Defence Review – the rumour mill gathers pace

The mudslinging and inter-service squabbling regarding the Strategic Defence review has reached an undignified level in the past few days.

Firstly, Colonel Richard Kemp was quoted in the Sunday Express as saying that he would rather see an end to the three independent services than see the Army lose a single Infantry Battalion. Its probably worth pointing out that although Colonel Kemp is usually quoted as ‘former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan’, this was quite some time ago, prior to the current Helmand deployment.

In the Portsmouth News today Read Admiral Chris Parry stated that Kemp’s idea was ‘silly’, and that “No one in the services would go for it. The Canadians tried it and it was disastrous from a morale point of view and they couldn’t do their jobs properly.” Parry’s comments sound very much like a hissy fit. And whilst morale is very important, I wonder if the average sailor would be hugely bothered? I wonder whether the Canadian Forces structure is really as bad as Parry suggests – I doubt it.

These retired officers have clearly never heard of the dictum ‘when the armed forces argue, only the Treasury wins’. Will no-one poke their head above the parapet and at least say something constructive and realistic about UK Defence as a whole, rather than arguing their own corner and to hell with everyone else? No-one wants to go down in history as the commander who sold their service down the river, but once again the bigger picture seems to suffer.

By being so partisan and parochial, serving and retired officers are unwittingly making themselves into even juicier targets in the long-run. If they cannot come up with reasonable proposals for restructuring, then there is more chance that the Treasury will simply impose cuts arbitrarily.

This all comes as details emerge of possible cuts in the armed forces as a result of the Defence Review:

Royal Nacy Cuts

  • 2,000 personnel
  • 3 Amphibious Assault Ships
  • 2 Submarines

Apparently the Bay Class Landing Ships are seen as most vulnerable, and there has been talk of mothballing one of the Albion Class LDP’s. Both possibilities are ever so slightly ludicrous – the Bay Class ships have been great value and flexible platforms – landing ships, aid, disaster relief, transports, mother ships… Cutting Amphibious capability severely limits power projection. The possible cost of the 2 new Aircraft Carriers is all too evident now.

Army Cuts

  • 2,000 front line troops, plus 5,000 from Germany by 2015
  • 40% of Tanks, tracked artillery and Warrior armoured vehicles
  • Territorial Army cut from 32,000 to 15,000

It seems that the plan is to draw down the Army’s presence in Germany – this has already been slowly happening since 1990, and recently with the move of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps from Rheindalen to the UK, and 4 Mechanised Brigade from Germany to York. British Forces in Germany are in the main armoured, a legacy of the BAOR of the Cold War. Eventually the Army’s presence in Germany will probably consist of use of the huge Sennelager training area. Most commentators agree that in the current climate the Army is too armour-heavy, although whether 40% is the right level to cut remains to be seen. Cutting the TA by more than 50% is also likely to raise eyebrows.

RAF Cuts

  • 7,000 out of 42,000 personnel
  • All 120 Tornado Fighters/Ground Attack Aircraft
  • Combat Aircraft cut from 250 to less than 200
  • Joint Strike Fighter buy cut from 150 to less than 50

The early retirement of the Tornado before it has been fully replaced will undoubtedly leave a huge gap in the RAF’s inventory, with only a few Squadrons of Eurofighter Typhoons currently in service. In addition, the proposal to buy less than 50 JSF would seriously reduce the RAF’s close air support capability. And what it means for the Fleet Air Arm’s JSF plans, who knows? As with the Aircraft Carriers causing the loss of Assault Ships, it seems that the need to operate Eurofighter comes at the expense of other combat aircraft. Thankfully, there is no mention of any cuts to the RAF’s transport aircraft or helicopters – functions which the junior service has neglected somewhat in the past.

It should be added of course that there has been no indication of where these details actually came from… of course it could be a load of rubbish someone has made up… or, on the other hand, it could be something that the MOD has floated out to gauge opinion?

About these ads

17 Comments

Filed under Army, debate, defence, Navy, News, politics, Royal Air Force, Uncategorized

17 responses to “Defence Review – the rumour mill gathers pace

  1. Admiral Parry is absolutely right. The Canadian ‘unification’ experience was a disaster. Overnight, the members of each Service lost their separate identity, their hard-won ethos, their distinctive uniforms, their service-specific ranks and the maintenance of their unique historical traditions. As a result, morale suffered hugely and this adversely affected unit cohesion, team spirit and effectiveness.

    I remember how shocked the audience was at a military tattoo in British Columbia when Canadian service personnel appeared for the first time in their soulless, anonymous green uniforms. Everyone was so stunned that the service personnel were greeted with absolute silence: no applause, no cheers, not even any boos. Just incredibly hurt feelings and angry mutterings.

    Since restoration of the Canadian separate service structure, members of the individual services have been regaining their pride bit by bit and the recent restoration of the ‘executive curl’ above the stripes on the arms of naval officers’ uniforms has been greeted with great delight.

    Canadians were especially delighted to see Prince Philip wearing the uniform of a Canadian Navy admiral during his recent visit with the Queen and the latest campaign is to restore the ‘Royal’ prefix to the Canadian Navy and Air Force (see http://rcn-rcaf.blogspot.com/2010/06/her-majesty-reviews-fleet-and-marks.html). I wish them every success.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Defence Review – the rumour mill gathers pace « Daly History Blog -- Topsy.com

  3. James Daly

    Thanks for the insight on the Canadian experience Rob. It does sound to me like they went too far. Theres nothing wrong with reducing duplication, but making everyone wear nondescript green uniforms sounds to me to be un-necessary. If theres any need for cuts, mergers etc its in command structures rather than wholesale butchery.

    When making cuts, mergers etc it should be very clear what the implications are. After all it takes 5 minutes to disband a regiment, but years to repent.

    Mind you, mergers are nothing new – Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, Blues and Royals, and most of the current Cavalry Regiments sound something like the 1/24/54 Light Lancers (Currassiers).

  4. I think it is wrong to blame any naval cuts on CVF.

    There are very worrying remours that the Navy will lose about half of its mines countermeasures vessels. This at the time when Iran is making noises about the Strait of Hormuz and Abrabian/Persian Gulf.

    • James Daly

      What is strange about that is that MCMV’s are relatively small and cheap, but being GRP and having a lot of specialist equipment they take time to order and build. Same with the men to man them – minewarfare is a very specialist field. MCMV’s have also been used as patrol boats in the past, particularly off N. Ireland. They are also a vital part of the career progression for officers.

  5. The smaller engine wasn’t to last either as it too blew early on in the race, leading to yet another DNF.
    Many gamers want to know more about Gran Turismo 5 premium cars.
    When you are merely busting wood made to your man or women personal
    utilize, you may potentially quit needed of your much more dear units that would
    price tag $1,1000 as well as significantly more.

  6. Wow! After all I got a weblog from where I be
    able to really obtain valuable data concerning my study and knowledge.

  7. Hi there! Would you mind if I share your blog with
    my zynga group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Many thanks

  8. From thwn onwards, the guidelines have been subject matter of
    subsequent updates. With the flip of the century,
    boxing grew to become well-liked world-wide and the first amazing fighting of 1900 took location iin Coney Island with a match
    amongst Jeffries versus Corbett. However the history ob baeball
    can be situated in the mid-1800s when people who lived in the rural towns of the United States practiced a game named “rounders” that would be the direct antecedennt of
    Baseball.

  9. Greetings from Ohio! I’m bored to tears at work
    so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break.
    I really like the knowledge you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.

    I’m shocked at how quick your blog loaded on my mobile ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, fantastic site!

  10. Generally I don’t learn post on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to try
    and do it! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, very great article.

  11. To do this, head to Begin, click Settings, Control
    Panel and select Add or Remove Programs. The addition of games to
    your profile can cinch this for you personally. Click that
    application download and do the installation.

  12. Today, I went to the beachfront with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to
    my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and
    screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it
    pinched her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic
    but I had to tell someone!

  13. I actually think the name +iPhone+ is a little bit misleading.
    And they’ve already set the bugs people found, but Apple’s using weeks to approve small updates.
    That’s why Apple iphone 2G substitute elements are important.

  14. Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one
    and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam
    feedback? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can advise?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me mad so any support is
    very much appreciated.

  15. Are there similarities between the a couple or are they completely different from each other.
    Another essential characteristic for the two is a great track report.
    Both the client and the lawyer have to like each other
    right away.

  16. It is safe to say that if you are hopelessly searching
    for information on how to cure anxiety and panic attacks that you are very likely desperate to find the answer.
    Feeling lonely can also lead to deeper feelings of isolation.
    Take care of the mind, body and soul, and feel good.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s