UK troop numbers fall in Armed Forces crisis

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

UK troop numbers fall in Armed Forces crisis

By Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent
Last Updated: 7:32am BST 24/08/2007

The military is in the grip of a personnel "crisis" as figures showed yesterday that a substantial number of troops have left in the past three months.

The Royal Air Force is suffering a major shortfall. With continuous operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, there are worries that the constant strain of overseas tours could "break" the Services.

An RAF helicopter, UK troop numbers fall in Armed Forces crisis
RAF helicopter pilots are working flat out

The latest quarterly figures show that the RAF is more than 2,500 short of a requirement of 45,000 personnel. More than 1,000 have left since the last figures were produced in April.

Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, said the Armed Forces were now moving from a "problem" in retaining personnel to a "crisis".

"The Government must jolt itself out of its complacency and understand the effect a worsening crisis will have on national security," he said. "The overstretch we have seen so graphically in the Army now seems to be afflicting the other services."

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

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

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".
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.
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!!!!
 
#8
hackle said:
The BAFF view, which I have consistently stated in broadcast interviews, is that the real problem is not Recruiting, but Retention.
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
Unsworth said:
hackle said:
The BAFF view, which I have consistently stated in broadcast interviews, is that the real problem is not Recruiting, but Retention.
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.
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
Werewolf said:
What's the weather like on your planet? :roll:
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?
 

mysteron

LE
Book Reviewer
#11
Fraser,

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
Because of "technical problems" the MoD will be unable to publish the Army's figure for another three months.
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?

msr
 
#15
mysteron said:
Fraser,

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.
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.
 

mysteron

LE
Book Reviewer
#16
Erm, it is a little different actually, physically seeing dead soldiers, airmen and sailors driving past you rather than on the idiot's lantern is different. I am not interested in getting into a bun fight as you are clearly either too angry to actually admit you might be over stepping the mark or too arrogant to see it.

Out.
 
#17
The other suggestion was that the RAF wasn't really ovrstretched. Well the RAF has returned the worst manning figures for some time now.

Cutting edge? Well, short of Harrier pilots, helo pilots, Herc pilots, ground engineers, air engineers, air load masters, etc etc, so nothing to concern you chaps in green, eh?

Plain fact, 20% reduction in manning of UK Armed Forces at a time of unprecedented op tempo is beyond stupid. Stupid for the politicians to demand it, stupid for the Chiefs of Staff to accept it.
 
#18
one thing i just thought of. Have there been any media comments about the huge sums of money being spent to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? I haven't seen any, (not that i follow the news too closely). So, we can safely assume these wars have cost a LOT of money. Taxes haven't gone up explicitly to funds these adventures, so where has the money come from, yes you guessed it, the MOD budget, thus requireing massive cutbacks on everything that isn't these ops.

Ski.
 

Biped

LE
Book Reviewer
#19
The gobment is still trying to force cuts in the MOD during the most intense period of operations in 50 years.

IT DOESN'T GET ANY MORE FCUKING STUPID THAN THIS.

138bn in quangos for lezzers and self-interest groups, £200,000 per year, per politician to 'govern' the decrepit mess that this country has become and yet 38 billion for the MOD is being squeezed.

Broone should be called 'President of Zimabwe', considering he is trying to turn this country into a third world ruin.
 
#20
mysteron said:
Erm, it is a little different actually, physically seeing dead soldiers, airmen and sailors driving past you rather than on the idiot's lantern is different. I am not interested in getting into a bun fight as you are clearly either too angry to actually admit you might be over stepping the mark or too arrogant to see it.

Out.
Well Frazer is an int corps biff so to be expected. :roll:
 

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