Changing the army - how?

The only thing I’d say is that the Army has got itself into a mass of contradictions about what it is, and what it wants to be, with massive layers of unacknowledged constraints brought about by history.

It really does someone who doesn’t care about it to make some really hardheaded decisions.
 

Mölders 1

War Hero
Well I would say that there is obviously a Treasury cap, it can’t be a bottomless pit of cash. Many would argue there hasn’t been enough, I’m not sure I would agree; especially when we’ve been so poor at spending it. It’s all the fault of the nasty people at the Treasury is just plain wrong in my view.
In all honesty, given the 30 years rolling goatfck that is Tracer/FRES/Ajax et al, I'm surprised the Treasury are happy to send any money at all the Army's way, until the heads of those responsible decorate spiked railings the length of Whitehall.
No disagreement from me with your post: that people haven't been sacked for the screwups is very damaging for both public/political trust in HMF, as well as very bad for the military: the junior ranks can see the VSOs making serious one serious screwup after another, each costing billions of pounds, all without any consequence for those involved.

The other side of that argument is How Many Times Has The Government "Bought British" just to keep a few thousands jobs going a bit longer?

A few examples are the Tornado A.D.V., A400, The Merlin HC 3, Lynx Wildcat, l could go on.
 
Last edited:

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
The only thing I’d say is that the Army has got itself into a mass of contradictions about what it is, and what it wants to be, with massive layers of unacknowledged constraints brought about by history.

It really does someone who doesn’t care about it to make some really hardheaded decisions.
The real question remains (as it always has been) what do you want the Army for Mr PM? Until you can get a coherent list of capabilities that are deemed strategically necessary there's little point in trying to produce an orbat and equip / train to it.

Of course, this would require CDS to support CGS in a very robust interrogation of his political masters to get a full answer and be satisfied that the PM (on behalf of the nation) was making informed decisions that he could stick to and secure the necessary funding for. One could argue that Carter missed his moment and the Strike concept (if it was indeed that coherent) was an unfortunate distraction.

Were that CGS me the questions would be something like:
  1. Do you want to be able to commit combat troops overseas?
    • No - marvelous, I'll come up with an orbat for the defence of the UK once an invasion has landed. (Which will end up giving more £ to RN as the best solution is not to let inviting fleet get here). And I suppose a couple of RCK+ to doer the channel tunnel.
    • Yes - read on
  2. Do you want to make a token contribution, or one that actually gets you a seat at the top table.
    • Token = battlegroup.
    • Top table = Bde++ or Division. (PS PM, not that we barely field a division in GW1).
  3. Do you envisage confronting peer / near peer?
    • No = bin "global Britain."
    • Yes = then you need armour. Prices rise.
  4. Are you content that such deployments will last more than 6 months?
    • No - fine, but our allies need to know that we're not there for the long haul and you need to go and get a history lesson.
    • Yes - for every unit deployed you'll need one working up and one recovering. the manpower bill has trebled.
  5. Can you guarantee that we won't bet caught in two (or even three) operational deployments at once.
    • Yes - we'll hold you to that. So will the country. You had better ensure that FCO, NATO, UN SC etc allies, your MPs and the FCO get that.
    • No - Manpower, equipment and logistics burden just got bigger again.

Only once that is done will it be possible to produce a coherent policy and an orbat to match,

The RAF somehow survived the Sandys review and kept manned aviation. The RN got lucky that Nott's review was undermined by the FI (and their genius at describing the Invincible class as "through deck cruisers" paid off).

The Army now faces this challenge with a vastly depleted intellectual pool and a recent history of abject failure.
 
The real question remains (as it always has been) what do you want the Army for Mr PM? Until you can get a coherent list of capabilities that are deemed strategically necessary there's little point in trying to produce an orbat and equip / train to it.

Of course, this would require CDS to support CGS in a very robust interrogation of his political masters to get a full answer and be satisfied that the PM (on behalf of the nation) was making informed decisions that he could stick to and secure the necessary funding for. One could argue that Carter missed his moment and the Strike concept (if it was indeed that coherent) was an unfortunate distraction.

Were that CGS me the questions would be something like:
  1. Do you want to be able to commit combat troops overseas?
    • No - marvelous, I'll come up with an orbat for the defence of the UK once an invasion has landed. (Which will end up giving more £ to RN as the best solution is not to let inviting fleet get here). And I suppose a couple of RCK+ to doer the channel tunnel.
    • Yes - read on
  2. Do you want to make a token contribution, or one that actually gets you a seat at the top table.
    • Token = battlegroup.
    • Top table = Bde++ or Division. (PS PM, not that we barely field a division in GW1).
  3. Do you envisage confronting peer / near peer?
    • No = bin "global Britain."
    • Yes = then you need armour. Prices rise.
  4. Are you content that such deployments will last more than 6 months?
    • No - fine, but our allies need to know that we're not there for the long haul and you need to go and get a history lesson.
    • Yes - for every unit deployed you'll need one working up and one recovering. the manpower bill has trebled.
  5. Can you guarantee that we won't bet caught in two (or even three) operational deployments at once.
    • Yes - we'll hold you to that. So will the country. You had better ensure that FCO, NATO, UN SC etc allies, your MPs and the FCO get that.
    • No - Manpower, equipment and logistics burden just got bigger again.

Only once that is done will it be possible to produce a coherent policy and an orbat to match,

The RAF somehow survived the Sandys review and kept manned aviation. The RN got lucky that Nott's review was undermined by the FI (and their genius at describing the Invincible class as "through deck cruisers" paid off).

The Army now faces this challenge with a vastly depleted intellectual pool and a recent history of abject failure.
In the context of numbers, it's debateable, for CS and CSS, that deployments actually quadruple costs: one unit preparing for deployment, one deployed, one recovering and one relearning its day job. The latter two are often telescoped, but if, for example, you've had to use gunners in infantry roles ( see NI for examples), they need time to become capable gunners again.
 

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
In the context of numbers, it's debateable, for CS and CSS, that deployments actually quadruple costs: one unit preparing for deployment, one deployed, one recovering and one relearning its day job. The latter two are often telescoped, but if, for example, you've had to use gunners in infantry roles ( see NI for examples), they need time to become capable gunners again.
I had never ooked the change of role for CS and CSS a la Op Banner. It's a fair point, but I don't think we would do Op Banner that way again.
Having done a short tour as Maze PGF from redium recce,, which took from Sep to June (including pre-deployment trg) the skill fade was near zero. In part because we were still maintaining wagons for PRE and IIRC Active Edge commitment. But the core skills were deeply embedded.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
It should never be underestimated the ways and means that the Army would bend over backwards / fall over itself in order to accommodate people who's faces fitted.

It should also never be underestimated the lengths ( underhand tactics ) that an organisation, inc the Army, will take to manage faces out the door that do not fit.

ETA

It must have been a right bugger when the 3 year SSC was stopped :) :)
It was, in some cases, an 8 year SSC which was the maximum you could extend to, I did exactly that and then transferred to Reg C.
 

Cynical

LE
Book Reviewer
so not even uniform in the size of fag packets?
Perhaps what's needed is a missive from on high that only table napkins are to be used in future, and only using pens with nibs, not ballpoints?
OF course, were there still sufficient cavalrymen about it would be cuffed, and some minion could minute.
 

Proff3RTR

War Hero
So we are pretty fcuked then…………nice to know.
 

Yokel

LE
The only thing I’d say is that the Army has got itself into a mass of contradictions about what it is, and what it wants to be, with massive layers of unacknowledged constraints brought about by history.

It really does someone who doesn’t care about it to make some really hardheaded decisions.

Surely you mean someone who does genuinely care about the Army, but does not regard regimental traditions as sacred cows or have a bias towards or against particular regiments or corps? Someone who will work out what they are for and then orientate the organisation towards that.

Is there a 'Future Army' plan that offers coherency?
 
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Alamo

LE
The other side of that argument is How Many Times Has The Government "Bought British" just to keep a few thousands jobs going a bit longer?

A few examples are the Tornado A.D.V., A400, The Merlin HC 3, Lynx Wildcat, l could go on.
That’s a perfectly logical thing to do in many circumstances, and buying British is perfectly reasonable. The government has to balance the needs of the nation across a number of areas, and it may well be that jobs, and keeping a national capability alive, are more important than the forces getting A instead of B.
 

Mölders 1

War Hero
That’s a perfectly logical thing to do in many circumstances, and buying British is perfectly reasonable. The government has to balance the needs of the nation across a number of areas, and it may well be that jobs, and keeping a national capability alive, are more important than the forces getting A instead of B.

.......Even if it costs billions of pounds extra and takes a few years longer to get into service?
 
The real question remains (as it always has been) what do you want the Army for Mr PM? Until you can get a coherent list of capabilities that are deemed strategically necessary there's little point in trying to produce an orbat and equip / train to it.

Of course, this would require CDS to support CGS in a very robust interrogation of his political masters to get a full answer and be satisfied that the PM (on behalf of the nation) was making informed decisions that he could stick to and secure the necessary funding for. One could argue that Carter missed his moment and the Strike concept (if it was indeed that coherent) was an unfortunate distraction.

Were that CGS me the questions would be something like:
  1. Do you want to be able to commit combat troops overseas?
    • No - marvelous, I'll come up with an orbat for the defence of the UK once an invasion has landed. (Which will end up giving more £ to RN as the best solution is not to let inviting fleet get here). And I suppose a couple of RCK+ to doer the channel tunnel.
    • Yes - read on
  2. Do you want to make a token contribution, or one that actually gets you a seat at the top table.
    • Token = battlegroup.
    • Top table = Bde++ or Division. (PS PM, not that we barely field a division in GW1).
  3. Do you envisage confronting peer / near peer?
    • No = bin "global Britain."
    • Yes = then you need armour. Prices rise.
  4. Are you content that such deployments will last more than 6 months?
    • No - fine, but our allies need to know that we're not there for the long haul and you need to go and get a history lesson.
    • Yes - for every unit deployed you'll need one working up and one recovering. the manpower bill has trebled.
  5. Can you guarantee that we won't bet caught in two (or even three) operational deployments at once.
    • Yes - we'll hold you to that. So will the country. You had better ensure that FCO, NATO, UN SC etc allies, your MPs and the FCO get that.
    • No - Manpower, equipment and logistics burden just got bigger again.

Only once that is done will it be possible to produce a coherent policy and an orbat to match,

The RAF somehow survived the Sandys review and kept manned aviation. The RN got lucky that Nott's review was undermined by the FI (and their genius at describing the Invincible class as "through deck cruisers" paid off).

The Army now faces this challenge with a vastly depleted intellectual pool and a recent history of abject failure.
You mean Defence Strategic Guidance? The guidance given to both SDR and SSDR could not have been more unequivocal. It was crystal clear in describing the scale, concurrency, duration, type and readiness criteria the Army was required to meet. I suspect the guidance given to subsequent reviews was no less clear.

The problem lies in execution. It always does. The Army has singularly failed to deliver the capabilities it has been mandated to deliver and has done so for decades.

Blaming ministers or the Treasury is laying the blame for what has been a woeful 20 years of capability management and development by the Army.

The problem to me is that the generalists the Army has promoted this century aren’t generalists at all. They have a very niche skill set developed to command and honed by commanding combat units. And yet we assume that they will be effective at delivering big, complex programs.
 
The real question remains (as it always has been) what do you want the Army for Mr PM? Until you can get a coherent list of capabilities that are deemed strategically necessary there's little point in trying to produce an orbat and equip / train to it.

Of course, this would require CDS to support CGS in a very robust interrogation of his political masters to get a full answer and be satisfied that the PM (on behalf of the nation) was making informed decisions that he could stick to and secure the necessary funding for. One could argue that Carter missed his moment and the Strike concept (if it was indeed that coherent) was an unfortunate distraction.

Were that CGS me the questions would be something like:
  1. Do you want to be able to commit combat troops overseas?
    • No - marvelous, I'll come up with an orbat for the defence of the UK once an invasion has landed. (Which will end up giving more £ to RN as the best solution is not to let inviting fleet get here). And I suppose a couple of RCK+ to doer the channel tunnel.
    • Yes - read on
  2. Do you want to make a token contribution, or one that actually gets you a seat at the top table.
    • Token = battlegroup.
    • Top table = Bde++ or Division. (PS PM, not that we barely field a division in GW1).
  3. Do you envisage confronting peer / near peer?
    • No = bin "global Britain."
    • Yes = then you need armour. Prices rise.
  4. Are you content that such deployments will last more than 6 months?
    • No - fine, but our allies need to know that we're not there for the long haul and you need to go and get a history lesson.
    • Yes - for every unit deployed you'll need one working up and one recovering. the manpower bill has trebled.
  5. Can you guarantee that we won't bet caught in two (or even three) operational deployments at once.
    • Yes - we'll hold you to that. So will the country. You had better ensure that FCO, NATO, UN SC etc allies, your MPs and the FCO get that.
    • No - Manpower, equipment and logistics burden just got bigger again.

Only once that is done will it be possible to produce a coherent policy and an orbat to match,

The RAF somehow survived the Sandys review and kept manned aviation. The RN got lucky that Nott's review was undermined by the FI (and their genius at describing the Invincible class as "through deck cruisers" paid off).

The Army now faces this challenge with a vastly depleted intellectual pool and a recent history of abject failure.
Can I nominate you to be the next CGS. That was brilliant.
 

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