The Times reported that there were discussions in place to reduce the Army’s numbers to between 60,000 and 65,000.

Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace MP, responded:

“This is total rubbish. There are no plans to shrink the armed forces. There are however plans to increase army recruiting levels.”

“This story is nonsense,” Mr Wallace said.

Regarding recruitment, the Army needs 10,000 recruits a year to maintain a frontline strength of 82,500 but has had issues reaching this figure. So serious are these issues that the previous Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson had even went as far to say thatthe Ministry of Defence has looked at the possibility of taking the armed forces recruitment contract back in-house.

At a House of Commons Select Committee, after hearing that less than 60% of the target had been met, Williamson said:

“If it becomes apparent in the next financial year that Capita are continuing to fail in what they do, we are going to have to look at different options in terms of the contract. We have started to see a turnaround in the number of recruits and that is starting to head in the right direction. If it doesn’t continue in the right direction, they will have to be relieved of their contract and we will have to look at different ways to deliver it.”

A Capita spokesperson said:

“The Army recruitment partnership between the British Army and Capita was re-set last year to ensure a closer working relationship that will deliver significant improvements in performance. Indications of improved performance are good: applications are at a five-year high and the length of time it takes from application to starting basic training has reduced by 20%, with the quickest candidate receiving a job offer just 22 days after applying.”

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Andy P
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Andy P

I find it odd that recruitment has been handed over to a private concern in the first place. Just my back of a fag packet logic but apart from renting recruitment offices I wouldn’t have thought it was an overly expensive part of the budget.

BB85
Guest
BB85

The private sector requitors will be on half the pay and pension of the public sector requitors. The private sector recruiters should also be experts in their field. Someone is probably getting looked after on the back of tendering to the private sector.

BB85
Guest
BB85

Recruiters ffs

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

The recruiters themselves will be on half the pay and pension but I bet pounds to pennies that Crapita costs more overall. Not to mention that the recruiters will be civilians with little to no knowledge of military life. Would work far better to put it back in house again, recruit from soldiers retiring from the army, who know the realities of army life. Technically they would be civilians but they’d have a strong link to the forces still. Could be overseen by a serving officer or senior NCO if needed. When I went to apply in 2012 all my… Read more »

Mark B
Guest
Mark B

This is not just an issue limited to the Military the whole of Government suffer from this dubious policy. The sooner they back to hiring companies who are experts in their field the better and cheaper in the long run for everybody.

peter
Guest
peter

Outsourcing was the work of some American economist who thought market forces and profit would drive down costs. His aim was through efficiency, however in the UK it seems to be about cutting jobs, pay and conditions. If you look at who has the shares and who has jobs- Lords, spouses, chums and where hedge funds have invested may be swaying policy in the direction of outsourcing. There is not money to be made in the civil service world and it suffered from old school tie running it, creating unnecessary jobs and excessive rules !

Andy P
Guest
Andy P

Don’t know if its still the same but the Navy had a ‘section’ that was basically a FTRS type gig that was just for recruiting. All ‘old and bold’ types. They certainly have their place but I think some young faces in the offices that young folk can relate to does help. Aye, that means they’re not off ‘doing their real job’ but recruitment has been a big balls up for years. Targeting whatever branch is short at the time telling guys porkies to get them into a certain shortage job and then these guys leaving as soon as they… Read more »

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

They are all ‘purple’ now and have a bigger catchment area. Our local one is in a former TA building.

WatcherZero
Guest
WatcherZero

It was mainly to do with staffing, outsourcing it to a civilian company freed up the armed forces members for other duties. Of course now after such a large dive in recruitment they are talking about reopening recruitment centres and staffing them with serving personnel again.

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

One of my mates was involved in recruitment – now made redundant by the MOD for the 3rd time.

Its just farcical and he is less than complimentary about the whole set up.

A bit of clarity and leadership is required here, otherwise it will fail.

peter
Guest
peter

If ex forces are employed they can pay less because they have service half pension. Expect there are nice meeting lunches and after dinner speaking to be had ?

SD67
Guest
SD67

It’s VERY odd IMHO. Firstly CAPITA are not a recruitment company, they are a generic outsourcing shop. I’ve worked with them. They’ll run your call centre or your IT help desk. It’s a body shop pure and simple.

Secondly military recruitment is surely a niche skill. How many non military people really know what type of person the military needs.

There’s no special IT software needed. Background checks are already semi-automated.

The whole thing stinks of “excessive corporate hospitality” if you know what I mean….

Steve
Guest
Steve

You have to love policitical talk. No plans, doesn’t mean no discussions. Notice he talks in the past tense about recruitment drives. Sounds to me that they are playing silly git again and leaking fake plans to make the actual smaller cuts seem acceptable in comparison.

Saying that in an election period it could just be one of the other parities playing games but equally none of the others have mentioned military expenditure and for it to be a policitical game there would need to be a pay off.

BB85
Guest
BB85

I think the Daily Mail just made the story up to force Boris into confirming there would be not cuts. Not sure how much thinner they can be cut beyond their current size

maurice10
Guest
maurice10

The Labour manifesto is so full of heavy commitments towards the public sector, that defence reductions are a real possibility? I’ve watched a number of leader debates and have not heard much from Corbyn about defence, apart from welfare issues? Swinton does support our nuclear deterrent and Boris has openly voiced his intent to increasing defence spending.

James M
Guest
James M

>Swinton

Swinson? Lib Dem leader?

IIRC they do believe in a deterrent but using 3 boats and random patrols. IMO, that’s not a real deterrent, but it is better than no deterrent. TBH it’s my main qualm with voting for them this time. I don’t trust Corbyn to keep the deterrent, or on defence as a whole, and I’m sick of the Tories pretending not to cut the military while cutting the military. Doesn’t help that they’re turning into UKIP-light and BoJo is a massive dickhead even by politician’s standards.

peter
Guest
peter

It seem’s they leak a story about cuts to test the water, if it gets a lot of negative feedback they backtrack quickly!

Callum
Guest
Callum

Of course there are discussions regarding force levels. There are dozens of pages online with armchair generals and admirals discussing force levels, obviously the real ones are going to do the same.

There’s a good chance our chiefs are just playing the same game the Americans do: propose massive, unacceptable cuts that grab headlines and force politicians to acquiesce to demands for more funding. It’s a bold move given the state of parliament, but it works for the Yanks

Julian
Guest
Julian

I didn’t read any of these news rumours directly but from the second-hand mentions of them that I read the fresh rumours from last week also included some negative stuff about PoW’s future (mothballing? Lease to another nation?). I saw no debunking of that rumour. Even if denials of rumours are no guarantee given that they come out of the mouth of politicians I’d still like to see a denial of those most recent PoW rumours too. It’s horrible to have to live in constant fear that at any time an announcement might come that even significant already-built and almost-new… Read more »

BB85
Guest
BB85

I don’t think it will be mothballed. It would be completely stupid to train the entire crew only to moth ball her. I do think they will be closed integrates with the US though. It was a decade since the RN operated a carrier a fraction the size of this one. They prob need expertise from the US to conduct large scale flight operations.

peter
Guest
peter

It needs a lot of support ships to protect it, we have not enough for both carriers so would make sense to lease one to the Americans. Believe they looked at cancelling the second ship but braking the contract would have cost more than delivering the second carrier!

Geoffrey Roach
Guest
Geoffrey Roach

Michael Gove ruled out all these rumours on the Andrew Marr show on Sunday.

HF
Guest
HF

He’s a trustworthy chap !

Geoffrey Roach
Guest
Geoffrey Roach

Your right H F . He is.

HF
Guest
HF

If he told me today was Wednesday I’d check a calendar.

Geoffrey Roach
Guest
Geoffrey Roach

I thought you found him trustworthy..

HF
Guest
HF

Apologies, the sarcasm in my original reply obviously didn’t transmit itself clearly

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Rumours. Nothing more.

Cuts are a constant threat while the virtual and self inflicted black hole exists in the budget.

I will take the Tories version of defence over Labour or the Lib Dems thank you.

Steve R
Guest
Steve R

I don’t trust any of them with defence. For all 3 of them it’s an afterthought at best. Tories will be so obsessed with Brexit that not much else, including defence, will get a look in. Best case is the odd cash injections we have seen to stave off further cuts. Labour under Corbyn will slash defence because of his peacenik ideology. He will cut back on all power projection capabilities and reduce our armed forces to a purely defence force, for which he will say our budget is more than adequate. So goodbye any international standing or influence in… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

“So goodbye any international standing or influence in world affairs we might have.” As far as politics, the UNSC, and the military, I agree with this. I fear this is their form of left wing ideology, actually ashamed of what the UK is and its place in world affairs. Several years ago I believe the Guardian actually suggested disbanding the armed forces. That is the sort of mentality we may be looking at. Soft Power would remain, and rightly so. The RFA and Amphibious ships have some utility in humanitarian roles, as do the RAMC, RE, the RAF’S Chinooks force,… Read more »

James M
Guest
James M

Completely agree Steve. It’s a shame, the Tories (and labour until fairly recently) used to be pretty supportive of Defence. Now they’re either too busy pissing about with Brexit (Tories) or basically full blown pacifists (Labour/Greens).

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

The irony is that even if this was true, it would make very little difference to the armies ability to deploy our single Division, the 3rd, and support it with the enablers of the Combat Service and Combat Service Support Arms. Lets assume the manpower lost is just Infantry. Has anyone looked at the Orbat of 1 ( UK ) Division lately?? There are more Battalions there than in 3 ( UK ) Division, with not a single Artillery, Royal Engineer, Royal Signals, REME, RAMC, RLC unit supporting them. They are undeployable as an all arms brigade without robbing units… Read more »

David Barry
Guest
David Barry

Well rumour mentioned those numbers in Spring, because as I have already mention:
Under recruitment
Phase 1 recruits
Phase 2 not really ‘trained’ at all
Med downgrades.

You are now at 60k but the army won’t release the PIDs to the Royal or the RN, both of which could recruit the bodies.

(The RAF didn’t get a look in).

I think this is the Army rattling sabrrs not the pollies.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

You might well be right David.

I would personally jump at the Army cut by 5000 and the corresponding increase in personnel for the RN and the RAF.

David Barry
Guest
David Barry

Which is what they are already under-recruited by… the Army are playing games.

Julian
Guest
Julian

I just found an interesting commentary on ThePinstripedLine blog (found via a link in a SaveTheRoyalNavy tweet). I’m reassured, subject to not really trusting any potential government to manage defence spending well. Here’s the blog post…

https://thinpinstripedline.blogspot.com/2019/11/the-ship-of-state-leaks-on-defence.html

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Just read. As always an excellent article.

peter french
Guest
peter french

The Army most certainly will be reduced in size as will the other Services if Mr Corbyn gets into Downing street to a point where the defence of the Nation will be non existent, SO BEWARE

HF
Guest
HF

If Mr Corbyn gets into Downing St he will have to go some to match the slashing of all the services inflicted for ideology’s sake by the tories. If a labour government had made such cuts the tory press (which is most of the press) would be howling – rightly – from the rooftops. They are strangely silent.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

They did HF, between 1998 and 2010 when the RN shrank from 35 escorts to 23, half the RFA vanished, the RAF went from near 20 combat squadrons to 12, the 3 Sea Harrier Squadrons 800,801,899 were axed, and much more I cannot be bothered to list, including numerous weapons programmes. The only reason the army manpower survived during that time was Helmand and Iraq. The Army’s equipment was slashed, 19 Mechanized Brigade became 19 Light Brigade, 4th Armoured became 4th Mechanized, and 3 Armoured Regiments had Tank squadrons removed and replaced by Scimitar in “Medium Armoured Squadrons” Those changes… Read more »

HF
Guest
HF

Fair enough, Dan. But Trident renewal is Labour policy, amongst other things. I’m no Corbyn supporter and there are still plenty of us who believe in the need for the forces. Despite the Momentum attempt to deselect mps they deem not left enough the majority of mps are not, nor will be, Corbyn supporters. In the unlikely event he forms a majority government he will not have the support in Parliament to do anything drastic, re Trident, for example.

Sean
Guest
Sean

As PM, Corbyn doesn’t need a majority of MPs to neuter Trident. He’s already said he’d never use nuclear weapons so we know what his Letter of Last Resort will say. Previously he’s suggested keeping the Vanguards but just not having them go to sea carrying any Tridents. He can do all that with the executive power of the PM.

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

The most cowardly option available for the PM on the letter, which rumour states has been used believe it or not, is to leave the choice up to the boomer’s skipper. Maybe Corbyn would go for that ‘neutral’ stance as well.

HF
Guest
HF

I’ve heard that is one of the options that has been put in the letter but isn’t the first option – 4th or 5th, I believe.

HF
Guest
HF

One of the reasons he’s unlikely to be PM. As he has no PAL or direct physical control over the system the uncertainty will still be there. In any case if he does become PM his party will bring him down one way or another if he tries to neuter the military – I think !

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Agree. I re read my reply after and hope I did not come across as scathing of your view. That was not my intent.

Just adding some balance to your point concerning the Tories.

HF
Guest
HF

No problem, Dan. You always post interesting and well informed comments, even if I don’t always agree.

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

For gods sake why on earth are we even risking any further cuts. The cuts have gone far enough already. HMGs primary number 1 responsibility is defence of the realm. I think it is worrying that military senior officers are prepared to break ranks and go to the press about this. Maybe during purdor they have heard from Corbyn Labour that this is exactly what is expected of them should labour get in a coalition government? Or classic Tory party BS deny deny deny cuts then low and behold huge cutbacks. We are a wealthy nation and can easily afford… Read more »

James M
Guest
James M

Wouldn’t even have to defund HS2. Adding a couple of pence to income tax and/or NI, stop increasing pensions disproportionately, and making businesses and the wealthy actually pay their fair share of taxes, especially tech like amazon and the likes. We could more than afford to actually meet the 2% commitment without any dodgy bookkeeping, we could have fully functioning, world class police and NHS, schools that do their jobs right and teach kids, and roads that don’t look like they’ve just been hit with a JP-223!

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

The Army is just about the right size. What it lacks if vehicles and firepower. There is no real vision from Main Building just ‘jargon’, ‘doctrine’, and ‘cap badge mergers’.

We needed to model the Army after the USMC. We needed an agile force that can be stuffed in ships and aircraft.

The Russian aren’t coming chaps.

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Agree.

“What it lacks if vehicles and firepower.”

Spot on.

Adding to my point above on the many Light Infantry Battalions. Excluding Foxhound, which I’m unsure current status of as the 6 battalions with it were meant to have the vehicles withdrawn, of 33 Infantry Battalions just 8 will have armoured vehicles.

Even if the Russians do come, and I agree they probably won’t, the mass of the British Army under equipped and with no transport beyond MANN trucks is not stopping them.

BV Buster
Guest
BV Buster

I’m currently biting my lip off to hold back a career ending rant about cap badge mafia and how completely F**ed we are. ” “What it lacks if vehicles and firepower.” ” +1 If you are not mounted on Warrior, Challenger 2 or dare I say it CVR(T) you are not a fighting force, you are support/mentors. I get all this soft power, it really makes a difference but a Warrior battalion can dismount and de-escalate for softer roles, a light Inf battalion can not escalate. unfortunately, light is cheaper than heavy, its been the same for hundreds of years,… Read more »

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

The era of industrial war is over. Unless as you say you are equipped today you won’t be ready for the fight which might quite literally be tomorrow. It isn’t the 1930s we won’t have years to re-arm. Being strong now stops situations escalating.

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Sad to say BV is right! Heavy in the centre, the stopping power, light role to the rear, security and “temporary gap fillers” and Airborne/Marines to the NATO flanks! Simple but the way it’s always been.

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Battalions mounted in Foxhound will only see their vehicles before they are deployed. If is a good vehicle but not the best as it is just an armoured lorry / truck after all. I like Boxer it is an awesome vehicle. But we needed an IFV version. Saying that if we wanted an APC then the French Griffon may have been better a choice if we had purchased Jaguar for the cavalry. Or perhaps SuperAV which we could have had in 8×8 and 6×6 versions………… With Ajax regiments 3 troops with 30mm / electronics version and a fourth troop with… Read more »

Mike
Guest
Mike

NOTE: before people get excited, he has not mentioned one of the other items flagged in the London media – notably the leasing out of the second RN aircraft carrier to the USA.

Nor does he mention the fact that the wee army is thousands understrength already. No one is that interested in joining.

So at least two things to celebrate.

Harry Bulpit
Guest
Harry Bulpit

The leasing of the carrier isn’t really a bad thing. Since it would make some good money for the MOD and since the crew would be British it would make for an excellent opportunity for training to bring the carrier up to operational status, while QE is in the south Pacific.

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

Surely the crew would be American with no doubt a few Brits to keep skills up?

Harry Bulpit
Guest
Harry Bulpit

No not really. If the Americans where to lease it. Then they will do it as a short term study of the concept. Much like how they did it with the Swedish sub. Wouldn’t make sense for the Americans to assign an entire crew to a single ship not equipped for their supply line.

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

Harry it is a bad thing. It is a terrible, terrible thing and a huge embarrassment on our country. End

Harry Bulpit
Guest
Harry Bulpit

Sweden leased a submarine to the Americans. Look at how that worked out.

HF
Guest
HF

I think it was to learn to defend against small diesel subs as they were able to get inside a CSF. It included the crew, I believe. How did it turn out ? The chances of the USN leasing the carrier are zero.

Harry Bulpit
Guest
Harry Bulpit

The sweids defeated the Americans on several occasions, and returned home a year later full of knowledge and experiences they over wise wouldn’t have. The USN isn’t interested in the QE class itself. It makes no sense it’s a major ship built abroad, with only 1 type available and built almost totally outside of their supply and logistics chain. There interested in the concept. It’s that which they want to assess and have. Not the physical ship.

HF
Guest
HF

Absolutely agree on the interest in the ship. They are very impressed by the weapons handling which has helped reduce the crew hugely compared to their ships.

peter
Guest
peter

Think the Americans are interested in the concept of functioning with a much smaller crew!

Harry Bulpit
Guest
Harry Bulpit

Definitely. Although i also think their interested in the use of F35B as a long range strike aircraft along with the use of ramp instead of catsandtaps, the smaller size and perhaps the idea of inter service use of the carrier. I think the USN is trying to achieve a similar thing with its new American class LHDs.

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken
Guest
The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

Mike your a strange wee man , why are you even in here if you have such Negative feeling towards our armed forces .The hilarious thing is your pipe dream of having a wee Scotland defence force of a few hundred souls and a couple of helicopters will never ever be reality 😂 The British army is and always will be up there with the best and the union will continue. It will be even more hilarious on the 13th Dec when the realisation that wee jimmy crankie isn’t getting her way and that U.K. plc is sailing on out… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Just the latest 5th Columnist after TH got banned.

Maybe TH under a new name?

Mike
Guest
Mike

It’s fun watching the UK implode. We are doing very little to help it. It is no longer viable. As for independence, that for Scottish decide and unless you live there, there is nothing you can do about it. As for the size of a free Scotland’s military, one like Eire would be more than acceptable. Why should be wish to swagger around pretending we are something we aren’t? We leave that to England. Our referendum will surely come and this time, the electorate will vote for freedom.

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Yaaaaaaaawn, sorry did you troll something son?

HF
Guest
HF

Unfortunately Scotland can’t actually afford independence and the SNP haven’t proved very good at governing. I think most Scots will realise that. Not that I blame you for wanting to avoid Brexit for Scotland – that’s quite understandable. But the day a Scot isn’t a fellow citizen of mine will be a very sad one.

Mike
Guest
Mike

They probably told that to lots of other places too – Malta, Eire etc.

Time will tell as they say and worth remembering that it’s not only the SNP seeking freedom for Scotland.

It’ll come.

HF
Guest
HF

I don’t know about the other places, though Malta wanted to become part of the UK under Dom Mintoff in the 60’s. For Scotland it’s a fact – GDP won’t be big enough to maintain current spending. If Scotland keeps Sterling it won’t b e independent anyway – though I’m not sure if the SNP have changed their minds on retaining it.

Mr Bell
Guest
Mr Bell

Boorrriing actually there is plenty the rUK can do about it. Like not actually provide the legal powers to allow a 2nd referendum. Or if a referendum does happen just cut the purse strings immediately the day Scotland votes for independence and pull out. Rebuild Hadrians wall and put import taxes of 40% on all good coming from scotland through rUK. Wee little jimmy crankie lady seems to be underestimating the strength of feeling south of the border. Rest of the UK I would hope will treat Scotland very sternly the minute they vote for independence. Brexit has proven you… Read more »

Steve Taylor
Guest
Steve Taylor

Our carriers were always going to be tied into USN / USMC operation and not USN CBG ones. Not a bad thing really. But we could have doubled down on it and set about procuring new LPD’s and keeping the RM up to strength. I like the news re RM but it is needs to be able to be deployed as a battle groups. If not the Army needs to fill the breech.

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

And that comment shows your total lack of knowledge and experience on the subject matter. However sad trolling with a lardy fat chip stuck in your shoulder, is it seems what you get off on. Each to their own I suppose, very sad however.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Alba gu brath!

Airborne
Guest
Airborne

Still no subject matter knowledge no matter how much phlegm you appear to be coughing up!

The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken
Guest
The Artist Formerly known as Los Pollos chicken

Lofl ye daft twat there is no way you are a Scot , I’m betting your actually English like rod stewart and your just pretending 😂 and no idea why you would post a post in a dead language (even more credence to the fact your a twat) 😂 newsflash son nobody speaks Gaelic up here in Scotland !

Gavin Gordon
Guest
Gavin Gordon

The Thin Pinstripped always gives a unique take on these matters which ought to be included in any balanced blogscan we partake in, though perhaps more so when Humphrey was directly employed within the MOD. Still noted how often the words ‘defence review and cuts’ were twinned, like it’s the norm. I do wonder to what extent regular headlines of armed forces cuts, whether real or imagined, set back the cause of recruitment by their very nature, as in: “looking for a long and rewarding career, anyone?” Certainly on a wider front the current international situation does not countenance any… Read more »

Ulya
Guest
Ulya

This has probably been discussed before but ‘if’ your army numbers are to be reduced, is it worth doing away with separate army, navy and airforce command structure and do unified structure like US marines? That would save some money to reinvest in equipment or something. You are part way there in concept with F35 anyway and from what I have seen in comments many want priority to Navy and airforce

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

I couldn’t agree more, I believe a single force structure must happen to save the required money that we can then put into front line equipment. 1. The USMC has audited accounts that show they operate on around £20bn pa. 2. Even with the requirement to fund a navy, civilian mod etc etc. there is still a lot of wastage in the MOD and the USMC have better kit than us. 3. It would stop all of the infighting. 4. especially if each division has the same organisational structure. 5. It would increase inter divisional rivalry and make the UK… Read more »

James M
Guest
James M

I agree there’s a tonne of wastage in the MoD, and audited accounts could be a good idea, but the USMC gets to use the economies of scale provided by the USAF, USN, and the US Army, and they regularly get supplemented by personnel and kit from those forces too.

It’s a good idea, but I’m not certain it’d work in practice.

geoff
Guest
geoff

I think a Unified Command structure is bad for morale. It failed in Canada and I doubt if it would result in any significant saving. I see no mention above of the Reserve forces. I know the original plan was to recruit 30 000 “Territorials” but that this target has not been achieved which is a pity as a well motivated Reservist including retired Regulars, I believe can be good value for money. I was involved in the old Natal Parks Board structured along quasi military lines and our Honourary Officer Units were hugely effective being drawn from ex Game… Read more »

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Hi Geoff I think the USMC has great morale and it works for the IDF as well What really blows morale is all this infighting across the services, poor accommodation and work life balance, and the lack of new equipment that means our guys have to make do and mend constantly. Put simply we have too many chiefs and they are not playing well with each other and as a force of similar size to the USMC why not take their lead. I think there is a place for limited national service (it should be a badge of honour instead… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

I don’t agree on a unified UKDF Pac, for the usual traditional reasons, affect on pride in the service, espirit de corps, ethos, identity, and the big one being I do not see the savings needed being realised by removing the 3 separate commands. Where is the saving? I do not see billions saved by having one logo, and one set of corporate communications on a single service put out by the MoD. The NADOC at High Wycombe will still need a commander, and will still need to watch the skies and space. That is where the Air Command is… Read more »

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Hi Daniele what if we can have a unified command and still maintain all the positives you mention above. I believe it is possible if we can find a new way of thinking about units and senior ownership really. In truth its more about the top layer integration, a battalion will still be a battalion, but its air wing will be much closer aligned. Lets take a fully loaded division of 27,396 personnel (inc civilians). This has naval, air, cyber, special forces, ISTAR and any other assets needed to work autonomously. And we have 8 of them – plus a… Read more »

Pigeon
Guest
Pigeon

I love the passion also, I’ve spent 30+ years with my own fantasy structures and following and being in the military. The latter has taught me a huge amount about how things really happen, that organisational structures on the ground are fluid, and to some extent, unimportant in comparison to the people you have and their interpersonal relationships. However, I think your thinking is overly focussed on the combat organisations and not the mass of structure that sits behind them, but which is actually larger and far more dominant. To many purposes, UK Command is already unified under JFC and… Read more »

Pacman27
Guest
Pacman27

Hi Pigeon The military is all about combat operations and we should focus on that. You are assuming I have concentrated on combat troops when the mix is probably 75% support to 25% front line, what I am saying is that I think we should replicate our organisation across 8 identical divisional commands. One of the reasons for suggesting this approach is to stand up a sustainable force that balances work/life balance, is properly funded and can meet a range of tasking either as a whole or in isolation I am not suggesting we strip out specialist corps, but as… Read more »

Ulya
Guest
Ulya

How would it be bad for morale? Because it is change and people don’t like change? Thinking of US marine type structure, rifleman, pilots, tankman, different job but same corp, same command, I don’t see them having bad morale. I am not familiar with Canadian experience so cannot comment. With my country, each military district has unified command for all forces, VDV, army, Navy etc, from my understanding it has been very successful, much better at working together and understanding and respectful of each other’s role

James M
Guest
James M

Going from three services to effectively one would be similar to what Canada did, and it destroyed their morale. All the friendly inter-service banter, and the unique identities of the branches and the units would be degraded or lost, and the pers in those units are rightfully very proud of their heritage. It works for the USMC as it was never multiple different branches. If you took the RM, and gave them all the defence budget, a load of tanks, Typhoons, ships, etc, their morale would likely be high. But in practice you’d need to bring in all of the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

“But in practice you’d need to bring in all of the institutional knowledge”

Yes, you’ve explained it in a sentence that I attempted in several paragraphs!

Ulya
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Ulya

Thank you for the replies, it has been interesting

James M
Guest
James M

You did a much better job than me at explaining all the finer points though! There’s nothing wrong with purple in the armed forces IMO. The RAF doesn’t need its own doctors (as long as some of them are qualified in aviation medicine), and the navy don’t need their own dentists (on shore anyway). I wouldn’t be opposed to DI going purple either – they all train in the same place, lots of them are based in the same place, and I assume there’s already blue-wearing IntOs giving army type briefs to the RAF Reg, and green-wearing ones giving RAF… Read more »

dave12
Guest
dave12

So what makes you think the Russian military structure has been a success Ulya, what examples do you have? or is this you doing your second job as Putins promoter? lol

Ulya
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Ulya

Hello Dave, I have 2 brothers still in the VDV and 1 in the missile force, all with 20+ years service, my job means I have contact with military. I ask questions, they answer. I have breakfast with Putin later, maybe I will ask him also

dave12
Guest
dave12

Cool you can ask Putin for me on how hes planning to help rebuild Syria and where hes gonna find the money to do so lol!!!

Ulya
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Ulya

I’m glad you find Syria situation funny Dave. Russia will give some money, China will loan some, let’s see what host nations currently with millions of refugees decide to do and how much pressure they put on the EU to help out, unless everyone is happy for them to stay or move further north

dave12
Guest
dave12

I dont find Russia carpet bombing Aleppo with cluster bombs and Russia using or allowing Assad to use sarin gas on the Syrian people FUNNY at all ,what is funny is a Russian ulya trying to get the moral high ground lol.
Russia’s not China, it has a economy the size of Spain so good luck with Russian loans to Syria and if China money is available say good bye to Russian influence.

Pacman27
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Pacman27

I believe the Army should be reduced slightly with a rebalance of personnel to the other services and the creation of a single force structure for the whole UKDF. The Army could have 16 Brigades of 4500 troops consisting of 4 deployable Battalions + 1 Combat Support and Logistics bn each Brigade). In this model 4 Brigades would be active, 4 at high readiness, 4 Training and 4 resting/ light duties. This could also be seen in terms of 10 Regiments of 7380 personnel covering the 5 key capabilities within the main land force structure. The aim should be to… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
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Daniele Mandelli

Love this. I don’t agree with it but still love the thought that has gone into it.

Pigeon
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Pigeon

No offence, but have you ever served in any military organisation? Your structure is a logistical and equipment support impossibility. Training wise even more so! The phrase “amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics” could not be more apt. You have completely missed just how many support people it takes to put the combat elements in the field, and that is in units and formations that as they stand, are quite holistic, i.e. an Equipment Support Bn supporting an Armd Bde is mainly tracked with the same 2-3 vehicles it is primarily supporting. Your ES Bn would be tracked-wheeled supporting 4… Read more »

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

Interservice rivalry is self defeating, more so in the current political climate as it lets the politicians divide and conquer. A proper process (if in a rather over simplied format) should be: 1. Decide strategicaly what you want to do (Political); 2. Develop realistic force levels to deliver stategic capability (Professional Advice); 3. Cost said force levels (Professional Advice); 4. Decide if it is affordable (Political); 5. Move forward with plans to deliver the required force levels or more likely re-visit your stategic aims and start again! In other words defence is about where you want to be on the… Read more »

James M
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James M

It depends on what you mean by rivalry. Wanting to beat the Army at the Army-Navy game? That’s a good thing IMO. It helps foster unit and branch cohesion, provides some healthy competition, and at the end of the day everyone knows they’re on the same side really. Actively sabotaging the other branch in order to secure more funding for your Typhoons/T45/Challenger 2? Completely unacceptable and self-defeating. Regarding services getting defensive, it does make sense when you think about it. The chief of staff is put there to ensure their troops get the kit and the money they need to… Read more »

ChariotRider
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ChariotRider

I was not thinking about the sporting type of rivalry which, as you say, is a good thing and I’d agree with that completely. As for the roles of the service chiefs I can pretty much agree with that, too. (Frankily, I was a million miles away from that level 😉 ) Hopefully their working relationships are good enough for them to sit down and thrash through a common position that does not tash our long term capability. All part of the process. My point was more aimed those who lead the study teams. Those who do the main body… Read more »

Julian1
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Julian1

I think it’s entirely possible. Historically (up until 2010 anyway), I considered the Tories the true custodians of UK defence and security. Now I don’t think the Tories are any more trustworthy than labour and based on today’s lib dem announcement, potentially less so than lib dems. Unfortunately, as usual, I spite of the world being a dangerous and insecure place, defence is too far down the list of people’s priorities. I agree on up lift of spending for universal public services but defence needs to be part of that and the portfolio balanced. By the time people realise that,… Read more »

700 Glengarried Men
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700 Glengarried Men

Served in the late 1980s army was about 125k, I think the rot set in when they pared back the regimental system and came out with things like 1Scots instead of Royal Scots etc, I’m sure English reg fared as badly or worse, overnight it felt like family had been torn apart .butchered by bean counters at the MOD.If we have an army of this size 60k no Govt has the right to send these men on long term deployments as the turn around is to tight, Glad to see the kit improved we started on Saxon and went to… Read more »

Steve Taylor
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Steve Taylor

We lost our well recruited country regiment to preserve under strength, English officered, South Sea islander augmented Scottish regiments. 256 years of history gone in a blink of an eye.

700 Glengarried Men
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700 Glengarried Men

Steve like I said history wiped out by stroke of the pen , can only speak of my experience well recruited All scots, mostly Scots officers some of the finest battle honours in the Army, name now footnote , and they wonder why no one wants to join

Pigeon
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Pigeon

But no-one was joining those finest battle honoured Scottish regiments. That’s why they are stuffed with Fijians and English officered. The loss of English units was a disgrace – but pure politics to appease potential SNP voters (wanted by both Tories and Labour). Having said all that- names that many had strong affinity to RGJ, LI, KORBR, QLR, DWR and so on – within a generation becomes an affinity to YORKS, LANCS, RIFLES etc. Can argue whether doing that in a major shooting war was a good idea, but equally that then gave the new names some opportunity to build… Read more »

Rob
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Rob

All of the 3 main parties have said they would maintain the 2% spend of GDP on defence — that is fact and is in all three manifestos. Consequently wholesale cuts like the ones mentioned in the Times & Mail are extremely unlikely. However what that 2% is spent on is unclear from the manifestos. Perhaps surprisingly, the Lib Dems are promising the largest defence spend (according to their maths) because the 2% would be larger because of the faster rate in growth resulting from not leaving the EU. I think these leaks are just the 3 services getting their… Read more »

Jonny
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Jonny

I want to know what policies he speaks about which will improve the recruitment numbers

Chris
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Chris

British Army 2026 3 Armoured Division – 1/12/20 Heavy Brigades – each of: 1 Armoured 3 Mechanised Infantry 1 Heavy Reconnaisance 1 Heavy Artillery 79th Strike Division – 4/7/11 Strike Brigades – each of: 1 Light Cavalry Regiment 3 Infantry Regiments 1 Light Artillery Regiment 5th Light Division – 38/160/Gurkha/Guards Brigade – each of: 3 Infantry Regiments 1 T/A Artillery Regiment – Guards Brigade has 3 Regiments 2 of which handle Public Duty – Each Brigade takes turns to provide Infantry to Cypress/Northern Ireland/Brunei 16 Air Assault Brigade 3 Parachute Battalions Territorial Army 2 Armoured Brigades – RWXY and conversion… Read more »

Wayne
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Wayne

Yes please.

Wayne
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Wayne

The problem the army has is it created a weak 1(UK)Div and dressed it up with the minimum of capabilities. An easy target for cuts perhaps? That said, if you need Light or Protected Infantry force it would be the MoDs first port of call. Given the need it could also be given the capabilities to fight a more conventional, high end, war fighting role. I say resource it a little better and give it a role or combination of roles like mountain, artic, air mobile, jungle or urban its brigades can hang their hats on. We all know they… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Guest
Daniele Mandelli

Ah…1 ( UK ) Division. The Elephant in the armies room. Could not agree more. That formation needs, for its 3 main brigades, which seem to be the 7th, 51st, and 4th Infantry Brigades – 3 each of – Artillery Regiment, Engineer Regiment, REME Battalion, Logistic Regiment, Medical Regiment, Logistics Regiment. 18 units. Oh and we need the RMP too. 18 units. Just where do they come from. The army has preserved so many cap badges while scrapping the enablers. As for Signals, could the lighter Brigades get away with just a Signal Squadron? There used to be Brigade Signal… Read more »

Frank62
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Frank62

Promises easily made & often broken. It’s amazing how much money they can save by not doing stuff the nation’s relied on before, just so the richest can not be tired by taxes us plebs have to pay.
We must become stronger than we currently are as we’ve not been weaker for centuries.

Steve H
Guest
Steve H

They bloody better not reduce the numbers of regulars in the Army, it’s small enough as it is now.
Mind you…,with the amount of young, oversensitive soy boys and limp wristed liberals in the Armed Forces, I’m not even sure that they’d do well in a crisis anyway