Last week, a Sunday Times article reported the ‘worst case scenario’ list of defence cuts for the upcoming defence review.

However Johnny Mercer, MP for Plymouth and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, People and Veterans said to local media PlymouthLive:

“There will be no cuts. The journalist [for the Sunday Times] was told by the Secretary of State his report was incorrect, but published anyway. The size of the military in Plymouth has grown whilst I have been the MP; I intend for that to continue.”

In the worst-case scenario presented by the Sunday Times:

“Defence chiefs have drawn up plans to slash the army by a quarter and reduce the Royal Marines to a bit part as part of Boris Johnson’s defence and security review. The drastic cuts, which would also close airfields and take helicopters out of service, were drawn up in response to Treasury demands that Whitehall departments map out cuts of 5% or more as part of the government’s comprehensive spending review.”

• Army manpower would fall from 74,000 to 55,000

• The Royal Marines commando brigade would be disbanded, losing its artillery, engineers and landing craft. Royal Navy minesweepers would also face the axe

• The RAF would shut several airbases and shed its fleet of Hercules transport planes

This comes after the UK temporarily suspended the upcoming integrated defence review as the country battled coronavirus.

“The Cabinet Office has informed the Defence Select Committee that work on the Integrated Review has been formally paused across Whitehall.”

View the letter from the Deputy National Security Adviser delaying the Integrated Review here.

“While the Review is paused, the Committee will also look at the Armed Forces’ contribution to fighting coronavirus and the long-term defence and security consequences of the pandemic.”

Chair of the Defence Committee, Tobias Ellwood MP, said:

“We welcome this delay of the Integrated Review. There would be no point in conducting an in-depth review of the nation’s defence and security challenges to an artificial deadline, especially at a time when Whitehall is rightly focusing on tackling coronavirus. We look forward to engaging with the Department when the Review restarts, with the added element of the consequences of the pandemic to be considered. We will still report in due course on the Committee’s inquiry into how Government should conduct the Review and hope that this work will inform the process in the future.”

The bulk of the review was due to be completed later this year but is now not expected to start until 2021.

 

0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
110 Comments
oldest
newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
2 months ago

These kind of stories get out once or twice a year, I didn’t think it was true and I’m happy it isn’t. We should really be following Australia’s example right now and investing in defence massively – the world is getting less, not more stable

Ian
Ian
2 months ago

Agree Levi……Australia is spending millions on it defence

RobW
RobW
2 months ago

Australia were already entering into a recession prior to Covid, which will be much deeper now. Lets see what actually gets ordered and when. Our budget isn’t at all bad when compared with other countries. It is how we spend it to address threats that matters. Personally I wouldn’t be for an increase without it addressing an agreed strategy, which seems to be sorely lacking. If we a significant increase to meet these challenges then so be it. We also need to stop the ridiculous waste in procurement. If that is sorted out we could have far more for the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  RobW

Even just removing Pensions would help a great deal.

Lets just wait and see. This media speculation happens every review and really is not helpful.

TopBoy
TopBoy
2 months ago

Remove pensions and get CASD put back, rightfully, in the core budget…

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago

It seems to me that The Treasury has 2 sets of economic officials! One set proposes more spending to counteract the Covid recession. Another set of officials proposes that the Treasury imposes 5% cuts across all Gov. departments to recoup all that extra spending up to now.
The two sets of Treasury officials are a contradiction!
So we have a HM Treasury problem!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

We have always had a HM Treasury problem, in a sense its’ their job. They are after all the guardians of the national purse, but it is the way they go about it! Far too often you hear stories of the Treasury getting involved in project level decisions. That is wrong in my opinion, because there is no way the Treasury staffers can have anywhere like enough expertise to understand the technical details of defense procurment projects, let alone across all government departments! The Treasury should be watching the high level returns from the departments and setting the budgets and… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago

yes I agree, although Australia (and NZ) havebnot been spending enough.
I would have thought the Aussies ought to be increasing their navy.

maurice10
maurice10
2 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

The blunt truth is Chinese naval expansion. Australia and NZ are at greater risk from Chinese ocean policy than other parts of the globe. We have no official plans for what China’s future aims are, however, the rapid building of artificial islands in the South China Sea, can not be necessarily, classed as a peaceful activity? We have witnessed approaching foreign vessels immediately challenged and asked to stay clear in what are international seaways? If the UK/China diplomatic situation worsens over Hongkong, that could make the region more problematic and draw in Australian and NZ by historic and Common Wealth… Read more »

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Regrettably, I cannot see how we in the UK, and by inference Australia and NZ, would manage to asylum very many HK nationals with the current degree of Chinese surveillance, though I welcome the offer and hope that it can come to fruition for those nationals who desire it. Again, in keeping with this article, one way to indicate serious international commitment to rules based behaviour on the wider front, I do not refer soley to China, would be not to sacrifice our armed forces ability to carry out its kinetic duties on the alter of ‘sparkly’ cyber – though… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  maurice10

Hi maurice10,

I read or heard somewhere recently that Australia and Canada (not sure about New Zealand) had made similar offers to HK as the UK. Those offers were quoted as giving the Chinese pause for thought!

They would not want to trigger a similar reaction from the West to that which Russia experienced after Salisbury. So they’ll play the long game and turn the screws real slow enough for Western media to find somehting else to focus on anyway…

maurice10
maurice10
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

What is required is a concerted effort through the authority of the UN to protect the right of free international movement for Hongkongions. Any obstruction should be noted, and China sanctioned for divergences from human rights protocols. The World is considerably smaller today with lighting fast communications, and China is one of the leading lights in this field. Therefore, how can she exercise subjugation, without the World observing? If the UK is successful in encouraging some people to take up residency in Britain, then any RN carrier operations in the Far East could lead to increased tensions, and possible misunderstandings?… Read more »

Nicholas
Nicholas
2 months ago

Remember when the government denied the plan to sell our Harriers to the US Marine Corp and then a few months later did just that…….

Andy
Andy
2 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

What’s that got to do with anything?

Nicholas
Nicholas
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy

I would have thought that was obvious. You can’t always trust what politicians say. Why believe this when they have deceived in the past?

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Hi Nicholas,

You have a point, but such is the current situation anything that reduces economic activity (and the public sector is included in the figures as I am sure you realise) would be economic suicide.

I don’t see the government cutting anything for quite sometime – that’s not to say they wouldn’t in the future mind…

We live in very strange times.

Nicholas
Nicholas
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

The word is that the MoD is only marginally involved with this. Downing street is running the show and leading the call for cuts. From what I have heard the effectiveness of the armed forces is not a factor in the discussion nor is the negative feedback on the economy.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Yeh, there are a lot of rumours flying about as usual and suspect there is considerable frustration with the MoD’s procurement record which seems to have got even worse in recent years – something I didn’t think possible, frankly! There does need to be change in behaviours within the procurement arm of MoD. My experiences was that the MoD developed and implemented a pretty good system in the late 90’s early 00’s, but behaviours undermined much of the good work done. I would like to see a branch of the forces formed that focused on procurement Project Management, their remit… Read more »

Nicholas
Nicholas
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

The MoD cannot be dismissed just on the grounds of it’s procurements. The MoD is not just made up of civil servants. It includes very senior military personnel, not to mention various ministers. 50% of the civil servants in the MoD are of the lowest grade, many on minimum wage, do you think that they has any say or sway over anything at all? Using poor procurement as a reason to allow a non elected political adviser being allowed to run one of the most important reviews in defence history. If this was happening under a Labour administration you’d be… Read more »

Mark Latchford
Mark Latchford
2 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

“The word is” what or whose word is that Nicholas? Serious question – unsubstantiated statements like that mean nothing, do they?

Nicholas
Nicholas
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Latchford

From an MP that I will not name. This MP went on to say that that Britain’s future defence and security should not be in the hands of political advisers, as seems to be the case.

Nicholas
Nicholas
2 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

I will ask, however, for permission to repeat what has been said.

Mark Latchford
Mark Latchford
2 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Sorry Nicholas, but a mystery MP doesn’t count as evidence. It’s in the same category as the “unnamed sources” the media like to quote to try to back up a story. “Sources” who don’t usually exist. Also, to my mind not caring about “negative feedback on the economy” given the amount of harm COVID-19 has done to the economy doesn’t ring true. The last thing the government needs at the moment is more economic damage.

Nicholas
Nicholas
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Latchford

My information comes from a correspondance with an MP whose permission I haven’t sought to reproduce his words. I suspect that when/if I do you will simply transfer your disbelief onto him.
‘given the amount of harm COVID-19 has done to the economy doesn’t ring true.’ If this were true now then why, when the economy was on its knees after the financial crisis was the response to cut and cut some more?

Mark Latchford
Mark Latchford
2 months ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Boris Johnson has said repeatedly that unlike after the financial crisis the government doesn’t intend the deal with the current problems with austerity. Time will tell if that’s true or not. I’d be interested to hear what this MP has to say, please let us know.

Nicholas
Nicholas
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Latchford

Well, there you have me. Dissenting voices, armed forces cuts wise, aren’t new or unusual. Alternate plans are harder to find. Personally when it comes to defence I’m not bothered about who is in power, just that they fund defence appropriately for the time. The two main parties are as good and as bad as each other, in the past both ‘sides’ have been guided to some extent by their military advisers within various comstraints. The concern is that this is not now the case. Thus far the political adviser has been overruled on the issue of the carriers, I… Read more »

JohnN
JohnN
2 months ago

Levi, You’ve mentioned what is happening here in Australia, you and the others here might be interested in reading the details of the 2020 Defence Strategic Update documents: https://www.defence.gov.au/StrategicUpdate-2020/ From this link you can download PDF copies of both the 2020 Defence Strategic Update and also the 2020 Force Structure Plan too, both are very detailed. The Force Structure Plan goes into specific details of major projects, the budget allowances and the timelines for those project too. In regard to actual defence spending, the Australian Government has now ‘de linked’ Defence spending from GDP, it is now not tied to… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  JohnN

Hi JohnN,

Interesting that the link with GDP has been ditched. That and the bi-partisan approach underlines something I have thought for awhile – Australia is responding to Chinese aggression…

Such a response undertaken unilaterally is pretty much pointless given the relative populations, but in the context of forming alliances a very sound and necessary strategy. Perhaps the context for the bi-partisan approach?

Cheers CR

Masterblaster
Masterblaster
2 months ago

Just because they won’t “cut” the budget, doesn’t mean defence won’t get gutted though. They very well may maintain the 2% of GDP target, but 2% of a massively deflated economy is still a real terms cut. Big time.

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  Masterblaster

How does NOT cutting the budget translate into actually cutting the budget then?

You and others are as bad as the Queen of Hearts.

Levi Goldsteinberg
Levi Goldsteinberg
2 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

While I don’t think it’ll happen, it would be par for the course for the government to not announce cuts out loud but to stealthily make them just be adjusting down the money sent to the MoD in line with the size of the now shrunken economy. That way they can say cuts were never made and the MoD budget remains 2% of GDP

Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Basically 2% of a 2.8 trillion economy is more than 2% of a 2.5 trillion economy the government can then say they didn’t cut defence spending when in reality they have

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

But they haven’t. As of yet there are no suggestions that in money terms the spending is cut.
In recent years there have been real terms increases in defence. (RUSI).

Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

I hope your right but I can’t see the government spending more than 2.1% which is the current rate they are saying our GDP could shrink by about 25% so in turn if they continue spending 2.1% that means a 25% defence budget cut

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

But of course 25 % is not being cut is it. Not least because it’s not contractually possible.
Pensions, education and health is not going up and investment spending is increasing. The deficit is taking the strain in part because inflation is low.

So the scares are just that.

Of far greater importance is just what the strategic point of our defence should be. This is very much the military’s fault as well as the politicians. Right now, not only have we not got our ducks in a row, we have not got the ducks.

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

Appols. education health IS going up… !
The lack of edit is a pain…

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
2 months ago

Not surprised about the C-130, they were only retained due to A400M delays and to act as Special Forces transports. Now the A400M is getting past its growing pains and there are probably more suitable types for the Special Forces support role. On that note there might even be an opportunity here, the Royal Jordanian Airforce are selling two nearly new AC-235 for sale fully equipped with sensors and defensive aids. The Gun system is palatalised meaning they can operate in transport or Gunship configuration. Jordan is also selling 2 C-295 albeit I think the Airframes to go will probably… Read more »

Callum
Callum
2 months ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Are you genuinely suggesting that, in the face of a recession and potential cuts, we buy a handful of second-hand gunships? For what purpose? They’re a counter insurgency weapon, and we’re in the process of swinging back to peer warfare.

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
2 months ago
Reply to  Callum

Yes

Callum
Callum
2 months ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Ok, just checking

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
2 months ago
Reply to  Callum

To clarify more, the C130 were retained to fill a Special Forces support role which I would think still exists. The AC-135 that Jordan are selling can operate in the tactical transport mode with the Gun system removed.

I see them as useful and more affordable to operate in the Special Forces transport role as they already have the defensive aids fitted and the gun system is purely a bonus.

Andy
Andy
2 months ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

Maybe the A400M could be modified to use the palatised gun system?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Andy

I have read that DSF considered Atlas too big for their needs.

If Hercs go, and I sincerely hope they don’t, something else must be aquired pronto.

DSF obviously have high priority for aviation support, and 47 Sqn is very busy, supporting intelligence community too not just SF.

With only 22 Atlas, too few.

Julian
Julian
2 months ago

The trouble is this guy is only an under-secretary so I’m not sure this is anything more than hollow reassurances and telling his audience (constituents) what they want to hear. Whoever happens to be Defence Minister at the time could easily capitulate to the PM (and whatever voices are whispering in the PM’s ear) if/when crunch time comes. I hope his reassurances are not only valid but that some of the stimulus package that I hope will be coming from the government to ensure a V-shaped recovery will include a lot of extra investment in new defence equipment, built in… Read more »

Steve
Steve
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian

The issue with no cuts is that there are never any cuts, there are alteration of defense priorities resulting in assets that are no longer needing being retired to make way for investments in assets to counter the currently perceived threats. Think of the number of destroyers that was reduced, it wasn’t a cut it was a capability increase because one destroyer was better than multiple of the older ones. This obviously ignored that platforms can’t be in two places at once or that the likely enemies gear had also improved in that period and so the real improvement in… Read more »

Paul C
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve

The example of the T45 is a good one. Given that the T42 was basically a 1960s austerity design you would expect the T45 to be a quantum leap in capability. How could it be otherwise as technology has obviously advanced massively in 30+ years?

You might as well compare a Mk1/2 Escort to a modern Focus and say ‘Wow, look at our progress’. The opposition has obviously moved on in the same way so the status quo is maintained. All meaningless fudge, the politicians must think we are idiots.

Mark Latchford
Mark Latchford
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian

Ben Wallace has said exactly the same thing as Mercer Julian. If you follow the link to Plymouth Live in the article you can read it yourself.

Julian
Julian
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Latchford

Thanks Mark. Good to know that he has support at the highest levels of the department. For the record I never thought that Mercer was being dishonest, I do believe he is sincere in his defence of the military (so on reflection my “telling his audience what they want to hear” comment was unfair and inappropriate and I retract it), but I do still worry that ultimately the PM can come in and do whatever he thinks will keep him in No 10 and whether Mercer, or Wallace for that matter, have enough power to be able to resist whatever… Read more »

Mark Latchford
Mark Latchford
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian

No worries Julian. I completely see what you’re saying about the PM And No.10, but Boris has said a couple of times recently that he’s not planning on more austerity to deal with the cost of the measures in response to COVID-19, so lets hope no defence cuts are in the offing. Time will tell!

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian

Hi Julian,

I think you are right to be concerned. Dominic Cummings is apparently set to tour sensitive defense and security sites and clearly has a very poor view of our defense posture.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2020/jul/08/dominic-cummings-to-tour-sensitive-mod-sites-amid-defence-review

The article also suggests that the Defense Review has restarted – I wasn’t aware of that!

Julian
Julian
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Hi ChariotRider, I agree. My reference to “whatever voices are whispering in the PM’s ear” was a reference primarily to Dominic Cummings as you correctly picked up on. That guy seriously worries me. He’s clearly not an idiot but I worry that he’s in that danger zone of being so arrogant about his own intelligence that he can’t accept that there are many areas, defence being one of them, where there are others who know far, far more about the subject area and that are aware of all sorts of issues and complexities that for him, to steal Donald Rumsfeld’s… Read more »

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
2 months ago
Reply to  Julian

An entirely reasonable rant – and one I have had myself 🙂

Arrogance and incomplete knowledge backed by zero experience is very very danagerous when given the power to run rough shod over everyone…

He worries me as well.

Cheers CR

Mark Latchford
Mark Latchford
2 months ago
Reply to  ChariotRider

Time will tell on Cummings, but he seems keen to sort out the procurement process, which squanders ridiculous amounts of money.Getting that under control would have to be a good thing.

Rob
Rob
2 months ago

Defence of the realm is the first duty of a government. In peace time the defence budget is a down payment on an insurance policy. Downgrade that insurance policy or skip a payment and you end up with big problems when you need it most. Worse than that, you also make conflict more likely because adversaries are more likely to cause problems if they think they are going to win. Added to that, in terms of the UK, we must maintain capable forces if we are to justify our place on the UN security council. Just reflect that other countries… Read more »

David
David
2 months ago
Reply to  Rob

All very true, but politicians do not necessarily see it this way. Particularly populists with few principles.

Sean
Sean
2 months ago
Reply to  David

Fortunately the unprincipled populists failed to win the election 👍🏻

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  David

Struck me ‘populist’ degraded into a derogatory term used to describe people who’s political views differed from the pronouncers. Bit like ‘people’s’ vote. In fact the concept is virually indistinguishable from democracy viewed with a modicum of thought process. This would form a very interesting debating subject for those univerities that still embrace the concept – hopefully, quite a few.
Accepted, you could be only referring to populists with few principals as opposed to populists with quite a few principals.
Regards

geoff
geoff
2 months ago

Even given for the fact that the deep cuts mooted are fake news, one would have to ask the question where the 55 000 troop figure comes from or more to the point, at what figure in terms of the Army’s size, do the numbers go beyond the ridiculous? I think we are already half way there there with 80 000 and for a country the size and rank of the UK, 100 000 is my gut feel bottom line for a standing Regular Army.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  geoff

With you there geoff. I always used to have a benchmark of 100,000 army, hundred ship navy ( including SSN ) and 1,000 aircraft RAF. In the late 90s we still had those sorts of numbers. The army could theoretically be cut more if we concentrated on a bigger RN, RAF, and Intelligence community. Defending the UK, power projecting abroad where necessary using SF, RM 3 Cdo, 16AA, and MI6. We are not a land power not should try to be. I’m happy with the rough size of the Army as it is. It’s the equipment side for me on… Read more »

geoff
geoff
2 months ago

Hi Daniele. on the same page. I remember reading that the British army was very small at the time of Waterloo(but of course they were the best soldiers with a superb Commander ) 🙂 The right noises are coming from the Government at present so lets hope! BTW-huge cold front on its way from the Cape across South Africa in to the balmy Province of KZN so we are about to get a taste of your medicine with snow on our mountains and some single figures! Two Cardigans! And maybe even some Wellington boots (I am sure you get the… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  geoff

But we have to ask, do we really NEED a 100k strong Army? what do we want our armed forces to do into the 2020s and beyond. What is the real threats we face? and COVID-19 has proven to be far more damaging and dangerous then any number of Chinese warships. We can’t keep harking back to what we had numbers wise in the 80’s or 90’s, and we also need to stop comparing ourselves to the Americans. Somthing needs to change, new ways of thinking, maybe the Navy could have more money available if the fleet was across 2… Read more »

T.S
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

No we dont need a huge army, just one that is highly trained and supported with all the elements to support high intensity warfare, and with enough kit to replenish stuff that is lost. Our main focus should be the navy imo. In regards to sports, surely strategically we should have more than one port for surface vessels. We cant just base our needs on peacetime. If Portsmouth got bombed out we would need alternatives whilst it was being rebuilt. If we were to focus on the navy, I would argue that 2 is not enough and we should have… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  T.S

But who is going to bomb Portsmouth? I mean really in this day an age. if you are talking about a tactical nuclear strike, then it doesn’t matter how many bases we have, we are screwed, but so would the enemy.

Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

You never know who might attack us having all our eggs in one basket is never a good idea

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

From a different angle, noted that the last blog on Thin Pinstriped referred as a discussion piece closing Plymouth in favour of Portsmouth. Set me wondering which would be more defendable, balanced against Atlantic access requirements.
Not as brave as Humphrey in making a suggestion, as yet!

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Yes, I saw the same article, he makes some very interesting points, and can see his point in the potential savings from the defence estate, savings that could be better spent on the front line.

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

I agree Robert. There is way too much focus on raw numbers, platforms and weapon systems for those platforms, combined with too much focus on the rear view mirror in commentary across various military web sites. I am probably guilty of indulging too much in some of that, although I like to think I am more forward looking than seems typical. We need to define our armed forces capabilities in the context of a spectrum of future actual and potential threats and structure appropriately to address them. Also in the context of our WW foreign policy objectives which play out… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago

Well said mate, despite our low numbers today, our armed forces are way more capable today then at any point in the past, we had numbers then, but mostly lots of crap. And the balance between capability and buying off the shelf, and also preserving our own industry. We need to be better at that. Buying home grown has to often come at the expense of high cost and slow progress. Industry also needs to be more competitive, and I think the T31 is the start of that way of thinking, we can’t carry on spending over 1 billion for… Read more »

Glass Half Full
Glass Half Full
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

The 1 billion plus warship is a major issue for many roles for which it is vastly over capable. I have high hopes for T31 because it seems to offer low cost and flexibility in a very capable platform that the UK needs IMO to cover a broad spectrum of roles and requirements, that seem to be expanding based on govt. position up to this point. Its a good role model for affordable and highly pragmatic defence. Interestingly while BAES seem to wring maximum price points from MOD on shipbuilding, they seem to have recognized with Tempest that they’ll be… Read more »

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago

😄 to be fair, my knowledge about the Army isn’t as clued up as it should be, and I kinda plucked those two examples out of thin air. Totally agree about the approach with Tempest, and will hopefully bring advantages to the Typhoon, as Typhoon may well be used as a technology demonstrator if you like for proving Tempest technology and capability. We will see, it’s going to be interesting whatever happens. Nice chatting mate.

Harold
Harold
2 months ago

Shake in your boots. Dominic Cummings approaches and he doesn’t care for your big ships and huge budget items. He says a youngster with a drone can be just as effective. By the way, now that the EU is past news, isn’t it grand to see democracy return and unelected bureaucrats put in their place?

Airborne
Airborne
2 months ago
Reply to  Harold

And that proves Cummings knows as little about defence and military matters as you do Harold. And as you know nothing……..

Rob
Rob
2 months ago
Reply to  Harold

Mr Cummings. Oh dear, you do realise that defence is about beating the enemy on the battlefield don’t you? See the thing is about this youngster with a drone thing is that if he gets malleted with a bomb or a special forces guy he isn’t effective any more. Cyber is important but so are things that go bang, use the Mk 1 eyeball and kill the enemy.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Harold

Poor effort. Thing is. In all seriousness. Beyond speculation I would like to see where he has actually said he wants to remove conventional. Where? Somebody show me a verbatim piece by him, not an article about what he supposedly thinks claiming this and that. Anybody? I wabt to see it so i can join the masses wanting his head. Bet there isn’t one. All I’ve read is the piece on a kid with a laptop and our QEC. One man’s opinion easily dismissed by experts. Is that it??? There are lots of quotes put in his mouth. I have… Read more »

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago

I take your point. Clearly we need drones and cyber, but do we need heavy armour, do we need Ajax. It’s not the politicians… It’s the generals who are mismanaging the strategy for our army. Many years ago we committed to 2 carriers, without catapults. Fortunately the F35B seems to be working OK. This probably was a political decision** by Blair/Brown… But it pushed our strategy to a maritime one and away from (perversely from Blair’s perspective) a European one. It strikes me the Army as been all headless chickens ever since. ie it’s neither fish nor fowl. ** Blair/Brown… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  TrevorH

We do need Drones and Cyber, yes. We need a balance. You can not have one without enough of the other. These things cannot come instead of. They compliment. Interestingly, there was a piece in the Guardian yesterday, Cummings has been given a classified briefing/ tour, of some of MoDs most sensitive sites. Wyton, Credenhill, Poole, Porton, and also the SIS and SS. Those are all areas he should support. Hope it opens his eyes to some of the critical capabilities we have. On Ajax. CVRT needed replacing. I support the concept of maintaining a minimum of a division. Politically… Read more »

T.S
2 months ago

I’ve been reading a lot of articles on the UK land power site Dan, and I’m now of the opinion that heavy armour may be of less importance to us. Whilst the strike concept did hide lots of cuts, if done properly it looks highly effective and backed by most experts. The issue is currently, it’s not as you well know. We cant do everything anymore, so I think ditch chally 2, and let’s double down on faster, lighter medium armour that we can get to places quickly, properly supported with artillery, direct and indirect fires, drones, istar etc. Leave… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  T.S

It may well come to pass. If so, let’s do it properly, because Strike is full of holes.

What happens to Ajax and the billions already paid?

T.S
2 months ago

I read suggestions about them forming their own brigade and forward based in somewhere like Poland where they could work with mainland forces. This would leave the brigades with purely boxer, but with several different variants and larger numbers.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  T.S

So Ajax in its own Brigade? What about CS and CSS support for it?
This sounds familiar, I may have read of this.

Boxer variants are needed. I’ve read proposals that deleting WCSP and CH2 upgrade could pay towards this. I don’t know the finances whether this is true.

I’m against it, as I believe Tanks have their place. But I would accept it if that is the route they decide. Just do it properly.

Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  T.S

Sorry ditch out tanks ? And how would we fight any force out there that has tanks that’s a stupid idea we need a armoured fist to punch through enemy’s defences

Robert Blay
Robert Blay
2 months ago
Reply to  Tim

A Typhoon or F35 loaded with Brimstone 2 and Spear3 would be far more effective against tanks then using tanks of our own.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Blay

Maybe. But the cost thing again. I think the Royal Artillery well equipped with guns aplenty, including smart munitions, would be even more effective, and a lot cheaper, than an 80 million jet in limited numbers with precision weapons.

I’d suggest the Tank is cheaper too. And the Tank remains on station holding the ground, the Jet cannot. Apache is not invulnerable either.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago

By that comment I was meaning firepower in general, not necessarily just tanks.

Wouldn’t a bloke with a LAW80 or whatever they have these days alongside Javelin be effective?

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  T.S

The 6th May article on UKLP states that Strike was not envisaged as replacing Armoured Infantry Brigades, but as carrying out a separate but complementary mission.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  Gavin Gordon

Yes, read of that. Once they were quoted by Cameron as stand alone, now they operate in tandem with the heavies, almost as the recc force.

John Clark
John Clark
2 months ago

Absolutely Daniele, The baying mob have it in for DC because of BREXIT. Even with Covid19, there’s still a lot of ‘toys out the pram’ with that one! If people actually took the trouble to see what he intends to do with the Civil service, I honestly don’t know what they can complain about, unless they are on that particular government gravy train and don’t want to see it pull into the station! Our civil service is a shambles, with people rotating in and out of 10 year projects every 18 months or so, with ‘zero’ personal accountability for the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Ah. Thank you John. They’re failing, luckily.

DC can keep his nose out of military strategy, but as for other areas, fire away. Drain the swamp.

The vitrol and hatred shows he’s having an effect I suspect.

John Clark
John Clark
2 months ago

“Drain the swamp” spot on!

I think his comments on defence are perhaps a slight concern, but, he’s on the ‘outer obit’ of defence in reality.

He should absolutely concentrate on procurement for future programs and ensure properly organised and funding.

As you say, ‘draining the swamp’ of the civil service and replacing it with an accountable and we’ll run civil service, will drive down costs and free up defence money for the front line.

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  Harold

So you the ‘Champagne Socialist ‘ believes Cummings is a elected populist politician! What’s in your Champagne? He is No different to all the other Un-elected bureaucrats, with the exception of him of not being a career civil servant or a career military officer. There are comparisons here, with a volunteer care assistant to take decisions n a patent’s medication.
So you would allow a unmedically trained volunteer care assistant to decide what your medication should be?

Tim
Tim
2 months ago
Reply to  Harold

That’s not what he said he said he was fed up with the MOD wasting money and taking so long

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago
Reply to  Harold

Can easily envisage Cummings as a youngster with a drone (peaked cap on backwards, natch). Not too sure over other capabilities beyond getting up people’s noses. Seems to think he invented the country’s antipathy to the EU. Sorry Dom, materialised years ago.

Mark Latchford
Mark Latchford
2 months ago
Reply to  Harold

Cummings said he wants to reduce waste in MoD procurement Harold (cost over runs, etc). I’m sure we all want that, so I’m really not sure what point you’re trying to make. Try again.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago

There remains the mindset that UK defence is very expensive as it cost the UK currently £40 billion per year. Certainly, to any normal person that is way beyond any meaningful monetary concept. But for governments, and by association us, every aspect of expenditure is very, and indeed often extremely, costly running into the tens and hundreds of billions annually. Ideally, we’d absolutely love to get on with each other and not spend a penny on defence, but unfortunately we’re a mite away from that scenario and once again moving further away daily. With that given and in light of… Read more »

David
David
2 months ago

I hope this is true, but given this Government’s record of U turns and of being, shall we say, a little economic with the truth, I certainly would not hold my breath…..

Sean
Sean
2 months ago

Journalist floats a scare story without the need for any pesky facts to back it up, what’s new?
Move along please, nothing to see here.

dan
dan
2 months ago
Reply to  Sean

Since when do “journalists” ever care about real facts in their stories???

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub
2 months ago

The mine hunter fleet is always a target for cuts, especially in this day and age when the Royal Navy is evaluating usv mine hunters. However, recent experience in the USN shows what happens when naval officers are put in charge of vessels without sufficient command experience. Cuts to the UK mine hunter fleet would not only reduce an important capability but also limit the number of vessels where junior officers can get a taste of command which is not available in a synthetic trainer.

dan
dan
2 months ago

I stopped watching, reading the “mainstream” news years ago. It was at best highly bias and at worst made up to push their own mostly leftist agenda. Never been happier.

Dan
Dan
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

Most of the media in this country is owned by famously leftist billionaire businessmen. The problem is that quality journalism has been cut in order to boost profits, and sensationalising in order to attract reader attention often seems to be the order of the day.

John Clark
John Clark
2 months ago
Reply to  dan

With you there, I only listen ( YouTube watch) Talk radio and “The Indipendant Republic of Mike Graham” , Julia Hartley Brewer is another high point of proper old fashioned journalism. It’s an absolute tonic, free of the left wing political correctness driven, bland grey programming and hollowed out and dumbed down investigative journalism by the BBC in particular and all the mainstream media for that matter… Remember when the BBC was regarded as as the “Gold standard” ….. Long gone now, faint glimmers of the old BBC can still be found on the World Service, Radio 4 and BBC4,… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

J H B. Yes, me too.

Meirion X
Meirion X
2 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

John, it looks like the bbc will be sending out Vultures to knock on doors of venerable pensioners on Aug 1!
Even criminals will be taking advantage of it!
How appalling of the bbc!

John Clark
John Clark
2 months ago
Reply to  Meirion X

I hear you, just paid my TV licence, its been a few years since it made me feel physically sick to have to pay a bill!

I absolutely resent being forced to pay for that load of crap!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
2 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

I avoid the BBC news like the plague. Sadly, other areas of BBC content are excellent and there are many we would miss.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
2 months ago

BBC Four was what made the licence OK for me, but I hear now it’s mooted to be targetting youth culture. The only similarity between myself and youth is the length of my hair – but that’s down to C-19.

TrevorH
TrevorH
2 months ago
Reply to  John Clark

Correct.
There is a petition to decrimilise it.

David Flandry
David Flandry
2 months ago

I hope there are no cuts. However, how many defense reviews have resulted in no cuts. I think perhaps one in the past 30 years.

peter french
peter french
2 months ago

So where does this so called Journalist get his info, how is it he feels he can write what appears to be total fiction, Given the need for an increase in the defence budget it may not happen due to the spend on Corona virus effect

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
2 months ago

I don’t see much concern amongst respondents about the possibility about a cut in the army to 55,000. A regular army of around 80,000 as we have today is far too small when Options for Change (way back) determined we needed an army of 120,000 for the post-Cold War world. An army of 55,000 would not be able to deploy a Division of three brigades for a serious coalition warfighting operation, or to deploy a brigade plus NSE on an enduring operation without breaching Harmony guidelines. Our allies, in particular the US would not take us seriously as a coalition… Read more »