Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future"

#2
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

Oh dear. Here we go again.

Another senior military figure speaks out. But not until he has retired.

I'm beginning to get a little fed up with senior officers only saying what's on their mind when they no longer have anything to lose. I would take their comments more seriously if they were willing to stand their ground while doing the job and showed a little more backbone and were less inclined to keep their heads down while some shyster politician spins the message.

General Sir Mike Jackson in an interview the other week stated quite openly that what he advised in private and what he stated in public could be different. He didn't seem to think there was a problem with that.

I would suggest that if a senior officer is being consistently ignored in private, as seems to be happening, then he should perhaps think of saying so in public. It's not the politicians alone who are supposed to represent the public interest.

That said, I'm surprised Sir Alan West appears to only now (apparently) realise that his carriers are under threat. To get them would require a massive amount of investment; not just with the purchase price, but also the continuous running costs and manpower required. Two things consecutive governments have refused to pay for.
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
#3
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

I used to moan about Senior Officers gobbing off after retirement but I note General Jackson's recent comments (mentioned in the previous post) and mellowed.

Going public while in office is a matter for the individual Officer. Some of them may feel that they have a duty not to have an undignified public slanging match with the Ministry/Fuehrer Bunker.

I don't believe their pensions would be at risk if they did. A disimissal may mean up to two years service chopped off but after 35 years in, who'd notice?

Anyway, Admiral West remains on the Active List (without an appointment) as does Admiral Boyce and a few others.
 

Levers_Aligned

War Hero
Moderator
#4
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

Seadog said:
I used to moan about Senior Officers gobbing off after retirement but I note General Jackson's recent comments (mentioned in the previous post) and mellowed.

Going public while in office is a matter for the individual Officer. Some of them may feel that they have a duty not to have an undignified public slanging match with the Ministry/Fuehrer Bunker.

I don't believe their pensions would be at risk if they did. A disimissal may mean up to two years service chopped off but after 35 years in, who'd notice?

Anyway, Admiral West remains on the Active List (without an appointment) as does Admiral Boyce and a few others.
How good would it be for morale if we saw the Chiefs of Staff show their mettle once in a while and 'go public'? For me it would turn heads, and certainly allow the population to judge the intentions of the government on merit. Sure, it's tantamount to mutiny, but big deal. Do we want the armed forces of the future shaped by PR spinners, pencil necks, lawyers and financiers or do we want it unkept and maintained by people in the know? All very well and good Jackson, Boyce and West carping on in their retirement whilst taking board-member jobs at lucrative arms companies, but what of the active service people? Dannat showed a blancmange vertibrae when challenged on his view on Iraq - he knows, Jackson knew, Boyce especially knew and we all know it is a losing battle out there and one which will only lead to more deaths and more humiliation before the skulking withdrawal, something we as Brits are not quite used to. And before anyone starts about 'how dare you, we must finish the job' I challenge anyone to freewheel thier imaginations and come up with anything else credible than either us and the Yanks actively going cap in hand to the 'Axis of Evil' ((c) GW Bush, not-so-long ago) or the Yanks turning the desert into a sea of glass. Finishing the job is harder than starting it, and Christ knows how hard they worked trying to concoct a web of lies and deception about WMD. We have whacked a mighty hornet's nest in the middle east. Be nice to see our trusted bosses operating with command, leadership and management over those who would see us beaten in Whitehall and beaten in theatre/

Levers
 
#5
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

lets not forget this is the same Admiral West who said we could retake the Falklands again we the ships we have a couple of weeks ago!
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
#6
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

Where did you read or hear Admiral West's 'Falklands' claim chockhead? It seems to have passed me and RR right by (of course it could be lurking on RR somewhere). Would have made a hot topic. Might still make a hot topic if it can be verified.
 
#8
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

I think it was actually Admiral Band. Watched it on Sky News from the carrier at Greenwich when the details of Falklands 25 were published.
 
#9
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

tonrus could well be right, but i'm sure it was him as they mention his service in the Falklands.
 

Levers_Aligned

War Hero
Moderator
#10
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

tonrus said:
I think it was actually Admiral Band. Watched it on Sky News from the carrier at Greenwich when the details of Falklands 25 were published.
That was the rainy morning Illustrious called into London. Johnny Band was avoiding being cornered on what Dannat had said earlier, chicaning his way around the questioning with a load of '... I think what it is important to remember is ..." bullshit answers, which skewed the conversation away from the big question which was:

"Given the fact that we're not doing too well in the sandpit, and the government seem more preocccupied with trivial domestic horsecrap than dead squaddies and your mate Dannat has as much as said they are selling us short, do you agree with the CGS, or what?"

Nice one Johnny. The ambivalent public might be fooled and switch off, but those currently in your charge are not.

Levers

ps. if our leaders believe we can retake the Falkland Islands if re-invaded, I would dearly love to flick through their working out. I'm far from a statisician, and certainly no defence analyst. But I possbily would be able to pick one or two holes in their illusions, given the complete destitution of support capability and wholesale desecration of any deployable task grouping without fear of massive shortfalls in sustainability in theatre. Some may say 'well, all the stops would be pulled out in that case' and indeed they were during Corporate, but we had three times the navy then, and indeed the commercial and RFA back up to maintain that. The Argentines currently blow big trumets about re-invasion, yet their people (although likeable, passionate sorts) have no stomach for the fight. That cannot be said for more capable nations.
 
#11
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

Retake the Falklands - using what ships?

I have no doubt in the willingness of the RN's manpower to do such a task but we simply can't do it without resorting to instant sunshine.
 
#12
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

Seadog said:
I used to moan about Senior Officers gobbing off after retirement but I note General Jackson's recent comments (mentioned in the previous post) and mellowed.

Going public while in office is a matter for the individual Officer. Some of them may feel that they have a duty not to have an undignified public slanging match with the Ministry/Fuehrer Bunker.

I don't believe their pensions would be at risk if they did. A disimissal may mean up to two years service chopped off but after 35 years in, who'd notice?

Anyway, Admiral West remains on the Active List (without an appointment) as does Admiral Boyce and a few others.
I think that you are dead right Seadog. Say what you like about the Chief of the Defence Staff and the Heads of the Fighting Services (1SL, CGS and CAS) but, when in post, they are responsible for delivering operational capability in defence of the Nation or whatever expeditionary operations the Government decrees - they are not there to publicly argue against that policy - the armed forces are a servant of government, not its master - that's what defines democracy; to do otherwise exposes us to the same anarchy typified by Juntas and military coups. I applaud those senior officers who are prepared, to speak out after leaving those appointments and 'tell it like it is' - one hopes that successive civil servants will take note (but I wouldn't bet on it!)
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
#13
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

The RFA is probably more capable than in 1982 and even more so when all LPD(A)s are in service plus Albion, Bulwark, Ocean; that'll get the booties ashore (though most of them are in Afghanistan). The RFA now have a PCRF (we had to use STUFT in 82). Argus and Diligence went south in their previous commercial lives, MoD liked them so much, they bought them (two less to requisition/charter). We have a six ship strategic lift capability (hardly anyone knows about though no secret) we didn't have in 82 when we used STUFT.

Commercial? The commercial shipping world has always supplied troop ships. Canberra has gone but P&O have other cruise ships (not liners). Cunard? QE2 is still around and maybe they'd throw inthe Queen Mary. Nice.

So that's logistics, trooping and landing taken care of. Escorts and aircover anyone?

While putting on your armchair admiral's rig, recall the Tugg cartoon at the time, Jack and his oppos sittiing around in anti flash over a map of the Falklands. Jack is holding court.

If I was the task force commander I'd out the booties in here, the paras in there and the pongos in here.

Matey replies; if you were the task force commander none of them would have come down here.

dunkers wrote
I have no doubt in the willingness of the RN's manpower to do such a task but we simply can't do it without resorting to instant sunshine


Not what instant sunshine is for, is it?
 

Levers_Aligned

War Hero
Moderator
#14
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

Seadog said:
The RFA is probably more capable than in 1982 and even more so when all LPD(A)s are in service plus Albion, Bulwark, Ocean; that'll get the booties ashore (though most of them are in Afghanistan). The RFA now have a PCRF (we had to use STUFT in 82). Argus and Diligence went south in their previous commercial lives, MoD liked them so much, they bought them (two less to requisition/charter). We have a six ship strategic lift capability (hardly anyone knows about though no secret) we didn't have in 82 when we used STUFT.
Argus - way beyond it's useful life. Now in refit in Falmouth (remember what they did to Endurance?) Diligence? Been on her recently? I served on her as S Inspector. She was brand new then and that was twenty-odd years ago. She is going the way of the rest. I'd be interested to see how we'd defend that six ship capability. And I mean 'defend', not 'make do with defending'. Sticking layered defence around HVTs has always been a surefire winner in my eyes, and for the littoral campaigns we subscribe to these days, the threat of being attacked by enemy nation forces cannot be discounted.

Commercial? The commercial shipping world has always supplied troop ships. Canberra has gone but P&O have other cruise ships (not liners). Cunard? QE2 is still around and maybe they'd throw inthe Queen Mary. Nice.
Maybe? I'd like to think that we were capable, as a nation, of taking up from trade a sizeable amount of support ships from trade. Canadian Pacific, Townsend Thorsen, North Sea Ferries to name but a few were all contributary to our sustained success during and just after Corporate. It isn't just while the fighting is taking place you need this reinforcement (I don't need to tell you that, anyway) but the outer harbour in Stanley was stuffed full of stuft (to coin a phrase) for many months after the surrender.

So that's logistics, trooping and landing taken care of. Escorts and aircover anyone?
Hmmm.

While putting on your armchair admiral's rig, recall the Tugg cartoon at the time, Jack and his oppos sittiing around in anti flash over a map of the Falklands. Jack is holding court.

If I was the task force commander I'd out the booties in here, the paras in there and the pongos in here.

Matey replies; if you were the task force commander none of them would have come down here.
Very patronising to regard me as an Armchair Admiral. I suppose you are going to use the term 'you don't see the bigger picture' as well? Well, after twenty-eight years at all levels, the picture I see now is as High Definition as you can get. I may not work in amongst the rarified atmosphere at Leach Building, but out in the fleet, confidence is low, morale flatlining and our stable world of doing what we do for the flag undermined by shady individuals more bothered by cash than by their 'greatest armed forces in the world'. (c) Blair and Hoon productions - 2003.

Stand up and be counted.

Levers
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
#15
levers wrote
Very patronising to regard me as an Armchair Admiral
My post wasn't aimed at you. My comment was directed at everyone, self included.

Escorts and aircover anyone?
Argus - way beyond it's useful life. Now in refit in Falmouth
The refit is part of a Ship Life Extension. It isn't anything like beyond its useful life.

I may not work in amongst the rarified atmosphere at Leach Building, but out in the fleet, confidence is low, morale flatlining and our stable world of doing what we do for the flag undermined by shady individuals more bothered by cash than by their 'greatest armed forces in the world'. (c) Blair and Hoon productions - 2003.
Fair one.
 
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dubaipusser

Lantern Swinger
#16
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

Why the doom and gloom? If push came to shove we could always ask the French for help!

Oh, excuse me, it is time for my medication.
 

hammockhead

Lantern Swinger
#17
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

Sir Alan West did speak up about the cuts in the Fleet when he was 1SL, see below for an example:

Interview with the First Sea Lord

"I have been in the Navy for 40 years and in my time have fought in a fairly large maritime war - the Falklands - where, of 23 frigates and destroyers sent to the South Atlantic in the task force, four were sunk and eight were damaged. My own ship was sunk in Falkland Sound. It was a pretty high attrition rate. Therefore having only a dozen major surface warships available for an operation is indeed likely to be unrealistic. In fact, this country needs about 30 surface combatants to carry out standing tasks and handle contingencies like sending a task group to take part in a major operation. The reduction from 32 to 25 frigates and destroyers was only accepted with great reluctance. However, the package of money that the Royal Navy receives does not allow us to have 30 destroyers and frigates, especially as the future carrier, amphibious ships and other programmes are a high priority."
 

Levers_Aligned

War Hero
Moderator
#18
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

Seadog said:
The refit is part of a Ship Life Extension. It isn't anything like beyond it's useful life.
And when A&P have finished with her, she will need all the love and tender care in the world (by an already depleted, morale-negative ships company and by a cash-strapped dockyard to bring her into even the most optimistic operational condition.

Don't get me wrong. I don't expect to government to dip their hands into their shallow pockets and spunk millions against the wall, like we used to. But there are limits. There are limits of operability, safety and credibility that you can expect a vessel - especially a specialised fighting one - to operate within. There are limits to which you can incorporate 'change', there are limits to which you can actively tolerate the giddying rate of incoming shit and corruption that overstretch and churn issues into the blloodstream. This is why we face a dearth of specialist talent, a growing tide of sub-standard recruitment and a desperate upgrading of equally poor leaders currently occupying key positions in the dark blue line. It doesn't happen by accident, necessity or by strategy. It happens through incompetence, ambivalence and neglect. The sort of stuff that, if found out practicing, one would hope or exect to lose one's job over. So why isn't anyone calling for them to step down? Why is the person who instigated a wholly shortsighted and morally imbecilic notion shuch as the OM strategy still employed by the RN? It caused one of the biggest uphevals in manning ever, rid several branches of key personnel and caused a further spasm ten years later which we are now trying vainly to restructure over. These people are still employed by the same company.

Why?

Levers
 
#19
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

Levers, this isn't a sarcastic comment; why don't you make your suggestions to someone that can actually make a difference?

What you are saying makes a LOT of sense and it's people like YOU that need to be influencing the top brass. You know what you are talking about so why can't your views make a difference?
 
#20
Re: Admiral West: Armed forces face "tinpot future&quot

Levers_Aligned said:
Don't get me wrong. I don't expect to government to dip their hands into their shallow pockets and spunk millions against the wall, like we used to. But there are limits. There are limits of operability, safety and credibility that you can expect a vessel - especially a specialised fighting one - to operate within. There are limits to which you can incorporate 'change', there are limits to which you can actively tolerate the giddying rate of incoming shit and corruption that overstretch and churn issues into the blloodstream. This is why we face a dearth of specialist talent, a growing tide of sub-standard recruitment and a desperate upgrading of equally poor leaders currently occupying key positions in the dark blue line. It doesn't happen by accident, necessity or by strategy. It happens through incompetence, ambivalence and neglect. The sort of stuff that, if found out practicing, one would hope or exect to lose one's job over. So why isn't anyone calling for them to step down? Why is the person who instigated a wholly shortsighted and morally imbecilic notion shuch as the OM strategy still employed by the RN? It caused one of the biggest uphevals in manning ever, rid several branches of key personnel and caused a further spasm ten years later which we are now trying vainly to restructure over. These people are still employed by the same company.

Why?

Levers
Because, I suspect, it isn’t usually down to one individual. If we could see the full development of the OM program, for example, we would see committees, consultants, focus groups, as well as senior civil servants and officers. All of whom when it’s shown to not work will hand on heart say it wasn’t down to them, it was one of the other departments/committees/mandarins. Any individual who has even a slight idea that they didn’t deliver will have become sufficiently ‘networked’ to be able to shift the blame and be promoted, continue with another program or retire and get a lucrative job in the defence industry selling us sh!te kit. What are friends for, after all?

I’m sorry - did that come over as overly cynical? :?
 

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