Defence Select Committee Report, SDSR and NSS ( Merged Threads)

Main conclusions and recommendations here. Worth reading in full but these highlights particularly concern the RN:

Hansard 3 Aug 2011 said:
24. We believe that for an aircraft carrier to be held in a state of extended readiness it must be fitted with catapults and arrestor gear. (Paragraph 109)

25. We expect the MoD to publish its work programme and final requirements for the conversion of the carriers and JSF by the end of 2012. (Paragraph 112)

26. We acknowledge the major contribution of the Harrier Force to the Armed Forces and to the security of the UK. We regret that it has been removed from service. We acknowledge the many pieces of evidence that called for the reintroduction of the Harrier Force. However we agree with our witnesses who stated that it is too late to do so due to the cost, industry losing the relevant personnel and the pilots being redeployed. We call on the Government to ensure that the best deal possible is achieved in the disposal of the Harrier fleet and expect the Government to provide us with full details as soon as any agreement is reached. (Paragraph 120)

27. We support the decision to proceed with both the Queen Elizabeth class carriers and to develop the JSF carrier strike capability. We share the concerns of allies regarding the lifetime costs of the JSF. We expect the MoD to take action to ensure that the costs are controlled and to update us on this work on a regular basis. We note that the MoD is currently developing a plan for the regeneration of this capability and expect to have a sight of it at an early stage. The scale of the challenge the Ministry of Defence faces in generating the complex network of skills involved in flying fast jets from carriers in a manner not undertaken by the UK for many years is so great that this plan needs to be subjected to robust scrutiny both in Parliament and elsewhere. The plan must provide clarity of the steps being taken, specific milestones and dates and what funding is required and whether it is in place. We also note concerns regarding the future use of the second carrier and call on the Government to keep us informed of its plans as they progress. (Paragraph 126)

28. We deeply regret the decision to dispense with the Nimrod MRA4 and have serious concerns regarding the capability gaps this has created in the ability to undertake the military tasks envisaged in the SDSR. This appears to be a clear example of the need to make large savings overriding the strategic security of the UK and the capability requirements of the Armed Forces. We are not convinced that UK Armed Forces can manage this capability gap within existing resources. We call on the Government to outline its plans to manage the gap left by the loss of this capability, including the possible use of unmanned vehicles and collaboration with allies. In addition, the Government should outline its plans for the regeneration of this capability, including the skills and knowledge required to provide it. (Paragraph 137)...

38. We note the outcome of the Government's three month review of the SDSR. We acknowledge the planned 1% real terms increase in the defence equipment and equipment support budget between 2015-16 and 2020-21. However we note that this is based on a number of adjustments to the Defence programme, including rationalising vehicle acquisition and continuing efficiency savings from non-front-line costs. Although we welcome the additional certainty that this will bring in respect of the defence equipment and equipment support budget, we are concerned that this increase is simply a reallocation of resources and does not represent the real terms increase in funding required to deliver Future Force 2020. In its response to this Report, the Government should also set out in much greater detail the baseline for the calculation of the 1% real terms increase in the defence equipment and defence support budget and the savings that will be made to realise it. (Paragraph 186)...

53. Our Report outlines some major concerns regarding the capability decisions made in the current Strategic Defence and Security Review. The starting point for capability decisions in future SDSRs should continue to be a consideration of what "sovereign" capabilities are required. The SDSR identified seven military tasks and the Defence Planning Assumptions that underpin them. However it does not set out how capability decisions such as those on Carrier strike and Nimrod MRA4 ensure that the Armed Forces are able to undertake the military tasks. In addition, the measures to be taken to cover the risks that capability gaps engender need to be developed—it is not sufficient to rely on old and new alliances although these are valuable. When capability gaps occur, concrete plans should be developed to regenerate the capability, including the necessary skills amongst Service personnel. We hope that the plans to redevelop the carrier and carrier strike capability might serve as a model for the future. (Paragraph 218...
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War Hero
Thanks Sol.. Puts everything into perspective, Colonel Houghton batting for the "Two" carrier capability and Admiral Brand suggestions about the arrestor and cat options. Its a pity that in the elected government we don't seem to have anyone with any credible military service capable of the broader picture, just a motley bunch of self serving syncophants. No wonder the defence of this country is in such a state.


War Hero
Admiral Brand

Colonel Houghton


Indeed, there is no Churchillian figure who has a grand/military strategic view or is capable of one. However there is no shortage of punters in and out of the services who also don't understand the concept of strategic shocks that can sneak up and bite us faster than we can (re)generate a capability to counter them. Such shocks need not be military but may still require a military response.

Having said all that, Defence and UKPLC is skint but in a world that is demonstrably uncertain, changing and filling up fast benefit scroungers would be the first to feel the pinch, not Defence.


War Hero
I am totally at a loss with the whole defence, finance and government thing.

It appears to my simple mind that the wars/conflicts we are conducting away from our shores are crippling us financially as a nation.

In days of yor when we waged world war, bombs, bullets and deliver systems had a fiscal value far less than those of todays. Today the weapon platforms we are using, someone quoted a Tornado being £136 million, dropping payloads that are in the millions onto countries we are not officially at war with.

In my day the unsophisticated weapon I was trained to deliver was a mere £37,000, compare that with a Sea Skua or similar smart weapon of the current age and we get an idea of where our money is going.

Even with inflation, the differential of cost of war machines between the 1940's and today is astronomically disproportional.

No wonder we are in the mess we are in.

Common sense would surely dictate we back off, gain some financial advantage. Both in terms of military and civil assets. Get the economy back on keel and then lets look at become world police again.

Whilst the UK and USA continue with the current path, China and India sit by and watch, waiting to pick up trade and wealth on the back of our decline.

Just my ramblings as a resident of the country that is looking disaster in the face. Cuts- cuts - cuts!!!