Brown Brings Down The Axe On Our Military

#1
Brown Brings The Axe Down On Our Military


From Todays Sunday Times

I am at a total loss guys :(

A SENIOR defence official has warned that the armed forces are heading for a “train crash” because the government is starving them of funds for vital equipment.

In a confidential presentation to colleagues at a meeting in the Ministry of Defence to discuss budget cuts, he said defence spending had been so severely pruned that vitally needed equipment was simply unaffordable. He also warned that the government risked “mortgaging the future” of national defence.

The official, a senior defence equipment capability manager, resorted to black humour, portraying the Treasury as an axeman who has cut off the arms of his MoD victim and is saying: “Stop whingeing . . . at least you have got your legs.” The meeting, one of a series to try to work out how to pay for all the equipment the forces need to meet their commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, was also told that the Treasury has exaggerated the increase in the military budget.

Officially, it will rise by a modest 1.5% this year. In fact, it will increase by only 0.6% in cash terms, leaving a black hole of hundreds of millions of pounds, the meeting was told.

The mutinous mood over Gordon Brown’s tight rein on military spending follows criticism of the MoD last week by coroners investigating the deaths of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. They accused it of failing to provide troops with adequate equipment.

Gerald Howarth, Conservative defence spokesman, said yesterday that the way in which funding for defence had been cut was “an absolute scandal of catastrophic proportions”. He said the government was “guilty as charged by the coroners last week – ‘unforgivable and inexcusable’ ”.
Nick Harvey, Liberal Democrat defence spokesman, said: “The words of the coroners last week should be ringing in their ears. This is the reality of why Paul Drayson quit [as defence procurement minister] – there is such a gross mismatch it wasn’t possible to look anybody straight in the eye and defend it.”

MoD officials have been struggling to prepare pruned-down spending plans in advance of a meeting of defence chiefs and top civil servants this Thursday, which will thrash out the final details of the cuts. A week later the plans will be presented to ministers who have insisted the cuts must be made by stealth, according to MoD sources.

Both the prime minister and Des Browne, the defence secretary, have made it clear that to avoid political embarrassment no major programme can be seen to be cut, the sources said. Big programmes must be pushed back into future years while other items on the budget suffer harsh cutbacks. Browne told parliament last July that the defence budget would rise to £34 billion over the next financial year and would rise by 1.5% a year in real terms over the next three years.
I hate to think of the effect this will have on the morale of our men and women in the sandpit.

If this proves to be true CDS and our Chiefs of respective armed forces should all have the moral courage to bring Gordon Brown and Des Browne to their knees over this.

So now we know where some of the money is coming from to pay for the £25 Billion we have thrown at Northern Rock!!!
 
#2
The links below would seem to bely the Times' arguement, Tigs.

Green Light to Carrier Build


Wounded troops finally win better care from army

A military hospital ward, a specialised polytrauma centre for dealing with multiple injuries, and 'life-saving' kit improvements to reduce battlefield casualties are among a range of new measures. Neurosurgeons are also being introduced into Afghanistan for the first time, amid mounting concern over the extent of brain injuries caused by high-powered explosions.
British troops get 'laser eyes'

Bids asked for £800 first phase of ship building
 
#3
Carriers; No contract signed means no contract signed Sven, no matter what the Scotsman Newspaper says

‘Wounded win new levels of care’ You must be the only person in the UK who accepts the Governments bullsh!t at face value Sven, any upbeat Defence story published first in the Guardian or Observer is just a bit of No10 spin. Even Guardian hacks admit it.

The C4 thing is a minor purchase that should have been done years ago and was only approved because it means jobs in Scotland.

And from the FT; six tankers do not a Navy make, especially as they can also be leased out for commercial use, which they may well be.
 
#4
armchair_jihad said:
You must be the only person in the UK who accepts the Governments bullsh!t at face value Sven, any upbeat Defence story published first in the Guardian or Observer is just a bit of No10 spin. Even Guardian hacks admit it.
Only one link goes to the guardian. The others link to that bastion of the left, the Financial Times as well as channel4 and the scotsman
 
#5
Sounds mad I know but I've come to think it's deliberate. Break morale before rebuilding a new model, politically correct, armed forces. Loyalty oath to the EU etc.

Keeps reminding me of what happened with the Old Bill with the Scarman report and McPherson reports etc. Keep hammering em until morale breaks then rebuild.
 
#6
Didn't deliberate hampering of a countries armed forces and damaging their capability by a subject of that nation count as treason? I know Blair got rid of the treason laws are replaced them with the Terrorism acts, but couldn't they be brought back for two last cases.
 
#7
Hello,

I was rather surprised to read this in one of those articles Sven linked to:

Thales has been supplying the Ministry of Defence with cutting-edge equipment for 120 years and is considered a world leader in night-vision technology.
Neither the Ministry of Defence nor Thales has been in existence for 120 years.

Mights,maybes and green lights do not aircraft carriers make.
They do however fill newspaper column inches with the impression of government fully supporting the forces,whatever the reality maybe.

You may find this article in today's sunday Times interesting:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3382397.ece

To quote the article:

Both the prime minister and Des Browne, the defence secretary, have made it clear that to avoid political embarrassment no major programme can be seen to be cut, the sources said. Big programmes must be pushed back into future years while other items on the budget suffer harsh cutbacks.
Sven,to ask a personal question,if you don't mind,am I correct in saying that you are a Liberal Democrat?
If so,you do seem to spend a great deal of time defending a Labour government.
Even when the Liberal Democrat defence spokesman is critical of them.
Was Nick Harvey wrong when he said:

“The words of the coroners last week should be ringing in their ears. This is the reality of why Paul Drayson quit [as defence procurement minister] – there is such a gross mismatch it wasn’t possible to look anybody straight in the eye and defend it.”
On a different note,the Royal Navy and Royal Fleet Auxiliary has a requirement for around thirty large ships of all types,each with a life of about thirty years.
Has it not occured to the Ministry of Defence that this is sufficient to keep one Naval Dockyard busy with a constant flow of work,thus retaining a strategic capability whilst minimising costs by spreading overheads across the whole large ship fleet.
For that reason alone I sincerely hope the fleet oilers are built here instead of in Korea.
They might also wish to consider the benefits of basing the entire support fleet on a single hull and machinery design.

A cynic might suggest the idea of building ships in Korea is merely a ruse to cast the government in a positive light when it announces "Ships to be built in Britain instead of Korea!".
At the same time the delay in the carrier programme is announced of course.

This also makes interesting reading:

http://timesonline.typepad.com/mick_smith/2008/02/looking-after-o.html#more

To quote Mick Smith:

Meanwhile, ministers will announce a series of relatively inexpensive subsidiary contracts plus those new programmes that cannot be pushed back to future financial years to make it look like all is well.
Only yesterday i was wondering why a government minister was making a great fuss about a very minor maintenance contract for a destroyer:

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/EquipmentAndLogistics/17mMakeoverForHmsYork.htm

tangosix.
 
#8
Interesting reading from C4:

"Serjeant Richard Bennett, of 3 Rifles artillery battalion based in Edinburgh, is among those who will deploy to Afghanistan later this year."

Now, I may not be able to keep up with all the new names but this one has me foxed!
 
#9
There seems to be one option, THEY either pay for the war, or get out!

While the idiots in Whitehall cut and slash at the defence budget and then BROON cuts it some more, we continue to look like the Poor Man of the world.

Why does BROON put even more lives at risk, I know he is preparing us for the EU Army, but that is no excuse for him not to be fit for purpose!

Or will we again go down the Lend / Lease path, or have we already started?

This makes me so very angry, the PBI yet again suffers for the fools in Whitehall in their Ivory Towers! :x :x :x
 
#10
Mr_Jones said:
Sounds mad I know but I've come to think it's deliberate. Break morale before rebuilding a new model, politically correct, armed forces. Loyalty oath to the EU etc.

Keeps reminding me of what happened with the Old Bill with the Scarman report and McPherson reports etc. Keep hammering em until morale breaks then rebuild.
Yes it does sound mad, but well with whats in power now, i think you may be right.
 
#12
Rising fuel prices will also take a nice big chunk of the Defence Budget,the problem is it's one of those things that slips through,time and again.

Every time the price of oil goes up so does the cost of fuels for the Armed Forces,and it all comes from the same pile of cash.
 
#13
tangosix said:
Neither the Ministry of Defence nor Thales has been in existence for 120 years.
They will be using the same arguement that BAE systems do....part of the company (in BAE case, the old Royal ordance factories) have been supplying the British Government/monarch for several hundred years.

Classic twisting of the truth to make it sound good.

S_R
 
#14
armchair_jihad said:
Carriers; No contract signed means no contract signed Sven, no matter what the Scotsman Newspaper says

‘Wounded win new levels of care’ You must be the only person in the UK who accepts the Governments bullsh!t at face value Sven, any upbeat Defence story published first in the Guardian or Observer is just a bit of No10 spin. Even Guardian hacks admit it.

The C4 thing is a minor purchase that should have been done years ago and was only approved because it means jobs in Scotland.

And from the FT; six tankers do not a Navy make, especially as they can also be leased out for commercial use, which they may well be.
With regard to the 'government bullsh1t', I rather thought that it was a military man - Surgeon-General Lt-Gen Louis Lillywhite no less - who is reporting TO PARLIAMENT. Not government spin, not government bullsh1t but a report from the top bloke on His assets. One that He prepared for the approporiate committee in our legislative machine.

With regard to the carriers - we shall see.

As for Your arguement about the oilers - spurious. The fact is they will be there to replenish the carrier groups when needed. Note this is only the first phase of the project.

And I see You have ignored the purchase of the target aquisition systems altogether.

T6

With regards to my welcoming this government going in the right direction - that is exactly what I am doing. Like a small child who asks for their potty rather than relieving themselves into their nappy this government should be encouraged to carry on the motion. Charles Kennedy said that we should acknowledge when the government does the right thing, i am simply doing that.

I have and do deplore the fact that defence spending is the lowest since the 1930s, percentile-wise. However, to deny that spending is not taking place would be scurrilous.

As for Nicks comments on the coroners report, I cannot say if He was right or not, from the quote He gave. If there was a lack of equipment because it was not purchased then Harvey would be right. If however the equipment was there but not in the hands of the end user then surely it is the fault of the holder for not getting the kit to where it was supposed to be.

Until I can read the report I do not know which is which.
 
#15
Sven, the majority of the very welcome spending is for kit required on operations and even I, seething with hatred for 'New' Labour, acknowledge that. However, Urgent Operational Requirements are not funded 'through life' and they are only to be used on that specific operation for the duration that it can be justified. After that, if the Services wish to retain that capability, it has to be brought within (and funded by) the Equipment Plan. As with all wars, the pace of technological advance increases with development of threat / counter-threat. So none of these capabilities are enduring enhancements to operational capability, unless funding is diverted from other existing projects in order to bring them into core.

So the only enhancement that has been 'approved' is the Carrier project, which was a politically-inspired plan (albeit with the strong internal backing of the RN, understandably) to allow King Tony (and now Court Jester Gordon) to massage his own ego on the world stage. The fact that the Navy have had to mortgage every other capability in their fleet to find funds for the ships is immaterial - they are playing the long game and, once the carriers are delivered, they can then play the "we can't protect these capital ships without more Frigates and Destroyers" card in order to force an increase in the RN share of the plan (the RN have been going for hundreds of years, they really can think strategically). Now don't get me wrong, I think we should have carriers, but not if it means that the balanced force will suffer as a consequence.
 
#16
.....and some of these capabilities that have been lost to help secure the new carriers were ones needed for the transition of larger carriers with larger numbers of aircraft. Namely the Sea Harrier, but there are others...
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#17
A few points, gained from many years working in and around MoD finance, after which you can make your own minds up.

1. Defence inflation currently runs, and always has run, at a MUCH higher rate (typically double) that of 'normal' inflation. This is especially true now that the Govt have fiddled the official inflation figures so blatantly. Effect = a real, measurable, decrease in defence spending.
So, 'increase' of 1.5% above 'official' inflation is nowhere near enough to keep up with defence inflation (or even that of normal people, come to that). This has been the case every single year for at least the last 12 years. Fact.

2. Pay/Allowances inflation. Everyone loves to get more money but - as I've pointed out before - when HM Treasury allocate funds, they will do so in the expectation that wage restraint is in place. So, they give MoD the money this year for a 2% pay rise. The AFPRB reports, awards a 3.5% increase, and everyone is happy. But - the extra money to make up the 2% to 3.5% delta has to be found - and from within the MoD budget. Effect = a real, measurable idecrease in money avaialble to spend on the rest of defence - such as accomodation, equipment, etc.

That's the facts, and the results are as you see them now. Expect much more bad news to come - unless of course you happen to be involved in a Labour Scottish marginal constituency, in which case you'll probably get some nice defence-related work, such as working on a CVF. Everyone else - and for this read most of the UK, and of course the Armed Forces - well, you are going to continue to be fu*ked about royally.
 
#18
What we are seeing makes sense, of a sort.

No, the Government is not committed to Defence - why should it be, when this is not an electorate priority, apart from short term UOR stuff to get the boys through the sandpits (which Joe Public does care a bit about courtesy YouTube). Most of the UK electorate does not accept that 9/11 affects us in any military sense, nor is it inclined to take the long term geopolitical view of our National situation. It will take the next Adolf Hitler to do that.

In this context, Gordon Brown is little different from most domestically focused PMs - he wants the greatest amount of UK employment (esp in Labour constituencies) from the Defence Budget at the lowest direct cost to the Treasury. Use them in anger during peacetime - God no! (and without good reason he is probably right)

This is where Tony Blair rocked the boat, of course. He decided to use the Armed Forces as the military arm of his personal Foreign Policy, which the Treasury had not factored in (and probably was not even on the agenda in the Granita Cafe). Brown will have resented this in every possible way but was silenced by the US factor and the need to keep Trappist silence in the New Labour ranks. Worse, now that he is PM, Brown has the Armed Forces still stuck to Blair's flypaper.

What is urgently needed though, IMHO, is for PM Brown to make clear in his own words where he sees the UK Armed Forces headed. It is not good enough simply to say he will act as advised by his professional military men, since this is transparently not the case when it comes to money. He has a number of choices from a high end warfighting Armed Force of X size through to a nation-building, peace-support militia of Y size. We need to know his view!
 
#19
The tanker project is itself consistently delayed - the RN had 9 tankers until last year, then Govt cuts paid off 3 tankers several years ahead of their replacement date. The remaining tankers, with 2 exceptions, are all over 25 and will fall foul of international legislation in the next couple of years. We need these tankers now, the Govt has consistently delayed the main gate phase and this is coming home to roost (they delayed to save money in the last big EP option). If we want an RN capable of going beyond home waters in 2015, we need these tankers. Also worth noting the 30% cut in tankers under New Liabour - the RN is now less capable at power projection than it was even 2 years ago.

As for the remainder of the story - don't forget we have the final meetings on Thursday - this is another example of the brush fire warfare we're seeing by all three services to keep their options funded. Expect more of these stories all week.
 

oldbaldy

LE
Moderator
#20
jim30 said:
The tanker project is itself consistently delayed - the RN had 9 tankers until last year, then Govt cuts paid off 3 tankers several years ahead of their replacement date. The remaining tankers, with 2 exceptions, are all over 25 and will fall foul of international legislation in the next couple of years. We need these tankers now, the Govt has consistently delayed the main gate phase and this is coming home to roost (they delayed to save money in the last big EP option). If we want an RN capable of going beyond home waters in 2015, we need these tankers. Also worth noting the 30% cut in tankers under New Liabour - the RN is now less capable at power projection than it was even 2 years ago.

As for the remainder of the story - don't forget we have the final meetings on Thursday - this is another example of the brush fire warfare we're seeing by all three services to keep their options funded. Expect more of these stories all week.
But where will they be bulit:
BAE Systems, the UK based defence specialist, has joined forces with Daewoo Shipbuilding in South Korea to bid for the contracts to build a fleet of new tankers for the UK Ministry of Defence, heightening speculation that the MOD will have the vessels built overseas.
Continues:
http://www.lloydslist.com/ll/news/viewArticle.htm?articleId=20017505757&src=rss
 

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