Friday, 5 November 2010

Defence And The Strategic Deficit

There is a very well written post by an anonymous author on the Phoenix Think Tank's blog.


The whole piece is well articulated and well worth reading.

This blog agrees with most of what is written in that piece.

However,we disagree with one point.


It is our position that that the size of the British Army is not the root of the problems in British defence spending.

It is the position of this blog that the currently planned defence budget is sufficient to field an army and navy capable of serving the independent interests of the people of the United Kingdom.

It is our belief that the poor return on investment which the British people receive from their defence spending is primarily caused by the following three problems:


1.The vast expenditure on land based air power which is the most inefficient means of providing air support for expeditionary  warfare.

2.The inefficient procurement system which is the result of the armed forces failure to rationalise their requirements as well as the Ministry of Defence's incompetent management.

3.The poor force generation of the armed forces themselves.


The Strategic Defence and Security Review has singularly failed to realise substantial savings in the first of these three areas.

Primarily as a result of retaining the full Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft fleet and cutting two Harrier squadrons instead of 2 more expensive Tornado squadrons.


Subsequent Anglo French agreements are likely to increase problems in the second area.

Much of the financial difficulty faced by the Ministry of Defence is due to the vast expense of European Procurement projects such as the £20,000 Million Typhoon.


The third area is subject to action,however,in terms of air power the elimination of the Fleet Air Arm's Harriers leaves only the Royal Air Force's land based aircraft which have an exceedingly poor record of force generation.

Over the last 65 years,the Fleet Air Arm has deployed up to 82% of it's combat aircraft on operations while the Royal Air Force has never deployed more than 15% of it's combat aircraft to any war since 1945.

These land based combat aircraft took part in only 4 of the 7 major air wars which the United Kingdom has taken part in since the Second World War.

In every case they generated far fewer sorties per aircraft per day than the carrier based aircraft operating alongside them.


Until the above three problems are properly addressed the future looks bleak for the British armed forces and the taxpayers whom they serve.


This blog also has a fundamental issue with the government's apparent policy.


An issue which is summed up by the phrase "defence and the democratic defecit".

It is our principle that armed forces exist to do the will of the government and the government exists to do the will of the people.

The Lisbon Treaty,Strategic Defence and Security Review and subsequent Anglo French agreements run contrary to that principle.