Army chief quits suddenly as protests over troops mount

#2
Not heard anything on the Regimental net but if it has only just happened then no real surprise. Wouldn't be that surprised though - he probably wasn't that happy as GOC 2 Div - command of a Regional Division when everyone is being asked to make huge savings; can't be much fun.
 
#3
If these reports are true, why did Maj Gen MacKay wait so long after his return from Herrick (Mar 08), after his CBE and promotion, to make his views felt? The same could be said for Col Tootal. It is not that I disagree with their sentiments it's the timing that is suspect.
 
#4
He said he was struck by the lack of clear direction from above. There was a sense of "making it up as we go along", he said.

Surely not.....That is the exact description I have heard of the original 2006 Helmand deployment, from another very senior army officer. Pity General Mackay didn't stay in position and shout from the roof tops about the lack of equipment.
 
#5
A bit of damned if he does damned if he does not, if he stayed and shouted about it, there are the ones who say if you feel that strong you should leave, perhaps he decided it was easier and more effective to rattle the cage from outside.
 
#6
Conrad_Cock said:
A bit of damned if he does damned if he does not, if he stayed and shouted about it, there are the ones who say if you feel that strong you should leave, perhaps he decided it was easier and more effective to rattle the cage from outside.
Agreed, maybe he felt he couldn't stay. Missing Gen Dannatt already...

Problem is it is never as effective to rattle cages after you have gone. But he does have very recent experience, I could be wrong.

I think we are all still in shock after watching last night's program. We don't need meek and mild leaders in the military just now. Sorry to see Gen Mackay go.
 
#8
nigegilb said:
He said he was struck by the lack of clear direction from above. There was a sense of "making it up as we go along", he said.

Surely not.....That is the exact description I have heard of the original 2006 Helmand deployment, from another very senior army officer. Pity General Mackay didn't stay in position and shout from the roof tops about the lack of equipment.
Sorry but I got the same feeling when I was in his Bde. He justified the idiotic policies coming down on us with a gusto. I remember leaving the Castle after a lunch when one subject (which I can't air here) was rasied and discussed. He left me near speechless with his views and spurious justifications. Don't think it was just me; the rest of the table fell silent pretty quick too. I remember coming away rather resigned.....

Who is his next employer? Been declared yet? :roll:
 
#9
armadillo said:
The troops on the ground do not have the luxury of resigning, only to their fate
Rubbish.

If you want to go you go.

As long as you haven't been warned for ops.
 
#10
Maybe the current budgets nonsense in Regional Farces was the final straw ? Three rounds of in-year cuts only a couple of weeks apart, most of his troops being told to stop training, recruiting bans etc etc.

I look forward to seeing what his resignation statement contains.
 
#11
nigegilb said:
He said he was struck by the lack of clear direction from above. There was a sense of "making it up as we go along", he said.

Surely not.....That is the exact description I have heard of the original 2006 Helmand deployment, from another very senior army officer. Pity General Mackay didn't stay in position and shout from the roof tops about the lack of equipment.
Which part of CJO's Op HERRICK Directive didn't he understand?

Actually of course it isn't as simple as that. There has been plenty of strategic direction and there has been been plenty of operational level activity. How effective it has been is another issue.............
 
#12
One news source is suggesting that No 10 wanted a delay to a major op,until the ''Dear Leader'' could make a trip to Afghan.If true,no wonder he's resigned!
 
#13
Bubbles_Barker said:
nigegilb said:
He said he was struck by the lack of clear direction from above. There was a sense of "making it up as we go along", he said.

Surely not.....That is the exact description I have heard of the original 2006 Helmand deployment, from another very senior army officer. Pity General Mackay didn't stay in position and shout from the roof tops about the lack of equipment.
Which part of CJO's Op HERRICK Directive didn't he understand?

Actually of course it isn't as simple as that. There has been plenty of strategic direction and there has been been plenty of operational level activity. How effective it has been is another issue.............
This article in the Indy sums it up Bubbles, but first I have copied a couple of assumptions (from many), from the initial report into the Deployment to Afg, they both turned out to be completely wrong. The criticism I have heard is that whilst the aims were clear enough, the way to achieve them simply hadn't been thought through.

10. While we note the Minister’s assurances that there are no security threats which pose
a strategic threat to Afghanistan, recent events suggest that the security situation in
Helmand is becoming increasingly fragile. (Paragraph 51)
11. We note MoD’s estimate that the Taliban in Helmand might number “over a
thousand” and that allegiances were determined by “who is paying them”. It is
imperative that UK Forces work quickly and closely with Afghan security forces to
develop a reliable intelligence picture of threats in Helmand. (Paragraph 52)



Afghan critic quits top Army role

Leading general stands down just months after landing new UK command

By Kim Sengupta, Defence Correspondent

A senior commander who led British troops in Afghanistan has resigned after bitter clashes with the Government over the war.


Major-General Andrew Mackay, recently appointed General Officer commanding Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England, had spoken of his dismay at the "inadequate support" given to troops and the "lack of clear policy" in the conflict.

General Mackay took part in one of the best known military operations of the war when he led a British, US and Afghan force to recapture the town of Musa Qala from the Taliban. The US had been highly critical when the town was taken over by insurgents after a deal between British authorities and local leaders, and retaking the town was seen as vital in repairing relations with Washington.

According to defence sources, General Mackay, then a brigadier, was astonished when it was suggested by No 10 that the timing of the operation should coincide with a visit by Gordon Brown to Helmand. After the town was retaken General Mackay and his team were said to be disappointed that despite requests from "stabilisation advisers" on the ground, not enough resources were put into place to win the hearts and minds of the people.

After returning to Britain, General Mackay was part of a team that conducted a counter-insurgency review which is due to shape the strategy in the conflict. But, he and others had been impatient about the time it was taking to put the ideas into practice.

General Mackay, 52, who was appointed governor of Edinburgh Castle three months ago, was seen as a rising leader of the British forces. The Ministry of Defence confirmed last night he had resigned, but a spokesman declined to discuss the reasons.

The commander was disillusioned with what he considered to be a failure to carry out adequate reconstruction and development in Helmand. He had said privately that British soldiers risking their lives in the conflict had been let down by the Government in carrying out the vital tasks necessary to win over the local population. Recently, the General had also been critical of restructuring carried out in the Army in Scotland which he believed would damage future combat effectiveness.

General Mackay was commander of Task Force Helmand from October 2007 until April 2008. During that time he signed a "ground truth" memorandum, sent to London, which listed serious problems with his troops' equipment. He pointed out that the engines were faulty in many of the ageing Scimitar reconnaissance tanks of the Household Cavalry. Tanks which were supposed to be operational could not get into reverse gear without the engine being restarted. A quarter of the Mastiff armoured vehicles were out of action for weeks and the new Vector vehicles were not being used because "the wheels kept falling off".

The commander angered Downing Street by stating that he was astonished by the lack of clear direction at the top. There was, he said, a sense of "making it up as we go along".

His views were drawn on by the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee in its report into the Afghan conflict: "We conclude that the UK deployment to Helmand was undermined by unrealistic planning at senior levels, poor co-ordination between Whitehall departments, and crucially, a failure to provide the military with clear direction."

There were many in the defence establishment who had been opposed to the appointment of General Mackay as the Helmand military chief.
 
#14
Conrad_Cock said:
A bit of damned if he does damned if he does not, if he stayed and shouted about it, there are the ones who say if you feel that strong you should leave, perhaps he decided it was easier and more effective to rattle the cage from outside.
Or perhas he is aware that the recent promotion makes his position prominent enough for his resignation to have a bigger imact where it counts?
Its much more difficult to ignore the resignation of a man that has that much rank.
 
#15
hairymonster1006 said:
If these reports are true, why did Maj Gen MacKay wait so long after his return from Herrick (Mar 08), after his CBE and promotion, to make his views felt?
Because he is human. Why should he die on his sword, lose part of his pension and lose his chance to be honoured? I don't see many RSMs leaving before their 22 year point on principle. He's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't.
 
#16
An interesting piece Nigegilb but it doesn't answer the question as to timing. My problem with this is that this Government has, at best, until May when they should be replaced. He should have hung on till then to see what how a new Government approached the matters. Does he not think his men deserve an experienced Commander who'll be there fighting their corner for them?
 
#17
Markintime said:
An interesting piece Nigegilb but it doesn't answer the question as to timing. My problem with this is that this Government has, at best, until May when they should be replaced. He should have hung on till then to see what how a new Government approached the matters. Does he not think his men deserve an experienced Commander who'll be there fighting their corner for them?
MT, I generally agree with you, Dannatt was a fantastic thorn in the side of the Govt for many months, but, could it be, Mackay did not have the support for a similar kind of campaign from his own boss?

This from the Mail's take on the story.

It is understood that General Mackay spoke to the head of the army, General Sir David Richards, earlier this month about his concerns, and was given formal leave to retire.

I am alarmed at some of the public comments by Richards, he appears to have been quick to dismiss Dannatt's "shopping list" approach and does not see the point in commenting on how many soldiers lives would be saved if we had more helicopters and other essential bits of equipment.

I have said before, I doubt there has been a better time for our military leaders to swing the lead, this is a weak divided Govt, I very much doubt Richards will have more joy with this lot if he goes for the traditional option of trying to get more funding. Or is Richards comfortable with a casualty rate approaching 25% for infantry soldiers?
 
#18
From BBC News (Ceefax):

General quits ‘over Afghanistan’

An Army general who is reported to have criticised aspects of the war in Afghanistan has resigned.
Reports said Maj Gen Andrew Mackay, General Officer Commanding Scotland, Northern Ireland and Northern England, was unhappy about strategy.
Prince Harry spent 10 weeks from December 2007 in Afghanistan under the command of Maj Gen Mackay.
But the Ministry of defence has insisted that the general’s departure was a “personal matter”.


Surely if a general is unhappy about strategy, he changes his strategy? When war starts and battle is joined, it is generals who are meant to plan and execute operations, not politicians.
 
#19
Or simply that when a man feels he can no longer make a discernibly positive difference inside, but may just make difference outside, he has little choice.............
 
#20
How many seniors officers will it take to quit before this incompetent Government stands up & takes notice?

The former CGS, Mr Richards & now Mr Mackay have ALL voiced critisim, ignorance from this Government is not an option all our service personnel can ill afford, investment & improvements are there but are 'still' to slow getting through the system to the people that really need them to take affect,

Mind you the bean counters from the MOD are too busy trying attempt to procure any dept they can scrounge monies back from

Utter Disgrace
 

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