General Jacksons Plan for the Army - Will it work?

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by Rajaz, Sep 12, 2004.

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  1. By Michael Evans of The Times.
    Septmber 11, 2004

    The gloves are off: The head of the British Army, General Sir Mike Jackson, says that there is support from within the Army for his reforms.

    'What I’m doing now will make the British Army better able to fight wars in 10 to 20 years' time'.

    General Sir Mike Jackson explains why cash restrictions mean changes to the Army structure are vital.

    THE head of the British Army was in combative mood in trying to explain why he has decided to make dramatic changes to the historic structure of his service.
    General Sir Mike Jackson, a paratrooper by trade and once dubbed the Army’s toughest-looking general (which he hated), has been accused of disloyalty and lack of feeling for some of the most famous regiments whose future now looks uncertain.

    Under his plans, announced as part of the defence cuts in July, the infantry would be converted into larger regional formations, each consisting of at least two, and probably three, battalions. This instantly placed the sword of Damocles over the 19 regiments, six of them in Scotland, which have survived for years with just one battalion of up to 650 soldiers.

    The Army’s director of infantry is wrestling with the problem of how to forge a new family of regiments, which will make it inevitable that soldiers from famous units such as Scotland’s Black Watch and Royal Scots, England’s Cheshire Regiment and Devonshire & Dorset Regiment and the Principality’s Royal Welch Fusiliers and Royal Regiment of Wales will have to merge into regional groupings.

    The 60-year-old Chief of the General Staff, probably the best-known and most recognisable commander in the Armed Forces, acknowledged in an interview with The Times that he knew there would be “ramifications”. He recognised there would be a “sense of loss of something held dear”.

    However, he said that he was not facing criticism from within the Army itself, but from retired officers and campaigners in local communities from where the smaller regiments recruited, who would “probably never agree to changes to the system”.

    General Jackson is riled in particular at the accusation that, as a wearer of the maroon beret and cap badge of the Parachute Regiment, which has three battalions and will be unaffected, he had no understanding of the sensitivities of the small historic county regiments.

    “Those who have retired from the Army see the Army from a certain point of view. I understand that entirely; change is always uncomfortable. But what I’m doing now will make the Army better able to fight wars in ten to twenty years’ time,” he said.

    His decision to push ahead with the reforms, which have been considered but abandoned by past boards of the Army, was driven by the new realities imposed on him by his political masters.

    On the basis of the resources granted to the three Service chiefs by the Treasury, it has been necessary for General Jackson and his counterparts in the two other Armed Forces to make significant cuts. The Army is to lose four infantry battalions by 2008 which will produce a force of around 102,000 soldiers.

    When General Jackson joined the Army 40 years ago, it had about 189,000 soldiers. With 102,000 soldiers at his disposal, it no longer made sense, he said, to maintain the same system which had been followed for so long: giving individual regiments, however small, a new role and different location every five or six years under a “merry-go-round” formula known as the arms plot.

    The result, he said, was that a regiment such as the Irish Guards trained to become an armoured unit, fighting wars in Warrior combat vehicles, only to give up their expertise and return to ceremonial duties in London a few years later.

    “It takes eight or nine months to train an armoured infantry battalion and for two years they are at the top of their job, then five or six years later you move them to another role; that makes little sense,” General Jackson said.

    The arms plot would now be scrapped and in its place the proposed larger regimental formations would be given set roles and fixed locations, but with individual officers and soldiers able to swap around within their family of two or three battalions in order to take on different roles if they wanted.

    Thus, if there is to be some form of new formation of the Guards regiments, although he ruled out a total merger, a guardsman will still be able to carry out ceremonial duties and fight wars in Warriors, but to do so he will have to move to another section of the Guards formation to swap roles.

    Discuss. :?
  2. no mention of more vechicles decent radios and all the other kit we need
    or more soldiers just another reorg . which has to be good cos all the others did wonders for the army :?
  3. We trained hard....but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we would be re-organised........I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by re-organising...............and a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while producing confusion, inefficiency and demoralisation.
    Petronius: 210 BC
  4. Certainly in my Regiment no serving officer is complaining in public - but then we have been ordered not to by the Regimental Colonel.

    It is only the old and bold who can say anything.
  5. Sounds a bit like the orderly officer claiming that as there were no complaints about the meals the food in the mess is wonderful. Come on General, how many serving soldiers are going to openly complain about your plans? Even here on aarse there seems to be a reticence to open up about them.

    I've glanced through the CGSs statement on Future Army Structures and I'm afraid he lost my support when he said 'it would be quite wrong to say that rebalancing was driven by money' It's ALWAYS about money IMHO.

    A few hundred redundancies mainly in the infantry. This, despite the fact that it's soldiers that win - or lose - wars. Doesn't sound good so far General.

    Increased reliance on the TA. (Not about money?) I take nothing away from the TA but I really don't think their recruitment and retention figures will be improved by continual deployments either real or implied. Once in a while, fine but family and civilian work pressures will depress retention.

    More stable posting environment - good for families, big plus but not sure about the singlies or the effect on recruitment. I guess it depends on whether people join the army to join the army, or to be a D&D. I suspect it's the former so the recruitment thing is a red herring. Getting better General.

    'The arms plot is not sustainable in the future' (Not about money?)
    It isn't clear to me how these big regiment battalion specialisations will work. Is it something like 1st Battn - armoured, 2nd Battn - mechanised, 3rd Battn - light or will one complete regiment be armoured, another mechanised and the other light? I seem to remember some reroling of armoured regiments in the 60's where recce was taken from individual regiments and given to one regiment per Brigade (I think). Lot of doom and gloom prophesied then.

    More communicators - got to be a good thing - need to seriously think through the kit though. Ruggedisation and soldier proofing dramatically increases lead times and costs. Buy more, cheaper, simple, off the shelf stuff.

    My 4d's worth.
    I'd have been much happier if you'd been transparent General and simply said "That b@st@rd Brown has got me by the short and curlies and this is the best way I can spend the money available"! It makes more sense that way.
  7. But the title of this thread seems to imply that there is a plan in amongst all this ???

    news to me :roll:
  8. Nothing has changed, its still happening.

    History always repeats, time these prawns re-learnt their history and save us all a lot of grief. Some hope that, won't hold my breath. :roll:
  9. chimera

    chimera LE Moderator

    'Off the shelf'?? yup ...companies just have dozens of cutting edge technology combat net and trunk communications systems just waiting to be snapped up at bargain prices.....I think not
  10. Why do we need cutting edge ? Or bleeding edge as it is more properly known. Something that does the job without bells and whistles that is better than the current issue would be ideal. I've never understood why those in procurement fail to understand that the user would like something that works adequately NOW rather then the world's best piece of shiny kit too late for deployment. The fact that Bowman (say) will be really whizzy when it turns up was b@gger all use to the troops who deployed on Telic still using Clansman. It was lucky the Iraqi's lacked even a basic SIGINT capability, the locals listened to everything we said in FRY.

    And while we're at it half the ruggedisation applied to a piece of military kit is to protect it against the fact that it now weighs half a ton and hits the ground harder - because it's been ruggedised. I can drop my rubber coated mobile and watch it bounce and keep working - the military version would weigh five pounds and be encased in a metal box. Said mobile tucks away somewhere safe, the mil spec equivalent gets dragged in and out of vehicles, dropped and picked up and so on.

    TA recruitment - already an issue with my mob. They've even launched a campaign to bring more people in - which is unheard of. We've had to beat people off with a stick for the last decade so how the good General thinks we can sustain current usage rates with fewer people beats me.

    And the proposed arrangement for specialised inf bns makes the frankly stupid assumption that we'll know what we're doing so we can tailor our forces to suit. When has our force structure ever matched what we end up doing ? The advantage to the current system is that when the bn ends up doing something divorced from their current role there are enough NCOs around who remember what they did last time to make it work.

    Bluntly the gentleman in question is p1ssing down our backs and telling us its raining. Thing is, I think he knows this too. But if he disagreed with our Dear Leader then he'd be gone and who then would be in charge ?
  11. No, but if told to produce one to do the basic job and then bolt on the extras it probably would have been in service 10 years ago. By trying to make it everything to everybody first they've ended up with something that is too complicated, too big, too expensive and too late.

    It's disgraceful that we are still relying on 1970s technology especially when it's costing lives when guys can't maintain reliable comms.
  12. All boils down to the usual ball0cks.

    Government want to make savings, we are the ideal target.

    Generals will do as they are told and if not, they get the boot. We are told to shut up, if not we get the boot.

    Then in come the spin doctors to make Joe Public think everything is OK.

    Then on comes a major conflict, problems develop (sounds familiar doesn't it :roll: ) and the government will blame everyone else bar themselves.

    Ah, sod it...........I'm off to the Mess to drink my bodyweight in B&Cs :twisted:
  13. Tommy

    I went into a public-'ouse to get a pint o'beer,
    The publican 'e up an' sez, "We serve no red-coats here."
    The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
    I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:

    O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, go away";
    But it's ``Thank you, Mister Atkins,'' when the band begins to play,
    The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
    O it's ``Thank you, Mr. Atkins,'' when the band begins to play.

    I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
    They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
    They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
    But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!

    For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, wait outside";
    But it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide,
    The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
    O it's "Special train for Atkins" when the trooper's on the tide.

    Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
    Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
    An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
    Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.

    Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy how's yer soul?"
    But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,
    The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
    O it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll.

    We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
    But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
    An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints:
    Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;

    While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, fall be'ind,"
    But it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind,
    There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
    O it's "Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.

    You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires an' all:
    We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
    Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
    The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.

    For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
    But it's "Saviour of 'is country," when the guns begin to shoot;
    An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
    But Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!

    so true!!!