UK military stretched - Commander

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by msr, Mar 18, 2009.

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  1. msr

    msr LE

    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.

  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. meridian

    meridian LE Good Egg (charities)

    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
  6. No shit really.
  7. 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?
  9. The fact that half of UOR spend now comes out of future Defence Budget?

    A change brought in by .........Gordon Brown.
  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.


    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.