PoD Power Struggle with Bliar

#1
From the Scotsman:

This article is interesting, although the editorial in the paper is b@llocks, effectively saying that PoD should get back in his box. It appears that PoD is operating as he sees fit within the parameters set by HMG and if there is any major political fallout then.....tough! :twisted:

Who's in charge of the army?

JAMES KIRKUP
POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT


THE mid-morning meeting at Downing Street had been hastily convened, but even at short notice the most powerful men in the country were around the table. For Tony Blair and General Mike Jackson, the head of the army, there was only one item on the agenda: Scotland’s regiments.

Earlier, newspapers including The Scotsman had revealed that the Prime Minister, stung by the outpouring of anger in Scotland, wanted military chiefs to compromise over plans to amalgamate the six regiments.

In most matters, Mr Blair would have the ultimate authority, but this time the Chief of the General Staff had a blunt message: No.

Far from compromising, the former Paratrooper would press on with his plans.

While Downing Street utterly denies that Mr Blair asked the general to "get me out of a hole", Gen Jackson confirmed yesterday that he felt the need to tell the Prime Minister that now that he is set on the amalgamation, he will not be deflected.

"Selection and maintenance of the aim is a fundamental principle of war," the general told Mr Blair.

Hours later, Mr Blair entered the Commons for question time, where he dismayed Scottish MPs of all parties by insisting "no decisions have been taken" on the regiments.

Instead of confirming that morning’s reports, the Prime Minister played for time, suggesting the final decision would rest with the army. In a further attempt to defuse the issue, at least one Labour-friendly London newspaper was later briefed that the decision would come after Christmas.

The contrast between that position and that set out by Gen Jackson yesterday could hardly be more stark. In an interview with a London newspaper, the general did not sound like a man who believes that, as Mr Blair said weeks ago, "all the options are open".

Four of the 40 infantry battalions, one of them Scottish, are to be axed, the general said, "I am confident of that."

As for those campaigning to preserve all six Scottish units, they are "going to be sad".

And the announcement? Before Christmas.

While the general said he was aware of the strong feelings attached to the regiments, he dismissed it as irrational.

He said: "Some people will say, ‘Bloody man Jackson - why is he doing this?’ That is the heart talking. The head will say, once we have got from A to B, although it’s a pretty uncomfortable road sometimes, it will be more than worth it."

Nor did he show much regard for ministers’ painstaking efforts to suggest to the public that once the Black Watch returns from Iraq next month, no more British troops will have to venture outside the UK zone in southern Iraq.

"How long we need to stay there is going to be event-driven," Gen Jackson said yesterday, suggesting more British deployments into dangerous US-controlled zones around Baghdad could well follow.

Mr Blair has two choices. Either he can allow the army to push through reforms that, no matter what their military merit, have no popular appeal. Or he can overrule Gen Jackson. The initial signs are that the general appears to have persuaded No10 to back off.

A senior government source has told The Scotsman that ministers have no intention of trying to force Gen Jackson’s hand, instead simply hoping that he will take account of public opinion in Scotland.

"It’s up to Mike Jackson to come up with a solution," said the source, accepting the general has the ability to do considerable damage to the government: "There can be no question of political interference - it would come out in the end, and that would be counter-productive."
 
#2
As much as I disagree with Jacksons plan on this matter due respect for standing up to BLiar and telling it like it is. That was probably a novel experience for the PM who no doubt winged all night to the wide mouthed frog.
 
#3
Can someone remind me just why we are having these battalions axed again?

"It'll be worth it"???

Dear Your Lord High Darkness,

Do you honestly believe the savings associated with chopping and amalgamating Regiments , will actually find their way magically back into the Army's Budget?

Or deep down , do you know that any savings will be blown in another ghastly attempt to keep KBR/GD/Thales shareholders in dividends?

Can you please define - "Worth it"?

I seem to remember another person of exalted rank saying almost exactly the same thing 5 years ago, it most definitely has NOT been worth the pain then, and I doubt it will be in future.

I remain
Yours respectfully

PTP
 
#4
I think this a very clever long term plan by Jacko. He has been set a task to save money by the back stabbing cnuts. so he has found a solution to their (Blair/Browns request) knowing full well that they will hide behind Jackson and say its His and the Army Board who makes their minds up on Army strengths and not them.
Now its all falling apart and making Blair look for what he is. close to an election, and now he wants to change things, so who is deciding the future Army? Army Board or Blair? Good plan if true
What better way to help get rid of these People but from inside :twisted:
 
#5
"Selection and maintenance of the aim is a fundamental principle of war," the general told Mr Blair.
So those two are at war, then.

That's helpful. :roll:
 
#6
The POD said:
"Selection and maintenance of the aim is a fundamental principle of war," the general told Mr Blair.
So is 'concentration of force' however that principle is getting secondary consideration as our committments are spread far annd wide placing units and their families under great pressure. The loss of more units dilutes that concentration further.
 
#7
Perhaps PoD is deliberately picking a fight with those regiments most capable of fighting back in the political arena ie. the tartan ones, particularly when 1BW are in the news on an almost-hourly basis.

Hmmm.

Or maybe I've had too much coffee!
 
#8
I think they should go at it with 1 minute of Milling.

Stand by.....Mill!

SK
 
#9
Of Bliar and Brown kennys-go-nad wrote

..they will hide behind Jackson and say its His and the Army Board who makes their minds up on Army strengths and not them.
If the Army board is the same as the Navy ( Admiralty) Board (only green), TCH sits at the top end of the table with three civilians ( all Labour ) sitting down before the professional head of service gets to rest his uniformed arrse. Kenny is correct, the spin from the propaganda minister will be that the Army decides.
 

X-Inf

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#10
The POD said:
"Selection and maintenance of the aim is a fundamental principle of war," the general told Mr Blair.
Another principle is 'Don't reinforce failure'. As previous cuts (sorry again reconstructions/reconfigurations/reorganisations - pick your own fav) cannot be claimned to be unqualified success, why continue on this line?

Still fewer inf bns will help ops in Iraq and elsewhare of course.
 
#11
X-Inf said:
Still fewer inf bns will help ops in Iraq and elsewhare of course.
I take it that was sarcasm? Apologies if not, but PoD is going blue in the face saying this. If we get rid of the arms plot and take advantage of NI peace dividend then there will be more inf battalions available to be called on at any one time given that fewer will be involved in retraining cycles every couple of years. In the current operational tempo that will mean fewer back to back tours for the infantry and they should be able to get back to the 2 year gap between tours. If this is handled properly (and that's a big 'if') then this could work out quite well. Seperately, and I have to say this before I get a slagging, it is very sad (and I'm not a supporter of this) that some cap badges will be amalgamated as a result of these plans.

There is one point to make. Will there be an increased logisitic tale to support the extra available inf battalions if they're all used in one go for invading Iran for example?!
 
#12
If we get rid of the arms plot and take advantage of NI peace dividend then there will be more inf battalions available to be called on
And if Northern Ireland kicks off again?

If Iraq tips into bloody chaos after January 26th?

If the UN needs a "Backbone" for Ops in Rwanda, Eritrea, Ethiopia etc?

The silly season in Kosovo?

If we need troops for Humanitarian work in Sudan or elsewhere?

If we need to reinforce ARRC if the Ukranian situation gets out of hand? (unlikely and God Forbid)

I can see your point Kermit, as long as we have a rider in there, that the Army has final say over whether we have the manpower and logistics for an operation?

Unfortunately , I fear that is exactly what the Army does do, and it's over-ridden by the Politicians.

"Invade Iraq? What? Are you having a laugh?"

"Just get planning, I've already told the Yanks we're in"
 
#13
Not sure if there's any truth to 'em but there's a hell of a lot of rumours going about Russian Spetsnaz turning up in the Ukraine, trainloads of BTRs and tanks heading south in the nights - that sort of stuff. Chunks of Ukr. airspace closed under air-defence priority, busloads of blokes in civvies with Russian accents.

May all be crisis fever, but there's certainly a lot of it.
 
#14
PTP,

Yes I agree that if it all kicks off round the world then we're in trouble, but I did qualify that this plan works in the current op tempo. Even without NI peace dividend, if we lose the arms plot only then that will still give us a bit extra over what we 'effectively' have now...

I fully agree with the point on ploiticians riding rough shod over what the mil commanders say is possible. I don't think they really wanted to do Iraq. Mil commanders are always saying that the last thing they want to do is send the lads to war, but I feel that the politicians present them a fait acompli and tell them to plan and execute it. The brass can then go back and say 'well we can give you 25,000 troops and not the 30,000 you asked for', but thats probably the only freedom they're allowed.
 
#15
At the end of the day, the Politicians are in charge of all things military. They decide and the Chiefs do the ground work.

All this ba'llocks about the PoD deciding is pure and utter spin, nothing more. He will be seen as the fall guy to save TBLiar any blushes and back-lash from North of the Border.

Usual lies and smoke from the Spin boys at New Labour :roll:
 
#16
The sad thing is that we only have a finite amount of money and a huge new eqpt programme (most of which we desperately need: BOWMAN (when it works), FRES (to replace 432 & Saxon), Apache etc). It has been established tha the CS (RE, RSigs) and CSS (RLC & REME) units are getting hammered and we need more of them to enable the teeth arms to do their job. The Gunners are being cut as are the inf to increase the others. My Regt for example (RE EOD unit) has a 9 month tour interval with tps in virtually all deployed theatres. We are getting another EOD Sqn under FAS to improve capability and give the guys some space and maybe even see their families. This is being provided at the expense of the Inf and Gunners. If Gordon gave us more money we could retain the 4 Inf Bns that are going. The issue over arms plotting is one that even the most hardened small Bn enthusiast cannot defend.

If you are going to blame anyone, blame Gordon and the treasury.
 
#18
With trickle-posting between the battalions of each large regiment, there will still be a company's worth of soldiers at a minimum still on a learning curve and non-deployable - ie light infantry converting to Warrior or vice-versa - at any given time in any given battalion. Where's the improvement in manning in that? It still means battalions will have to backfill for ops.
 
#19
Given the current security situation and desperate overstretch, the most obvious way to solve the "single Btn" issues would be to make them into "big Regts" by raising their 2nd & 3rd Btns....

... you could even use a TA Btn as the framework for the "depot" Btn - that would neatly provide a solution to the current debate over TA role.

If thats too big a local recruiting challenge, then theres plenty of Gurkhas and Fijians willing to top up any shortfall...

:D
 
#20
... you could even use a TA Btn as the framework for the "depot" Btn - that would neatly provide a solution to the current debate over TA role.
An excellent idea - RSM, take that man's name - he is far too clever for his own good! :wink:
 

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