No end in sight to the Army's dependence on airpower

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by alfred_the_great, Dec 13, 2016.

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  1. It's a bit hard to work out (do permanent staff at Akrotiri count against SHADER for example?), but about 1200 deployed (ie not at home base) on ops and just over 500 on non-op tasks and STTTs.
  2. What a load of crap, dependent the army is. Let down they often are.
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  3. Well, this hasn't gone the way I expected...
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  4. Caecilius

    Caecilius LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Of course the army isn't immune from criticism; I'm just calling for less facile cheap shots at the army while not allowing the same counter arguments that are taken as gospel when applied to the other services.

    The group is a JFC asset. If, however, you only regard JFC as an administrative formation then the group has four army units, one navy unit, an RAF unit and presumably some other support bits.
  5. Caecilius

    Caecilius LE Reviewer Book Reviewer


    The army will always be somewhat dependent on air power though, and has been to a greater or lesser extent since about 1916. I can't imagine too many people disagreeing with that.

    Equally the army has been dependent on the navy since about 1660.
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  6. The RAF wasn't asked or expected to do Phase IV planning because it wasn't going to have any presence on the ground in Libya. Phase IV planning was undertaken within the wider MoD, but mainly within the construct of DFID and the FCO, since - as we weren't going to put troops on the ground for the purposes of stabilistation - and were (naively) going to rely upon the locals building stability with local forces providing the military and civic security, this made sense. The problem - which perhaps ought to have been anticipated - was that the locals took umbrage at being given advice and said that they could handle it, thank you very much. After at least two such rebuffs, the FCO shrugged and began worrying that things might go a bit wrong. Which, of course, they did. I cannot, for the usual Chatham House rule reasons, note the name of the VS RAF Officer who I have heard note that he did politely enquire about Phase IV, but was - equally politely - given the 'It's OK, old chap, we've got that covered, thanks - don't need the RAF for that bit, really' routine.

    In contrast...

    The Army was expected to have a presence on the ground in Iraq after MCO, as a part of an occupation force (as duly mandated by the UN). As Tim Cross, amongst others, noted Jay Garner was thrown under a bus with that one by Rumsfeld, and British protestations (from within MoD and government) about Phase IV were stiffly ignored. However - as Chilcot observes on some occasions - within the construct of Phase IV planning and execution, there were instances where the politicians took the advice of senior Army officers and were rather surprised when things proved more complicated/tricky than they'd been led to believe.

    The fighting of the war (i.e. the MCO) by British forces in both Libya and Iraq delivered pretty much what was expected of the forces involved.

    The difficulty for the equivalence contention you're presenting is that the planned post-war effort in Libya didn't involve or require the RAF, whereas that for Iraq - flawed though it was thanks to Uncle Don Rumsfeld and his ilk - did require the Army, and it did require VSOs to plan, and on occasion, unfortunately, that planning was lacking, with optimism and press-on-it is and other factors getting in the way in a fashion that simply didn't apply in Libya.

    Again, I concur about the VSO bashing for the Army getting a bit facile - I can't quite see how an Oxbridge and/or private education was to blame for many problems, for instance - but the circumstances between the campaigns were different in the responsibility and involvement expected in Phase IV, and thus can't be used to equate light blue leadership failings with those of the Army's VSOs in the manner you're attempting, I fear.
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  7. I didn't say adminstrative, but it's splitting hairs and not really important. One thing I imagine we would agree that JFC is excellent at, is demanding more manpower from the sS!!
  8. I'm glad the RAF volunteered a plan for fixing Libya. Previously I thought Grand Strategy planning went like this:

    1. Media drips long and loud about something wrong in the world.

    2. If media shouting is loud enough (and/or enough people wave placards or harangue their MPs) parliament has a debate with lots of histrionics and hyperbole.

    3. If that phase is of enough concern to the sitting PM, an excellent strategy is made. Because all PMs now know 'boots on the ground' = 'jingoism and oil-stealing imperialism' to the left, a half cocked solution with some air power or the senior service floating a few miles off shore doing a bit of NEO is conceived. The resulting pictures look good in the Navy News.

    4. After several years spending tax payers money firing £100k Brimstones at $100 jingly trucks, the FCO/DFID realise once again conventional forces can't do nation building. The left commences 'I told you so' with no sense of irony.

    But no - the sS chiefs all get round a table, put their bids in for the right to plan such a campaign.

    There was me thinking it came from top down, both with the desired endstate and the limitations on force package coming out of Whitehall.
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  9. [
    What did you expect?
  10. Medium tank, then?