If COVID has taught us anything is that no issue, framework or environment is permanent; all that exists is subject to change. However, the rate at which things do transform has exponentially increased in the span of mere decades. The current context is characterized by disruptive technologies –such as artificial intelligence or quantum computing–, new types of threats and asymmetric conflicts –including the emergence of non-state actors–, and global trends –like climate change and mass migrations– that will impact our lives in ways not yet imagined. Emerging risks require immediate response capacity so, in order to be prepared, the Spanish Armed Forces have devised a new concept of military planning: Fuerza 35.
Fuerza 35 is a long-term project intended to transform and optimize the land forces of the Spanish Army with a planning horizon of more than 15 years. This new notion, first presented in 2018, has been designed to increase interoperability with allied powers both in the European Union and inside NATO, to adjust to the emergence of disruptive technologies –which are being developed mainly in the civil sector and thus open to anyone, including the enemy–, and to adapt the acquisition process of the Armed Forces to the currently much shorter innovation cycles. The Army has structured the transformation in three stages. These do not necessarily need to be successive, and, at some point, they will even overlap. The first one, which goes until 2024, is the conceptual phase. The second one, until 2030, is for experimentation. Last but not least, the third one is the implementation stage, which will extend to 2035.
Transformation will eventually reach every unit, although it will start with what is known as “Brigada 35”. The Brigade 35 is the reference unit for this concept: it needs to be prepared and trained so as to enter combat directly. Its main feature is that it will be based on technology, with an organic structure that integrates all combat functions at a tactical level, offering greater combat power with lesser number of personnel. Every brigade will encompass around 2.800 soldiers, divided in three Combat Groups (CGBT) with one Core of Brigade Troops (NTB). Each Combat Group will be an Infantry Battalion Unit reinforced with the necessary support for the accomplishment of the mission assigned, like Intelligence. The Core of Brigade Troops will gather all the operational units of the Brigade necessary in the inter-weapon combat, such as Artillery or Logistics. The Brigade
«Rey Alfonso XIII», the 2nd of la Legión, has been chosen as Experimental Brigade 2035 by the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces. All of the findings will be gradually applied to all the Army Brigades, which will transform into the new model in a cyclical way.
In order to operate with our allies on equal terms, both today and in the future, military programs need to increase their flexibility so as to integrate the latest technological developments. Fuerza 35 has been the response of the Joint Command to the current everchanging environment, a place where military operations will be conducted simultaneously in different domains (land, air, sea, space and cyber). This radical transformation will help ensure that the Spanish Armed Forces of the 21st century are equipped with the necessary skills, strategies and means to fulfill their most important duty: the protection of Spanish citizens and their interests.