Tories pledge to get MoDs house in order by axing top brass

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by johnboyzzz, Sep 7, 2009.

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    A CONSERVATIVE government would review Britain's defence establishment and slash the number of top brass and Ministry of Defence civilian staff.
    Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox is due to announce the moves in a speech today, in which he says it is time for the MoD to "get its house in order" and redirect resources from Whitehall to the overstretched frontline troops in Afghanistan.

    In the speech he promises a "radical root and branch reform" of the procurement process to improve purchase and delivery of equipment for the armed forces.

    At present, there is one civil servant in the MoD for every two members of the armed forces, while the 28,000 staff working on procurement almost match the size of the entire 34,000-strong Royal Navy, Dr Fox says.

    And he adds that all three services have questions to answer over the number of officers promoted to the highest and best-paid ranks, due to a culture of "Buggins' turn".

    Conservatives have already promised a strategic defence review to assess the shape of armed forces that will be needed for the military threats of the future. But Dr Fox says in his speech today that an in-depth capability review must also be carried out into the structure of the armed forces and the MoD's civilian workforce in order to ensure they are best configured for the tasks they have to accomplish.

    "It is time for the MoD to get its house in order," the shadow defence secretary says.

    "There are questions for all three services as to whether they have an over-abundance of senior posts.

    "How do we reward merit and excellence and end the absurdity of the Buggins' turn culture, and how do we stop the trend where the military seems consistently to shrink while the civil service keeps growing?"

    The recent Gray Review has shown that the MoD's procurement process is "broken", Dr Fox says.

    Under a Conservative government, procurement will be "the servant, not the master, of the strategic defence review and capability review".

    In today's speech Dr Fox adds: "The thousands of hardworking civil servants and military personnel working in procurement have been let down by a failed system.

    "All options for reform, no matter how radical, are on the table.

    "Right now the MoD needs a new vision, fresh thinking, and new leadership that only a new government has the energy and confidence to provide.

    "You can delegate authority, but not responsibility. Labour ministers are to blame for the failings at the Ministry of Defence – not the civil service or the armed forces.

    "Increasingly the public are wakening up to the sorry state of defence under Labour. It is likely to be an election issue for the first time since the end of the Cold War."


    FIRST Minister Alex Salmond and Secretary of State for Scotland Jim Murphy are to attend a commemoration service for soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    The cross-faith celebration will be led by the Bishop of Motherwell, the Rt Rev Dr Joseph Devine, and held at Motherwell Cathedral on 29 October. Representatives of the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, and the Jewish and Muslim faiths will also take part; as will Mgr Richard Moth, who is to be ordained as the next Roman Catholic Bishop of the Armed Forces.

    The announcement came just days after the bodies of two Scottish soldiers killed in Afghanistan – Private Kevin Elliott, 24, from Dundee, and Sergeant Stuart Millar, 40, from Inverness of The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland – were returned to Britain.

  2. Agree strongly.

    Of course, if the Tories apply the same expertise as they applied to Options For Change, a missing paddle will be the least of the militaries problems.
  3. Ah you have to love them. If this isn't code for "and my mate just happens to run a private company that could do your procurement for a good rate guvnor" I will show my arse in the department store window of your choice.

    Yes, just what we need, further useless consultancies running key parts of the gubment for us.
  4. The reason Civil servant numbers are up and military down is that they are cheaper by far, than the military. I am sure there is some waste in the MOD but I suspect many of those working there are supporting some bone initiative by another Gov't Dept, e.g. the HSE, Equal Ops Authority etc etc, it is the work created by justifying our recruitment etc that means new posts are needed not the actual planning of Ops etc. Where do the Tories think they will make the savings? Frankly the Tories are not normally the friends of the Forces they love to cut them.

    Edited for mong typing
  5. I've posted on this before, but when you break the numbers down, only about 30,000 CS are really employed in office work, the rest do all manner of support work. If you want to cut the CS, then you have to either

    a. Cut whole directorates of office staff, and decide what core defence functions you no longer wish to do. Bear in mind few areas are wholly MOD CS, so you'll be switching off something that we currently need if you do.

    b. Privatise the support posts such as storemen, MPGS and RFA - with the ensuing costs involved.

    c. Muddle through, cutting random posts, watching as the admin staff leave, and the deep specialists take early retirement and then wait for the inevitable HCDC report bemoaning the MOD for the lack of retention in specialist areas such as the DIS.

    Its easy to make pledges such as "Cut the MOD CS", but much more difficult to do this without linking it to a wider SDR.
  6. Maybe they will just cancel Trident?

    Probably a hell of a lot easier, but leaves us open to threat in the long term.

    Other white elephant is the Carriers, again leaving us open to threat in the future.

    I suspect it will be a muddle through job as you describe. I also suspect Tories would be more likely to buy off the shelf from the States.
  7. This seems like a Stalinist purge of the 30's. Tories, who can smell victory and are already measuring up the curtains of No 10, will rid whitehall af all things non-tory so as to make the coming cuts seem like the last showers fault.
  8. Agree about the point about CS being cheaper than military and therefore there is probably a false economy in getting rid of swathes of them. However, there are a sh*t load of people involved in procurement and 28000 seems an astonishing figure given our needs. The equipment world is where the real money is being flushed down the pan. I am sure that every person involved in the procurement process would (and could) justify their job but logic tells you that there are far too many.

  9. Funny how thee wasn't this consensus when the Lib Dems suggested paring down the MoD - which would pay for a decent pay rise for junior soldiers.

    The Tories are all set to save the cost of 'MoD top brass' but what wil lthey do with the money saved? Put it towards knocking off inheritance tax (but only if you are inheriting a million or more).

    I wonder how many more Lib Dems ideas they are going to pinch to fund their tax cuts.
  10. "Funny how thee wasn't this consensus when the Lib Dems suggested paring down the MoD - which would pay for a decent pay rise for junior soldiers"

    No it wouldnt Whet, because the costs saved from such a move would not fully fund the pay rise for junior ranks, and would not address the inequality of the move for SNCO pay scales.

    It also ignored the fact that such a policy is not costed, or thought through and that saying "Scrap 10,000 desk jobs" would cut the MOD office staff by 30%, and as such would have huge impacts on the ability of the CS to support Defence. It didnt say what the Lib Dems would like for Defence to stop doing as a result of such cuts.
  11. Jim

    I cannot see the Lib Dems not having their policy independently examined - this is what they have done with all policies in the past. Vince Cable just wouldn't let any policy go public without it being so. Unless they have done a U turn very recently, of course.
  12. Really Whet - in which case provide the sums. I posted on here the day the policy was announced pointing out that sacking 10,000 CS would provide a pay rise to roughly only 33,000 personnel if they wanted £6k extra. The sums do not add up!
  13. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    There is a dangerous assumption that CS can be slashed and nobody would notice, of course thats a load of bollox.


    You can't deny that the MoD equipment procurement as a whole is a shocking performer, whatever the reasons, whatever the shirt colour, something has to change.
  14. Dr Liam Fox was on the radio earlier putting his case and put up a pretty sorry show I am afraid.

    He came out with a lot of trite statistics and banalities which seem to have been copied from the equally lame LilbDem proposal. There was no actual detail about how procurement would be improved apart from a proposal that all projects must fully meet some new criteria. Affordability, inter-operability and marketability were the only ones I noted before my screaming and punching the radio drowned out the interview.

    Cuts in civil servants seems to be the order of the day but no proposals were forthcoming over how the Base Organisation will supply the Services because there are precious few military left in the system. There seems to be a re-hashing of the policy of freeing up personnel to put into the teeth arms, presumably to give us back the 4-5 Infantry Bns we lost last time round (cheers for that Gen Mike)

    All we need now is a catchy title for this new re-org policy. Maybe " Frontline First" - it has a ring to it and, errr, it seems familiar.
  15. Liam Foxes "ideas" appear to be little more than a rehashed version of TLCM.

    The "cut civil servant slackers" bandwagon is gaining speed, and there are areas where it does need culling, but I am really worried that in the desperate race to out cull each other, we'll end up slashing whole areas of the CS, only to find that in actual fact, they were rather useful people to have around, and its costing us twice as much to get replacements in on contracts to do work that used to be done in house.