Defence Secretary Announches how to Surrender

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  1. How to Surrender

    Defence Secretary pledges to implement Navy operations and Media-handling reviews

    The Defence Secretary Des Browne today, 19 June 2007, promised to implement in full, and as a matter of priority, the recommendations of two independent reports commissioned after the detention of Royal Navy personnel by Iran in March 2007.

    Following the safe release of the personnel, and the controversy over some of them receiving payments from the media, two inquiries were launched. Lieutenant General Sir Rob Fulton RM (Retired) was asked to report on the operational circumstances, consequences, and implications of the detention of the personnel. Tony Hall, the Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House and formerly the BBC’s Director of News, was asked to examine the media handling aspects, including the decision to allow those involved to sell their stories.

    Mr Browne said:

    "We have sought to learn all the lessons from this difficult episode, both operationally and in terms of the media handling – and to be open and accountable in doing so. We have had two reviews. Both are very thorough and professional. Both offer clear, detailed recommendations, all of which we accept, and many of which are already well in hand. Both are focused on the future, determined to help us ensure we do not make these mistakes again.

    "We have the best armed forces in the world – respected everywhere for their bravery, professionalism and their ability to deliver results. Some have argued that this incident has dented their hard won reputation – I do not believe this to be true. Their reputation is more durable than that. These two reports will help us maintain and enhance that reputation. I intend to ensure we succeed."


    Mr Browne confirmed that a copy of the Hall report would today be published in full on the MOD website. He outlined the key findings and recommendations of the Fulton report, but explained that due to its classified operational content, the document cannot be put into the public domain – though it has been given in full to the House of Commons Defence Committee.

    "I am delighted that the MoD has accepted all the recommendations of my report. We have recommended that, for the future, serving personnel, both military and civilian, should not accept payments for talking to the media or the public about their work. There should be no exceptions to this rule."
    Tony Hall


    The First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathan Band, said:

    "I am proud to lead a professional and dedicated Navy that routinely conducts inherently complex and demanding coalition operations in diverse, dangerous and unpredictable regions world-wide.

    "The events of the 23rd March were one bad day in our proud 400 year history. I can assure the British people that I will personally ensure that the recommendations of this report are fully implemented."


    Mr Hall said:

    "I am delighted that the MoD has accepted all the recommendations of my report. We have recommended that, for the future, serving personnel, both military and civilian, should not accept payments for talking to the media or the public about their work. There should be no exceptions to this rule.

    "The acceptance of payments from the media offended the public and their view of the special place of the Armed Forces in British life. And it also ran contrary to what the Armed Forces believe they stand for: the team versus the individual, and selfless service on behalf of the nation. That the decision to accept payment caused such anger and concern was entirely understandable.

    "We have made a set of other recommendations, including that work is needed to improve the relationship between Defence and the Armed Forces and the media. This really matters: Defence is always in the news, and the public need to get an accurate understanding of the important work which our Armed Forces do, and the challenges they face."


    In a message to Service personnel, Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup said:

    "As you are aware, I asked Lt Gen Sir Rob Fulton to carry out an investigation into the detention by the IRGC on 23 Mar 07 of 15 RN/RM personnel. Gen Fulton has now submitted his report, which I and the Chiefs of Staff have considered. It inevitably addresses classified issues which cannot be discussed publicly without increasing the risks our deployed forces face in conducting their duties.

    "But it does identify a number of weaknesses, including the coherence of strategic and operational direction within the coalition environment, the handling of intelligence, the development of doctrine and the conduct of training.

    "Gen Fulton concludes that the events of 23 Mar were the result not of a single failure or any particular individual’s human error, but rather of an unfortunate accumulation of factors - many relatively small when viewed in isolation - but which together placed our personnel in a position that could be exploited through a deliberate act by an unpredictable foreign state.

    "An action plan has now been drawn up to address Gen Fulton’s recommendations and to rectify the weaknesses identified. The single Service Chiefs and I will ensure that the lessons are applied."


    MOD Permanent Under Secretary Bill Jeffrey said:

    "I hope you will read Tony Hall’s report on his review of media access to our people following the detention and release of 15 RN/RM personnel in March/April. It sets out some clear and helpful recommendations for the future which we have accepted in full, and is covered in a statement which the Secretary of State has made to the House of Commons this afternoon about all aspects of this episode.

    "The report reminds us of the challenge we face in supporting personnel and their families, at the same time as providing the public and media with up-to-date information. It is important that the we continue to work hard to ensure our people get the right protection from intrusion, while remaining as open as possible.

    "An Action Plan has been drawn up to implement the report’s recommendations. This will include amendment of the regulations to make clear that serving military and civilian personnel should not accept payment for talking about their work to the media or the public. Until this is completed, the interim ban on such payments announced by the Secretary of State on 9 April remains in force.

    "I am very grateful for the constructive way in which many people in the Department engaged with Mr Hall. And I am grateful, too, for the hard and high quality work which people across the Department – in our media function and elsewhere – deliver for Defence day in, day out. As a Department, we undoubtedly took our eye off the ball over the payments issue, and there are lessons to be learned about how we do our business. This report provides a good opportunity to move forward. I am sure that we will take it."



    The full text of the speech delivered by Secretary of State for Defence to Parliament on Tuesday 19 June 2007 is below:

    "On the 16th April I announced that the Chief of the Defence Staff had appointed Lieutenant General Sir Rob Fulton of the Royal Marines, currently the Governor and Commander in Chief of Gibraltar, to lead an inquiry into the operational circumstances surrounding the seizure of fifteen of our personnel on the 23 March. I also announced an independent review of the media handling of the incident and its aftermath, and subsequently confirmed that this review would be led by Mr Tony Hall, Chief Executive of the Royal Opera House and formerly the BBC’s Director of News and Current Affairs.

    "I am grateful to General Fulton and Tony Hall, both of whom have completed their respective reports to tight deadlines with all the professionalism and candour that was expected of them and I am now informing the House of their findings, as I undertook to do.

    "I begin by stressing that these two reports are very different in nature and therefore require different handling. Mr Hall’s review is a public document which today is placed in the library of the House and published on the MOD website.

    "As I made clear in April, General Fulton’s report is classified because it addresses operational and tactical issues which cannot be discussed in public without increasing the risks to our forces. Nevertheless, these events and the issues they raise are legitimate subjects of parliamentary and public concern. It was to balance these factors that I decided that I would give a broad outline of General Fulton’s findings to this House, but that the full report would be given to the Defence Select Committee. This has been done; I leave it to the Chairman and members of that Committee to comment today as they see fit.

    "Mr Speaker, General Fulton highlights the complex and dynamic nature of the Northern Gulf as an operating environment. We are there as part of a coalition maritime force carrying out a variety of demanding tasks against a backdrop of wider and rapidly evolving international issues.

    "His report is impressively thorough. It has looked at every aspect of this incident, and others that may hold valuable lessons. In order to complete the report he has carried out lengthy interviews with all the people involved and at every level of the chain of command. Members of this House urged that specific areas be looked at, and I would like to address some of those points to the extent that I can, consistent with the constraints of operational security I mentioned earlier.

    "First General Fulton considered the events on the Shatt Al Arab waterway in June 2004. He concluded that while there were some broad similarities in the circumstances, the events themselves were different – and the requisite lessons of the time were learned and applied. Second he considered the rules of engagement and confirmed that they were entirely appropriate for the task and remain so today.

    "Third his report is clear that this event was not the result of equipment or resource issues including helicopter availability, the size and suitability of the Cornwall or the size and armament of the boats available to the boarding party. The Coalition Force commander in the Gulf has reiterated that he is content with the capabilities deployed by the UK but as ever we keep this under review.

    "Finally he confirmed that the presence of the BBC on HMS Cornwall was not a factor in any of the operational decisions taken on the 23rd March.

    "But, Mr Speaker, there were shortcomings, which General Fulton has identified in his report. This was a coalition operation - Members will not need me to spell out the merits of that - but clearly there is a cost in terms of added complexity. It is vital that the procedures we all share can adapt rapidly to changes in this complex strategic environment. General Fulton’s report has identified some faults in that respect, and we are addressing them with our coalition partners.

    "General Fulton has also identified some specific national shortcomings. The central lesson is that we must improve our ability to identify and assess the risks that this complex environment generates, and to train and posture our forces accordingly. He noted the need for improvements in a range of areas: in the handling of intelligence, in communications, in doctrine, and in training – both individual and collective.

    "On training in particular he notes, and this is worth repeating, that the Royal Navy’s generic training for operations remains world class. By the time a Royal Navy ship deploys on operations it is well prepared for a wide range of potential roles. But the Report does identify a need to improve some training specific to particular tasks – including boarding. Furthermore, it recommends that in future we deploy specialist rather than composite teams for boarding operations – a recommendation we have already acted on.

    "General Fulton also recommends that we ensure that we learn quickly from the experience of other nations operating in the area and get better at sharing information with them.

    "Above all General Fulton’s report concludes that the events of 23 March were not the result of a single gross failing or individual human error, but the coming together of a series of vulnerabilities, many relatively small when viewed in isolation, but which together placed our personnel in a position that could be exploited by Iran.

    "His conclusions suggest that there is no case for disciplinary action against any of the individuals involved. But his report does emphasise that many of those individuals could have done more to prevent what happened. In that respect it identifies some failings, both collective and individual, which the Royal Navy’s Chain of Command will consider and will deal with.

    "The Chief of the Defence Staff and my Permanent Secretary will take the lead in implementing the reports and their recommendations and I expect the great majority to be implemented by the end of this year, many of them sooner than that."


    Secretary of State for Defence Des Browne
    "General Fulton recommends a range of actions to address the shortcomings he has identified. An action plan has been drawn up. A number of measures have already been taken – allowing us to recommence boarding operations last month – and further measures are under way.

    "The Defence Select Committee has been briefed on the action plan – but as I indicated at the start, there is a limit to how much I can say to the House. I can say that I, together with the Chiefs of Staff, are content that General Fulton’s report and the resulting action plan will ensure our people are properly prepared for future operations.

    "Let me now turn to the Hall Review, and let me say at the outset that we accept all of its recommendations. In my statement to the House on 16 April, I made clear that the intention of this review was not to embark on a witch hunt focused on apportioning blame for the decision to allow media payments to the returning detainees.

    "Like the Fulton report, the Hall Review itself confirms that it would be wrong and counter-productive to focus on finding individuals to blame for these events. What was needed was a calm and dispassionate assessment of what happened in order to learn the lessons and to improve the ability of the MoD and the Services to handle similar events in future.

    "Tony Hall makes it plain that on the question of whether payment should have been made for individual stories, there was a ‘collective failure of judgement or an abstention of judgement’ within the department in allowing this to happen. In my earlier statement to Parliament I accepted this failing as my responsibility and apologised to the House.

    "I welcome the report’s clear recommendation that media payments to serving military or civilian personnel, for talking about their work, should simply not be allowed. This confirms my announcement on 9 April of an interim ban on acceptance of media payments and work is now underway to make detailed amendments to Service and MOD regulations and guidance to reflect this conclusion. The report further identifies that work is needed to establish a clearer policy on the naming of individuals and their families in cases of this kind. This work too is already underway.

    "But the report also identifies some broader themes. Perhaps most crucial is the huge change over the last 25 years in the context in which media coverage of operations takes place. Media access has increased significantly, and the agenda has changed.

    "The focus on the individual, for example, inevitably clashes with the service ethos of group first and the desire to present instantaneous news from the heart of the action can conflict with the need for operational security. This means that while it is clearly in the interests of both the MOD and the media to co-operate, tensions exist. We need to manage these tensions better; and we need to rebuild confidence between the MoD and the media. But the report is also clear that we need to help the media develop a better understanding of Defence issues so that they can be set in context.

    "The report recommends that, for the future, the lead for the media handling of such episodes should lie clearly with the MOD rather than a Front Line Command or a single Service. It also recommends some strengthening of what the report notes is a relatively small central Press Office.

    "The report also makes clear a number of recommendations on the need for clearer decision-making processes. I accept these entirely. Unequivocal understanding of who should sanction what is essential. The recent Capability Review, published in March, also highlights this and in response we have already been looking at how we can clarify responsibilities and improve accountability within the department.

    "Mr Speaker, I hope it is clear that we have sought wherever possible to learn the lessons from this difficult episode, both operationally and in terms of the media handling – and to be open and accountable in so doing. We have had two reviews. One independently led, and today put into the public domain. The second, of necessity, classified – but shared with the Defence Committee to ensure proper parliamentary accountability.

    "Both are very thorough and professional. Both offer clear, detailed recommendations, all of which we accept, and many of which are already well in hand. Both are focused on the future, determined to help ensure we do not make these mistakes again.

    "The Chief of the Defence Staff and my Permanent Secretary will take the lead in implementing the recommendations and I expect the great majority to be implemented by the end of this year, many of them sooner than that.

    "I will end by saying that I know that we have the best armed forces in the world – they are respected everywhere for their bravery, professionalism and their ability to deliver results. Some have argued that this incident has dented their hard won reputation but I don't believe this to be true. Their reputation is more durable than that. These reports will help us maintain and enhance that reputation. I intend to ensure we succeed."



    Now I've read it twice and I can't find anything about iPODs being on general issue :? :?
     
  2. Channel 4 news have said the Army were aware of the Iranian threat but the Navy wearn't, lol!!!.

    + don't take your ipod :lol:
     
  3. Shucks no great loss at least you will be safe when the soap falls on the shower room floor
     
  4. I did have to have a chuckle when BBC News 24 was reporting the story earlier today and had the music in the back ground.

    What do you do with a drunken sailor
    What do you do with a drunken sailor
    What do you do with a drunken sailor
    What do you do with a drunken sailor
    Earli in the morning

    Nick his IPOD and make him blubber
    Nick his IPOD and make him blubber.........................................


    Now I hope Good CO will be getting a cheque for royalties from the wonderful songs that have obviously been released since our talented ARRSERS composed them the other month. :D
     
  5. I think the report says it's no ones fault especially not Des Browne's and anyway we're not going to let anyone see the real report.
     

  6. You **** not heard that 1....................... misses is wondering why I am wipeing Stella off the computer and ruining Emmerdale with PMSL
     
  7. I watched tugboat on the news this evening. By God she's a porker. No wonder the Muslims didn't keep her. They wont touch PIG!!!
     


  8. If the matelots had been caught and got the crap kicked out of them it would have been ok. As it happens there was a chain smoking fat bird and a soppy git who blubbed when his ipod got nicked, and they got a cheap suit and some curry. Hardly war story stuff and all a bit embarrassing.

    But lets look at previous examples;

    No dramas with "Tornado Down" which I believe was released whilst John Nichol was a serving officer. Is that selling your story whilst serving? It is but it portrayed the forces in a good light.

    Or because of this will they have to pull the Johnson Beharry VC biography off the shelves? Or when another bloke is awarded one he cant release a book or do newspaper interviews.

    You cant say you can only sell stories that put us in a good light, cos the papers as we well know will print a load of poo anyway.

    One good thing though it means serving officers cant bore the poo out of us with crap books,
     
  9. Yet again the MoD demonstrates that it's largest vessel, HMS Moral Free', sails merrily on with it's cargo of cant.

    The report actually said:

    The captain of HMS Cornwall has failed the test of command and demonstrated that he is incapable of executing a sound tactical plan.

    The chain of command has demonstrated it's incompetence by allowing the freed sailors to leave the aircraft on arrival in UK clutching their sweeties and goodie bags. These should have been confiscated on the aircraft.

    This error has been further compounded by allowing them to keep their 'gifts' , in contravention of the regulations governing the declaration and retention of gifts and hospitality, and allowing them to be hawked around on E-Bay.

    The S of S for Def has demonstrated flawed judgement in allowing these 'sailors to sell their stories, and by doing so brought the RN into contempt (further into contempt if that is possible).

    The PM has demonstrated flawed judgement in allowing Des Browne, a master of flawed syntax and turgid delivery, to make a statement in the Commons today.

    All guilty as charged Your Honour.
     
  10. Many, many hours of painful drafting have clearly gone into all of that. Seldom seen anything that tries oh so very hard to gloss over some quite ugly issues and human failings in such smooth and soothing terms.

    However, this jumps out:

    "But it does identify a number of weaknesses, including the coherence of strategic and operational direction within the coalition environment, the handling of intelligence, the development of doctrine and the conduct of training."

    Bet the full strength version behind that has blighted a few careers

    .
     
  11. Whats the sayings

    Sh*t rolls down hill
    Slopey shoulders
     
  12. All comments very interesting from people who have no idea as to the content of the Fulton report and the details of his recommendations.
     
  13. I've just wet myself :oops: LOL!!!!!

    As for taffridge's point, I believe writting a book differs slightly from selling your story to the press, but I may be wrong.
     
  14. I wish a senior politician or officer would ignore the media hype and say that these 15 probably averted a war and offer them his full support. Instead they seem to have been dumped on from a great height.

    The lesson for the future is don't use your judgement and try to de-escalate a situation, go in guns blazing instead. And then standby for the same media to call you blood thirsty... ;(
     
  15. If you think this is a shining example of how to conduct yourself in this situation, then you my friend are clearly very poorly trained.