The Army is undermanned. Is it finally sinking in?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by PassingBells, Jul 3, 2007.

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  1. There are not enough servicemen and women to meet the demands placed on the UK armed forces by the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq, MPs have said.

    I wonder if anyone'll listen.
  2. The facts reported are taken from the Commons Public Accounts Committee's Thirty Fourth Report: Recruitement and Retention in the Armed Forces (hyperlinked in Red for you to read).

    The Committee began taking evidence on 15 November last year. The only serving member of the Armed Forces to give evidence to the Committee was Brigadier Stephen Andrews CBE Director of Strategy, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Personnel), Ministry of Defence.

    The report is worth reading in full beyond the mere executive summary if you have time to do so.

    I doubt if it would tell you anything you do not already know but it would be interesting and indeed illuminating if that which we already know is anything anyone out there knows that the Committee should have heard and did not, or the questions that could have been asked and were not.

    The Public Accounts Committee is the watchdog of Government spending and it's reports have, in the past, caused considerable embarrassment to the Government, and in that respect, the committee has been highly influential, at least politically.

    The Government is not of course bound by it's findings which are of persuasive authority only but it's findings are generally regarded as authoritative.

    Regards and best wishes
  3. It doesn't help when you respond to a letter from the Army asking you if you are interested in rejoining, I served just under 8 years as an Armourer in Northern Ireland, Germany, Kosovo, Iraq, etc, and I got the following reply; "No problem - one of our team will call you back with details!" Two weeks later I call back to check what's going on; "No problem - one of our team will call you back with details!" Another month passes, I phone again - same reply. Balls to it, they can't be that short if they are turning down trained volunteers! (Or is it they just remember me!) :p

    CC_TA :)
  4. Did those MPs get a PHd at college for - Stating The Obvious.

  5. Don't knock it; at least they're admitting it now. Remember 'stretched but not over-stretched?'
  6. Mr Leigh said: "The MoD does not consider our Armed Forces with their current numbers of service personnel to be 'overstretched'. Let us fervently hope that it will not take some future operational failure on the battlefield for the department to change its mind."

    The report also questioned the high proportion of officers drawn from private school backgrounds, particularly in the Army.

    Derek Twigg, the defence minister, insisted that the Forces could cope. "The chief of defence staff himself has said that the Armed Forces are very stretched but can sustain what they are currently doing." he said. "I accept that there are manning challenges and shortages in some specific areas, but we are taking action."

    Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrat defence spokesman, said: "We cannot expect the needs of our Armed Forces to be adequately met whilst they are faced with overstretch, downsizing and extended tours of duty."

    This is what is so wrong when spineless so-called Top Brass go along with the MoD line on over-stretch. It gets quoted back by spineless politicians. The sooner CDS goes the better. Can we have some plain speaking senior officers please. Who are prepared to tell the truth?
  7. Woo hoo: go to the link and read the actual minutes of the committee... :lol:

    One Mr Bill Jeffries (PUS) got a real battering from them. :D


  8. But there's also some worrying social engineering meddling being hinted at. One of the committee doesn't like 'posh people':

    [/quote]Q100 Mr Davidson: You surprise me because I have
    been on placement with the Armed Forces through
    the Armed Forces scheme and I have been struck
    by the number of people who are not from
    backgrounds I would describe as normal. Some
    sections rather than others are full of toffs and
    “Ruperts”, which is not typical of society outside
  9. I loved the line: The committee called on the MoD to develop a long-term strategy to deal with the problem...
    So that's what the MoD has been doing wrong all these years. However, I must admit that we have seen some good stuff out of them in the past and long may they continue.
  10. Which is why such reports are worth reading beyond their executive summaries!

    Notice that the Parliamentary Committee takes evidence in it's committee Rooms from carefully prepared civil servants who find it difficult to respond beyond their briefs.

    You know how the brief works, 'we had better put this in', 'we had better leave that out', 'we had better not mention this', we had better not venture into this area', 'we need to emphasise that', 'if we are probed on X issue we need to state that such figures are not collected centrally and cannot be produced without disproportionate cost.....'

    The Committee will accept or reject evidence and reach their findings without ever having left their air-conditioned offices based upon evidence supplied by civil servants who have never left their air-conditioned offices with a token soldier to give it the fig-leaf of credibility who last left his air-conditioned office when he was a Company Commander!

    How much of the evidence given do you think has actually been corroborated?

    Do you think scrutiny here has been effective?

    How much of what you have read actually relates to your experience?
  11. Oh, don't worry Iolis - I have no faith in it as a mechanism for change...

    Your description is quite correct. It's just vaguely amusing to see someone who normally has some of us running around scrabbling for info because he wants to know something, on the receiving end himself, I find... Schadenfreude, anyone?
  12. I think that just about sums up the military experience of a high proportion of people in modern political life. Politics used to be something you did once you'd had a career. It's no wonder that they've got no clue who's in the army or how it works.
  13. I reckon its a bit unfair of parliament to have a go at the MOD for shortfall, when its more than likely attributable to the drop in investment from HMG. When will they learn that you get what you pay for?

  14. Surely that cuts both ways - if MOD keep saying 'yes of course we can do more with less', 'we are stretched but not overstretched' etc then HMG will keep giving less money?
    Im glad that there seems to be some 'accountability', however........