In case anyone wondered why we need a Navy...

#1
The Navy PR machine seems to have decided that it's losing ground at the moment...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jul/21/navy-strategy-force-uk

A fleet for the future said:
Strategy is often misunderstood; it is about consequences and outcomes, the plan by which all the instruments of national power – diplomatic, intellectual military and economic – are to be employed in achieving identified goals in support of the national interest. That necessitates making choices and setting priorities, now and for the future, because ours is an uncertain world characterised by a rapid, often confounding rate of change – pandemics, climate change, resource constraints, conflicts fuelled by ideology, ethnicity and more, all of which present security challenges, some novel.

Last month's update to the government's national security strategy – Security for the Next Generation – affirms the commitment to agile, deployable armed forces as vital contributors to the nation's security, at home or overseas. The government recognises that the UK's interests are governed by geostrategic truths: we are an island nation with global trading interests, we have many UK overseas territories and nationals living abroad, and we very much depend on our ability to influence events through multilateral engagement. Those truths inform and define the UK's interests. The role of strategy, which has to be sufficiently adaptable to accommodate the uncertainties of a changing world, is to determine where the priorities for protecting and promoting our national interests lie.

Current operations have to be the priority. The armed forces are doing a remarkable job conducting joint operations in Afghanistan, while continuing to meet a range of standing commitments that contribute so much to the defence and security of our country by dealing with threats at arm's length.

Our focus on enduring campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan should not blind us to the longer-term implications of the UK's geostrategic reality. Our ability to deploy globally and use the seas in support of operations is key to the success of the armed forces in war and time of tension; whether it means dropping Royal Marines into Iraq from carriers in the Gulf, as we did in 2003, or using warships to evacuate UK nationals from Lebanon in 2006. The sea can be a barrier or a highway, depending on who controls it, so the Royal Navy can shape future events as well as determine them.

But, even more fundamentally, the global sea lanes are the arteries along which the economy of this island nation flows. We are increasingly and heavily reliant on imported raw materials, goods, food and especially energy. We live in a "just enough, just in time economy" – if the sea lanes are denied to us, the supermarket shelves fall empty and the lights go out. The strategy for the UK has to be a balanced one, to offer the government the greatest possible range of options. There is an important maritime dimension to this and it is a dimension to which all of our armed forces, alongside other instruments of national power, can contribute strongly. First, global interdependence and our reliance on the sea mean that the potential for conflict between other states to directly affect the UK has grown. At the same time, the scramble for resources and valuable raw materials is increasingly being played out at sea: the "cod wars" of the 1970s have given way to disputed maritime boundary claims as states vie to establish their access to the sea and the mineral and food wealth beneath it. In the Pacific and Indian oceans, states are expanding maritime forces and establishing strategically positioned naval bases to promote and protect their growing influence and wealth.

For those prepared to think longer-term, the UK's national interests will continue to rely in large part, as they always have, on a Royal Navy that is sufficiently capable of underwriting the country's security and prosperity.

That means a fleet, not of extravagant size, but big enough to have a meaningful presence, and with a balance of capabilities that give it global reach and the ability to guarantee the delivery ashore and protection of land forces. A globally capable fleet brings many benefits to the UK. Key among them are, first, the ability to act strategically with low political overheads, to deliver influence, support or military force without having to commit land forces. Second is the ability to build alliances and trust as a hedge against an uncertain future through multinational operations at sea with the maritime forces of many other countries. As a nation, you can surge military forces in response to a developing crisis, but you can't surge familiarity, trust and co-operation.

In the final analysis, a capable fleet is as much about deterring aggression and influencing friends as it is about delivering combat power at sea or from the sea. While we will always need to fight and win if necessary, when it comes to the future we shouldn't overlook the value to this country of the wars we won't have to fight as a result of using the Royal Navy strategically as an instrument of national power.
A good, if brief and occasionally impenetrable article. Thoughts?
 
#3
Yup - b*llocks for the most part. This is still a "we need aircraft carriers" to fight pirates, prevent illegal fishing, produce an enduring security presence in the choke points, patrol the West African littoral, etc etc. In other words a fantasy in which the UK does 21st century style gunboat diplomacy with a ship that costs £5million a day in running costs (so leave out the costs of its escorts). If we want to be agile we would not involve ourselves in acquisition projects that are so "in-agile" - the inability of the Royal Navy to transfer very much o its resource to fight the current war is an example of this inflexibility, and would be no better with 2 aircraft carriers and a couple of Type 45s. What happens if somebody else re-writes the rules on us once these beasts are afloat ? How do we transfer out anything from this investment into something that is supportive of a current "fight" that yet again surprises us ? You can bet on the Chinese, by then, fielding (and selling ?) anti carrier ballistic missiles......
 
#4
P.S. Band is prepared to mortgage away the rest of the RN in pursuit of this goal. This puff piece in the Guardian is clearly a desparate, desparate attempt to attract any limelight at all....
 
#5
Temujin said:
Yup - b*llocks for the most part. This is still a "we need aircraft carriers" to fight pirates, prevent illegal fishing, produce an enduring security presence in the choke points, patrol the West African littoral, etc etc. In other words a fantasy in which the UK does 21st century style gunboat diplomacy with a ship that costs £5million a day in running costs (so leave out the costs of its escorts). If we want to be agile we would not involve ourselves in acquisition projects that are so "in-agile" - the inability of the Royal Navy to transfer very much o its resource to fight the current war is an example of this inflexibility, and would be no better with 2 aircraft carriers and a couple of Type 45s. What happens if somebody else re-writes the rules on us once these beasts are afloat ? How do we transfer out anything from this investment into something that is supportive of a current "fight" that yet again surprises us ? You can bet on the Chinese, by then, fielding (and selling ?) anti carrier ballistic missiles......
My bold. Call me a bluff old traditionalist, but shouldn't the whole point of defence policy be to provide the capabilities needed to fight the next war / to provide the big stick with which to 'exert influence' in support of our national interests.

If the UK's national interest has dwindled to wanting to fight some pirates, and fish patrol, then fair play to you.

If, on the other hand, we remain a major global economy which is based on international trade, and whose citizens depend on the outside world for access to the basic goods and services we need to maintain our quality of life, then maybe, just maybe, he has a point?
 
#7
P2000 said:
Temujin said:
Yup - b*llocks for the most part. This is still a "we need aircraft carriers" to fight pirates, prevent illegal fishing, produce an enduring security presence in the choke points, patrol the West African littoral, etc etc. In other words a fantasy in which the UK does 21st century style gunboat diplomacy with a ship that costs £5million a day in running costs (so leave out the costs of its escorts). If we want to be agile we would not involve ourselves in acquisition projects that are so "in-agile" - the inability of the Royal Navy to transfer very much o its resource to fight the current war is an example of this inflexibility, and would be no better with 2 aircraft carriers and a couple of Type 45s. What happens if somebody else re-writes the rules on us once these beasts are afloat ? How do we transfer out anything from this investment into something that is supportive of a current "fight" that yet again surprises us ? You can bet on the Chinese, by then, fielding (and selling ?) anti carrier ballistic missiles......
My bold. Call me a bluff old traditionalist, but shouldn't the whole point of defence policy be to provide the capabilities needed to fight the next war / to provide the big stick with which to 'exert influence' in support of our national interests.

If the UK's national interest has dwindled to wanting to fight some pirates, and fish patrol, then fair play to you.

If, on the other hand, we remain a major global economy which is based on international trade, and whose citizens depend on the outside world for access to the basic goods and services we need to maintain our quality of life, then maybe, just maybe, he has a point?
Clarify - do you know where we will be standing globally by the time the ships are built, JSF bought and integrated ? Below China, India, Brazil to name a few. Prioritise what you must do, and ensure what you have does n't prevent short term re-investment in areas that crop up as the threat mutates. In some respects the proportionately lower capital expenditure inherent in land forces (less platfom-centric) makes it easier to transform when the situation becomes one we did n't plan for. Aircraft carriers are more a statement of national vanity than they are about making intelligent, strategic investment. They will be a "Wasting asset" and one that wastes faster than most.
 
#8
Temujin said:
P2000 said:
You can bet on the Chinese, by then, fielding (and selling ?) anti carrier ballistic missiles.....
Well anti personel mines have been around for years should we now stop using people?

Clarify - do you know where we will be standing globally by the time the ships are built.
Do you? In there 50 year life span there could be any number of reasons why they may be needed. But you cant just get them off the shelf.
 
#9
I believe John Nott said that in 1981. What happened next?
 
#10
I wish people would stop falling for the büllshit pushed out by Labour.

Britain can afford:

At least 3 full aircraft carriers and their full complement of escorts.
The replacement for Trident.
Typhoon (full complement as initially envisaged).
A fully equipped Army of about 150,000 (not including reserves and a well equipped and trained TA).

How?

Slash the welfare state and the intrusion of the State into everyday life.

1. Stop paying people not to work. Why have we got Poles and Romanians (blóódy hard workers and decent chaps on the whole) working in our fields when there are 3-5 million unemployed in the UK? Unemployment benefit should be claimed for up to 1 year (and at a higher level than at present). After that, a person can reject 2 jobs from the job centre, after that: zero dosh.
2. Streamline the entire benefits industry: cancel all tax credits and similar devices: simply raise the threshold of income tax for the low earners and re-introduce real married allowance.
3. Child benefits: instead of paying people to have babies, give the same cash amount as a tax break from the wife/husbands salary. Thus instead of receiving x quid per month from the government, a parent pays x quid less tax. If they are not working then they get fúck all benefit. This will stop the chav underclass from breeding like rats (as they currently are).
4. Source products both from the UK and worldwide: not just EU.
 
#11
Temujin said:
Yup - b*llocks for the most part. This is still a "we need aircraft carriers" to fight pirates, prevent illegal fishing, produce an enduring security presence in the choke points, patrol the West African littoral, etc etc. In other words a fantasy in which the UK does 21st century style gunboat diplomacy with a ship that costs £5million a day in running costs (so leave out the costs of its escorts). If we want to be agile we would not involve ourselves in acquisition projects that are so "in-agile" - the inability of the Royal Navy to transfer very much o its resource to fight the current war is an example of this inflexibility, and would be no better with 2 aircraft carriers and a couple of Type 45s. What happens if somebody else re-writes the rules on us once these beasts are afloat ? How do we transfer out anything from this investment into something that is supportive of a current "fight" that yet again surprises us ? You can bet on the Chinese, by then, fielding (and selling ?) anti carrier ballistic missiles......
Oh please, the most bollocks is that that you've just written.
The RN needs aircraft carriers to continue to be a blue-water navy, not for fighting pirates and preventing illegal fishing. Where did you get your ridiculous £5 million a day running cost from? Or did you just make it up? CVF is expected to have a running cost of around £50m per year, about £140,000 per day. It won't always have escorts, so they don't need to be included. The Invincible class carriers currently have a running cost of around £70m per year and this will only increase as they get older.
Exactly what more RN resources do you think should be transferred? Considering this is a land war, the RN provides a disproportionate amount of resources, especially manpower. Do you expect a T23 on the Helmand River?
And what the fuck is an 'anti-carrier' ballistic missile? Anti-ship missiles have existed for decades, some of them are very good. Doesn't mean that Navies are obsolete any more than small arms have removed soldiers from the battlefield.

Clarify - do you know where we will be standing globally by the time the ships are built, JSF bought and integrated ? Below China, India, Brazil to name a few. Prioritise what you must do, and ensure what you have does n't prevent short term re-investment in areas that crop up as the threat mutates. In some respects the proportionately lower capital expenditure inherent in land forces (less platfom-centric) makes it easier to transform when the situation becomes one we did n't plan for. Aircraft carriers are more a statement of national vanity than they are about making intelligent, strategic investment. They will be a "Wasting asset" and one that wastes faster than most.
Do you know where we will be standing globally by the time the ships are built? China and India have their standing in the world because of their massive populations. Brazil is a South American basket case. Britain maintains its position in the world by being economically vital, that means trade, which means we have to protect that trade, and that means power projection.
What are your 'cheaper' land forces going to do when they can't get to the fight? CVF is a purple asset, not a dark blue one.
 
#13
Dread said:
I wish people would stop falling for the büllshit pushed out by Labour.

Britain can afford:

At least 3 full aircraft carriers and their full complement of escorts.
The replacement for Trident.
Typhoon (full complement as initially envisaged).
A fully equipped Army of about 150,000 (not including reserves and a well equipped and trained TA).

How?

Slash the welfare state and the intrusion of the State into everyday life.

1. Stop paying people not to work. Why have we got Poles and Romanians (blóódy hard workers and decent chaps on the whole) working in our fields when there are 3-5 million unemployed in the UK? Unemployment benefit should be claimed for up to 1 year (and at a higher level than at present). After that, a person can reject 2 jobs from the job centre, after that: zero dosh.
2. Streamline the entire benefits industry: cancel all tax credits and similar devices: simply raise the threshold of income tax for the low earners and re-introduce real married allowance.
3. Child benefits: instead of paying people to have babies, give the same cash amount as a tax break from the wife/husbands salary. Thus instead of receiving x quid per month from the government, a parent pays x quid less tax. If they are not working then they get fúck all benefit. This will stop the chav underclass from breeding like rats (as they currently are).
4. Source products both from the UK and worldwide: not just EU.
I like this, especially the bits about the Chavs! Seriously though, it shows you what a f**king mess we've gotten ourselves into when the amount of money we spend on welfare distorts everything else.
:x
 
#14
Dread: cloud cuckoo land calling! Much as I might agree with your solutions listed above, I honestly don't think they are a starter for ten. Certainly until you become PM that is as Flatcap says!

And I've just one problem with what Ottar says in his last paragraph/sentence about "what are your cheaper land forces going to do when they can't get to the fight?". Do they get transported to 'Stan by carrier currently? No, the other blue lot does it!
 
#15
Dread said:
I wish people would stop falling for the büllshit pushed out by Labour.

Britain can afford:

At least 3 full aircraft carriers and their full complement of escorts.
The replacement for Trident.
Typhoon (full complement as initially envisaged).
A fully equipped Army of about 150,000 (not including reserves and a well equipped and trained TA).

How?

Slash the welfare state and the intrusion of the State into everyday life.

1. Stop paying people not to work. Why have we got Poles and Romanians (blóódy hard workers and decent chaps on the whole) working in our fields when there are 3-5 million unemployed in the UK? Unemployment benefit should be claimed for up to 1 year (and at a higher level than at present). After that, a person can reject 2 jobs from the job centre, after that: zero dosh.
2. Streamline the entire benefits industry: cancel all tax credits and similar devices: simply raise the threshold of income tax for the low earners and re-introduce real married allowance.
3. Child benefits: instead of paying people to have babies, give the same cash amount as a tax break from the wife/husbands salary. Thus instead of receiving x quid per month from the government, a parent pays x quid less tax. If they are not working then they get fúck all benefit. This will stop the chav underclass from breeding like rats (as they currently are).
4. Source products both from the UK and worldwide: not just EU.

Brilliant post and bang on the money!
 
#16
ottar said:
Temujin said:
Yup - b*llocks for the most part. This is still a "we need aircraft carriers" to fight pirates, prevent illegal fishing, produce an enduring security presence in the choke points, patrol the West African littoral, etc etc. In other words a fantasy in which the UK does 21st century style gunboat diplomacy with a ship that costs £5million a day in running costs (so leave out the costs of its escorts). If we want to be agile we would not involve ourselves in acquisition projects that are so "in-agile" - the inability of the Royal Navy to transfer very much o its resource to fight the current war is an example of this inflexibility, and would be no better with 2 aircraft carriers and a couple of Type 45s. What happens if somebody else re-writes the rules on us once these beasts are afloat ? How do we transfer out anything from this investment into something that is supportive of a current "fight" that yet again surprises us ? You can bet on the Chinese, by then, fielding (and selling ?) anti carrier ballistic missiles......
Oh please, the most bollocks is that that you've just written.
The RN needs aircraft carriers to continue to be a blue-water navy, not for fighting pirates and preventing illegal fishing. Where did you get your ridiculous £5 million a day running cost from? Or did you just make it up? CVF is expected to have a running cost of around £50m per year, about £140,000 per day. It won't always have escorts, so they don't need to be included. The Invincible class carriers currently have a running cost of around £70m per year and this will only increase as they get older.
Exactly what more RN resources do you think should be transferred? Considering this is a land war, the RN provides a disproportionate amount of resources, especially manpower. Do you expect a T23 on the Helmand River?
And what the fuck is an 'anti-carrier' ballistic missile? Anti-ship missiles have existed for decades, some of them are very good. Doesn't mean that Navies are obsolete any more than small arms have removed soldiers from the battlefield.

Clarify - do you know where we will be standing globally by the time the ships are built, JSF bought and integrated ? Below China, India, Brazil to name a few. Prioritise what you must do, and ensure what you have does n't prevent short term re-investment in areas that crop up as the threat mutates. In some respects the proportionately lower capital expenditure inherent in land forces (less platfom-centric) makes it easier to transform when the situation becomes one we did n't plan for. Aircraft carriers are more a statement of national vanity than they are about making intelligent, strategic investment. They will be a "Wasting asset" and one that wastes faster than most.
Do you know where we will be standing globally by the time the ships are built? China and India have their standing in the world because of their massive populations. Brazil is a South American basket case. Britain maintains its position in the world by being economically vital, that means trade, which means we have to protect that trade, and that means power projection.
What are your 'cheaper' land forces going to do when they can't get to the fight? CVF is a purple asset, not a dark blue one.
I quote from Andrew Krepinevich, a moderately respected pundit, and in respect of China: "It is acquiring a large number of submarines armed with advanced torpedoes and high-speed, sea-skimming ASCMs to stalk U.S. carriers and their escorts. (In 2006, a Chinese submarine surfaced in the midst of a U.S. carrier strike group, much to the U.S. Navy's embarrassment.) And it is procuring aircraft equipped with high-speed ASCMs and fielding antiship ballistic missiles that can strike U.S. carriers at extended ranges. Advanced antiship mines may constrain U.S. naval operations even further in coastal areas."

Is that alright for you ?
 
#17
So Chinese submarines are a threat to surface fleets. Just the same as Soviet submarines were for a decade or two. The counter to that is effective ASW, not decide not to bother with ships in the 1st place.
Air launched missiles? That would need carrier based aircraft to counter the threat would it not?
We either have the carriers and escorts or we give up any pretence at being a player anywhere there is water. As we live on an island that would present a few issues.

This country is an island, everything we consume and everything we sell has to go by sea. We still have several dependancies way out there in various oceans. We are entirely dependant on our ablity to protect that trade. To do so we need a strong and effective Royal Navy. Unless we are going to issue the Army with rubber boats and hope we don't have a problem.

Maintaining a strong Royal Navy and RAF is far more important in the long term than Afghanistan. It my be an unpopular view but its a harsh fact.
 
#18
I was winding myself up for an explosive insulting post to Temujin about how catagorically moronic he is, but it seems other people have pointed it out first.

Well done chaps, nice to know that not everone is blinded to the short term by Afghanistan (not saying it's not important, just we need to look beyond it as well)
 
#19
ottar said:
Temujin said:
Yup - b*llocks for the most part. This is still a "we need aircraft carriers" to fight pirates, prevent illegal fishing, produce an enduring security presence in the choke points, patrol the West African littoral, etc etc. In other words a fantasy in which the UK does 21st century style gunboat diplomacy with a ship that costs £5million a day in running costs (so leave out the costs of its escorts). If we want to be agile we would not involve ourselves in acquisition projects that are so "in-agile" - the inability of the Royal Navy to transfer very much o its resource to fight the current war is an example of this inflexibility, and would be no better with 2 aircraft carriers and a couple of Type 45s. What happens if somebody else re-writes the rules on us once these beasts are afloat ? How do we transfer out anything from this investment into something that is supportive of a current "fight" that yet again surprises us ? You can bet on the Chinese, by then, fielding (and selling ?) anti carrier ballistic missiles......
Oh please, the most bollocks is that that you've just written.
The RN needs aircraft carriers to continue to be a blue-water navy, not for fighting pirates and preventing illegal fishing. Where did you get your ridiculous £5 million a day running cost from? Or did you just make it up? CVF is expected to have a running cost of around £50m per year, about £140,000 per day. It won't always have escorts, so they don't need to be included. The Invincible class carriers currently have a running cost of around £70m per year and this will only increase as they get older.
Exactly what more RN resources do you think should be transferred? Considering this is a land war, the RN provides a disproportionate amount of resources, especially manpower. Do you expect a T23 on the Helmand River?
And what the fuck is an 'anti-carrier' ballistic missile? Anti-ship missiles have existed for decades, some of them are very good. Doesn't mean that Navies are obsolete any more than small arms have removed soldiers from the battlefield.

Clarify - do you know where we will be standing globally by the time the ships are built, JSF bought and integrated ? Below China, India, Brazil to name a few. Prioritise what you must do, and ensure what you have does n't prevent short term re-investment in areas that crop up as the threat mutates. In some respects the proportionately lower capital expenditure inherent in land forces (less platfom-centric) makes it easier to transform when the situation becomes one we did n't plan for. Aircraft carriers are more a statement of national vanity than they are about making intelligent, strategic investment. They will be a "Wasting asset" and one that wastes faster than most.
Do you know where we will be standing globally by the time the ships are built? China and India have their standing in the world because of their massive populations. Brazil is a South American basket case. Britain maintains its position in the world by being economically vital, that means trade, which means we have to protect that trade, and that means power projection.
What are your 'cheaper' land forces going to do when they can't get to the fight? CVF is a purple asset, not a dark blue one.
A couple of other small observations fella - an infantry battalion (by the government's own figures - see Hansard) costs £35million a year to run (salaries, training, accommodation). Seems unlikely that running a CVF (without its escorts) will come in at £50million even in todays money, and even without the usual cost escalation. So - is it nearer £5million or £140k ?

Re-"purple asset". You really think that this asset has got as far as it has without service horse trading of a distinctly un-purple nature ("you can have FRES if I get the carriers; you can have the carriers if I have get my Typhoons.....etc").

Finally - future wars (on the land) none of which we are going to fight on our own. How do you prevent carriers from becoming another wasting asset ? You can't.
 
#20
Norfolknchance said:
And I've just one problem with what Ottar says in his last paragraph/sentence about "what are your cheaper land forces going to do when they can't get to the fight?". Do they get transported to 'Stan by carrier currently? No, the other blue lot does it!
And how does most of the equipment they use get there? By ship, via Pakistan. Or do you expect the other blue lot to do that?

Temujin said:
I quote from Andrew Krepinevich, a moderately respected pundit, and in respect of China: "It is acquiring a large number of submarines armed with advanced torpedoes and high-speed, sea-skimming ASCMs to stalk U.S. carriers and their escorts. (In 2006, a Chinese submarine surfaced in the midst of a U.S. carrier strike group, much to the U.S. Navy's embarrassment.) And it is procuring aircraft equipped with high-speed ASCMs and fielding antiship ballistic missiles that can strike U.S. carriers at extended ranges. Advanced antiship mines may constrain U.S. naval operations even further in coastal areas."

Is that alright for you ?
And? China is developing anti-ship equipment, tactics and strategy in the same way that nations have been doing for thousands of years. The Taliban are developing anti-soldier equipment, too.
 

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