Defence rationalisation - Staff Terms

Finally - the clarification I was after...


1. This guidance is being issued to remedy a perceived difficulty experienced by Staff at all levels in understanding the rationale behind recent Defence re-structuring. In particular many Staff Officers seem not to understand how reducing the numbers of aircraft, ships, tanks, artillery and soldiers results in a more flexible, robust and effective fighting force.

2. In particular it seems that much of the confusion stems from a systemic misunderstanding of the correct use of military terminology. A list of common terms and actual meanings follows.

3. In addition there follows an explanation of the key assumptions embedded within the Defence Review. All Staff Officers are encouraged to seek clarification through their Chain of Command if they still have any questions.

4. Staff Terminology used in the new Defence Plan;

Term MOD meaning

Flexible- a. Smaller
b. Unable to operate unless under US protection

Robust- a. Smaller
b. Lacking reserves or regeneration capability

Networked- Smaller, but still unable to talk to each other

Capable- Smaller

Agile- Really, really small

Deployability- Method of making the Forces, primarily the Army, able to send higher percentages of their manpower to a distant location. This is achieved by reducing the overall numbers involved, i.e. “In future the Army will be able to send 50% of it’s manpower to Africa in the back of a Cessna, thus achieving greater deployability”.

Reach- The distance the American’s are willing to fly us

Efficient- Much, much smaller

Streamlined- Just unbelievably small

Just in time- For the funeral.

Integrated- Process by which all three services get to brief against each other in public leaks, attempting to justify and defend their own budget against cuts, thereby doing the Treasury’s work for them. Taken to extremes by the Army in which Corps and Regiments fight each other, and perfected within the Infantry.
Technically ambitious- a. Slang, as in “He was being a bit technically ambitious when he tried to drive that car through the wall” (cf, “To propose a Bowman”)

b. Description of the far future

Reserves- Integral part of current Operational Manning.

Rationalisation- a. Cuts

b. Psychological term, meaning to use complicated arguments to avoid facing unpalatable truths, i.e. , “we don’t need to pay for both expensive servicemen and equipment, because we will be networked, agile, and technically ambitious” .

Rapid- Used in a comparative sense, as in “The rapid erosion of the Himalayan Mountains…”

Modernisation- Cuts

Radical- Deep Cuts

Transformation- Really Deep Cuts

Sustainable- Assuming zero casualties, no leave and no emergencies.

Sentences such as “these proposals capture our aim for a speedy deployable, agile, joint and integrated, technically ambitious defence capability” will make more logical sense to the experienced Staff Officer once the above definitions are applied.

4. It will also help if Staff Officer’s bear in mind the following Planning Principles. Point C will be of particular relevance in explaining the rationale behind restructuring to Junior Staff.

a. Use of Special Forces. No one in the general Public has a clue how many there are, so they can be announced as deploying to every country in the world.

b. Aggressive use of terminology can compensate for lack of actual forces. For example in the past effective deterrence of a reasonably capable Maritime threat would require the despatch of a task force, consisting of destroyers, frigates, submarines and possibly even a carrier. In the future this task will still be achieved by a task force; but task-force will be the new description for a mine-sweeper.

c. The new Defence Plan was not resource driven. A comprehensive strategic estimate was conducted, from first principles, identifying the current and potential threats to the UK and it’s interests, allowing a reserve for the unexpected, and also allowing for recurrent non-warfighting tasks such as Fire Strike cover and Foot and Mouth disease. Against the tasks identified an ideal manpower establishment and Task Org was then identified. By an amazing coincidence it happened to fit almost exactly within current Treasury MOD expenditure plans, and even allow the MOD to carry half the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan.

d. Much of the current crisis in Defence Spending can be directly traced to the high costs of legacy equipments. These were ordered at a time of ignorance in the past when Planners naively seemed to believe that the threat they identified as imminent would remain the same for the 20-30 year service life of the equipment they were ordering. The assumption in the 1980’s and 90’s that tanks, artillery, and aircraft would be needed in the future was ridiculous, as none of these equipments have been used by the British Armed forces to any degree since the Falklands war.
However, current planners possess better foresight and are able to predict future threats for at least the next 40 years. We are therefore able to be certain that Britain is unlikely to need any tanks, aircraft, submarines etc. past about 2015.

e. Britain no longer needs a significant anti-submarine capability. No other nation possesses submarines in any numbers, submarine technology is unlikely to advance at all over the next few 30 years, and should anti-submarine technology or skills be required at any point in the future they can be reconstituted overnight from the reserves. (Once the reserves have been reconstituted). In any case by 2020 the UK will be fully integrated into mainland Europe, and will therefore no longer have a coastline to defend or be reliant upon sea-supply.

f. Similar arguments apply to air defence.

g. The Regimental System. In the past the Regimental System has been seen as the corner-stone of British Military success, creating a system in which the individual is made to feel part of a greater family, often stretching back hundreds of years, in which he is nurtured and developed, and to which he feels such great loyalty that he is inspired to sacrifice himself if need be for his Regimental comrades. However, the British youth of today are so naturally self-sacrificing and community spirited that additional incentives are now unnecessary, and in any case the threat to soldiers on the ground has been assumed away. There is therefore no further need for a system whose main purpose is to generate fighting spirit, and it can be safely emasculated to achieve administrative efficiency (see “Efficient” above).

h. High divorce rates within the Services will solve manpower crises, by ensuring all service personnel will be happy to conduct back-to-back tours forever, as no one will have any families or friends to miss.

i. Savings will be ploughed into the purchase of large numbers of hats. This will be essential as in future everyone will be at least treble or quadruple hatted. Wars will be fought in rotation on a strict “first come, first served” basis.

k. Future savings will be made by abolishing all training for the Chiefs of Staff. After all they haven’t proven remotely as effective at manoeuvre warfare, disruption, dislocation or divide-and-rule as the Treasury.

l. Successive efficiency measures can be made to reinforce each other. For example, each time troop numbers are cut, a unit can then be tasked to conduct the same jobs as before. Provided there are no actual massacres of Friendly Forces, the new troop numbers can be seen to have been fully as effective as the previous numbers, and so can form a baseline for achieving efficiency cuts to new troop numbers. Savings can then be invested in new equipment, in the same way that British Airways fires half its pilots every time it needs to buy a new plane. The ultimate aim is to have one man, but equipped like Dr Octopus. He will sleep with one eye open at all times to replicate full manning.
m. Key Assumptions: Current levels of operations are an aberration, will never be repeated, and should form no guide to current manning requirements, let alone future ones. Gerry Adams has embraced peace, there is no more requirement for crowd control in Northern Ireland, the FBU have forsworn strikes along with all other key public workers, Osama Bin Laden is about to hand himself in and the Easter Bunny will be providing Area Air Defence for London.

5. More detailed guidance can be found in JSP 4708- “Magic Mushrooms, their consumption, effects and results in the MOD” and Minister Hoon’s Autobiography “What Colour is the Sky in My World?”


I M Promoted
SO2 Spin
Ministry of Truth
Orwell Bldg
MOD 1984
X-Inf said:
Sorry - you are several days and about 2 threads out of date.
My sentiments exactly seen to recall posting that one just after the Defence White paper Fcuk up
X-Inf wrote:
Sorry - you are several days and about 2 threads out of date.

My sentiments exactly seen to recall posting that one just after the Defence White paper Fcuk up
My apologies, Princesses. But it seems an appropriate Forum for this to lie. I'll go back to my ovaltine and try to find a helpful youngster to explain to me what's going on....
X-Inf said:
Sorry - you are several days and about 2 threads out of date.
But probably worth reposting.... just in case anyone has missed it!!


War Hero
Book Reviewer
[quote="Bad CO
But probably worth reposting.... just in case anyone has missed it!![/quote]

If it is that good why not make it a Sticky? However it is good to see you advocating multiple posts of the same articles and I hope others take note.

(Note to self - I wonder if I should post this elsewhere in case he misses it?)
A good job it was reposted or I would have missed this gem
(calm down you REME types, he hasn't suggested a spanner modification).
Excellent work fella and you can be sure you will be seeing this (or similar) impex'd on a CASH terminal near you soon.
I liked Big Geff Hoons interesting choice of title for his autobiography.
Why can't anybody in this govt stand up to Gordon Brown.
But who is looking out for us at the top?
Hoon just rolls over like a dead poodle and even our generals seem to following their own agenda, Darth Vadar is a good bloke but why is he trying to structure the Infantry like the Paras. Good luck trying that with the Guards.
Blair doesn't care, for a political party that historically hasn't liked the Military we have dug him out of the s**t more often than anyone else.
(Say what you like about Maggie, but atleast she didn't shaft us so often our arse starts to smoke).
More of the same boys, doing less with more, however, we are going to lose one shortly and lose it badly. And thats going to be the crisis point. (Unfortunately its going to mean a C17 full of peoples sons and daughters in bags).
Personally I think Brown is running this country and not that inane grinning used car salesman and god help us when Brown takes over.
I hope the CGS and the MOD read this website, they might actually learn something of the real world.
KnightsofRowallan said:
Why can't anybody in this govt stand up to Gordon Brown.
Probably because they're all scared that the FRISP might "pit the heid oan them" if they show signs of disagreeing with him.
i have only just seen it, and i like it a lot. can anyone forward it to Des?

Similar threads

New Posts

Latest Threads