FIghting without the US - SoS Defence

@jim30 has been busy this morning


For the SDSR then this means having an honest conversation about what role landpower plays in the future part of Defence and whether the UK would be better advised to move to a maritime and air based strategy.


Ouch...
 
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I'm not worried about perceptions of our international importance; punching above our weight, etc. My concern is that a politician will one day send forces into a situation for which they are ill-prepared* precisely because of the fall in the defence budget since 1989. etc.
Reading an article concerning another matter, I thought this quotation worth airing:

"When the rubber hits the road, as we have seen repeatedly in Libya, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, the only things that matter are expertise, influence and power. We used to be good at all three. Now we’re not.
We need urgently to rebuild. And when we do, we need to choose sides."
Sir John Jenkins: Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange, once Foreign Office Director Middle East and North Africa and UK Ambassador to Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Actually fighting an actual war without the Americans... could we even do it?
No. Not even close. We'll never be able to compete with Russia or China, and even against a 'sub-peer' middle eastern military we'd need significant improvements in armour, arty, infantry mobility, ground attack aircraft, rotary wing lift, and almost everything J4 including strategic transport.

Edited to add: I forgot about space assets. If the US doesn't let us use their space capabilities then we're in real trouble.
 
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Reading an article concerning another matter, I thought this quotation worth airing:

The expertise has a political aspect. When Cameron was gagging to get us into Syria, what sort of advice was he receiving from senior officers about the level of risk? Because senior officers want the forces to be used, to have a higher profile, to receive more investment, there is a risk of commitments being entered into with that agenda partly in mind.
Added to that is a lack of objective on the part of politicians beyond that of stopping something they don't like, and of being a player on the world stage. That is, once we're in, how do we get out? What criteria are satisfied to permit exit? What do we do when we are there?
 

TamH70

MIA
Over logistics? yes
The Logistician

Logisticians are a sad and embittered race of men who are very much in demand in war, and who sink resentfully into obscurity in peace. They deal only in facts, but must work for men who merchant in theories. They emerge during war because war is very much a fact. They disappear in peace because peace is mostly theory. The people who merchant in theories, and who employ logisticians in war and ignore them in peace, are generals.

Generals are a happy blessed race who radiate confidence and power. They feed only on ambrosia and drink only nectar. In peace, they stride confidently and can invade a world simply by sweeping their hands grandly over a map, point their fingers decisively up train corridors, and blocking defiles and obstacles with the sides of their hands. In war, they must stride more slowly because each general has a logistician riding on his back and he knows that, at any moment, the logistician may lean forward and whisper: "No, you can't do that." Generals fear logisticians in war and, in peace, generals try to forget logisticians.

Romping along beside generals are strategists and tacticians. Logisticians despise strategists and tacticians. Strategists and tacticians do not know about logisticians until they grow up to be generals--which they usually do.

Sometimes a logistician becomes a general. If he does, he must associate with generals whom he hates; he has a retinue of strategists and tacticians whom he despises; and, on his back, is a logistician whom he fears. This is why logisticians who become generals always have ulcers and cannot eat their ambrosia.

Unknown Author



Forgive them father, they quote Tom Clancy at the end

E2A: of course, it could be reality biting about maintaining a "deployable" division.

There was a post on a thread a while back that highlighted how disparate the distribution/type of UK inf units were compared to European armies, the piint being made that most European armies hadn't had to maintain a large Light infantry commitment to something like BANNER
Logistics was the main thing that cost Napoleon his Grande Armee. Professor Saul David, in one of his documentary series, put it bluntly that one of the causal factors in him coming back with such small numbers of troops was the way he had his horses shod, as having the wrong (summer use only) horseshoes nailed on meant that it put every horse in his army at greater risk of injury in the terrain and climatic conditions of Eastern Europe and Russia.

There are of course other historians who don't agree with him, but historians bitch about anything as long as they can get an article byline.

 
But, but, but... you have recent publicity of RAS between aircraft carriers & other ships, F-35s taking off etc etc

Are you saying this was all just SDSR positioning, a PR sham enhanced to try and sell more capability than can be manned?

I think the RN fell down the same rabbit hole the rest of the armed forces have done and sacrificed sustainability on the alter of capability. They also need to be seen to be doing "something" even if its at the expense of actually being able to achieve something if it progresses from pure steaming in circles showing presence. We run the ships so hard in "peacetime" and then there is no slack when we have to actually push the ships to the next step for the "transition to war".

All our logistics capacity is almost entirely aimed at supporting peacetime commitments with no thought to what is required for sustained combat. Weapons, sensors and machinery spares are ordered from the manufacturer "just in time" and spares are not held on board, if you are very unlucky it has to be store robbed from another unit which is probably now not available. You have to be on the end of a working air bridge to receive these stores and have the capability to then move it from the airhead to the ships.

An obvious sign of this to me is that the RFA now has 6 modern fleet tankers with the ability to keep lots of ships at sea with fuel. That's great for peacetime steaming in circles showing presence (yes we need them as well for a conflict). We have 3 stores ships, two of which date from the 70's, of which only one is actually even close to being at sea. The ability to have ammo and stores positioned forward and able to resupply ships with that ammunition and stores in the forward area has been left to wither on the vine. The ability to conduct forward repairs disappeared with Diligence. The 3 future Solid Support Ships have been "paused" with no plan when they are going to be continued but the Littoral Strike Ships are still moving forward.
 

widow11

On ROPS
On ROPs
@jim30 has been busy this morning


For the SDSR then this means having an honest conversation about what role landpower plays in the future part of Defence and whether the UK would be better advised to move to a maritime and air based strategy.


Ouch...
Jim 30 banging the drum for the Navy?

I don’t believe you for a second.
 
No. Not even close. We'll never be able to compete with Russia or China, and even against a 'sub-peer' middle eastern military we'd need significant improvements in armour, arty, infantry mobility, ground attack aircraft, rotary wing lift, and almost everything J4 including strategic transport.

Edited to add: I forgot about space assets. If the US doesn't let us use their space capabilities then we're in real trouble.
Reduction in Infantry numbers, re allocation of funds.
 
Not fighting a war without the US will be a lot easier though.
One wonders who and where we would choosing to operate though?

Unless we conceive of a future of capability enhancing operations on our own in order to manage the threat to the UK from extremism, and a conventional capability within NATO to deter Vlad.

Plus the NEO and the other stuff the army gets asked to do.
 

Yokel

LE
I think the RN fell down the same rabbit hole the rest of the armed forces have done and sacrificed sustainability on the alter of capability. They also need to be seen to be doing "something" even if its at the expense of actually being able to achieve something if it progresses from pure steaming in circles showing presence. We run the ships so hard in "peacetime" and then there is no slack when we have to actually push the ships to the next step for the "transition to war".

All our logistics capacity is almost entirely aimed at supporting peacetime commitments with no thought to what is required for sustained combat. Weapons, sensors and machinery spares are ordered from the manufacturer "just in time" and spares are not held on board, if you are very unlucky it has to be store robbed from another unit which is probably now not available. You have to be on the end of a working air bridge to receive these stores and have the capability to then move it from the airhead to the ships.

An obvious sign of this to me is that the RFA now has 6 modern fleet tankers with the ability to keep lots of ships at sea with fuel. That's great for peacetime steaming in circles showing presence (yes we need them as well for a conflict). We have 3 stores ships, two of which date from the 70's, of which only one is actually even close to being at sea. The ability to have ammo and stores positioned forward and able to resupply ships with that ammunition and stores in the forward area has been left to wither on the vine. The ability to conduct forward repairs disappeared with Diligence. The 3 future Solid Support Ships have been "paused" with no plan when they are going to be continued but the Littoral Strike Ships are still moving forward.
Why does defence still use Just In Time logistics when it really means 'Just Too Late' and has been largely abandoned by industry in favour of things such as Kanban?

Is the policy of holding no stores related to the absurd RAB accounting rules?


One wonders who and where we would choosing to operate though?

Unless we conceive of a future of capability enhancing operations on our own in order to manage the threat to the UK from extremism, and a conventional capability within NATO to deter Vlad.

Plus the NEO and the other stuff the army gets asked to do.
A loosening of alliances perhaps? Movement of American assets to the Pacific?
 
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Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Reduction in Infantry numbers, re allocation of funds.
That wouldn't even come close to cracking it. It'll need 10s of Billions to be able to fight a heavy-metal war against anyone who isn't armed with sharpened mangos.

It's difficult though, because the obvious alternative is to assume that we'll always be able to rely on US support and history tells us that's an extremely dangerous assumption. Or we can decide that we don't want to be able to fight wars overseas and we can step back from the global stage.

All of those options have positives and negatives but sadly the government has to pick one of the three. Personally, I'd go for the 'spend enough to be able to fight' option but then I'm a soldier so I would say that.
 
If we're neutral, we need to be strong enough so that potential belligerents don't take the p@ss. If anything, make sure they want to stop us from getting involved on the opposite side.
If we're aligned, we have to be strong enough to make us less than easy win for the oppo.
There's no getting away from needing clout if and where we get involved. Really does need a long hard look.
 
The expertise has a political aspect. When Cameron was gagging to get us into Syria, what sort of advice was he receiving from senior officers about the level of risk?
Prior to offering advice, it is necessary to know what the objective is. From a lay perspective, that has rarely been made clear before recent engagements.
 
There is a middle way: take a big gulp and do it via NATO. Convince our European allies that if they do the J4/J6 bit, we'll do the fighty bit.

Of course that removes any pretence of a "sovereign Division", but that the way we go.

Finally, we could just stump up the cash to do it properly.
 
Ooi, how do the frogs manage ?
They have a global reach, more outposts in odd places than us, have been legging it around in places in Africa, have nuke subs and all that gubbins. Is there summat we could learn ?
 
Ooi, how do the frogs manage ?
They have a global reach, more outposts in odd places than us, have been legging it around in places in Africa, have nuke subs and all that gubbins. Is there summat we could learn ?
Keep your empire, just re-name it?
Get the germans to underwrite your domestic spending/deficit at home?
 
I think the RN fell down the same rabbit hole the rest of the armed forces have done and sacrificed sustainability on the alter of capability. They also need to be seen to be doing "something" even if its at the expense of actually being able to achieve something if it progresses from pure steaming in circles showing presence. We run the ships so hard in "peacetime" and then there is no slack when we have to actually push the ships to the next step for the "transition to war".

All our logistics capacity is almost entirely aimed at supporting peacetime commitments with no thought to what is required for sustained combat. Weapons, sensors and machinery spares are ordered from the manufacturer "just in time" and spares are not held on board, if you are very unlucky it has to be store robbed from another unit which is probably now not available. You have to be on the end of a working air bridge to receive these stores and have the capability to then move it from the airhead to the ships.

An obvious sign of this to me is that the RFA now has 6 modern fleet tankers with the ability to keep lots of ships at sea with fuel. That's great for peacetime steaming in circles showing presence (yes we need them as well for a conflict). We have 3 stores ships, two of which date from the 70's, of which only one is actually even close to being at sea. The ability to have ammo and stores positioned forward and able to resupply ships with that ammunition and stores in the forward area has been left to wither on the vine. The ability to conduct forward repairs disappeared with Diligence. The 3 future Solid Support Ships have been "paused" with no plan when they are going to be continued but the Littoral Strike Ships are still moving forward.
Things like selling off BP in 1984, the de facto ‘RFA Reserve’, comes to bite HMG in the arse.
its often forgotten that Op Corporate relied on BP’s big fleet of 25,000 tonne product tankers, all fitted for RAS, the RFA/BP crews knew each other, and all trained each year with grey funnels lines in how to use it. Now? NFC, all foreign flagged and crewed leased ships with no interest in that job.

ditto Cunard/P&O dry ships back in the designed with an eye to a secondary war role.
 
We could also opt to be like Ireland in the foreseeable future...

Neutrality

Less war means less tax payers funds wasted, less blood spilled, doesn't further antagonise p*ssed off countries with UK foreign policies they don't already like and it will also please the gen-pop whom are scratching their heads about Trumps erratic daily decision making.
That's assuming any aggressor would respect said neutrality. Denmark, Belgium, Norway, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands were all neutral during the last unpleasantness but it didn't stop the Germans invading them.
 
I had no idea General Moore was a Duke of Wellington walt.
Looks like even Generals are capable of the odd bit of walting every now and then
 
There is a middle way: take a big gulp and do it via NATO. Convince our European allies that if they do the J4/J6 bit, we'll do the fighty bit.

Of course that removes any pretence of a "sovereign Division", but that the way we go.

Finally, we could just stump up the cash to do it properly.
The issue with that (as I see it, anyways) is the great white elephant in the NATO room, namely that the Europeans (with scant few exceptions) are not worth the paper they are written on in so far as committing, for the long run, in a head to head conflict.

I've done some work in the past with a number of our Euro-allies, principally in the air and land spheres. Whether it's the Dutch f**king off at the first sign of aggro in Srebrenica, or the Krauts paring down their defence spending to <1.25 % (and the Belgies are worse at <1%), their collective hearts just aren't in it. On occasion, they will step up to the plate, but across Europe spending money on defence just isn't a governmental priority. Nor, in most cases, is the military an employer of choice.

Maybe I am wrong, but I don't think so.
 

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