RE Disaster Response

Discussion in 'Sappers' started by stinker, Mar 19, 2011.

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  1. After reading the water treatment thread;

    I was left to wondering why are the RE not deploying in response to natural disasters, rather than derailing the water thread thought I post a new one.

    I can understand the political implications of deploying a military force to other counties (although I can imagine some would be greatful for the assistance), but I do not hear the beating of this particular drum within the Sapper forum. What is apparent is the ambition of the RE CoC to take on new roles such as EMOE (which IMHO is hardly rocket science and is more suited to Assault Pioneers) and make it a RE function. Why is the RE not trrumpeting something that is well within their capabilities and ET?

    The RE has trades and equipment that is ideally suited to this type of work - Water treatment, Plant Ops, Electricians, Carpenters, Bridge Laying, etc. Is there a reluctance to acually use these skills within the CoC?

    Furthermore it would allow these trades to actually practice their trade, a subject upon which I have spoken to various sappers in the past and found that they also find this frustration.
  2. Because it would cost a fcuking fortune to maintaiin such a high readiness grouping. And the doleys need cash for es and beer.
  3. Possibly becasue the Engineers are already running around like blue arsed flies trying to meet all the other commitments they already have.
  4. The cost could be covered from the DFiD budget as your doing their job. As for high readiness what 1 Sqn on 24hrs NTM?

    Are those commitments actually RE trades/roles, or are they Herrick / future RE related?

    How often do you get to practice your craft trades?
  5. It really depends on what sort of 'Disaster' you have in mind.
    For instance, in the UK it is current Govt policy that after jiffing a Lead Govt Department to be responsible, immediate action falls to the emergency services and local government. The local military might get called in, or might offer their services voluntarily, but in general there is no real role for the military in current policy.
    See for details.

    Overseas deployments (and you mentioned DFID) are a slightly different matter. Apart from some legal and chain of command issues, the primary obstacle, I would guess would be funding. I don't know how much it would cost to send say a company sized element to, say, Tunisia to build a refugee camp, but I would guess that in contrast to sending a small team with a chequebook to hire local resources, it's probably very very expensive.

    Then you have some other issues. What happens if, say, an unarmed UK soldier gets kidnapped by local AQ because he or she is working in a non-military context, and local law doesn't allow them to carry small arms?
    OR- What happens if an armed UK soldier gets into a firefight with the locals? What does that do to the 'humanitarian' side of the mission? By the end of the week, you have a small military group forted up like Rorkes Drift, in the middle of a suddenly hostile countryside.

    NGO's are generally better at running these things, although many of the NGO staff have had extensive military experience.
  6. Hector,

    Re UK - MACP is apparently a thing of the past. although when we're needed it seems that this is forgotten.

    Re money - I mentioned DfiD as it fits their remit of Disaster response (may be wrong).

    Re Overseas - This is the sort of Op I was thinking of, problem with sending a small team with a check book usually means a lack of camp/road/well and a few rich locals, But we (UK) still have the expenditure.

    Re Security - must admit this didn't come into my thinking as I was thinking of Haiti, NZ, Japan, Aus, USA (New Orleans) etc who I would imagine would appreciate some help rather than a country that generally disapproves of UK Forces (they don't seem to mind us giving them a sackful of cash though). But fair one (mental note to me - must think out ideas in more depth).
  7. Yes, the day of the Army reacting in the UK went out, well, as late as the last set of floods in Cumbria. All very off the cuff though.
    I suspect Government thinking was aligned with yours when the Changes in DFID were announced after the election.

    One thing that I think a lot of people underestimate is just how enthusiastic some of Government is about this 'Big Society' idea.
    Using NGO's to meet local needs fits that model better than sending a lot of Big Government uniforms to sort out the problems of the world.

    IN regard of places like Haiti (Which had an ongoing UN presence) and post Katrina New Orleans (with its interesting rumours of Navy SEAL snipers being sent in to eliminate gang members) the isssue of armed security is critical.
    Uniformed men with guns=zionist crusader imperialist occcupiers.
    Uniformed men WITHOUT guns=soft targets.
    Plain clothes with guns=Spies or mercenaries.
    It's cheaper and safer to hire some reputable locals in most cases.