UK troop numbers fall in Armed Forces crisis

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by hackle, Aug 24, 2007.

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  1. The Telegraph's take on the latest personnel figures:

    Full article at LINK

    The personnel figures, which are incomplete due to the introduction of JPA(!), can be found at this MOD LINK.

    The Telegraph invites readers to say How can we encourage more recruits to join the armed forces? The BAFF view, which I have consistently stated in broadcast interviews, is that the real problem is not Recruiting, but Retention.
  2. Morale at some bases has been described by some RAF commanders as "fragile" with issues over old equipment and not enough training as well as the constant operations.

    All three instructors teaching pilots to fly Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft have resigned at RAF Kinloss. No instructor will be available until the end of the year. Fourteen aircrew from the base died over Afghanistan when their ageing Nimrod MR2 crashed last year.

    Hercules pilots, who work one month on, one off, during operations, are suffering. One senior flier said: "My wife told me either get another job or we divorce."

    Families have also been affected by repatriation ceremonies for dead Servicemen at RAF Lyneham.

    A source at the Wiltshire base said it seriously impacted on morale each time a hearse went past wives at the station's creche.

    Casualty rates in Iraq and Afghanistan have soared this year, with 67 deaths and hundreds of wounded. Rates for front-line units in Afghanistan are now thought to have passed Second World War levels.

    Helicopter pilots are also working flat out in Chinooks and Merlins and ground staff are becoming overwhelmed by the workload. "We are now beginning to see engineering mistakes creep in that we have not seen for 30 years," said an RAF source. "People simply don't have time to develop skills that they did before."

    The stress is also starting to tell on Harrier pilots, who have been flying difficult missions in Afghanistan since 2004, two years before the main British force deployed.

    RAF numbers have plummeted from 50,000 three years ago to 42,000. The Ministry of Defence is aiming for a figure just below this level next year as part of "restructuring".

    As with the Army and Navy, the decision has been taken to cut numbers at a time when the military is at its highest operational tempo in 50 years.

    The elephant in the room that everyone is ignoring is contained in the last 2 paras Hackle.

    Numbers in RAF actally down from 50,000 to 42,000 in 3 years due to drawdown. The idiots running the show actually reduced the size of the armed forces at a time of war. Clever move, or plain stupid?
  3. i don't normally indulge in conspiracy theories, but I do find it rather intriguing that the Army will be unable to present its manning figures for three months.
  4. Rather than using hearses at the repatriation ceremonies, they could load the coffins into LDV vans, so as not to upset the wives of RAF Personnel as the vehicles drive past the crèche.

    The Telegraph omits to mention that the RAF redundancy programme, which accounted for some 2,750 of the personnel leaving the service. In addition to the 3,300 personnel cut in 'manpower efficiency programmes', 1,800 headquarters reductions etc.

    There is no doubt that certain specialisations are working to capacity or even over-stretch, but I suspect that is the exception rather than the norm.
  5. What's the weather like on your planet? :roll:
  6. With manning figures: The MOD always state that the recruitment drive is either on or surpassing targets. It can give very accurate figures to back this up. What it cannot or will not do is give accurate figures of troops leaving the forces. Never seem to have them at hand. Thus you end up with the situation of the general public thinking recruiting is going well and the forces are well manned and the complaints you here are from "a few moaners". Wonder if that perception would change if both figures were available at the same time and published for all to see!!!!
  7. Manning figures: about as useful as the Government's stats on violent crime...
  8. Precisely. Retention is the key. Without it, skills and experience is lost with resultant costs (in all senses) escalating.

    I guess the MoD loonies believe one can overcome manpower shortages by adopting a McDonalds approach to staffing and personnel. Pay little, expect high staff turnover, reduce skilling to the bare minimum. 'Do you want fries with that?'. Yes, indeed. How do those skills compare with operating under fire in Afghanistan or Iraq?

    Unfortunately, young people today are not quite so gullible as MoD might think - if 'thinking' is the right word for what MoD does.
  9. Every time some high ranking officer used to visit and we had them in for chats with the seniors, I would always try and mention that retetion was the problem, if they get this sorted recruitment would follow. Every time they answered with "No, recruitment is what we should be concentrating on".

    Orificers, I shit em....
  10. What exactly did you take umbrage with?

    The fact that I highlighted that nearly 3,000 crabs took voluntary redundancy or that I questioned whether the RAF, as a whole, is actually overstretched?
  11. mysteron

    mysteron LE Book Reviewer


    I think people took umbrage onm the fact that hearses have to drive by a creche that is full of wives and children that have their husbands serving on op tours as well. It might be a different ball game to someone like you who can run around with a bayonet in your teeth and sh!tt!ng officers as only you can.

    I have a friend in the RAF and his wife would go into worry fits when he deployed on the Iraq war 2003..... to Bahrain. I felt the same way when I was in Basra and on the ground. Well, whoopty do for me. It is still just as hard on the wives because they don't really know what we are doing and don't get to hear from us often.

    So a touch of realism might be in order, maybe an apology perhaps. Just a suggestion.
  12. I imagine it was the overstretch comment, Fraser - Both the RAF and Army are overstretched right now, and it shows with the numbers leaving both services. Especially bad within the infantry (from what I've been told).

    Edit - Or what Mysteron says. Or both.
  13. The ongoing cuts in our armed forces are simply to hide the cost of these campaigns from the tax payer with no thought to it putting national security at risk. (non to mention the lives of service personnel.)
  14. msr

    msr LE

    The old Russian standby of 'tekhnicheskii prichinoi'.

    Does the new DIN allow me to draw anyone's attention to the shortage of TA soldiers and officers, who consistently seem to be ignored in these articles?

  15. That is no different to seeing the daily news coverage of Iraq and Afghanistan. Every single casualty hits home to those with family and friends deployed on operations.