BAFF and the Defence Committees Iraq report

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hackle, Aug 10, 2006.

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  1. Following their visit to Iraq, a report by the House of Commons Defence Committee was released from embargo at midnight last night. (09 Aug)

    Some print newspapers have led with this very important story, which has also been covered in this morning's broadcast media.

    Link - Scotsman

    The Defence Secretary's reaction "stretched, but not over-stretched" has also been mentioned on ARRSE.

    BAFF spokesmen had already spoken in recent weeks about many of the issues raised by the Defence Committee. It will surprise no-one that BAFF had an advance copy of the embargoed report, and was ready to be interviewed had not the issue been pushed down the running list by this morning's breaking news.

    The Defence Committee's report is now available online here (browsable html version) or here (pdf).

    More to follow.

  2. BAFF welcomes the report, and expects the MoD to give its recommendations urgent attention. (A couple of recommendations have already led to some action in anticipation of the report's publication.)

    The cross-party Defence Committee's conclusions and recommendations can be seen here.

    Recommendations 1-13 are about a range of security, diplomatic and reconstruction matters on which we are all entitled to have an opinion, but are generally outside the scope of any comments which BAFF would wish to make.

    Recommendations 14-27 are about equipment and personnel matters, many of which have already been commented on by BAFF. If you have the time, I recommend you check them out, and comment, if you like. ((Always bearing in mind OPSEC, where applicable.)

    You will see that many of the recommendations are directly relevant to recent discussions on this website.

  3. To give you a brief sketch of the subject matter of the recommendations, they include:

    14. Snatch LR etc

    15. Armd veh and heat exhaustion

    16. Air-con esp for cooks

    17. Hel shortage

    18. Leave disruption due airbridge failures

    19. Address airbridge unreliability as matter of urgency

    20. C130 ESF protection. Protection of our Armed Forces should be highest pri

    21. A400M (C130 replacement)

    22. Over-stretch. "Can-do" attitude may cause CoC to underplay pressures on personnel and families

    23. MoD reliance on reservists may not be sustainable.

    24. Financial recognition for active service overseas

    25. Long-term procurement project failures

    26. Defence Industrial Strategy

    27. "The issues raised in this report give rise to a fundamental question: are our Armed Forces structured, trained and equipped to fulfil the role envisaged for them in the Strategic Defence Review and its successor policy documents? This is a question of very great importance, going to the heart of the Government's defence policy. ..."

    my emphasis

    over to you!

  4. Here here! A group of politico's with the sense to see that protecting the lives of servicemen in the short term is more important than balancing the books in the long term.
  5. The scary thing is that what the Defence Committee is pointing out is blindingly simple, except, apparently, to New Labour; if you don't want to spend money on the armed forces, don't commit them to operations. On the other hand, if you want to commit your armed forces to operations, understand that it will cost money and be prepared to spend it.

    Des Browne's feeble 'stretched, not overstretched' response is really just what you'd expect of a lightweight Labour minister who's never served his country, has no experience of what he's talking about, and doesn't really seem to have got a grip of his department and responsibilities at all.
    He's just repeating what he's been told to say by the MoD spin machine.
  6. Well done Hackle -Again we hear on the news this morning, the SoS for Defence pretty much brushing aside the Committee's report with the comment that our forces are "stretched, but not over-stretched."

    Whilst he follows up this statement with news that shortages are now being addressed, the evidence available to the committee plainly indicates otherwise. A number of these shortages are nothing new and given the history of the last three years, again it appears that HMG is more concerned with the message at home, as opposed to the kit on the ground.
  7. I just hope that one of our 'journo' friends reads this and actually does something to make clear to the punlic the actual situation, rather than that posed by the smoke and mirrors machine at the MOD.

    Minty, where are you ? :D
  8. AS, You're right - but I would also say that we haven't done ourselves any favours in this respect either. There are a whole number of serving pers, who have been in a position to voice this at the table, and for whatever reason, have chosen not to.
  9. Which I guess is why BAFF has had such wide support from those of us, who have witnessed this sitting on hands.
  10. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator

    An excellent interview with Douglas Young on Radio 5 Live drivetime this afternoon. James Arbuthnot, Chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee agreed with everything he had to say!
  11. I was hoping to hear it but was otherwise engaged. Is there a link?
  12. I think this is a particularly damning report, especially when considered in context. There have been criticisms of the MoD since 2003 with regard to equipment availability and suitabilty for use in operations, as well as overstretch. Some of these lapses will have cost lives. The standard response from MoD has been to deny there is a problem - CGS's remarks about troops not having toilet rolls in their bergens, Hoon denying there were equipment shortages etc. Many will remember when the then-CDS Admiral Boyce was contradicted in public by Hoon when mentioning "overstretch". The lackof an air-bridge and the effect on leave or return to the UK is particularly galling, considering that government Ministers use the RAF for their trips and that civilian charters could also be paid for. The only admissions of failure or attempts to redress problems have arisen as the result of campaigns by individuals and the media in the face of MoD denials. Personnel are gagged from speaking out and their complaints are ignored and denied by the system. Quite simply, MoD cannot be trusted and is not trusted - hence the demand for a Federation. Perhaps Parliament should be recalled to debate this report as well as everything else, as otherwise there are two more months before the Minister or Secretary of State can be expected to explain why MoD is not "fit for purpose" and there are thousandsof Armed Forces personnel in operational theatres who will not be enjoying a recess during this period.
  13. bbc five live drivetime (thurs aug 10, 06)

    the interview is about 1hr 35mins in so you can use the fast fwd buttons to get to it quickly.

    Welldone Hackle. Points well put! Just a shame the interview was so short.
  14. I agree with all that has been said the MOD is like an alcoholic, in denial, despite all available evidence. Well done hackle. The MOD needs an independent enquiry regarding its role in supporting the armed services and if it is fit for purpose to carrying out that role.
  15. cpunk

    cpunk LE Moderator


    I disagree. Independent enquiries are a good way of throwing money at blood-sucking lawyers. What we need to do is get behind BAFF and develop one voice, independent of the chain of command, which can effectively articulate the views of service men and women.