First Sea Lord's IISS Speech 24 Feb 2010

Discussion in 'Royal Navy' started by Dunservin, Feb 25, 2010.

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  1. Just a 'we need the Royal Navy more than anything else' type speech, in my humble opinion.
  2. Really?

  3. Sadly, I wonder if will he be listened to?
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2013
  4. Bouillabaisse

    Bouillabaisse LE Book Reviewer

    More a plea for no more cuts and to keep the carriers. The RN has been salami-sliced considerably over the last 10 years, losing some core capabilities (Sea Harrier for example) as well as a large number of ships.

    Successive First Sea Lords have followed a policy of bending over and taking whatever the government has asked them to in order to get the carriers. They have prostituted themselves and the Navy to achieve it and the RN can see all this coming to nothing if QE and PoW get cancelled.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. My second point is derived from that analysis. It is that maritime forces benefit from unique attributes which allow them to be used, not only operationally to fight, on land, sea and in the air, all over the world, but also strategically to contain and prevent conflict from happening in the first place.

    Such wide utility is a consequence of the global reach and enduring presence that are the characteristics of such forces. They can deliver a range of effects on behalf of a Government seeking choice in its means of response to a developing threat to UK interests, whether a warship acting alone or as part of a multinational joint task force.

    This country’s Naval Service is inherently flexible and able to integrate with our sister services, allies and other partners.

    None of this is easy. It takes considerable time, training, resource and effort to achieve, and we are always looking for ways to improve our effectiveness and interoperability, but it does bring powerful results. Maritime forces are constantly engaged in shaping and setting the conditions which facilitate the work of others. They can also enhance the contribution of others. I firmly believe that maritime forces have a vital role to play in contributing to the delivery of the Defence mission in the unpredictable world of tomorrow.

    And then

    In so doing, I hope to show you that maritime forces possess the attributes of flexibility and interoperability that are at a premium in Defence thinking and which are the themes underpinning the Green Paper.

    Consider the events in the late spring of the year 2000. I then had the privilege of commanding HMS ILLUSTRIOUS, the aircraft carrier, which had embarked onboard 7 Fleet Air Arm Sea harriers and 6 Harriers from the Royal Air Force. In early May, ILLUSTRIOUS and her air group, along with HMS OCEAN and her Amphibious Ready Group, were diverted from tasking in the Mediterranean to Sierra Leone, following an urgent request from the UN for assistance in bolstering a fast-deteriorating security situation in Freetown. There, the Government was under threat from insurgents of the Revolutionary United Front and the West Side Boys. The US and France, the only other nations with the Rapid Reaction Forces able to deploy serious military muscle globally, had declined to help the UN. This was, after all, a Western military intervention in a civil war in Sub Saharan Africa, not to be undertaken lightly.

    In fact, the British military intervention there was a success. The mandate was unambiguous, and the intervention was focussed in its aims and its scale. The initial insertion by air of a spearhead battalion from the Parachute Regiment was very quickly backed up with combat power from the sea in the shape of a Naval Task Group.

    The carrier-borne strike capability, in the shape of the Harriers, provided an airborne presence in support of the joint force ashore, and the Amphibious Group’s Support Helicopters were able to deliver and re-supply the troops, alongside the air bridge into Lunghi airport. Our Royal Marines were on hand to relieve the initial spearhead element as the mission developed.

    Oh and

    Thirdly, a capable navy with a global presence not only supported the operation, but also shaped it. Maritime power played its part in allowing a relatively small force of ground troops to achieve superiority in critical areas of our choosing.

    If you want agile forces, able to be tailored for a specific mission, if you want them to be sustained and supported from a position of security, then maritime forces can make an important contribution. Where you are operating in territory that has a coast, or is accessible from the sea, the sea control and sea denial that maritime forces deliver are a pre-requisite for operational success.

    And more

    want to stress that, because it resonates with a similar point made by the Chief of the Air Staff when he spoke here a few weeks ago. He warned that we should guard against the presumption that air superiority is a given. I agree. Equally, we should not assume that sea control can be easily achieved or maintained, particularly against State adversaries with advanced sub-surface capabilities, or indeed in areas where asymmetric swarm attack by less sophisticated opponents may be the major threat.

    To prevail, to establish the sea control needed for success, we will continue to need the ability to meet these sorts of threats with confidence and the right equipment and training.

    In considering the utility of maritime forces, I could also mention Iraq in 2003, when the Royal Marines were landed from the sea into the Al Faw peninsula as the spearhead force there. Or the initial attacks in Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11, when our submarines launched cruise missile attacks on Al Qaeda positions, while delivery of initial entry forces came courtesy of our carriers at sea. And you will know by now that the Naval Service has been an enduring presence, in Iraq and Afghanistan throughout, where their adaptability is widely recognised.

    And on

    The Naval Service commitment endures, even in this land-locked country.

    In all those examples, there has been and remains an important role for sea based air power and our versatile amphibious forces. In fact, since the end of the Cold War, these important maritime capabilities have never been more in demand, testament to the enduring utility that these forces bring, whatever role is demanded of them.

    When crises demand a response which includes a military contribution, maritime forces will inevitably be intelligence gathering from the early stages, conducting reconnaissance covertly and improving situational awareness for other forces. We will usually be the first to arrive and the last to leave. We can provide a protected sea base from which to operate. We can provide mobile launch platforms for our forces . We can limit the political and military liability of operations by protecting and controlling the maritime flank. We can integrate with other maritime and littoral forces. We can get land forces where they need to be, and then support them: combat air support, helicopters, logistics, medical, you name it. And we are there to recover

    Hang on, apart from the brief nod to inter service operability.......this is actually most of his speech.

    Not saying i disagree with him. As a maritime nation we should have a strong Navy, likewise airforce.
  6. The passages you quote include the phrases:

    "facilitate the work of others"
    "enhance the contribution of others"
    "contributing to the delivery of the Defence mission"
    "acting as part of a multinational joint task force"
    "integrate with our sister services"
    "provided an airborne presence in support of the joint force ashore"
    "deliver and re-supply the troops"
    "allowing a relatively small force of ground troops to achieve superiority"
    "make an important contribution"
    "provide a protected sea base from which to operate"
    "get land forces where they need to be, and then support them"

    Quite rightly in his position, 1SL stresses the important contribution made by the Naval Service which includes Royal Marines. However, looking at the phrases above, he is certainly not saying we need the Royal Navy "more than anything else". As I cited in my previous post, his argument is for balanced forces allowing worldwide flexibility and agility.