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“Don’t mention the war...”

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“Don’t mention the war...”

Old 17th Jul 2020, 07:38
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“Don’t mention the war...”

I expect you chaps will have already read this, but

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/t...sion-jgsf29rc2

see, I’ve mentioned it once, but I think I’ve got away with it.

cue knock on the door at midnight?
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 07:59
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Sorry - hidden behind the Murdoch paywall. What was the gist of the article?
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 09:18
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Here you go, Beags:-

Top armed forces officers gagged by defence secretary Ben Wallace over aircraft carrier discussion

The head of the Royal Navy has been admonished and all senior armed forces officers have been gagged after military proposals to station an aircraft carrier in the Far East were reported in The Times this week.

Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, has banned officers at one-star rank and above from giving public speeches or appearing at think tank events. The “pause” in external engagement, as it has been labelled by the Ministry of Defence, will remain until further notice.

Ministers want to stop senior officers making public pitches designed to influence the government’s integrated review of foreign policy, defence and security, due to report this autumn. Boris Johnson has said it will be the most sweeping and comprehensive rethink of Britain’s approach to the world since the end of the Cold War.

The Times reported on Tuesday that military chiefs had drawn up an option to station one of the UK’s £3.1 billion aircraft carriers in the Far East as part of an international alliance to counter China. Another proposal involved “forward-basing” a frigate, a smaller warship, in the region. Comments on the subject were made publicly at a think tank webinar by senior personnel from the Royal Navy and the RAF.

Details of the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth’s maiden grand voyage to the Indo-Pacific early next year also emerged, although the Ministry of Defence insisted that no final decision on its route had been taken.


Admiral Tony Radakin, the first sea lord, was called in to see Mr Wallace to discuss the reports. Mr Wallace is thought to have become concerned about message discipline in the forces.

A defence source said last night that the ban would not last for ever. “The people who know best about what the armed forces need are those serving or in charge of the single services,” they said. "We absolutely want to use their expertise and stories in a way that supports the integrated review, once this [ban] is unpaused and we are ready to re-engage.”

The proposal to send the Queen Elizabeth to the Far East was backed by senior China hawks in parliament but Tobias Ellwood, Tory chairman of the Commons defence select committee, said that discussing it around the time of the decision to ban Huawei from Britain’s 5G network was “reckless”.
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 10:55
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I can see the logic for a "pause" as with a defence review imminent the last thing you need is the 3 services fighting their corner in the press.
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 13:03
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Originally Posted by radar101 View Post
I can see the logic for a "pause" as with a defence review imminent the last thing you need is the 3 services fighting their corner in the press.
Agreed, but do you think this will stop Sharkey & co?
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 14:04
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And there's been a couple of retired light blue letter writers on the subject in the Torygraph over the last couple of days.
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 16:02
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Because Ben Wallace didn't want to be overshadowed when he announced £65m on only 3 Protectors! (at first....)
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Old 17th Jul 2020, 16:40
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What's new? I thought senior officers have always been circumscribed in what they can say

A speech by the 1SL caused a debate in parliament in 1951 in which a well known former First Lord of the Admiralty said:

Mr. ChurchillMay I draw the attention of the Minister to the King's Regulations, paragraph 17 (2): All persons belonging to the Fleet are forbidden to write or otherwise to communicate to the Press, or publish or allow to be published, directly or indirectly, any matter or information relating to the Naval Service, or anything of a controversial nature affecting other departments of the public service or relating to matters of public policy, unless the permission of the Admiralty has been first obtained.

2020DIN03-005 Released January 2020

All personnel of 1* rank and above and civilian equivalents must seek approval via DDC Secretariat before accepting any invitation to speak or write publicly on defence or wider government matters whether through the media or another channel, including social media. Requests must be submitted no later than Thursday 9am in the week before the intended communications activity via the online form.

Contentious Issues

All contact with the media and communication in public on contentious topics requires prior approval from DDC. Service and TLB/ALB media staff must direct media enquiries on these topics to DDC-PR-News and personnel of any rank or grade must seek authorisation before communication on them. The list below provides an indication of such topics, though this is not exhaustive and judgement should be applied. If there is any doubt about whether communications are potentially contentious please talk to service/TLB/ALB communications teams or DDC Secretariat prior to engagement.
  • EU Negotiation
  • Annual Budget Cycle (ABC)
  • Spending Reviews
  • SDSR
  • Reductions in service and civilian personnel
  • Estates/Basing Strategy
  • Future Reserves 2020
  • Trident/Successor
  • Carrier Strike/F35 Lightning
  • Materiel Strategy
  • Scotland and Defence
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