Afghanistan: Wasted billions put lives at risk

From The Sunday Times
August 23, 2009
Afghanistan: Wasted billions put lives at risk
Jonathan Oliver and Michael Smith

Throwing up columns of dust like a Wild West wagon train, a British Army convoy five miles long snaked through Afghanistan last week to resupply troops in the southern province of Helmand. It’s a dangerous task — one that would be done by the RAF’s Chinook helicopters if only British commanders had enough to spare.

True to form, the Taliban struck with an improvised explosive device (IED) that ripped into a lightly armoured Viking tracked vehicle.

“Every time you cross that wire, you are scared,” said Private Amy-Leigh Willetts, who was in the convoy. “Every time we go out we get scared. It’s just one of them things.”

This time they were lucky and nobody was hurt, but the troops have good reason to be fearful. A shortage of helicopters, poor transport, missing body armour and other equipment failings have been blamed for the deaths of many British soldiers caught by IEDs. Labour politicians, including Gordon Brown, have insisted that the money is available for British forces to have what they need to fight the Taliban, but this weekend The Sunday Times can reveal that an unpublished official report, suppressed by the government, has found the Ministry of Defence (MoD) so incompetent at procuring equipment that billions of pounds are being wasted, the wrong systems are being ordered and soldiers’ lives are being put at risk.
The inadequacy of Sven's thinking is even more scary.
"When Bob Ainsworth succeeded Hutton as defence secretary, the government was almost immediately plunged into a bruising row with the generals about kit shortages. Ainsworth decided to bury the report, even though the final draft had been sent to the printers."

Yes, Brit Forces treated as second class citizens.
The Inadequacy of this Government is appalling.
"Britain is buying 62 Lynx Wildcat helicopters from AgustaWestland at a cost of £27 million each but they will not be available to equipment starved troops until 2012 at the earliest - four years after they could have had cheaper US helicopters."

Wasted Billions, well here's a few million.
A Navy helicopter for the Army.
And we where offered 60 Blackhawks at very competitive rate.
Pity mi old mate Sven ( We did serve in same Regt) is not here, he'd have sorted out this labour scum.
I think if you talk to anyone in the MOD nowadays, there is a clear acceptance that we have huge challenges in front of us. These are caused, in no particular order, by the following:

1. Lack of Strategic Defence Review since 1998, while prosecuting two campaigns. This has meant our source of doctrinal guidance is totally out of date, but we are still driven to procure kit iaw guidance.

2. Lack of money meaning the Equipment Programme (EP) is constantly being restructured to meet the demands of Yr1-4 challenges (in other words delaying stuff now to save money) but the delay built in increases costs. More money now to solve the yr1-4 problem makes life a lot easier.

3. Utter political cowardice from preventing us from cancelling a Cat A project, and rebalancing the programme. Cowardice which stems from No 10 directly.

4. The weakest ministerial team in the history of the MOD, who are simply not up to their briefs. Certain members of whom are currently more concerned with briefing against the CGS and not supporting him.

5. The focus on delivering UORS (which the department does very well at doing) means that the less current procurement projects are not getting the staff they require to see a job through. Instead staff are being redeployed to meet operational needs, and mainstream projects suffer.

6. The lack of career prospects for MOD CS procurement staff meaning the experienced ones are walking. this is set against the fact that the Armed Forces move people on too often, so there is no continuity in post.
Can you give me a quote or reference where I said that? No - didn't think so.

Have you done logistics in living memory or even been in a hostile operational Theatre Sven? No - didn't think so.

Given a choice of running a CLP or heli-lift through hostile territory I know which I would choose for the majority of re-supply. Or do you refute allegations that we have insufficient "elicopters"?

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