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Message for Dr Fox

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Message for Dr Fox

Old 30th Jul 2010, 22:00
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Message for Dr Fox

Quote " Russia approves 65 per cent defence budget increase "

And the SDR is going to do what?
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Old 30th Jul 2010, 23:10
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Dr Fox should make sure that the SDR makes provision for lots of white flags.
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Old 30th Jul 2010, 23:22
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Maybe your message would be better directed to Liam's good friend George, the man who holds the purse.
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 00:15
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The country is in pieces and some folk seem to think we in the military are exempt any cuts, priceless
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 05:23
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The country is in pieces and some folk seem to think we in the military are exempt any cuts, priceless
Of course we aren't exempt from cuts. But lets remember that the vast majority of cuts elsewhere will be in back room, administrative functions before they start removing services. But the military has already been cut to the bone in recent years coupled with increasing contractorisation of what's left. What's left of that lot are literally now your front line and immediate support elements; big cuts there and you really are potentially cutting your own arm off. You don't think the first thing the NHS will be cutting are the numbers of surgeons, doctors and nurses do you? No, they will look to the admin and management functions rather than their 'front line' capability. If our back room, management and more importantly procurement functions weren't quite so bad, we might not be in the situation we are in now.

And like it or not, just because our government - of whatever colour - is happy to put national security at risk with massive cuts to capability, that doesn't mean other countries are going to reduce their military capabilities or scale back on their ambitions out of sympathy.

And there was me harbouring this old fashioned notion that the number one priority for the government was the defence and security of the country and its citizens. The world grows more unstable by the day, we've just come out of one war and are stuck in the middle of another and the government wants to slash our military capability. Priceless.
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 08:39
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Defence didn't get the BIG increases when times were good, but it has to share equal pain when times are bad? The 1st duty of any UK government is security. I think there is plenty of fat to work through before the UK gives up Trident, the carriers, GR4.

It is a betrayal
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 09:35
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Defence didn't get the BIG increases when times were good, but it has to share equal pain when times are bad? The 1st duty of any UK government is security. I think there is plenty of fat to work through before the UK gives up Trident, the carriers, GR4.
EXACTLY - In fact, other "spenders" have been getting fatter for years while the military were being squeezed to the bone. Bottom of the line is, with regard to the military, there is now very little left anyhow ! Time to spare the military while some vestige of capability remains.
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 10:10
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The military need look no further than itself for the reason we are in the state of disarray we are in today. We have for years been led by a bunch of incompetent, profligate morons that I would not trust to go to the corner shop to buy a loaf of bread.

Our procurement track record is nothing short of a disgrace and I am struggling to remember anything during my 36 years of service we have ever bought that came in on time, to budget and did "exactly what it says on the tin"

A portion of the blame for the fact that equipment we have is not fit for purpose, equipment we want is late, over budget and over priced or beyond our means may well belong to those in Westminster but the vast majority of the blame lies squarely at the feet of those who wear green/dark blue/light blue.

The world is broke because of the bankers. The country is broke because of Bliar/Broon. The situation the military currently finds itself in lies squarely on the shoulders of the Officer cadre who for years have made inept decision after inept decision committing millions upon millions on projects that have gone tits up almost from day one.

That is why it is only right and proper we take our share of the hurt and hopefully learn from the experience.
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 10:12
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hulahoop7, you're bang on the money.
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 10:20
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If the GR4 is retired, then would it be of any value pointing out to the doctor that the largest FJ fleet in the UK will not be sporting roundels? That can't be good, can it?
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 10:26
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Seldom.....

Is that before or after you retire (in the next 18 months?) on a nice big pension....


In the days of the cold war defence spending was about 4.0-4.5% of GDP. Without bothering to research the numbers (google/wiki?) I believe it is now about 2.0-2.5%.

While we are not in the days of the cold war, the world is still a dangerous place, and we are actually in the middle of a shooting war! Defence spending has been run down dramatically over the last 10-15 yeas, while spending on the NHS has gone up by about a factor of 3! However, the NHS is "ring fenced" while Defence has to take its share of pain in terms of saving costs.

I'm not saying Defence should be immune from savings, but it has already been starved of money for some considerable time.

As for the concept that Defence should lose 5-7Bn because you think it has had crap leadership........that logic beggars belief! Especially when you consider that many defence procurement decisions have been politically driven, in terms of "buy British" rather than buy the best, or what the forces actually want!
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 10:27
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You don't think the first thing the NHS will be cutting are the numbers of surgeons, doctors and nurses do you? No, they will look to the admin and management functions rather than their 'front line' capability.
That is exactly what the NHS is doing, I'm afraid. Wards and hospitals are closing and doctors and nurses will be made redundant, though it won't be called that. Usually the term is 'reconfiguring'.

There will also be a lot of low-grade clerical staff redundancies, but senior managers will always find a job. Once in the private sector, the pay will rise sharply.

At the moment these changes are only plans, just as it will be for the forces but once the reality bites, we'll see just how brave this new government is.
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 11:11
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Seldomfitforpurpose

The military need look no further than itself for the reason we are in the state of disarray we are in today. We have for years been led by a bunch of incompetent, profligate morons that I would not trust to go to the corner shop to buy a loaf of bread.

Our procurement track record is nothing short of a disgrace and I am struggling to remember anything during my 36 years of service we have ever bought that came in on time, to budget and did "exactly what it says on the tin"

A portion of the blame for the fact that equipment we have is not fit for purpose, equipment we want is late, over budget and over priced or beyond our means may well belong to those in Westminster but the vast majority of the blame lies squarely at the feet of those who wear green/dark blue/light blue.

The world is broke because of the bankers. The country is broke because of Bliar/Broon. The situation the military currently finds itself in lies squarely on the shoulders of the Officer cadre who for years have made inept decision after inept decision committing millions upon millions on projects that have gone tits up almost from day one.

That is why it is only right and proper we take our share of the hurt and hopefully learn from the experience.
Absolutely beautifully put. Do you want that framing?
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 11:23
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Biggus,

The military did not suddenly wake up and find themselves in 2010 strapped for cash, it was led there
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 11:44
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Fred,

Quote " Russia approves 65 per cent defence budget increase "
I for one would like a bit more detail on that quote - perhaps a link to an article?

----------------------------------------------------------------------

I see the blame game has begun

I was really hoping this brave new Govt would restore the Armed Forces status in society to where it was when I first joined - I realise now it's not going to happen. Depressing really

Whatever her failings and whether you loved her or loathed her, at least Mrs T knew with absolute certainty that the first duty of a Govt was the Defence of the Realm. The Falklands was the only time in my career when all 3 services pulled together for one common pupose and did exactly as each was supposed to do.

I never felt more proud to be a British citizen and a member of the Armed Forces. Where did it all go so wrong, and more importantly, how can we make it right?
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 12:33
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Article in the Telegraph

Here is a link to the story in the Telegraph

Russia approves 65 per cent defence budget increase - Telegraph
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 12:36
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Seldom,

The size of the UK defence budget is not set by senior officers, but by politicians.

Hopefully this link...

Defence Spending Chart for United Kingdom 1981-2011 - Central Government Local Authorities

...shows the change in the MOD budget graphically. What happened in the late 90s, it went down. From about 1988 to 2003 the defence budget increased by about 50%, from 20Bn to 30Bn.

In the same period the NHS budget almost tripled, i.e went up by 200%

Health Care Spending Chart for United Kingdom 1981-2011 - Central Government Local Authorities

...and UK GDP (yes, its in $), went up by about 100%.

Google - public data

Many procurement decisions, as I said before, have a political input. When looking for an "off the shelf" pilot trainer years ago, the RAF compared 3, and wanted the Swiss PC-9. What did it get, the Brazilian Tucano. Why? Because the Tucano was going to be assembled by Shorts in Belfast, and the politicians wanted to boost employment in that area. That is the kind of situation the senior military finds itself trying to have to live with....!!


I'm not saying that military senior management is perfect, from from it, or hasn't made some bad decisions, but to ignore the input from our political masters - as is about to happen now - is totally blinkered!

Perhaps you need to get that anti officer chip off your shoulder....

And when are you retiring?
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 15:23
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The size of the UK defence budget is not set by senior officers, but by politicians.
But it is the senior officers who decide how it's spent.

A couple of weeks ago a colleague of mine went off on a short trip in support of a 2 week flying excercise. He was there solely to carry out a couple of checks which because of the flying programme he achieved in the first two days.


Rather than sit around he called home base to see about flying home civ air, he had already looked online and found the cheapest flight home which was 502. He was told that as 502 exceeds the acceptable limit and he was to stay put. Said colleague then points out that by staying put he will be running up accommodation charges, allowances, IE and Sepal which comes to a damn sight more than the cost of the air fare, but he was told it matters not the flight is to expensive so stay put.


This was not a decision of some junior admin person or even WO Accts this was decision made by someone almost at the top of the tree at home base and is almost pythonesque in its daftness and its that sort of joined up thinking that has most of us pulling our hair out.

If you were a government bean counter sat looking in at the way we do our daily business, and the above is just one teeny weeny example of how badly we are being financially supervised, would you seriously be looking to give us even more money to waste?
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 17:07
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SFP - your focus on the small and irksome at the expense of the strategic, and accompanied with a real chip, does not do you justice - nor does your rant suggesting its is all the miltary's fault we are we are - or are you just being a s**t stirrer?
I am not for one minute a supporter of any argument that all our senior heirarchy are perfect and have always made the right decisions - that simply doesn't happen in any organisation at any time - not least one such as the MoD with its curious mix of politicians, civil servants and users (military). It is true however, that our politicians have consistently starved the MoD budget for what it has really needed over the last 2 decades (despite some vociferous efforts by senior personnel) both to mount its operations at the scale required (a political committment needing Treasury support), and at the same time underfund its enormous procurement aspirations (again only supportable by political vision and acceptance) - it was public knowledge 10 years ago that a 10 year 60Bn procurement allocation could not buy the 90Bn equipment planned (see perenial NAO reports please) - yet everyone has dithered as to what to do about it.
While I would fully agree that degrees of incompetent and sometimes downright perverse, unsupportable (and illegal - thinking airworthiness management here) behaviour have contributed to some stupid procurement cock-ups. Each story is complex but at its heart is driven by underfunding and well meaning but foolish efforts "to do the job despite everything" . Look at Nimrod Mk4 for example, and Chinook Mk3........both very underfunded programmes at the outset (and anyone who knows anything about such procurement could have told you that at the time)...we should never have signed the contracts (that's where the organisation and leadership failed!) as such underfunding was destined to create the very problems that have occurred with these programmes.
No - getting complex capability into service on the cheap has been the UK's way for too long as we struggle to balance our national decline with our determination to still be a big player and yet throw a large proportion of our government expenditure willy-nilly to create a dependency culture nation - 196Bn last year Argh!!! Therefore underestimating the cost at the outset has been the only way to secure political acceptance (and those staff involved have found ever more "devious" ways of convincing themselves and their masters that it can be dione at such prices!!) - so what I'm really saying here is that the forecast 10 year cost of 90Bn was really more likely to be 120Bn - and yet we were only panning to spend 60Bn!!!!!...So it should not be a regular surprise to any of us that immense problems ensue when the real hardware has to be built, tested and worked up for real service....a double whammy/Catch 22 situation if ever there was one.
If our procurement system (from top politician to lowest tier IPT member was properly constituted, educated and trained -well that would be a good starter - and their work was recognised, funded and empowered - then many of our procurement issues would vanish - but is hasn't happened like that - and probably never will.....because there's always going to be the politicians stepping in at just the wrong time, many of which really don't understand how the defence of the nation is paramount and how it has so much influence on much else - the rise of the RN, the arguments about what we should spend on it, and its driving of our rise as a premier industrial nation and subsequent wealth creation being the obvious historic precedent.......over several centuries...there is nothing new in what is happening but many of our politicians would believ that new schools and hospitals win votes not our ability to influence world events by getting stuck in at international political and military level.

Cheers

Last edited by Tallsar; 31st Jul 2010 at 17:25.
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Old 31st Jul 2010, 17:51
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Tallsar,

Why is it a standard assumption that when a baldrick has the temerity to suggest failings in his/her leaders abilities they are nothing more than embittered individuals with a chip on their shoulder

If you go take another look at my post the example used also has the phrase "the above is just one teeny weeny example" which seems to me to properly indicate the level of importance with which I rate it.

If you want an example of a more strategic financial cluster f"ck then look no further than the C130-J freight bay. Someone took out an off the shelf fully fit for purpose freight bay and decided we should re engineer it so that we could use an out dated side guidance system that we had hanging about and an aircraft winch that first saw service on the Beverley. I dread to think how many hundreds of thousands of pounds we wasted on that absolute non starter.

The phrase that I will always associate with military waste is "re inventing the wheel" which we seem to take to new highs as each year goes by. If someone could only calculate the man hours and cash wasted every couple of years when the new broom sweeps through on his/her way to the next location it would be an absolutely staggering figure

The new government have already said our procurement system is not fit for purpose yet we continue to have junior/senior officers involved in stuff they are simply ill equipped to deal with, it's no wonder civilian manufacturers absolutely take us to the cleaners.

Sorry but whilst the new government can be blamed for cutting back we have hardly been a shining example of how to spend wisely
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