SDSR: Navy gets carriers, Army gets some cuts, RAF gets slashed

Navy to get aircraft carriers despite defence cuts

Senior ministers and military chiefs agree on outcome of strategic defence review after weeks of intense debate

Richard Norton-Taylor and Nicholas Watt, Tuesday 12 October 2010 21.17 BST

The navy will get its planned two new aircraft carriers at a cost of more than £5bn in a package of defence cuts agreed today that will shape the future of Britain's armed forces for many years.

After weeks of intense debate centred around the carriers, the outcome of the government's long-awaited strategic defence and security review was agreed by senior ministers and military chiefs at a meeting of the national security council chaired by David Cameron.

It agreed that the RAF will lose squadrons of fast jets and bases and the army will get rid of scores of large tanks and heavy artillery pieces. The navy was said tonight to be happy with the outcome, although it remains far from certain what aircraft, and how many, will fly from the carriers, and when. The prime minister will announce the results of the review to parliament next Tuesday, the day before the government's comprehensive spending review. The review's shadow was always hovering over a debate about Britain's future defence needs which both government supporters and critics said was always dominated by the Treasury.

To try and distance the security and defence review from Wednesday's package of cuts, the foreign secretary, William Hague, or the defence secretary, Liam Fox, will publish a ministerial statement on Monday setting out what Downing Street called "the strategic context" of the defence review.

The prime minister's spokesman would not officially comment on the national security council discussions, which lasted around an hour, saying only that "very good progress" had been made.

Fox is under pressure from the Treasury to address a £38bn "overspend" in the Ministry of Defence's procurement budget over the next 10 years. The Treasury is demanding a further 10% in cuts in Fox's annual £37bn budget over the next spending period between 2011-15.

In a rare move highlighting one of the key new threats expected to be seized on by the government next week, the director of GCHQ, the government's electronic eavesdropping agency, warns today of the growing threat of cyber warfare. "There are over 20,000 malicious emails on government networks each month, 1,000 of which are deliberately targeting them," Iain Lobban, said in a speech tonight to the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Lobban made it clear that GCHQ, which is based in Cheltenham, wants to recruit more staff able to protect British computer system from cyber attacks and to find out who is doing the attacking. "I ... want to bang the drum publicly about the importance of technology and cyber skills so that we can sustain a flow of top-quality recruits into GCHQ and its industry partners," he said.

Lobban called for an aggressive approach to cyber attacks as he warned of the dangers of adopting the sort of defensive posture famously symbolised by France's Maginot line that was meant to repel the Nazis.

"A 'Maginot line' approach to defence will not be sufficient of itself," he said. "'Patch and pray' will not be enough. At the national level, getting the rest of cyber - the more difficult 20% - right will involve new technology, new partnerships, and investment in the right people."

His speech echoes a warning last week by Fox of what he called the "battle for cyberspace". The defence secretary said this involves states, as he highlighted a cyber attack by Russia on Georgia.

"Russia's invasion of Georgia, with heavy armour, air strikes and ground troops-all very conventional - was augmented by a surgical cyber attack on the Georgian government and a sophisticated information operations campaign aimed at the Georgian people and the international community," Fox told a fringe meeting at the Tory conference.

Navy to get aircraft carriers despite defence cuts | UK news | The Guardian
So now the Guardian is claiming to have the crystal ball?
Its just speculation. Until the SDSR is revealed in all its glory everthing in the press is just guesswork.
But for the first time, it hasn't be categorically denied by the Gov't Official Spokesman.
Amazing.... we can subsidise Indias and Pakistans nuclear programmes through the ring fenced overseas aid budget yet cut our own defences.

Madness and treason.
So now the Guardian is claiming to have the crystal ball?
Its just speculation. Until the SDSR is revealed in all its glory everthing in the press is just guesswork.
Maybe, but there seems to have been a lot of expectation management over the last week.

OMG! It's armaggeddon!

Oh look! It's not so bad, we only got cut not slashed.
So now the Guardian is claiming to have the crystal ball?
Its just speculation. Until the SDSR is revealed in all its glory everthing in the press is just guesswork.
Maybe, but there seems to have been a lot of expectation management over the last week.

OMG! It's armaggeddon!

Oh look! It's not so bad, we only got cut not slashed.
You might be right, however I have no ****ing idea what is going to be cut and neither does the Guardian.
Just the same as the Telegraph and Times don't actually know.
Don't forget that the EU has decided that we are going to increase our contribution to them too
Oh f*cking really? Suggest everyone googles Bill of rights and lawful resistance and petitions Her Majesty accordingly.

We are bound by oath and law to resist the EU.

A Right of Self Determination

As members of ‘a people’ – of the descendents of the first people of this Island – we have a natural entitlement to self-determination. And, as descendents of those that gave us, a free people, our Constitution and Law, we have also an irrevocable right to declare lawful rebellion against a malevolent and authoritarian State. The State must be answerable to the English people – to the people of the Community of England – or suffer the consequences as a treasonous assembly.

On the 15th June 1215 the Great Charter of Liberties (‘magna carta communium libertatum Angliae’) was agreed between King John and the rebellious Barons of England. Although conceded by the State (the King and the Royal Court) under duress, this Charter effectively ratified these supreme constitutional principles: firstly, that the State exercised governance only with the full consent of those it governed; secondly, the right of the governed to invoke lawful rebellion was conceded formally by the State; and thirdly, that these fundamental rights extended – in perpetuity – to all the people of the Realm of England (the ‘communa tocius terre’).

The Great Charter of Liberties was fundamentally an affirmation of rights and freedoms to befound in (or derived from) English Common Law. This ‘Law of the Land’ has roots that predate the Conquest, to the Anglo-Saxon ‘moot’ – and arguably to far earlier epochs. We see the core principles of common rights, duties and obligations within English Common Law – built upon a step-wise search for fair and just remedy.

Our present system of government (of Parliament) is the consequence of this ancient and exemplary act of lawful rebellion. Parliament cannot therefore undo or deny to us our Customs and Constitution – and it cannot lawfully destroy the sovereign Community of England without committing the ultimate act of treason and betrayal.

It is therefore English Common Law, together with the Customs and Constitution of the Community of England that provide us, the English people, with the basis for a declaration of lawful rebellion against a treasonous State.

The United Kingdom Government has, over the last one hundred years, conspired to become a treasonous assembly and Parliamentary dictatorship. Parliament has acted with malice towards the English people. It makes unlawful Statute for the purpose of giving life to its treason – and to suppress dissent. The members of this wretched assembly are oath breakers. Parliament has betrayed those English people who have given their lives to defend this sovereign Community of England. This is The Great Treason.

We therefore not only have a lawful right but also a moral duty under our Common Law and our Constitution to engage in lawful rebellion against the treasonous State.

Nota Bene:

A special acknowledgement is given to Mr. John James Harris. It is his courage and initiative in confronting the treasonous State, and in showing us how we can engage in lawful rebellion. Full details of the work of Mr. Harris and his associates (including their work on Constitutional Law) can be found in their website. See, in particular, the legal arguments relating to remedy under Law in respect of Article 61 of the Great Charter of Liberties (June 1215).

A Right of Protest in Law

Our right to petition Her Majesty the Queen is guaranteed in our Constitution - in The Bill of Rights 1688 sect. 5.

A template for a petition to Her Majesty The Queen can be downloaded here (with special thanks to Albert Burgess for this initiative, and for supplying the original copy).


A constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government, and a government without a constitution is power without right … A constitution is a thing antecedent to a government, and a government is only the creature of a constitution.
Thomas Paine [1792, Pt II p 93]

The English law existed not to control the individual but to free him. It was on the side of the subject against those – whether usurping politicians or common criminals – who wished to bend him unconsenting to their will.
Roger Scruton in ‘England – an Elegy’
If I might be excused for interrupting the thread on constitutional law which appears to have broken out , I have to agree with jagman. For instance, the line
the RAF will lose squadrons of fast jets and bases
is almost, but not quite, akin to Guardian having a headline tomorrow 'Queen Victoria Dead: A Nation Mourns'.

The RAF has been talking about a reduction in FJ force size (to my certain knowledge, and I'm not even in the RAF) for over 18 months - so on that score, the Guardian would seem to be merely presenting confirmation of something which is in fact already known, just not that widely.

I know that the RAF taking only a proportionate reduction in size as opposed to being reduced to the air transport fleet will deeply disappoint the kabourophobics on here, but the Guardian doesn't give any detail which suggests this - which again rather supports jagman's point. The Guardian may have a rough outline of what was agreed, but not the detail.

It may be that the RN leadership, which has clearly fallen over itself to get the carriers, is content with the outcome, but it's entirely possible that we may have an awful lot of unhappy matelots when they find out what has been/will have to be sacrificed to get them. And again, the Guardian has no specifics, which you think they'd at least hint at - since it appears from the story that the RN will get the carriers and bear little if any pain: which could be wishful thinking.
You might be right, however I have no ****ing idea what is going to be cut and neither does the Guardian.
Just the same as the Telegraph and Times don't actually know.
Crabs seem rattled… Sic Transit Gloria Per Ardua Ad Astra?

Senior RAF man appeals over cuts
(UKPA) – 29 minutes ago

A senior RAF officer has made a last-ditch appeal to MPs to oppose major cuts to military aircraft numbers, warning it would leave Britain vulnerable to attack.
Air Marshal Timo Anderson, director general of the Military Aviation Authority, used a behind-closed-doors address to MPs to deliver a stark assessment of the potential impact.
There are clear signs the RAF is in line to lose significant numbers of fast jet fighters as part of the drive to find spending cuts of between 10% and 20% over the next four years.
Details of where the axe will fall will be revealed next week when the Strategic Defence and Security Strategy (SDSS) is published, a day ahead of the Chancellor's spending review.
But Mr Anderson, speaking on Monday evening ahead of a crunch meeting of the Prime Minister's National Security Council, hit out at "armchair" military theorists. The Daily Telegraph reported that he told Parliamentarians: "Without such an air defence capability, the UK would not be able to guarantee security of its sovereign air space and we would be unable to respond effectively to a 9/11-style terrorist attack from the air."
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, the head of the RAF, had been due to deliver the lecture but had to pull out because of other engagements. However, his stand-in's comments were approved by air force top brass, the Ministry of Defence indicated, as the service braces itself to be forced to bear the brunt of the cutbacks.
Prime Minister David Cameron said last week it was "not right" that the UK still had "aeroplanes that are ready to do dogfights with the Soviet Union airforce", as he defended the cuts. Mr Anderson was reported by the newspaper to have insisted that "high-end air capabilities are not synonymous with Cold War 'white elephants' and that aircraft such as Tornados and Typhoons were vital "despite what amateur theorists might assert from their armchairs".
The Army appears to have resisted pressure to significantly reduce troop numbers as long as it is engaged on combat operations in Afghanistan, which are due to end by 2015.
Mr Anderson argued that the RAF was "unquestionably the glue that holds the campaign together". "Air power offers a highly scalable and flexible political and military tool, whose use is often less expensive in terms of blood and treasure than the large-scale commitment of ground forces," he was reported to have said.
The SDSS will be published in two parts next week, Downing Street said, the first on Monday setting out the strategic context with the main spending decisions unveiled in a statement to Parliament on Tuesday - the eve of George Osborne's Comprehensive Spending Review. The Prime Minister's spokesman would not comment on the discussions, which lasted around an hour, saying only that "very good progress" had been made.
Copyright © 2010 The Press Association. All rights reserved.

The Press Association: Senior RAF man appeals over cuts
The FT is backing what the Guardian has said and adds that Cameron would prefer to convert the second Carrier to CATOBAR and buy F35C.

Janes is also reporting EMCAT have been asked by MoD to produce a full scale catapult for a QE Class Carrier.
(See my post on the 'Why we need a Navy' thread).
Could very well be speculation. In my experience though Guardian reports on defence spending and the like tend to be quite accurate. Certainly more accurate then the bloody Telegraph which people love linking us to so much.

Either way its only a week to wait
the ft is backing what the guardian has said and adds that cameron would prefer to convert the second carrier to catobar and buy f35c.

Janes is also reporting emcat have been asked by mod to produce a full scale catapult for a qe class carrier.
(see my post on the 'why we need a navy' thread).

SF - Crabs panicking?


This proves jagman's point (and illustrates the fact that much to the frustration of journalists, CAS's refusal to engage in willy-waving in the press), and makes me agree with Finn about the accuracy of the Torygraph compared to the Guardian - although as you'll see, I'm sceptical about that one because of the lack of new detail.

Why do I say that about the 'speech' tonight?

1. The 'speech' is the Air League's 2010 Slessor Lecture, not, as the Torygraph appears to want us to think, some last-ditch appeal to the PM/MPs behind closed doors by the RAF. Last year's lecture was given by Barney White-Spunner, who wasn't an RAF officer last time I looked. The Air League supports/promotes/advocates military aviation - the RAF, AAC and FAA, by the by, so isn't an RAF talking shop.

2. The lecture, therefore, isn't a secret - The full speech is here. This is no Telegraph scoop on the crustaceans getting desperate and pleading to MPs behind closed doors - I assume that they've simply printed the transcript which'd have been handed out by the Air League PR bods.

3. The lecture is very similar to one that Timo Anderson gave when he was ACAS. I've heard it twice (the first time before SDSR was a gleam in Gordon Brown's (one good-ish) eye), and I'm pretty sure that he gave something similar in a brief to one of the parliamentary interest groups on air power. He used Op Maturin (2005) as the example of aid to Pakistan when I heard it, rather than the 2010 example, and other bits and pieces have been given a brief updating. So I don't think that it was written for the CAS and simply read out by him, or 'approved of by the top brass' (or whatever the story says) in the way in which we're meant to believe.

The Torygraph story is accurate in some regards. Timo Anderson gave a lecture tonight in which he spoke about air power as he sees it, and it took place at the Houses of Parliament. The rest of it...

I'm afraid that I'm now getting to the stage that if the Telegraph's defence team told me it was dark outside, I'd look out of the window to check.
Well, we just have to wait a week, and wait with bated breath. Going to be interesting, regardless, eh?
it bothers me that someone goes to the press and says if the crabs get cut it will leave Britain expose
d. NO IT FUCKIN WONT. THE CRABS ARE USELESS AND BRING NOTHIN. they are a embarasment in ghaners and if they gut cut the REAL forces ie the army and rn cam do a fuckin proper job


Book Reviewer
If the result of all this is that the defence budget is broadly left alone and we're not denuding operations to pay for luxury projects, then it is greatly to be welcomed and those responsible are to be congratulated. We shall see.
I agree with Dai. No point in speculating. Even when SDSR is announced, they'll be sub-plots that will muddy the waters.

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