Prime Minister Sir Keir Starmer has made defence and security a top priority in his first press conference following the initial meeting of his new Labour cabinet.

Speaking from 10 Downing Street, Sir Keir laid out his administration’s commitment to these crucial areas.

On his first full day in office, Sir Keir revealed he had already spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. “It is for me to be absolutely clear that the first duty of my government is security and defence, to make clear our unshakable support of Nato,” he stated.

Emphasising the UK’s solidarity with Ukraine, he added, “And of course to reiterate, as I did to President Zelensky yesterday, the support that we will have in this country and with our allies towards Ukraine.”

Sir Keir also announced an upcoming strategic review of the nation’s military capabilities. “The strategic review will start shortly of our capabilities and an assessment of what is needed where – that we can do straight away,” he said.

He confirmed Labour’s pledge to increase defence spending to 2.5% of GDP, a key promise from their election manifesto.

However, he cautioned that this would be managed within fiscal constraints: “The commitment to 2.5% is real but it will be within our fiscal rules and we will not be tempted, as the last government was, to pretend that the money is there now, which isn’t there.”

Highlighting the immediate tasks at hand, Sir Keir said, “We have a huge amount of work to do. So now we get on with our work.” He also outlined his travel plans, which include visits to Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales before returning to England and then heading to the US for the NATO summit next Tuesday.

Promising transparency and decisiveness, Sir Keir remarked, “Look, in relation to the tough decisions, we’re going to have to take the tough decisions and take them early and we will. We will do that with a raw honesty.”

Next week, the Prime Minister will head to Washington DC for the NATO summit, where he will further discuss the UK’s defence commitments and international security issues.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Jim
Jim (@guest_832696)
13 days ago

A labour PM using his first speech to make a commitment to spending 2.5% of GDP on defence.

Things can only get better 😀

Steve
Steve (@guest_832821)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim

It’s a start but let’s see if they can deliver it. Even the Conservatives admitted the national budget was extremely tight

Last edited 12 days ago by Steve
Jack
Jack (@guest_832825)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim

A promise of jam at some unknown point in the future.

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_832845)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim

If you believe a word or any other lawyer/ politician says, I have a bridge you might like to buy.

Barry White
Barry White (@guest_832698)
13 days ago

Oh dear
Yet another revue
Oh well bye bye one carrier

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832700)
13 days ago
Reply to  Barry White

All new administrations must undertake a security review. They cannot trust that the last government did a good job or that an old review is still relevant. It is very clear that we cannot rely on 100% availability from one carrier!

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_832711)
13 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Also the cruisers are a very significant NATO contribution.

As would Albion and Bulwark……

Jonathan
Jonathan (@guest_832789)
13 days ago

The RN does not have any cruisers SB, was that a Freudian slip on a hankering after cruisers…or a spellcheck/predictive text fail 😂

Last edited 13 days ago by Jonathan
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_832790)
13 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

That was auto mangle – it was supposed to say carriers…..

Although you could argue that T45 is cruiser sized!

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_832816)
12 days ago

Never know Labour might build a few Cruisers 🤗

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_832966)
12 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Mk2 though deck cruisers I guess!

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_832885)
12 days ago

Huh, thought you were making a sly reference to a RN cruiser squadron of yore, which no longer exists due to previous reviews by HMG. 😉

Dern
Dern (@guest_832912)
12 days ago

I could argue the Rivers are cruiser sized…

Malcolm Rich
Malcolm Rich (@guest_832976)
12 days ago
Reply to  Dern

You can argue but lose 🤔,OPV is 90m long and if you just look at HMS Belfast (Light Cruiser) she is almost 190M long. Also compare weight and you will see there is a big difference…. or have I just fallen into an argument trap?

Dern
Dern (@guest_833745)
9 days ago
Reply to  Malcolm Rich

Okay:

HMS Pelorus:
3rd Class Protected Cruiser.
Displacement: 2,100t
Length: 95m
Width: 11m
Draught: 4.9m

HMS Tamar:
Offshore Patrol Vessel,
Displacement: 2,000t
Length: 91m
Width: 13m
Draught: 3.8m

The Rivers are Crusier sized.

You just arbitrarily chose to pick HMS Belfast as a comparison point because it suits your argument, but there’s a huge variation in Cruiser sizes.

Malcolm Rich
Malcolm Rich (@guest_833918)
8 days ago
Reply to  Dern

I wasn’t picking an argument however I had no idea they called such a small ship a cruiser, you learn something new every day.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832919)
12 days ago

I get that you meant carriers SB – our last cruisers were probably the Tiger class, the last of which, HMS Blake, was decommissioned as late as 1979.

If you are sure that we need the carriers for the defence of the Euro-Atlantic region (and probably the northern and eastern areas of the Atlantic would be relevant to the RN) then they would pass Labour’s NATO test…but some may not be as convinced.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_832814)
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Or ghost Airwings 👻

Rob N
Rob N (@guest_832822)
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It is highly unlikely they will scrap a carrier. It would be politically not a good look to make a big deal about defence and then ditch a major asset. Also the need to have two carriers for a credible force is obvious given issues of reliability.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832925)
12 days ago
Reply to  Rob N

Folk here talk about Labour perhaps putting one carrier into ‘extended readiness’ ie mothballs. Who knows?

It would be a bad move militarily due to the drastically reduced availability.

Would it save much money? It would still have to be maintained to a high standard, occasioning cost. What would happen to the crew? If all but a skeleton crew were posted to other ships, you haven’t saved manpower costs.

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_833174)
11 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

personally Graham , I think your analysis is spot on! The attraction of saving the labour overhead of one carries is tempting. Plus off course the RN has a problem with staff recruitment and retention.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_834070)
8 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

Putting one carrier into mothballs is not something I would advocate, of course.

Jim
Jim (@guest_832707)
13 days ago
Reply to  Barry White

It’s 2025 we do one every 5 years now, it’s standard. Carriers won’t be affected, there are no budget cuts coming.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_832817)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim

🙏

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_832878)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I’m sorry Jim, but if we are going to send a carrier out only once every five years we might as well not have them at all.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832926)
12 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

I think Jim was saying there is an SDSR every 5 years, not that we sail a carrier only once every 5 years (clearly we don’t – they sail frequently at present).

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_832957)
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

👍

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_832813)
12 days ago
Reply to  Barry White

That could be very true 😟

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_832699)
13 days ago

To be fair to the guy, at least he has a democratic mandate, unlike the last guy….

I don’t hold out much hope of both carriers remaining Operational under Labour.

It’s going to be one Operational, one in reserve, swapped every 5 years I suspect.

That’s for starters, they will likely see less importance in them with a probable European NATO pivot coming along with revised defence priorities.

Possibly a cancellation of the second F35B order too….

Andy P
Andy P (@guest_832702)
13 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Morning John, I guess something will have to give to make progress in other areas. Some will call that a win and others a loss depending on their priorities. If it goes the way you expect I’d rather have an aircraft carrier in reserve than sold off, at least it can be reactivated. We’ll find out soon enough who has shouted the loudest from within the MOD.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_832755)
13 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

Well the army tend to make the most noise at the best of times, as they’re in the biggest mess, and need the biggest budget.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_832838)
12 days ago

Hi mate, very much depends on the suspected NATO pivot, if they do, it will be spending in the Army’s favour…

Cthulhu Arose
Cthulhu Arose (@guest_833344)
11 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Not necessarily. Ukraine has proved that air superiority is absolutely essential. If either Russia or Ukraine had managed to attain control of the air, the battlelines would look very different

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_832837)
12 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

I think so, it’s looking like we are sticking a 2%, as Starmer has booted the 2.5% bullshit ball way into the long grass…

So yep, something (or things) will have to be slowed, cancelled or reduced in scope.

Could we be looking at a capability loss again, possibly, but seriously, what’s left to slice away??

Labour will absolutely tilt the Puma replacement in Leonardos favour, no doubt..

So a load of cash burnt there….

I wouldn’t want the bloody job mate!

Andy P
Andy P (@guest_832862)
12 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

I’m happy to wait and see, defence has been mentioned and while he’s not nailed down a date on 2.5% I think its something he aspires to but there’s going to be a lot of departments coming out with all sorts of noble causes that could do with more cash. One thing in the MOD’s favour is the state of the world sadly with Ukraine front and centre, that’s going to make defence hard to overlook. As you say, its not a job I fancy, certainly in the short term its going to be very fine margins across the board,… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832934)
12 days ago
Reply to  Andy P

With the Ukraine war, we have gifted a lot of platforms and munitions to Ukraine without all of it being replaced. The Ukraine war may therefore be responsible for a significant reduction in our warfighting capability.

Not saying it isn’t going to a good cause, just that we have reduced holdings of equipment as a consequence, which reduces our resilience.

Also, IR Refresh 23 and its associated DCP looking at lessons from the Ukraine war did not advocate any increase in platform or manpower numbers anywhere.

Louis
Louis (@guest_833203)
11 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

I wouldn’t be surprised if they push for Airbus to win the Puma replacement.

The optics for a new factory opening is 10 times better than ordering from an existing factory.

Yeovil still has 25 Merlins on the order books plus 13 upgrades. They’ll also be busy with Proteus.

It’s not a good long term strategy but in the short term it’ll look good

Jim
Jim (@guest_832708)
13 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

What possible reason could labour have to cancel the second F35B order?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_832715)
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim

I’d tend to agree as both RN & RAF want it and Washington won’t be happy to see the purchase cut and the, to their mind, vital carriers reduced in effectiveness.

There comes a a point where too small lacks punch and when it comes to a hot situation you need a certain level of mass to be effective.

I’m not hearing very encouraging things about Crows Nest which is a big worry.

Marked
Marked (@guest_832721)
13 days ago

Crows next was only ever meant to be a stop-gap. Someone has forgotten about obtaining the long term replacement though!

Jon
Jon (@guest_833478)
10 days ago
Reply to  Marked

I think they are hoping for MQ9B STOL

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_832739)
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Money?

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_832801)
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Well Jim,

If Labour decide on one carrier available, with the other in a reserve/ slow refit rotation, they may decide that two active Squadrons is enough, so stick to 48 and can the second tranche of 24.

We can only hypothesise at the moment, but it would be my guess. Certainly European NATO seems a higher priority than out of area ops to the new Government.

This would be regarded as easy low hanging fruit to save money and re deploy sailors

Last edited 13 days ago by John Clark
Tomartyr
Tomartyr (@guest_832876)
12 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

I could support that if canning tranche 2 was instead withholding the order until UK weapons integration.
With the second carrier in reserve the threat becomes very believable.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_832901)
12 days ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

We will see, having a single Operational carrier at any one time and killing tranche 2 F35B is simple low hanging fruit, I really can’t see anything else after so many years of cuts… It would release crew for the new T26/31’s and would be a substantial short term cash saving. I would happily put a £10 bet on it, but it would be a bet I would very happily lose ! SDSR25 here we come chaps, let’s see what happens when you wring every last drop from your 2% GDP dry and can’t fund what needs funding by some… Read more »

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_833175)
11 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

I agree with your analysis John- spot on. As I posted earlier “the attraction of saving the labour overhead of one carrier is tempting. Plus off course the RN has a problem with staff recruitment and retention”

P.S. goodbye to the Type 32 programme too!

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_833192)
11 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

I fear so mate, the Operational funding of what we currently have, coupled with new vastly expensive programmes, all constrained by 2%….

On top of that, Labour were always criticising the small size of the army under the Tories, so they have to try and expand that too….

That’s a serious head scratcher!

They will find it’s terribly easy to shout from the opposition benches, a rather different view from the government benches.

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_833549)
10 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

“a rather different view from the government benches”
How true John!😉

Meirion X
Meirion X (@guest_833202)
11 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

“…Certainly European NATO seems a higher priority than out of area ops to the new Government…”

Nonsense, Italy has recently dispatched it’s carrier to the Indo-Pacific!
Who says, European countries only operate warships and carriers, in European NATO area?
Germany has also a frigate operating out of NATO area.

Last edited 11 days ago by Meirion X
John Clark
John Clark (@guest_833349)
11 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

It’s not nonsense, Labour Party policy is squarely on European NATO.

This will be reflected in their SDSR25 review, of that I will happily have a bet with you.

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_832818)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Well let’s hope they don’t go down that Road

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_832886)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Cost savings.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832936)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim

To save money of course. If one carrier is in mothballs or sold off, then the justification for a reduced F-35 fleet can be made.
[Not saying I advocate the above….I don’t]

Last edited 12 days ago by Graham Moore
Marked
Marked (@guest_832720)
13 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Why on earth would f35 orders be cancelled (unless the block 4 farce is the reason which would be understandable)?

Regardless of whether the navy focuses more on Europe the f35 is needed as a land based aircraft. The typhoon, good as it is, cannot survive the highest risk environments. The need for f35 grows as each year drags slowly on.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_832725)
13 days ago
Reply to  Marked

Exactly just for numbers alone we need the F35B buy.

Otherwise we need more Typhoon.

But as you say F35B is complementary to Typhoon and using them together is a force multiplier.

So having a force of 160 mixed F35/Typhoon is a credible force (just about).

Baker
Baker (@guest_832787)
13 days ago

“Just about” being the operative words.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_832742)
13 days ago
Reply to  Marked

So the F35 is needed as a land based aircraft? I would debate that because of the SEAD Typhoon but let’s say you’re right. If you are, as things stand we are supposedly going to have a third squadron in the 2030’s. Explain to me how two squadrons are going to keep the RAF and two carriers equipped or even one carrier for that matter. The new order for F35’s is yet to be placed, if at all and again lets give Labour the benefit of the doubt, and they will not be in service for at least 6/7 years.

Marked
Marked (@guest_832855)
12 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

We don’t have a SEAD typhoon!

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_832877)
12 days ago
Reply to  Marked

I know we don’t but the Germans have just ordered the new version and more standard Typhoons as well. The problem remains though eithr way. How do we do all that is required with two squadrons of aircraft?

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_832977)
12 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

I believe Italy have just order another batch of 24 Typhoons.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_833059)
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Yes, Just read it this morning. If there ever was a time to improve our lot now is it…BUT?

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_832806)
13 days ago
Reply to  Marked

As mentioned to Jim, If they decide on one active carrier, then they will almost certainly stick to 48 F35B’s and cancel tranche 2.

They have to find the cash to fund Tempest and AUKUS while remaining within 2%, so something will have to give…

Paul.P
Paul.P (@guest_833126)
11 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

I thought the original plan was always to have just one active carrier.

Peter S
Peter S (@guest_832861)
12 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

It’s a pretty limited democratic mandate with 33% of the vote. Split opposition has often had this effect but never to such an extreme extent. Regardless- The reality of an annual deficit of@£120b and every public sector organisation clamouring for more means there will be little extra money for defence. I doubt they will scrap a carrier- it would look bad especially as they were ordered by a Labour government. But they might revive the abandoned idea of re purposing one for an amphibious role. This would allow Bulwark and Albion to be fully decommissioned and a further buy of… Read more »

Tomartyr
Tomartyr (@guest_832875)
12 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

While I hate Sunak I have to point out that his democratic mandate came from commanding a majority in the HoC, same as every PM.

Last edited 12 days ago by Tomartyr
John Clark
John Clark (@guest_833200)
11 days ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

That’s true, but, at least old U turn led his party to government, so he has both a real and personal mandate. The endless chopping and changing by the Tories was frankly pathetic. They absolutely need to spend 5 years om the naughty step, with a smacked bottom and have a good think about their behaviour! It will be very interesting to see how they rebuild, with a eye to picking up Reform voters, steer to the right and be un-apologetic about it, or more weak, middle of the road nonsense. The latter will see Labour get three terms in… Read more »

Last edited 11 days ago by John Clark
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_832701)
13 days ago

“Strong Defence”
Neil Kinnock promised that one. I fear “Defence” means just that, so goodbye to a whole range of capabilities that we don’t want to offend anybody with.
And we don’t need our network of overseas bases to defend these Islands.
But in fact, we do.

Jim
Jim (@guest_832709)
13 days ago

You have absolutely no basis for any of that, Neil Kinnock and Keir Starmer are about as close a match as Margaret Thatcher and Lizz Truss.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_832714)
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Jim, Jim, please. I never say anything without a purpose or genuine thought behind it, whether it’s right or wrong. I do, actually, and what I was thinking of was this…. I recall Neil Kinnock wanted to convert Tornado GR1 Strike aircraft into interceptors. So to be more “defensive” and take away offensive capabilities. At the height of the Cold War. The UK might end up with fantastic home based Air Defence, a bigger army that can only cross the channel or is garrisoned in eastern Europe, and more frigates patrolling the GIUK. And we’d be poorer for it. As… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_832891)
12 days ago

Believe it or not, the new Labour government will prove not be the worst possible outcome, an isolationist Labour government intent upon disarmament. Appears there will be a commitment to AUKUS, BOT, ENATO, etc. Fortress UK (solely) not yet embraced as policy. The funding to accomplish these goals? TBD. An amazing concept by the collective populations of prosperous western democracies, that there exists an inalienable right to continuation of the same, w/ no/minimal costs. Don’t believe the Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles or Ukrainians have quite the same viewpoint. They perfectly understand that if one f**ks up defence policy, nothing else… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_832897)
12 days ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Rant accepted mate!

Tomartyr
Tomartyr (@guest_832881)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim

what would you consider to be the main differences between Maggie and Liz?

ABCRodney
ABCRodney (@guest_832895)
12 days ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

One lasted for 1 Lettuce and the other 84.5 Lettuces.

Dern
Dern (@guest_832915)
12 days ago
Reply to  ABCRodney

The Truss broke before the lettuce did…

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_832717)
13 days ago

The world becomes more and more dangerous so more capability is needed and not less.

The key to understanding MOD finances is the pensions curve. At what point in time does that number start to drop from the cuts in force numbers made in the 1970/1980’s.

Baker
Baker (@guest_832781)
13 days ago

Hello, that’s a very valid question that i’m pretty sure has been prominent in the thinking of most governments over the past 50 odd years, that and housing. It’ll take a War to reverse all that and a whole load of Propaganda to make the Cannon Fodder want to join up again and die horribly just like we are seeing in Ukraine’s re-run of trench warfare.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_832783)
13 days ago
Reply to  Baker

Uh?

The point I was making is that pension costs have got to start dropping as a % of MoD budgets because personnel numbers dropped sharply.

One those people die it drops to a widows pension…..

There is a curve and that will, at some point, create headroom.

Baker
Baker (@guest_832829)
12 days ago

Umm, well yes, that’s what I was agreeing to, you said the pension thing was an issue, I agreed ? why did you not see that ?

Marked
Marked (@guest_832722)
13 days ago

Baseless nonsense spoon fed by the right wing media.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_832727)
13 days ago
Reply to  Marked

That’s the thing. Was it? Or wasn’t it? See I was too young to follow with any precision. Any definitive links? As for “baseless nonsense spoon fed” well that works both ways. There’s been a hell of a lot of that against Reform these last month’s. Look at the 3 anti Reform articles here, all sensationalized based on individuals comments. “Its Thatchers fault the Falklands happened” screams the headline. No….it was the Argentines, but we were withdrawing Endurance, cutting Invincible, and the FO were making noises about discarding the islands. And that encouraged them, has been happily discussed here many… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_832828)
12 days ago

GR1s into F2s now that would of been a mess.

Bleak Mouse
Bleak Mouse (@guest_832869)
12 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

You’re forgetting that the Tornado ADV F2/3 was a variant of the Tornado GR1 in the first place

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_832894)
12 days ago
Reply to  Bleak Mouse

No mate well a we’re F2-3 were new Aircraft just stretch version of GR1 specially for ADV. Needed longer fuselage to take the sky flash or sparrow missiles.But thank you. 👍

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_832898)
12 days ago
Reply to  Bleak Mouse

Yes, and no! As Andrew says.
I loved the F3 myself, could have kept some on for SEAD.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_833358)
10 days ago

Same here mate, the F3 was an aesthetically pleasing machine, the fuselage stretch made it much easier on the eye. An idea born out of the still born Japanese Tornado, was to produce a european strike Eagle, based on a reinforced F3 airframe, blue vixen radar and either uprated engines delivering 20,000 of thrust each. Such a multi role machine would have been quite something, the advantage being a good deal of the technology already existed, or required some investment to improve. F3’s and GR1’s could have been rebuilt to the new configuration. Imagine a post cold war RAF equipped… Read more »

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_832893)
12 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

No mate well we’re F2, F3 were new aircraft just a stretch version of GR1 specially for ADV .Needed longer fuselage to take the sky flash or sparrow missiles. But thank you. 👍

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_832749)
13 days ago

Hi Daniele, Well its been a ‘fun’ few days… You raise a reasonable point, Labour have had some silly ideas on defence especially in the 1980’s and recently the Euro focus has been emphasised which in its self is not unreasonable in the current circumstances but lacks strategic understanding, I believe. So whilst I agree that we face a period of uncertainty, not unusual, I think we need to wait see what comes out of the review. I suspect that much of what has been said by Labour so far has been said from the information vacuum of opposition, now… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_832758)
13 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

You’re hired!!!! Loving all of that.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_832842)
12 days ago

I second it, right CR, get off to Whitehall and start briefing, an excellent approach 👍

grizzler
grizzler (@guest_832771)
13 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

So do you envisage RN becoming a more North Atlantic based force ?
Whats your view on Indo-China regards UK maritime capability- surely whether we like it or not it is a global issue and not just an American one.
I’m interested how you see that dovetailing into an increased NATO/EU responsibility for the RN?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_832833)
12 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

Hi grizzler, Good question mate. I think Daniele asked a similar question of me recently, and it comes down to flexibility… of course flexibility needs enough of the right people and equipment. So to answer your question in more detail the priority has to be protecting our home islands and way of life. Health warning – the following is very high level… Strategy Context As an island nation off the west coast of Europe we are likely to be a target to anyone who wishes to dominate the continent sitting, as we do, stride the sea and air routes between… Read more »

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_832923)
12 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

great post CR- good reading.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_833034)
12 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

Thank you klonkie,

Much appreciated

Cheers CR

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832941)
12 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Very interesting. I deployed with a regular brigade on Ex Brave Defender in 2-13 Sep 1985, a Military Home Defence (MHD) Exercise, which also exercised the new Home Service Force (HSF) raised specifically to do MHD. I believe there might have been a second, smaller such MHD exercise a few years later, but nothing since! HMG/MoD seems to have lost interest in MHD since the end of the Cold War. The HSF is of course long gone. There is very patchy coverage of the UK by the Regular army to do MHD – eg. across both west and east Sussex,… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_833018)
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham, I remember watching the Army Deploying to Europe on the news for a major exercise with a division deploying from the north east. If I remember rightly the lead units were arriving in the London area and the tail was still in Newcastle! Lots of Union Jacks on bridges all the way down the A1… Anyway with the Army reduced to 70k to 75k coverage is going to be very patchy indeed, so some kind of home base force is probably the way to go. The problem is what form should it take? Rebirth of the Territorial Army?… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_833971)
8 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hi CR, Just wondering if that mega-convoy was in the 80s – Ex Brave Defender? With the demise of BAOR/BFG, the vast majority of the regular army is based in the UK but of course the Field Force component (by no means all of the 73,000) is deployable world-wide. As I mentioned, I am not aware of the army being trained in the Military Home Defence (MHD) of the UK homeland. I don’t know if there is even an up-to-date and credible contingency plan for the ground defence of the UK. Our regs are orientated to expeditionary ops. It could… Read more »

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_832788)
13 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

I do think army has got to get enough mid/high end kit.

We are never going to be a large marching formations army.

If we are countering Russian aggression we can and will do that maritime, we should be able to do a decent percentage of that air, land (I’m no expert) we should focus on heavy and long range fires with AAW cover – to create an environment for others to be able to operate.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_832841)
12 days ago

Hi SB,

Yeh, that sounds like a very sensible strategy for our contribution to NATO land forces… Certainly, fits with my thinking as I have laid out in answer to grizzler above.

Cheers CR

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832942)
12 days ago

‘Marching formations army’? What is that? An army without vehicles, Boer War/WW1 style?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_832961)
12 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Phrased that very badly.

Meant mass of boots on the ground.

UKPLC don’t see the need for that so we have to equip what we have as well as we can.

Although, as I think we all know we need both if we are ever to operate independently.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832980)
12 days ago

Ahh, OK. Well we had masses of army boots on the ground for Op Banner (NI), Gulf War 1, various Balkans deployments, Gulf War 2, Afghanistan.

Do these politicos have such short memories?

Jon
Jon (@guest_832864)
12 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

You can’t prioritize the RN and RAF while increasing the size of the army, all for the bargain basement 2.5% as it is currently measured. It would be a great approach if the money was there.

Last edited 12 days ago by Jon
ChariotRider
ChariotRider (@guest_832984)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jon

Hi Jon,

Agreed which is why I say at the start of the last paragraph that at least 3% of GDP would be needed, although that is plucked out of the air. To be honest I doubt even that is enough, but at some point we are going to have to respond to the growing threat because the alternative would cost would be far more in treasure and blood.

Cheers CR

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_832892)
12 days ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

🤞👍

Pete
Pete (@guest_832703)
13 days ago

Starting with the review into needs and purpose is the right place to start rather than disjointed decision’s across and within the various Services. Predicting what will and won’t be cut now is playing into the hands of others by creating an atmosphere of inevitably and through that acceptance. 2% now, looking at needs and fiscal opportunities for increases to 2.5%. Ok. Accept that, Hold them to it!

Jim
Jim (@guest_832710)
13 days ago
Reply to  Pete

Exactly, it’s a defence review starting on the presumption of an increase rather than cut in defence spending.

Something we haven’t had for a long time. The last defence review conducted by labour in 1998 was the last real defence review we ever had rather than a Tory/LibDem cut exercise.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_832716)
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim

Yep, can agree there. It was well conducted, just never followed through!

Jim
Jim (@guest_832723)
13 days ago

They go the two carriers delivered which was the centre piece, FRES was a cluster fuck stilled not delivered but I think that has far more to do with the army and its inability to know what it wants than the politicians.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_832728)
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim

32 Escorts, 12 SSN, 23 Fast Jet Sqns was the main thing. Never happened.
Carriers, yep, good.
FRES, yeeees, agree on the generals going round in circles, but you need to dig a bit deeper on the number of army programs all cancelled. That was politicians.
SDSR 97 was reasonable on paper, by 2004 the cuts were in full swing.
Let’s hope this one is better, not hopeful I’m afraid as I’m not an ideological Labour supporter who sees the world that way.

I look at the ORBAT. That is what speaks.
Tories continued the Labour cuts. Will Starmer.

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_832921)
12 days ago

Hi DM. I felt the 2004 final numbers were “ok -ish” at the time. I seem to recall the goal of the peace dividend was to land roughly at half the 1980’s cold war force levels.

Interestingly, the 2004 review left the RAF fast jet sqns and RN surface warship fleet at almost exactly 50%of 1989 levels.

If only we could get back to those force levels!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_832943)
12 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

?? The review to reduce the forces to a new post-Cold War level was the defence review published in summer 1990 (Options for Change), the logic for reduction being obviously the disappearance of the monolithic threat from the Warsaw Pact forces in eastern Europe. It was that which generated the much quoted ‘Peace dividend’. The Regular army reduced by 25% from 160,000 to 120,000 – and the reduction was achieved very swiftly using a redundancy programme. Subsequent cuts over the decades since were all without threat-based changes to justify them – they were just done to save money which could… Read more »

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_833178)
11 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham , thanks for the reply. To add some clarity, the 50% future force level prediction was a general view pedalled by some defence analysts in the 90’s (seem to recall it was mainly from the USA?). I’m sure it was never UK government policy in the 1990s however. Interestingly though, the 2004 defence cuts left both the RN and RAF at almost exactly 50% of 1990 “sharp end” force levels. I’m unbale to offer commentary on the army, being unknowledgeable that regard. Personally, I was ok with these numbers. Being ex air force though, I’m of the view… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_833552)
10 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

Pretty much this.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_833997)
8 days ago
Reply to  klonkie

Yes, we (UK) certainly did not have a 50% figure being pedalled. Reg army was cut by 25% under Options for Change (summer 1990 review) to bring them down to a level deemed suitable for the post-Cold war era and there was not envisaged in summer 1990 that future cuts would be justified or desirable. However they happened – several times over.

All three services have been cut savagely in the last 30 years, since the justifiable post-Cold War cuts of the early 90s.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_832844)
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim

True, but Labour still cut the budget…

I recall it was suggested that 16 SSN’S were required to meet the 98 reviews aims , the treasury piped up and said, sod off, no more than 12!

Since then, Labour and the Tories have butchered the number to 7.

Baker
Baker (@guest_832719)
13 days ago

An increase to 2.5% one day, maybe.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_832852)
12 days ago
Reply to  Baker

‘ when it can be afforded’ Labour won’t find that money in the next 5 years as they set about borrowing, tipping GDP further into the red, increasing socal spending on unreformed state institutions and nationalising rail, creating a power industry etc, etc.

They will pour billions more into the NHS a year and they will blow it without any appreciable difference.

So it’s 2%, that means cuts again….

As Dreadnought spending reduces, AUKUS and GCAP will seriously kick in, at about the same time, 2025.

The money isn’t there, so something will simply have to go….

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_832911)
12 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

An accurate forecast Jon. 👌

Micki
Micki (@guest_832733)
13 days ago

Words only words , the reality Will be more cuts.
Firstly forget the 2 Carriers operating at the same time even IS not impossible that one of them IS going to be mothballed.
The defence review in UK always means CUTS.

klonkie
klonkie (@guest_832913)
12 days ago
Reply to  Micki

I think you’re spot on re the carriers Micki. The attraction for the new government will be the saving in labour costs.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_832737)
13 days ago

So business as usual then?😉

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_832830)
12 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Yes and a good chance we sit back and Labour follow Tory word’s ,our Allies can fill in the Gap 😟 🇬🇧

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_832880)
12 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

👍If that !

Nick Cole
Nick Cole (@guest_832859)
12 days ago

About time too and why stop at 2.5%? It needs to be matched with an enhancement of our industrial base, especially ammunition.

Tomartyr
Tomartyr (@guest_832873)
12 days ago

Got the ‘no money’ myth in quick..

Ex_Service
Ex_Service (@guest_832945)
12 days ago

I call BS.

 “The commitment to 2.5% is real but it will be within our fiscal rules and we will not be tempted, as the last government was, to pretend that the money is there now, which isn’t there.” He is either committed to 2.5% or he isn’t.

….and is it appears Ukraine support is still coming from the defence budget and not supplemental budgets, which erodes UK defence.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_832965)
12 days ago

I’ll wait & see what actually happens. Tories always claimed to be expanding & investing in our forces as thay actually cut them mercilessly. So Mr Starmer, are you going to increase capabilities or cut them, all spin aside?

Angus
Angus (@guest_832975)
12 days ago

Give them a chance as the last lots sold us down the river well and truly with their cuts and extension of kit well past their use by dates. The Carriers were never meant to be operational together, simply never the assets available for both but one operational and the other refit and maintained with small crew as we did in the past with the CVS’s, Crews can move over if needed to get the reserve one to sea. Its how its done folks. Major reforms needed in ALL GOVERNMENT Depts as they are extremely poorly managed and what we… Read more »