Our Forces need a wholesale increase in resources

Letters to The Times HERE
We must fund the Navy to keep a global role
The White Ensign must fly around the world and Britain must rediscover its naval heritage

Sir, The First Sea Lord (report, Nov 13) and his fellow Chiefs of Staff remind one of long-institutionalised political prisoners, whose ultimate ambition on being released is for a loaf of bread of their own.

Our chiefs are so acclimatised to living in a demand-rich, resource-poor environment that they have, in the name of realism, depressed the bar of their expectations to incremental proportions. To hear the Chief of the Defence Staff talking about improvements in accommodation standards was sadly indicative of their excessively moderate aspirations.

To thrive, our Armed Forces need a great deal more than the odd titbit. Wishlists are wearisome, and somehow miss the point that what is needed is not scraps of minor expedience but a wholesale increase in resource, so that there is slack, or reserve, in every element.

This probably means a 40 per cent step increase in funding now, and 10 per cent per annum for many years. Expensive? Of course, but not in the context of other government programmes. The Armed Forces are a prime national asset in an era of hard-headed internationalism. They are indeed worth it.

Rear-Admiral Patrick Middleton

Sir, The First Sea Lord’s comments raise the question — do we want a global presence manifested in our Royal Navy? The answer has to be “yes”. Britain is a world leader in international trade by sea. On our oceanic planet, that matters and is today still the underlying support of our relative wealth, but it brings with it responsibilities.

Our problem is that many of our politicians and some influential media pundits have a “small-island” mentality. It is thus easy for them to persuade us that we do not need to take such global responsibility, even when other countries look to the Royal Navy to lead, influence and encourage maritime defence. We could, after all, always leave it to others to defend our maritime trade, the lives of our mariners, the rights of peoples everywhere to live and work without fear of piracy or slavery, to inhibit terrorism, and to take on drug-runners, all functions effectively undertaken by the Royal Navy today. Britain is a large oceanic archipelago, and we are a significant maritime nation whose wealth and lifestyle depend upon the sea and our freedom to trade on it. Thus we have a duty to ourselves, as well as to our many allies who look to us for a lead in this, to defend the seaborne trade of every nation.

Flying the White Ensign around the world sends a powerful message to our many friends and our few enemies. The international students to whom I teach naval history express dismay that Britain appears to have lost interest in its naval heritage and a maritime future, and senior naval officers of our many allies tell me that Britain must not lose its leadership in the effective defence of the freedom of the seas.

Justin Reay
Tutor in Naval History, University of Oxford International Programmes
My bold.
It of course all true however none of the Uk's political parties will commit to defence in order to sustain it at an effective level. There is no vision for what may happen and of course we have a long history of daniel in these matters. If circumstances should turn very ugly quickly we will have to play with the team we have. No time for reserves or to churn more Spitfires or Ark Royals out. Despite all available evidence the fires are smoking on the horizon but our political class find it more convenient not to look.
I agree with him!

The organisation that I have just joined is hell-bent on saving money; headcount and budgets are the keywords. Nothing else!

rockape34 said:
Litotes said:
I agree with him!

The organisation that I have just joined is hell-bent on saving money; headcount and budgets are the keywords. Nothing else!
Perchance I am naïf; if such is the case, why join?
Sorry for the delay in responding.... busy saving money...

Why join? Is that a wah? Perhaps not...

I joined the organisation because I was posted to it. Unfortunately, I have realised that joining an organisation that is thrashing itself to death is probably not a good career move: "So, just who is my 1RO and my 2RO?". "And they are based... where exactly?" "65 miles away? Right".

It was a good career whilst it lasted....


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