Liam Fox - Top Brass for the Chop

Wordsmith

LE
Book Reviewer
#1
The Telegraph is reporting Liam Fox's press conference and statement to parliament

Generals, admirals and air chief marshals face sack, Liam Fox warns - Telegraph

High-ranking members of the Armed Forces including generals, admirals and air marshals are facing the sack because the Government wants to reduce military bureacracy by cutting "the star count", the Defence Secretary has warned. His comments came hours ahead of an official review due today, which will report that the “bloated and dysfunctional” Ministry of Defence leaves ministers “in the dark” about key decisions.

Three years ago research showed that admirals outnumbered warships in the Royal Navy.

In the new report, Lord Levene’s defence reform unit will call for a sweeping overhaul of the structure and management of the MoD, saying that military chiefs must be made accountable for their own budgets.

In a speech, Dr Fox will say that Lord Levene has found that he leads a “department with overly bureaucratic management structures, dominated by committees that led to indecisiveness and a lack of responsibility”.

The unit is particularly critical of the Defence Board, the MoD’s top decision-making body, which includes senior officials and the heads of the three Armed Forces, but no politicians.

“A bloated top-level defence board without ministerial membership allowed strategic decision to drift, unable to reconcile ambition with resources,” Dr Fox will say, adding that the board has left “budget holders without the levers needed to deliver and ministers in the dark”.
Wordsmith
 
#2
Having been briefed by a very senior officer last month regarding matters Int, he happened to take the opportunity to criticise the lack of moral fibre within the CS and Government when it comes to BIG decisions on Defence (topically the decision to continue with building two big floating car parks devoid of airframes).

The relationship between this Government and the military is fragile at best, and Cameron's latest taunt doesn't help. They (Goverment) seem bent on taking the controls, firing the missile, then enjoying taking a back seat in 5 years time when voted out and the blame-game starts. Senior Officers on the other hand take responsibility for their decisions, and have a credible track-record of doing so, and understand the guilt and pain associated with making the wrong, life threatening decision.

And as for appointing a Senior Officer in charge of this Joint organisation - good luck Mr Fox, you're****ed whichever Service you choose to lead it (unless its a General of course).
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
Is it because more Colonels applied for redundancy than was needed
Thay are hardly facing the sack
No doubt a very generous package and for some a seat in the Lords to follow
Can't see them having to worry about the local job market either
 
#5
Stuff it. Why don't we bin the stars and top brass, and then give macho MPs command appointments. Rather think Lt Clegg might have us doing tree huggie time!
 
#6
"unable to reconcile ambition with resources"

whose ambition?

I suspect the DB was unable to reconcile the direction from their political masters with the resources available....dictated by their political masters

I would also note that most of the higher level decsion making in MOD is performed by civil servants, not military officers and that most of the procurement disasters seems to be vanity projects foisted on the MOD by....its political masters
 
#7
or rather a procurement need becomes a disaster when for political reasons needs to be built in the UK or UK sourced or gold plated.
and or spec changed made cheaper by random suggestions ala chinook.
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#8
The Army remains constrained by an outdated regimental system and a Brigade deployment system that makes no sense at all. The RAF cannot decide on it's priorities and seems to want to do everthing (including having soldiers). The Navy invested it's reputation in having two big AC and allowed its main aim to wither on the vine, whilst demanding an ever bigger budget.

Like it or not the MOD, Service Board and the old system have systematically destroyed their own credibility whilst being totally happy to play the public sympathy vote for the last 50 years. Be it save the Cheshires, save the Ark Royal or save the Tornadoes / Harriers or whatever. The lack of forward thinking, adaption and change management has been breathtaking.


The MOD does not know what it wants, when it wants it and when it gets it complains that it is the wrong bit of kit for the current conflict. Add to that the UOR debacle and I have some sympathy with the politicians.

We need change, but judging from the replies on here, already, it is; backs up, defend the indefensible and continue as is. No wonder all attempts to change anything in Government runs into a wall of cossetted individuals.


The Armed Services and the MOD have shown themselves to be incapable of running themselves effectively and efficiently, surely, right or wrong, we should at least look at alternatives. Inter-service rivalry, and in the Army; Regimental and Arm rivalry have blocked nearly all change since WW2. We need to grow up and stop protecting a system that does not work and will not work in a future of increased cost and less budget.
 
#9
"The MOD does not know what it wants, when it wants it and when it gets it complains that it is the wrong bit of kit for the current conflict. Add to that the UOR debacle and I have some sympathy with the politicians."

Perchance that might be because of the complete lack of political direction, matched with resources ?

It is a source of constant amazement to me that the MOD has staggered on for a decade before this crunch - it is all very well fulminating about single service agendas, but they flourish because there is a lack of governmental direction, a vacuum of commonsense, and a willingness by politicians to wallow in the reflected glory of the Armed Services while selling them short at every opportunity

Finally the inability of elected politicians to tell the vested interetsts to get stuffed when bidding for defence contracts does not serve us well
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#12
"Or a complete lack of direction and guidance by the military and MOD bosses? "


In our country it starts from the politicians
Does it? Vested interest, inter-service rivalry, old boys protecting the Regiment, old boys looking to the next job, I think you are being too kind. Or have lived in a bubble for the last 50 years.
 
#13
or rather a procurement need becomes a disaster when for political reasons needs to be built in the UK or UK sourced or gold plated.
and or spec changed made cheaper by random suggestions ala chinook.

And there we have it in a nutshell.


Minister, we'd like X new toy.

How many votes will buying X win me in my constituency?

None Minister, It's made in France/USA/Israel/insert as appropriate.

Then you can't have it.

But we need it Minister!

Ask BAE to design a UK version.

But that will take 10 years and cost double!

Yes, but it will create 5 jobs in my constituency and get me a non executive BAE Directorship!
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#14
And there we have it in a nutshell.


Minister, we'd like X new toy.

How many votes will buying X win me in my constituency?

None Minister, It's made in France/USA/Israel/insert as appropriate.

Then you can't have it.

But we need it Minister!

Ask BAE to design a UK version.

But that will take 10 years and cost double!

Yes, but it will create 5 jobs in my constituency and get me a non executive BAE Directorship!
Extract Minister insert General, Admiral, or whatever the f**k the Air Force call someone like that and then insert will create my job at BAE and you are spot on.
 
#15
"Does it? Vested interest, inter-service rivalry, old boys protecting the Regiment, old boys looking to the next job"

Hmm, strange how defence policy has been dictated by this - and there was me thinking it was the government

" I think you are being too kind."

and I think you are being chippy

" Or have lived in a bubble for the last 50 years"

No, but I have spent the last decade in and around the policy area watching the games the politicians play

I have also seen some of the advice that ministers have been given and chosen to ignore....resulting in many of the issues MOD is now having to grapple with

Personally I think the creation of a Joint Force Command is long overdue, but the proposals will not solve many of the problems Mr Fox highlights without proper direction from the top

SDSR was performed too fast, intellectually incoherent and has 'delivered' entirely illusory savings
 
B

bokkatankie

Guest
#16
SDSR is only one of long list of complete cock ups but can you really blame every Government for getting it wrong, who advises the Government?

Have you also watched the inter-service games?

Show me a General, Admiral, or et al who has resigned in the last 50 years, chippy, damn right we have been badly served at every level, not just the politicians.
 

Grumblegrunt

LE
Book Reviewer
#17
I agree with closer service integration and the US marines are unfortunately the template to follow. we have a navy - bit of work needed, then we need navy infantry - easy done and a navy airforce - might need to wait a bit. close the MOD, move back to the admiralty make half of the admirals MPs in rotten boroughs or Lords job done. might need to haggle over 60% of gdp though - ah sussed it lots of navy hospitals so we can syeal the nhs money for something usefull for a change.

we ruled the world based on the navy so the formula works as would press ganging chavs off the streets.

we would need a small ceremonial domestic army though so no change needed there.

the air chiefs would need persuading but a few keelhauls under lusty would soon bring them round to my way of thinking.

oooh sod defense - girls in bikinis on the news!
 
#19
One of the things that really puzzles me about MoD is that the present crisis has its roots in a review in 1997 which everyone continues to slap themselves on the back about.

Dannatt is in the press all the time banging on about his role in the SDR in 97 and what a good review it was, Robertson too is lauded as a giant among midgets as an SofS.

I rather suspect that the 2nd PUS was heavily involved as well - and the truth seems that the move to the structures and equipment to deliver the 97 review has crippled all three services.

Pretty much the same people at the core of the Department worked on this latest review - e.g. 2nd PUS.... so no wonder it is derided.

But the question is, why do we kid on that the 97 review was great?
 
#20
SDSR is only one of long list of complete cock ups but can you really blame every Government for getting it wrong, who advises the Government?

Have you also watched the inter-service games?

Show me a General, Admiral, or et al who has resigned in the last 50 years, chippy, damn right we have been badly served at every level, not just the politicians.
Sir David Luce as 1st Sea Lord resigned over the 1966 defence review, the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sea Lords resigned as well. And so did Christopher Mayhew the Navy Minister. The lack of CVA-01 and a Buccaneer/Phantom/Gannet Air group may contributed to the conflict in '82, false economy paid for by mens lives. An argument that resignations serve no purpose could be made out of that.
 

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