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Thread: UK military problems & policies

  1. #41
    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    We're currently training a UK unit, and I have to tell you, my eyes have been truly opened. Lots of really, really dumb accidents, including one KIA and dehabiliting WIAs (as in over 10 in a couple of days. An accidental shooting and rounds out of impact top off the list.

    An old and wizened mentor of mind once told me that two things will show morale and leadership: Accidents and what the unit looks like during a roadmarch. And, frankly, the column I followed last night blew as much oily smoke as an 1968 Volkswagen needing a ring job, and even at 30 kph, they looked a little ragged, especially going up hills.

    I cannot speak as to the entire UK Army, but the piece that I'm privy to where I work doesn't look good, at all.

  2. #42
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    "Speak English! said the Eaglet. "I don't know the meaning of half those long words, and what's more, I don't believe you do either!"

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  3. #43
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    Sickening. The Government simply has got to go.

  4. #44
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    It seems the Labour gang's contempt for the British soldier is so complete they don't even feel the need to respond to serious charges like these and others I have heard like this.

    As much as I dislike our political culture, at least the public and media can be counted on for outrage when tales get out like the scandal at Walter Reed or the barracks at Ft. Bragg, and the Congress can be counted on to lead a witchhunt for the guilty, even if not always for the right reasons. Surely Labour will pay a political price for this?
    He cloaked himself in a veil of impenetrable terminology.

  5. #45
    Council Member MattC86's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevely View Post
    Surely Labour will pay a political price for this?
    In just my 4 months here, I have seen at least a dozen stories in the various papers describing numerous military issues all related to funding. BA enlisted living at the poverty level, equipment shortages, vacillation on whether to kill the new aircraft carrier (the first real one the RN would have since the 1960s) and a host of other programs. The budget shortfalls seem to get worse with each passing week.

    Yet aside from the smoke being blown at Westminster by Tory MPs, the amount of outrage is miniscule. I don't know what it would take to mobilise either political or public anger about this issue, but it does not seem to have taken hold to date.

    This coming from a foreign observer, of course.

    Regards,

    Matt
    "Give a good leader very little and he will succeed. Give a mediocrity a great deal and he will fail." - General George C. Marshall

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattC86 View Post
    ...the amount of outrage is miniscule. I don't know what it would take to mobilise either political or public anger about this issue, but it does not seem to have taken hold to date.

    This coming from a foreign observer, of course.

    Regards,

    Matt
    It's pretty accurate, though. In Commonwealth countries, the military is generally an object of an indifference even greater than in much of the U.S. And the hostile elements are at least as, well, hostile - and with more access to power. Just as the more or less public indifference served those with the political will to use military force rather more freely in the past, much the same public indifference conversely serves those with the political will to do a hatchet job on the military - even whilst increasing operational taskings to ridiculous levels. See the near-breakdown of the Canadian Armed Forces in the 1990's for clues as to what the Brits are possibly in for in the next few years.

    If Labour gets the heave, it will not be because the electorate was enraged by its treatment of the soldiery.

  7. #47
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    Default To the extent the public think about it at all

    they disagree with the deployments, which were contrary to public opinion, and want the commitments reduced to match the forces rather than the forces increased to match the commitments.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattC86 View Post
    In just my 4 months here, I have seen at least a dozen stories in the various papers describing numerous military issues all related to funding. BA enlisted living at the poverty level, equipment shortages, vacillation on whether to kill the new aircraft carrier (the first real one the RN would have since the 1960s) and a host of other programs. The budget shortfalls seem to get worse with each passing week.

    Yet aside from the smoke being blown at Westminster by Tory MPs, the amount of outrage is miniscule. I don't know what it would take to mobilise either political or public anger about this issue, but it does not seem to have taken hold to date.

    This coming from a foreign observer, of course.

    Regards,

    Matt
    I've been here a bit longer, but see things the same way. Hard to have a day go by without seeing a story about slashed military funding or overstretch in the Telegraph. If Brown goes, I think that'll be pretty far down the lists of reasons why. But I also suspect the Tories wouldn't be much better, because they're just basically New Labour Lite now anyway.

    Part of the issue may be that, at least as far as I've seen, ordinary squaddies aren't too well regarded. The usual stuff about drinking too much, starting fights, etc. Maybe things are the same if you live in a military town in the States like Fayetteville, I don't know, we don't have too many of those in New England. But then, there was also that story in the papers recently about RAF men in Peterborough (not far from me) being told not to wear their uniforms out in public.

  9. #49
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    Chatham House, 27 May 08: UK Security and Defence:
    More 'Muddling Through' or Time for a Requirements-Led Strategic Defence Review?

    With Britain's Armed Forces stretched to breaking point in Afghanistan and Iraq, calls for a review of defence strategy and commitments are being heard more often. And if British troops become embroiled in conflict in Kosovo after the new constitution comes into force there on 15 June, the government will come under still more pressure to set out its strategic priorities and to ensure that sufficient resources are allocated to defence.

    While UK Armed Forces are over-stretched, the UK defence sector is having precisely the opposite experience - a sense of under-employment while government spending plans are confused and important equipment programmes remain on the drawing board.

    Armed Forces stretched to the point of exhaustion, and defence industry panicking about their order book: hardly a strong, balanced relationship between government, industry and Armed Forces. Would a review of UK defence sort things out, or are Britain's defence planners rediscovering the merits of 'muddling through'?....

    ....The UK has tried most conceivable types of defence review; threat-oriented, capabilities-driven, effects-based and foreign policy-led. On the assumption that commitments will not be reduced in the near term, perhaps the moment has arrived for a new style of review, one focused on military requirements. The Armed Forces would be provided with what they manifestly need to meet their commitments, from medical treatment and rehabilitation, to housing and salaries, to the best equipment that British defence industry can provide. Everybody would then be happy. Except the Treasury.

  10. #50
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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...

  11. #51
    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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  12. #52
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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

  13. #53
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    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.
    40 Commando is not deploying. 1 Rifles is actually part of 3 Commando Brigade and 2 RGR is replacing 40 Commando and have been notified of the task for over a year.

    The real concern is the lack of helicopters and the need for another brigade.
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    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
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    "UK forces oppose Niger Delta plan", by James Blitz and William Wallis, Financial Times.com, 11 July, 2008.

    I will not dispute the strategic necessity of ridding the Niger Delta of MEND; with its rapidly expanding capabilities (courtesy at least in part of the provider of its armaments), the group has to be stamped out, literally. However, if a mobile training team proves inadequate to help Nigerian security forces eradicate MEND, then nothing short of British troops may be necessary to do the job. Given that this may be
    developing into a sort of proxy war (still ambiguous, but ambiguity is a calling card of one of the possible belligerants) over resources between great powers, and that MEND may be able to rely upon substantial assistance, this could turn into yet another constant drain on the Army's dwindling strength and resources.

    No wonder the Army is reacting with some hostility to this new mission.

  15. #55
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post
    "UK forces oppose Niger Delta plan", by James Blitz and William Wallis, Financial Times.com, 11 July, 2008.

    I will not dispute the strategic necessity of ridding the Niger Delta of MEND; with its rapidly expanding capabilities (courtesy at least in part of the provider of its armaments), the group has to be stamped out, literally.
    Why?
    It's an internal struggle of Nigeria, a civil war. I see absolutely no reason why other countries should get involved.
    For what? For oil? Oil supply would not be driven up to maximum capacity or anywhere close by an intervention. Last I heard is that this doesn't even work under much more favourable conditions in Iraq.

    Those people have their disputes about sovereignty. It's their affair. We don't need to intervene until they attempt a genocide or invade adjacent countries.

    Back2topic; I think it's justifiable to be 'hostile' to certain missions even if they would not strain the forces and would be easily done.
    Germany has introduced the "citizen in uniform", a soldier who's supposed to think independently about right or wrong in the context of the legal system. We didn't want another generation of officers who'd serve a tyrant just because they once swore an oath to him.
    The "citizen in uniform" deserves to be applied in more minor troubles as well (it actually seemed to have failed a bit in 1999, but ironically it seems to have worked better in the KSK).

    I can't see how an involvement in that conflict would be a good idea, and to involve a military in it would certainly do some harm, albeit probably only below the surface.

  16. #56
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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. #57
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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. #58
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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. #59
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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. #60
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    General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, will say that the Army should consider creating “permanent cadres of stabilisation specialists” so that soldiers can deliver “civil as well as military effects within areas as diverse as governance, town administration, finance and banking, law and order and sanitation”.

    I respectfully and strongly disagree with the General. This is not the Army's job and never should be (and never was! Generally we had civil servants to do this). The Army creates a security environment where others, with the appropriate, mandate, resources and expertise, can function.

    The Army is not there to deliver "civil effect" - what ever that is ?

    In "extremis", the Army should be able to deliver very basic humanitarian services. What the General is talking about should be done by another Government Agency. Army can barely do it's own job well. Why do we want to take on others?
    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

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