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National Defence Association - Draft Paper

#2
Bad CO said:
We've been emailed the attached draft paper by the author. Constructive comment is invited .....
The draft states: Charitable Status. Once sufficient interest is shown and commitments given to justify establishing an NDA, action should be taken to establish the NDA as a non-profit organisation – i.e. officially as a Charity.

The Charity Commission have very tight rules on who gets commission status. I dont think they would approve of giving a NDA this status.
 
#3
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this draft paper.

I have three broad observations to make at this early stage.

  • 1. The Aim. The paper does not make a sufficiently strong case for the existence of the NDA. To quote from the paper:
    • 'To present to the public, the press and politicians of the United Kingdom the case for sufficient, appropriate and fully funded Armed and other Defence Services, so that the Country, its people and their vital interests at home and throughout the world are defended effectively.'

    The case for a well equipped, trained and retained Armed Force is made every day in a variety of media. However, the issue that the Armed Forces' face is one of virtual abandonment, betrayal and constant deceit from our political masters. The NDA wil achieve very little in countering the general air of apathy in Whitehall; not to mention the almost total lack of understanding about our capabilities, our concerns and most importantly - our people. The fledgling NDA must - in effect - analyse its mission and determine where the threat is and what action can and should be made.

    2. Principles and Standards. One of the basic principles is that the NDA must be 'impartial, objective and apolitical.' I agree that it must be apolitical - but it most certainly cannot be impartial, and to a lesser degree - objective. If the NDA is to carry a strategic argument into the heart of Government, it must do so with a single-minded intensity of purpose that it seems to lack at present.

    3. Business Space. I'm not entirely certain that the NDA has defined its own operating business space clearly enough. More work is needed to describe exactly what is meant by 'The NDA could perhaps act as a focal advisory and independent source of contact for serving members of the armed forces...'. Organisations already exist to fill this much needed and appreciated function - see the long running BAFF thread for more discussion on this subject.

And without being some sort of staff nazi about it, the document needs a complete DW overhaul.

BCO - more than happy to assist with anything else - so please pass on my contact details to those who need to know!
 
#4
Personally, I would see the NDA as a political arm of the BAFF, not a separate organisation. I am uncomfortable with the concept of recruiting retired senior officers as it gives the impression of "jobs for the boys", and I believe the CE post is too powerful (what is the point of a media person if the CE TORs are to liaise with the media?). The Families Feds started springing up in multiple guises a few years back, all pleading for (and most getting) funds to pay their executive bodies and providing little back in return - apart from incoherent self-promotion and lots of nasty back stabbing!

I would rather see the BAFF as a tri-Service divisional organisation with responsibility for personnel/personal areas, and the NDA as a "well-connected" parliamentary lobbying group. If we have Senior Officers with contacts, then all well and good, but they have to be aware that campaigning and lobbying in areas that are subject to "trade-offs" may cause more harm than good - much of the dealings to which we are subject are part of closed-door discussions and inter-Service (or interGovernmental) negotations, especially in the area of budgets.

The other area which I find uncomfortable is the willingness to cosy up with magazines like Navy News - who are based inside HMS NELSON and are little more than internal PR rags. I don't think that NN have carried a controversial story in the last 10 years, and I can't see them crusading against their landlords and masters! I also can't see the police coming in, they have a federation already in place, they have nothing to gain by attaching themselves to a fledgling organisation which may not share the same aims and objectives.

In summary - a nice add-on to BAFF, but I can't see that happening!
 
#5
This draft, or one very similar, has been published elsewhere already. The 'representation' bit seems to have been tacked on to what the NDA's founder originally wanted to create - a defence/political lobbying organisation. I don't think the two are compatible.
 
#6
Published as a RUSI paper. This is a "living" extension, I think the author just wants people to have a look at it. I believe that he almost came onboard with BAFF, but they went their separate ways at an early stage.
 
#7
PompeySailor said:
I believe that he almost came onboard with BAFF, but they went their separate ways at an early stage.
There were some discussions, but the original aims of NDA and of BAFF are entirely different. Additionally, NDA plans to involve retired senior officers in high-level positions, whilst BAFF does not see that this would be the way ahead for a Federation.
 
#9
It's written by a former Naval Commander. If it's not wearing a shade of blue, then it's generically "the troops". Seriously.

I think his writing and terminology needs tightening up, but it's good enough to get a general overview of the intentions.
 
#10
It seems harmless enough and a decent safety valve for the sort of retired mid- to senior-level officers who worry about the public attitude to major matters of National Defence - remember the Dreadnought debate in the 1900s? - but the "BAFF lite" stuff seeems blistered on, somehow.

I think that if they want to, the NDA should forge ahead and recreate the UEL or the Navy League or the Air Force League and do whatever they want to do. I don't think their model is right for a professional association and I don't think the plan to have the whole thing run by retired senior officers would fly with the boys and girls, somehow.
 
#11
india-juliet said:
Bad CO said:
We've been emailed the attached draft paper by the author. Constructive comment is invited .....
The draft states: Charitable Status. Once sufficient interest is shown and commitments given to justify establishing an NDA, action should be taken to establish the NDA as a non-profit organisation – i.e. officially as a Charity.

The Charity Commission have very tight rules on who gets commission status. I dont think they would approve of giving a NDA this status.
Strangely enough, the promotion of national defence would appear to be a charitable purpose. By comparison, I think BAFF would struggle to get charitable status because it would be for the private benefit of servicemen.

I have a problem with the name National Defence Association - it sounds too much like a bunch of right-wing loonies affiliated to the National Rifle Association.
 
#13
Right I'm a plain speaking man so here goes. This organisation sounds a bit like a good lads club for retired officers, who like to attend things like RUSI fora and oil and eel around senior officers whilst asking questions so convoluted as to baffle the brains of an Archbishop - when what they really want to ask is "Aren't I clever?"

There are enough partial and impartial organisations which fulfil parts of the NDa's proposed role, without adding another one. It seems like a great scam and provides another job opportunity for an O5/O6 and some of his chums. Honestly aren't there enough golf clubs, private schools and trade associations to provide for second careers?

I'm sorry if that isn't positive feedback on the paper but frankly I cannot feel very positive about spawning another one of this type of organisation. Having worked at the aerospace/defence lobbying schwerpunkt for two or three years, there really is not sufficient justification for an "NDA" whereas the BAFF seems sadly to be indicated by the state of the forces, government and chain of command.
 
#14
I agree this has nothing to do with the BAFF, but do think there is a place for a group of old worthies to do their bit for the Forces in terms of lobbying in Parliament, in the media, etc. Apart from the defence chiefs who have peerages, and a few media luvvies who shall remain nameless, there is in general little scope for people that the country would take seriously to get their views heard.

I am sceptical though about linking in the police and emergency services. They come under completely different departments, budgets, etc. The Home Secretary will always get enough money for internal security, and the police already have their federation - the problem is that in peacetime the temptation is always to take it out of the defence budget.
 
#16
hammockhead said:
india-juliet said:
Bad CO said:
We've been emailed the attached draft paper by the author. Constructive comment is invited .....
The draft states: Charitable Status. Once sufficient interest is shown and commitments given to justify establishing an NDA, action should be taken to establish the NDA as a non-profit organisation – i.e. officially as a Charity.

The Charity Commission have very tight rules on who gets commission status. I dont think they would approve of giving a NDA this status.
Strangely enough, the promotion of national defence would appear to be a charitable purpose. By comparison, I think BAFF would struggle to get charitable status because it would be for the private benefit of servicemen.

I have a problem with the name National Defence Association - it sounds too much like a bunch of right-wing loonies affiliated to the National Rifle Association.
Well put
 
#17
Wow! Follow that, as they say.

I am the instigator and author of the NDA paper and am happy to respond to the 'interesting' challenges already raised. Indeed I really do welcome them - which is why the paper has (many thanks to Bad CO) been attached to this site.... and I do hope that you all read it before going off at half cock (used in the technical term) or by just responding to the previous commentator.
Although good practice dictates - "never complain, never explain" I would like to make a few points clear.... and, if they weren't clear from reading the paper, then (if you have indeed read it) I apologise and will work to make it clearer still. This paper is STILL A DRAFT - and any of it can be amended, deleted, improved.

THIS IS STILL THE DISCUSSION PHASE OF CREATING AN NDA - because it's important, if it's needed, that we get it right - or drop it if it's not.

The NDA is not designed to be a retired senior officers' old boys network - although, and inevitably for an important subject, such people are needed and will be attracted.
In discussing the setup of an organisation such as the NDA (or, indeed, BAFF) it is important not to lose sight of the wood for the trees. Look at the big issues first - and then sort out the details, the irritants.
If this nation (and its government - of whatever persuasion) has got its priorities right - and if it allocates sufficient resources (not just money - but mainly) for appropriate adequate armed forces to defend this country - then everything is alright and there is no need for an NDA.
If however, and as we contend, that is not the case - that "Defence" (and the Armed Forces) are too low in the Nation's priorities - are ill resourced and grossly and ever increasingly over stretched - then there is an urgent need for an NDA - or whatever one calls it. I too share concerns that "NDA" is not necessarily the right name - but then suggest, please, some sensible alternatives.

Please do thrash all of this, and more, out in these columns - or please do contact me direct at: ndahq@btinternet.com

It IS good to discuss this with everyone - and essential if any good is to come out of this.

John Muxworthy
Interim CE of the (embryo) NDA
(and for those who wish to know more about me - there's a summary at the end of the NDA paper!)
 
#18
Old RedCap - I wish you would.... I have been trying to find (preferably an e-mail) address for Colonel Tim... so anyone to anyone who can provide one, I'd be most grateful.

John Muxworthy - Interim CE of the NDA who can be contacted at: ndahq@btinternet.com
 
#19
Cuddles said:
Right I'm a plain speaking man so here goes. This organisation sounds a bit like a good lads club for retired officers, who like to attend things like RUSI fora and oil and eel around senior officers whilst asking questions so convoluted as to baffle the brains of an Archbishop - when what they really want to ask is "Aren't I clever?"

There are enough partial and impartial organisations which fulfil parts of the NDa's proposed role, without adding another one. It seems like a great scam and provides another job opportunity for an O5/O6 and some of his chums. Honestly aren't there enough golf clubs, private schools and trade associations to provide for second careers?

I'm sorry if that isn't positive feedback on the paper but frankly I cannot feel very positive about spawning another one of this type of organisation. Having worked at the aerospace/defence lobbying schwerpunkt for two or three years, there really is not sufficient justification for an "NDA" whereas the BAFF seems sadly to be indicated by the state of the forces, government and chain of command.
I'd echo those sentiments, based on the document as currently written. The bottom line is, I do not see any way that the NDA as currently proposed will attract Pte Shagnasty RLC to part with his readies. He'll see this as a way for retired senior officers to shmooze with serving senior officers and conclude that they get paid enough to fund that sort of thing themselves. Indeed, unless you're very lucky that's the way the NDA will generally be perceived. At that point anything they come out with will be met by "Well, they would say that wouldn't they ?"

If you genuinely wish Pte S. to part with his cash (and it's damn sight harder to justify the cost from his wages than from a senior officers) then you need to offer him something of genuine value. Of course that is exactly what BAFF is positioning itself to do.

All that said, the NDA could become a very valuable organisation, don't think I'm trying to suggest you abandon it. However, at the moment it does not appear to me to fill a role not already occupied.
 
#20
One of the strange.... there is a role to be fulfilled (or do you argue that?) - but who is filling it? That role is to be PRO-ACTIVELY lobbying for adequate properly resourced Armed Forces. So who IS doing it? RUSI? (At which point I would confess that until recently ,when I joined RUSI, I, like most people had little if any knowledge of what RUSI stood for - let alone what they did). RUSI is a Defence 'think tank' - probably the best in the world, but they do not pro-actively lobby. The NDA is an organisation that anyone and everyone - absolutely without reference to their rank or 'station in life' - who cares about the Defence of this Country can join. And as to Private, or Able Seaman, or SAC 'Snooks' not wanting to part with his hard earned cash - who's to say that he (or she) has got to? Nothing in the DRAFT (!) NDA Founding Document has set up definite (if any) subscription rates. This is a draft document which is evolving day by day.... but, I believe, whatever the finally agreed 'subscription', those who care for our Armed Forces - military or civilian alike - will join.
 

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