Admiral West has got a bit of a reputation for speaking out during his tenure.
The loss of the single service DCCs was in part a response by Baf-hoon to reign in the military in the MOD. I hope that the Admiral makes a complete nusiance of himself when he finally retires - both about the deceitful decision to attack Iraq and the disgraceful loss of ships; To give up some of the old T42s was sensible enough (although refitting Nottignham after its grounding in Oz was probably a desion based more on wounded pride than on common sense). But to have given up a working and highly usuable T23 and a batch of MCMVs was a real kick to the service. Trouble is that Baf-hoon and now Reid have us by the short and curlies - you want the Type 45s (now arriving later and fewer in number) and the CVFs (over which they were unable to make a propoer decision on supplier such that we end up again wedded to bloddy BAe. You can see it a mile off, the ships if and when they come will be over budget, over due and won't work properly) then pay off ships now.
I am fed up hearing the spin merchants in Whitehall say that the platforms are that much more capable than ever they were before and therefore we dont need as many. Ships have to be refitted over extended periods of time, ships companies have to train and work up, equipment needs to repaired, updated etc etc. We sustain the current operational tempo of our ships only by placing enormous stress on our people and raiding both people and equipement from ashore. No one is suggesting that we return to a Navy the size of that in the 60s and 70s but we do need a few more platforms to do all the jobs that we are given.
I look forward to Admiral West's first interview after he retires - go on Sir.. stick it to them !
DCC - the Directorates of Corporate Communications. There were 3. DCC(A...army), DCC(N) and DCC(RAF). Journos used to come from them to get a serving persons view on a particular issue as opposed to a civillain working in the MOD press office who would often just read an answer from a brifeing document. Baf-Hoon hated them (journos loved them) and they were binned into one tightly controlled organisation
Thirty eight not including (6?) Admirals of the Fleet (including DoE) and a few 4 stars who remain on the active list, but retired (!) (since they can't be promoted to 5 stars any more). Sir Alan will very likely have the same perk as a soon to be former 1SL.
There are only three full Admirals serving and four Vice Admirals. The rest are 2 star. Would anyone expect the Chief Naval Engineer Officer not to be at least a Rear Admiral (he is) for his professional status if nothing else? Or i/c BDS Washington? Chief of Staff to a four star? It shouldn't need saying but every Admiral has his rank for a reason and all have a job commensurate with their rank. Some even go to sea!
As for Admirals v Ships, it's close. Depends on your definition of a ship. I wouldn't count the P2000s but the Torygraph didn't mention Ocean, Bulwark and Albion. Each a big ship!
Sir Alan is correct and my best salute to him for saying so.