1SL defends Navy and insists Britain must keep 'hard power'

Discussion in 'Current Affairs' started by soleil, Jan 19, 2010.

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  1. Re: 1SL defends Navy and insists Britain must keep 'hard pow

    I believe one of the most valuable attributes of the RN is its ability to exercise and project hard and soft power. It also provides useful options for the politicians. Establishing a miltary force and/or combat aircraft in a foreign country is a political commitment that severely restricts freedom of action. Their presence can only be construed as a deliberately provocative act and, once there, you are committed to using them or withdrawing them in publicly humiliating fashion.

    Poising a task group comprising assault ships with helo support, a floating airfield and surface ships and submarines armed with TLAMS indefinitely off a foreign shore leaves all options open. Its presence and purpose can be deliberately overt to act as a deterrent or they can be masked or disguised in myriad ways. Whether flexing its muscle or merely gathering intelligence, its an invaluable ace to have up your sleeve.

    It would be the height of arrogance to predict that our country, so prone to events on the other side of the world affecting our trade and survival, will have no need for a strong navy over the next 40-50 years (the lifespan of ships like the new aircraft carriers, the Type 45 destroyers and the replacements for the Type 22/23 frigates). History tells us different. In 1929, few people imagined that the world would be plunged into global conflict within the next ten years. After all, it was only ten years since 'the war to end all wars'. More recently, as Admiral Stanhope has stated, the Falklands invasion 'came out of left field'.

    If people believe that the only future threats to our security will come from insurgents and that national leaders are far too 'nice' to engage in any state-sponsored military unpleasantness these days, think of people in recent memory like Sukarno, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot, Galtieri, Gadaffi, Saddam, Kim Il Jong and Ahmadinejad. Who knows where the next one will appear? As I've said before on this forum, you don't cancel your fire insurance simply because you've suffered a spate of burglaries.
  2. Re: 1SL defends Navy and insists Britain must keep 'hard pow

    "The next Afghanistan", that is an interesting phrase, it could say equally "the next Iraq". It is my view that the lasting effect of these two conflicts will be that the political and public apetite to launch a ground based campaign against anybody, large state or insurgent militia, will be practically nill for the forseeable future.

    General Richards can build himself a force fit for counterinsurgency all he likes, but in 18 months we will follow the Americans out of Afghanistan and it will be years before we ever commit ourselves to anything resembling that type of conflict again. Instead the government will look for a more hands off approach to fragile states and ungoverned spaces, perhaps a naval presence off the coast, perhaps precision missile strikes, control of the airspace maybe, perhaps occasional amphibious incursions or just surveillance and intelligence gathering for future operations of the type described.

    The government will then be surprised to learn that the Royal Navy which was well suited to that role has been somewhat downsized to pay for a war which we were never going to 'win' and to create an Army which was so shortsighted it is only any use for fighting the kind of conflict that has been not any that are coming.
  3. Re: 1SL defends Navy and insists Britain must keep 'hard pow

    A 'Hard Power' military with the emphasis on killing people and breaking things can do the fluffy stuff… See the Yanks in Haiti at the moment.

    A 'Soft Power' military is able to do the fluffy stuff, but can't go killing people and breaking things… See the Germans.
  4. Re: 1SL defends Navy and insists Britain must keep 'hard pow

    Not the best example you could have used (my RED BOLD) since the Yanks are pretty much stuck in the mud at the moment and seem to be waiting for John Wayne to come over the horizon and give them some direction. Still no field hospital for example yet Israel sent their team halfway round the world and are already well established.

    Nonetheless, the point is a valid one in principle.
  5. wave_dodger

    wave_dodger War Hero Book Reviewer

    Re: 1SL defends Navy and insists Britain must keep 'hard pow

    Not strictly true.

    "Hard" power is the overt application of largely kinetic effects (bombs, bullets and boots!). Its the traditional aspect of warfare, dominant firepower and numbers suffice to win the engagement. All well and good but in a Counter Insurgency (COIN), kill one innocent civilian and you potentially create a whole close family of future insurgents.

    "Soft" power is the application of non-kinetic influencing activities such that the Enemy Forces (EF) are isolated whereas the civilian population are brought onside. You can think of this as being in the PSyOps domain but increasingly its considered as a Joint Action effect and has taken on such importance the US have developed an Information Dominance capability akin but far larger in breadth than our development of Information Exploitation in the ISTAR area.

    I would see in a COIN, such a in Aghanistan, you would look the use "soft" power to utilise less kinetic effects to bring on side the civilian population and remove the logistic, intelligence and financial support they provide to the EF. You do this through CIMIC, propaganda, and ISTAR activities.

    The more offensive use of "soft" power could be IX-led operations which could use civilian gained intelligence to place EF in a position to be safely engaged by ISAF kinetic actions, eliminating a threat and simultaneously reassuring the civilian population.

    Another great use of "soft" power backed up by "hard" power could be to use intel to identify reconcilables and cultivate those EF such that they ultimately cease a threat, those that don't are attrited by "hard" power.
  6. Re: 1SL defends Navy and insists Britain must keep 'hard pow

    In regards to future threats of major conventional warfare there already a myriad of potential flashpoints brewing. In South America theres the real possiblity of war between Colombia and Venezuela (which if it kicks off will almost certainly drag in Equador, Bolivia and the US) as Chavez's regime keep pushing tensions to distract their population from domestic problems. In Africa theres any number of civil wars waiting to kick off Sudan, Chad, Nigeria etc as well as the mess already going on in Somalia. In Asia China's apparantly looking to increase its fleet by 50% (including 3 new carriers) which is scaring the sh!t out of the Japanese, Taiwanese and Indians which along with their cyber attacks on India recently and their increasing influence in Africa (4,000 Chinese troops in Sudan and apparantly hundreds more in Zimbabwe and Angola) could well start an Asian armsrace which is unlikely to end well. In short order the 1stSL is spot on in that we need a sizeable, well equipped navy to defend our trade routes and those of our allies.
  7. I completely agree, along with most Rum Rationers, but I wonder if the Afghanistan-hungry media and readers of The Sun will agree? Or will this country once again make the mistake of not looking forward to future conflicts when it comes to deciding defence expenditure?
  8. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    Still got my money on China bullying the other states around the South China Sea and this escalating into a major hoo-ha as all push and shove for control of its oil and gas; I have no doubt that what were previously no-account rocks and reefs will be the subject of disputed claims. If China then has the only local carrier-borne air power life will be sticky forthe others, and Australia will get dragged in - are we going to sit and watch that with our thumbs stuck up our bottoms ? I am disappointed that someone as small-minded as Richards has got as far as he has.
  9. I have to say as an outsider its disappointing that the defence budget has become a territorial pissing contest with all three of the services trying their best to fcuk over the other two for their own benefit. Now I'm no hippy who wishes we could all just get along, but surely there should be a reasonable amount of intraservices cooperation for a better longterm future of the combined military and the country. My dad's army and even he makes comments of how dangerous it is to have such a narrow focus for defence planning.
  10. Most the media seem to agree with Richards therefore the public will take his point of view.I do believe the Navy and the RAF will take the burden of cuts in the SDR but that doesnt mean the army will be safe because as soon as we are out of afghanistan you ll see arguements that stan was our last war etc etc therefore the army numbers will be cut down.
  11. redmonkey

    redmonkey Badgeman Book Reviewer

    We are an Island Nation and need a strong Navy. Without sea power what have we left? As mentioned by Admiral Band we don't want to turn into a navy like Belgium has. The RN is out there doing a lot that people dont realise. We have units out in Afghan proving that we can do the job required be it land or sea. Without the RN the options open to you are suddenly much smaller and much less effective. We can fight on land, in the air and in the water. Can the RAF and Army say the same?
  12. Re: 1SL defends Navy and insists Britain must keep 'hard pow

    Anyone see Sir. Richard Dannatt splintering his arse on the fence for all of about 5 minutes before toppling rather clumsilly on the side of the Army on Newsnight just now. He more or less put the carriers and new jets in the 'things we would like but not now' pile.

    I worry about Dannatt advising the Conservatives, Patrick Mercer (ex Army) almost certainly with a senior defence/security role, Richards as CDS when they give Jock Stirrup the boot and whoever Richard's replacement is as CGS. It all seems rather Army centric and that's before we add the media bias and Joe Public's misunderstanding.
  13. redmonkey

    redmonkey Badgeman Book Reviewer

    The Conservatives have got Dr Murrison as an MP although his patch is v heavy with Army. He was a Surg Cdr. Still RNR.
  14. Re: 1SL defends Navy and insists Britain must keep 'hard pow

    Well, one of these days, the Army is going to find itself fighting against someone with a viable air force and SAMS and you can bet the whinge from the tabloids will be, 'where are the air force and navy to keep our 'lads' safe from the enemy bombers'…

    … that will be the air force and navy that have been gutted of their force protection capability to funnel extra money into an insurgency fighting army.
  15. It's not surprising all this though is it? Cuts on the Horizon, Army chief defends his train set, 1SL does the same, RAF likewise.

    Something has to give and it will be us.
  16. Re: 1SL defends Navy and insists Britain must keep 'hard pow

    Oil_Slick. I would like to say that, on this occasion, I whole heartedly agree with you.

    I’m still puzzling how the Army is going to pursue various British only interests around the World. Antarctica and the South Atlantic Territories spring to mind. There’s a lot of wealth out there and other people would be keen to have it. Building up the Navy and the Air Force just in time to meet the threats (whenever they might spring up) doesn’t look very likely at all.

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