...and what metrics are used to gauge 'effectiveness'?It's an interesting approach. As per SoS instruction, get the ships to sea before asking him to go to HMT for more bunce and given that manpower is probably one of the two biggest drivers in unavailable ships, a good place to start.
BUT - and this is where it gets interesting - will the proposed "predictability" compensate for the reduced number of shore drafts wrt retention? Even more importantly - is a smaller HQ able to do the essential staff work (both operational and budgetary/political) to the required level of quality (by which I mean effectiveness)? Will the reduction in star posts reduce career paths for the talent and lead to earlier exit?
In no doubt it has to be tried - no one is going to fund an uplift to RN manpower because we ask nicely - there has to have been a determined effort to make the existing structure as efficient and fit for purpose as possible. But it will be interesting to see whether this strengthens or weakens the RN political base - by which I mean the ability to fight the political battles in MB. It's now nearly 20 years since we had a dark blue CDS and given the decision-making structures in town, that does matter.