The Círculo Ecuestre held last Tuesday, September 19, the colloquium Army 2035: The Army that Spain needs, led by the Chief of Staff of the Army, Army General Mr. Amador Enseñat y Berea, highest authority of the Army of Earth.
After the welcome from Enrique Lacalle, vice president of the Círculo Ecuestre, the speaker began a conversation with the journalist and lawyer Ricardo Fernández Deu, who served as moderator of the event.
The dialogue began with an assessment of the evolution that the Spanish Armed Forces (FAS) have experienced since the transition. The General of the Army explained to the audience of the Círculo Ecuestre that "the FAS have evolved in step with Spanish society through important milestones such as full professionalization, incorporation into international security organizations and participation in international missions." Likewise, he added that "the entry of women into the FAS 35 years ago, joining all positions" has been a "differentiating fact in the evolution of the institution, compared to other Western armies in which the initiative has taken longer and It has been more progressive, reserving combat positions only for men.” Given this, the speaker highlighted that the result has been an organization with “highly trained men and women at all levels.”
Next, the moderator wanted to know how the Constitution has influenced the Spanish Army in recent years, to which the speaker responded that “it has served to perfectly fit the Armies into the structure of a democratic State, with full subordination to civil power, in which its members carry out the missions assigned to the service of Spain and all Spaniards without any distinction." For the protagonist of the talk, “the key to the success of current operations lies in the synchronization of all domains to achieve well-defined strategic and operational objectives”, which is why he pointed out that “the military component does not act in isolation”, making reference to the fact that “the State strategy is one of the tools and is complemented by diplomatic, economic, and information actions (DIME).”
After reviewing administrative and evolutionary issues of the Spanish army, Fernández Deu entered into one of the blocks of questions that caused the most interest to the Círculo Ecuestre audience: the European geopolitical situation derived from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Chief of Staff of the Army pointed out that the conflict “has returned to Europe the ghost of total war, which seemed distant” and valued that “the magnitude of the fighting that is taking place in Ukraine takes us back to the times of the cold war, which today is hotter than ever.” “Russia has proven to be a threat to its neighbors and to the alliances to which we belong (NATO, EU)”, he said.
Regarding Spain's position in the conflict, the highest authority of the Army pointed out that "Spain is, together with our allies, supporting the Ukrainian effort to defend its country, sending military material and training its forces." Likewise, he argued that “the Army must prepare and equip itself to act in the entire continuum of conflict, from competition to high-intensity war, through stabilization operations, action in the gray zone, or hybrid war, or counterterrorism”. For the highest authority of the Army, "this situation has made it necessary to define new domains, such as cyber, both for defense and attack, or cognitive, where information operations are focused."
One of the aspects that the protagonist of the colloquium wanted to focus on was new technologies and their impact on the character of war. For Mr. Amador Enseñat y Berea, “although in Ukraine new developments still coexist with traditional ones, it allows us to glimpse the enormous changes that the new systems are going to bring to the way we fight”, which is why he warned that this “will have an impact in our own organization and doctrine", although, in his opinion, "it remains to be seen how these changes will materialize, and how far we are willing to go to hand over decisions to automatic or AI-directed systems".
In the last part of the discussion, the moderator wanted to know his interviewee's opinion on the budgetary situation following the commitment of 2% of GDP in Defense investments. Enseñat y Berea explained that this budget increase “will put us on par with the countries around us and will provide our forces with the necessary capabilities to safely undertake current and future commitments.” “Spain could not remain behind all European and allied countries in defense investment.” “Security in Europe or Africa translates into security and well-being for our citizens here in Spain”, he added.
For the greatest exponent of the Army, “economic availability will allow programs to be relaunched to obtain long-required capabilities, thus eliminating weaknesses”. Additionally, he noted that it will help make “an effort to identify systems that will be necessary in future conflicts, many of which are a result of what we see now in Ukraine”. He also added that the 2% increase “will provide Spain with a solid, credible, well-equipped and trained FAS that ensure deterrence, stability, security and economic and social growth for our nation.”
Regarding how he sees the future of the Spanish Armed Forces, General D. Amador Enseñat y Berea, explained that “the Army is in a process of profound transformation, not only in material aspects, but in the culture of the organization itself, to be able to respond to current and future challenges.” In this way, he announced to the members of the Barcelona club that "the objective is for Spain to have the Army it needs, a modern, effective, integrated and sustainable Army, capable of acting in any situation that compromises the security of the Spanish people".