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  1. #1
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    Default 'Dogs of War' Ban Will Rob British Army of Vital Frontline Soldiers

    5 August London Times - 'Dogs of War' Ban Will Rob British Army of Vital Frontline Soldiers by Fred Bridgland and Michael Evans.

    Seven Hundred South Africans serving in Britain’s Armed Forces will have to abandon their careers or surrender their citizenship under draconian new anti-mercenary legislation being enacted by South Africa’s Parliament.

    The new Bill, designed to scotch South Africa’s reputation as a rich recruiting ground for “dogs of war”, was approved by 11 votes to one by the Parliament’s defence committee this week despite an impassioned appeal from Paul Boateng, the British High Commissioner.

    If the Bill is approved by the full assembly, as now seems probable, it will end a tradition of South Africans serving with the British military that goes back to the First World War, and leave Britain’s Armed Forces overstretched.

    Many of the 700 are serving with British forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Second Lieutenant Ralph Johnson, 24, one of the three British soldiers killed in Afghanistan this week, was born in South Africa. Sholto Hedenskog, 25, a Marine killed in Iraq in 2003, was also South African. It was the activities of a former British soldier, Simon Mann, that inspired the Bill. In 2004 Mann, a former SAS officer, began an unsuccessful coup against President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasago of Equatorial Guinea using 70 mercenaries recruited in South Africa. He is now in prison and Sir Mark Thatcher, the son of the former British Prime Minister, was fined £265,000 for helping to finance the attempted coup.

    The legislation, which will greatly strengthen South Africa’s previous anti-mercenary laws, is driven by politics as much as security.

    The ruling African National Congress, which came to power in 1994 after decades of apartheid rule, fought in exile alongside Angola’s former Marxist army against such apartheid-era forces as the Buffalo Battalion, the Reconnaissance Commandos and the Parachute Brigade...
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-04-2017 at 11:20 AM. Reason: Was a stand alone thread till merging in 2017.

  2. #2
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default British General writes

    The Daily Telegraph (London) has published extracts from General Sir Michael Jackson's autobiography, he retired as Chief of General Staff (CGS), the UK's most senior soldier and was badged to the Parachute Regiment. He comments on a number of issues: Iraq, Kosovo, the Balkans and Northern Ireland.

    I suspect only his much reported refusal in Kosovo to follow General Wesley Clark's orders was covered in the US press.

    General Sir Mike Jackson speaks out

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...1/wmike101.xml

    Gen Sir Mike Jackson accuses MoD of waste

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.../wbasra203.xml

    Gen Sir Mike Jackson condemns 'war on terror'

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...jackson103.xml

    Gen Sir Mike Jackson: Crossing Clare Short

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...jackson204.xml

    Gen Sir Mike Jackson: My clash with Nato chief

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...jackson104.xml

    Gen Sir Mike Jackson relives IRA Paras bombs

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.../wjacko105.xml
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 01-04-2017 at 11:19 AM. Reason: Was a stand alone thread till merging in 2017.

  3. #3
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    Default MoD Performance Against Key Targets Grows Worse

    28 Jan 08: MoD performance against key targets grows worse says Defence Committee
    The House of Commons Defence Committee today reveals that the continuing high level of deployment of UK Armed Forces is leading to worsening performance by the MoD against its key Public Service Agreement targets. "We are deeply concerned that the Armed Forces have been operating at or above the level of concurrent operations they are resourced and structured to deliver for seven of the last eight years, and for every year since 2002" says the Committee in its report published today (Fifth Report of Session 2007-08, Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts 2006-07, HC 61).

    The MoD's assessment of its expected achievements against its six Public Service Agreement (PSA) targets, which run until the end of March 2008, has deteriorated. At the end of 2007 the MoD did not expect to meet the target for generating forces and expected "only partly" to meet targets relating to defence equipment procurement, and recruitment and retention. For the latter target, manning balance in the Royal Navy and the Army is not expected to be achieved by April 2008 and the Committee says it is very disappointed with the failure to meet harmony guidelines in the Army and the RAF. The Committee considers this to be another clear indicator of the pressure on UK Armed Forces. The Committee calls upon the MoD to set out what impact this is having, particularly on the retention of Service personnel.....

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    Default Transforming to EBO: Lesssons from the UK Experience

    SSI, 30 Jan 08: Transformating to Effects-Based Operations: Lessons from the United Kingdom Experience
    This monograph has been subdivided into four parts. Section 1 undertakes a review of the evolution of British defense policy since the end of the Cold War and evaluates the degree to which it has adopted an effects-based approach. Section 2 examines the British operational experience since the end of the Cold War, including an analysis of the lessons learned and its experiences of working with allies. Section 3 analyses the UK’s capability development through its doctrine and acquisition strategies. Finally, section 4 evaluates the implications of these findings for the U.S. Army and makes a number of recommendations....
    Complete 71 page paper at the link.

  5. #5
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default

    This is what passes for military thought now in the UK.

    I would like to make it clear that there are many good military men, in the UK and other places who utterly reject the intellectual fraud of EBO and the comprehensive approach.

    Personally I find it an object of some shame to be associated with a nation that has so profoundly lost its way, in the respect of doctrine and strategy.
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  6. #6
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Don't bother reading the paper!

    I agree with Wilf's despair at this writing, albeit from a very different viewpoint. As a concerned taxpayer the author neither describes what has happened nor what is necessary. It is also slightly jarring to read the same sentence or information time after time. As for the lessons UK experience can offer the USA not very persausive.

    Finally I suggest SWJ members don't bother reading it!

    davidbfpo

  7. #7
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    Default

    Sadly I did not heed the sage advice above.

    A very strange document. Did I miss the section on moving to EBO or had I just fallen asleep? It struck me as a rambling and quite poorly informed account of the evolution of the UK's approach to operations. The author apparently believes everything he reads.

    I would not judge the standard of military thought in the UK based on this example. Though it doesn't say much about SSI's baseline for publication.

    The author's bio:

    http://www.umds.ac.uk/schools/sspp/d...d/adorman.html

  8. #8
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Default UK Army Problems

    Gentelman,

    See the links. A very sad situation indeed. I was prompted to post this by a Sgt Major friend of mine who reads these boards. He says the situation is worse than the papers make out.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/m.../01/do0106.xml

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...1/narmy331.xml
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  9. #9
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    Yup.

    We're falling apart in slow motion, and you can see it in everything we do. The last thing to fail will be the blokes in the sections, but that will happen eventually when the C2 and decisionmaking supports crap plans that put people in the wrong place at the wrong time, have treated them like serfs for too long. No one is biting the bullet:
    Double the size of the infantry
    Double their wages
    Enforce the training standards; sack anyone who doesn't pass muster

    Thus creating a large enough force to do all that is required of it, attractive to join for the calibre we need.

    This could be funded by sacking pointless procurement projects (FRES - it'll never be what we want it to be, because its an ill conceived idea).

    If they can find the entire annual defence budget to bail out a crap bank, then they can certainly manage this...

    Won't happen until its too late, though. The human/British condition.

  10. #10
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default

    Although the articles portray the situation to be nearly ghastly, I have a few points regarding both the human rights abuses and current state of the British Army. No one has specifically prepared common Infantrymen to work as prison guards, nor was anyone prepared for the immense civilian element.

    To now conclude that reducing the Army’s standards with accelerated (reduced) training, appears the government hasn’t a clue. If anything, the training cycle should have been increased permitting COIN and ‘Prison Keeper’ specific training.

    Estonia’s December 2007 rotations and visit by the Chief of Staff to the Helmand Province indicated that their 3,000 plus British counterparts were very professional and excellent warriors and instructors. Our COS is a former Russian tank commander, and rarely finds time for compliments !

    It appears that BG Aitken spelled it out plainly for his government and has taken the necessary steps and the issue was under wraps quickly.

    But he warned the military "must not be complacent".
    Brig Aitken said it was not enough for troops to learn rules "parrot fashion" but the service needed to "embed in people a better understanding between right and wrong". Those involved in abuse were a "tiny number".
    "We can never say never again, but I am about as certain as anyone can be that the Army has minimized the risk of similar instances occurring again."
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  11. #11
    Council Member Danny's Avatar
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    Default Larger Problem

    This should not be seen in the abstract, divorced from the larger, more systemic problem with leadership. This yank is sad to watch this happen. Britain is suffering from a leadership problem at the highest levels, and she should demand better of her leaders.

    More complete response:

    http://www.captainsjournal.com/2008/...army-problems/

  12. #12
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    Default More...

    SAS Chief Resigns Over Lack of Kit - Michael Smith, Times of London

    A former head of the SAS has quit the army after criticising the government for risking soldiers’ lives by failing to fund troops and equipment.

    Brigadier Ed Butler, one of Britain’s most experienced and decorated special forces soldiers, is the most senior of three key commanders to have resigned in the past year amid widespread anger over lack of funding.

    News of his resignation comes in the same week that General Sir Richard Dannatt, head of the army, called for better treatment for the forces and more money to be spent on defence. In a statement issued through the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Butler said he was leaving for “a number of factors and reasons” and singled out difficulties faced by service personnel...
    We Owe Our Soldiers - Jenny McCartney, Daily Telegraph of London opinion

    There was, I thought, a detectable whiff of desperation in the plea from General Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the Army, last week for better treatment of our armed forces. It is highly unusual for an Army leader to speak out publicly on such matters, which suggests that Gen Dannatt's concerns have become so fierce that protocol is increasingly irrelevant.

    He requested that a "slightly increased share" of the national wealth should be spent on the armed forces, to include a pay rise above inflation, and an improvement of the frequently appalling Ministry of Defence accommodation in which military personnel are housed. To illustrate his point, he highlighted the fact that the lowest-paid soldiers in the British Army are on an annual salary of £12,572, while a traffic warden's basic pay is £17,000.

    The MoD has protested that if a private is serving on the front line in Afghanistan or Iraq, associated bonuses can push his or her salary up to £22,000 a year. I take the point. It must be quite heart-warming to know that in exchange for risking your life in the heat of battle at the behest of our Government, you can claw your way up to a salary that hovers just below the national average...

  13. #13
    Council Member Stan's Avatar
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    Default Half of UK forces 'ready to quit'

    Almost half of UK military personnel are ready to leave the forces, a Ministry of Defence survey suggests.

    More than half of those who responded to the survey were not satisfied with standards of military equipment and resources given to them to do their jobs, while some 40% were unhappy with service accommodation, and 55% were dissatisfied with the standards of maintenance of their service housing.

    Yet the survey also showed that despite all the difficulties, especially the lengthy separations from friends and family, pride in serving within the Armed Forces remained high, with 93% of Army officers and 76% of soldiers saying they were proud to be in the Army.
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  14. #14
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Quick fix

    The publication of this internal survey led to a junior MoD minister being questioned on BBC Radio Today programme this morning. The interviewer asked how long the UK could keep its military forces intact, with two large commitments in Afghanistan and Iraq? The minister squiirmed on that one.

    The "quick fix" is to withdraw the brigade in Iraq. The rationale for remaining is lost on most British people and this week the BBC TV News have reported on how better Basra is under Iraqi control.

    The reason we have remained is our "special relationship" with the USA and an abrupt departure a year ago, when Gordon Brown became Prime Minister, would have exposed the LoC.

    I have no objection to a far smaller UK presence in Basra, training etc. A brigade is not required.

    The latest announcement of the next UK brigade bound for Afghanistan, illustrates the stretch - a Royal Marine core, but with two Army infantry battallions added.

    davidbfpo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    Almost half of UK military personnel are ready to leave the forces, a Ministry of Defence survey suggests.
    Quote from BBC article: "Among the concerns raised by the 9,000 servicemen and women surveyed were the frequency of tours, levels of pay and the quality of equipment and housing."

    I suggest that one needs to separate these factors into two groups. One is for those who appear to resist doing what they were employed to do in the first place and that is to act as a soldier on a op 'tour'. Sooner these go the better.

    One would then be left with addressing the other major concerns which unless addressed could denude the military of those with the necessary military skills and who are willing and able to use those skills.

  16. #16
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Recent News from Across the Pond

    Recent News from Across the Pond - SWJ Blog - recent news concerning the British Army and General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff.

  17. #17
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Substance or spin?

    I don't know if the USA has a similar "season", but when the UK parliament adjourns for it's summer holiday, a "silly season" starts with all manner of press reports occupying the space created.

    General Dannat's views have been reported before in several newspapers, notably The Times and the Daily Telegraph. It will be interesting if they are picked up by the tabloids and those papers which generally support the government.

    Yes, the plight of the UK forces now has a higher public profile, so far expressed mainly in more sympathy, rather then a vocal demand for rectifying many of the weaknesses. Any "fixing" will take a long time, like better vehicles and more helicopters for two well known examples. To date there is no sign of the UK government making policy changes or allocating extra spending.

    Anti-war sentiments I would suggest have not changed; the vast majority of the UK public oppose our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those opposed to the wars have singularly failed to mobilise support.

    davidbfpo
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 07-19-2008 at 08:07 PM. Reason: Add more arguments

  18. #18
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Ours runs year round, David

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    I don't know if the USA has a similar "season", but when the UK parliament adjourns for it's summer holiday, a "silly season" starts with all manner of press reports occupying the space created.
    Though it does speed up a bit when congress is not in session...
    General Dannat's views have been reported before in several newspapers, notably The Times and Daily Telegraph. It will be interesting if they are picked up by the tabloids and those papers which generally support the government.
    As long as Page 3 is not displaced...

    From my possibly ill informed perspective, Dannat seems to make more sense than did Mike Jackson in the job...

  19. #19
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default UK commentary

    This blog provides an excellent commentary on Sir Richard's views and plans for military stabilisation teams: http://defenceoftherealm.blogspot.co...d-of-game.html

    The author is Richard North, who I've read elsewhere on his better known views opposing the European Union.

    davidbfpo

  20. #20
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Reflective UK?

    This week has seen a series of developments:

    a) The valedictory (final) speech by General Dannatt, the UK's top soldier: http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/De...peechAsCgs.htm

    I draw attention to (summarised): What leaps out though is something about which we have been vaguely aware..this comes early in the speech ....There was a belief that this could be conducted on the basis of "Go Fast, Go First, Go Home"...Having been locked into a flawed "mantra"..the armed forces geared to be able to deliver on this basis, now to find that they are faced with "long wars” for which they are neither equipped nor trained – nor fully understand. And I quote
    "We should be under no illusion: we are at war and if we want to succeed, which we must, we must get onto a war-like footing - and as I said to the Officer Cadets being commissioned from Sandhurst last Christmas 'you enter an Army that is at war - even if not everyone in our nation realises that'".
    As ever see the commentary on: http://defenceoftherealm.blogspot.co...on-at-war.html

    b) An article 'National defence in the age of austerity' by two defence academics (hat tip Kings of War): http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/files...ish_dorman.pdf and an earlier paper 'Blair’s wars and Brown’s budgets, 'From Strategic Defence Review to strategic decay in less than a decade' : http://www.chathamhouse.org.uk/files...ish_dorman.pdf

    Remembering David Kilcullen's remarks on more bandsmen in the USA than 'X' check in the first article Pg. 15 Tables One & Two for the incredible manpower structure the UK forces have.

    c) The much-hyped report by the House of Commons Foriegn Affairs Committee (with a Labour chairman), that we are doing too much in Afghanistan and note released when parliament is on it's long vacation: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...e-say-MPs.html and slightly longer: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...n-1766248.html

    The report is the top headline on Drudge; UK parliamentary committees have negligible power and governments can easily ignore them. By time Parliament returns who will remember this? Very few.

    Other articles refer to an extra 2,000 troops going to Afghanistan, at the US's urging and allegedly vetoed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. If they go to Helmand Province, with three extra helicopters (Merlins), this is crazy IMHO.

    Previously commented upon in http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...t=british+army and other threads, notably in the Afghan context: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=7644 and http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...hlight=british
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 08-02-2009 at 01:17 PM. Reason: Lengthy assembly

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