Category Archive : Uncategorized

This y-DNA project currently has 370 members. Only male testers who have done a Y-DNA test are eligible to join.

Thanks to the participation of the 370 male testers to date and the tireless work of administrators Joanne Cameron, Loraine Smith and Kim Taylor good progress is being made in identifying the various Cameron cadet lines with yDNA, and that is expected to continue as more men test. You should be aware that in order to determine if you match a particular cadet line, you will need to test at the highest level (BigY).

The goal of the project is the identification of the yDNA mutations that delineate the direct Lochiel line, the lines of the founding ‘tribes’ (Macgillonie, McMartin, McSorley), and the numerous cadet lines.

In addition, the aim is to identify and categorize the many yDNA signatures belonging to Camerons who are not descended from the line of the Chiefs or from one of the original ‘tribes’.

Lastly, evidence is sought that might validate or disprove any of the many legends regarding the origins of Clan Cameron. This necessarily involves analysis of results for other Clans that appear to have genetic links with the Camerons  (for Group A of the project, the main stem of the Clan, this is so far some MacPhees, some MacNabs, a group of Grants, and a small group of MacMillans).

Thanks to Project administrator Joanne Cameron who recently posted the following summary of findings to date.

Cameron yDNA Project findings to date.











There have been 9 new subclades downstream from R-A6138 (the Cameron defining SNP) in the last year. The advances in our understanding and better definition to the Cameron tree only comes about through the testing of the BigY700. If anyone is wondering what they need to do to advance their research of their family line then this is the way to do it. If you know of 3rd or 4th Cameron male cousins (the further out the better) then consider asking them to test also! The science really is doing all the talking and from here it can only get better! We currently have 4 BigY 700 tests in the works, it will be very interesting indeed to see what these tests reveal.








MacGillonie subclade.


Clunes subclade.












McMartin subclade, our largest pool of BigY 700 testers in the Project to date.



Congratulations to Commissioner for Clan Cameron in Australia,  Dr James Lachlan Cameron, who has been recently awarded the Doctor of Philosophy from the Australian National University.

James has been the editor of the Clan Cameron Australia newsletter since 2009, and was President of Clan Cameron New South Wales from 2009 to 2017.  He has attended Clan Cameron NSW and Scottish events since he was a teenager. James has had a keen interest in Clan Cameron and Highland history since a young age, and grew up in a family environment where they were definite influences.  His Cameron ancestors arrived in Australia on The Boyne in 1839, a voyage that carried over 250 Highlanders, including over 100 Camerons.  His Cameron grandfather grew up on a property 40kms north-west of Dubbo, NSW, and was a policeman.  His father was an economics teacher and horse breeder, and mother a French teacher.

James has had a varied career, from managing an American Express branch in Sydney, to teaching English in South Korea and Germany, to working as a policy manager for the Australian Automobile Association and with the Australian Institute of Building in Canberra.  From the start of 2016, he has taken on the new challenge of Executive Director of the Australian Construction Industry Forum.  For three years he has also studied and worked in Scotland and England.

James was born in and grew up mostly in Bathurst, New South Wales, but also attended Sydney Technical Boys High School for several years.  James undertook his undergraduate studies and Honours year at the University Of New England, Armidale, and Masters and je has recently completed his PhD at the Australian National University.

James’ doctoral thesis examined the electoral success of the Scottish National Party (SNP) across the first five elections of the Scottish Parliament from 1999 until 2016. The key findings of James’ study are that the SNP has been successful in Scottish elections primarily because of a process of professionalisation over several decades, opposition and governing competence, and effective leadership. The findings suggest that the SNP is no ordinary party, but a party that has and will play a pivotal role in Scottish, British, European and world history. James asserts that the success of the SNP undoubtedly has and will inspire nationalist and regional parties in other advanced countries.

A fan of country towns with heritage buildings, James currently lives in Goulburn, New South Wales, which is strategically located an hour’s drive from the work and study opportunities of Canberra, but relatively close to Sydney and hometown Bathurst.    When not working, studying and involved in clan matters, James likes to spend time with friends, learn languages (speaks fluent German, broken Gaelic, and some French and Dutch), read widely, travel, and watch the occasional film.

Members of The Highland Council’s South Planning Applications Committee have unanimously refused permission for a planning application from Inverness Paving Ltd regarding land at Treetop Stables, Faebuie, Culloden Moor, Inverness.

Councillors have refused the application for change of use from an equestrian centre to holiday, leisure and hospitality facilities including 13 lodges, cafe/shop, reception, laundry and restaurant.

Members unanimously approved a motion by Cllr Ron MacWilliam seconded by Cllr Carolyn Caddick to refuse the application which was contrary to officers’ recommendations to grant planning permission.

The Group to Stop Development of Culloden campaigners opposing Treetops Stables development have a hard fought win. Mary MacLennan, Kate McManus, Katrina Woods, Carolyn Seggie, Paul Jameson

Inverness Paving Ltd’s plans for a change of use from an equestrian centre at Tree Top stables in Faebuie to a leisure facility with 13 lodges, café/shop, laundry and restaurant were first rejected in May 2019, but reappeared a few months later with some alterations.

Full new plans were submitted in May this year, and attracted renewed protests and objections.

According to historians, the site was the staging ground for government troops preparing to do battle against the Jacobite army.

The first application was refused by the council under delegated powers on the grounds that it would not ‘preserve, enhance or develop’ the site, citing both the Highland-wide development plan and the Culloden Muir conservation area.
At the south planning meeting, councillors pointed out that the changes in the new plans were minimal, concerning the siting of lodges and access paths leading to them.

They raised numerous areas of concern, including road safety, tree management and ‘development creep’ in the extended battlefield area.
Local member Carolyn Caddick said: “All the information that’s come forward from the applicant is not suggesting anything different from the last application.
“There have been three to four thousand objections, including the two community councils, and Scottish ministers say if we move to approve they may call it in.

“This is a huge development where there should be no development.

“It will compromise and have a significant impact on the battlefield, a site of international and national importance.”

She went on to second a motion by councillor Ron MacWilliam to refuse the application based on a raft of policy contraventions.

Mr MacWilliam said: “This has got to stop somewhere. This battle took place over a wide area, you have to reasonable about where you’re allowed to build and not build, and we keep going back over it.

“I recognise the need for economic growth and the provision of tourist facilities, but this is a battlefield war grave, a place of quiet and we need to keep it intact.”

Core battlefield owners, the National Trust for Scotland welcomed the decision, and called for a national conversation about Culloden.

Phil Long, NTS chief executive said: “This is an excellent and wise decision by Highland councillors and we commend them for it.

Councillor Ken Gowans’ advocacy for the Culloden Battlefield conservation area and his staunch opposition to this project is also recognised and appreciated.

A photo montage showing Ken Gowans with the Culloden boundaries.

Cr Ron MacWilliam






Cr Carolyn Caddick


The Highland Council

Group to Stop Development at Culloden Moor – Facebook

A plan for a Culloden steading conversion re-appears after Scottish Ministers knocked back the proposals sparking the ire of campaigners trying to prevent battlefield developments

A drone image of the current steading

The man behind an award winning architectural practice has submitted an application for a similar project despite it already having been through the entire planning approval process only to be ultimately rejected by Scottish ministers.

Campaigners aiming to preserve the historic Culloden Battlefield have reacted with fury at the re-emergence of the plan to convert a steading on the battlefield into a large home.

It comes less than a month after being rejected by Scottish ministers and before Highland Council could even formally recognise that outcome at the next south planning applications committee on Tuesday.

Previously, it had been granted planning permission but the Scottish Government called it in to examine the council’s contested decision, a reporter recommended approval but in a final twist Scottish ministers rejected it.


But the man behind the development, architectural technician Mark Hornby of MRH Design, says the plans to create a U-shaped home at Culchunaig Steading have been greatly scaled back.

In a design statement, Mr Hornby said the new proposal took into account the objections of Scottish ministers and the revised plans mean that only the existing building is part of the development.

“The revised and scaled down proposal now submitted has taken the comments and findings of the Scottish ministers fully into consideration and has been guided by the concerns and issues raised,” he said.

“In particular, ministers considered that only the ‘sympathetic’ conversion of the existing steading would be assessed as acceptable.

“The proposal is now governed solely by a strict conversion and refurbishment of the existing building. The scope of development has been scaled down with only the existing building comprised within the development.”

The move provoked uproar from the Campaign to Stop Development at Culloden.

Group spokesman David Learmonth said: “This is a truly appalling case of the inability of Scottish planning law to preserve sites of national importance.

“It is beyond appalling that any Scottish battlefield, much less Culloden, denominated as ‘of national importance’ is given no more regard under standard planning laws as just any other piece of land within the nation.

“To date, Culloden Battlefield has already been encroached upon to the north (Viewhill) and further proposed developments to the east (a holiday park at Treetop Stables), south (Tannach, new house), south-west (Culchunaig, new house) and north-west (Muirfield, new house).

“Each and every one of these developments is located on strategic locations of Culloden Battlefield and threaten to destroy the integrity and archaeological features and remains.”

It is not known when the council will make a ruling on the application, which has received 18 objections.

On Tuesday, the south planning applications committee will also determine whether hugely controversial plans for 13 holiday lodges, a shop or café and restaurant at Treetops Stables will get the go-ahead. If councillors give conditional approval, Scottish ministers will be told and will decide whether to call it in for a final decision.

By Scott Maclennan –




Published: 17:30, 06 December 2020

Updated: 08:47, 07 December 2020

The Group to Stop Development at Culloden

An appeal from the Group to Stop Development at Culloden (GSDC) that a strong message needs sending that once planning permission is refused for any site within the Battlefield that decision must be considered Final. No more re-submissions of renewed plans within days of a refusal.

We need each and every GSDC member and friend to help us to send that message loud and clear. Anyone in the Highland region, Scotland or worldwide can do so. Currently there are just 19 objections on the new planning file for the house at Culchunaig.

HRH Prince Charles Edward Stuart took up a position during the latter stages of the battle of 1746 in the field just above the steading depicted in the photo. From there, ‘Prince Charlie’s Stone’ once stood.

If you need any help in writing your objection, please look up the GSDC objection that can be found in the comments section in the planning file (link here:…).

Please write to with your objection to planning application 20/04611/FUL.

Thank you for your support!

Group to Stop Development at Culloden Facebook


Campaigners fighting developments at Culloden face a fresh front after plans to build a house within the historic boundary of the battlefield were revived – just a week after Scottish Ministers took the unprecedented move of rejecting proposals for the site.

Owners of the steading at Culchunaig, which sits just south of the perimeter fence of the NTS-owned portion of the battlefield and where ‘major action’ on the Jacobite right wing unfolded during the battle in April 1746, have returned with a “scaled back” plan to develop the derelict building.

Their original proposals, which expanded the original steading with a contemporary design, was rejected by Scottish Ministers last month when they took the unusual decision to reject the Planning Reporter’s recommendation to approve the development.

The rejected house would lead to a “surbanising effect” of the landscape with the site highly sensitive to development given the “national historic significance” of the battlefield, ministers found.

The applicants have now come back with a new application for a more traditional design for the site.

A statement from the architects said: “The revised and scaled down proposal now submitted has taken the comments and findings of the Scottish Ministers fully into consideration and has been guided by the concerns and issues raised.

“In particular Ministers considered that only the ‘sympathtic’conversion of the existing steading would be assessed as acceptable.

“In particular, the proposal is now governed solely by a strict conversion and refurbishment of the existing building.”

The new design offered a more “sympathetic” to the historical setting and location of the building, the statement added.

Contemporary elements have been removed with the new design keeping to the original spaces for doors and windows. Exisitng slates will be used for the roof, instead of metal cladding.

Plans for new outbuildings, including a garage and summerhouse, have been scrapped.

Last month, the Group to Stop Development at Culloden hailed the “momentous turnaround of events” when Ministers rejected the design plan for Culchunaig.

Today, spokesman David Learmonth said the Government now had to step in and offer ‘meaningful’ long term protection of Culloden.

He said: “It is appalling that Culloden battlefield is given no more regard under Scottish planning law than any other ordinary piece of land.

“Highland Council, Historic Environment Scotland and National Trust for Scotland have ignored the GSDC, and failed together with the Scottish Government to define any meaningful mechanism to preserve this special location for future generations.”

He said the battlefield had been encroached on all sides by a number of proposed and approved developments.

“Every one of these developments is located on strategic locations of Culloden Battlefield and threaten to destroy the integrity and archaeological features and remains,” he said.

Meanwhile, Highland Council officials have recommended plans for a holiday park with 13 lodges and a restaurant at Faebuie, which sits within the Culloden Muir Conservation on Area and the historic battlefield boundary, are approved.

“It is time for the Scottish Government to take a definitive stance to recognise and implement measures to preserve the cultural and national significance of this historical site,” Mr Learmonth said.

An objection has been lodged by the Administrator of this website and can be downloaded at:  Objection to 20_04611_FUL_1 December 2020

The Highland Council planning website relating to this application can be found at

With acknowledgement and thanks to:

By Alison Campsie

Friday, 4th December 2020,


Congratulations and thank you to members of the Group to Stop Development at Culloden (GSDC) who can now rejoice, as can we all, on the unprecedented decision taken today by Scottish Ministers to refuse planning permission for the house at Culchunaig.

The proposed luxury house at  Culchunaig is marked number 8 on the GSDC map and is located on a hugely sensitive site within Culloden Battlefield.

A previous application was approved by Highland Council and the council was minded to grant the second application.

The GSDC worked hard to get the second application called-in by the Scottish Government, which happened.

An appointed Reporter then recommended that planning permission be granted.

This was overturned and the Scottish Ministers’ decision to refuse is final.



A momentous turnaround of events, and one that we all sincerely hope marks a new dawn for the protection of the Culloden Battlefield especially with still four live applications awaiting determination, including a holiday resort.

Congratulations again to all who objected, with special mention to Professor Christopher Duffy and Andrew Grant McKenzie.

Selected extracts of the Scottish Minsters decision follows.

Directorate for Local Government and Communities Planning and Architecture

Planning Decisions

17 November 2020





FARMHOUSE, WESTHILL, INVERNESS (‘the Proposed Development’)

  1. This letter contains Scottish Ministers’ decision on the above planning application

submitted to The Highland Council by MRH Design on behalf of ...(redacted)….

on 8 October 2018.

  1. On 21 November 2019, Scottish Ministers issued a Direction calling in the

application for their own determination. The Direction was given due to the

Proposed Development’s potential impact on Culloden Battlefield which is a

battlefield of national importance.

  1. Scottish Ministers do not accept the Reporter’s conclusions set out in Chapter 6.

Ministers consider that the Proposed Development would have an adverse impact on

the character of the inventory battlefield and would not preserve or enhance the

character or appearance of the conservation area. Ministers also consider that the

Proposed Development is not in accordance with the development plan overall, being

contrary to Policies 35, 28 and 29 of the Highland-wide LDP. The Proposed

Development is also contrary to the overarching principles of HEPS, in particular the

Managing Change in the Historic Environment: Historic Battlefields guidance note.

Accordingly, for the reasons set out above Scottish Ministers hereby refuse planning



Full details of the Scottish Ministers planning decision can be found at the following link:…/planning-decision-nod-hld-006/

The Group to Stop Development at Culloden Facebook link is:




Its fields are soaked in the blood of 1,500 men slaughtered in 1746. But now a planning row over luxury homes and lodges has sparked…

  • Scottish Daily Mail
  • 24 Oct 2020
  • By Jonathan Brocklebank

    The Battle of Culloden (Blàr Chùil Lodair) was the final confrontation of the Jacobite rising of 1745. On 16 April 1746, the Jacobite army of Charkes Edward Stuart was decisively defeated by a British government force under the Duke of Cumberland, on Drummossie Moor, now commonly known as Culloden Battlefield. It was the last pitched battle fought on British soil

At the visitor centre at Culloden, there is a space set aside for overcome tourists. Here they can take a seat and give all the images and emotions flooding into their brains a moment to settle.

Some report a state of near-paralysis after taking in the barren scene, near Inverness, where the destinies of a nation, its people and its monarchy were forged in an orgy of bloodshed.

Others, chatting nineteen to the dozen on arrival, are speechless on departure from the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) site.

For military historian Dr Christopher Duffy, a veteran of some 40 visits to the battlefield where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s pretensions to the throne were laid to waste in short order in 1746, even talking about it makes him shiver.

As battles go, Culloden was tiny,’ he says. ‘It was all over in an hour. The numbers involved were a tenth or a fifteenth of the numbers in the battles going on in Flanders between the French and the British at the time. But Culloden is the one people talk about.’

Culloden, he says, resonates like no other battle through the centuries and across oceans to Canada, the United States or New Zealand. It is ‘ground zero’ for generations of Scotland’s diaspora: what happened here is why they live where they do.

Little wonder so many overseas visitors are overwhelmed by the stillness, the undisturbed sense of place. It is quite a thought to reflect that their forebears may lie underfoot.

Some two-and-three-quarter centuries after Culloden, however, it is the battlefield itself which may soon be overwhelmed. d. Considered by many to be sacred d ground – indeed, a national war grave – it is viewed by others as prime real estate. Thus new battle le lines are formed between commercial interests and cultural ones, as arguments rage over where exactly the battle lines back in 1746 were.

For the commercially minded, the temptation is to invest in the idea of a ‘core’ battleground, all of which h is now owned and operated as a visitor tor attraction by the NTS.

But historians are convinced the battle was played out over a much wider area than that owned by the trust. Some say sending bulldozers s in is equivalent to razing a wing of a national archive.

‘The trouble, basically, at Culloden en is the people making the key decisions ions know nothing of history,’ says Dr Duffy.

Were it not for the fact that he is an Englishman conscious of the dangers of appearing to lecture Scots, his critique of the encroaching developments at Culloden would likely be yet more excoriating.

DR Duffy, who taught military history at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was secretary general of the British Commission for Military History, has written two books on the Jacobite Rising of 1745.

He describes Culloden as easily the most arresting of the 90 or so battle sites he has visited.

The site’s tragedy, he says, is that too many engage with it symbolically, while too few see it as a historical relic which, even today, is still giving up secrets. The fear is that these secrets may be concreted over for ever before we reach them.

It was in 2014 that the Scottish Government upheld an appeal by developers whose bid to build 16 luxury homes at Viewhill near the battle site was initially rejected by Highland Council.

Later the land was sold to Aberdeenshire-based Kirkwood Homes, which pressed ahead with the development despite vociferous protests.

The building site stood only a few hundred yards from the NTS visitor centre and fell within a red line boundary that was drawn by Historic Environment Scotland to represent the area in which the battle was actually fought.

But the government-funded heritage body offered no objection to the planning application, arguing that farm buildings had stood there previously and so the site had already been developed.

For objectors, there were two key issues. First, the site is a war grave.

It is well known that, as the defeated Jacobites dispersed they were chased and cut down by the Duke of Cumberland’s Hanoverian troops. They were buried where they fell or else left to rot.

THE second issue was the sure knowledge that, should this application succeed, more would follow. So it has proved. Next month, Highland Council’s south planning applications committee is expected to consider a bid to turn part of Culloden moor into a £1million leisure destination with 13 holiday lodges, a 100-seater café/restaurant, laundry and a shop.

Then there is an application to turn a farm steading near the battlefield into a luxury home complete with a Zen garden and ‘chill-out zone’.

It has been called in by the Scottish Government and a decision has yet to be made.

Andrew Grant McKenzie, a former manager at the NTS Culloden site, says these applications confirm the worst fears of those anxious to protect the battlefield.

He says: ‘As I forewarned the directors of the NTS in 2014 and the Highland Council in 2016, the floodgates have opened since the first big development on the battlefield gained its foothold at Viewhill in 2018. The sites of current development interest are all key tactical positions for both the Jacobite and Hanoverian armies’.

Treetops, particularly, is an area of ground in which decisions were being made about the pincer movement which was eventually set up with cavalry at Viewhill and Culchunaig.

‘It is, then, a mistake to suppose these proposals are for developments near the Culloden battlefield. Rather, they are on it.

But then, as Scotland’s foremost historian Sir Tom Devine has lamented, Scotland’s record in preserving sacred battle sites is a ‘wretched’ one.

At Bothwell Bridge in Lanarkshire, only one portion of the 1679 battlefield remains undeveloped and it was the subject of housing development applications in 2005 and 2013.

PLANS to widen and reroute the A9 will further erode what remains of the battlefield of Killiecrankie which, in 1689, was the scene of the first major skirmish of the Jacobite uprising.

The A1 bisects the battlefield of Dunbar, where Cromwell defeated royalist forces in 1650, and parts of the area near Musselburgh where the Battle of Pinkie was fought in 1547 have been given over to housing development.

Culloden was left as one of the very few remaining battle sites in Britain where, according to Dr Duffy, the landscape looked much as it did on the day when 1,500 of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s soldiers were hacked to death and the Jacobite rising routed.

Hence the eerie silence, the sense of awe, as visitors alight on one of the most pivotal patches of land in Scottish history.

What many fail to grasp, however, is there is historical knowledge yet to be gleaned from Culloden.

At his home in London, 84-year-old Dr Duffy has spent much of the past weeks drawing detailed maps of the battleground and tracing the paths of the Jacobite retreat.

Fresh discoveries about the battle are still being made, he says, and science and technology are combining to make further ones possible.

Are we really to brick over this precious portal to understanding?

Dr Duffy said: ‘From the very beginning Scots realised this was an event with major implications for their nation and culture, and the amount of literature available from eyewitnesses, people who kept records, memoirs and students of history ever since cannot be equalled by any other battle in the world in the 18th century. The very exciting thing is we’re finding out not just new evidence –old archival material is still coming to light – but new ways of looking at history are finding Culloden extraordinary important.’

Already, lidar scans – computer enhanced aerial scans which penetrate through vegetation to the ground below – have led to the discovery of clan graves at Culloden.

The ground is still giving up more and more evidence of kinds that we never suspected,’ says Dr Duffy, adding: ‘When it’s built over, it’s destroyed forever.’

In archaeology, he says, it is best practice to leave a patch of ground intact so that future diggers with more advanced methods will have undisturbed soil to work on.

This is made impossible at Culloden. The reason is not enough people are interested in the actual ground itself. Culloden is viewed very much in symbolic terms even by people who protest loudly about development.’

And yet, he suggests, ask them to engage in the history, in what actually went on here on April 16, 1746, and many of them ‘disappear into the night with a melodious twang’. That is not an accusation which could be laid at Joyce McKenzie’s door in Ontario, Canada. A long-term opponent of development at Culloden, she speaks of a collective failure by the Government and its agencies to protect the little patch of Scotland which means so much to her family history.

And she explains it thus: ‘In the end, money speaks louder than honour and respect for those who fought on both sides and l ay buried there.’

As one of the principal spokesmen for the Group to Stop Development at Culloden, she says few in the diaspora cannot claim an ancestor who fought or died there or suffered in its aftermath.

Transportation, slavery, the Clearances – all these relate to the Battle of Culloden,’ she says.

Our opposition to development is not based on preventing houses from being built,’ she adds. ‘We simply do not want houses being built on, or in the areas adjacent to the battlefield at Culloden.’

Yet, with the cruellest of ironies, this week the ‘Treetops’ holiday destination’s chances of approval at the planning committee were dramatically improved by an apparent case of SNP objectors shooting themselves in the foot.

Several Nationalist councillors who were against the proposal and planned to oppose it have been forced to remove themselves from the voting process after SNP colleagues in a neighbouring ward campaigned against it.

The Inverness South SNP group had emailed members inviting them to register their complaints for a collective objection to the proposal. That triggered a warning from senior SNP figures on Highland Council that the email risked breaking planning rules on bias.

The situation was exacerbated when the group posted on its public Facebook page urging people to oppose the application. ‘Whether it be a short few lines or an extensive detailed complaint your voice is urgently required,’ it said.

The upshot is that several SNP councillors have now recused themselves from the process.

Ken Gowans, who is not a member of the planning committee but would have had an opportunity to speak as the local member for the area, said: ‘It was evident I had no option but to declare an interest in this application. My integrity and impartiality may be considered by others to have been compromised by these instances of overt political intervention.’

Highland Council said yesterday: ‘The planning application for the leisure development at Treetops is still under consideration’.

‘In the event officers recommend that planning permission should be granted, it will be presented to a meeting of our south planning applications committee for determination in due course. The associated report will be available for public scrutiny three days before the meeting, in accordance with the council’s standing orders.’

In response to Dr Duffy’s claim no historian had been consulted by decision-makers on Culloden applications, a council spokesman said: ‘It is not appropriate to provide a response while work to assess the application is ongoing.’

The End of the ‘Forty Five’ Rebellion depicts the retreat of the defeated

And so, 274 years on, a new reckoning looms at Culloden. Will history and reverence for all that the place represents at home and abroad win the day?

Or is money the most powerful force on the battlefield today?