Decision making in Defence - a shoeing for the current structure

#41
In asymmetric warfare and OOTW, air power and maritime can only be successful as part of joint ops with ground forces (even if it only JTACs or small SF teams).

The UK air campaign against ISIS is tactical minimal impact, max 4 air strikes a day across 2 big countries with significant targets being a mortar team, a HMG, a vehicle, a building. They may help the advance but they will not win the war.
 
#42
The process will always be f**ked up because: -

Politicians only think short term and about re-election
VSOs only think about their service and their career path
Civil servants don't have to care since they won't have to live with the consequences

These things will never change.
 
#43
In asymmetric warfare and OOTW, air power and maritime can only be successful as part of joint ops with ground forces (even if it only JTACs or small SF teams).

The UK air campaign against ISIS is tactical minimal impact, max 4 air strikes a day across 2 big countries with significant targets being a mortar team, a HMG, a vehicle, a building. They may help the advance but they will not win the war.
With respect, you're incorrect on several counts there @irlsgt .

Firstly, while the amount of kinetic activity can vary dependent upon extant activity, your stats are entirely wrong. Just at a simplistic level, a single Reaper can conduct up to 6 strikes, a single Tornado up to around 8, a single Typhoon up to 6. While I wont say how many sorties (which are of course conducted in pairs or 4 ships for FJ) are launched per day as I don't believe we discuss that openly, I'm sure you can take a guess and do the maths.

Secondly, there has been enormous strategic impact on Daesh by the Air Campaign at a number of levels. This has included cutting off the key sources of revenue such as oil production, identifying and destroying IED production facilities and arms caches, denuding C2 effectiveness, severely limiting their ability to manoeuvre and a number of other effects perhaps best not mentioned here.

You also appear to measure the Air Campaign solely in terms of kinetic effects. As mentioned, our contribution is far wider than that; Reapers, GR4s and Typhoons routinely designate for Coalition assets while other UK ISR assets and effects routinely provide critical information for Coalition activity. Finally, our E-3Ds will provide C2 to effects.

Finally, Land power is of course also only able to be applied as part of a Joint effort. None can 'win a war' in isolation. Indeed, the myth that air and naval forces are only able to operate with the help of land forces may come as a surprise to those engaged in Counter Piracy, ASW, ASuW, NFZ, AD, ISR and various other ops around the World. Equally, I could suggest that land is the only component unable to self deploy in the majority of expeditionary roles.

Regards,
MM
 
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#44
#45
Mainly 2 or 3 tgts hit per day over 2 countries in September so months even less.

No doubt there is a big C3 and ISTAR contribution.

Air power can make a contribution but in many ops it is only 1 of the tools.

Look at Somali piracy, lots of maritime and air patrols but fighting and capacity building ashore
 
#46
Mainly 2 or 3 tgts hit per day over 2 countries in September so months even less.
IS are not occupying the entirety of Syria and Iraq. In fact, even at their height they only occupied 50% of Syria and that is/was predominantly over MSRs and the less populated areas of Syria
 
#47
Mainly 2 or 3 tgts hit per day over 2 countries in September so months even less...
As I said, kinetics will vary based on the stage of the campaign and snapshots from one particular month (which in this case was when the Coalition was preparing for the Mosul offensive) will inevitably distort perceptions. Average them all out and I guarantee it'll routinely be a lot higher than that; SHADER is a very kinetic op. Indeed, the Mosul campaign is currently often seeing aircraft coming back with all weapons expended.

...Air power can make a contribution but in many ops it is only 1 of the tools...
I've never suggested otherwise.

...Look at Somali piracy, lots of maritime and air patrols but fighting and capacity building ashore
In small pockets yes. But CP effects extend a long way beyond where land mentoring is occurring. Moreover, Land is very rarely involved in many of the other Maritime and Air activities mentioned such as ASW, ASuW, ISR, AD and NFZs. The increasing viability of remote and 'Reachback/Reachforward' capabilities will reinforce that further.

Therefore, I'd respectfully suggest that your claim that 'in asymmetric warfare and OOTW, air power and maritime can only (my emphasis) be successful as part of joint ops with ground forces' remains incorrect.

Regards,
MM
 
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#48
...That Obama, in spite of his probable knowledge that Britain is America’s strongest ally, personally backed our remaining in a self destructing EU, puts him in my opinion firmly in the pigheaded herd...
I fear then that you would also consider me an 'uneducated pig head' @Resasi given that I voted to remain in the EU.

Regards,
MM
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
#50
I fear then that you would also consider me an 'uneducated pig head' @Resasi given that I voted to remain in the EU.
I voted Leave, after much thought and with considerable doubts: it wasn't a clear-cut obvious decision, and anyone who thinks it was probably didn't grasp all the factors in play. (Which is why I don't demean those who chose Remain unless they subsequently act the fool - which MM hasn't...)

If it was a clear obvious choice it would hardly have been a 52-48 split...
 
#51
It was once a boast, or perhaps simple statement of fact. The sun never set on the Union Jack, and, Britain ruled the waves. Today some doubt even Britain’s control over home waters.

Increasing superpower friction, widening ME conflict, Islamic terrorist atrocities in the West and ratcheting up of world wide tension leads more and more people to wonder just what we are heading for.

China’s aggressive expansion in the S China Sea, N Korea’s unstable megalomaniac ‘God’ and his nuclear ambitions, Obama’s unleashing of Iran, whose word is worthless, Russia’s blatant annexation of part of Ukraine, her present Russian fleet willy wagging its way to Syria, her build up of troops along the Eastern European borders now being finally being responded to by NATO. All symptoms of a world wide serious malaise.

In the lead up to this, for better or worse, Britain has in successive governments, suffered a significant decline in defence spending that now sees a severely stripped down Armed Forces. We are told it is quality not quantity. Lean and mean.

It is more like anorexic!!!!

The RN is now seeing two advanced carriers, and, some of the most advanced 5th Gen air superiority in the world…coming. The RAF will in the partnership of Typhoon and F-35 have a potent strike force…coming. The Army some new equipment, light tanks, sniper rifles, and other ancillary new equipment …coming.

A large gap has been allowed to develop in national defence capability over a period of years when admittedly economic hard times have been global. But in a now increasingly unsettled and belligerent world, we should be aware that the potential for conflict has become acute, that in the absence of meaningful deterrence, rogue states, terrorists, pirates and hostile super powers are jostling for any opportunity to fill the present security vacuum.

The Argentine invasion of the Falkland saw Britain capable of power projection, to protect it’s interests, halfway round the globe. Today with diminished forces and reduced personnel, any form of power projection is a dangerous drawdown on minimal reserves leaving us dangerously vulnerable indeed.

In 2012 the UK quietly ended a permanent role in the counter-piracy efforts. Meanwhile January 2014, a resurgent Russian navy, under President Vladimir Putin embarked on an massive modernisation program, and sailed a missile-armed cruiser through the North Sea, Britain felt the dearth of ships closer to home. Within 30 miles of Scotland, the Royal Navy's only available warship, HMS "Defender,” was at Portsmouth and England's southern coast. "Defender" took 24 hours to make the 600-mile journey to Scotland, located the Russian ship, and escorted the cruiser away.

When Islamic State fighters swept through northwestern Iraq, the world mobilised air and sea power to help Baghdad push them back. U.S. and French navies deployed aircraft carriers and launched air strikes on militant forces. The U.S. Navy positioned two carriers in Middle East waters, but for the first time in a century, Britain could do nothing to help.The RN had no aircraft carriers capable of supporting fixed-wing assets. HMS "Illustrious" decommissioned in August 2014, her Harriers preceding her into retirement.

Under successive Labour and Conservative governments defence has been cut to the bone. Can we once again recover our once undoubted capability. Political correctness, reliance upon others, and a woeful lack of appreciation of reality seems to have held sway. The pendulum is thankfully beginning the other way.

In time or too late? Only time will tell.
Never mind, the increased tax intake following the recent referendum will enable us to spend much more on defence. There's the £350 million a week which isn't going to be spent on the NHS to consider as well.

I know that I'm on ignore for pointing out your plagiarism but here's the reality behind the 0.5% growth fueled by consumer spending: Collapse in corporation tax receipts pushes budget deficit to £10.6bn

I'd say the armed forces might just be getting another BOHICA come next years budget, not this November though.
 
#52
#53
Why the old MM, since it is an accepted proposal by the EU...
Because you've derailed threads previously on similar topics and I have no wish for this one to go the same way. Night night.

Regards,
MM
 
#55
I'm not sure I wholly believe we went 180 degrees on a 20 min chat.... I don't doubt that in 20mins a decision was made... ....and they were such of such importance he was the one to carry the can
Having had the distinctly dubious privilege of having watched the process, the political calculus is made, very quickly and a decision taken - on very serious topics, requiring real insight and knowledge - on purely political grounds, much of the time. "No votes in defence" - remember that.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
#56
I'm not sure I wholly believe we went 180 degrees on a 20 min chat. I know there were weeks of recosting and questioning ACA. I don't doubt that in 20mins a decision was made, what I would think is [if it happened as postulted] he was given a brief that presented all the options and the costs and the political/industrial impacts, with recommendations [as per normal] and they were such of such importance he was the one to carry the can
Piggybacking on @Glad_its_all_over's point, it might, or might not, be interesting to enquire about the evidence supporting such a decision. Where might it be found, who reviewed it, and which scrutineer signed off on its fitness for purpose?

The answer might be "nobody knows", "nobody knows", and the scrutineer it should have gone through saw and heard nothing.

But that's just Interweb gossip...
 
#57
As I said, kinetics will vary based on the stage of the campaign and snapshots from one particular month (which in this case was when the Coalition was preparing for the Mosul offensive) will inevitably distort perceptions. Average them all out and I guarantee it'll routinely be a lot higher than that; SHADER is a very kinetic op. Indeed, the Mosul campaign is currently often seeing aircraft coming back with all weapons expended.
Have a look back through the mod stats
You'll find it is generally 3/4 air strikes a day

I've never suggested otherwise.
rebalancing

In small pockets yes. But CP effects extend a long way beyond where land mentoring is occurring. Moreover, Land is very rarely involved in many of the other Maritime and Air activities mentioned such as ASW, ASuW, ISR, AD and NFZs. The increasing viability of remote and 'Reachback/Reachforward' capabilities will reinforce that further.
rarely but can be

Those types of ops (asymmetric and OOTW) generally (but not exclusively) occur on land.

Therefore, I'd respectfully suggest that your claim that 'in asymmetric warfare and OOTW, air power and maritime can only (my emphasis) be successful as part of joint ops with ground forces' remains incorrect.
What I was trying to say is that eg in combatting Daesh air power cannot win the war in isolation
 
#58
Have a look back through the mod stats
You'll find it is generally 3/4 air strikes a day...
Sorry @irlsgt, but I do not see how you can draw that conclusion from the published stats. There are numerous ambiguous references which do not state the number of weapons expended or even the exact number of strikes conducted.

Examples are 'another round of airstrikes', 'coordinated air strikes', 'precision guided bombs...[against]...ISIL positions', '[participated in]...a major coalition air operation', 'targeted ISIL vehicles', 'cluster of Paveway 4', 'Hellfire/Brimstone missiles', 'combination of Brimstone and Hellfire missiles', '4 successful attacks' and numerous others.

In short, I would suggest that the publicly available data does not support your assertion. There have undoubtedly been times when the average number of strikes has been low for a period, particularly in the early stages of the Campaign. However, suffice to say that our aircraft commonly return from sorties having expended all weapons.

Compared to the COIN phases of both TELIC and HERRICK, SHADER is considerably more kinetic in nature for a number of reasons.

Ultimately, when Coalition Air Power was first applied, the Iraqi forces were in full scale retreat. The principle strategic effect of Air Power has been to reverse that trend and provide them with an asymmetric advantage via ISR and kinetic effects not available to Daesh.

...rebalancing...
If by that you mean you have interpreted my wish to see a 'rebalancing' of UK Defence priorities in favour of Maritime and Air Power as a belief that Maritime and Air can act in isolation in all operations, I apologise. That is absolutely not what I was suggesting.

However, I do firmly believe that some rebalancing of personnel can be achieved at little or no cost to the Army but at enormous benefit to the RAF and particularly the RN.

...rarely but can be

Those types of ops (asymmetric and OOTW) generally (but not exclusively) occur on land...
We're probably now into the realm of defining what 'asymmetric and OOTW' mean. Predictably however, I would disagree that such ops are even 'generally' Land centric! :)

Indeed, I would argue that some of the most strategically important and enduring OOTW activity conducted by the UK since 1945 have not involved Land in any way.

The most obvious example to me is well over 60 years of ASW operations conducted primarily by the RN but also involving RAF assets in support. Many of those operations - particularly those of the SSN community - have involved exceptionally dangerous activity for far too little recognition.

RAF ISR operations, particularly SIGINT, has also been active around the World - sometimes under AAA and SAM fire - for an even greater period. Again, this has been without any involvement from Land.

There are numerous other examples: the strategic deterrent, hydrography, humanitarian ops iso HMG agencies, ISR, support to UK security agencies, NFZs, Sampling, Open Skies and other treaty verification tasks, ASuW, various Air Transport and Sea Lift tasks, SAR, CSAR/JPR/NEO, Maritime Interdiction Ops, Defence Engagement tasks (eg training, RAFAT and port visits) and C2.

None of the above need involve Land in any way.

...What I was trying to say is that eg in combatting Daesh air power cannot win the war in isolation
If you wish to discuss COIN ops specifically, I would absolutely agree with you. However, I would argue that the traditional concept of 'supported' and 'supporting' components is fundamentally flawed. Each are mutually supporting and no Component can win a campaign in isolation.

With respect, I therefore consider the Army's regular heard mantra that 'only Land can be the supported component' both disappointing institutionalised arrogance and something that can dangerously inhibit thinking in a Joint environment.

Regards,
MM
 
#59
With respect, I therefore consider the Army's regular heard mantra that 'only Land can be the supported component' both disappointing institutionalised arrogance and something that can dangerously inhibit thinking in a Joint environment.

Regards,
MM
Mainly heard from Army Officers trying to insert themselves into Maritime and/or Air Ops...
 
#60
Sorry @irlsgt, but I do not see how you can draw that conclusion from the published stats. There are numerous ambiguous references which do not state the number of weapons expended or even the exact number of strikes conducted.

Examples are 'another round of airstrikes', 'coordinated air strikes', 'precision guided bombs...[against]...ISIL positions', '[participated in]...a major coalition air operation', 'targeted ISIL vehicles', 'cluster of Paveway 4', 'Hellfire/Brimstone missiles', 'combination of Brimstone and Hellfire missiles', '4 successful attacks' and numerous others.
There are occasions like this but they are outnumbered by reference to specific targets (eg mortar position) and amounts of weapons (eg a Paveway).

Ultimately, when Coalition Air Power was first applied, the Iraqi forces were in full scale retreat. The principle strategic effect of Air Power has been to reverse that trend and provide them with an asymmetric advantage via ISR and kinetic effects not available to Daesh.
in support of ground forces not a replacement for

If by that you mean you have interpreted my wish to see a 'rebalancing' of UK Defence priorities in favour of Maritime and Air Power as a belief that Maritime and Air can act in isolation in all operations, I apologise. That is absolutely not what I was suggesting.

However, I do firmly believe that some rebalancing of personnel can be achieved at little or no cost to the Army but at enormous benefit to the RAF and particularly the RN.
Agreed on all counts

We're probably now into the realm of defining what 'asymmetric and OOTW' mean. Predictably however, I would disagree that such ops are even 'generally' Land centric! :)

Indeed, I would argue that some of the most strategically important and enduring OOTW activity conducted by the UK since 1945 have not involved Land in any way.

The most obvious example to me is well over 60 years of ASW operations conducted primarily by the RN but also involving RAF assets in support. Many of those operations - particularly those of the SSN community - have involved exceptionally dangerous activity for far too little recognition.

RAF ISR operations, particularly SIGINT, has also been active around the World - sometimes under AAA and SAM fire - for an even greater period. Again, this has been without any involvement from Land.

There are numerous other examples: the strategic deterrent, hydrography, humanitarian ops iso HMG agencies, ISR, support to UK security agencies, NFZs, Sampling, Open Skies and other treaty verification tasks, ASuW, various Air Transport and Sea Lift tasks, SAR, CSAR/JPR/NEO, Maritime Interdiction Ops, Defence Engagement tasks (eg training, RAFAT and port visits) and C2.

None of the above need involve Land in any way.
ASW etc isn't what I was thinking of as asymmetric or OOTW, it was more like peace support. I was probably too loose in my phrasing.



However, I would argue that the traditional concept of 'supported' and 'supporting' components is fundamentally flawed. Each are mutually supporting and no Component can win a campaign in isolation.

With respect, I therefore consider the Army's regular heard mantra that 'only Land can be the supported component' both disappointing institutionalised arrogance and something that can dangerously inhibit thinking in a Joint environment.
Agreed
 

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