Re: DEFENCE CUTS ON THE WAY???

#1
If the Treasury & Gay Gordon have their way; "Cuts, Yes! New Technology, No!"
 
#2
Blair has already cut the TA by 30% to save money, and the review was an exercise in cutting spending.

That idiot has the army so thin on the ground we can hardly even cover the firemans strike.

Dress it up however they like, this is money saving. :mad:
 
#3
This goes to back to what has been said in a number of other forums here about the need for greater deployability, lethality, mobility and protection for our Army.

Personally I have no difficulty with a reduction in the expensive end of our Armed Forces (submarines, aircraft) for a corresponding increase in equipment and lethality for the Army which is desparately needed.

Don't take everything that is in this article as gospel but the trend in my view is probably right. For example, the money from scrapping one EFA would equip 16 Air Asslt with new vehicles therebye giving them a tremendous increase in capability.

There is still a place for armour has shown in Iraq. What we need though is to ensure that all our ground forces pack a punch. There will be no more money for defence - we just have redistribute it within the Armed Forces. It is all about about getting the biggest bang we can for our buck for all deployable scenarios !
 
#4
I couldn't disagree more.

The idea surrounding mobile and hard hitting ground troops is spot on of course, but for what?

Unless you intend to increase the manpower there is no point in creating new units, and there is no way they are increasing the men.

It also comes down to why you need more deployable, mobile and hard hitting ground troops. I don't see Iraq as being a reason, because when all is said and done, we shouldn't have been there and except for political aspect it wasn't really our fight. Fast deploying, mobile and hard hitting troops are used mainly in situations such as Iraq, so unless you think El Presidente, the Emperror Blair is likely to send our lads away to die for his political expediency, then fine, but I think our forces should be first and foremost 1)A detterent 2)Structured round a home defence, and 3)Capable of fighting a mass campaign against superior or better forces.

Our forces should be geared first for European conflict.

You can't do that with a mass of light armoured and air assault units.

We need the subs, we need the heavy armour and we need the fighter planes to cover them.

You CAN'T use Iraq as a basis because it was a relative turkey shoot.

I say again, this is a model for cutting back on spending, not on making the forces better. Maybe the money will be redistributed, but unless it rises in line with inflation at the very least it is a cut.

Lastly, there are historical precedents for not doing as has been suggested. The Crimean War would have been successful if the restructuring, like this to a smaller and more mobile force, hadn't been carried out. In 1914, and again in 1939, it showed what we lacked was the heavy armour, air power, navy and most importantly deterrent capability that this move would likely see downgraded. In 1939 the BEF was very strong, but we ere rolled over by German air and armour, not men, we were too lightly equipped. I know this is history, but it is true. A great big lumbering tank belly down and waiting is more effective thn half a dozen Scimitars roaming the country unless you are converting your forces into an offensive force, and that would be a great mistake as we don't have enough men now, let alone after a reorg.
 
#5
I think our forces should be first and foremost 1)A detterent 2)Structured round a home defence, and 3)Capable of fighting a mass campaign against superior or better forces.
Thanks for the post.

I am afraid that the defence priorties have already been given to us and are here:

http://www.mod.uk/aboutus/mission.htm

It will be no suprise that they are couched in a language that covers nearly everything !!

The point I am trying to make is that there is no more money for defence - all we can do redistribute it within the Armed Services. Yes of course we need submarines and EFA et al but the loss of one aircraft (lets say £200M) will not significantly effect our air capability but an additional £200M will mean the Army can upgrade a significant amount of equipment.

You CAN'T use Iraq as a basis because it was a relative turkey shoot.
Point taken however the past 50 years have not seen a major conflict involving divisions of Armour or Infantry. I accept it is always dangerous to base ones forces on lessons learnt in the last campaign because each one is different. However terrorism is assessed as being the major threat for the next couple of decades rather than a threat from a major power. Therefore we must adapt accordingly.

but unless it rises in line with inflation at the very least it is a cut.
I agree.

Lastly, there are historical precedents for not doing as has been suggested. . . . . .be a great mistake as we don't have enough men now, let alone after a reorg.
In my view, we could expect a warning of at least 3 - 5 years before there was an attack on the UK from a major power. This stretches from the first political disagreement right up the escalation ladder to a full scale war. Therefore there would be time to man, train and equip our forces accordingly.

I like you would of course prefer to have a huge naval and air capability. However, health and education priorities are placing the defence budget under increasing pressure and are seen as issues that need immediate improvement rather than massing military hardware for a war against a major power which might never happen.

The only option we have is to look at the crystal ball and ensure that we can provide a balanced military response to the most immediate scenarios for the use of our Armed Forces. The least likely ones still need to be catered for but at least we should have time to prepare.
 
#6
However, health and education priorities are placing the defence budget under increasing pressure and are seen as issues that need immediate improvement rather than massing military hardware for a war against a major power which might never happen.
I hear what you're saying, and to a certain degree I agree, but I think the health and education issues are a smokescreen.

Health has been promised a lot of money, sure, but it is being funded by the economy expanding, not by money that Brown is actually and physically giving. Education is another con. Last year the ducation department underspent by 7.5 billion pounds, so why not use that money if they are such desperate straits? It sounds easy, and when the money is sitting there and not being spent, it is. Also, the Governments OWN committee and department stated, and stated clearly, that not one penny of the money from tuition fees had gone into education since its inception.

So I would beg to differ and say that health and edumication is not an issue with money, although the spin departments try and make out it is.

So where has all the money gone? Well we can start with the 3 billion last year that was spent on asylum seekers. Then there is the half billion expanding the PR department for Whitehall alone, then there's this and that and the other. The welfare budget has almost doubled, while Blair likes to spout on about the lowest unemployment figures for generations, because part time work is subsidised to make the figures look just so.

And so on.

I think the defence priorities are a transient thing and change from day to day, and of course it depends on how the Government feel and how they want to portray themselves.

I disagree too about terrorism. We've lived with this for decades more than almost any other country in the world and we have no need to expand this in any way. We have the structures in place. Al Quaeda is probably less of a threat than PIRA.

I still think it is about redistribution, but between what department is likely to gain votes.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#7
Now I do hate to spout the Govt line on this, but we really did get more money for Defence last year.  G. Gordon doles it out every 2 years, and last time we got a REAL increase in defence spending, first time in years.  Extra £2.3Bn, if my memory serves.  (We got an over-inflation one the previous 2 years, but Service Pay increases more than accounted for the extra).

Truth is, as Ramillies says, we will probably spend it on different things.  The case for having lots of (heavy) armour is definitely not proved.  Iraq involved about 1/3 of our Ch2, and who can argue that it was not sufficient?  I know things could have gone differently, but they didn't.

If we want Bowman, Digitisation, Inter-vehicle Info Systems, and similar, like the septics, then we have to spend less on something else - EFA being a great case in point (I'd happily scrap the lot - waste of money - and buy more FGA).

As to whether we want digitis, etc. - we have no choice.  Otherwise, we could end up like the Iraqi army, pretty damn quick.  As it is, we are the only ones within touching distance of the septics.  Everyone else - and I mean everyone - is being left behind by them.  

So, change does not = cuts.  More money = more money, and that's a fact.  
 
#8
But most of what you say is based on Iraq, and that isn't a good point to start.

Better to look at Afghanistan where the shermans technology meant shyte. The man on the ground did the job, and even the b52's had a limited success.

Iraq is deseet where the technological edge is especially potent, and anywhere else it is only secondary, and you add anyone with anything coming close to an ecm system, and they are fckuked. In the end a well trained and equipped force able to look after itself is the only force that can do a job in a variety of situations.

Even in Iraq where it is perfect terrain to emply technologially advanced weaponry it still came down to the men on the ground.

As to only using a third of the c2, we, so what? What if the Iraqi's had an air capability, and had say T82's to come out into the open? The fact that we did perform so well in my mind shows that we were equipped for the job, and any CUTS in this capability is a backward step.

As to changes doesn't mean cuts, and I don't mean this derogatorily to you personnally, but bolllocks. You cut the capability, that is a cut.

More money=more money is also a load of tosh unless it is for specific projects as opposed to changes. On a fiscal scale there are so many variables that 2.3 billion would soon be swallowed up. 10% over a two year period is not a true rise, and considering the cuts in TA this is always going to be moot point. And a 12% increase in costs for the forces with recent commitments since 97 means a real term cut.
 
#12
Tons of money out there - don't know why they cant find it.......
Exactly my point.

We are the fourth largest economy in the world, and are the largest net creditor in the world, meaning we own more abroad as a percentage of our wealth than anybody else, and this bunch of tossers say we need more money for basic services such as health and education?

Absolute, utter bollocks I say, there is so much money sloshing around it is unreal.

The problem is political and greed. Why spend money on health 'now' when we can wait till there's an election and then spend it? That means every five years there's a windfall, then they start saving up again to win the next election.

We are one of the worlds largest arms exporters, so spend some money on our own arms.

We put nearly seven billion more in, every year, to the European Union than we get out. Tell the EU to fcuk off and spend it in THIS country, not subsidising Ireland like we have since 1978 because it is a piss poor crap place, or paying French (spit) farmers to produce nothing. Did you know that French (spit) farmers take 60% of the total common agriculture policy subsidy for the whole EU? That means that WE are paying the French to undercut US!

This is only a few points, but there's dozens with this bunch of tossers, and some are much worse.

This is an issue of priorities, and defence spending is not a priority, feeding greedy French (spit) twaats and the rest of the crappy EU is, and it is under this Government.

Two departments out of eight in Whitehall spent nearly half a billion more a year on PR and management consultants alone, and I said MORE, not total, since Blair came to power. The other six departments refused to say how much they spent, though it should be available. How many fecking Challengers and decent kit will that buy? Not to mention wages etc. etc. :mad:
 
#14
Let's take it back to basics

All the chiefs of the various forces, are going to want the most they can get for their branch of service.

The basics, are really what that kit costs to perform the role.

The first stop, in back to basics, is careful scrutiny of programme costs.

Sorry, but in recent times, there has been far too much money wasted, on trivia and irrelevance. There is far too much "this is what you need, we decided, I know we're civvies, but we know best"

We need kit, that will enable us to communicate with other forces. We need kit that will enable us , to prosecute a war, in the most effective fashion. We need kit, that will allow us, to "Mix and match" dependant on scenario.

For example, MBT's are great in Iraq, lots of flat areas, miles of visibility. However, MBT's could be irrelevant and a liability in Afghanistan, or Zimbabwe. CAS is always good, but once again, in Afghanistan, it had to be really close, in Zimbabwe, closer still.  The Rhodesian Air Force, didn't just use prop driven kit because they were under sanction. They had access to jets. But the cheaper, slower movers, could get to grips with the enemy better, with longer loiter times.

We should be able, to assemble forces, relevant to a perceived  threat.

So I would suggest a lease-for-war initative.

In other words, we look at the shape of a likely conflict, based on the threat, and lease accordingly. In it's simplest example, we leased additional heavylift capability for the Falklands, as well as other conflicts, so why can't the same be done with the tools we fight with?

In esscence, you give the war planners, a list of kit that can be obtained to suit a certain deployment, that kit is leased , or prior to that, a lot of cross training packages are implemented. After all, isn't T W A T about sharing assets and resources?

Instead of getting bogged down in lengthy development cycles, why not just lease/buy kit off the shelf, and gild the lily ? The IDF have been doing it for years Merkava/Kfir/Lion , and it works. If employment is a consideration, then license build  -IAI/DiMarco/Westland/BAe but make sure, that the procedures to do this are fairly rigid.

There are tremendous cost savings and benefits available from lease buying off-the-shelf, and let's face it, some countries equipment is substantially better than stuff we have under development - Canadian Battlefield Comms / SU-30.

A certain software company wasted a substantial amount of taxpayers money, on a JIT solution that wouldn't have worked in a million years, in the proposed form. Tesco's , Sainsburys etc, use a similar system, and certainly one that would have cost a lot less to adapt. Maybe it's time to employ a Government department, that has a directive of finding the best existing kit for a job, or kit that can be successfully adapted to role?
 
#16
Instead of getting bogged down in lengthy development cycles, why not just lease/buy kit off the shelf, and gild the lily ? The IDF have been doing it for years Merkava/Kfir/Lion , and it works. If employment is a consideration, then license build  -IAI/DiMarco/Westland/BAe but make sure, that the procedures to do this are fairly rigid.

There are tremendous cost savings and benefits available from lease buying off-the-shelf, and let's face it, some countries equipment is substantially better than stuff we have under development
If there was an easy way to do it, we'd be doing it. Look at the "we'll scrap TSR.2 and buy F-111" debate.

I have.... a background as a design engineer for a large defence firm.... and would suggest that the problem with "buy it off the shelf" is that unless you can make it yourself, you will always get lower-capability kit than the manufacturer's country. The US is guilty of this, even with the British. (They also lie about/overstate the capability of their kit, BTW)

Don't ignore the strategic needs for keeping a home-based defence industry. If you don't buy your own people's kit, foreign buyers tend to believe that there is something wrong with it. If you don't have domestic manufacturers, you're left with the thought of buying arty ammo from Belgians.......

We looked at trying to use Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) computers in military kit. The problem is that when it takes years to build an individual aircraft, parts ordered to plane delivered, the COTS manufacturers are unwilling to keep making boards to what is now a very old standard ("buy the new xGHz board! with twice the memory") and you end up with a different equipment fit for every twenty aircraft, not all compatible.

...add to that the fact that a military aircraft can last maybe twenty years between upgrades, and most COTS equipment isn't designed to last that long.....
 
#17
Under SMART procurement, the business case considers whether it is feasible or not to buy COTs, or indeed Modified off the Shelf (MOTS). Yes.. we made ghastly and wasteful errors in the past (and yes TRIGAT does come to mind ! ), but there has been an improvement.

Long procurement times have been reduced and the emphasise is on producing equipment to time and cost parameters. Risk is placed with the company wherever possible. The past is littered with examples of where we got it wrong.

We must ensure that we get as much military capability as possible from our limited pot of gold. Get 80% of the requirement right and do not waste time and money chasing the remaining 15 - 20 %.

We shall never be perfect but we are slowly improving. A few examples of some projects that have gone well - Personal Role Radio (PRR), Long Range Rifle (LRR) and NLAW is well on the way in a similar vein.
 
#18
Long procurement times have been reduced
2 words: OJEC and Gateway. Not the most efficient way of getting things done, thanks to our European masters in Brussels. The only good thing to come out of Gateway is PRINCE 2, and the MoD haven't fully adopted it!
 
#19
COTS as a method of reducing defence spending .... I've been involved with this in the defence industry and it can work, as long as the parties involve recognise that it involves a change in approach and (like all things in this life) is never quite as cheap as you might think.  

The reason it goes titsup in the UK is generally that the DPA (bless them) find it very difficult to change their mindset in anything less than a decade - and the defence companies who sell to them echo this as they make money by giving the customer what they want.  

For instance, the USN has moved over to COTS electronics for submarine combat systems.  They cost a fraction (I heard around 1%) of the bespoke military hardware BUT...  You have to continuously fund R&D for a new design every few years to reflect changes in hardware - and then go out and buy said hardware, fit it, manage the various variants in service, keep a pile of spares on the shelf in case they break etc etc.  

Now in reality it adds up to less money in the long run and you can drip feed incremental capability in at the same time.  But, unless you recognise that you need to design for upgrade - which traditionally is not done - you run into trouble and as mentioned earlier have to scrabble round looking for obsolete hardware to plug into kit you are trying to deliver today.  But if you get to that stage it unfortunately means that you don't understand how to use COTS.  
 

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