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BBC: Liam Fox Unveils Plans For 'Leaner' Ministry Of Defence

Getting past the media chuff, things to think about/look out for:

The new policy and strategy section is separate from the "Armed Forces". Will this be CS dominated, driven by FCO demands, or is it just a new way of describing the current system?

Force generation - the Service Chiefs are being directed to review how we generate and use our assets. Quote:

"We need to challenge some of the fundamental assumptions which drive force generation, such as tour lengths and intervals"


"implementing the military covenant"

Could be an interesting discussion for all!

Greater devolution for the 3 Services, and reducing the centralising tendencies - does this mean we'll get out 1* PR chaps back? Is this the beginning of the end for "jointery"?


War Hero
Interesting.... bloody interesting in fact.

I particularly like the idea of a 'Steering Group' - the "Defence Reform Unit". What would be another positive step IMHO is to put defence reviews on a fixed timetable, like the US do Quadrennially..


War Hero
And how the (checks forum - ah cr4p, CA, no swearing - b0llocks) little cheeky blighter Bob Ainsworth has the gall to even show his face and trotting out an opposition statement is beyond me.

In fact how any opposition minister can criticise the Government at all is beyond reproach.
Re: BBC: Liam Fox Unveils Plans For 'Leaner' Ministry Of Def

soleil said:

Very interesting. With defence procurement under the microscope, the question below intrigues me too:

Professor Trevor Taylor for said:
...Will defence be able to find an individual with the capabilities needed to direct such a large and diverse area as Procurement and Estates for a salary similar to that of the Prime Minister? The Government has clearly experienced difficulty in securing the services of a suitable person to replace General Sir Kevin O'Donoghue, who holds no responsibility for the defence estate...

Bear in mind that the incumbent will be responsible for an annual MOD procurement budget worth 18bn in 2008 (link) on top of managing Defence Estates valued at £15.3bn in 2005 and an annual expenditure of £1.3bn (link).

What calibre of person will be attracted by a salary of £142,500, i.e. that of the PM (link)? And what credentials will he/she possess when, even in the public sector, the BBC, with an annual budget of only £3.5bn, has over 40 executives earning (I use the term loosely) annual salaries over £200k from its Director General (£630k per year) downwards (link). Even CDS, the highest paid individual in the MOD, is the only MOD ''executive' to earn moderately more than £200k (link).

Of course, the private sector would pay millions to someone with similar responsibility. You know what they say about paying peanuts.


Re: BBC: Liam Fox Unveils Plans For 'Leaner' Ministry Of Def

Naval_Gazer said:
You know what they say about paying peanuts.

The horror


War Hero
Book Reviewer
This "not earning more than the PM's salary" idea is populist rubbish and demonstrates considerable contempt for the electorate. In fact as Blair has been busy demonstrating, being PM opens the door to fabulous wealth and even failing miserably as an ordinary minister or senior politico opens the door to a river of Eurogravy and so forth.

Capping public salaries way below what able people can get in the private sector can only tell all the able people in the public sector to nurture their contacts, get out and start again, leaving behind only miserable jobsworth incompetents.
Re: BBC: Liam Fox Unveils Plans For 'Leaner' Ministry Of Def

Naval_Gazer said:
Bear in mind that the incumbent will be responsible for an annual MOD procurement budget worth 18bn in 2008 url=
and once more we are all lined up to confuse procurement (DES COO) with in-service support (DES Cs of M and JSC).
A cast of thousands for a very complex operation, supporting very technically complex forces (except the Infantry, of course). Chop even 10% without big ripples downstream in, say, 5 or 10 years time and we'll be lucky. After a quarter century of striving for "big teeth, little tail" we are at the point where the only way to get a smaller tail is to own a smaller dog. Unfortunately, nobody takes small guard dogs seriously.

He certainly isn't showing much backbone against the Treasury.


War Hero
Re: BBC: Liam Fox Unveils Plans For 'Leaner' Ministry Of Def

I can see,and approve the need to cut out Defence waste as some MOD decisions have been shocking in overruns and cock ups.
I can even see the need for the bulk going to the Land Forces as long as we are committed in Mid East wars but when we have left that region we will need a strong Royal Navy, no question.
The carriers and Trident are a must with the new Darings,we should buy re-fuelling tankers and AWACS from the Yanks and also lots of drones.
Personally,as an armchair critic I think the Afghan sky should be filled with weaponed drones.
Keep taking out the Tallies and their leaders who cross over the Pakistan border in great numbers .IMO
Re: BBC: Liam Fox Unveils Plans For 'Leaner' Ministry Of Def

Maybe the "Afghan sky should be filled with weaponed drones". Expect the collateral damage to stack up, though. Even non combatants squished from manned assets aren't such a hearts and minds home goal as those from drones with the player n thousand miles away in air conditioned safety.

A man on the ground looking through a camera will never have the same situational awareness and tactical view as he would with a 360 by 360 deg MK1 eyeball when the bandits can be yards away from the neutral/friendlies.

If, for example, the Nimrod 4 gets the chop, now it's virtually paid for, it will leave a hell of a capability gap for Lynx and FFs we haven't got.


War Hero
Re: BBC: Liam Fox Unveils Plans For 'Leaner' Ministry Of Def

That's a good point Loggie but one of the most successful areas of this conflict has been the targeting of high commanders in the Taliban with these drones.
They are terrified of them and if a dozen of them are in a house and it so happens their wives are there too does that mean they should not be blitzed?
I know the Yanks would and call it collateral damage.
It's a tough decision to make but eliminating a dozen top targets could save numerous lives on our deployment, I don't know really it's just a question.
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