MOD/P(99)666 DATED 6 APR 07


1. This guidance is being issued to remedy a perceived difficulty experienced by staff at all levels in understanding the rationale behind recent defence re-structuring. In particular many staff officers seem not to understand how reducing the numbers of aircraft, ships, tanks, artillery and soldiers results in a more flexible, robust and effective fighting force.

2. In particular it seems that much of the confusion stems from a systemic misunderstanding of the correct use of military terminology. A list of common terms and actual meanings follows. In addition there follows an explanation of the key assumptions embedded within the defence review. All staff officers are encouraged to seek clarification through their chain of command if they still have any questions.

Staff Terminology used in the new Defence Plan

1 Flexible a. Smaller b. Unable to operate unless under US protection.
2 Robust a. Smaller b. Lacking reserves or regeneration capability.
3 Networked Smaller, but still unable to talk to each other
4 Capable Smaller
5 Agile Really, really small
6 Deployability Method of making the Forces, primarily the Army, able to send higher percentages of their manpower to a distant location. This is achieved by reducing the overall numbers involved, i.e. “In future the Army will be able to send 50% of it’s manpower to Africa in the back of a Cessna, thus achieving greater deployability”.
7 Reach The distance the American’s are willing to fly us
8 Efficient Much, much smaller 1
9 Streamlined Just unbelievably small
10 Just in time For the funeral.
11 Integrated Process by which all three services get to brief against each other in public leaks, attempting to justify and defend their own budget against cuts, thereby doing the Treasury’s work for them. Taken to extremes by the Army in which Corps and Regiments fight each other, and perfected within the Infantry.
12 Technically ambitious Slang, as in “He was being a bit technically ambitious when he tried to drive that car through the wall” (cf, “To propose a Bowman”)

Description of the far future

1 Reserves Integral part of current Operational Manning.
2 Rationalisation a. Cuts b. Psychological term, meaning to use complicated arguments to avoid facing unpalatable truths, i.e. , “we don’t need to pay for both expensive servicemen and equipment, because we will be networked, agile, and technically ambitious” .
3 Rapid Used in a comparative sense, as in “The rapid erosion of the Himalayan Mountains…”
4 Modernisation Cuts
5 Radical Deep Cuts
6 Transformation Really Deep Cuts
7 Sustainable Assuming zero casualties, no leave and no emergencies.

3. Sentences such as “these proposals capture our aim for a speedy deployable, agile, joint and integrated, technically ambitious defence capability” will make more logical sense to the experienced staff officer once the above definitions are applied. It will also help if staff officers bear in mind the following planning principles. Point c will be of particular relevance in explaining the rationale behind restructuring to junior staff.

a. Use of Special Forces. No one in the general public has a clue how many there are, so they can be announced as deploying to every country in the world.

b. Aggressive use of terminology can compensate for lack of actual forces. For example in the past, effective deterrence of a reasonably capable Maritime threat would require the despatch of a task force, consisting of destroyers, frigates, submarines and possibly even a carrier. In the future this task will still be achieved by a ‘task force’; but ‘task-force’ will be the new description for a mine-sweeper.

c. The new defence plan was not resource-driven. A comprehensive strategic estimate was conducted, from first principles, identifying the current and potential threats to the UK and its interests, allowing a reserve for the unexpected and also allowing for recurrent non-warfighting tasks such as fire strike cover (Op FRESCO) and foot and mouth disease. Against the tasks identified an ideal manpower establishment and task org was then identified. By an amazing coincidence it happened to fit almost exactly within current Treasury MOD expenditure plans, and even allowed the MOD to carry half the costs of Iraq and Afghanistan.

d. Much of the current crisis in defence spending can be directly traced to the high costs of legacy equipments. These were ordered at a time of ignorance in the past when planners naively seemed to believe that the threat they identified as imminent would remain the same for the 20-30 year service life of the equipment they were ordering. The assumption in the 1980s and 90s that tanks, artillery, and aircraft would be needed in the future was ridiculous, as none of these equipments have been used by the British Armed forces to any degree since the Falklands war. However, current planners possess better foresight and are able to predict future threats for at least the next 40 years. We are therefore able to be certain that Britain is unlikely to need any tanks, aircraft, submarines etc past about 2015.

e. Britain no longer needs a significant anti-submarine capability. No other nation possesses submarines in any numbers, submarine technology is unlikely to advance at all over the next few 30 years, and should anti-submarine technology or skills be required at any point in the future they can be reconstituted overnight from the reserves. (Once the reserves have been reconstituted). In any case by 2020 the UK will be fully integrated into mainland Europe, and will therefore no longer have a coastline to defend or be reliant upon sea-supply.

f. Similar arguments apply to air defence.

g. The regimental system. In the past the regimental system has been seen as the corner-stone of British military success, creating a system in which the individual is made to feel part of a greater family, often stretching back hundreds of years, in which he is nurtured and developed, and to which he feels such great loyalty that he is inspired to sacrifice himself if need be for his regimental comrades. However, the British youth of today are so naturally self-sacrificing and community-spirited that additional incentives are now unnecessary, and in any case the threat to soldiers on the ground has been assumed away. There is therefore no further need for a system whose main purpose is to generate fighting spirit, and it can be safely emasculated to achieve administrative efficiency (see “Efficient” above).

h. High divorce rates within the services will solve manpower crises, by ensuring all service personnel will be happy to conduct back-to-back tours forever, as no one will have any families or friends to miss. Savings will be ploughed into the purchase of large numbers of hats. This will be essential as in future everyone will be at least treble or quadruple hatted. Wars will be fought in rotation on a strict “first come, first served” basis.

i. Future savings will be made by abolishing all training for the chiefs of Staff. After all they haven’t proven remotely as effective at manoeuvre warfare, disruption, dislocation or divide-and-rule as the Treasury.

j. Successive efficiency measures can be made to reinforce each other. For example, each time troop numbers are cut, a unit can then be tasked to conduct the same jobs as before. Provided there are no actual massacres of Friendly Forces, the new troop numbers can be seen to have been fully as effective as the previous numbers, and so can form a baseline for achieving efficiency cuts to new troop numbers. Savings can then be invested in new equipment, in the same way that British Airways fires half its pilots every time it needs to buy a new plane. The ultimate aim is to have one man, but equipped like Dr Octopus. He will sleep with one eye open at all times to replicate full manning.

k. Key Assumptions. Current levels of operations are an aberration, will never be repeated, and should form no guide to current manning requirements, let alone future ones. Gerry Adams has embraced peace, there is no more requirement for crowd control in Northern Ireland, the FBU have forsworn strikes along with all other key public workers, Osama Bin Laden is about to hand himself in and the Easter Bunny will be providing Area Air Defence for London.

4. More detailed guidance can be found in JSP 4708- “Magic Mushrooms, their consumption, effects and results in the MOD” and the Defence Secretary’s autobiography “What Colour is the Sky in My World?”

Maj SO2 Spin
Ministry of Truth
Orwell Bldg
MOD 1984
And the reality

Defence procurement

The Battle of the Budget
May 3rd 2007 | CONINGSBY
From The Economist print edition

The armed forces are fighting for investment at a time when the shape of future threats has rarely seemed less clear
David Simonds
WITH the approach of summer, pilots at the Royal Air Force's base in Coningsby are preparing their vintage aircraft from Battle of Britain times for the season's popular air shows. These days, though, the buzzing of Spitfires and Hurricanes in the skies over Lincolnshire is drowned out by the imperious roar of a newer arrival.

Typhoon, to hear the pilots talk, is as impressive a plane as the Spitfire was in its day. With its power, agility, ease of control, ability to fly high and fast, modern weapons and data links, Typhoon can beat any jet in the world, they claim, except possibly America's top-of-the-line (and far more expensive) F-22 Raptor.

Perhaps so. But the army and the navy are less than enamoured. The 232 planes the RAF is expecting to buy will cost some £20 billion ($40 billion) in all, making Typhoon Britain's most expensive defence programme yet. It is eating up funds that could go to equip other services—and this at a time when overstretched ground forces are fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Built by a consortium from Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain, Eurofighter (as Typhoon was known) was designed to give superiority in the air during the cold war. Critics argue that it is ill-suited to today's business of seeking out insurgents on the ground.

Not true, says the RAF. Typhoon will excel both at shooting down other planes and at precision bombing and aerial reconnaissance. The air force hopes to prove its point in the coming months. The first operational Typhoon squadron will be on high alert in June, ready to protect Britain's skies from foreign intruders and intercept hijacked aircraft. By the middle of 2008 the RAF expects to have the multi-role version on the front line supporting ground troops in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The RAF says air power should not be taken for granted; it is only through mastery of the air that the army and navy enjoy freedom to manoeuvre below. The Falklands war 25 years ago was a reminder that unexpected conflicts do happen.

The trouble is that it takes decades to develop a complex new defence system but threats change quickly. Each of the services argues that it holds the key to future security. Their usual tussle with each other and with Whitehall for resources has become more bitter as the Comprehensive Spending Review, which sets the parameters of government spending from 2008 to 2011, nears its conclusion this summer.

Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, the navy's chief, gave warning in February that cuts to the fleet risked reducing the once-mighty Royal Navy to the status of the “Belgian navy”. The navy frets that it could lose the two new aircraft carriers it has been counting on. With a planned displacement of 65,000 tonnes (and costing around £3.6 billion together), these carriers would be three times larger than the mini-carriers the navy has now. They would carry short-take-off and vertical-landing versions of the Joint Strike Fighter, stealthy planes that are being developed jointly with America to replace the Harrier jump-jets. The Ministry of Defence has proposed buying some 150 for the British navy and the air force. They would cost at least £8 billion in total.

Senior army commanders complain that Britain will have a surfeit of expensive fast jets, even though the main threat in the foreseeable future will come from old-fashioned weapons such as AK-47 assault rifles, grenade launchers and improvised bombs. The army chief, General Sir Richard Dannatt, gave warning in October that prolonged deployments overseas could “break the army”. It claims it needs more money to improve pay and conditions in order to attract soldiers and keep them. Army sources say the service wants to expand its shrunken ranks, raising its current 99,500 soldiers to the full budgeted number of 101,800 and then adding 3,000-4,000 more.

The army also wants to buy medium-weight armoured vehicles to replace existing equipment, some of it built in the 1960s. But the so-called Future Rapid Effect System (FRES), which costs around £14 billion, is hopelessly delayed. If the price of the FRES is the postponement or cancellation of the carriers, say some generals, so be it.

After empire
At its heart, the argument over what equipment the armed forces need, and what they can afford, is a debate about Britain's place in the world. Should it aspire to remain a global power or give up the pretence of imperial policing? Should it give priority to countering insurgency or invest in the capacity to wage high-intensity wars against more sophisticated, but still unforeseen, enemies in the future?

In a speech in January the prime minister, Tony Blair, said that British servicemen should be both “war-fighters and peacekeepers”. In an age of global terrorism, Britain had to be able to project military power around the world because “the new frontiers for our security are global”. This was not to prefer “hard” military power to “soft” political and economic power, but to make sure that they could reinforce each other.

That's all very well, say the top brass, but such ambitions do not come cheap. They also know the real decisions will be made not by Mr Blair but by the man next door—the current chancellor of the exchequer and future prime minister, Gordon Brown. It is unclear whether he shares Mr Blair's global ambitions.

Although the defence budget has been increasing in real terms, it has declined as a share of GDP and now stands at around 2.3% (see chart). Defence spending is running at £32 billion a year—excluding the cost of current operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, estimated at more than £1.5 billion in the year to March 2008. Defence sources say there is a £500m gap in the budget for next year. But the authors of a recent paper in the journal of the Royal United Services Institute argue that the equipment budget (currently about £9 billion) has been under-funded by £1.5 billion a year since the 1998 Strategic Defence Review shifted Britain's focus from defending Europe to expeditionary warfare.

Much of the equipment considered necessary in that review has been cut back, and so has the number of squadrons envisaged. At the same time, the number, size and duration of operations has been much greater than planned. For ordinary soldiers, the strains are visible from the moment they leave Britain in clapped-out Tristar jets to the moment they reach the valleys of Afghanistan with little or no American-style computer networking.

All this does not begin to consider the cost of renewing Britain's Trident nuclear deterrent. The one thing all three services agree on is that the nation's nuclear “insurance policy” should be paid for separately, not out of the defence budget.

Since the terrorist attacks on America in 2001, Britain has in many ways been a country at war operating on a peacetime budget. Without a substantial increase in funds, say commanders, something will have to give. Some argue for a full-blown defence review. “We have lost the art of strategy,” says one general. “All we have is bits of policy.”

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