No wonder our MOD is horrid if our Ministers...

Discussion in 'The NAAFI Bar' started by cheesypoptart, Oct 19, 2009.

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  1. ...don't have any military background whatsoever.

    If our illustrious Secretary of State for Defence doesn't know the difference between Harrier and Osprey, and generally hasn't ever had a need to acquaint himself with the military-industrial complex, then he's bound to have no idea what he's doing.

    So, how many of our Ainsworth and his ilk have any military experience? I know this has been done before, but I am in the process of comparing UK and US Sec Defs since 1945, and here are some actual figures:

    US SecDefs since 1945 = 24 (inc. 2 Secs of War)
    UK Sec of State for Defence= 31 (inc. 12 Ministers of Defence)

    Average US time in office = 2.25 yrs
    Average UK time in office = 1.74 yrs

    US SecDefs with mil connections: 22 (91%)
    UK with mil connections: 18 (58%)...17 if you exclude Heseltine
    US SecDef with mil connections: in post (USAF officer)
    UK last with mil connections:George Younger, 1986-1989 (Argylls officer, Korean War)

    US non-veterans
    Military-connected: Wilson (War Production Board), Schlesinger (RAND), Brown (defence research at DoD), Taft (Defense Dept), Cohen (heavily involved in defence legislation as a senator)
    No military connection: McElroy (prez, Proctor & Gamble), Cheney (Congressman, second choice after John Tower, a veteran, was rejected)

    Brit non-veterans

    Mil industry: Mason (Labour Minister of Defence, Equipment, 1967-8),
    No mil connection: Shinwell (Labour MP), Monckton (Tory MP), Thorneycroft (Tory MP), Nott (Tory MP), King (Tory MP), Rifkind (Tory MP), Portillo (Tory MP), Robertson (Labour MP), Hoon (Labour MP), Reid (Labour MP), Browne (Labour MP), Hutton (Labour MP), Ainsworth (Labour MP),
    Hard to define: Heseltine (Tory MP, actively sought to avoid service, did a few months in the Welsh Guards)

    Of note: Future Secretary presumptive, Liam Fox, Tory, also no military connections

    Once again, the last Secretary of State for Defence with any military expertise was George Younger, 1986-1989, and he hadn't served or worked in the industry since the 1950's!

    Less time plus less expertise on the part of the senior defence minister give me just two reasons why we can expect the MOD to be run a lot worse than the Pentagon. Now, bear in mind that the DoD is already a bit of a cluster* in of itself...where would it be if none of its leaders in the last twenty years had a military background?!?

    I'm not saying no mil experience ensures failure, nor that mil experience ensures success (as Captain Donald Henry Rumsfeld, USNR Ret'd, demonstrated so recently), but at least men like Rumsfeld had the wrong ideas, rather than absolutely no clue.

    PS: Harrumph!
  2. I don't fly a flag for John Nott but IIRC he was a Gurkha officer .
  3. Yes but with a little knowledge they could be dangerous, that is why we have the Defence Council they are the military experts and provide the info. It is why the military side is agahst that Richard Dannatt could be Tory Def Min
  4. Wrong about Thorneycroft - he was a gunner.

    George Edward Peter Thorneycroft, Baron Thorneycroft of Dunstan (1909-94), was the son of Major George Edward Mervyn Thorneycroft and Dorothy Hope. He was educated at Eton and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. In 1930 Thorneycroft was commissioned into the Royal Artillery, but he resigned his commission three years later.
  5. I guess at this rate, that just leaves the Labour numpties!
  6. Sir John Nott, no military connection? Well, apart from the Royal Scots in Berlin, and the Gurkhas in a few other places for a few years. He went into the City in the 1960's when the end of National Service meant a huge reduction in officer numbers, and career prospects. As for previous generations go back to his forebear Sir William Nott of Kandahar (Wikipedia), one general with the right ideas about Afghanistan.
  7. Apparently Liam Fox worked as an, "Civilian Army Medical Officer"
  8. Liam Fox is a member of the Royal College of General Practitioners. He worked as a Civilian Army Medical Officer and also worked in the voluntary sector as a divisional surgeon for St Johns before working as a GP in Buckinghamshire and Somerset.