08/12/2012

UK Defence Is Heading For The Rocks. And It’s The Top Brass Who Are Steering This Once Fine Ship Of Shame

Henry Forth writes from London: The British Defence Ministry is in the clagg. It is heading for a double dose of cuts Defence spending cut again (telegraph.co.uk) the so-called bright guys at the top have not seen it coming and don’t know how to handle it.
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Trident
Must go
All is very simple: Britain is broke. The Chancellor George Osborne after two and a half years of trying to sort the books is having to admit that the green shoots of economic recovery spotted last spring have been trodden on by the consequences of his policies No clean bill of health for MoD (express.co.uk). He cannot get the deficit down for at least one - two decades, Meaning? The basic income of the British Treasury taxes  is falling in value.


On the other side of Whitehall, the Ministry of Defence under the scrapping of the Royal Navy’s carrier group while the new vessels were being built and not expected in service for another ten years. Having taken its fair share of cuts as the MOD saw it, it believed the Treasury when it was told it would be getting at least a one per cent defence spending increase MoD chief's £275,000 package breaks pay rules (telegraph.co.uk). 
The Treasury guys muttered behind their red ink-stained hands. With the exception of the present Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Stephen Dalton, the chiefs of staff – the people running the military – are not nearly as smart as their uniforms. They failed to anticipate the continued economic woes of the UK, the knock-on effects of the crumbling euro and the irreversible slow burn failure of the Chancellor’s austerity programme.  
The Meanistry of Defence: Department racks up huge surplus but no end to cuts in frontline troops (mirror.co.uk) the MOD is going to get another cut-back – most certainly not the one per cent increase it thought it was going to get. But defence economics does not operate in the same way as civilian economics.

Sir David Richards
Not up to it
What’s the way out of it? In the long term, the simple task is to scrap a Trident replacement. The government will not do that because it dare not and could not face the political consequence of not being a nuclear weapon power at the UN – although no British government would vote to be a nuclear power if it were starting from scratch. Such is the low intellectual level of British defence policy thinking. Trident should go to get the defence budget out of a hole even if the MOD does think the Chancellor would not allow the department to keep the savings.

Anything else? Bin about a third of the civilian jobs and about 15 per cent of the military top brass jobs. Immediately the cuts of lower ranks were announced two years ago, the chiefs of staff immediately created a 2 Star command with all the brass hangers-on that means. The sadness is that General Sir David Richards and most of his crew (Dalton excepted) are not as good as the country would expect them to be. The supporting Civil Service is mostly second grade. The chiefs of staff have failed to anticipate the consequence of George Osborne’s mostly failed policies? Spending watchdog slams defence chief's £220,000 pay deal with £25,000 thrown in for a London flat (dailymail.co.uk) 

A post made earlier today over on Stirring Trouble Internationally - A humorous take on news and current affairs UK Defence Is Heading For The Rocks. And It’s The Top Brass Who Are Steering This Once Fine Ship Of Shame.  



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