It’s Time to Call it a Day

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After a decade, am calling time on Think Defence and shutting up shop.

Why

I think it only fair that I explain why.

Think Defence has always been a one man band and that man has other things like work, grandkids and lots of other projects to absorb his time, my time. Researching for content, writing it, transferring to the website, site maintenance/design and chatting nonsense on Twitter is no trivial task, and it is just too much at the moment.

Like many bloggers, this is a hobby, and I make no bones about it. But I am piss poor at time management and as many who are passionate about their hobbies will know, just cutting back is not an option, it has to be all or nothing, have tried reducing time, it didn’t work!

Looking Back

The site had approximately 3.5 million words across over just under four thousand blog posts. The more recent ‘long read’ format has yielded forty three articles spanning a couple of words under the half million mark. Traffic has varied but a total of 15 million page views is the current tally, and let’s not forget the quarter of a million comments either.

There has been a few a few shenanigans; others stealing content and passing it off as their own, legal threats from a certain mythical think tank, a constant battle against spammers and the odd intemperate bitchfest in comments, but despite these, it’s been great.

Did I achieve anything, perhaps, perhaps not, showcasing UK defence products, banging on about digging in, logistics, the value of civil servants and threat from civilian drones before they were fashionable is something I am quite proud of, and hopefully some of the longer content has proved valuable to others.

The reason I started Think Defence was simply to provide a forum for (hopefully) sensible conversations about UK defence and security and to indulge my interest. What has sustained me in all those years has been other people; serving, former serving, industry, academics, numerous other defence bloggers or just people with an interest. It has been a thoroughly life enriching experience, am humbled and honoured in equal measure to have known you all.

Reflection on Defence Blogging

Let’s be clear, typing words into a computer is in no way comparable to the problems that defence professionals face in the real world, or indeed, former server service personnel.

I have also tried, not always successfully, to avoid being too judgemental from a position of comfort, people in the MoD and industry don’t get up in morning and decide to make poor decisions. They are working within the bounds of a larger system with financial, political and operational constraints we cannot know. FRES or Type 26 problems are not the result of one pivotal decision made by a single malignant person but when you look at those and others, there is certainly a role for discussion and challenge outside the tent.

The public defence debate must therefore continue, within sensible bounds

Is the future short form blogging or long form online content, both, or something else? Personally, I think the answer is all of them and in addition, video remains an interesting and as yet untapped avenue for the debate to continue.

There is a fantastic community of defence writers outside of Think Defence who are already taking the debate to new levels, my only advice to you would be to be generous to each other, be a friend to each other, you all want the same thing at the end of the day.

Looking Forward

I will put the link to the archive site below and over the next couple of weeks, will put all the long reads into PDF format if anyone wants them and download the whole content database for offline storage. I am going to keep the domain, email account and Twitter for now, who knows what the future will hold.

Twitter will remain, but on a watching breif basis, the odd tweet here and there.

But for now, just wanted to say cheerio and thank you all.

ARCHIVE SITE

https://thinkdefence.wordpress.com/

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Orlok
Orlok

Well I think it’s a great shame! I have found Think Defence to be excellent and informative reading and appreciate both the effort and the imagination that has gone into it. Thank you very much and wishing you the best of happy and productive retirements!

stephen duckworth

Sorry to see you go and it has been a great read throughout. Thought provoking articles coalescing the complex journeys of various projects ,as you mentioned T26 and FRES , through many evolutions (and names!) . Hopefully the lessons learned were followed and studied by those who can bring an influence into future projects.
Thanks.

WoutersWim

Sincere thanks.
Have enjoyed being part of the TD community all these years.

Senior Moment
Senior Moment

I have enjoyed the comments, sometimes they have angered me with the stupidity of politicians and sometimes I have been humbled by the professionalism of the respondents. Some times they have made me think /
Thank you for all you have done

Bug
Bug

Very sorry to hear you are shutting down, but can quite understand why. Not easy to run a site devoted to Defence, and it can quite easily become a full-time passion. You have at least some devoted readers Overseas, me in Australia along with other friends here, as well as NZ & others. I wish you well for the future.

CDR Salamander
CDR Salamander

This will be a loss for all. I will miss you, but wish you the best going forward.

radish
radish

This has been an excellent source of information. Something I have enjoyed reading enormously. I think it’s a fitting testament that a Parlemntary briefing document quotes the FRES article. Possibly the finest work. I’m proud to have contributed and never expected to get so many comments on my ramblings. Thank you for all your efforts over the years.

Steve T
Steve T

Was it something I said? I’ve not long just found your blog and now you’re shutting down. Hope it’ll turn out to be a break rather than a full time cease and desist.

tweckyspat

TD you will be missed, and not just by the mexefloters !

JohnHartley
JohnHartley

So long and thanks for all the fish.

Anon
Anon

TD, I cannot thank you enough. You were instrumental in getting me into defence.

Well done for being able to retire on such a high note. Wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Simon

:-(

The UK Complex Weapons series is indispensable from a reference point of view. I’d very much like that in PDF form. I’d prefer it if you’d keep it available and indexed by Google somehow.

You will be missed.

Thank you.

Topman
Topman

Cheers for everything.

Topman
Topman

Cheers for everything

Mark
Mark

10 years! and you told me you only came here to build a bridge

It’s hard to believe it’s been that long 10 years ago I found a blog on a project I knew and was working on at the time a400m, i read the article, one of more balanced writing on the program and I got hooked, my how time flys when your having fun!

But I guess all gd things must come to an end, it’s been a pleasure

leesea
leesea

I surely would liked to have seen you go on forever, but like you I too realize there is a time to move on to other activities. I hope your website stays up in archive mode?

Please be healthy and happy.

Andy
Andy

Sorry to see you go. I have always found your articles an excellent read. Just wanted to express my appreciation

Eagle1
Eagle1

I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if a single important voice was silenced . . . but every one has a limit and if you find it’s time to move on, then Godspeed.

The Centurion
The Centurion

As an American of mostly English heritage (Middlesex and Nazeing, Epping Forest District, Essex) and a retired Army officer, I have enjoyed your blogging and sometimes sly comments on Twitter. I am an inveterate fan of the CVR(T) family and have watched the efforts to replace it with equal parts dismay, amusement, and disgust. I have seen the British Army go from a continental power with the British Army of the Thing to what amounts to a light division with a few extra brigades, and I have mourned. A flash of brilliance with the Falklands War briefly interrupted the retrenchment of the UK as a power, but the heritage has been squandered to date. A valuable ally in the Middle East and Afghanistan is, I fear, sliding into doom with unchecked migration and the coddling of our joint enemies. I was encouraged by BREXIT, but you politicians are failing you. All I can recommend at this point is blowing up the Chunnel and deporting our enemies. The EU opened the floodgates; let the EU deal with the problems.

https://youtu.be/zakVfDY0xZk

Fare the well, my friend.

Trevor Long
Trevor Long

Thanks for making the extreme effort. Your stories have been extremely interesting and informative, especially to an old soldier from “Downunder”. Good luck for the future.

CherryPie
CherryPie

Thankyou for your your excellent posts over the years, I have enjoyed them.

Enjoy time with your family and whatever comes next for you.

gmed
gmed

Thanks for your time and for sharing your expertise. i have really enjoyed reading this…all the way from Oz

jedpc

Thanks again Matey for all your time and effort, your wonderful research, your considered opinions and for making it okay to obcess about ISO containers in public. I have to admit, I may just stop reading about bridging all together now though……..

Thank you for publishing my content and giving me a place to gob off too ! That was very kind of you.

I will miss coming here, but look forward to the occasional chat on Twitter !

Bravo Zulu // 270335z May 2018 authentication Foxtrot Oscar

Jed out

Andy G
Andy G

Hope you enjoy your life post blog – thank you for the site!
It’s been interesting seeing projects I worked on many years ago.
I’ll definitely be interested in the pdfs!
Cheers!

Peter Elliott

Sad times TD – you will be missed.

JEDIBEEFTRIX
JEDIBEEFTRIX

Sorry to hear it, but entirely understand.

I trust you’re gonna continue shit-posting fun stuff on twitter though, right?

See you there. :)

Thank you. JBT

Gloomy Northern Boy
Gloomy Northern Boy

…sorry to hear that, but completely understand. You’ll be greatly missed, but we can always comfort ourselves with the Archive

MikeW
MikeW

What a crying shame.! Yours has been an outstanding site, with articles that are always penetrating and relevant. Many were laced with delicious humour too. I was one of your earliest followers and shall miss your articles greatly. Although I am not a member of Twitter, I often read your comments and hope that at least you stay on that medium, throwing in the occasional comment. You are one of the outstanding gurus of the Defence world. May you thoroughly enjoy your retirement. You deserve it. Best wishes. Mike

William Lyon
William Lyon

Very sorry to lose your fascinating website. Now we shall never know what light vehicles you would have suggested for the proposed Light Brigade. Thanks very much for publishing my amateur guest blog on small arms. I learned a huge amount from the many comments made. I think that blog had run its course anyway. We won’t know which direction future small arms will take until the Americans make up their minds. Thanks very much for all your efforts.

LostInTranslation

Have appreciated greatly the Articles and the discussion.
Will miss this blog.
All the best ,
LIT

Partisan
Partisan

Sad to see this disappear. You’ve helped to inform as well as challenge my views. I have thoroughly enjoyed your well thought out and presented articles. Take care and enjoy your time. Cheers.

Chris
Chris

Very sorry to hear you are packing up shop. It may just be a hobby to you but I think you have surpassed your original mission boundaries and become an asset to many. Your blogs and tweets will be missed but I understand why you are putting the brakes on. Best wishes.

@Ravenser
@Ravenser

I have nothing but admiration for you TD, you have sacrificed the thing most valuable to you for the benefit of myself and many others, your time. My best wishes to you for the future. Ubique.

The Other Chris

** BREAKING **

After much deliberation, three adjournments and much distracted browsing of both Twitter and the Explorer Coffee’s product range:

The UK Defence Community have used their veto and have not accepted TD’s retirement.

TonyB
TonyB

TD, many thanks for all your hard hard work over the years.

Miles Teg
Miles Teg

Please consider collating all the articles here and publishing them in book format, an actual book that is, maybe with leather covers! I would re-re-re the hell out of that thing, also, it would enable me to write him the margins. The thoughts, concepts and discussions hosted here cannot be lost to posterity.

WiseApe

More retirements than Frank Sinatra.

I don’t do twitface so cheerio.

ArmChairCivvy
ArmChairCivvy

TD, Thanks again for bringing me into these discussions (I retired from such before the Internet age, at the end of 70s) and it was your time and effort, reflected in your in-depth research and your balance-seeking opinions that brought me back, basically, to went my rage and frustration about how my tax £££ are spent to not much effect… and that was all during the run-up to the 2010 SDSR.

By now, a long time ago
– sometimes it is better to take a ring-side seat and enjoy the show… as I am sure you will continue to do that
– “over to others”; in that it is only a matter of choosing the right time. All will respect your choice, and most will be very greatful for deepening the understanding of the issues, trade-offs. And, even more so, the opportunity to bounce the views off the TD “wall” backed by so many well-informed commentators

S O
S O

It feels as if a generation of milbloggers is fading.
I know for sure some people who actually deceased, leaving blogs orphaned, many bloggers stopped posting without notice and some offered a farewell.

The milblogosphere clearly isn’t the same as 5-10 years ago. I guess the authors simply burn out after working on their topics for years, and they feel the time toll that blogging takes on private life.

Days ago I scheduled in ahead a post on my future plans, and I’m going to reduce blogging to a slow pace myself.

Prometheus
Prometheus

Just visited to your websites and found this post.What a shame.However, thank you for all the great work, time and effort that you spent on researching and writing all those facts and info.

David Ross
David Ross

Excellent blog, shame you’re closing down but quite understand the pressure it generates

Frenchie
Frenchie

I am very grateful to you for have created this place of open discussion and with very interesting topics and your immense knowledge which taught me a lot, thank you TD.

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