Final Thoughts – A Rather Shoddy Affair

Whatever the outcome of the SDSR, whether it is an exercise in salami slicing, a protection of parochial service vested interests, driven by industrial and political issues or a genuine strategic vision of the nations security and defence needs, backed up with an achievable and realistic resource and implementation plan, one thing I think we can all agree on.

It’s been a pretty shoddy affair.

Characterised by tactical leaking/briefing, disinformation, biased viewpoints, plainly outrageous claims and various counter claims by an assorted coterie of  ‘grown ups’ who, quite frankly, should know better, the whole exercise has left a rather sour taste in the mouth.

I was hoping for so much more, the nation and our service personnel deserve so much more.

Politicians and chiefs, before blaming each other for the various woes of UK defence, look in the mirror.

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IXION
IXION
October 13, 2010 7:28 pm

Latest one is that if these cuts go ahead the RAF would not be able to stop a 9/11 strike.

Yea Right.

As you say that so called intelligent grown ups could come out with some the stuff we have been hearing, in particular the Armies naked attempts to shaft the other services and grab the cake for themselves.

The response of the other two services was very much measure for measure.

I could not see or hear any strategic thinking from politicos.

Jedibeeftrix
October 13, 2010 7:29 pm

it certainly hasn’t been edifying, but given recent speculation of cuts being limited to as little as 4% (not counting bernard grays intrinsic 10% cut), things may arrive in a better shape than we have in our low points feared.

Jed
Jed
October 13, 2010 7:32 pm

In the end the Service Chiefs work for Her Majesties Government, so while they might have their negative aspects, the highest level of blame needs to be laid squarely on the shoulders of our Parliamentarians – of all parties !

Modern politics = short termism, policy by opinion poll, do whatever is required to get another term, strategic communications by leaks to gutter press (don’t even get me started on the pathetic level of so called “professional” journalists in this debacle).

Unfortunately my opinion of our politicians is soooo low, that if you go back to the beginning of these conversations I think you will find my mantra has been the same all along – “were doomed I tell ya, doomed !”

Jedibeeftrix
October 13, 2010 7:45 pm

Col Jim Morris RM just appointed as cameron’s personal military adviser.

Andy
Andy
October 13, 2010 7:46 pm

What do people make of the fact that Cameron not Fox will be delivering the SDSR? Anger at Fox or trying to prove that he is as strong on defence as he constantly says.

Also breaking news that he’s just appointed his own military advisor Col Jim Morris of the Royal Marines. Bit late in the day! But perhaps he’s not been entirely happy with his CDS?

Andy
Andy
October 13, 2010 7:47 pm

Ah, beat me to it JBT!

x
x
October 13, 2010 8:06 pm

Lets hope he has more idea about defence than that other ex-Marine in the coalition’s junior party.

Anon
Anon
October 13, 2010 9:28 pm

Fox promised a “considered, coherent, long-term direction for Defence policy that is achievable and sustainable” in the SDSR.

If what the Prime Minister delivers a defence chapter next week that does not meet that test, or even the one below, surely Fox will have to consider his position?:
“Defence as a whole must come out in a stronger position.”
“We must act ruthlessly and without sentiment.”

LouisB
LouisB
October 14, 2010 10:29 am

Whilst ‘leaks’ Chinese whispers and various other unedifying
drips have taken place I can see a reason for some at least. Our marvelous unelected press and other media outlets thrives on tittle tattle and on occasion can start to change public perception of what should and should not be with respect to defence and thereby create political pressure. A well timed ‘leak’ can often counter this.

cgsac
cgsac
October 14, 2010 1:57 pm

This is only the beginning. Surely the 2015 Review is already underway and this is simply a taster of what defence policy is likely to become over the next 3-5 years. Vested interests openly defending “pet projects” via devious means and open leaks becoming the norm, I fear that defence policy making is set to become a very, very dirty game and the old days will be seen as a god send. The organisational structure of the MOD really is looking “not fit for purpose” – as SoS Reid would have said.

Anon
Anon
October 14, 2010 6:12 pm

Yes, but the 2015 review will be written in English and French…

jackstaff
jackstaff
October 15, 2010 12:00 am

Admin,

Oh, boss, (goes all Colonel Blimp) Monday’s like Alamein, it’s just the end of the beginning.

Among other thoughts, I’d say:

– So Britain doesn’t have a strategy? Well, what should it be? And where exactly does the use of Her Majesty’s Forces fit into that strategy?
– How do we push forward opportunities/push back against stupidity in the nature of what’s laid out next week?
– Logistics, logistics, logistics: “adaptable Britain” is just more bullshit bingo if you don’t get that right. How to? And how to do it within the “post-SDSR environment” ?
– More good reporting on the ups and downs of procurement and program development. That stuff doesn’t go away when politicians speechify. (Like the vikings used to say, sword for show, broadaxe for dough.)

And that’s just the starters.

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
October 15, 2010 11:18 pm

Been off doing husbandly duties (laying a patio) and fatherly chores (helping paint 1/72 scale WW2 commandoes). Just some random thoughts:

Don’t forget this is a 3 way fight. Most often it is played as a straight Services vs HMG fight. But British and foreign defence industry are always sniping from the sidelines, and alway willing to punish specification creep and delays, by pushing up costs.

Just been listening to the defence select committee on BBC Parliament grill the MoD estates managment. Interestingly it appears that they don’t know how much each site the MoD owns (approx 5000) is worth, if sold. Even though they are renking the top 200 sites in order of “value” to Mod Estates. Bewildering – surely one of Estates’ main pruposes is to devise implement and update andasset management plan?!?!?

Any “strategy” has to comprise 3 components. Homeland/territories defence, defence of supply lines to the homeland/teritories, support of defensive operations of allies. How much of that is COIN based and how much is RUSI Strategic Raiding based, more the latter I think?

And, how many more asymmetric operations are on the horizon? Lack of political will, and an unwillingness of “tin-pot dictators” to rick being beaten a cudgel-wielding USA will imit them. Meanwhile the CIS is making territorial claims in the arctic and both North Korea and China are doing the same in the South China sea. The former directly affects NATO allies (Canada and Norway), while the latter could drag commonwealth friends Australia and even India in. Importantly, neither is likely to be an “asymmetric” conflict.

x
x
October 15, 2010 11:56 pm

Ahhhhh! Defence estates. Lovely murky area. A few years back I had a run in with our local RFCA. Can’t say too much as it will give my identity away. But what a bunch of inept t*sser’s. Wish I could say more. Hope they get well and truly done over in the review.

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
October 16, 2010 8:49 pm

One more random thought. Surely it is difficult to have strategy inform the choice of equipment, when strategy reviews occur every 5 years and the equipment takes 10-20 years to materialise. Isn’t this a recipie for feature creep and last minute cancellations? Either we need to accelerate the major equipment projects to harmonise with strategy reviews, or only buy off-the-shelf kit!