Wednesday, 11 February 2015

2% for Defence? - Haldane 2015

Around a century ago the army made a series of deep reforms that came out of the experience of the second Boer war. These left us with a standing army capable of forming an expeditionary force, with 'twinned' territorial units at home re-supplying and training, and with the militia and yeomanry for home defence. Arguably, without these reforms we would not have been able to slow the Germans at Mons, Paris may have fallen and the war may have been over by October 1914. 

Times and needs change, and without apportioning numbers I'd suggest we need to look for the following capabilities;

An Expeditionary capacity - capable of both independent deployment and of forming part of a NATO deployment, useful both on the European plain against armour, in asymmetric conflicts, police actions, and across a variety of operational environments from desert to arctic. 
Reserve / training capacity - More closely integrated TA (as is happening) plus far greater use of university cadets, bursaries, shared apprenticeships, work-service sharing etc - offering defence roles, training and experience to all members of the UK workforce 17-47. Tesco van drivers who can pilot a tank.
Militia / Yeomanry - A revival of the traditional bodies used for home defence, also deployed in civil areas for public re-assurance during periods of terrorist threat etc., independent of the Police and under the command of the Lords Lieutenant and not the MoD under an integrated home defence strategy. Service to 65 years. 

The Air Force - Less independent role and more to establish air superiority where ground troops are operating, to support them with ground attack, for resupply and rapid deployment of ground troops, global deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) with both surveillance and offensive capacity

The Fencibles - Revival of volunteer, part-time coastguard service assisting HMRC and for inshore coastal defence, policing small boat traffic etc - Service to 65. 

Not definitive and I'm definitely open to argument on everything - but clearly we need a new aim and purpose for defence rather than just nibbling at out-dated structures to achieve 'austerity' armed forces. If this can all be done for 2% of GDP, great. If it takes more, we must find it.

18 comments:

cuffleyburgers said...

Very sensible approach Radders.

Unfortunately our lords and masters as they like to think of themselves, are likely to take the usual salami slicing approach, and we'll end spending more for a less effective capability, as with everything else the debat ewill be hijacked by the 24 hr news cycle and will be discussed in soundbytes of 140 characters.

To hell with them.

Nick Drew said...

an important discussion - with the added spice of a new and critical Baltic scenario to cater for, alongside the asymmetricals

An Expeditionary capacity - capable of both independent deployment and of forming part of a NATO deployment, useful both on the European plain against armour, in asymmetric conflicts, police actions, and across a variety of operational environments from desert to arctic

indeed, and this means lots of Royal Marines (and I write as a former soldier)

Reserves/TA - I am also a big fan of the TA if used correctly, which means as specialists, not infantry (or 'piloting a tank', pace, Mr R)

Militia for public reassurance? Under command of Lords Lieutenant? Hmmm. UK history not on your side there

Air Force: yes, lots of drones - their capabilities are quite astonishing - but it would be better not to be 100% dependent on US technology (OK, inevitable I know, what with needing the GPS)

Navy? I'm really not sure - we seem to be stuck with the two white-elephant carriers & no planes (sell them to the Russians?) - and I've never been a big Trident fan if we could devise an equally secure and genuinely independent alternative nuclear deterrent, which we gotta have

G. Tingey said...

You forgot to mention ..
The Royal Navy needs to increase in size ( & that size o be effective ) by at least 75% if not 100%
The rot started immediatly after the Falklands, when the madwoman actually did cut our defences ...
And every traitorous PM since has followed that lead.

Raedwald said...

Nick - I forgot your 2011 piece, linked, which is excellent good sense. So Tesco HGV drivers to be Army HGV drivers, not tank drivers.

France is a superb example of how flooding the streets with boots can help cool civil passions. The problem is we (rightly) don't trust the police with guns and (rightly) don't trust soldiers to maintain justice. So don't we need a hybrid solution of unarmed plods and lads in camo with SA80s on the street together?

NB It may make me bad Libertarian, but when some 4,000 Islamists (official estimate) in the UK are working to kill me, maim me or saw my head off, I actually find uniforms and boots on the streets quite comforting.

Mr Ecks said...


You won't find it so comforting when said "boots on the street" are busy kicking the shit out of you. Has it still not sunk in Radders that the establishment--now rotten with middle class metro-Marxists-- doesn't give a shit for the ordinary people of this country?. The pukes of BluLabour announce one chunk of tyranny after another--for use against "extremists" (ie people who remember when this was a slightly free country)--but don't have the balls to even say "Islamists" in the same breath. Islamics are clients of the left and leftist scum have infiltrated and rotted out every institution of British society.

As for your plan to have coastal snoopers help HMRC--fuck that and HMRC.

Sceptical Steve said...

As always, the biggest issue is the way that our defence capability is equated to its budget, which is quite ridiculous.
Spending money on aircraft carriers with no planes, or Nimrod aircraft that never take to the skies generates no practical benefit to our defence capability, but seems to allow politicians of all persuasions to claim that they are not "soft on defence".
There was a time when a high proportion of our legislators actually had some military experience, but now the defence discussions all seem to be framed by the interests of defence equiment manufacturers, so we'll find ourselves shedding manpower in order to preserve the white-elephant equipment programmes.

Anonymous said...

I don't like the idea of an equivalent Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS) the French idea but....

A storm is coming and on such a scale that, where henceforth the traditional forces of law and order and even regular troops on the streets - simply put, won't be enough. A form of Civil Militia will be needed to keep and maintain some sort of citywide, countryside peace.

Radders, is right, we need something in between the all but useless police, who will disappear at the first sign of a major outbreak of civil unrest or, trouble and the army is too small.

What to do?

Sebastian Weetabix said...

The RAF?? Less independent?? Wash your potty mouth out with soap. Next you'll be suggesting the introduction of the Super Tucano for ground attack and other horrifying heresies.

As soon as these dreadful suggestions appear in the MSM, I guarantee you stories will appear in the Times, Telegraph, Mail and Sun about the Red Arrows being abolished and the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight being mothballed, betrayal of our brave lads, The Few, etc. etc.

The Army, being a bit thick, can't beat the PR experts in the Royal Advertising Federation when it comes to cornering the budget, believe me. There's a reason all the Royals miraculously pass pilot training, you know.

Anonymous said...

Why on earth do we need expeditionary capability? If foreigners want to fight each other, why should we intervene? The Prussians defeated France and occupied Paris in 1871, yet the sky didn't fall in.

Since we're fortunate enough to live on an island, our first defence should surely be a navy (sans carriers) backed up by land based air defences. If anyone gets past that, call out Capt. Mainwaring!

the doctor said...

Raedwald , You are such an ageist I suggest that the 65 age limit be raised to 80 . I ,at 72 , do not want to be left out .

Yokel said...

Mr Ecks has a point. The Establishment has initiated the rot in this country, and clearly plans to use it to their advantage. That therefore means that every organ of the state (Police, Army, HMRC, Islamic extremists, etc) will inevitably all be ranged against the ordinary citizen, possibly in concert if we follow the 1930s pattern in Germany.

We don't need others to do our defending for us, we need to be able to defend our own families and property ourselves. But the establishment has used every trick in the book to deprive us of that option. Pointy objects capable of being sharpened probably being next on the list of such targets.

Anonymous said...

What about military 17% GDP, and overseas aid 2% ?

Anonymous said...

Haven't you noticed that the invasion has already happened and yoy live in occupied England.

Cascadian said...

It must be measure of how little people value freedom if 2% of GDP is seen as an adequate amount to reform the military services.

I see others have formed opinions as to whether the government takes this primary responsibility seriously and are looking to themselves to fill the void left government.

Government cannot and will not protect you and yours during the insurgency underway.

G. Tingey said...

Mr Ecks
No the islamists are fascists, not to say nazis.
Their rhetoric & policies are identical.
However, the solution is simple: kill them all.
Incidentally I think Radders' estimate is a little high, though in the right ball park _ I'd say more than 500, less than 5000 ( 1 order of magnitude ...)
Almost exactly the same order of threat as posed by the RC 1553-1606 in fact.
Oops

SW
There's a reason all the Royals miraculously pass pilot training, you know.
They can actually fly planes?
Those who can't, don't or not for long, anyway.

Mr Ecks said...


No time to play Islamic fantasy league today Tingey. Other than to note that was probably about the same number of true hard core followers as Adolf had. And he managed to do rather better (worse for everybody else) than the numbers alone would have suggested.

kailyard rules said...

Get rid of Trident and it's obscene expense and some of the magical defense solutions proffered might get on the table.

Gordon the Fence Post Tortoise said...

It seems obvious that the armed forces have suffered the same leadership malaise as that afflicting our politicians where the consequences of incompetence or worse have atrophied from vestigial to non existent.

People even seem unaware that French Gendarmes are actually a national force and part of the ARMY.

Until the consequences of failure in senior public employment get some very sharp teeth indeed - I for one will not be voting to give any of them any money.

A profound change in the mindset of middle and upper levels of public servants needs to happen (including the services). Status drunk hubris addled fools are presently predominating. I'd argue that the victory in Helmand the success of Rotherham Council are evidence of this.

Just look at the miserable carnival of failure across our public institutions.

There are many public servants out there who are honest, competent and hard working who want to do a good job - they are being betrayed by a compromised, badly corroded and ineffective system of planning, supervision and accountability which is led from the upper echelons.

The Romans used decimation to good effect. The Byzantines cut off failing officials / emperors noses. The French...... -> we need make "them" afraid of failure again...