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

The oft-touted trope of "punching above our weight" has largely been subsumed by the rather more veracious "drunken tramp shadow-boxing".
More "punching small people in the back of the head when they aren't expecting it".
You're simply being purposely obtuse and my thoughts are far from inconsistent - the logic is far easier; in times of very hard fiscal choices, keep things in sheds that we don't use, depreciate/cost to re-generate; or focus on the capabilities and equipments that are used each day.

I can make it even easier for you, the argument is solely between MoD and HMT, they look each other in the eye and HMT asks why do you keep those in sheds, when are you going to use them, how would they be used, what is the likelihood based on current assessment. The MoD can't answer that to satisfy HMT.

I work with the Army and Air Force a lot and have many friends in both, all would agree with my assessment because daily thats the world we live in and in all the internal debates about funding at the moment it's all about a coherent argument that can assure funding, Armour I don't see making that leap. Maybe I'm wrong - we'll see when a new Armoured Brigade is established and manned.

Ultimately because RTR and the components Regiments of the RAC (is it still called that) have strong pull I suspect we'll keep CR2, upgrade them, roll them out to the odd exercise, but I just can't see us increasing them and as funding squeezes continue, will CGS reduce numbers of AJAX, CEMA Regiments or CR2?
I don’t think anyone (well certainly I’m not) is arguing for an increase in Armour.
It's temporal and depends on threats and who else is out operating. The threats can/could be all over the SLOC, the current one that remains quite well contained is a threat as perceived by the maritime industry and is being treated, currently.

Moreover maritime choke points alone aren't what you're interested in. You patrol, deter, collect against a vast number of requirements and that's done in a number of ways daily.

But remember the point I responded to was that Armour couldn't be deleted because if it were everything else could be. My point as above remains that some assets work all the time in a multitude of roles, so that premise doesn't hold. I absolutely appreciate there are some issue with some platforms availability at the moment - in the timeline of the RN since 1660 it's a blip, it's recognised and being addressed. Stuff happens as they say.
You are a graduate of the Defence School of Obfuscation and I claim my 10 Commanders Coins
What HMG wants are the manufacturing and marketing jobs that go with defence industry, not having to actually buy the hardware itself. But it becomes a difficult sell with 'made in the UK, not used by UK forces'.
And yet one function of overseas ‘aid’ is to facilitate the purchase of BAE Hawks, etc in order to support the defence industry. Meanwhile, our own forces go short of kit.


Book Reviewer
The smart question isn't whether Armour per se is important, but whether it is worth having too little armour just to say that we have it, or whether it would be more cost effective to admit that we no longer have a real armoured force and focus on other things.

It's a different calculation for ships and planes, because there are many situations where an individual ship or a flight of planes is not only enough, but adds a huge amount of value. There are few situations where a tank or tank platoon singular is much use, many of them could easily be performed by something else (or lighter), and many of those where singular tanks are useful (urban), we have real problems actually providing and using them, whether for logistic reasons or just because we're shyer about reducing tower blocks to rubble than others are.

But mostly the problem with the armour debate is the sheer bandwidth it occupies in the Army and MoD, and the levels of mendacity it produces in senior officers to support that ("medium tank", "Armoured Division"). If the 2010 SDSR had kicked all armour into storage and instead focused all that money and energy into the career and manpower system, I wager the current Army would be in a much better state now, and ironically probably much closer to producing an actual armoured force.
Absolutely agree, completely.
I write options for a living, what can I say. If it helps get past HMT....

Anyway - we took that school as a saving in 1985 and replaced it with ACSC!
I know - I was winding you up. I spend quite a lot of time in the MOC and I’m aware that detailing effect of Naval ops is hard enough - especially on an open source website
A few comments from the new CGS. I’m sure some will think he’s looking for more money rather than emphasising a threat. He probably is, but then what does he know? ‘The misplaced perception that there is no imminent or existential threat to the UK - and that even if there was it could only arise at long notice - is wrong’. The temerity of these still serving former Directors:

He said: “Russia today is not a status quo power, it’s in revisionist mode and its intent is now matched by a growing arsenal of long-range precision capabilities.”

“Rules-based order is “underpinned by power - predominantly hard power” - and Putin does not respect countries with “weak” Armed Forces, experts were told.”

“Their lack of respect for weakness, especially military weakness, hasn’t changed one bit, and as we’ve become more sceptical about the necessity or advantage of intervention - Georgia, the Ukraine, Syria, Montenegro, Libya, Salisbury.

“How much longer do we want that list to grow?”

Gen Carleton-Smith said: “The misplaced perception that there is no imminent or existential threat to the UK - and that even if there was it could only arise at long notice - is wrong, along with a flawed belief that conventional hardware and mass are irrelevant in countering Russian subversion, and that the answer lies somehow in disruptive technology, and that the quicker we can field those technologies, the less useful the traditional measures to combat power become as indicators of national power.

“To my mind, that is to misunderstand the Russian challenge.”
First, yes I do, and I've said so on here and elsewhere long before it became fashionable.

Second, that's a nice quote but it's militarily illiterate. That might apply if you are talking about you, an individual, in a house invasion, or perhaps even a section position in some kind of existential trench fight. It doesn't apply if you are talking about a whole country, much less a loosely affiliated group of countries. The cold war strategy that everyone is praising here was completely a 5 year plan: everyone in Europe died until the US could mount more forces and slowly retake the lost ground, because when you have mass of any kind, you can afford (actually, need to) lose some chunks to win elsewhere.

Wars aren't won in a night, and even when people think they are, they turn out to be wrong: if this generation haven't learned that lesson from Iraq and Afghanistan, then they never will. After the immediate war is over, the victor (assuming there is one) has to then manage or hold the resulting settlement. That still requires troops and resources, and often means winning a different kind of war. If those troops and resources aren't enough, you have a problem.

So the idea that Russia or anyone can just strike while we are weak and it's all over is absurd. Whether it be a Baltic state, Germany, Taiwan, South Korea - any military action that anyone takes against a sizeable country or group of countries is a 5 year plan at least, and most likely a 20+ year plan. Putin, the Chinese understand this very well, because they have been personally doing it for going on 20 years now, and they have a power system that necessitates and supports that. The "it's all over tonight" mentality is a Western one, quite possibly because our political and military systems are mostly devoid of strategic thinkers and don't encourage developing them with our 4-year terms, and every military action for 30 years has been planned in the shadow of limited public will for a long term engagement.

Russia's next steps in Europe are all about finding the sweet spot of action where they can take a big enough step to advance their goals, but judge that is small enough to avoid solidifying support against them in NATO, the EU and US. Poisoning expats is a big misstep, because it has little real effect, and solidified a lot of action against them. You can bet that some strong direction has been given to the FSB about changing old tactics following it. Invading Georgia was a big win, because it barely registered in the NATO / EU / US of the time and provided a very clear effect in Russian satellite states. Ukraine is about a tie: achieved a big territory grab, but also properly woke up NATO. Whatever they do next will be all about the five-year plan of what response they think it will create in NATO / the EU, and relatively less to do with what immediate gain they think the actual action itself will bring them: it's moving chess pieces into place, not just taking the closest one. That's what the old Cold war was about, and it's what the new one will quickly become.

The point of the NATO / EU / US alliance is that together, with time, they can still bring overwhelming resources to bear. Most of those are economic, but those can theoretically be converted to be military within that 5 year time period. The Russian game is to split that group so that they cannot bring overwhelming resources to bear, and are not willing to convert economic to military power in the event of a big Russian grab. Therefore, for us, any solution which results in that group solidifying and building real, actionable ties is good - which is what the Mattis's of this world have been aiming for. Any solution which involves voluntarily or involuntarily splitting that group, like you seem to be suggesting and like Bolton and others in the Trump orbit seem to want, and potentially Trump himself (if he has coherent thoughts that last for more than the span of a tantrum) is not a solution: it is being played like a violin by the Russians. I'm sure it's fun for you to be stroked, and it makes nice mood music...but it isn't going to go the way you think it is going to go.
Milley: Readiness Wins, Deters Wars

I think the man knows what he is talking about...I think Western countries esp Europe will never have the National will to endure a long mobilization. I also think your still stuck in a Coin mindset.
All the tosh coming out of the World Cup at the moment won't be helping. A month ago they were pariah nation number 1. Today all we hear is the fine hospitality of the Russian people, welcoming fans into their homes. Nice open transparent officials. Nice smiling Mr Putin - wouldn't hurt a fly, just intent on helping his people. Joe public will start to wonder why we need to pay so much for defence - what's the threat?!

What we need is a good scrap between fans. Where's the hooligan element when we need them!

Deleted 154930

One could make a very irritating point; that the day national service ended, was the day, the general public no longer had much interest in defence, so all the hyperbole is pssting in the wind, as nobody is listening.
All the tosh coming out of the World Cup at the moment won't be helping. A month ago they were pariah nation number 1. Today all we hear is the fine hospitality of the Russian people, welcoming fans into their homes. Nice open transparent officials. Nice smiling Mr Putin - wouldn't hurt a fly, just intent on helping his people. Joe public will start to wonder why we need to pay so much for defence - what's the threat?!

What we need is a good scrap between fans. Where's the hooligan element when we need them!
It’s almost as if the adversary is pretty switched on at Info Ops.

You almost imagine the wounded puppy looks from the Russians as leaders from NATO declaim them after another deniable outrage like Skripal or MH17

‘Us? Rogue? But look at the lovely World Cup.....’
So, the British defence policy is going to be a return to the "Butcher and Bolt" colonial policing model where we intend to go 'wog bashing' against vastly inferior non State powers, and hope that our foreign allies will do the heavy lifting, fighting and dying in conventional ground combat.

It is traditional, I suppose.
And it's complete and utter failure was exposed in 1914, and again in 1939; although the Russians and Yanks did eventually turn up to win that war for us.
I am more than content with the idea of not going to war in europe ever again. Europe (east and west) can fend for itself as far as I am concerned.

History proves that there will be a war in Europe at some point, I just don't see why we should interfere.
For the same reasons we've been involved since 1700, we cannot afford one power to control the whole of Europe. That's why we cynically switched sides around 1885, the threat was no longer France but Germany, and again in 1945, when the threat became the Soviet Union aka Russia .

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