PQ Concerning lack of overhead protection in Basra

#1
Mate of mine came back from theatre recently and said it was cr*p. Thought it best for Des to explain what was going on.

Not much of an answer.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what risk assessments have been carried out on (a) RAF and (b) Army accommodation in Basra with particular reference to (i) overhead protection and (ii) protection from shrapnel; what action (A) was taken and (B) is planned as a result; and if he will make a statement. [153460]

Des Browne: There is no distinction made in an operational theatre on the standard of accommodation, or protection afforded to it, on the basis of service.

Commanders in theatre keep all force protection measures including that of accommodation under constant review, against an ever-evolving threat and a number of measures are being developed to further improve protection.

Force protection arrangements in Basra employ multiple layers of defence. This is in addition to operations to disrupt attacks against UK forces and other protective equipment, tactics, techniques and procedures designed to minimise the chance of a successful attack. Details of these measures cannot be released as disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of the armed forces.
 
#2
I see that the Sun has a double page spread on this subject yesterday
 
#3
nigegilb said:
Mate of mine came back from theatre recently and said it was cr*p. Thought it best for Des to explain what was going on.

Not much of an answer.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what risk assessments have been carried out on (a) RAF and (b) Army accommodation in Basra with particular reference to (i) overhead protection and (ii) protection from shrapnel; what action (A) was taken and (B) is planned as a result; and if he will make a statement. [153460]

Des Browne: There is no distinction made in an operational theatre on the standard of accommodation, or protection afforded to it, on the basis of service.

Commanders in theatre keep all force protection measures including that of accommodation under constant review, against an ever-evolving threat and a number of measures are being developed to further improve protection.

Force protection arrangements in Basra employ multiple layers of defence. This is in addition to operations to disrupt attacks against UK forces and other protective equipment, tactics, techniques and procedures designed to minimise the chance of a successful attack. Details of these measures cannot be released as disclosure would, or would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness and security of the armed forces.
Wrong question: what should have been asked was "Why do the Foreign and Commonwealth Office insist on overhead protection for their staff while the MOD does not?"

Joined up government? Thought not...

msr
 
#4
"Wrong question: what should have been asked was "Why do the Foreign and Commonwealth Office insist on overhead protection for their staff while the MOD does not?"

Because FCO have a much smaller footprint in theatre and hence the budget to afford to build better protected accom. Also their staff are in theatre for an average of 2 years each, so they try to build decent accom for them for this time. Most simply though, FCO take advice from MOD and their own advisors on the appropriate level of protection and this clearly differs from MOD views.
 
#6
jim30 said:
"Wrong question: what should have been asked was "Why do the Foreign and Commonwealth Office insist on overhead protection for their staff while the MOD does not?"

Because FCO have a much smaller footprint in theatre and hence the budget to afford to build better protected accom. Also their staff are in theatre for an average of 2 years each, so they try to build decent accom for them for this time. Most simply though, FCO take advice from MOD and their own advisors on the appropriate level of protection and this clearly differs from MOD views.
The size of the footprint is not relevant - it is the size of the risk which is.

msr
 
#7
"The size of the footprint is not relevant - it is the size of the risk which is"

I completely agree - but fundamentally when you have less than 100 people to worry about, its easier to afford to build protected accom for that many people than for 5,000!
 
#8
In WW2 our relatives dug air-raid shelters in the back garden of their houses, with tonnes of earth over, to protect themselves on the off-chance a bomb would land on top of them. Chances of it happening were slim, out of the thousands of houses, but the then Government deemed it suitable.

50 odd years later, we put poxy breeze blocks around our dining tables in the cooks tent in Basra Air Station, in case one of the daily mortar/rocket rounds might hit us!!!
According to the Sun's mortar/rocket hit map, the chances of being hit look rather greater then it was in WW2!!
 
#10
Jim30 speaks sense

Msr always appears to launch off at the FCO when ever IDF protection is mentioned.............I suppose its better than twine-ing about swimming pools
 
#11
One assumes the price of a soldiers life is lower than that of a FCO employee. Last time I checked occupation has been in existence for 4 years. Plenty time to afford protection for everyone.

Unless the price was considered too high......
 
#12
jim30 said:
"Wrong question: what should have been asked was "Why do the Foreign and Commonwealth Office insist on overhead protection for their staff while the MOD does not?"

Because FCO have a much smaller footprint in theatre and hence the budget to afford to build better protected accom. Also their staff are in theatre for an average of 2 years each, so they try to build decent accom for them for this time. Most simply though, FCO take advice from MOD and their own advisors on the appropriate level of protection and this clearly differs from MOD views.
What's length of time of deployment got to do with it? If an individual soldier deploys for six months or two years it's immaterial: that bedspace is permanently occupied by someone throughout the two year period you refer to.
It's a question of priorities: while my guys were repairing Shaibah's wire and filling sandbags daily the powers that be decided that the RE should be repairing the camp swimming pool instead. I had two platoons to protect Shaibah: more teeth and less blanket-stacking would seem to be in order..
 
#13
British forces lack of protection cannot be blamed on FCO staff full stop.
 
#14
thegimp said:
British forces lack of protection cannot be blamed on FCO staff full stop.
I am not blaming the FCO. It just strikes me as odd that the same risk assessment can come up with two very different answers.

msr
 
#16
"What's length of time of deployment got to do with it?"

From an FCO perspective, if you're trying to get volunteers for 2 year tours, then the FCO feels it needs to spend cash to give them a decent set of accommodation - which includes decent levels of blast proofing. Thats a purely FCO view.
 
#17
"The point is FCO are doing their bit for their staff. MOD clearly aren't"

MOD has to build accom for 5000 people - the pot of money is limited. It takes time to get these projects through the system. Also worth noting that projects take time to fund, plan and implement - we've had a very transitory experience in Iraq - when Allenby and Waterloo were built, the IDF threat was minimal - that has now changed beyond recognition. We also have adapted our planning, so we're now having to update buildings and sort out new accom.
Yes its frustrasting, yes its a shitter if you're stuck downrange listening to 107's saying hello (such happy memories!) but to imply that MOD doesnt give a **** is utterly utterly wrong.
 
#18
Adequate overhead protection will be completed in time for the withdrawl












No doubt
 
#19
Jim30: The threat has changed, but MoD hasn't. Somewhere in the MoD and in the Treasury there are a couple of grey little cúnts pretenting to be human who have weighed the decision: spend a couple of extra million quid in Iraq to save some soldiers lives, or spend it on tax credits, consultants and single parent black muslim lesbians in a marginal constituency.

Unlucky Tommy, maybe next time.
 
#20
"Somewhere in the MoD and in the Treasury there are a couple of grey little cúnts pretenting to be human who have weighed the decision: spend a couple of extra million quid in Iraq to save some soldiers lives, or spend it on tax credits, consultants and single parent black muslim lesbians in a marginal constituency"

Of course- how could I forget - its the great "lets fcuk over the squaddy game" - actually my annual appraisal has a target to try and cut funding for at least 3 projects, and if I fail to be indirectly responsible for the deaths of 14 squaddies then I've failed and won't get a ticket to the annual "MOD - we hate squaddies and actually want to embrace muslim lesbianism for wheelchair bound single parents conference". Thats a shame as the hotels fantastic.

Lose the chip and seek a reality check.
 

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