Traditional warfare techniques are on their way out but should not be abandoned completely, according to the UK’s General Sir Mike Jackson.

Speaking at DSEi in London, General Jackson, the former UK Chief of the General Staff, says the original state-on-state conflict is a thing of the past and warfare is now between individuals.

“If you cannot beat them conventionally, for example countries such as the United States, you’re pretty foolish to even try,” Sir Jackson says.

“Do it another way, do it in a way that they don’t like and do it in a way which hurts – I think that’s what we’re seeing at the moment.”

Sir Jackson says it is still important, however, for national security to retain the ability to engage in traditional warfare.

“A conventional war fighting capability is bedrock and it’s from that that you develop and modify your other capabilities,” Sir Jackson says.

“You can adapt a peacekeeping force from a war fighting force – the reverse is very difficult and takes a lot of time.”

Sir Jackson also pointed out that, unlike in the past where battles were fought over territory, wars are now fought over ideologies.

“Terrain in itself is rather less important and the centre of gravity of this new era is a battle for ideas, attitudes, perceptions, values and ways of life.”

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh