UK military stretched - Commander

#1
The British military is stretched and the recent rise in casualties could continue, the commander of British forces in Afghanistan has told the BBC.

Brig Gordon Messenger said the enemy was dangerous and committed and insurgency increasingly sophisticated.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7951037.stm

msr
 
#2
"I hope the rate we've experienced won't be experienced by others, but this is a dangerous campaign, we are up against a committed enemy force, and they are out to kill and injure us."

And THIS is news?

While the Mod / government pussy foot around believing that those on the ground "Can Make Do", sod all will change, this does not in any detract from the sterling work the lads and lasses are doing but iut does make it near impossible to sustain at the present levels.

Nice one Brig, desk job in Whitehall next week is it??
 
#3
British Army is stretched?

Didn't I hear that a while back from some with more than just the one star - the government took no notice of them so what does Brig Messenger hope to achieve. I reckon Gordon and his gang are awaiting arrival of the Yank surge. They have seen too many John Wayne movies where the Cavalry rides in in the nick of time.
 
#4
"Nice one Brig, desk job in Whitehall next week is it?? "

The good Brig came from a pretty key desk job in MOD Main, and had a good reputation. The fact that he's spoken out is a good sign - he isn't about to retire and write memoirs, and he is a sharp cookie. I look forward to watching the No 10 fuerherbunker try to destroy him and failing.
 
#5
Are we in danger of giving this too much weight. Having read the article it doesnt really say anything new, it will have been through a sanitisation process and as Jim30 says the Brig is a sharp character who will have balanced his comments very carefully.

The response will no doubt mention UOR spend, committment to Afghanistan, secirity of the UK etc

Pretty bland stuff really
 
#7
meridian said:
Are we in danger of giving this too much weight. Having read the article it doesnt really say anything new, it will have been through a sanitisation process and as Jim30 says the Brig is a sharp character who will have balanced his comments very carefully.

The response will no doubt mention UOR spend, committment to Afghanistan, secirity of the UK etc

Pretty bland stuff really
I really doubt they'll mention UOR spending as they've just decided to stop doing it.
 
#8
Grey 24-7 - that is the biggest load of b*llocks I've seen in ages.

Of course we're still doing UOR spending - what on earth made you think we weren't?
 
#10
Oh dear - clearly a lot of people here don't get the UOR spend. The budget is not funded from MOD, it is fully HMT funded and despite what the HCDC thinks, MOD is not repaying HMT anything - those arrangements only apply if we exceeded a certain sum, which we've not done (and no we don't assess UORs on a financial basis prior to approval). We've not had to dip into our pockets to fund UORs at all so far.

(In terms of budget, we've been effectively getting an extra 10 - 15% of the procurement budget per year from HMT, just to buy kit for ops).
 
#11
Oh Dear, MoD Civil Servants........

In December, British Secretary of State for
Defence John Hutton announced postponements
to several major procurement projects. These mea-
sures were intended to help close a two-billion-
pound shortfall in the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD)
projected 2009–2010 budget.
Hutton emphasized
his desire to prioritize support for frontline troops
in Iraq and Afghanistan, whose equipment has
since 2001 been paid for through the Treasury’s
reserve fund.

But at the same time, Hutton announced that in
the future, the MoD’s core budget, not the Treasury,
would have to bear most of the cost of future Urgent
Operational Requirements (UOR).
With the recent
announcement that the cost of operations in Iraq
and Afghanistan increased to over 4.5 billion pounds
in 2008, the danger facing the MoD is clear: Either
the troops in the field will have to go without neces-
sary equipment paid for by UOR, or the MoD’s bud-
get will have to be cut even more sharply in the
coming years. This is an unacceptable mortgage on
the future of Britain’s defenses.




MORE;

The Fallacies of the December Announcement.

Late last year, it became clear that the MoD faced
an approximately two-billion-pound budgetary
shortfall. In the near term, much of this shortfall
was driven by the cost of procurement and by the
number of large programs that were moving out of
research and development and into the expensive
acquisition phase. More broadly, this deficit was
the result of the fact that the Labour governments
have barely increased spending on defense since
1997. The inefficiency of Britain’s procurement
system, which subordinates cost effectiveness to
the protection of British jobs and the diplomatic
imperatives of the European Union, has only
made the problem worse.

The measures Hutton announced to close this
shortfall in December were inadequate and poorly
thought through. He did, at least, avoid cancelling
or mothballing necessary forces, such as the U.S.–
U.K. jointly developed F-35 Lightning (the Joint
Strike Fighter). But his solution was simply to
delay programs: Britain’s two new aircraft carri-
ers—under study since 1998, formerly due in 2012
and 2014, and already delayed for two years—have
been put on hold for another one to two years. The
Future Rapid Effects System armored vehicles pro-
gram will also be slowed. The only cuts came to the
extravagantly priced Future Lynx helicopter pro-
gram, and even these savings were offset by the
announcement of a new program to retrofit the
existing Lynx helicopters.

These measures were not enough to balance the
MoD’s budget for 2009–2010. Nor were they suffi-
ciently bold. Britain’s defense crisis can be solved
only by modest and steady increases in defense

Your lot, just don't want to pick up the tab do they Jim?
I expect you are coping well though, love your version of reality.......
 
#12
Nige - it helps if you accurately quote speeches rather than biased articles.

We have always been clear that UOR funding changed in nature a few years ago, and the deal with HMT is that if we exceed a certain limit, then we would repay that amount. This is because after 7 years in a theatre, we should be reprioritising our EP to support Ops, and not just long term capabilities.

But let me be very clear - we have NEVER paid for any part of UORs out of the defence budget, we have never come close to hitting the ceiling and HMT continues to pay up for all UORs that we require. Keep quoting your articles all you like, but the truth is that UOR procurement remains a seperate cost and has not impacted on the EP yet. We (MOD) have not had to pay for equipment for Ops despite your false claims.
 
#13
The change was only brought in very recently and UOR decisions taken now only impact the main budget 2 years down the line. I accept your technical argument that core budget has not yet been affected, but in keeping with the new arrangement it is clear the procurement decisions ARE being affected. I do not share your rosy view of the future, it is simply too early to say, you are falling into the trap of arguing about budgets.
 
#14
I am not saying its a rosy future - I've seen the EP projections and boy do they hurt. I am saying that claims that we're funding Ops from the core budget are false - we are not doing that.

All Operational funding is done from the reserve - in other words HMT pay the difference between what we'd expect to pay anyway (salaries, routine maintenance etc) and what we incur to actually do an op (replenishing ammunition, repairs, recuperation etc). We will always pay a tiny amount of Ops - but that is money that would have been spent anyway, regardless of where the troops and kit were based. The main costs are, and always have been borne by HMT.
 
#15
This is the technical change to the funding of UORs being discussed on the thread. This view by HCDC;

34. The change in the funding of UORs was announced on 22 November 2007 by the Rt Hon Baroness Taylor of Bolton, at the time Minister for Defence Equipment and Support. She acknowledged that when UK Armed Forces were deployed on operations, they faced challenges that “could not have been anticipated in the initial planning” and in those situations it was necessary to procure equipment quickly, utilising the UOR process, to counter those challenges.

61 However, she said that: much of the new equipment that we have developed because of problems in the theatre will be incorporated into mainstream planning. That is normal and right [...] The new approach with the Treasury means that, in the three years of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the reserve will continue to pay all additional costs of operations up front and will pay outright for UORs up to a mutually agreed total. Beyond that, the MoD and the Treasury will split the cost 50:50, with the MoD having to repay its share two years later, by which time there could have been adjustments in the programme. The Treasury will give an extra £200 million in 2010–11 to ensure that the new arrangements are cost-neutral to defence.

62 The Minister emphasised that the suggestion that the Treasury was “clawing back” more than the £2 billion already spent on UORs was not correct as the “only difference is the new arrangements for the future”.

63 35. In our inquiry into the Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts 2006–07, we sought further details about the new arrangements for funding UORs.

64 In our Report Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts 2006–07, we concluded that “The arrangements appear far from straightforward and we will be interested to see how they work out in practice when they are implemented. We look to the MoD to ensure that the new arrangements do not, in any way, undermine the success of the UOR process seen to date”

65 36. In November 2007 new arrangements for the funding of Urgent Operational Requirements (UORs) were announced. These new arrangements mean that, once the cost of UORs in a year have exceeded an agreed total with the Treasury, the MoD will have to contribute to half of the costs exceeding the agreed total and repay this two years later to the Treasury. In its response to our Report we expect the MoD to provide us with details of how the new arrangements have operated in practice, including its estimate of how much of the spend on UORs in 2008–09 will be funded from the MoD budget. We also expect the MoD to set out which of its programmes or activities will need to be re-prioritised in order to fund the cost of the UORs in 2008–09 which fall to the MoD’s core budget.

37. While we are satisfied with UOR process, we remain concerned that the extent of UORs represents at least a partial failure by the MoD to equip adequately its forces for expeditionary operations which were anticipated by the Strategic Defence Review a decade ago.
 
#16
Point 37 is the most telling.

I have long been a believer that UOR's represent a fundamental failure to prepare and should be seen as equally good and bad
 
#17
HCDC evidence is noted and is correct that if we exceed a pre-determined limit then we pay. Fact is though that we have come nowhere near to meeting this limit, either this year or in previous years and so its a deeply hypothetical problem. The MOD is not being financially hit by HMT and we aren't going to have worry about other programmes because of it.
 
#18
nigegilb said:
37. While we are satisfied with UOR process, we remain concerned that the extent of UORs represents at least a partial failure by the MoD to equip adequately its forces for expeditionary operations which were anticipated by the Strategic Defence Review a decade ago.
Dont fund defence properly, guess what happens!

I suppose we will be getting everything else the SDR suggested as well.... in 10 years!
 
#19
I agree to a point, the MoD should have more money but the problem with that is it is like giving a tenner to drunk and asking him to buy some cornflakes.

The MoD has has unsustainable spending plans for donkeys years because of theor inability to procure almost anything on time or within budget and a concentration on headline big ticket items that means there is nothing left for the small but essential stuff.

Not sure whether Jim30 will agree with me or not, I know he has seen all the UOR's but is it excusable for some of the stuff being obtained through the UOR process to be obtained this way. I mean should we really have for example DAS on a Tristar as a matter of course, or night vision gear or any of the thousands of other things.
 
#20
meridian said:
I agree to a point, the MoD should have more money but the problem with that is it is like giving a tenner to drunk and asking him to buy some cornflakes.

The MoD has has unsustainable spending plans for donkeys years because of theor inability to procure almost anything on time or within budget and a concentration on headline big ticket items that means there is nothing left for the small but essential stuff.

Not sure whether Jim30 will agree with me or not, I know he has seen all the UOR's but is it excusable for some of the stuff being obtained through the UOR process to be obtained this way. I mean should we really have for example DAS on a Tristar as a matter of course, or night vision gear or any of the thousands of other things.
Meridian et al, This may sound obvious....but why do they not "Ring Fence" the various aspects of Defence spending? Why should the money wasted on procurement (Chinnook HC3 and Nirmrod MRA4) to name but two impact on operational costs or housing? Whilst we are on housing, why don't the DSS fix the poor Army housing, like they have to for council tennants? They have a budget that is 5-10 times as big. I have never understood that. there is a potential £15B that could be spent on military kit.

Salvador
 

Latest Threads

Top