DEFENCE PROCUREMENT ISSUES WILL IMPINGE ON TYPHOON TRANCHE 3
By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE
23 Nov 07. Ministers have hit back after Gordon Brown and the government came under attack from former military top brass over the treatment of UK armed forces. Five former chiefs of the defence staff warned of “blood on the floor” at the MoD because of inadequate funding. Admiral Lord Boyce said the prime minister had treated the armed services with “contempt” and “disinterest”.
Defence Minister Derek Twigg said there had been the longest period of growth in defence spending since the 1980s. Mr Twigg told the BBC that the government was absolutely committed to the armed forces. The next spending round would see an increase of £7.7bn for defence, he added. The former defence chiefs spoke during a Lords debate, in which there were calls to improve levels of military funding. Admiral Lord Boyce criticised a decision to give Des Browne the jobs of both defence secretary and Scottish secretary. Lord Boyce said: “It is seen as an insult by our sailors, our soldiers and our airmen on the front line. “It is certainly a demonstration of the disinterest and some might say contempt that the prime minister and his government has for our armed forces. “And it shows an appalling lack of judgement at a time when our people are being killed and they are being maimed.” Speaking later to BBC News 24, Admiral Lord Boyce said the military was also chronically underfunded. He said: “The money that defence was given for its budget is not sufficient to meet the level of activities that the armed forces are currently engaged in. “If you start back, say 10 years ago, from the strategic defence review that itself was underfunded…since then the gap has not been closed.” General Lord Guthrie blamed the prime minister for “the very serious situation we find the services in today”. Marshal of the RAF Lord Craig of Radley asked whether it was “immoral to commit forces that are underprepared and ill-equipped for their task?” Further criticisms were levelled by Field Marshals Lord Bramall and Lord Inge. (Source: BBC)
BATTLESPACE understands that the Army has forbidden the top brass to talk to the Press about this scuffle. However, the Army could be as much to blame for the Procurement mess as the Government. Whilst BATTLESPACE accepts that Gordon Brown, in particular, has shown nothing but disdain for the military and the defence industry, the Army hierarchy and Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank in particular should shoulder some of the blame. Lord Guthrie, described in the Sunday Times as a ‘the genial throat-slitter!’, was known to be Tony Blair’s favourite General and advised him on the many conflicts from Sierra Leone thru Bosnia and Kosovo to Iraq. However one needs to trace the Army promotions structure post-Gulf War I and we find that the bulk of the filed commanders during that conflict never made it to the top, thus there was a huge knowledge-gap in modern desert warfare and its effects on troops and equipment.
Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that those forces left at home during the Gulf War I were jealous of those who took part and thus many promotions were blocked. Add to this the rise in the ranks of the SAS ‘throat-slitters’ whose prominence came to notice post-Iranian Embassy siege and Mrs Thatcher’s known favouritism for this elite, you have an Army run by the elites of the Paras and the SAS with little input form the technical services and more importantly the sappers, engineers, logisticians and signallers who provide the vital structures to make an Army work. We pointed out in our feature on BOWMAN, BATTLESPACE TECHNOLOGIES C4ISTAR, Volume 10 Issue 4 September 2007, ‘BOWMAN – DEVELOPING THE BACKBONE FOR LAND SYSTEMS NEC,’ By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE, that the bulk of the blame for the problems with this system lay with the top brass who failed to grasp the sheer complexities of digitization in particular. You