The Secret Realignment of UK Defence Policy with the EU

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Red Shrek, Oct 14, 2005.

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    How the secret realignment of UK defence procurement will mean that the UK will no longer be able to co-operate militarily with the US……at a cost to the UK of £14 billion. One of the most significant – yet largely unreported – political developments of recent years is the move being made by the UK to integrate its armed forces with those of the EU.

    In turn, it will be increasingly hard for the UK either to fight independently or to co-operate militarily with the US. The special relationship will be at an end. That is the conclusion of Richard North in The Wrong Side of the Hill: the secret realignment of UK defence policy with the EU, published on Thursday, 13 October 2005 by the Centre for Policy Studies. As Major-General Julian Thompson writes in the Foreword to the pamphlet, “the British public should be shocked by what is revealed”. What is even more alarming is the extent to which the British Government has been at pains to conceal and even to deny its true military and political agenda. The pattern of the procurement policy now being followed by the MoD means that the capabilities of the armed forces of the UK and the US are rapidly moving apart. This policy is traced back to the St Malo agreement in 1998 which in turn led to the EU’s decision to establish a multi-national ‘European Rapid Reaction Force’ (ERRF) as the centrepiece of its new military ambitions.

    The repercussions of this decision are made infinitely greater by the fact that both the US and the EU stand today on the edge of a technical revolution in warfare, centred on satellites, electronics and a new generation of vehicles, unmanned aircraft and weapons systems (“net-centric warfare”). So closely co-ordinated will the forces of the future need to be through their technology that it will be virtually impossible for forces working under different systems to work alongside one another. Until recently the UK and the US were still working in close partnership in developing the technology required to achieve this revolution in the nature of warfare. But in the past year or two, the MoD’s procurement policy has shifted away from co-operation with the US towards closer dependence on Britain’s EU partners. Almost across the board, the MoD is now turning its back on joint defence projects with the US, even where these involve British firms. As a result, the MoD is buying inferior or more costly equipment than that which Anglo-US contractors could supply. The potential cost is estimated at £14 billion (see pp 48-49).The nature of the equipment now being bought for the UK’s armed forces implies not just a growing technical divergence between the ERRF and Nato but also a doctrinal conflict with established US and Nato practice.

    It will be increasingly difficult for forces on each side of this divide to work together, or even to share the same battlezones. The situation is compounded by the EU’s formal co-operation with China, a strategic rival of the US. This includes the Galileo satellite global positioning system, in which the UK is an equal partner. Because of potential technology leakage from the EU to China, the US is increasingly reluctant to share its technology with Britain. The problems of UK-US co-operation are therefore being exacerbated further. It will soon be too late to reverse this trend. The Commission is now also proposing to control intra-EU movements of military products, thereby making the actions of the British Army dependent on her EU partners’ consent. The UK would be irreversibly committed to operating within a framework defined by European Union interests. The special relationship would be over.

    The rest of the story is: Full Text
  2. Strange , but i'm sure BLIAR etal , said we would NOT be part of a pan-european army/military force and would continue within the current (at the time) NATO framework
    but HEY HO
    lets all be european this week, might confuse the punters a bit more
  3. Sure I read an article just like this a year or two back.

    Simple fact is that we can't afford to keep up with the US in terms of NCW - nothing secret about that.

    US won't release e.g. JSF source code for a mixture of security and purely commercial reasons - if no-one else has the code, everyone must go back to LockMart for upgrades.
  4. so where does this leave the JSF flying of the Frog carrier's we're ment to be getting?

    Eurofighter, here we come, Again!
  5. "US and the EU stand today on the edge of a technical revolution in warfare, centred on satellites, electronics"

    Hum I would suggest the US is well into it and EU is still standing watching and gobbing.
  6. Had a quick look at it, and some of it is just plain wrong - "British troops will no longer be transported by the US-built C-130 and C-17 aircraft, but by the A-400M "Eurolifter" " is a good example - a smallish number of very elderly C-130s are being replaced by the A-400Ms and the C-17s.

    The carriers comment immediately below also seems to be a wilful distortion - "Three aircraft carriers are to be shared between the Royal Navy and France, with the French firm Thales playing a central part in their design and construction". This seems to be trying to give the impression that all three would be under some sort of partial French control (never true so far as I'm aware) and are being built by the French to a French design. Since the winning Thales design was done in the UK by BMT Marine and looks like being built completely in the UK yards, the relevance of Thales being "French" is minimal. In fact about the only relevance from it is that we may have been able to sell part of the design to France to be built as PA.2 - and even then this looks like being rather a different ship.

    Unfortunately I don't know much about land vehicles and electronics so can't have a look at how relevant those claims are, but there is enough from just those two points above to make me think the guy had decided what he was going to conclude long before he sat down to write it. They might make some sense if written 2-3 years ago when future policy was unclear, but the date of October 2005 implies this isn't the case.
  7. Completely disgraceful; however not unexpected.
  8. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    purely in the interests of ...Gawd I dunno....BALANCE I should be noted that the document precis'd by Red Shrek is from the Centre for Policy Studies
    a conservative think-tank founded by Margaret Thatcher and Sir Keith Joseph .......Shrek, why no attribution ?

    DefenceNet this am carried the following INSTANT reaction from Doc John:

    In Gen Dannatt's speech to the US War College he alluded to the difficult UK position of being a 'traffic cop' between US and European interests........not sure what has spurred the CPS to come out with this at this particular moment sales ?

    Here's another quote to ponder on ...Professor Noam Chomsky, MIT in 1995:

    Now it so happens I think Chomsky is a pointy-headed knobber....but its worth reviewing the REALITY of our relationship with 'Merka rather than the warm rosy glow.....

    Sometimes British and American interests are aligned, sometimes they diverge...they are NOT now, nor have ever been, the same thing

    Le Chevre
  9. And guess who it's by? Richard North, our old friend, the Bruges Group's "Head of Research" and adviser to UKIP, who's been spanked on here for made-up stories before, especially regarding Galileo (because OF COURSE, being a partner in Galileo means that none of our GPS sets work - has anyone else noticed that? maybe he should be told)
  11. No they aren't - all the four on lease have been bought outright by the UK, and a fifth is either on order/has been delivered. This is one of the things that really winds me up about that article - it contains some things that are easy to check and are very wrong.

    The US equivalent to the Typhoon of course (the F-22) is under budget, in advance of the planned timescale and has a significant ability to drop bombs? Both will be capable of A2G stuff before very long, but neither really is apart from a few trials aircraft right now.
  12. Now eating humble pie with lashings of remorseful ice cream over the C17 line, however is still proves my point that all the American kit mentioned has proved to be extremely good whilst the European stuff mentioned by the good Doctor is mainly ballocks. Additionally I would take issue with anybody who believes that Typhoon is a succcess story. Besides which, the F22 can hardly be called its equivalent, as it's not obsolete before it even enters service.
  13. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    hmmm...Merlin has just been selected by the US as the next Presidential helicopter


    ...this despite Hollywood's best efforts by showing three of them plummeting out of the sky in 'The Day After Tomorrow' :)
    (whereas of course the gallant American-made Chinooks and Black Hawks make a life saving appearance at the end)

    ...will you tell Dubya this splendid aircraft is 'mostly b0llocks' or shall I ?

    Hollywood rules:
    1) baddies must drive European cars - BMW or Jaguar ideally - we don't want GM on our tails
    2) No one carrying an Uzi ever runs out of ammunition or misses - the IDF use them so they must be good
    3) Non-American baddies will be armed with either AKs ( commy/religious nutter baddy) or Heckler&Koch weapons( scurvy International Criminal scum baddy) - we don't want Colt Industries on our tails


    Le Chevre
  14. Fellas,

    Don't get bogged down in the detail of which equipment and so on. Firstly, as pointed out above, this is a document produced by a Conservative American think-tank, and it's audience is American strategic planners and government officials. It's target audience (whether conservative or not) will infer from the document that the Special Relationship is not unreserved or unquestionable, but that it is qualified by current political and strategic military need. I think most of the target audience would start asking questions about the relevance of NATO as a military partnership in the current geopolitical development of Europe (and quite rightly so).

    Bear in mind also that this document seeks to analyse UK political and strategic military planning based on equipment procurement patterns. This is based on an unwritten assumption that equipment procurement patterns are a reliable indicator of strategic planning, and that domestic political and financial constraints do not affect the procurement process. Since we all know that this assumption is false, this document presents nothing more than a conservative (hence worst case) best guess.

    Notwithstanding that, it is important to remember that there are two major factors which affect interoperability at an operational level: C4I and Logistics. You and I could be using the same radio system, but different crypto, or the same crypto, but different radios and different batteries. Even at a conceptual level interoperability is a complex issue. The US understanding of Mission Command and the detail of orders is completely at odds to our own. The web is so intricate that interoperability is obtained by degrees, not in totality.

    To this end, it makes sense to ensure that our interoperability bracket, if you like, extends to cover as many likely partner nations as possible, and certainly our geographical neighbours. The notion that by using non-US-manufactured airframes to achieve force projection we limit our interoperability is to look at the problem at far too simple a level. Likewise to suggest that we should procure equipment primarily on the basis of whether it aids US-UK interoperability is to assume that US-UK strategic military priorities are precisely alligned and to ignore wider UK defence interests.

    I was fortunate to hear Sir Tim Garden speak on the issue of a Euro Army at Kings College in London about two years ago, which was a very informative lecture. If you are reading this, Sir Tim, I am sure we would appreciate a comment to give us a better informed perspective on the general impact of UK defence interests on the future of the US-UK military relationship and the significance for equipment procurement?