"May questions UK’s top tier military status.."

Everybody knows people. My contacts are all over the place CGSC, SOD-P, and Coronado, 29 Palms, the Pentagon. It makes for varied and interesting conversation.

https://assets.publishing.service.g...Military_Presence_of_UK_Regular_Personnel.pdf

So outside of Europe, your forces are most deployed in the Middle East and the South Atlantic. In tiny contingents.
We are a tiny country. Smaller than California and Texas combined. About 30 million odd smaller actually.

I’m still waiting for you to tell me the theatre where the UK can’t sutain its troops in the field and the US is doing it for us.

Whilst you are there you could name a victory this epic Military might the US can deploy has brought recently?
 
Yes, but regardless of whether its about numbers or 'capability', every one of those estimates are simply spotters playing Top Trumps, they've just found a way in the intervening decades since they were 12 to make it (a bit) respectable. If you take them at all seriously, then chances are you, too, are a spotter playing Top Trumps. Sure, the numbers certainly tell parts of the story, but there is only one real measure of whether a military force is any good, and that is whether it wins. Or, in staff speak, whether it achieves operational endstates within the required constraints.

You can have, in the epic phrase of that RAF Reg 5-mile-of-death chopper, all the bomb, but it doesn't matter much if it doesn't get you a result. Whether or not they know it, this is why people are fairly skeptical of the PLA, because they just haven't seen it do anything yet, and why they were skeptical of Russia until they saw it do some stuff. It's also why people respect the US, because they see them do all sorts of stuff all the time, and generally they get there in the end, and the right people end up dead or not dead, respectively. Finally, it's why people are totally ******* flummoxed by the England football team, who have all the advantages of Premier league funding and training and this and that, and still manage, every time, to fail to pull even a rabbit out of the hat, because it turns out that in practice, their hand is a bit hurty this month, they didn't do any pulling training this year, the team didn't actually bring a hat, and what's a rabbit mate, is that like a vibrator yeh?

Any similarities between English footballers and soldiers is entirely coincidental.
The same could be said of pretty much any nation's military forces in recent times, with the last "full-blown" conflict being 2003, where a coalition won the war but royally fucked up the peace.

Russia's "secret" deployment into eastern Ukraine was a graphic demonstration of their not being anywhere near the bad boys on the block they'd like to be (apart from being ace at downing civilian airliners of course...).
 
We are a tiny country. Smaller than California and Texas combined. About 30 million odd smaller actually.

I’m still waiting for you to tell me the theatre where the UK can’t sutain its troops in the field and the US is doing it for us.

Whilst you are there you could name a victory this epic Military might the US can deploy has brought recently?
I am still trying to find a theater where you would be deployed in enough numbers to have to supply you.

Oh you mean the battles that have cost thousands of lives again.....Bud your slandering the deceased is a bit tiresome.
 
I am still trying to find a theater where you would be deployed in enough numbers to have to supply you.

Oh you mean the battles that have cost thousands of lives again.....Bud your slandering the deceased is a bit tiresome.
I’m not slandering the deceased. Grow up. Having served alongside US personnel in recent theatres I’m fully aware of their sacrifice - and of that of the Allies you like to sneer at.

I am pointing out that the largest military in the world - that has a budget more than the next five put together, that you seem to feel is a cause to look down at allies - is actually surprisingly terrible at delivering military success. Not a great return on that investment is it? Losing wars so frequently.

You said that the UK couldn’t supply it los troops in the field and the US has to do it for the UK. Any expeditionary campaign requires the resupply of troops in the field. Can you just point out the theatre where this is happening?
 
I’m not slandering the deceased. Grow up. Having served alongside US personnel in recent theatres I’m fully aware of their sacrifice - and of that of the Allies you like to sneer at.

I am pointing out that the largest military in the world - that has a budget more than the next five put together, that you seem to feel is a cause to look down at allies - is actually surprisingly terrible at delivering military success. Not a great return on that investment is it? Losing wars so frequently.

You said that the UK couldn’t supply it los troops in the field and the US has to do it for the UK. Any expeditionary campaign requires the resupply of troops in the field. Can you just point out the theatre where this is happening?
I was thinking about all the support you were provided in Afghanistan you twat. Dustoff, and CAS etc. The things your forces are getting rid of or lack.

For somebody that served with US forces, calling Iraq and Afghanistan a military defeat is quite the cock thing to say. We are not the largest military in the world you dumb feck. Your idea of military defeat is what would really be considered political waffling.
 
I was thinking about all the support you were provided in Afghanistan you twat. Dustoff, and CAS etc. The things your forces are getting rid of or lack.

For somebody that served with US forces, calling Iraq and Afghanistan a military defeat is quite the cock thing to say. We are not the largest in the world you dumb feck. Your idea of military defeat is what would really be considered political waffling.
Oh right - so in the past. I take it you can’t google a contemporary theatre? Of course MERT and UK CAS never deployed in support of US C/S either.

Right - they were clinical applications of military power. Glorious victories. Them and Vietnam.
 
I’d disagree that the military is opposed to objective measurements. I know an operational headquarters that uses it all the time - recognizing that both subjective and objective measurements don’t normally tell the full picture.

Take the example of a BPC operation in a state in Africa. Objectively we know the number of people we train, and we can objectively measure capability and improvement. Although this rarely tells the whole story - you may train 1000 people to Rifle lesson four but probably need subjective judgement in there as well.

Ending the campaign? You can use an objective measurement - and you should. But if the task is to train 5000 people to an objective standard - but you leave and they get over run by rebels is that victory? It’s subjectively not - although you achieved the task.

The macro example of this is the Libya campaign.

I couldn’t agree more with your paragraph on adversarial training - it’s absolutely the only way. Box ticking like the CT exercise achieves nothing.

The fundamental aspect of conflict is that it is contested - in every domain. Training needs to be absolutely like that
Commercial organisations have it easy - the bottom line, and half a dozen metrics of financial health that have been hammered out since the days of Adam Smith. Militaries don't have this luxury.

Good non-profit organisations use "logical framework diagram" to set inputs - outputs - outcomes - goals, and use a "Theory of Change" to help check that the inputs will lead to goals. There's also a really good qualitative guide by the OECD for development project evaluation, with 5 key criteria. Maybe there's a military version out there somewhere...

The example of training - and the way you describe* it - sounds like a horizon set at activities (do some training) and outputs (no of people trained). It would need to have a lot more thought on outcomes and goals, and a ToC that showed how they link together (the 'so what' and 'in order to').An awful lot of NGO have similar horizons. The trick is - as mentioned- to come up with the outcome/impact metrics.

* Maybe that was done, and perhaps it was something that you simply didn't mention...
 
I remember reading something where some general said: you know it when you see it.

This is the same tired "objective measurement" argument that has been had on here several times, the answer to which is: if you (you plural: the Army) are so skeptical and questioning about exactly how you objectively measure something, then that isn't the problem. The problem is that you simply don't want to objectively measure things, and so it isn't going to happen. First, you need to accept that there is some value in it. Once you have done that, let's talk.

There is never a magic metric. Objective measurement of any kind is a process of constant evolution. In some very lucky cases you might find a metric where causality is clear, but in the vast majority of cases you are simply looking for metrics that give you consistent indicators or correlation. That applies equally to highly data driven endeavours like medicine or scientific research or tech algorithms, as it does to working out what "win" means for the military. In almost all those cases the metrics are imperfect: what matters, and is provably the case, is that some objectivity is invariably better than no objectivity. Facebook or your surgeon don't have a magic reference card with the magic metric that is only issued to them: they just have a very large data set focused on the problem and a team and/or experience applied to interpreting it.

I've found - and your reply hints at, tell me if I'm wrong - that military officers are, for various reasons, almost pathologically resistant to the idea of applying objectivity to what they do. Yet, at the same time, they are keen if you phrase the question differently to claim that it is the most fundamentally objective and binary job ever. Ultimately it all comes down to the bloke on the other end of the two-way range, mate. The two things don't match up, I'm pretty sure I get why, but that's a much longer post. I have never (ever) seen the military apply the kind of attitude and effort to interpreting the data that the Facebook or surgical examples above do. It's not even a public sector thing: there are other obvious parts of the public sector which are centres of excellence at this. It's very much a military "our thing is special and cannot be measured" attitude. Bollocks. Everything can be measured, you just have to take it seriously and put some effort in. Can it be measured perfectly? No. Of course not. But then neither can anything else, or we would have solved the universe.

In the example I used, training, there are lots of improvements to how we train that could address for the idea of objective results: the US (occasional) system of adversarial training is probably the biggest one, because when there is an actual enemy making decisions, you can't argue the toss about what they might or might not do...there is only what they actually did. Ironically, this one is precisely good because it trains people that there is no such thing as an objective, stock solution: instead, they learn how deal with uncertainty efficiently. There are many others. I've used them in designing training both inside and (more) outside the military, and it invariably goes down better than the UK military tick-box system.
A lot of NGO I work(ed) with are like that. They are happy to count the number of m2 searched and the number of mines found, but get a bit angry when they're asked 'so what?'
 
Commercial organisations have it easy - the bottom line, and half a dozen metrics of financial health that have been hammered out since the days of Adam Smith. Militaries don't have this luxury.

Good non-profit organisations use "logical framework diagram" to set inputs - outputs - outcomes - goals, and use a "Theory of Change" to help check that the inputs will lead to goals. There's also a really good qualitative guide by the OECD for development project evaluation, with 5 key criteria. Maybe there's a military version out there somewhere...

The example of training - and the way you describe* it - sounds like a horizon set at activities (do some training) and outputs (no of people trained). It would need to have a lot more thought on outcomes and goals, and a ToC that showed how they link together (the 'so what' and 'in order to').An awful lot of NGO have similar horizons. The trick is - as mentioned- to come up with the outcome/impact metrics.

* Maybe that was done, and perhaps it was something that you simply didn't mention...
It was an example I made up on the hoof - although I’m sure it has real life parallels.

I think the military suffers from its desire to adhere to doctrine - bizzarely since nobody reads it. The problem is that we would probably like our objective criteria to be the same for everything - so you could laminate it and put it in a PAM. The reality is that every Operations would be bespoke and the objective measurements likely iterative.
 
What capability? You have a small highly trained Army. An almost non existent Airforce and Navy. I have already stated that you folks are very professional but their ain’t enough of you.
Those'll be the fourth most powerful navy & fourth or fifth most powerful air force on the planet.

You're coming across all defensive, which is both unbecoming & unneeded.
 
But how do you measure it?

How do you measure the NATO deployments in Eastern Europe? What is victory? You can provide endstates - and you can have MOE but what truly is victory?

Same with almost any number of military operations.

Edited to add: I would agree ref the training but that appears to be changing. Exposure of certain elements at the top
End of the Army to the US ‘World Class Opfor’ has opened some minds about the kind of challenge you should face in training
Victory is when you achieve your aim without actually having to fight.
Unfortunately, politicians fail to understand that having the means to win by fighting & thus not having to do so is a damn' sight cheaper in the long term than either of the alternatives.
 
It's classic May foot in mouth territory. A sensible question to ask would have been:

"Mr Defence Secretary, please look at ways of rationalising the armed services so we can have larger, more capable armed forces at a slightly lower cost by eliminating duplication and inefficiency".

Instead May asks: "Do we want to be a Tier 1 military power?"

For a politician, she certainly lacks political antenna.

Wordsmith
She also lacks in ability & objectivity, which is a bit of a bugger when a PM should have both, in abundance.
 
Surely if you not a resident of the U.K. We can demand no insurance no entry and no money no treatment? Aside from life saving surgery, patch them up and fly them home?

Oh and everyone should pay health insurance, military insurance and asteroid insurance!
 
Hmmm, isn't that anarchy, rather than democracy?
No, quite simply. The elected government responding to popular mood would not be anarchy. It would be democracy, and what the whole system of government is expected to achieve.
 

A2_Matelot

LE
Book Reviewer
It's no more or less badly managed than the Armed Forces.

It's struggling because we insist that our Grannies and Granddads, who have dementia, are treated for their cancer and given a hip operation, all within the same two or three years, just before they die.
In part I disagree. Having almost leapt out to work in the NHS my wife, who has for 30 years been in the NHS, refused to let me. Her daily tails of utter inept management and bizarre process really do make the MoD look effective. It's the internal mechanisms which defeat it.

A lot of the poor management has sprung up since their desegregation and the creation of the myriad of trusts and supporting entities, they are so complex that they require way too much support from people who don't seem to fully appreciate exactly what it is they need to be doing or how to achieve it. Enormous amounts of time and money and lost simply in the creation of support and contracts between the trusts and their supporting entities.

There is quite simply a huge degree of over complexity, duplication and incoherence built into it's new organisational construct., with very ineffectual overseeing bodies. When you take a step back and look at exactly how big the NHS is and what it does, you can see why people struggle to put their arms around it.

Equally until we all cease to expect everything for free, when we stamp out feet, then at the output end the NHS will suffer.
 
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