09 October 2010

BUB: UK Defence Cuts

The British military is being dramatically cut back due to budgetary limitations. Now what?

A Parliament advisor has recommended cutting huge chunks of the conventional land forces and focusing on light and special operations forces as the only deployable troops.

Thousands of troops should be forced into the reserves and hundreds of weapons mothballed for Britain to make defence savings, an influential report written by a senior Parliamentary adviser has said.
Because there is “no silver bullet” to make efficiency savings in the MoD Britain should adopt a radical strategy based on the premise that the chances of an attack from another state are very slim, according to Prof David Kirkpatrick’s report.
In Making Ends Meet he sets out the steps required by the Armed Forces to reduce the defence budget by £3 billion from its current £37 billion total.
The paper recommends that British forces which provide homeland defence should be “transferred from regular to reserve status; their equipment mothballed and their personnel given only part-time training”.
The only forces to be kept in the regular military should those on or preparing for expeditionary operations or involved in the nuclear deterrent.
As the Government vacillates over its final decision on cuts to the Armed Forces a formula to make the 10 per cent saving has been put forward by a consultant to the Commons Defence Committee.

How deep would these cuts go? Wow.

The report proposes Army’s entire force of Challenger 2 tanks, numbering about 400 and heavy artillery should be reduced by two thirds and put in storage.
Corresponding reductions would be made in the signals, logistics and medical regiments. The changes, which would not affect infantry or engineers, would reduce the strength of the field army by some 20 per cent to 80,000.
The current aircraft carriers would be reduced from two to one and then replaced by the new Queen Elizabeth when it’s built around 2015.
With only one carrier to protect the fleet of 22 frigates and destroyers could be go down by a third.
The number of RAF combat aircraft should be reduced by half shrinking the air force to below 200 jets, its lowest since the First World War.
The paper concluded that the defence budget “could thus be cut by about 10 per cent without any significant risk to national security”. It would also not inflict “irretrievable damage” to Britain’s military or industrial capabilities.


The defence industry is, predictably, fighting back, but claiming they'll be economically wrecked.

Government spending cuts in defence could "raze the UK defence industry to the ground", Unite has claimed.
The union cited a study based on work by Oxford Economics to suggest that cuts of 26% to the defence budget could leave 55,000 jobs at risk.
Bernie Hamilton, a Unite officer, condemned the proposed cuts in apocalyptic terms, forging an unlikely ad-hoc alliance between the trade union and defence secretary Liam Fox.
He said: "The Tory led coalition wants to raze the UK defence industry to the ground. It believes wrecking the UK's sovereignty to manufacture defence equipment is a price worth paying."
Mr Hamilton also warned that defence cuts would have a disproportionate effect on poor areas of the UK.
"Tens of thousands of job cuts in some of Britain's most deprived regions will have tragic consequences. These skilled manufacturing jobs won't get replaced," he warned.
The figures include both those directly employed in the industry and in the supply chain.

Which is just another chapter in the role of the defence industry: jobs program or subject to obsolescence?

Of course, NATO thinks that Anglo-French cooperation is a great thing.

Anglo-French defence co-operation on everything from nuclear warheads to transport aircraft, helicopters and aircraft carriers would bolster the future of a cash-strapped western military alliance, Nato's secretary general has said.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen threw his support behind suggestions that London and Paris were exploring a radical departure in defence policy, in seeking a deal under which French engineers maintain British nuclear warheads. David Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy will hold a summit in three weeks at a UK naval base with military collaboration high on the agenda.

A breakthrough between the UK and France could provide the model for sustaining Nato at a time of financial crisis and slashed defence budgets, Rasmussen told a group of journalists, including the Guardian, in Brussels. "It's very much what I said is the way forward, to identify assets and capabilities that could be shared," he said. Paris and London should pool resources on "laboratories, shared services, and maintenance", he added, in reference to proposals that Britain's 160 nuclear warheads should be transported to France for servicing by French atomic scientists and engineers.

Rasmussen also warned that looming British defence budget cuts must not impair the UK's ability to be a military force beyond its borders. He said: "I feel confident the British government will make sure it primarily cuts fat while also building up muscle."

With the defence secretary, Liam Fox, fighting chancellor George Osborne over the scale of defence cuts that could reach up to 20% over four years, Rasmussen said the slashed budget must not affect Britain's "deployable assets, transport and hi-tech capabilities" and added: "It's an essential part of British security policy to continue to defend its interests beyond the UK's borders." Earlier he warned that western prosperity would be imperilled if defence cuts went too far, saying: "There is a point when you're no longer cutting fat, you're cutting into the muscle and then into the bone."

By: Brant

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wait, what? Reducing the tank park to 130 machines, the Air Force to less than 200, and the Navy to 25 ships of all sizes cuts only 10 percent off the defence budget? What's the other 90 percent spent on? Infantrymen aren't that expensive.