DT: The big lie of the defence funding 'black hole'

#1

Daily Telegraph 21 Jul 2012 said:
The nonsense of the "defence black hole" must be put to bed - the problem is one of political will and incompetence, not funding, argues Alan West. History is full of examples of the “big lie”, and sadly such distortions, if repeated often enough, still gain unwarranted traction today. In the defence arena it is the “£38bn black hole” that is a classic of this genre.

The £38bn figure has no basis in fact. The National Audit Office cannot support it. The working, or rather what bits have been exposed to scrutiny, seems to have assumed no increase in cash terms in the defence budget for 10 years and a number of other strange accounting factors. Attempts by the Commons Defence Select Committee to be allowed access to the working have been rebuffed.

Why is this important? Because the basis of the SDSR was to cut defence spending because of this “black hole”, which led to a review that was not really strategic and, at its worst (eg scrapping the carrier Ark Royal and the Harrier force), was incoherent. The scale of the Army cuts announced on 5 July stem from the same declared intention to fill that “black hole”...
However you view Lord West, there are few surprises here. In June 2008, I posted this on ARRSE:


Dunservin 1 June 2008 said:
The MoD's (and I suspect the country's) financial train crash expected in 2012 has been well 'telegraphed':

MOD Website - Defence Spending

The Ministry of Defence is committed to making value for money savings worth £2.7Bn over the CSR period to reinvest in Defence. Initiatives to achieve this include: a 5% year-on-year reduction in the MOD's administrative overhead, including a 25% saving in the Department's Head Office in London and the continued simplification of single Service Budgetary and headquarters structures.
MOD Website - Defence Spending

There have also been reports that changes to the funding of Urgent Operational Requirements (UORs) will affect the defence budget. The Treasury will continue to pay for UORs up front from the reserve budget. In the new Comprehensive Spending Review period, anything over an agreed amount (to be decided in the future) will be split 50:50 with MOD, with MOD repaying their 50% two years later.
£1bn Shortfall will cripple MoD (29 Oct 07)

During the 1980s, up to 4.4 per cent of the UK's GDP was spent on defence. That figure is now just 2.5 per cent. As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), the Government announced that the defence budget would rise from £34 billion next year to £36.9 billion in 2010/11. However, analysis handed to the Defence Select Committee suggests that the Ministry of Defence's spending plans will be around £350 million less than needed for each of the next three years; a shortfall of more than £1 billion in all.
MoD told to pay back Treasury (12 Nov 07)

Ministers will face questions next week about a move to claw back billions of pounds from the over-stretched Armed Forces budget. The Treasury has changed its rules for funding urgent supplies for troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan from its reserve fund, forcing the Ministry of Defence to meet more of the costs itself, The Daily Telegraph can reveal.

MoD uses equipment budget for daily costs (17 Dec 07)

Treasury documents show that the Ministry of Defence has been forced to transfer the money out of its capital budget to the fund it uses to pay for front-line operations. The MoD said the money had been transferred to cover the increasing price of fuel used by troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It admitted the Treasury was not meeting the higher cost of operations.

Defence spending is lowest since the 1930s (19 Apr 07)

Britain spends less of its wealth on defence than Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey despite the constant demands placed on its Armed Forces, official figures show. According to the Conservatives, defence spending as a proportion of the UK's gross domestic product is at its lowest since 1930, before the UK recognised the rising threat of Nazi Germany.
What with delayed payments for equipment procurement, deferred debts to the Treasury and PFIs requiring settlement, so many of the MoD's chickens will be coming home to roost by the end of this CSR period that it will be neck deep in guano.
Initially, the Labour Government's chronic underfunding of SDR 98 had much to answer for but things have deteriorated even further even under the Conservatives with ever more PFI deals (crushingly mortgaging the MoD well into the future), further deferment of equipment delivery dates (thus raising costs) and slashing of numbers (thus increasing unit costs), all while we have been engaged in two costly conflicts. I'm sure I don't need to provide examples.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
Who, perhaps, is scrabbling around trying to get on Miliband's short list for SecDef when Cameron & Osborne's various ballsups and deceits and u-turns and broken promises hit the fan in 2015?
 
#5
As soon as cutting our ancient and clapped out Harriers was bitched about, I stopped reading...
Ancient and clapped out my old Fiesta may be, but it still gets me to and from work. I'd much rather buy a spanking new Merc or some such, but until such time as I can afford one and the choice remains between the Fiesta or a big red council taxi, I'll keep running my battered old tank. That's just me though, we're all different.
 
#6
Ancient and clapped out my old Fiesta may be, but it still gets me to and from work. I'd much rather buy a spanking new Merc or some such, but until such time as I can afford one and the choice remains between the Fiesta or a big red council taxi, I'll keep running my battered old tank. That's just me though, we're all different.
And if you already have a shiny new Merc, would you keep spending money on your clapped out Fiesta or get shot of it?
 
#7
And if you already have a shiny new Merc, would you keep spending money on your clapped out Fiesta or get shot of it?
Well that kind of depends on what you mean by 'already have'. See, if the Merc was sat on my driveway with a full tank of fuel and the keys jingling in my hand, then the Fiesta would probably already be in bits in the breaker's yard.

If on the other hand, the Merc was still in it's component parts at the Factory because I hadn't made up my mind whether I wanted the diesel or petrol version (or the prototype hybrid), and the dealers had told me that even once I had made up my mind, I'd still be waiting eight years before I could take delivery, then I'd probably look to keep the trusty old steed running, or at least shop around for a cheap little runaround in the interim.

But then again, that's just me, and we're all different...
 
#8
Well that kind of depends on what you mean by 'already have'. See, if the Merc was sat on my driveway with a full tank of fuel and the keys jingling in my hand, then the Fiesta would probably already be in bits in the breaker's yard.

If on the other hand, the Merc was still in it's component parts at the Factory because I hadn't made up my mind whether I wanted the diesel or petrol version (or the prototype hybrid), and the dealers had told me that even once I had made up my mind, I'd still be waiting eight years before I could take delivery, then I'd probably look to keep the trusty old steed running, or at least shop around for a cheap little runaround in the interim.

But then again, that's just me, and we're all different...

The Harriers were an RAF asset and the Typhoon provides a huge step change in capability.
They were very limted light bombers thats day has been and long gone.
 
#11
The Harriers were an RAF asset and the Typhoon provides a huge step change in capability.
They were very limted light bombers thats day has been and long gone.
Which is why, of course, the US Marines use them, being a sort of lightweight organisation bigger than the British Army and RAF combined, or so I,m told.
 
#13
Which is why, of course, the US Marines use them, being a sort of lightweight organisation bigger than the British Army and RAF combined, or so I,m told.
Yes, that would be the USMC that also has hundreds of its own F/A-18's Hornets to call on as well on many hundreds more USN ones?
 
#14
Please define what specific capability the loss of 6 rather limited light bombers has cost the RN?
6? You just can't help yourself, can you?

November 24: The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed that 72 of the 74 recently retired Royal Air Force and Royal Navy Harriers have been sold to the US Marine Corps (USMC). The deal amounts to $180 million (around £110 million), says the MoD. Just two of the 74 aircraft will be retained to “be offered to museums in order to preserve the Royal Navy’s military heritage”, adds the MoD...
 
#16
I know you carrier fantasists love to wibble on about theoretical CAG's of 20 plus aircraft on Lusty and Ark, but the sad reality was that a maximum effort seemed to be 6 and not infrequently, they sallied forth armed to the teeth with just helicopters.

Next!
Six is a damn sight more than none, especially if you're a hard pressed sea-hat, pinned down on some beach by the enemy and desperately wishing you had something other than a Merlin with a pintel mounted GPMG with which to give you close air support. And a Harrier with a couple of Sidewinders stands a far better chance of survival against General Mustafa's Revolutionary Air Guard.

Be honest, you clearly have an issue with Harrier. I've read some of your past debates with Tekirdog, and whilst I know that man is clearly a wibbler of the highest magnitude, you won't even listen to reasoned debate! Harrier does still have a use, or else the septics, the spaniards and the moghul raj wouldn't still be flying them. What's your issue with them? Did your pet budgie once get sucked into one of their intakes or something?
 
#17
Six is a damn sight more than none, especially if you're a hard pressed sea-hat, pinned down on some beach by the enemy and desperately wishing you had something other than a Merlin with a pintel mounted GPMG with which to give you close air support. And a Harrier with a couple of Sidewinders stands a far better chance of survival against General Mustafa's Revolutionary Air Guard.

Be honest, you clearly have an issue with Harrier. I've read some of your past debates with Tekirdog, and whilst I know that man is clearly a wibbler of the highest magnitude, you won't even listen to reasoned debate! Harrier does still have a use, or else the septics, the spaniards and the moghul raj wouldn't still be flying them. What's your issue with them? Did your pet budgie once get sucked into one of their intakes or something?
Could Sea Harrier cope with dedicated air superiority fighters? Did it have the systens to do so? Even with 20 frames, could it really have dominated the littoral area and therefore been able to support both opposed and unopposed landings?
 
#18
In 2010, the uk had under 10 harrier qualified pilots in service and hadnt done sustained carrier embarkation since 2005.
 
#19
Six is a damn sight more than none, especially if you're a hard pressed sea-hat, pinned down on some beach by the enemy and desperately wishing you had something other than a Merlin with a pintel mounted GPMG with which to give you close air support. And a Harrier with a couple of Sidewinders stands a far better chance of survival against General Mustafa's Revolutionary Air Guard.

Be honest, you clearly have an issue with Harrier. I've read some of your past debates with Tekirdog, and whilst I know that man is clearly a wibbler of the highest magnitude, you won't even listen to reasoned debate! Harrier does still have a use, or else the septics, the spaniards and the moghul raj wouldn't still be flying them. What's your issue with them? Did your pet budgie once get sucked into one of their intakes or something?
Sunno's posts regarding SHAR / GR7-9 / JFH are a damn-sight more factually accurate than most of the drivel posted here by the ill informed. Bottom line is that at OSD the RAF Harrier fleet (augmented by our friends in dark blue, to the tune of around 20%) was on it's last legs. The airframes were utterly shagged and flew like boomerangs (A SEngO mate of mine described the effort to get the 16 up for the final flypast - you didn't want to be a techie there, by all accounts). As Jim30 points out (again, accurately) we had sod all in the way of carrier-qual'ed pilots (gripping testament to the RN's unique ability to hold on to their aircrew officer cadre.........) and the RAF were rightly looking at placing people into the Typhoon programme.

Comparisons with the USMC are (IMHO) a waste of electrons - just because they (or the Indians, or Spaniards) continue to operate the type - so what ?? Different airframes, different role, not exposed to the same level of use / environment, I could go on & on.

The bird has flown, boys. Did us a good job in the day, in both RN and RAF service, from Corporate to Deny Flight and Afghanistan, but she's gone. Let it be.
 

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