ACM Sir Jock Stirrup & Sir Bill Jeffrey to resign

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by gaijin, Jun 13, 2010.

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  1. Not exactly a shock I grant you.

    BRITAIN’S most senior military officer is to be axed as the new government seeks to draw a line under past failures in Afghanistan.

    Liam Fox, the defence secretary, told The Sunday Times the chief of the defence staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup, would resign in the autumn before the end of his term.

    Sir Bill Jeffrey, the top civil servant at the Ministry of Defence (MoD), will go at the same time. The clean sweep at the top is intended to improve the military’s performance on the Afghan front line, as well as cutting Whitehall waste.

    In an interview Fox indicated that Stirrup and Jeffrey, both close to the old Labour regime, would be replaced at the conclusion of a strategic defence review (SDR).

    Fox said he wanted “the best people to be in the appropriate posts” once the review was over. “We have to be able to maintain full stability and the full confidence of the people who work for us, not least because we’re in a very dangerous armed conflict,” he said.

    Stirrup has been criticised for not doing enough to support frontline troops.

    The decision to replace them coincides with one of the worst weeks for Nato forces since the start of the war in Afghanistan in 2001. Thirty-two Nato troops, including three Britons, have been killed since last Sunday. The latest Briton to die was a soldier in the 1st Battalion, the Mercian Regiment, who was killed in an explosion in Helmand province yesterday.

    Patrick Mercer, the Conservative MP and former soldier, said the change at the top of the MoD was desperately needed. “The last regime allowed our men to go into Helmand improperly prepared, while huge sums of money were squandered on projects such as the refurbishment of the Ministry of Defence,” he said.

    Another Tory backbencher, Adam Holloway, a former Guards officer, said: “There was a tendency under the Labour government to promote ‘politicians in uniform’ rather than officers willing to give frank advice about the strategic drift in Afghanistan.”

    Colonel Tim Collins, who quit the army over the lack of funding, said: “Jock Stirrup was a well-known apologist for Labour muddled thinking over Afghanistan.”

    In the Sunday Times interview Fox issued a strong attack on Nato colleagues, warning that if their refusal to back the Afghan mission led to defeat, it would demonstrate “lack of moral resolve”.

    He indicated Stirrup and Jeffrey would be replaced swiftly. “I’ve been discussing with them and other senior staff how we transition to the new structures,” Fox said. “We’ve talked about the best time to be replacing our senior staff, probably the end of the SDR in the autumn.” He said their departure would take place at a “time that treats our long-serving personnel with some respect”.

    Critics have accused Stirrup, a former jet pilot, of failing to get a grip on the Afghan mission, where British deaths have hit 294. The death toll in the Falklands was 255.

    Appointed as head of the armed forces in 2006, Stirrup had his contract extended by Gordon Brown two years later to prevent the outspoken General Sir Richard Dannatt from getting the top job.

    Stirrup, who earns £245,000 a year, was set to continue in his post until next spring. He is likely to be replaced by an army man, either the chief of the general staff, General Sir David Richards, or the vice-chief of the defence staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton.

    Rear-Admiral Chris Parry, who left the navy in 2008, said Stirrup’s successor should “stand clear of political considerations”.

    “Officers have been willing to let themselves be politicised as a means of climbing up the promotion ladder,” he said.

    Jeffrey, who has a salary of £180,000, has been permanent under-secretary since 2005, during which time the MoD budget spiralled out of control, creating a £36 billion “black hole”.

    A damning report by Bernard Gray, a former MoD special adviser, said the department’s “incompetent” equipment programme was damaging the troops’ ability to win in Afghanistan.

    Amid the pressure for large cuts, Fox said no area of spending would escape scrutiny and refused to rule out reductions in uniformed personnel.

    “There will be major change,” Fox said. “This is the review that has to kiss goodbye to the cold war. That will require us to be quite tough . . . every single thing must be justified.”

    The defence secretary admitted that troops still did not have all the equipment they needed to do the job. “It’s clear that all the equipment necessary is not yet in theatre,” he said. “I’ve asked if that can be speeded up.”

    British forces could begin coming home from Afghanistan next year, he said. But that was dependent on Afghan troops being able to enforce security.

    “We don’t want to be in Afghanistan for a day longer than necessary, and we want the government of Afghanistan to be done by Afghans for Afghans, but it has to be against a background where it doesn’t pose any security threat to the UK, our interests, or our allies.”

    Rounding on other Nato countries, Fox claimed that only the US and Britain were pulling their weight.

    “I can understand why some of our Nato partners have problems sending combat troops, whether for political reasons or for constitutional reasons,” he said. “But I have absolutely no patience that they cannot send training troops.”

    He said the failure of Nato countries to provide such troops was the result of “a lack of political will and lack of moral resolve”.

    “Ourselves and the United States are hugely committed to the mission and everybody else needs to catch up,” he said.
  2. Good riddance to the yes man in chief.

    A symbol of politicised military chiefs who have polluted the highest ranks for far too long.
  3. Agreed. Good bye and good riddance. I expect that like another Labour 'yes man' - Politically Correct Police Constable Blair -, he will be given a meaningless peerage, joining the squealing masses at the seemingly inexhaustible trough of our tax money, where no doubt, he will gobble up his 'share'. I do hope he has the grace and the guts to decline said 'honour'.
  4. Lord Jockstrap has a certain ring to it.
  5. kthxbye!
  6. Replacing a Labour yes man with a Tory yes man, carrying a axe is not my idea of a good news story.

    We need to keep politics out of the posts.
  7. I imagine that Gen Dannatt is not displeased with this.
  8. Shall we keep reasonable balance out of the discussion too?

  9. Not sure that either Richards or Houghton are Tory yes men. They are both soldiers who absolutely get the current problems in Afghanistan and will not make every decision based on placating the civil servants or Ministers. I am genuinely delighted that Stirrup is being sacked and it is just a shame that we have given him the fig leaf of letting him 'leave early'. Good riddance.

  10. If the present Government listens to its generals and heeds their advise then it follows that the the top roles will become less politicised. If, however, the Government refuses sound advise and pushes through politically expedient solutions then we'll have achieved nothing. The top men of this hour have risen to the top in highly politicised times and will quickly revert to type if pressured.
    Change must occur and saving have to be made and the Generals will have to learn to fight for the winnable and to concede where they cannot possibly win. For the troops, knowing their leaders are fighting their corner is of paramount importance, even if they cannot win every battle.
  11. Views vary. A lot.

    The messages on his leaving card should be a laugh. Nothing so vulgar or common as FO&D of course but perhaps we could start one of our own, Here goes:

    "It will be a very different place without you......"
  12. Just showed on BBC how Blair claimed the glory for Dave Richards actions in Sierra Leone,
  13. Stonker

    Stonker On ROPs

    These departures are 2 small steps in the right direction.

    The journey that is SDR hasn't yet started. It's going to be a rough ride.

    Let's hope the next guys in these posts really are of a different stripe.
  14. Forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't he already overstaying his normal term? (tinfoil mode: so that they could stop Dannat from getting it) So he's actually quitting 'less late'
  15. Just watched Liam Fox on the SDR on the Politics show. He has made it clear that there are no sacred cows and was quite clear that one of the major points on the table was the Boarding school allowance.

    I heard the sound of Sandbags educated Jaws dropping all round northern Europe.

    I await the results of the SDR. I think the odd idea that the Tories were ever friends of HMF will be shown to be a strange sort of corporate groupthink. Thats not to say that the other shower were any better.

    Can't we have a Junta now please? We could call it something suitably British like ummmm Military Council, but we'd all know what we meant! Oh go on.......