Gen Wall admits it was all a monumental f**k up

"Former British Army heads have admitted that the British military was not prepared or equipped to fight in two countries at the same time*

As the previous SDSR committed the army to 1 X large enduring Bde sized operation. How much fault lies at the armies door when even as the cuts were being implemented it was committed to 2.

Could the they have really said no not happening, or was there a simply a real miss judgement in the resources that would be required for Afghanistan and the longevity of the Iraq deployment.
 
Brigadier Butler sums it all up neatly “We were under prepared, we were under-resourced, and most importantly, we didn’t have a clear and achievable strategy to deliver success,”

Strategic planning, the principles of war and an understanding of how to use the military seem to be alien concepts to the planners of recent interventions.
 
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Glad_its_all_over

ADC
Book Reviewer
It's good that we're finally starting the process of owning up to the astoundingly poor strategic decisions made in 2005-6 - and good that it was the military which began the process, it may go some way towards recovering our reputation with, for example, the Americans - but I note that no political figure has indicated any intention of joining in. This is a shame; while the grownups in MoD carry a big share of the blame for what we all know has been a disaster, the ultimately guilty are going to get away with it scot-free.
 
E

EScotia

Guest
It's not the learning that's the problem, it's Remembering. More of a Lessons Remembered culture rather than a Lessons Learned then forgotten/ignored culture would be a good thing.

Again though an important lesson escapes our top brass. If you're presented with an order you know or believe is unachievable with the resources available, or the plan you've put into operation has become obviously unachievable, then say so publicly then resign instead of keeping mouths shut until safely out the door.
 
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Another article on the same subject from the same source:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wor...poorly-led-the-British-heroes-of-Helmand.html

Key quote for me:

"A second consideration was even more significant. British generals were terrified of budget cuts. In their quest to avert them, they needed to prove to politicians that the Army was useful. The BBC film strongly suggests that senior military figures may have played down the risks of the Helmand entanglement as a result."

It is going to be very difficult to pin blame on politicians as long as they can say "my mistake was to believe what I was told by by someone in a green uniform". That is they key failing the Army need to address to have a hope in hell of avoiding further Regular force reductions.
 
It's good that we're finally starting the process of owning up to the astoundingly poor strategic decisions made in 2005-6 - and good that it was the military which began the process, it may go some way towards recovering our reputation with, for example, the Americans - but I note that no political figure has indicated any intention of joining in. This is a shame; while the grownups in MoD carry a big share of the blame for what we all know has been a disaster, the ultimately guilty are going to get away with it scot-free.

You're right and it's important, but it's a bit late. Perhaps we ought to start training the next generations of Generals in the art of negotiation and persuasion, in order that they can negotiate effectively with their political masters and brief them effectively before intervention or deployment. That might stand us in better stead for successful operations in the next round of interventions.
 

BarcelonaAnalPark

LE
Book Reviewer
Wasn't it Reid who claimed that the UK would deploy into Helmand without firing a shot?

One wonders where he was advised of that.
 
D

Deleted 20555

Guest
Reminds me of the aftermath of the Rhodesian unpleasantness - Gen Peter Walls basically said the same thing that after the Porks left Moz there wasn't much point in carrying on...buy hey ho...
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Another article on the same subject from the same source:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/wor...poorly-led-the-British-heroes-of-Helmand.html

Key quote for me:

"A second consideration was even more significant. British generals were terrified of budget cuts. In their quest to avert them, they needed to prove to politicians that the Army was useful. The BBC film strongly suggests that senior military figures may have played down the risks of the Helmand entanglement as a result."

It is going to be very difficult to pin blame on politicians as long as they can say "my mistake was to believe what I was told by by someone in a green uniform". That is they key failing the Army need to address to have a hope in hell of avoiding further Regular force reductions.

Yes.

Equally one could look at it another way: the prospect of budget cuts being held to your head makes it difficult to say 'no'.
 
Wasn't it Reid who claimed that the UK would deploy into Helmand without firing a shot?

One wonders where he was advised of that.

He may well have been confused, given that between 1999 and 2007 he was: Secretary of State for Scotland, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Minister without Portfolio and Labour Party chairman, Leader of the House of Commons and Lord President of the Council, Secretary of State for Health, Secretary of State for Defence & Secretary of State for the Home Department (Home Secretary).
 
It's good that we're finally starting the process of owning up to the astoundingly poor strategic decisions made in 2005-6 - and good that it was the military which began the process, it may go some way towards recovering our reputation with, for example, the Americans - but I note that no political figure has indicated any intention of joining in. This is a shame; while the grownups in MoD carry a big share of the blame for what we all know has been a disaster, the ultimately guilty are going to get away with it scot-free.


I had to give you a like for that, but it's the wrong word.

Every PM since parliament began knows that a "good war" wins elections. However for the last 25 years we have had bad politicians who whilst cutting the defence budget to dangerous levels have at the same time tried to enhance their reputations through their armed forces.
We are still punching above our weight in world terms. I may be a bit biased , but I still believe we have one of the best armed forces anywhere in the world, which allows us to do this,despite the politicians.
Situations change quickly in the modern world, and politicians can be caught out. That I accept. However, what is not acceptable IMHO is sending troops to war with no clear mission, no clear aims and no clear exit strategy.
Blair et al are living quite comfortably, thank you very much, and will never have to answer for their mistakes. meanwhile poor Tom snatches 5 minutes kip, reloads and carries on...



...it was ever thus.
 

chimera

LE
Moderator
Wasn't it Reid who claimed that the UK would deploy into Helmand without firing a shot?

One wonders where he was advised of that.

I am not a supporter of Reid or the Government of which he was part, but he actually said ".. we would be happy to leave in 3 years without firing a shot..." Not quite the same thing.
 

BarcelonaAnalPark

LE
Book Reviewer
Fair enough but to make remarks about not firing a shot in three years just before committing soldiers to the level of violence that they did see suggests that he was fed some duff info or didn't understand the words being spoken at him.
 

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
You're right and it's important, but it's a bit late. Perhaps we ought to start training the next generations of Generals in the art of negotiation and persuasion, in order that they can negotiate effectively with their political masters and brief them effectively before intervention or deployment. That might stand us in better stead for successful operations in the next round of interventions.

In the last couple of centuries, generals (and admirals and air marshals) who reach the highest levels need as many political skills as command skills. This means a commander reaching the top of the heap may not have the optimum war fighting skills because he's too abrasive to get on with the politicians. Politicians also tend to chose the more politically adept commanders because there is a greater tendency to be told what they want to hear.

It is a very difficult problem to address in peace time.

In a full blown war it tends to sort out after a year or two because the politicians need war winners in the top slots and have come to accept that they must generally accept the advice of their senior military advisers. Taking Churchill as an example, it took him a couple of years before he got Brooke and Portal in place. Pound did a capable but not oustanding job, as did Cunningham who replaced him.

I think the increasing trend for politicians not to accept responsibility for failure doesn't help either. In the wake of Argentina's invasion of the Falklands, Carrington (Foreign Secretary) and Nott (Defense Secretary) resigned. They were around the last ministers to submit their resignations as a point of principle because they were ultimately responsible. Now ministers weasel out of responsibility for the decisions they took.

Wordsmith
 

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