Towards the next Defence and Security Review: part one report

Everything was going well until I got to the first sentence

The capabilities of HM Forces should be determined not by budgetary constraints but by a fully-developed strategy which defines the position in the world that the UK wants to adopt

Oh how we laughed

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January 7, 2014 10:25 am

“The Campaign Against Arms Trade argued that “even though most of the

The opportunity presented by the SDSR should be taken to look at all aspects of the
UK’s security with no preconception that these are military. […] Putting support for
human rights at the heart of the UK’s foreign policy will alleviate many of the threats
to UK security.34 ”

Some real pearls of wisdom here on UK strategy. Honestly I think the UK is the only country in the world that gives a s**t about human rights already.
I would love to know which threats to the UK they think more human rights consideration would alleviate.
I’m guessing this was written by Bono or Geldof or some other Irish Musician but I just wish someone would call these people on the BS they so often sprout.

January 7, 2014 10:42 am

So we should just keep giving aid to countries like India….a country that happens to have it’s own space program, nuclear weapons and soon more C-17’s than us to name a few.

The UK really has it’s priorities wrong. Frankly charity starts at home, which sounds cold and possibly short sighted, but i’m sick to death of us giving money away to these countries that should (and can afford) to help themselves.

We have issues here at home that need sorting (not least of which is defence spending, the NHS, and welfare) until we sort our own s**t out who the hell are we to spout off to other countries about how they run themselves.

Rant over (Sorry everyone)

January 7, 2014 10:45 am

“Professor Lindley-French had warned us that defence spending was increasingly seen by
governments as discretionary, and that, instead of the NATO target of spending a
minimum 2% of GDP on defence, the level was now at 1.52% across NATO excluding the
US, and only 1.36% across the EU.62
58. We asked the Secretary of State what would happen if the MoD’s budgeting
assumptions were not met. He explained that:
if the equipment plan real-terms increase doesn’t occur, the equipment plan will be
squeezed by 1% per annum over five years, so at the end of it we will have an
equipment plan that is 5% smaller than we would ideally have liked. […] In my
judgment, if the amount of money available for the defence budget decreased
significantly, we would reach the end of the process by which we can simply take
salami slices off. We would have to ask some serious structural questions about the
type of forces that we were able to maintain.63
We note the Secretary of State’s argument that the defence budget cannot be “salami
sliced” further, and that serious structural questions would be asked about the future shape
of the Armed Forces. Further “salami slicing” would be likely to have a disproportionate
effect on the fighting power of the Armed Forces and significant budget-driven structural
change would be likely to have substantially greater effect. ”

someone is speaking sense atleast

January 7, 2014 10:46 am

To some extent I believe the SDR of 1998 was the most forward thinking defence review we have had in a long time. It’s just a shame it was not resourced and implemented properly.

We already know that £25 Billion needs to be found in government cuts already, so basically more capability cuts/holidays are coming and the use of soft power will be the argument used to justify it.

The Securocrat
January 7, 2014 11:05 am


And there you’ve hit upon one of the fundamental problems with SDR 98. It has a very good reputation as being forward thinking, intenationalist, setting out a place in the world etc. But it was never funded or realised. That isn’t something that just happened separate to the Review, I’d argue – it’s a fundamental flaw in the review itself if its practicality isn’t questioned and understood. In other words, it’s a variation on fantasy fleets. SDSR 2010 had all sorts of problems, as we’ve seen, but it was at least within the realms of reality’ even if we can all point out the conceptual flaws. The ideal review is one that has the conceptual underpinnings of SDR 98, but is as closely linked to money and a Spending Review as SDSR 2010.

January 7, 2014 11:28 am

Most of that report is shite, as are a lot of the written evidence submissions. How come DefenceSynergia only has a paragraph to spare for the army and air force, but several for the Navy? How can that ever be expected to be seen as anything other than a heavily biased submission? The Defence Select Committee picked up about one good thing (the better historical analysis and reporting of campaigns) and then the rest of it is mostly junk.

And final question, can we have the word ‘Strategic’ deleted from the English language please? Along with ‘Littoral’ while we’re at it.

January 7, 2014 11:33 am

@The Securocrat

I agree it would be nice have a combination of both, but we both know it wont happen. My main point about SDR 98 was the willingness to assess our military needs combined with our foreign policy coupled thirdly with the willingness to shake the apple cart a bit when it came to restructuring, such as joint force Harrier and joint helicopter force.

also the understanding of what equipment and formations were needed to fulfill our ambitions, such as the creation of 16 AA brigade, leasing of C17 and the point class RORO’s. Plus the restructuring of units by way of redundancies and amalgamations, coupled with a desire to use the reserves more.

It is all basically the same as SDSR 2010.

I just think that if they followed the same approach we can have a properly structured and resourced defence policy as a whole.

I would like to see something similar If we only have the ability to airlift/sealift a Battlegroup then restructure accordingly, come to terms with what the British public want to spend on defence and if that is the NATO minimum then so be it.

January 7, 2014 11:55 am

I have watched some of the defence committees on TV & web, and at the time have thought them less searching than might have been hoped. However the reports that result have always shown that the committee understands the issues, and understands the subtexts of the evidence. The reports are as far as I can see sound and responsible; they highlight the log-jam issues; those things that prevent UK defence from getting where it needs to go. The sadness is that as a committee its influence is marginal – a Defence Secretary in post for a few weeks will always assume his/her judgement to be far more valuable than that of this long-standing committee. The politicians of course see the bigger picture of their hugely important career progression. And the politician will be supported by the senior civil servants who see the bigger picture of their own promotion prospects and pensions. Good for them.

Slightly more sensible; I see the need to keep spending within budgets. Don’t spend what you don’t have. But there is such a ramshackle approach to gold-plate and money-no-object spend on the glory-projects while at the same time penny-pinching on sound solid defence. Maybe MOD has formed itself into such a contorted overweight process-laden organization that it just can’t operate efficiently no matter how honourable the individuals within might try to act. When more effort is expended on internal powerpoint than on translating user requirement to delivered capability, the plot’s lost. Perhaps the real savings come not from hacking away yet more of the armed forces and their equipment, but from dramatically simplifying the MOD hierarchy, procedures and responsibilities?

January 7, 2014 2:17 pm

The 1998 SDR was a sensible and logical exercise nicely tied into Blair’s foreign policy ambitions. Unfortunately Gordon Brown decided to fund a massive increase in welfare dependency instead so ever since we have had the ambition but not the means. The end result being SDSR10 which is basically SDR98 -minus 35-40%.

January 7, 2014 2:50 pm

‘Unfortunately Gordon Brown decided to fund a massive increase in welfare dependency instead so ever since we have had the ambition but not the means’

I don’t think its just as simple as that, there has been a lot of miss management of the MOD budgets under all parties. It’s not as if they slashed the budget out of the blue by half every year, it was plain incompetence in some aspects of accounting and equipment procurement coupled with not making the hard choices in a timely manner that has got defence to where it is now.

Not putting our money where our mouth is, was only a part of the problem.

January 7, 2014 3:31 pm

The MoD certainly wasted a lot of money on failed procurements, but the scale of the reductions seen since 1998 could only of happened through sustained under-funding.

January 7, 2014 3:37 pm

I agree, but it was a scale that was manageable although not wanted, it was exacerbated by constant deferring of hard decisions and miss management.

January 7, 2014 3:43 pm

DavidNiven I am with you on this one. Blaming someone else for all the woes of the MOD is the clarion call of a dysfunctional organisation.

ChrisB I agree some of the written evidence is poor and partial (defence Synergia are hardly RAND) and the report findings less than earth shattering but which specifically are shite in your view ?

Engineer Tom
Engineer Tom
January 7, 2014 4:08 pm

I have to say considering aid etc as part of security is smart, but it shouldn’t be as part of a review of the MOD it should be considered as part of a wider MOD/DfID/FCO review. Then maybe we can have combined MOD/DfID projects. but using the SDSR as an excuse to increase the amount spent on aid is wrong, it is similar to why I believe the DfID don’t want to pay for humanitarian actions by the MOD.

January 7, 2014 4:12 pm

Military spending is not productive; it’s preservative at most. There’s almost never more to be gained by military action than you’re bound to lose in it. This has to sink in.

The concept of “ambition” doesn’t really apply to “national security” once there’s a consensus in favour of maintaining full sovereignty. “ambition” in a security policy review is about luxuries, about nice-to-have-if-you-ignore-costs things. That’s not “ambition”, but a craving for power, milporn, feeling of superiority, confirmation by clubs and role model powers. It may also be a craving for bargaining chips, but those are only valid in a casino that doesn’t allow you to leave with more than you entered.

The United Kingdom would easily be able to conclude that given its geographic position and alliances a military budget half the size of the current one would be acceptable if it was only spent rather efficiently.

It’s rarely a good idea to discuss a budget until you’ve squeezed the overhead structures hard and cracked down on procurement sloppiness, for example.

For starters, outlaw all contract details that sink costs quickly. Procurement is never going to be efficient as long as future decisionmakers are bound to continue a program by intentionally inflated sunk costs. It needs to be practical to cancel a program, or else the contractors have no incentive to trim fat from it.
A single law about this could help more than 0.2% GDP extra spending per year for decades to come.

The Securocrat
The Securocrat
January 7, 2014 4:45 pm


That is precisely the purpose of the NSS and SDSR – it isn’t just a MOD review, it affects MOD, DFID and the FCO (through the conflict pool), the Home Office, Cabinet Office spending on the National Security Secretariat and Joint Intelligence Organisation, and the Single Intelligence Account, amongst other things.

January 7, 2014 6:08 pm

““We believe that there is a persuasive case for a national strategy to be incorporated in the National Security Strategy,…” – I’m sorry, but that’s as far as I got before I started swearing at the screen. Will try again later; perhaps after a bit of Hen.

January 7, 2014 7:36 pm

The United Kingdom would easily be able to conclude that given its geographic position and alliances a military budget half the size of the current one would be acceptable if it was only spent rather efficiently.

That we are engaged globally is not a choice. That our interests are therefore global is not a choice. That defending those interests is entirely beyond our military capabilities is not a choice. That global actors wax and wain within periods of 5 years or so is not a choice.

Therefore any decent review will have at its core

(i) the ability to re-generate or up-scale heavy warfighting capability (as unlikely as it seems today)
(ii) acknowledgement of our global engagement and global vulnerability (defence force is not an option)
(iii) That alliances are a fundamental part of meeting our global security needs and that we should be in the driving seat of such alliances (which means having some USPs which includes a potent operational grouping of ground forces).

In addition having small, rapidly deployable forces of light, medium and heavy forces able to act unilaterally in non-complex interventions in our sole interest, where such occasions do occur, are a necessary adjunct (with the caveat that small sized groupings such as this are actually wildly and disproportionately expensive).


Because people like kit what do my four requirements mean kit wise:

(i) means an armoured division (+) on the ground, it means 2x aircraft carriers, SSNs and AAW DDGs at sea and it means the full suite of air power capabilities even in small numbers.
(ii) means investing in the kit needed to move our forces around (air movements, air and sea mounting centres, RFA support, tankers, etc) and the need to forward base kit where required.
(iii) means an armoured division, a CVBG and an AEW with the full suite again of airpower. It also means ISTAR etc

It is the rapid reaction adjuncts that actually cost the big bucks since it has to be ready, whereas all the above could be done with a lower readiness state (mostly TA armoured division, CVF in extended readiness, reserve pilots for airframes etc).

January 7, 2014 10:00 pm

@ TweckySpat
“ChrisB I agree some of the written evidence is poor and partial (defence Synergia are hardly RAND) and the report findings less than earth shattering but which specifically are shite in your view ?”
— The first page is consumed with the words strategy and strategic, and a call to define these terms. These terms already have definitions. Strategy = a plan. Strategic = used to mean “in relation to strategy”, but has since been hijacked by the business world to mean “of large, overarching scope”. The problem is not the definitions, the problem is letting people use the word Strategy like it was “the” or “and”. A recommendation that Strategy and Strategic be dropped from the defence lexicon would solve most of the committees problems with the word.

They also bemoan heavily the fact that money was the main driver of the SDSR. They’re not only 4 years late in catching up with everyone else, but they also don’t seem to have the “shrug your shoulders and accept that’s how it works” attitude that would save them a lot of strife. All reviews are going to be shaped by money to some degree. By comparison, we could revolutionise the education and health sectors if we wanted to make them not only the best in the world, but untouchable. It would cost more money than we have though. The same applies largely to defence. The fact that the SDSR includes a quote about financial stability being a major threat doesn’t seem to have sunk in, despite the fact the committee quoted it.

The section about the UKs place in the world is in the wrong report, for the simple reason that the military doesn’t decide this. The MoD doesn’t get to chose what role the UK plays in the world, the government at large will, along with economic and other factors.

And so on and so forth. The whole thing just seems to be a show. It’s so grand on rhetoric and short on substance that I fail to see how the MoD could use this report to help “inform” their next review in a meaningful way. It’s almost like the committee just got bored.

Swimming Trunks
Swimming Trunks
January 7, 2014 10:22 pm

Commons defence committee chairman quits to prevent ‘conflict of interest’

The Securocrat
January 7, 2014 10:25 pm


I’m going to agree that the words are overused, horribly so, then significantly disagree on your explanations (politely!).

Strategy does *not* equal a plan. That’s the Foreign Office view all to often, and why they tend to mock ‘strategy’, because they think it is too fragile. A plan says “I’m going to do this, then this, and then that”. It is a sequenced and choreographed description of a set of events and decisions.

A strategy should be an *approach*. Hopefully this doesn’t sound like pedantry. A strategy sets out your view of how you approach a problem – what you think you are intending to achieve (which is a re-statement of your policy); your assumptions; your tolerances; your priorities; what you have to achieve this, and the way in which you intend to use them. But it should be a framework for your approach, not a specific plan. Plans change a lot (‘first contact with the enemy’ and all that). But a strategy should have slightly more permanence, albeit flexible, and also subject to change if you really think your whole approach is wrong.

Strategic has two meanings. ‘Relating to strategy’ is the generic one you decry, and rightly it’s a bit meaningless. It’s bandied around by anyone who wants to sound clever: “ooh, that’s very strategic”. To me, strategic relates to the levels of warfare, and in Defence terms (off the top of my head) the ‘strategic level’ is “The level at which national resource is allocated to a campaign” – for campaign you can substitute ‘problem’. So strategic decisions are:

Should we do this? (start a new campaign/military action\national engagement etc)
Why should we do this?
For what purpose and to achieve what?
What resources am I prepared to commit to this – and for how long?
What level of pain am I prepared to accept?

Of course this is influenced by how you then order and organise your campaign (the operational level) and what people are actually doing on the ground (the tactical level), but I’d argue that this is one of the Committee’s complaints – they think the NSC is spending too much time fiddling with the hows, and not enough time looking at the whats and whys. This isn’t new – Churchill was a famous meddler, but he had Alanbrooke to push back against him.

So yes, those words are bandied about all too often – but if used properly, they still have meaning.

January 7, 2014 11:09 pm

@ The Securocrat,

“Strategy does *not* equal a plan”
— From the Oxford English Dictionary: Strategy – noun – a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.

The problem with everyone putting forward their own definitions for the word strategy is that the word becomes meaningless. It becomes whatever people want it to mean. Subsequently you end up with ten people sitting around a table who can’t understand each other because they’re all using their own definitions. The whole point of having a common lexicon that is universal to all its speakers is that it eases communication. Thus when I say “dog”, you know exactly what I’m talking about, and aren’t likely to mistake it for a cow.

” A plan says “I’m going to do this, then this, and then that”. It is a sequenced and choreographed description of a set of events and decisions”
— It depends. Your plan might be quite flexible. My plan for the next three months might be to allow my junior to solve problems how he sees fit using his own initiative, and then I’ll correct any errors later. A plan can be very perscriptive, or it can be very flexible.

“A strategy sets out your view of how you approach a problem – what you think you are intending to achieve (which is a re-statement of your policy); your assumptions; your tolerances; your priorities; what you have to achieve this, and the way in which you intend to use them.”
— I think you’re putting the cart before the horse. The assumptions, tolerances and priorities are not part of the plan, they’re the things that inform the plan. They come first, then the strategy comes later.

“To me, strategic relates to the levels of warfare, and in Defence terms (off the top of my head) the ‘strategic level’ is “The level at which national resource is allocated to a campaign” – for campaign you can substitute ‘problem’.”
— Can you see how this relates back to the earlier problem I mentioned? Your sentence starts “To me, strategic relates…”. And boom, right there you’ve gone off in your own direction. Anyone that doesn’t understand “strategic” in the same manner that you do is now on a completely different wavelength and anything you say from this point onwards is wasted because you and they will be thinking about different things.

The Securocrat
January 7, 2014 11:31 pm


Ha, you have nailed me that my definition of ‘properly’ is ‘everyone who agrees with me’. But that’s why I used that form of words for ‘the strategic level’: they’re from British Defence Doctrine. We already have a definition of ‘strategic’, or rather ‘the strategic level’; it’s being ignored.

‘Strategy’ is more difficult, but I’m not ready to ban it yet. I just think that it needs to be distinguished from planning for the reasons above. And again, British Defence Doctrine talked about strategy being ‘the coordinated application of the instruments of national power’ or something like that; planning is what flows from strategy. But I take it you think planning and strategy are essentially the same thing?

I’m not sure what your ‘cart before horse’ comment refers to above; have I missed something, because I agree those assumptions, tolerance etc aren’t part of the plan? The plan does indeed come later. The thing that comes first is the strategy. Sequence of events is strategy-plan-action (plus feedback to keep checking your strategy is actually working).

As a (very shorthand) example, I’ve often heard it said the Allies had a simple strategy for the Second World War: ‘Europe First’. Now that’s a bit glib, but it helps illustrate a point. The ‘approach’ (in my world, strategy) was to prioritise Europe above the Pacific; to assume that they could hold the line against Japan; to commit the majority of their forces to defeat Germany and Italy; and to maintain an alliance with Russia. The plan (sequence of events) ended up being clear North Africa – invade Sicily – conduct an amphibious landing in Normandy – cross the Rhine. It could have been different; jump straight in to Italy, or go straight to France, or perhaps go in via Pas-De Calais and not Normandy, or perhaps put more into Market Garden. But the strategy (approach, resources, priorities) would have remained broadly the same. So that’s why I (again, making your point about language and the sun revolving around me) think planning and strategy can be regarded as related by different activities.

January 8, 2014 12:46 am

@ The Securocrat,

“The plan does indeed come later. The thing that comes first is the strategy”
— No, the plan is the strategy. They’re the same thing. Strategy means plan. ‘What’s your strategy?’ is the same as ‘what’s your plan?’. ‘We have a strategy for dealing with this situation’ is the same as ‘we have a plan for dealing with this situation’. The two words mean the same thing.

Going to your world war 2 example, the assumptions, the priorities, the analysis etc came first. Then from that was born the strategy (plan) of “Europe first”. The sequence of events is merely another layer of planning. So “Europe first” is your global strategy. Africa next is your regional strategy. Going into Normandy instead of Pas de Calais is your theatre level strategy.

All along the way Strategy is just another word for plan. If you replace the word plan for strategy above (our global plan, our regional plan, our theatre plan) the meaning doesn’t (or shouldn’t) change. The only real variance is that strategies are considered more long term plans.

Brian Black
Brian Black
January 8, 2014 1:51 am

” The report points out the lack of understanding amongst the public of why we have Armed Forces ”

This is critical to the armed forces, but often overlooked. If defence is not a public priority, then the armed forces will wither.

No one makes much of a case for conventional forces though. We hear about the (probably overblown) threats from cyber attacks, and about rogue states itching to nuke us, but not much in the way of enemies with armies to defeat.

January 8, 2014 1:57 am

What worries me is that in the overall conclusion to this report they agree that ‘we need a strategy’. Stunning conclusion. I’ll happily ‘red team’ that one (another utterly pointless term).

I also object to the criticism of the ‘spending’ part of SDSR2010. So we realised we had a huge deficit in our finances and tried to do something about it (albeit, possible, a little ham-fistedly but I defy anyone to convincingly prove there was a better way it could have been done). That is the biggest, most significant outcome of the whole report – it showed that we cannot simply hand out blank cheques for everybody’s favourite fantasy equipment list. Economics is fundamental to the national survival strategy and we must operate within our budgets. The operation and exercise of an armed fighting force is only one tool to ensure that the nation survives. If we are to truly have a Strategic Defence and Security Review, then is has to go all the way across every arm of Government and not just Defence.

Maybe the term ‘grand strategy’ is more relevant.

Can we reopen the ‘littoral’ debate – that was funny last time, quite enjoyed it!

Brian Black
Brian Black
January 8, 2014 2:15 am

” We already know that £25 Billion needs to be found in government cuts already, so basically more capability cuts/holidays are coming ”

A few more millions saved for every month that Tornado’s out of service date is brought forward. Same for HMS Ocean.

Increasingly tempting to shrink the 2020 Army Reserves, and leave what’s left with crappy equipment.

January 8, 2014 7:26 am

“The 1998 SDR was a sensible and logical exercise nicely tied into Blair’s foreign policy ambitions. Unfortunately Gordon Brown decided to fund a massive increase in welfare dependency instead so ever since we have had the ambition but not the means. The end result being SDSR10 which is basically SDR98 -minus 35-40%.”

I’m sorry but that is simply a myth the link below gives a summery of what actually happened with spending 1997-2010, it breaks it down to before and after the impact of the world financial system dissolving in 2008 and compares it to the previous Government of 79-97.

Total public spending went up, a lot as a share of national income and national income was growing. The extra income mainly went to the priorities that were publicaly announced and they won 3 elections on, namely NHS and education. What fell compared to 1997 and to the average of 79-97, ironically welfare dependency and debt interest 2 of the things the media narrative says went up enormously.

Welfare brown increased payments to pensioners with one off headline grabbing stunts like free TV liscence and winter fuel payments, he then one year only gave them a 75p increase which was standard RPI inflation and inflation was low that year and they all got angry. He reacted by giving above inflation increases afterwards, Cameron reacted by promising to bring back the link with earnings which had been broken in 1980 and earnings ‘normally’ rise more than inflation, Cameron has kept the increased payments to pensioners and is in the process of promising to keep it out to 2020. brown increased ‘in-work’ benefits especially for families with children, but we are coming off an era of 3,000,000 plus on the dole for most of the previous 20 years, his welfare payments were lower overall than the periods of high unemployment and they were aimed at getting people into work.

Debt and intrest payments ironically also fell till 2008, remember Brown payed down debt, ran a surplus in the first term, and we were in a period of historically low interest rates, over the whole period we were paying less in debt intrest payments than over 79-97. With hindsight the deficit was too high in the run up to 2008 but the entire political class had believed what is now seen as a temporary booming ecconomy as simply normal and the conservatives agreed with the spending plans.

In terms of Defence there never was a promise of a big increase in spending in SDSR 1998, there was ambition, there was a promise that defence would see a status quo share of a growing ecconomy. But 1997 saw a campaign of 24 hours to save the NHS not 24 hours to save the MoD. Some part of the MoD believed the either had been given a promise of a significant increase, or that if they refused to make difficult decisions of cutting x to fund y then the nice man from the Treasury will fund both. They kept believing that the difficult decisions could be put off because either the ‘extra’ money would come along or at least they could keep the level of spending but the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan would be over. The tension between operations and spending is also part of the story in 2001 US ‘went to war’ and spending went up a lot, and we were operating along side them. UK saw it as taking part in operations, some spending was badged as being related to UOR’s or other operational costs but overall defence spending grew 1997-2010, a part of the issue is the Treasury saw all spending as a single amount to be prioritised by the MoD, the MoD wanted to argue that x doesn’t count because that relates to operations.

Towards the end of the labour term it then became very political with campaigns by the Telegraph and the Murdoch press as good as accusing brown of having blood on his hands over each individual death! due to not enough helicopters or body armour or snatch land rover etc! not enough men deployed in Afghanistan with he force driven up from an initial 2500 based on military advice that it was big enough to meet the objective in Helmand, to 10,000 by the time labour left office. Funny how all the headlines in the Torygraph about not enough men or equipment in Helmand stopped after the election. Assuming labour win in 2015, you have a generation of politicians that are bitter that their perception is we took advice from Dannett etc that Afghanistan was low risk and we had the resources and they then ran to the press and blamed the politicians when it went wrong. That is not going to lead to a generation wanting to prioritise MoD spending.

The UK public support the troops, more than historically partly because they do not support the campaigns, so they are embaressed that they have not been able to stop the politicians to send ‘our boys’ into danger and so want if they are going to go, the troops to have adequate equipment. That makes it hard going forward to argue for increases in spending to support the ability to go on operations. The average member of the public does not support the operations!

January 8, 2014 7:58 am

H’mm, I suggest a bit of attention to Freedman’s (that’s Prof Sir Lawrence to you) recent book Strategy – a history. I think he makes it clear that a strategy is not a plan.

The Securocrat
January 8, 2014 8:26 am


You sneaky iconoclast, I suspect that rather ends the discussion, since I think we fundamentally disagree. I was going to use a brilliant/absurd metaphor of going shopping, but it probably won’t work…

It does make me wonder though: if that stuff like setting out your approach which comes first isn’t planning (because the plan follows) and it isn’t ‘strategising’ or strategy (because that’s just another word for plan), then what *is* it? What’s the verb? What are you doing?

And please don’t tell those nice chaps at Infinity Journal that ‘strategy’ should be banned, I think their heads would explode:

January 8, 2014 8:37 am


I am with Chris B on this one. Words matter, it’s pretty much all we have until we can conduct the SDSR via sock puppetry. Don’t get me started on infographics….

It is interesting that Ledwidge and Jermy ‘s books (both worth a read IMHO) have gained this much traction. I think there is genuine value in having this debate – if not for the cognoscenti of TD-dom but certainly in HMG. Comprehensive Approach anyone ?

January 8, 2014 9:58 am


Not a myth at all. SDR98 was never properly funded, whether it was said it would be funded is a different matter, the point is it was not. It is common knowledge that preparations for Iraq were deliberately retarded for political reasons and that the threat in Helmand was understated for similar purposes. The equipment stories didn’t stop after 2010- there were plenty after that they just slowed in frequency because the UOR funding started to produce results.

January 8, 2014 10:39 am

‘The tension between operations and spending is also part of the story in 2001 US ‘went to war’ and spending went up a lot, and we were operating along side them. UK saw it as taking part in operations, some spending was badged as being related to UOR’s or other operational costs but overall defence spending grew 1997-2010, a part of the issue is the Treasury saw all spending as a single amount to be prioritised by the MoD, the MoD wanted to argue that x doesn’t count because that relates to operations’

And there in lies one of the problems of the last two operations we entered into, treating 2 operations like they were a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia and trying to fund them from the core budget that had already been mismanaged in the previous years.

We then couple that with the senior leadership who did’nt have the balls to say we cant do this without money for x and y, who decide instead to say that if we didn’t have bog roll in our webbing we were shit soldiers.

(That tea bag eyed old C**t had been dining out on the Kosovo airfield incident for too long!)

‘The UK public support the troops’

Not entirely true, some sections in the country believed its easier to label members of the society thugs and murderers because you expected them to behave like policemen without the training. Then add to that their own guilt in voting back in a government that went to war on fragile claims, because you thought you had an extra quid in your pocket.

January 8, 2014 10:57 am

@ Obsvr,
Could you please explain the principle that underpins the notion that because one man wrote a book about a word, that completely changes the global definition of it? If he wrote a book entitled “Dogs – a study of the feline species”, would that suddenly make the word “dog” become synonymous with “cats”?

@ The Securocrat,
“I was going to use a brilliant/absurd metaphor of going shopping, but it probably won’t work”
— See, now all of a sudden I’m very interested.

“if that stuff like setting out your approach which comes first isn’t planning (because the plan follows) and it isn’t ‘strategising’ or strategy (because that’s just another word for plan), then what *is* it?”
— That depends what you mean by setting out your approach? If you’re setting out your approach to how you’re going to achieve your aims, that’s planning/strategy. You can have a strategy/plan for collecting information and analysing it.

@ David Niven (and all in general) re; public support,
Take it from someone who has lived and worked in/near a garrison town for a long time, once the headlines have faded and the medal supply dries up, people will be back to their standard peace time view of the armed forces. Which is “fucking squaddies” etc. People have short memories.

January 8, 2014 11:16 am

@ Brian Black

‘Increasingly tempting to shrink the 2020 Army Reserves, and leave what’s left with crappy equipment.’

I don’t agree, I think the idea of having a decently equipped and funded reserve is good value for money. The problems come with how this is managed and leveraging the right skills from the reservists to compliment the regulars rather than trying to copy them in their own vision.

The plan of increasing the reserves is also now a political issue with what happened in the commons regarding the plan a short while back. I also found that none of the senior officers publicly coming out to endorse the plan (which they signed off on) very telling.

January 8, 2014 11:17 am

@ David Niven

The treasury did fund the wars out of its contingency budget and defence spending was approaching 3% of GDP in the mid 2000’s but I agree the treasury probably got pissed off that not only was it having to pay for the operations but also billions for kit that the military should already have had. Its easy to say the last government did not meet the 2.5% of GDP commitment but it was not far off of it. It was overtaken by A) circumstance, fighting two major wars at the same time and B) cost over runs of largely legacy equiptment such as Typhoon, T45 and astute that were started by the previous government.

The government also poured billions into health, education and benefits but I think the health budget has increased as a share of GDP under every government since 1948 and people elected labour in 97 to spend more on the NHS and education that was their democratic mandate.

atleast the last government had ambition and policy weather or not you agreed with them there was direction.this current government is bereft of any ambition. we can say that its due to lack of money but I feel that’s an excuse. we can have strategy and ambition even on a budget.

The last time the UK had any strategy was in 2009 creating the G20 and coming up with a format for economic recovery with QE and buying bank shares. everyone slated them at the time for this but if it had not been for the work of The Treasury under darling and the BOE things would have been much worse world wide. The USA and eventually Europe literally copied the directions set by the UK in 2009.

Politicans generally reflect the people who vote for them and if we look at the great majority of people in the UK it’s not hard to see why the current governments most exiting policy is knocking £50 of gas bills and making sure the basic state pension keeps rising with no relation to earnings, inflation or the economy. the fact is the vast majority of the country only care about what they can get and care little for the bigger picture or national good.

Christopher Rose
Christopher Rose
January 8, 2014 11:46 am

DavidNiven – ref senior rank public statements – I suspect the chiefs of staff were given a stark choice by the defence secretary – something like “Either you accept 10,000 extra Reserves and a cut of 20,000 Regulars, or a cut of 18,000 Regulars – which will you take?” I very much doubt the defence chiefs liked any of the options available and have no stomach for trying to look pleased with the force reduction plans.

January 8, 2014 11:53 am

Christopher Rose – ref senior rank public statements – regardless of the choices given them they signed off on the plan. the fact that they did not publicly endorse it is poor leadership in IMO it sends out the wrong message to reserves and regulars alike. As I mentioned above they seem pretty keen to come out publicly when trying to defend the under equipping of the armed forces or with the begging bowl when it suites them.

The Securocrat
January 8, 2014 1:55 pm


You may doubt the sincerity, but I don’t understand where the claim the Chiefs have been publicly silent comes from. When it was announced both CGS and VCDS made statements:

January 8, 2014 2:11 pm

I think the chiefs were prepared to take a hit in the short to medium term with the hope/understanding when things got better budgets could start to rise again. However osbournes ambition seems to be to copy the T part and Angela Merkel and go for never ending surplus with continuous cuts for ever. if this is his ambition and then he should just cut now. Their is zero point in a long protracted budget cut for defence. better to just cut straight to what ever the long term budget will be. otherwise we will have to keep starting programs then cancelling them and wasting more money. This is what SDSR should have been about, what is the budget we are willing to pay out in the longer term, what force structure do we want for that budget.

January 8, 2014 3:22 pm

The Securocrat,

thanks for the link but I was alluding to the more recent events in the house of commons with the defence questions sessions where some MP’s were trying to slow the pace of the reductions in the regular force until the reserves were at full strength and that it had been fully costed in terms of savings.

We all know they were not really bothered about the savings it was tabled to slow the reduction in regulars due to the lack of confidence in the capabilities of the reserves, sir Humphry wrote a good piece on his blog.

Lack of a public statement by the joint chiefs was a telling show of their views, but they should have come out and told the MP’s to wind their necks in, this is the plan we come up with to suite the budget and requirements you as a house/government have set us if your not happy put your money where your mouth is.

Instead they give out a message to the regulars that we don’t indorse the plan because we think the reserves are as S**t as well, but don’t worry once these nasty men are out of office and the next lot are in things will go back to normal.
To the reserves thanks for Iraq and Afghan but the professionals can handle things from now on, you just go back to playing soldiers there’s a nice lot because its a C**p plan and we only said yes to keep the politicians happy.

If they do not believe any regular, reservist or potential recruit with half a brain has not received that message then they are very wrong.

The Securocrat
January 8, 2014 4:11 pm


Ah, got it. But I think the reality is a bit more complicated than that. The MoD has had a habit of pushing people in uniform forwards to make public statements over the past years, knowing that Ministers aren’t trusted. But this has had the effect of tarring some figures in uniform as ‘too political’ (and of course some have willingly entered into those debates). The use of seniors and Chiefs is therefore a difficult decision and process within MoD. In this case, the rumblings from the backbenches, especially a large number of Conservative MPs, was seen as a very political fight, and it would have not been appropriate for Ministers to use the Chiefs to fight their battle. That’s especially true if it’s a Commons debate – Ministers are there to defend the policy. It would have been seen as doubly unnecessary given that CDS and CGS were both going in front of the HCDC to discuss these issues in a more formal setting.

Now the fact that the forces undoubtedly wouldn’t have done this out of pure choice is there too, and so this is convenient for the Chiefs, but in the case of that particular episode, it was an argument where Ministers needed to lead the debate (such as it was).

January 8, 2014 4:15 pm

@ David Niven

I would agree with you about the army’s distain for the reserves. I was in the TA for four years and felt our primary role was to supply kit to the regular army who would always rummage through our stuff when ever we went on manuvers . Even if we were not cutting the regulars I would have argued for a much bigger and more capable reserve force.

Just look at what the USA has been achieving with around 40% of deployed forces coming from the reserves. I dare say their are a great many jobs in the military done better by reservists with experience from outside the military everything from logistics to medicine and IT. However our reserve force still looks very much like the TA just simply providing extra battalions to army formations to make up the numbers.

a lot more could be done to get people into the reserves like offering apprenticeships to you people or paying for doctors and nurses to go to university but as yet I have seen zero effort on the part of the MOD or government. Just hiring a recruitment firm to bring in the numbers is no where near enough.

From my understanding of other NATO forces I would say the UK has one of the worst policy’s concerning reservists and I dare say its a result of having the longest standing professional army of any country.

January 8, 2014 4:21 pm


Yeah I understand that the politics of the issue is something the service chiefs should try to keep a distance from but I think in this instance a statement made to keep the armed forces on track would have helped to reinforce the point that this is the only game in town and that there is no turning back.

Maybe not to the public but to the armed forces at least, as it is a morale and effectiveness issue IMO.

January 8, 2014 4:23 pm

The issue with the back bench MP’s rumblings is it appeared to have nothing to do with preserving capability and everything to do with keeping cap badges. where were these back benchers when we decided to jack in naval aviation and ditch maratime patrol capability (arguably one of the only true aspects of UK defence). how many were squking in the commons when a Russian Carrier Group showed up off Inverness.

No one seemed to make much of a noise about this or asked the government to wait until future plans could be tested. however threaten to ditch a battalion of fusiliers and suddenly the country faces an imminent threat that reservists could not possibly handle.

January 8, 2014 4:26 pm

@ martin,

I can understand where you are coming from regarding the view of the reserves by the regulars, I have to admit I had the same opinion when I was a young Sapper. However recent tours have opened my eyes somewhat and I think the reserves can add a genuine value to the regulars if it is done properly.

I would say look at the way the medical services on recent deployments to see how reserves can compliment and enhance military capabilities to the benefit of both the armed forces and NHS.

January 8, 2014 4:36 pm

Like offering apprenticeships to you people or paying for doctors and nurses to go to university but as yet I have seen zero effort on the part of the MOD or government. Just hiring a recruitment firm to bring in the numbers is no where near enough.

Doctors can indeed (or used to be able to) get a cadetship and a bursary to get them through Uni – they were paid a 2LTs wage if I remember correctly during their Uni time. My memory fades but anyway we had a few of them in my original TA unit – they didn’t get MTDs as they were salaried.

As for apprenticeships. Fine but you can’t expect the MoD to stump up big bucks for someone who can walk away whenever they like. If people want to do such things I’m all for it but it means giving time back to the Army for it and that means a minimum commitment for x number of years.

January 8, 2014 4:48 pm

I’m with Phil on apprenticeships for the reserves, but I see nothing wrong with offering golden handshakes to suitably qualified personnel with a minimum commitment attached.

Something on the lines of what was offered to teachers maybe.

January 8, 2014 4:55 pm

@ Phil – why can’t they have reservist contracts that tie them in for a period of time. it’s not the boys scouts. This is the issue the reserves are not suppose to be the TA but the attitude is the same.

we could easily offer young people the ability to do a short service in the regulars, learn a trade or skill that would serve them well on civy street and keep them as a reservist for a minimum of 5 or 10 years once they leave. as with the regular army if they want out they have to pay.

Everything from aircraft and helicopter maintenance to truck drivers and mechanics could be sourced in this way. use these forces to make up the numbers on an armoured brigade that’s likely to only ever be employed once in a blue moon for a proper war instead of trying to pretend we can use a reserve PARA battalion to make up the numbers on our premier rapid reaction force.

I just don’t see any imagination in the reserve force and I suspect that’s down to the top brass not wanting it.

As David points out there are many jobs reservists can do and I dare say their are many they can’t and are best left to the regulars.

January 8, 2014 6:11 pm

I just don’t see any imagination in the reserve force and I suspect that’s down to the top brass not wanting it.

Always the top brasses fault.

Maybe it is hard to change TA terms of service because doing so crosses several policy boundaries and Government Departments? Maybe it is just a very hard thing to accomplish. If you give TA soldiers minimum terms you have to consult with employers, if you offer to train them you have to ensure the training is accredited and so forth, if you pay them more you have to consider impact on benefits and so forth. Increasing commitments requires employer support or nobody will join up and the exercise is one of futility as you’ll end up with the ones that shag the door of the TAC anyway and the others won’t be able to stay in. To get employer support means you can’t burden them with more red-tape- but to guarantee jobs there has to be some regulation and red tape.

It isn’t the case like with regulars you can change terms of service and that’s that. Changing TA TofS is a very big deal if you’re not going to completely fuck things up.

I imagine the top brass want it very much – I imagine they hit a lot of opposition from other ministers and other civil servants who only see the negative impact TA changes have on their portfolios – ie more employment law, more tribunals, more money etc etc

January 8, 2014 7:54 pm
Reply to  Derek


SDSR 98 was not fully funded, even if we were never promised it would be!! The point of a review it to match capabilities to threats to available resources, if we wrote a review and assumed money was no object but it would somehow turn up this a problem, the treasury view is the MoD told them they could deliver the SDSR within the available resources.

Preperations for Iraq were delayed for political reasons, 100% agree the politicians lied to delay preperations until Parliament had formally agree, while the US had been openly preparing for months, one issue is the Senior Military people did not say we have to go in as second or third echelon because we are not prepared, both politicians and Senior military wanted the kudos of going in almost as equals with the US. At the time Labour was split and almost as many Labour MPs voted against as for, and over time more of those who voted for lost their seats, of those who are left they blame Blair personally and their view is we are never doing that again. The Conservatives view at the time was even more pro-war than Labour, but the view now is it was all that horrible man Blair and nothing to do with us!

Helmand is different, the politicians view is it wasn’t our idea. Blair is still in office, his priority if he thought he could get away with it politically was supporting Bush in the surge in Iraq, but he eventually accepted it was not politically sustainable. Brown was not pushing the idea. Reid is Defence Secretary and and is very cautious about about the NATO expansion in Afghanistan, he refuses to sign off until he has got commitment that the Dutch and Canadians will provide equivalent forces for the provinces on either side of Helmand, and that we were leaving after 3 years with some other country taking over. He was serious about the comment we would be happy to leave without firing a shot, and it made sense based on the briefings he had been given. By the time the troops are arriving Reid is being reshuffled out and Des Browne arriving and no one admits to resposibility for the decision to move small numbers of forces to the North of Helmand splitting the force of only 3000 over all of Helmand. None of the politicians were pushing for Helmand, if the risks and threats were minimised it was by the UK senior military! to hide the risks from reluctant politicians. The military have ever since been evasive over who made what decisions with British officer in charge of ISAF at the time! and 16AAB reporting to both ISAF in Kabul and direct to London and all the individuals subsequently hinting that it was the other ones idea! There was no political pressure to get in to Helmand.

The Securocrat
January 8, 2014 9:40 pm


I think Stratego-crat is better than Pedanto-crat! And I’m arguing that words do matter, in terms of needing a common understanding across government.

Chris – I was referring to you noting “Going to your world war 2* example, the assumptions, the priorities, the analysis etc came first.” So what are those things in lieu of being ‘the plan’?

I don’t want to flog a dead horse, or be acrimonious, and like I said, I think we aren’t going to agree. But I think it’s as important to talk through some of these things as it is to drool over equipment. I’d like to see apdated MOD reform article on here at some point this year, for example.

*It’s the Second World War, not ‘World War 2’, which makes it sound like a film sequel. NOW you can call me the Pedantocrat…

January 8, 2014 10:01 pm

Well there’s the Central European / North African Littoral War of Sep 1939-Dec 1941 and then there’s the Second World War from December 7 1941 to 1945. ;-)

January 8, 2014 11:41 pm

@ The Pedantocrat ;)

Well, technically it was a sequel…

Hopefully it isn’t coming across as acrimonious. That’s one of the problems with the interwebs, no context. Makes you appreciate all the more just how much of our communication is done through body language, tone of voice etc.

” I was referring to you noting “Going to your world war 2* example, the assumptions, the priorities, the analysis etc came first.” So what are those things in lieu of being ‘the plan’?”
— Horizon scanning ;)

In a sense you answered your own question. You have a period of intelligence gathering, trying to build up a picture of the German forces, their strength, their equipment, their intentions etc. Then analysis. Then a strategy/plan is formed to meet the threat. Then the cycle repeats (or really takes place concurrently) of intelligence gathering, analysis and the formulation of new plans/strategies.

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy
January 9, 2014 12:03 am

Can’t help feeling that the Reserves issue is intractable because doing it well (a highly desirable outcome in my view) is almost as costly as maintaining similar numbers of regulars; but as we know the real reason for doing it at all is to reduce costs….the two objectives are pretty much irreconcilable…

– I like that, but you’ll be on the naughty step if you aren’t careful!

January 9, 2014 6:13 am

@ Phil – I agree with your point and its not all the top brasses fault. I agree we can’t change the TA contracts but nothing to stop us changing the contracts for new people coming in.

I also agree we need to change employment laws to protect reserves. They are trying to do the reserves on the cheap and it won’t work. The only thing I ma hearing from the military is that we have to keep more regulars because the reserves won’t work. No one seems to be saying how we can make the reserves work.

January 9, 2014 8:24 am

Er, not constrained by budget? When did that happen? Equipping and maintaining an army/navy/air force has ALWAYS been constrained by budget, even during times of war where normal considerations get thrown out of the window, otherwise can you explain the UK’s debt to the US post WW-II? And even more so in times of peace as Russia and now the UK is finding out.

To kill a T-72, you can use LGBs or 120mm cannons. To kill an army corp of T-72s, you use a budget cut.

They can plan and niche all they want, but the most important question is not the relevance of the armed forces, even ceremonial forces can be equipped to the point of gold plating (Vatican Guards anyone?), but “Are they willing to fund a force like this?”. Money makes the world go round (English saying). Money is not omnipotent, but without money, anything would become impotent. (Chinese saying).

Is the UK government willing to pay?

The Securocrat
January 9, 2014 8:56 am


Not at all from you, I just know I occasionally come across as pompous.

I think we agree on the process as you describe it. I’ve always regarded horizon scanning as being a strongly intelligence-led activity, but I think the horizon scanning review conducted by the government last year didn’t put central horizon-scanning under the Joint Intelligence Committee because of the significant parts of it which also involve testing policy, which is a lot of what you describe above.

Incidentally, notwithstanding the ignorance of the journlists involved, it seems that Hew Strachan has a new bookk out on strat…er..planning:

I’ll probably get it, but I can’t help but be a little irritated by the quotes at the end from a ‘senior officer’. There’s far too much of this narrative within the FCO and MOD that it’s all the fault of those ignorant politicians. They are ignorant, and they should accept some of the blame. But in my experience, a *lot* of mistakes have been made by civil servants and officers within the ministries, and to pick up on tweckyspat’s point, that is why I found Ledgwidge’s first book interesting. Notwithstanding the passion which means it dips in the middle a bit 9he acknowledges he was angry when he wrote it), it rightly points out that officials have also been found to be deficient in the campaigns of the last twelve years.

And of course our Chinese colleagues would suggest that 1937 is the year it all kicked off….

Peter Elliott
January 9, 2014 10:12 am

Maybe someone could do a propper article or two for us on Ocean Safari and Reforger?

Focusing not just on on the headline force deployments but also on some of the logistics and less known support elements that were needed to make the teeth arms effective.

The last article could perhaps comppare those with our current capabilities which would give a good undertanding of our current degree of strategic reach.

January 9, 2014 11:43 am

Quite a bit around the web on Spearpoint/Crusader 80 eg (cut from ARRSE) Apart from the scale, it only lasted 10 days of FTX….

Exercise type: FTX


1st (UK) Armoured Division

2nd (UK) Armoured Division

7th Field Force (Independent experimental brigade)

3rd Battalion / 82. (US) Airborne Division


4. (UK) Armoured Division (Blue in Phase 1)

2. (US) Armored Division “Hell on wheels” (Blue in Phase 2)

– Staff HQ

– 17. (US) Engineer Battalion (Texas)

– 1st Brigade

– 2nd Brigade

– 3rd Brigade (Garlstedt)

Panzerbrigade 3 (Nienburg)

– Panzerbataillon 33 ( Leopard 1 tank battalion (regiment) )

– Panzergrenadierbataillon 32 ( Marder )

– Panzerbataillon 334

– Panzerartilleriebataillon 335 ( M109 armoured artillery regiment)

– PzPiBtl. 1 (Holzminden armoured engineer regt)

plus Air Assault BN

airborne assets:

2nd ATAF 4th ATAF

Control and umpires:

3. (UK) Armoured Division

3. (US) Armored Division

Panzergrenadierbrigade 2 (Braunschweig)

Exercise area:

Braunschweig, Wolfenbüttel, Goslar, Northeim, Salzgitter, Hildesheim, Hannover, Hameln, Rinteln, Minden


Units start to move: 01.09.1980

Exercise begins: 17.09.1980

Endex: 26.09.1980

Number of soldiers: 102.000 (total.)

94.000 soldiers on “Crusader 80″

– UK: 76.300

– USA: 22.000 (17.000 from the USA)

– German: 3.700

Total wheeled vehicles: 18.000

Total tracked vehicles: 2.788

– UK: 2.392

– USA: 356

– BRD: 40

Total MBTs: 855

– UK: 471

– USA: 294

– BRD: 90

Total helicopters: 350

Total Jets: 600

Bridge assaults:

– Leine at Schulenburg by Panzerbrigade 3 over four (US) MFAB bridges

– Weser

Individual Phases:

– Phase 1 – 17.09.1980: The delaying battle.

– Phase 2 – 18.09. – 20.09.1980: Breakthrough of the defensive line and withdrawal in contact
– Phase 3 – 21.09. – 23.09.1980: Operation “Goodwood”, killing zone battle

– Phase 4 – 24.09. – 26.09.1980: Blue counter-attack


– Orange attack westward in the area of Braunschweig- Wolfenbüttel

– Blau withdraws to the river Leine line


– Both sides advance to contact in the area Elze, Sarstedt, Hoheneggelsen


– fighting in the area Braunschweig- Hildesheim

21.09.- 23.09.

– Blauen killing zone against Orange in the area Pattensen- Springe (“Goodwood”)

– major fighting around Bennigsen

– large minefields laid by Blue between Alfeld and Elze


– Blue pushes Orange back eastward

– fighting took place both sides of the B3 between Laatzen and Alfeld


– Events move into eastern Hildesheim


– 3. BN / 82. (US) Airborne Division with 600 Soldaten in the area Algermissen on 17.09.1980 from 15:02 from Lockheed C-141A “Starlifters” at 300m altitude. The aircraft had taken off from Fort Bragg (North Carolina). Light vehicles also dropped. Dropped in packets at one-minute intervals from two or three C-141As. The drop zone extended some 400x 2.000 Meter. first organised actions bythe parachutists was only possible after an hour.

– 20.09.1980 on the eastern edge of the Osterwald.Soldiers of 16. Scottish Battalion dropped direct from England (sic) (Glasgow) from 7 Lockheed C-130E “Hercules”. In two minutes, 45 Soldaten were dropped from 300m altitude. The drop zone was 150x 700m big. The action lasted 20 minutes.


– Biggest British exercise in 50 years

– (Struggling with this line: – Die teilnehmenden 17.000 Soldaten der Einheiten aus den USA wurden zwar in der Reforger- Statistik mitgerechnet, waren aber kein Bestandteil der Reforger – Serie.)

The 17.000 soliders participating from units in the USA counted as Reforger statistics, but were not part of the Reforger series.

– The exercise ran in conjunction with the English exercise Crusader 80 ( Square Leg and Jog Trot). – “Jog Trot” was a logistics exercise of 1. (Br) Corps

– In Gütersloh artillery barracks in a garage complex, a Field hospital with a Capacity of 400 beds was set up.

– Five Replanishment Parks were set up, one in Gütersloh.

– There were 10.000 regular troops and 20.000 reservists transported from England to Lower Saxony by 15.09.

– The Transport of troops and their 8.000 vehicles from England tooks place through Antwerp, Brüssels, Düsseldorf and Gütersloh.

– For exercise damage control there were 1.000 Soldaten ready every day, operating out of Hildesheim

– The third part of “Crusader 80″ was a CPX which took place in eastern England

– In Groß Hilligsfeld a British Bedford truck crashed into a house (damage 16.000 DM)

– Most units stayed in the field after Endex over the weekend and returned to barracks at the start of the following week.

January 9, 2014 12:56 pm

Slight deviation but did anyone else catch the fascinating dramatisation (docudrama?) of a WINTEX on Radio 4 before Christmas? It focused on the decision-making of the PM and his Cabinet and was based on archived papers.

I ran cells in underground HQs during two biennual WINTEX-CIMEXs during the 1980s. Living and working in artificial light in a bunker for a fortnight without access to the ‘real world’, I often had to remind my staff (and myself) that it was only a paper exercise and we weren’t physically deploying units, personnel and materiel hither and yon.

I suppose it gave some insight into what Hitler and his staff must have felt during their final fateful days.

February 6, 2014 10:53 am