We need soldiers, not robots: British Army's plea for new recruits

Campaign comes as defence spending is set to be raised by £50bn over the next decade

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The British Army has launched a recruitment drive featuring robots as defence spending is set to be increased due to the war in Ukraine.

The campaign, called "Nothing Can Do What A Soldier Can Do", contains the message that humans, not machines, are the soldiers of the future.

A one-minute video advert uses CGI software to create a dystopian future where a robotic soldier scouts the terrain of a conflict zone.

The ending shows that while technology is important, only soldiers can make instinctive decisions on the ground in a conflict zone.

As part of the drive, striking images of soldiers and robots will be displayed on billboards. The video will be shown in cinemas, on television and online.

The campaign is the sixth iteration of the "This is Belonging" series developed by Accenture Song together with Capita and the British Army.

It comes following after a Nato summit in Madrid, where alliance members agreed to address the threat of Russia and boost the number of troops stationed in Europe.

On Thursday, the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson promised a further £55 billion ($66.8bn) in defence spending over the rest of the decade in response to the threat posed by Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Mr Johnson committed Britain to increasing defence spending to 2.5 per cent of gross domestic product by the end of the decade and encouraged Nato allies to boost their own military budgets.

He made the pledge after public lobbying from Cabinet ministers Ben Wallace and Liz Truss.

The British Army has launched a new recruitment campaign which says recruits will play an important role alongside other technology. PA

Meanwhile, the UK has promised an extra £1bn of military aid for Ukraine and Mr Johnson said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s forces had to be supported to take back occupied territory.

Col Nick Mackenzie, assistant director of recruitment, said that the campaign was meant to “dispel myths” surrounding the British Army.

“We want to tell future recruits that no matter what technological advancements we make, it is the judgment, intelligence and even the wit of our soldiers that is indispensable to the future of the army”, he said.

He hopes the campaign will lead to potential applicants seeing the army as a place they can “learn and grow, and be valued as an integral part in our future.”

Earlier this week, the new head of the British Army warned the armed forces that they must be prepared to “fight and win” to prevent the spread of war in Europe.

Gen Sir Patrick Sanders, the Chief of the General Staff, also said traditional warfare would remain crucial in any conflict, despite the recent emphasis on new capabilities, such as drones and cyber warfare.

“You can't cyber your way across a river”, he said in an address to the Royal United Services Institute think tank.

In a reference to the start of the First World War, Gen Sanders said that “this is not the rush to war at the speed of the railway timetables of 1914".

Instead, he said deterring Russia meant “more of the army ready more of the time”, from “the general in [the Ministry of Defence] main building to the young lance corporal in the barrack room; from the reservist on a weekend exercise to the civil servant in army headquarters”.

Updated: July 01, 2022, 11:08 AM