Radical thought: the British Foreign Legion

Discussion in 'The Intelligence Cell' started by wm1965, Jul 10, 2012.

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  1. We have no money, we will have a small, readily deployable army ("British Army").

    The private sector has been migrating to an outsourcing model in the last 20 years, why not give nation states the same opportunity?

    We could enter into treaties with ally countries for fixed terms to provide their defence through the raising of a British Foreign Legion ("BFL").

    We would:
    * Provide highly trained and skilled [mechanized] infantry/artillery/cav (British standards, drill and arms);
    * Recruitment open to any nations' citizens (in agreement with the host nation);
    * SNCOs & Officers initially British (optional postings from the British Army at 1.5x pay) but then migrating to increasingly home-grown talent;
    * BFL would also train local indigenous reserve troops - i.e. indigenous country's own TA.
    * Would be an additional place redundant British Army soldiers could move.

    Ally country would:
    * Pay total costs + profit margin;
    * Agree to a 50% BFL overseas deployment when required (and call-up of own indigenous reserves to cover absence for x years);

    Net result:
    * Retain influence in regions where we no longer do;
    * Increase total British Army deployable size (i.e. British Army & 50% of BFL);
    * Improve MoD financials;
    * Improve bilateral relations.

    Target allies:
    Brunei (oil), Sierra Leone (diamonds), Zimbabwe (post Zanu-PF), etc.

    We would end up with a larger deployable force for foreign escapades and some profits.
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Psssst..Brunei is already an ally..we have a defence contract with them.
  3. Without deviating from the point, I know. In the example of Brunei we would make profit and not tie up the British Army (I'm sure our bilateral agreement forbids the removal of the Bn of Gurkhas).
  4. You'll be lobbying for the reconstitution of the British East India Company next.
    • Like Like x 3
  5. The analogy had crossed my mind.

    Still countries outsource their railways, telecoms, nuclear power, and states their police so why not the majority of their army?
  6. Isn't there a fairly significant loan service contingent in Sierra Leone already?
  7. The purpose of an Army is to give its unfettered allegiance to the State (and by proxy, people) that raised it, and to do its bidding. It is not to fight wars for the highest bidder, which is the role of mercenaries.

    I think your idea would seriously erode the loyalty of the soldier to the state. It is bad enough when our forces are sent to preserve the corporate interests of our own country.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. The British Army would remain exactly as is, albeit a little better funded.

    The British Foreign Legion would be exactly that - akin to the French flavour mostly mercenaries - but exclusively stationed abroad in host countries. It would benefit over the TA in not being 'our boys', being full-time professional and the raft of other issues such as improving our influence elsewhere.

    You think that the alternative in these countries I suggest is better? Why exactly are there Gurkhas in place in Brunei, what is the basis for which warlord an African solider fights for?
  9. The French Foreign Legion are ordinarily based in French Overseas Territories which are themselves federalised into metropolitan france and return members to the Chamber of Deputies. They pledge their loyalty to the French state and are directed as such by it - to my knowledge they are not 'for hire' but are used for some of the dirtier foreign policy interests of the French executive that they wish not to risk French blood in pursuit of. They are also rewarded with French citizenship if they prove themselves.

    Historically the reason for keeping non-nationals within the ambit of a national army is in case the government sees fit to turn said army on its own population. For obvious reasons the soldiers raised in one's own country might not be willing to do this. I am not suggesting this is why we still have the Gurkhas, although it would not surprise me in the least if this were the reason.

    Brunei has several constitutional links with the United Kingdom, including the Supreme Court/Judicial Committee of the Privy Council acting as a final court of appeal on the referral of the Sultan of Brunei. This is a relic of post-imperial legacy and serves to retain British interests in the region.

    Almost all African states have failed to command the loyalty of their citizens, which is no doubt why some are in a near constant state of revolution/civil war, and why several of their governments rely on mercenaries rather than a professional domestic army to preserve order.
  10. Puiayo, what I have suggested is very radical. I agree fully with what you have said but this doesn't counter what I have suggested.

    I don't think many Gurkhas on stag in Brunei care about the UK's bilateral constitutional links. I bet the Sultan cares more about his gold stash being safe than which Western country provides it.

    Offer the BFL package to a resource rich third world country and the ruler/executive would bite your hand off.
  11. Probably. We have a bad enough international reputation as it is. Flogging the name of the British Army to whichever dictator will pay is probably a step to far. No doubt it would be profitable.

    Also, that we have Gurkhas in Brunei does not mean we put them at the disposal of the Sultan any more than it means the US put their naval base at the disposal of Bahrain when things kicked off there.
  12. Bottom line is that you can earn far more money in 'Oliver's Army' than you ever could wearing a BFL TRF.
  13. Grumblegrunt

    Grumblegrunt LE Book Reviewer

    we had a forn legion in the 30s didnt we? spains is still going.
  14. P
    I thought the Spanish one was all Spaniards now?

    Australia provides combat air capability to NZ, as the Kiwis sold all their jets.
  15. 'Stralia's got its own Army thanks!