If he's right, a hideous future lies in wait. To cherry-pick a few items:
1. It is now absolutely clear that this is NOT a 'strategic' review as it is wholly devoid of any concept of strategy - it is merely a budget-cutting exercise, as if defence were an optional extra for the UK.
2. To use the word 'strategic' slightly differently, there seem to be an alarming number of commentators who don't understand at all the need for our one truly STRAGIC weapon, the Trident SSBN.
3. We have long since given up any idea of an OPPOSED amphibious landing capabilty - that vanished when the SHARs were scrapped. The Amphibs of various sorts are now and will be for years (until they wear out, sadly probably before air cover comes back on stream, if it does)) merely expensive load carriers.
4. 'Scrapping the RFA' would be lunacy and the idea that we can depend on everyone else for the same thing is moonshine and shows a want iof understanding of the need for underway replenishment. The idea that we can pop into any old port for ammunition, for instance, seems to have holes in it. And after the USS Cole debacle the risks inherent in assuming the casual use of foreign ports for anything else should be plain to see.
It's an interesting articicle, - however it is very negative.
There has been considerable discussion over the past few years about how best to maintain the industrial base. Lord Drayson quite rightly put together a plan that saw regular work over a number of years to keep the shipyards and skill base in work.
If that is to be continued it will require x number of ships being built every year rather than the feast or famine we have seen in the past.
The C3 varient of the Type 26 programme (the opv vessel) in my view should be the highest priority to help increase hulls for more routine tasking.
October 20th is not far away and I suspect many of these decisions have already been taken.
More to the point, if you have no amphibious capability, the why have a carrier or DD/FF? You're either in power projection (and that's not opposed landings) or you're not. If you're not doing that, then unfortunately, at this time, you're into home defence, which doesn't need SLOC defence as there is no recognised (by MoD & FCO) threat. Bunch of MCMV, OPV and some SSK - instant Norwegian / German navy....
It's an interesting article, - however it is very negative.
There has been considerable discussion over the past few years about how best to maintain the industrial base. Lord Drayson quite rightly put together a plan that saw regular work over a number of years to keep the shipyards and skill base in work.<snip>
The Defence Industrial Strategy was outlined in this White Paper in Dec 2005. Unfortunately, the maritime sector was the slowest to get off the starting blocks and this does not bode well for the future:
House of Commons Defence Committee 30 Jan 2007 said:
Progress in implementing the DIS
...The planned action of achieving a programme level partnering agreement with a single industrial entity for the full lifecycle of the submarine flotilla is ongoing (the second part of this action of implementing a unified submarine Programme Management organisation within the MoD was achieved). The planned action of arriving at a common understanding for surface ship design and build of the core load required to sustain the high-end design, systems engineering and combat systems integration skills was not achieved and is ongoing. The planned action of exploring with industry alternative contracting arrangements and the â€œway ahead for contracting the next upkeep periodsâ€ was achieved...
6. In summary, progress in implementing the planned actions in the various areas during 2006 was mixed. There had been good progress in several areas, namely Armoured Fighting Vehicles, Helicopters, Complex Weapons, Research and Technology (R&T) and Internal Change, but disappointing performance in the Maritime area...
8. In its written submission, the Society of British Aerospace Companies (SBAC) noted the momentum in implementing the DIS and said â€œthe determination of Lord Drayson and his senior level team to drive this change programme forward continues to impressâ€. With the notable exception of the Maritime sector, good progress was made in implementing the Defence Industrial Strategy in 2006. We congratulate the Minister for Defence Procurement for driving the process forward at a fast pace...
A Green Paper on our defence industrial and technology policy (DIS2), is due to be published in December this year (only two months after SDSR reports). This will be followed by another White Paper in due course (Hansard 13 Sep 2010). Progress has been delayed owing to uncertainties about the Defence budget and I can't see how these are going to be resolved before December.
The Defence Industries Council (DIC), representing the UK-based defence industry, today (Friday) restated its position that a second, updated, version of the Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS) is needed to provide long-term guidance to the industry on the countryâ€™s defence requirements. However, the industry recognises that without the resolution of the issues around the defence budget it is impossible to produce an effective DIS 2 at this time.
Therefore, the industry reluctantly recognises that an updated strategy will have to be delayed still further. This follows the comments by the House of Commons Defence Committee and the Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, on the committeeâ€™s report â€œDefence Equipment 2009â€. The committee criticised the Government for delays in DIS version 2 and the minister defended this by saying that industry did not want a new version at the present time...
NSC will meet 17 and 28 Sep, then CSR Announcement to be made on 20 Oct, followed by PM to make SDSR announcement 27 Oct, followed thereafter by HoC debate 01 Nov.
The SDSR has just literally moved from study into the options/propositions phase which is why I think we're seeing the current rash of ill informed news items, no doubt fuelled by hoovering up talk in pubs near the Mall.
Two of the key questions remaining to be answered are how to fund a deterrant capability and how many carriers the UK needs [reading into that its not disputed we need a capability], balanced by the need to have core capabilites that offer broad utlity and adaptability.
From all I've seen, which is limited to but one strand of SDSR, whilst there are favoured options its clear no one has made any decisions yet and there is much room for manouvre, within some pretty difficult financial constraints.