Conservative Defence Policy - contd

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#1
Since my last post seems to have inadvertently locked the thread which is a shame, what I said was:

AWOL gave it;
Quote:

Fatty isn't criticising the MoD Goaty, he's defending them.

Officer of the watch re-instated to the conn, with an unblemished record......just re-read the piece by Soames...is he feck as like defending MoD.

If you work in Defence voting Tory wheezy fat boy party is like ..er...Lindt Choccy bunnies voting for Easter. ( I hate Turkey) :lol:

On the basis of their manifesto and the consistent message from Michael Howard ( who sadly I'm beginning to warm to) if the Conservatives get back in they will do precisely what they've always done......
cut and cut and cut again.

Thirty billion is a lot of potatoes - don't think the MoD budget will be exempt.

If you believe any election promise ( from ANY party) stand by to be disillusioned....


Le Chevre
 
#2
Hmm, would have to disagree. Although he lists MOD equipment and manning failures, he places the blame squarely at the door of the government. The MOD can only work with the resources Tony gives it, and Fatboy knows that well. Pointing out the failures of the MOD isn't blaming them, in the same way nobody blames the army for only issuing half a dozen rounds per man.

As for cut, cut and cutting again, you seem to have missed the list of commitments to the armed forces which was the whole point of the article. If cuts are to be made it looks as if the tories are looking elsewhere to make them, which can only be of benefit of the Services.
 
#3
I can only speak from my own experience that the US military establishment fares much better under Republican administrations [conservative] than under Democrat Presidents [liberal] since the end of the Vietnam War anyway.
 
#4
Awol said:
Hmm, would have to disagree. Although he lists MOD equipment and manning failures, he places the blame squarely at the door of the government. The MOD can only work with the resources Tony gives it, and Fatboy knows that well. Pointing out the failures of the MOD isn't blaming them, in the same way nobody blames the army for only issuing half a dozen rounds per man.

As for cut, cut and cutting again, you seem to have missed the list of commitments to the armed forces which was the whole point of the article. If cuts are to be made it looks as if the tories are looking elsewhere to make them, which can only be of benefit of the Services.
Whoa there horsey! TB gives them a TLB of x billion. He gives them a broad policy framework, roger so far? Then small groups of determined men go out and proceed to mismanage and squander the big pot, through a series of badly thought out or badly executed initiatives. TB's cross is that he, through the agency of ministers and officials of considerably higher pay than yow or oi, fails to stop them or sets the budget at the wrong level for continual war-fighting.

The procurement side is a joke. Very professional engineers and contracts people are working to some Kafkaesque script. Military personnel parachute in, get a good report then flee before stage four of any project, i.e.punishment of the innocent...I am at a loss to see how the Conservative party expect to turn the handle and come out with better returns on investment - unless they ride the four horseman hard through the Ministry - and put them away wet...
 
#5
Well, the official Conservative line is that the armed forces are going to get £2.7bn more per year. Of this, £1.1bn is from "efficiency savings" elsewhere in government, and £1.7bn is from "efficiency savings" inside the Defence budget. While they do seem to be planning for at least some of this to come from the civil service side (from what little I've seen of it this would be no bad thing), I can't help but suspect that a large part of their plan is to cut the low profile support servies and use the cash saved to "rescue" the high profile front line units. This would leave me somewhat nervous about some of the higher profile future projects that haven't yet been ordered- CVF chief among them. CVF was conspiciously absent from Soames' RUSI speech...

Tomahawk - oddly enough, there is a slight bias towards Labour administrations spending more on defence (procurement anyway) than Conservative ones. Basically, most of the dockyards/armaments factories are in Labour held seats. Neither party is prepared to pay for everything it wants to get out of the armed forces however.
 
#6
tomahawk6 said:
I can only speak from my own experience that the US military establishment fares much better under Republican administrations [conservative] than under Democrat Presidents [liberal] since the end of the Vietnam War anyway.
Say that in in a few years time when the VA has been well and truly flushed down the toilet and the F-22 is sucking $100 bills into its intakes.

By the way, it was pretty much Clinton's military that Monkey Boy took to Afghanistan and Iraq.
 
B

benjaminw1

Guest
#7
pdf27 said:
Well, the official Conservative line is that the armed forces are going to get £2.7bn more per year. Of this, £1.1bn is from "efficiency savings" elsewhere in government, and £1.7bn is from "efficiency savings" inside the Defence budget. While they do seem to be planning for at least some of this to come from the civil service side (from what little I've seen of it this would be no bad thing), I can't help but suspect that a large part of their plan is to cut the low profile support servies and use the cash saved to "rescue" the high profile front line units. This would leave me somewhat nervous about some of the higher profile future projects that haven't yet been ordered- CVF chief among them. CVF was conspiciously absent from Soames' RUSI speech...
Tomahawk - oddly enough, there is a slight bias towards Labour administrations spending more on defence (procurement anyway) than Conservative ones. Basically, most of the dockyards/armaments factories are in Labour held seats. Neither party is prepared to pay for everything it wants to get out of the armed forces however.
and Neu Arbiet's manifesto...
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#8
I've sat through 7 new administrations in Government and too many Defence reviews to remember.


The one thing they have all had in common is a willingness to allow the Treasury to dictate the size,shape and equipment state of the Armed Forces.

In 25 years I've seen three ministers resign in protest over what they were being asked to swallow - Heseltine, Keith Speed and Peter Kilfoyle

It was a Conservative SofS whose decision to cut the South Atlantic patrol sent the signal to Argentina to invade the Falklands. If Conservative Minister John Knott had had his way , within a few months the RN would have had nothing capable left to project or sustain a force that distance.

Conservative administrations gave us first Options for Change and then SDR.

Whilst there is a perception that they are the Party which boosts Defence spending, once in power there is very little appetite for standing up to Number 11 Downing Street......

I'm sorry if this reality pisses in someone's chips...may I be proved wrong and Prime Minister Howard brings UK defence spending up to 5% of GDP...my job might be a little more secure.....perhaps they'll reduce the NHS headcount below that of the Chinese Army. :wink:

BTW, the only reason I append the Denis Healey quote is because it tells it like it is......grotesque over-charging by industry, DPA incompetence and disinterest on the part of Joe Public aside, the truth is you get what you pay for....and Defence does not come cheap. Not in the past, not in the future.



Le Chevre
 
#9
A couple of people have mentioned Options for Change, but surely that has to be one of the few times when cuts were justified. After all, if hundreds of millions of Ivans were no longer deemed to be a threat, (and history has shown that judgement to be correct), then that did massively reduce the workload of an army that had grown enormously to specifically deal with that threat.
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#10
Awol said:
A couple of people have mentioned Options for Change, but surely that has to be one of the few times when cuts were justified. After all, if hundreds of millions of Ivans were no longer deemed to be a threat, (and history has shown that judgement to be correct), then that did massively reduce the workload of an army that had grown enormously to specifically deal with that threat.
ah the Peace dividend......yes.....that'll be why we still have 20,000 members of the British Army ( and their dependents) in Germany then[1]?

A recent dit I saw on either CNN or USA Today quoted SACEUR prettty unequivocally stating that by 2009 US Army 1 Armored will have rtnd to CONUS.

the US army's Base rationalisation programme will start to kick in big style over the next five years.

Part of the rationale for keeping British troops in Germany - half a century after Adolf ate his Mauser- was the theory of locking the US into Europe ?

Last man out put out the cat - Tschuss Gerhard ! - and vielen dank for all the frikkadelles.....

( Actually, that's more to protect Moist Velvet and Ostfelder from having to seek gainful employment in the German workforce and continuing to enjoy unfettered access to Krombacher in abundance.....don't get me started.... )

Le Chevre
 
#11
Magic_91 said:
tomahawk6 said:
I can only speak from my own experience that the US military establishment fares much better under Republican administrations [conservative] than under Democrat Presidents [liberal] since the end of the Vietnam War anyway.
Say that in in a few years time when the VA has been well and truly flushed down the toilet and the F-22 is sucking $100 bills into its intakes.

By the way, it was pretty much Clinton's military that Monkey Boy took to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Clinton's military ? Under Clinton the Army went from 14 divisions to 10. Had the dem's had their way they would have cut another 2 divisions. Clinton was as despised by the military as your PM appear's to be by your's.
 
#12
Might deserve it's own thread, but since it is in series with the other RUSI speeches I thought I'd put it here.

Defence is a serious subject. It is, indeed, the first duty of any Government to its people. It must therefore be treated seriously.

I have now had the privilege of serving for five and half years as Defence Secretary. This has given me a longer term perspective than most of my predecessors.

Today, therefore, I want to take stock. To consider what has been achieved by this Labour Government. And to make clear Labour’s vision for the future.

But first, it is important to consider the context. To remember the situation we inherited when we came to office.

Defence thinking dominated by the experience of the Cold War.

Our global reputation tarnished by a lack of action in the Balkans.

We were isolated in Europe.

Major procurement projects years over time, billions over budget.

Our military demoralised by a series of defence cutbacks.

Indeed, during the period when Nicholas Soames was Minister for the Armed Forces, planned defence spending was cut by 15%.

His axe fell on the capability of the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force. Several regiments were amalgamated. And as he conceded in this room last week, the "hoof print" of the Army in the UK was drastically reduced. Cuts all made long after the end of the Cold War – and in response to the Treasury and the disastrous economic record of the last Conservative Government.

My predecessor, George Robertson, started the process of putting things right. He established the Strategic Defence Review. A root and branch analysis, guided by our Foreign Policy objectives, rather than financial considerations.

The results of the SDR have been our blueprint. Reorganising our Armed Forces for the new challenges we face in the world. It received praise right across the world – indeed it has been imitated right across the world. And it proved beyond doubt to the public and to the military that Labour was serious about defence.

It charted and predicted many of the threats to the interest of our country, not least those created by the break-up of states and blocs at the end of the Cold War. But no-one could have predicted the carnage and destruction of September 11 2001.

It changed our world – and it required us to further update our defence policy thinking.

We should never forget that day. The ruthlessness of organised, sophisticated evil terrorists. This is what we are up against. We will stop at nothing to ensure our people and our country are properly defended.

This new and dangerous world makes it even more important for us to continue to invest in defence. Since I have been Defence Secretary there have been year on year increases in defence spending. Last year Gordon Brown announced another £3.7bn for the defence budget – adding to the longest sustained increased in defence spending for twenty years.

It has allowed us to use our Armed Services as a force for good in the world.

Intervening in Kosovo to prevent the slaughter of Muslim Albanians.

Defeating the rebels of Sierra Leone.

Promoting democracy and securing historic elections in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In both these countries we have a defined and specific mission. And when that mission is complete we will bring our troops home - not a day later.

I cannot speak highly enough of the quality and bravery of our Armed Forces. Something I have seen for myself across the world. It is no exaggeration to say that they are the most professional in the world.

And the best Armed Forces deserve the best equipment and the best support.

We need to invest to ensure that our troops have the best new technology. To be on a par with the most advanced in the world.

Network Enabled Capability is not a fashion, as was suggested by my opposite number last week. It is the key to our defence policy.

It is essential that our troops have the equipment they need. They deserve nothing less.

And it is a completely false choice to suggest that giving our troops the best, most up to date equipment means that there will be fewer boots on the ground.

Indeed, under this Labour Government the number of trained Army personnel has increased from 101,360 in 1997 to 103,770 today. Every time the opposition prattle on about "defence cuts" or "cuts in the Army" please remember that simple fact. In 1997 there were 101,360 trained soldiers – now there are 103,770.

The changes I announced to the Army last year, backed by the strong support of the Chiefs of Staff, mean there will be more boots on the ground, by reorganising the way we do things - ending the Arms Plot – freeing up battalions for duty.

As you all know, because of the improved security situation in Northern Ireland we have been able to reduce the number of infantry battalions needed to 36.

And at the same time we have increased the numbers and investment in support functions – logisticians, signallers, intelligence officers – that part of the Army most under pressure, with the shortest tour intervals and the most frequent deployments.
And we have set up a new unit to support our Special Forces. A vital component in our battle against international terrorism.

The changes I announced will also make life easier for families of service personnel – allowing them to put down roots in their communities – with knock on beneficial effects for retention rates and morale.
These changes are about improving our military capabilities – about improving our ability to use those forces around the world effectively.

Defence policy is one of the best examples of the successful engagement of this Labour Government in Europe.

From the new EU Battlegroups to the European Defence Agency, Britain is now leading the way, setting the agenda and delivering on our priorities. Improving European Defence capabilities. And ensuring that NATO remains the cornerstone of our defence policy.

The other cornerstone of our defence policy, is our nuclear deterrent. We go into this election committed to retaining it. Curiously it is not even mentioned in the Tory manifesto.

In this context we will also have to consider the question of Missile Defence. I understand that last week my opposite number professed to have forgotten his Party’s policy on the subject! Our position remains unchanged : we believe that a Missile Defence system may in time contribute to a comprehensive strategy to deal with the threat from ballistic missiles – a strategy that includes non-proliferation measures, diplomacy and deterrence. We agreed to a request from the US to upgrade the Fylingdales radar on the grounds that the overall security of the UK and NATO will ultimately be enhanced. The upgrade keeps open the possibility of acquiring missile defence capabilities for the UK should we desire such protection at some stage in the future. The US has not made any request to site interceptor missiles in the UK. Decisions on whether to take part in any missile defence system is a matter for a future Government.

I have read both the speeches made by my opposite numbers to this audience in recent weeks and I was disappointed that neither of them mentioned veterans affairs. Neither incidentally does the Conservative manifesto.

This is one of the most important areas of work in the MoD. Indeed, this Labour Government was the first to create the post of Minister for Veterans.

This Government has provided more resources for veterans affairs than ever before. Of particular note is the Heroes Return initiative, supported through the lottery, which has paid for thousands of veterans to return to the battlefields where they fought to remember fallen comrades.

As we celebrate sixty years since the end of the Second World War, veterans issues will remain at the centre of policy making under a Labour Government.

Before closing, it is important to set out what is at issue in this election campaign. In Defence, as in every other policy area, the electorate faces a choice. A strong, well thought out and consistent defence policy with Labour. Or an underfunded wishlist with the Tories.

You heard Nicholas Soames spell out his policies last week. You are all serious people. Experts in defence policy. You do not need me to tell you that his spending policies are for the birds – lacking any kind of serious or believable content.

I hope you will forgive me for setting out the Tory proposition in some detail.

Only last year, Oliver Letwin, the Shadow Chancellor, made clear that he would freeze defence spending if the Tories are elected to office. This is equal to a £2.4bn cut in defence spending.

As a smokescreen to cover up the cuts, we then had the James Review. This was the Tory attempt to somehow go further than the Government’s own efficiency review, the Gershon Report. The James Review claimed that a Conservative Government could somehow find £1.6bn in efficiency savings in defence spending, on top of the £2.8bn we had already announced in the Gershon Report. They also said that another £1.1bn extra defence spending would come by diverting savings from "other Government Departments". We have no idea which departments. I don’t think Nicholas Soames does either. The Tories claim this amounts to an extra £2.7bn for defence. Because this is greater than Letwin’s cut, they claim they would be spending more on defence than Labour.

You do not need me to tell you that there are a lot of very bright people at the MoD, both military and civilian. They have worked tirelessly to deliver the on the tough efficiency targets in the Gershon Review. Are the Conservatives seriously saying they could easily find another £1.6bn of savings? And that an unknown Permanent Secretary of some other Government Department will make cuts in his own patch to transfer £1.1bn to Defence? How many people in this room really believe any of this is possible?
Forgive me for deluging you with figures, but it is important to spell out the figures in some detail. Our spending plans are as follows. We will spend £30.9bn in 2005/06 rising to £33.3bn in 2007/08. £2.8bn of savings are built into the budget by 2007/8 - around 8% of the defence spending. An impressive sum by anyone’s standards. Civil servants and their military counterparts are working under great pressure to achieve these savings. But the Tory plans go much further – their plans are based on efficiency savings of £5.5bn by 2005/6– effectively claiming that they will make up 16% of the defence budget from saving paperclips. It really is fantasy politics.

But the Tories have also made defence spending commitments amounting to over £2bn. If these commitments are to be met the money will have to come from somewhere. The Conservatives cannot credibly claim that this extra spending can come entirely from efficiencies. How will they balance the books having made specific commitments on ships and regiments?
It can only come from our procurement programmes.

By severely cutting our defence capability. As Nick Soames admitted last week he will have to take "difficult, non risk free decisions".

Indeed, he had his own Howard Flight moment. Admitting that on top of the James proposals there would have to be more cuts – described euphemistically as "very chunky procurement decisions".
Decisions that would put our existing procurement projects in jeopardy. We all know the chunks that he means.

Our aircraft carriers.

Our helicopter programme.

Typhoon aircraft.

Cuts that would weaken our efforts in the War on Terror.

This would mean that our Armed Forces would not have the best equipment. Morale would be undermined. Thousands of jobs would be lost in the British Defence industry.

Tory spending plans put our defence at risk at a critical time. Their spending plans are dishonest and dangerous.

And the Liberal Democrats cannot be counted on either.

I was amused to see that my Liberal Democrat opponent did not mention defence spending once during his speech to you. It could be argued that this was a rather significant omission!

It seems that the Lib Dems have only one clear defence policy : to buy equipment overseas and run down our defence industry.

Lord Garden has said our Aircraft Carriers should be built in the United States.

Lord Redesdale, the Lib Dem Defence spokesman, has said we do not need them at all.

In Defence, as in all policy areas, the Lib Dems try to face all ways at once. They cannot be taken seriously or trusted with our defence.

This is a vitally important moment to be debating defence policy in the United Kingdom. We face new threats. A more dangerous world than ever before.

And as I have setout today, this Labour Government has taken the difficult decisions necessary to ensure a strong defence for Britain.

Providing the resources.

Transforming our Armed Forces.

Buying the best equipment.

Securing our Alliances.

Looking after our veterans.

This work must go on. And if the British people agree – the serious work will go on.
Source is: http://www.rusi.org/events/ref:E423E94861851A/showpast:true/

Got some reasonable points in there - if only I believed it!
 
#13
tomahawk6 said:
Magic_91 said:
tomahawk6 said:
I can only speak from my own experience that the US military establishment fares much better under Republican administrations [conservative] than under Democrat Presidents [liberal] since the end of the Vietnam War anyway.
Say that in in a few years time when the VA has been well and truly flushed down the toilet and the F-22 is sucking $100 bills into its intakes.

By the way, it was pretty much Clinton's military that Monkey Boy took to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Clinton's military ? Under Clinton the Army went from 14 divisions to 10. Had the dem's had their way they would have cut another 2 divisions. Clinton was as despised by the military as your PM appear's to be by your's.
You seem to forget that it was budget cuts mandated by a Republican Congress that led to downsizing of the regular military and the reforms he inherited from Bush 41. Check the PBRs and then look at what appeared. No bucks- no Buck Rogers.

Explain to me how much institutional change can take place between January 2001 and October 2001. Operation Enduring Boredom was waged by the military that Clinton left Bush. End of story. But maybe this argument is for another forum- I'll come by your cardboard palace in ten years time to continue the argument about to what extent the GOP has kept faith with the people being sent into battle. I'll bring the malt liquor.

"I support meaningless jingoistic cliches"
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#14
pdf27 said:
Might deserve it's own thread, but since it is in series with the other RUSI speeches I thought I'd put it here.
<< Snip>>
]

Source is: http://www.rusi.org/events/ref:E423E94861851A/showpast:true/

Got some reasonable points in there - if only I believed it!
Yeah - well written speech ( Top marks Sir Kevin Tebbit)....shame it was delivered by such an out and out arrsehole......
 
#15
...
It is essential that our troops have the equipment they need. They deserve nothing less.

And it is a completely false choice to suggest that giving our troops the best, most up to date equipment means that there will be fewer boots on the ground.
...
Like providing the sort of kit that the guys have to buy themselves, radios that work properly (that might have saved the red caps), enough ammo for everybody in threatre so that they don't have to withdraw any from the blokes, body armour, correct software for helicopter operation in adverse weather, blood vessel repair kits...

We're not talking about a bl00dy fortune here, but very basic and essential kit that the dim-wits can't get right! :evil:
 

Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
#16
MikeMcc said:
...
It is essential that our troops have the equipment they need. They deserve nothing less.

And it is a completely false choice to suggest that giving our troops the best, most up to date equipment means that there will be fewer boots on the ground.
...
Like providing the sort of kit that the guys have to buy themselves, radios that work properly (that might have saved the red caps), enough ammo for everybody in threatre so that they don't have to withdraw any from the blokes, body armour, correct software for helicopter operation in adverse weather, blood vessel repair kits...

We're not talking about a bl00dy fortune here, but very basic and essential kit that the dim-wits can't get right! :evil:
I agree...but mate, I sit here in the heart of the Evil Empire that is the logistics machine and hey, everywhere I look is see savvy WO's, bright sharp young Captains, grizzled Majors and Colonels and shrewd world weary One stars - ALL in CS95.......are these the dimwits you refer to ?

Mister Silverman will never go out of business because in every soldier's life there comes a moment when the penny drops and he/she realises that Pusser is only ever going to provide something that will do the bare minimum for the job. Soldiers will ALWAYS be firmly conviced that if they ante up for Gucci kit , that tab will hurt less, they'll get better sleep and be impervious to cold. The most grudging words you'll hear from the guys are
<< yeah - good bit of kit that.>>

The Army is embedded in the procurement process - you can't offload all the blame on shiny-arsed beancounters, tempting though it is ( just 90% eh? :wink: )

Lee Shaver
 
#17
Goatman said:
MikeMcc said:
...
It is essential that our troops have the equipment they need. They deserve nothing less.

And it is a completely false choice to suggest that giving our troops the best, most up to date equipment means that there will be fewer boots on the ground.
...
Like providing the sort of kit that the guys have to buy themselves, radios that work properly (that might have saved the red caps), enough ammo for everybody in threatre so that they don't have to withdraw any from the blokes, body armour, correct software for helicopter operation in adverse weather, blood vessel repair kits...

We're not talking about a bl00dy fortune here, but very basic and essential kit that the dim-wits can't get right! :evil:
I agree...but mate, I sit here in the heart of the Evil Empire that is the logistics machine and hey, everywhere I look is see savvy WO's, bright sharp young Captains, grizzled Majors and Colonels and shrewd world weary One stars - ALL in CS95.......are these the dimwits you refer to ?

Mister Silverman will never go out of business because in every soldier's life there comes a moment when the penny drops and he/she realises that Pusser is only ever going to provide something that will do the bare minimum for the job. Soldiers will ALWAYS be firmly conviced that if they ante up for Gucci kit , that tab will hurt less, they'll get better sleep and be impervious to cold. The most grudging words you'll hear from the guys are
<< yeah - good bit of kit that.>>

The Army is embedded in the procurement process - you can't offload all the blame on shiny-arsed beancounters, tempting though it is ( just 90% eh? :wink: )

Lee Shaver
There's lots of very sharp folks in there - but the system sucks - if it wasn't for the bean-counters then every squaddie would be issued CBA as part of his personal kit, there would be enough ammo to issue every patrol with at least a basic load rather than QMs having to withdraw a significant proportion of it. The Defence contractors will always be able to employ better contracts lawyers because they can afford it, consequently we have projects like Bowman with a poorly written and continuously modified spec, carriers that are cut down because they can't be built to the price that was tendered (so why did they tender that price and why the hell aren't they being held to it) and consequently can't use the aircraft that they were intended to be used with!
 
#18
MikeMcc said:
, carriers that are cut down because they can't be built to the price that was tendered (so why did they tender that price and why the hell aren't they being held to it) and consequently can't use the aircraft that they were intended to be used with!
My understanding of this is that the contractors always said that they couldn't build the carriers for less than about £4bn. The MoD decided they could, and sent out the press releases to that effect - not the contractors. Now it's getting to the stage where the MoD actually have to find someone willing to build the things, they're finding that nobody is willing to build the carriers for less than Thales/BAE are willing to - and so the "price" is going up to what it really was all along.
 
#19
Cheers for that - but it does highlight my point that the system sucks if you don't look at the blindingly obvious.
 

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