SMALL WARS COUNCIL
Go Back   Small Wars Council > Conflicts -- Current & Future > Other, By Region > Europe

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-25-2012   #141
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 8,503
Default

Read or watch the RUSI's Director giving his assessment (I'm catching up both made in July):http://www.rusi.org/analysis/comment...4FFA86E865E07/ and six mins podcast:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBfk3...mber_132352243

I picked out the:
Quote:
The Reactive force was 10% reservist, the Adaptive was 30% and this meant growing from 16k to 30k reserves....after a six month active operation the Army will have problems....Will this give the young soldier and officer a career that they expected?
Particularly interesting on the reserves role after the discussion on another thread about this regarding active and reservist in the USA:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=5136
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 09-25-2012   #142
Fuchs
Council Member
 
Fuchs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,189
Default

Germany attempted a two-speed military in the 90's until recently.
In the end, the higher readiness, deployable part of the military got about what it needed (normal business) and the rest was starved of resources, usually operating old crap equipment.

I was amazed the Brits could be stupid enough to follow a path proved to be stupid (with the benefit of hindsight !) when I saw those plans for the first time.
Fuchs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-10-2012   #143
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 8,503
Default Farewell to our warrior nation

A scathing article by Max Hastings on the UK's defence policy; a taster:
Quote:
David Cameron’s Government is cutting the regular Army to its lowest manpower strength for centuries: 82,000. When the downsizing is complete, more than 20 per cent of our soldiers will have gone. I must confess that I am profoundly sceptical whether it will prove possible to recruit the 30,000 reservists the Defence Secretary promised this week.

Soon, we shall be capable of deploying only a single battlegroup of 7,000–8,000 men for sustained operations overseas. Compare this tiny force to the 35,000 troops deployed in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles in the 1970s, or the 30,000 military personnel sent to the First Gulf War in 1991.
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...or-nation.html
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2012   #144
Bill Moore
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,507
Default

Thanks for sharing David, and while I can emphasize with UK's concerns about whether this is enough capacity based on the current and projected security environment, in my opinion this has significant implications on US strategy also. We have been endeavoring more to pursue "shared" security responsibility with our allies and partners, but the reality is most of our allies and partners have very little capacity to share, and the trend in most cases is downsizing, while potential adversaries such as China and Russia are significantly increasing the size of their militaries, not to mention the continued instability throughout much of the world that we will feel compelled to stick our noses into.
Bill Moore is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-11-2012   #145
Fuchs
Council Member
 
Fuchs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,189
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Thanks for sharing David, and while I can emphasize with UK's concerns about whether this is enough capacity based on the current and projected security environment, in my opinion this has significant implications on US strategy also. We have been endeavoring more to pursue "shared" security responsibility with our allies and partners, but the reality is most of our allies and partners have very little capacity to share, and the trend in most cases is downsizing, while potential adversaries such as China and Russia are significantly increasing the size of their militaries, not to mention the continued instability throughout much of the world that we will feel compelled to stick our noses into.
This sounds confused.

The U.S.'s allies have plenty to fill up a sizeable share of "security responsibility".
OK; Luxembourg has only a battalion and some AWACS and Iceland only has bases and a coast guard, but all others have real military forces.


Now what exactly don't they have, what exactly are the Brits going to have less than many are used to?
Ready-to-go land forces for great power gaming in distant places.
Why won't they have them any more in large numbers?
Because they're not worth the expense.


Furthermore; which treaty other than the Charter of the United Nations says that China is relevant to UK security policy? I suppose they don't need to care about East Asia, just as the U.S. could stay at Hawaii and not care about East Asia any more. That's a sovereign option.

Russia "significantly increasing the size of" its military is news to me. Their army converts to a border region crisis quick reaction force, their navy is replacing ships at a rate sufficient only for a coastal navy and their air force will probably need a decade to get substantial numbers of new generation combat aircraft operational.
Fuchs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2012   #146
Bill Moore
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,507
Default

Posted by Fuchs

Quote:
This sounds confused.
The U.S.'s allies have plenty to fill up a sizeable share of "security responsibility".
I won't debate your point on China primarily because I agree with you. Nations have enduring interests and not all of them are common with their allies, but we do have many shared security interests and NATO's shortfalls that were demonstrated in Libya in my view effectively counter your argument that NATO countries have real militaries. Furthermore, if the US is going to shift more effort to the Asia-Pacific (agree, disagree, or indifferent doesn't matter), then there will be less US capacity and capability in Europe. Capacities and capabilities that the EU and NATO militaries are dependent upon. It is one thing to claim to have a real military and another to actually have that one that can independently conduct combat operations because it has invested in all needed support and enabling systems in addition to the shooters.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/30/op...le-moment.html

Quote:
President Obama, who pressed hard for NATO involvement, rightly insisted that Europe, along with Canada, take the lead. It is reasonable to expect the wealthy nations of Europe to easily handle a limited mission in their own backyard that involved no commitment of ground troops. Reasonable, but, as it turned out, not realistic.

For decades, European nations have counted on a free-spending Pentagon to provide the needed capabilities they failed to provide themselves. The Pentagon is now under intense and legitimate pressure to meet America’s security needs more economically. It can no longer afford to provide affluent allies with a free ride.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/ar...ulnerable.html

Quote:
And with the U.S. increasingly looking across the Pacific as it reshapes its defence policy to counter China, we may find we have to be more reliant on ourselves — but with very little to rely on. A Labour government defence review in 1998 — before the threat of Muslim extremism was exposed by 9/11, and when Chinese power was far less than it is today — concluded we needed a minimum of 32 destroyers and frigates to be equal to our responsibilities.

We now have just 19.

The Army’s manpower is being cut from 102,000 to 82,000, with the MoD claiming that a boost in the reserves to 30,000 will cover the shortfall. However, it is feared that these part-timers would provide no more than the equivalent of 2,000 full-time soldiers, and that an unsustainable strain would be put on them and their employers.
Bill Moore is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2012   #147
Fuchs
Council Member
 
Fuchs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,189
Default

Concerning "Libya":

I suppose we have a different idea of what a military force is supposed to be capable of.

Extended cruise missile diplomacy does not rank high on my list.


There's something about military power that got lost by small wars-minded people: If you go to war, you mobilise it.
We (Europeans) could have swamped Libya with three million soldiers IF we had been serious about fighting Ghadafi. We were not serious. We pushed him a bit with the left-hand small finger, and this was a political choice - not a limit of our military capability.

As far as I can tell, insufficient mid-air refuelling and guided munition stocks were among the main criticisms during and after the Libya thing. I would be most surprised if such things were taken seriously as sufficient indicators for having a "real" military.
Guess what? The German general staff panicked after the 1939/-9 Poland invasion because ammunition stocks were badly depleted. Three or four weeks of intense military action with France and the Heer would have folded by 1939-11.
Range of German fighters back then? About 500 km.
I have yet to see anyone who asserts that Germany had no "real military" by fall 1939.
Fuchs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2012   #148
Bill Moore
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,507
Default

Fuchs,

I don't think you're accounting for political reality today, even if you and I don't agree with the general trend of political decisions to get involved in so called small wars, they are a fact of life. Maybe the economic crisis will bring us all to our senses, but in the mean time the challenge is having armed forces sufficiently large enough to support the current enduring occupation and peace keeping missions around the world, and in addition have enough strike capacity to conduct offensive/coercive military operations on short notice. I think you over estimate Europe's capacity to do so.

Of course a nation can attempt to mobilize to go to war, though I wonder how effectively modern, liberal democracies could actually do so if a real mobilization was actually required? Could Britian have sufficiently mobilized its industry to support and sustain major combat operations during WWII without extensive US support? Our industrial mobilization to support the UK and others at that time lifted us out of depression and perhaps enabled the allies to win.
Bill Moore is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-12-2012   #149
Fuchs
Council Member
 
Fuchs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,189
Default

That's what people in government pay are supposed to do; work to make stupid policies work.

It's not a "reality" outsiders need to face. To them, stupid policy is just that and may deserve to be fought against.
_______________

The Western economies have some issues, but even in "old" industries such as steel production we have usually multiple times the output of the 30's.
I suppose a mobilised Western country will rather have training issues and worries about protecting its economy against warfare than actual output issues.
That is, unless you're in the U.S., want to repeat the naval bvuildup of 1942-1945 and face the fact that your shipbuilding industry ranks behind Poland's.
Fuchs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012   #150
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 8,503
Default Significant implications for US strategy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Thanks for sharing David, and while I can emphasize with UK's concerns about whether this is enough capacity based on the current and projected security environment, in my opinion this has significant implications on US strategy also. We have been endeavoring more to pursue "shared" security responsibility with our allies and partners, but the reality is most of our allies and partners have very little capacity to share, and the trend in most cases is downsizing, while potential adversaries such as China and Russia are significantly increasing the size of their militaries, not to mention the continued instability throughout much of the world that we will feel compelled to stick our noses into.
For too long both the UK & USA have leaned on each other; with one major exception when each has used large-scale military force, respectively Suez and Vietnam. Often the UK has made strategic choices to act and since the end of 'The Cold War' intervene simply as the 'Special Relationship' was seen to be at risk if we didn't.

The USA, especially with the historically close military to military relationship, has looked for support from the UK - from the low profile to the high profile, mass support seen in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Westminster-Whitehall-Cheltenham circles the 'special relationship' is seen as (pause) embedded for ever.

As an aside the differences between the DoD and State Dept in the Falklands War are a good illustration of how this can alter the situation.

In a curious way the UK's downsizing of military capability could enhance 'smart power' and doing more with less for the USA. This I suspect explains why UK SOF and intelligence escaping downsizing (and a few other capabilities).

Politics though come first.

It is easy to see US officials and politicians asking if the UK and others will not share the burden, do we need to engage with them? Engagement of course takes many forms, two examples: intelligence sharing and sales of equipment.

This has happened before: with New Zealand after its stance on nuclear weapons (which has just ended), Canada when its military capability and will evaporated in the 1970's and there's France - with whom the USA has well, a different relationship.

The significant implication for US strategy? Shared and shallow relationships with new partners for the USA, rather than the in-depth embedded 'special relationship' with the UK.

In the interests of contrary views try this:http://thinpinstripedline.blogspot.c...l-warrior.html
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 11-13-2012   #151
Firn
Council Member
 
Firn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 1,163
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Moore View Post
Fuchs,

I don't think you're accounting for political reality today, even if you and I don't agree with the general trend of political decisions to get involved in so called small wars, they are a fact of life. Maybe the economic crisis will bring us all to our senses, but in the mean time the challenge is having armed forces sufficiently large enough to support the current enduring occupation and peace keeping missions around the world, and in addition have enough strike capacity to conduct offensive/coercive military operations on short notice. I think you over estimate Europe's capacity to do so.

Of course a nation can attempt to mobilize to go to war, though I wonder how effectively modern, liberal democracies could actually do so if a real mobilization was actually required? Could Britian have sufficiently mobilized its industry to support and sustain major combat operations during WWII without extensive US support? Our industrial mobilization to support the UK and others at that time lifted us out of depression and perhaps enabled the allies to win.
The Wages of Destruction should deal nicely with the historic part. It is a complex topic but a highly interesting one. Needless to say that the effort of the US did play a huge huge part directly and indirectly.

Arguably today it would be much easier to mass produce the means to wage war then back in WWII at least as long the necessary ressources (raw materials!) pour in, enough time is available and the necessary willpower is there at all levels.
__________________
... "We need officers capable of following systematically the path of logical argument to its conclusion, with disciplined intellect, strong in character and nerve to execute what the intellect dictates"

General Ludwig Beck (1880-1944);
Speech at the Kriegsakademie, 1935

Last edited by Firn; 11-13-2012 at 11:01 PM.
Firn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2012   #152
Bill Moore
Council Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 2,507
Default How the British Army will Fight

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kedBlURaRaE

These interviews impressed me as being balanced. Those interviewed realize that Afghanistan isn't a template for future conflict, and logically state the requirement for having a full range of military capabilities.
Bill Moore is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2012   #153
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 8,503
Default Comments from an armchair

Bill,

I have now watched and listened to the film clip twice. It raises a number of issues succinctly, although some of the footage was odd - the Russians in Kosovo and the IDF. Being an official product, when the MoD prefers to be in hibernation from public comment, it is a shame alternative voices do not feature. The speakers, with one exception, being MoD employees or contractors.

After a recent, speculative press report 'British Army's fleet of Apache helicopters 'could be scrapped' it was almost amusing to hear the remarks on "heavy" assets versus Apaches:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...-scrapped.html

What was more valuable was the very careful skirting round the issue of, from various voices:
Quote:
an ability to go with them (USA)...making a strategic difference to the USA....an ability to do a task alone..
There are dissenting voices that think the shrunken UK military have - now and will clearly do so soon - fallen below the US minimum level for a contribution.

Reductions in public spending are driving this process, not a change in strategic direction nor a change in public opinion - which gives defence a low priority. I suspect that politically no-one wants to ask, let alone hear either the British professionals or US politicians answer the question is the UK a meaningful ally when it comes to a fight? A fight not for national survival, hard to conceive of today, more likely an intervention with the USA somewhere.

Hypothetically had the UK not pushed others in NATO in 2005 over "making a difference" in Afghanistan; the decision for ISAF to go south, would the USA have done so alone? You can argue that the minimal campaigning by the USA in Afghanistan better suited your national purpose.
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-18-2012   #154
Fuchs
Council Member
 
Fuchs's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 3,189
Default

Some governments pay too much attention to maintaining relationships and cooperations of nebulous value.

It's as if they knew from an inexplicable source that a certain cooperation makes sense, and don't even bother to think about the "why" or even "if".
The result are expensive policies for the sake of maintaining said cooperation/prestige/relationship.

Germany had and has its strange fixation on keeping NATO and transatlantic cooperation strong, even though the value is probably zero (to cooperate prevents overt rivalry, but the latter doesn't need to happen without said cooperation anyway).
There were also expensive policies done in order to support the bid for a permanent UNSC seat (for which we have little actual use).

Same with the EU; European unification has become an ideology which tolerates no even only small step backwards. Officials rarely discuss the actual utility of additional European cooperation.

The fixation on maintaining big brother's good will is particularly strong in NZ, Australia and the UK. Maybe it's the common language which support this fixation?
Maybe it wouldbe wise to look at more relaxed, non-Anglophone countries and thier alliance policies?
Fuchs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-16-2013   #155
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 8,503
Default

An IISS Strategic Comment 'Redesigned British Army: smaller, with more reserves':http://www.iiss.org/publications/str...more-reserves/

It concludes:
Quote:
..the reforms have the potential to transform the army's capability and to incorporate the lessons of recent operations. Success depends on the programme being properly led, managed, resourced and politically supported.
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-30-2013   #156
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 8,503
Default East of Suez: did we leave, now we're smarter?

I can recall the British decision to end its defence role 'East of Suez' in 1968, mainly due to economic factors and to cut defence spending - much to the dismay of a few partners and before Gulf War One only a smaller presence was left in Oman, the Gulf and (with the USA) on Diego Garcia.

Two Gulf Wars later, the interventions in Iraq and - still - Afghanistan the UK is there in force in the midst of an economic recession, with substantial cuts in defence spending. You might think now was not the time to expand the British role in the Persian Gulf, wrong!

RUSI, a Whitehall "think tank", has published a paper; in summary:
Quote:
The UK is approaching a decision point where a significant strategic reorientation of its defence and security towards the Gulf is both plausible and logical; and, for the first time since the UK unceremoniously left the Gulf in 1971, a coherent strategy for a ‘return to east of Suez’ is emerging.
There is a useful short podcast and a paper on:http://www.rusi.org/publications/oth...517AA8D59D1B3/

A BBC report notes:
Quote:
We are already committed to the Gulf. But we are just not doing it very well. There are 160,000 British citizens living there so if there is a crisis we will be involved, so we need to be better positioned to mitigate the threat.
Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22333555
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013   #157
Red Rat
Council Member
 
Red Rat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Currently based in the US.
Posts: 312
Default

The US strategic situation is very similar to what it was in the run up to WW2, especially in terms of force projection. Then the US could cover either the Pacific or the Atlantic, but not both concurrently. The fleet simply was not big enough.

With the US pivoting towards a Pacific/Asia focus it would make sense for a degree of rationalisation. In the same way that during a large part of the Cold war and in particular during the height of the Vietnam conflict the UK took on the burden of the North Sea and Atlantic Gap so today a UK/European towards the Middle East and Africa would make sense. The UK could not do what the US does (the UK does not have an effective global reach anymore (we now tread softly and carry a very small stick)) but by focusing efforts we can take a degree of the burden from the US.
__________________
RR

"War is an option of difficulties"
Red Rat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-01-2013   #158
jmm99
Council Member
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,021
Default Well put, Red Rat

... and the UK-EU would assume responsibility in the Med as well - a return to origins so to speak (in Corbettese).

Regards

Mike
jmm99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2013   #159
Red Rat
Council Member
 
Red Rat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Currently based in the US.
Posts: 312
Default

Churchill on the bank notes and the White Ensign all over the Med - what's not to like?
__________________
RR

"War is an option of difficulties"
Red Rat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-02-2013   #160
davidbfpo
Council Member
 
davidbfpo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 8,503
Default

A short commentary by a British historian 'Britain's '9/11 Wars' in historical perspective: why change and continuity matter' :http://www.historyandpolicy.org/pape...paper-143.html
__________________
davidbfpo
davidbfpo is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
afghanistan, british army, iraq, politics, richard dannatt, strategy, united kingdom, war fighting

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Specially Protected Persons in Combat Situations (new title) Tukhachevskii Global Issues & Threats 119 10-11-2010 08:26 PM
Officer Retention Patriot Military - Other 360 07-03-2009 06:47 PM
Appreciation for the military from the civilians yamiyugikun Small Wars Council / Journal 23 05-07-2009 11:08 PM
MCOs and SSOs in the 2008 edition of FM 3-0 Operations Norfolk Doctrine & TTPs 11 03-17-2008 01:15 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 11:26 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8. ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Registered Users are solely responsible for their messages.
Operated by, and site design © 2005-2009, Small Wars Foundation