector overall. As the European Defence Agency argues, ‘strengthening Europe's security capabilities is a challenge that requires strategic planning and an efficient use of resources’ (Katainen, 2016). The Incubation Forum for Circular Economy in European Defence (IF CEED), established by the European Defence Agency in 2021, plays a crucial role in applying the circularity principles of the EU Green Deal to the European defence sector (European Defence Agency, 2023). The goal of the IF CEED is to apply principles and policies from the civilian sector to the defence sector, under the premise that a European circular economy can only be achieved through the participation of all sectors (European Defence Agency, n.d.). This paper starts with the definition of circular economy. It then analyses the current state of military expenditure and carbon emissions. Finally, it presents three project ideas of the IF CEED - Circular Data, Additive Manufacturing and Circular Materials for Textiles (European Defence Agency, n.d.) and the value they bring to the European defence sector.

Comments Off on Strengthening the Defence Sector through Circular Economy Initiatives

Echoes of the Cold War: Strategic Implications of Russia’s First Tactical Nuclear Drill Since Soviet Era

For the first time since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia announced the beginning of a two-phase tactical nuclear exercise in Southern Russia, near Rostov-on-Don and close to parts of Ukraine currently under control by Russian forces. The drills included the participation of Belarus troops and simulated the deployment of non-strategic nuclear weapons with the upgraded ‘Iskander ballistic missile systems and ‘Khinzal’ hypersonic missiles. Moscow states that the military drill is a direct response to 'militant statements' from Western leaders, especially from the United States, France and Britain, who have recently reiterated their continued financial and military support to Ukraine (Trevelyan, 2024). However, the pattern and timing of these exercises point towards a bigger strategic objective. Beyond the official statements, these exercises are a strategic move intended to intimidate the West and divide NATO from within. Russia is trying to demonstrate its nuclear capabilities and readiness, thereby frightening those Western countries who are showing support to Ukraine. The move serves as a message to NATO nations weighing further military aid in the region. These drills are going on against a backdrop of heightened global tensions, with nuclear language seeing a resurgence in international communication and collaboration. These exercises not only display military strength but also assess the extent to which Western nations are willing to stand up to or cooperate with Russia (Trevelyan, 2024). The paper will first detail the specifics of the Russian tactical nuclear exercise, explaining in depth the two phases that characterised this exercise, its motives and objectives. Then, the paper will assess potential future threats and analyse the strategic response of the West as it once again comes to terms with Russian nuclear rhetoric.

Comments Off on Echoes of the Cold War: Strategic Implications of Russia’s First Tactical Nuclear Drill Since Soviet Era

Mobilising Artillery – Developments, Challenges and the Russo-Ukrainian War

As a key instrument in the long-range destruction, neutralisation, and suppression of enemy positions, artillery has long been indispensable in warfare, evolving from early contraptions used to hurl rocks and shoot arrows to the modern battlefield’s exceptionally mobile and accurate cannons launching highly explosive projectiles (Defense Technical Information Center, 1983). On the modern battlefield, artillery possesses several unique abilities. It can operate close to and in cooperation with ground forces to destroy and degrade enemy ground capabilities near the front lines, its range allows it to target vast swathes of territory with heavy indirect fire, it can be operated day and night, is fairly mobile, and can be concealed to boost survivability (McGrath, 2013).

Comments Off on Mobilising Artillery – Developments, Challenges and the Russo-Ukrainian War

Ground Robotics in Modern Combat

The automation of military vehicles and systems has long been a feature of warfare, but the emergence and development of ground robotics are revolutionising modern combat. Since their deployment in conflicts such as in Afghanistan and Iraq, ground robots have evolved into increasingly capable and autonomous entities integrated into military operations (Rosenberg, 2024). Fuelled by recent conflicts such as the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the Russia-Ukraine War, which have highlighted the significant impact of military robotics on the battlefield, interest in the further development of this field continues. The development of unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs) has proceeded slowly, with ongoing challenges and questions surrounding their integration into military operations and ground forces (Gosselin-Malo, 2023). This paper aims to outline the advancements in ground robotics, explore the rationale for their increased proliferation in warfare, outline potential challenges in their widespread integration, and briefly analyse the deployment of such ordnance in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War.

Comments Off on Ground Robotics in Modern Combat

Ukraine-Russia Conflict Enters Third Year: Reflecting on Two Years of Warfare

The war between Ukraine and Russia has now entered its third year since Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a ‘Special Military Operation’ on 24 February 2022. The seeds of this conflict date back to 2014, when Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula in south-eastern Ukraine.

Comments Off on Ukraine-Russia Conflict Enters Third Year: Reflecting on Two Years of Warfare