Sunday, January 17, 2010

Military manoeuvres

Full marks to the Army today for getting its political strike in with Max Hasting's article in the Speccie this week.

They are deploying the - we need the stuff to fight Afghanistan / Iraq counter insurgency wars and therefore its the fast jet jockeys and highly expensive cold war Naval types who should be cut.

  • The RAF and Army's cross hairs are firmly targeted on the two new carriers.
  • The RAF wants to kill of the Fleet Air Arm.
  • The Army wants to kill of the RAF. ( Too much time waiting for clapped out transport Tristars to be repaired and having no helicopters souring the mood a bit ).
  • And no doubt the Army will make another bid for the Royal Marines, as it would be rude not to.
  • The Lib Dems and Labour unilateralists want to surrender world influence to the US by giving up a functioning Nuclear deterrent, though of course they think they're aiming for something else.
  • And everyone does a lot of wishful thinking about Trident.

Looks like chaos to me.

What we should remember is that each war over the past few decade has required a different aspect of the military.

  • The Falklands - The Navy
  • First Gulf War - The RAF and the pig iron dinosaurs of an Armoured brigade.
  • The Iraq was - RAF, Navy (popping of cruise missiles ) and infantry.
  • The current insurgencies - The infantry supported by air mobile elements, and with highly expensive delivery of high explosives on mud huts by the RAF .
We need to think long and hard about what our defence needs really are and make choices. Cuts across the board will just lead to us failing at everything.

We will always need the Army, but maybe not armoured brigades.
We need air defence - the Russians are flying super sonic nuclear capable aircraft to within spitting distance of our cost and being only detected when they fly away ( this is very very serious and hasn't got the attention it deserves ).
And thanks to Labour campaign to destroy our traditional culture by mass immigration we can't feed ourselves any more, so we rely on food from over seas and fuel as well - and to guarantee those we'll need a blue water Navy.

Its a mess, and one the Army must not be allowed to exploit for selfish reasons the public support for the troops under fire. In the end we are about the defence of the realm - not inter service rivalry.

There have to be cuts of course - so here are my ideas.
  1. Set a near term withdrawal from Afghanistan. Yes deadlines are bad, but we can't carry on and need to recognise that fact.
  2. The RAF is over manned - the Israeli airforce manages on far lower manning levels, and they are fighting wars all the time. P45's for many of the guys in light blue - sorry, but at least you all have transferable skills.
  3. A larger reserve - allowing mobilization in short term, but not requiring the same standing resources. And a corresponding smaller size of regular forces.
  4. Avoid selling of bases just to raise cash. We need to be ready for war - not running a few airshows, and in war assets will get damaged.
  5. Cancel the carriers and either lease from the US ( who have their own budget problems and will probably play along ) or replace with smaller carriers again. ( Not ideal - but with drones etc coming in over the next decade this may be smarter than it looks).
  6. Build new tactical Nukes. Labour abolished them ( but being New Labour kept quiet about it ). One way to deter people like the Argentines is to have them guessing if their airfields might get nuked if they push us too far. Deterrence pays very dividends in prevented conflict.
  7. Missiles/Drones are a good idea. We need far more of them. In the Arab Israeli wars the success of missiles has been vastly under reported, and have fought one of the best militaries in the world to a stand still on more than one occasion. They aren't as flash as fighter jets or tanks - but they are deadly and effective. These come at the expense of the manned equivalents - that means less aircraft, pilots and tanks.


Anonymous said...

The bit you missed is the transfer of the RAF helicopter assets to the army where they belong. Navy machines are specialized, but the RAF has no need of helicopters. They should be the fast jet jockeys only.

CSM Charlie Company said...

While I respect everyone's right to an opinion - I do like to know that those who suggest drastic changes to the defence have a modicum of knowledge about that of which they speak - not that I doubt it for a minute, you understand.

So what part of the military did you serve in - and what theatres of war have you been involved with - I ask out of interest and in the intent to create credibilty.

We ex-service types tend to be a little suspicious, especially thos of us who wore the rose.

Man in a Shed said...

@CSM Charlie Company - Since we don't live in a military dictatorship your argument doesn't hold.

The breakdown of the ideas is as follows.

1) Common sense - if you can't afford the war you have to stop, and eventually you will.
2) This is a point made by Colonel Collins - its well know that the RAF manning levels are vastly over the top marked against other militaries, especially the Israelis ( the most war ready in the western world ).
3) A large reserve allows mobilisation in a medium time frame. Its not as good as standing forces of the same size, but its a lot cheaper and cost is the issue.
4) This argument doesn't save money but does stop asset stripping and the creation of armed forces useful only for parades. For example see the closure of the Saxa Vord radar station at a time that Russian Nuclear bombers and making in to within 12 miles of some of our cities.
5)We can't afford to build, man or protect or buy the aircraft to go on these carriers and we could never afford to risk them in war against the sort of enemy that could destroy them. They are too few and far too expensive.
6) This is the way the peace was kept in the 70's when Labour had reduced the RAF to 2 combat days worth of missiles.
7) See reports on the Yom Kippor war and second Lebanon invasion - its all there. Arab use of missile systems nearly defeated/stopped the Israelis on these two occasions.

Not this is a debate not a final report. Buts let be clear the money has gone. The equipment has been worn out by Labour's wars. There is no choice but to cut back. Its just a question of how its done.