Forces readiness for war damaged by Operational Commitments

aplogies if this is posted elsewhere (I couldn't find it!)


The Times said:
October 22, 2007
Iraq is damaging Forces' readiness for full-scale war
Michael Evans, Defence Editor

The Armed Forces are increasingly having to cancel crucial training exercises because of operational commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan and also to save money, according to figures from the Ministry of Defence.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the Army, has issued warnings in the past of the risks if soldiers cannot hone their fighting skills in large-scale training exercises. Previous army chiefs have also voiced concern at the lack of time available for the Forces to train for high-intensity war.

The latest figures from the MoD define the problems facing the three Services, with more than 200 exercises cancelled since 2004. They were given in response to questions raised by Nick Harvey, the defence spokesman for the Liberal Democrats.

Senior defence sources said that some people seemed to think that fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan provided the best training of all. “But this is simply not true. Soldiers may be getting war-fighting experience, particularly in Afghanistan at the moment, but this is counter-insurgency warfare; they still need to train for high-intensity war,” one defence source said.

According to the MoD figures, 79 of the planned 379 training events for 2004-05 were cancelled. In 2005-06 58 of 533 events were axed, with 30 of them cancelled because of operational commitments and 13 as savings measures. In 2006-07 69 out of 699 were cancelled, 35 because of operational commitments and five to save money.

Underlining the importance of training for wars other than counter-insurgencey campaigns, General Dannatt said in a recent speech: “We cannot take our eye off the far future. There is still the potential for so-called ‘dark futures’ and we would be foolish to rule out the possibility of some involvement in inter-state conflict.”

He added: “The role of the military is to be prepared for the unexpected.”

Des Browne, the Defence Secretary, has also acknowledged that it is vital for the Services to maintain their warfighting skills by being given sufficient time for training.

After receiving the details of the cancelled exercises, Mr Harvey said: “Operational commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan are clearly having a negative impact on our Forces’ ability to conduct military exercises. We need to be on top of the crucial task of training to maintain high levels of skills and expertise.

“If these exercises are abandoned then we are in danger of undermining our operations. It is proof that our Armed Forces are critically overstretched and suffering from the demands made by fighting in two countries.”

— A spokesman for the head of Nato indicated that Britain is considering increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan — currently 7,700. James Appathurai, spokesman for Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the Nato Secretary-General, told The World This Weekend on BBC Radio 4: “The British are talking in the south not only about keeping what they have but potentially increasing it.”
Stands to reason, if you're spending all your time doing one kind of work you can't be training for another.

Of course, the lick-and-a-promise civvy definition of training is rather different from the Forces version, which doesn't aid comprehension.
jaybee2786 said:
God flash backs to remembering the old days crusader 80 and lionheart.
I remember those days well, living in holes in the ground on various rivers and in various forests but surely we will never see war training of that type again, the way of war seems to have changed to high intensity small unit war fighting without the use of massed armour so why would there be any need to plan on that scale, unless were getting ready for Gulf War III!!
Tehran looks as much a sh!thole as Baghdad!!!

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