Shrinking Navy

fearless

Newbie
As we're talking about a 'shrinking navy', is there any way we can reverse this given that no Government is likely to attach sufficient importance to defence to provide adequate financing? In other words, strengthen the RN within an essentially static budget?

I think we need to look at how the budget is allocated between the 3 services.

The way in which the defence budget is presented makes it difficult (intentionally?) to split the total on a tri-service basis, but my guess would be that the RN gets about 20-25% of the budget, the RAF about the same, and the Army about 50%. In addition, the nuclear deterrent - arguably not a single-service item, but rather a strategic umbrella - is funded out of the RN's budget, leaving even less funding for conventional naval tasks.

Does this heavily skewed allocation make sense? What it means is that we starve the RN (and the RAF) of funds to the benefit of the Army. Isn't it time that the RN (and others supportive of the RN) lobbied for a bigger piece of the defence cake? Spend less on ground force activities (like Iraq....) and more on the Navy?
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Inter-service bickering only makes the situation worse. The problem is partly under-funding of Defence as a whole and partly COLOSSAL waste on capital projects, which besides wasting what the MoD does have, tells the Treasury that MoD can't be trusted with money anyway. Wish I knew what the answer is!
 

Karma

War Hero
Seadog said:
Fleet jargon, worth a 'value stream' of its own.
I should probably add, that lot was London/ Abbey Wood jargon.

Fleet just stick their head in the sand and hope nobody asks any difficult questions, like how do you actually want to do warfighting in the future?
 

maggie

Banned
Passed-over_Loggie said:
letthecatoutofthebag. Sorry, you are right. I was reponding to maggie's bald claim, as I read it, that there was no home need for mine clearance. Had I known it was Norman! bugger.
It wasn't ,but why would that make a difference?Was your response partly disingenuous?
You really didn't mean what you had written.or at least intended
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
Four problems (some previously alluded to).

1. Is there any hope of senior promotion in the Civil Service for anyone who isn't totally pro-Europe, an articulate believer in the asinine idea that Britain can influence global warming, and generally 'politically correct'? To say nothing of the senior people all being NuLabour appointees by now. I think such people believe that the Forces are just a hobby for the people in them and that if we didn't have any Armed Forces then we wouldn't have any of those nasty wars. They look about them at the trappings of their office and rationalise that they must be very clever, cleverer than those who haven't got so far, and certainly cleverer than those fools in uniform. That they are ignorant and uninformed on Defence is however beyond their comprehension.

2. The smaller the Navy, the less it can do, so the less worthwhile it seems to the superficial people who dish out the money. Some hope it won't be able to do anything and haven't forgiven the Navy for spoling the FCO plot to give away the Falklands.

3. The Navy in particular operates out of public view and is thus invisible to both the public in general and the decision-makers in particular. They have no idea what it does, what it can do, and what it could do if it were properly funded. We have no 'Roadshow' to compare with the Field Gun which we used to have and the Crabs' Red Arrows & BoB Flight.

4. All the arguments are shot through with false equivalence as between the services with no understanding of the need for a balanced Fleet, still less of the need for redundancy to cope with damage and sinkings, even in ordinary course as with HMS Nottingham.
 

Karma

War Hero
letthecatoutofthebag said:
You must have been absent for the lecture on brevity on staff course. But then again, most RN officers seem to have been off sick that day... I know I was! :thumright:
No, I was there. but afterwards I got jobs in C1, C2 and DPA...

Different language
 
maggie. Sorry for the misidentification; I misread letthecatoutofthebag's PS and, subsequently, Seadog's Post immediately after yours. I was genuinely agreeing that there are no current mine clearance programmes in hand (you mentioned WW2 leftovers). That said, if there are, they are well hidden in the FOS, quite rightly. My earlier exclamation was from the, albeit temporary, belief that I had "fed" Norman after taking the Post seriously and responding accordingly.

As an aside to the RN's mine warfare role, there was an interesting remark buried in an article in the Independent yesterday;

Date: 2126.02, Page: 22, The Independent, 02 October 2007 http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article3018375.ece

The article stated that, "The bombing plan has had its most positive reception from ... Gordon Brown", but this was denied yesterday by some with close ties to the US military.

"It is quite the opposite," said Phillip Giraldi a former CIA counterterrorism officer. "In fact Robert Gates [the US Defence Secretary] was rebuffed during his recent visit to London when the idea was floated.

"Because British mine-sweepers based in the Gulf of Hormuz will be essential to any US action against Iran, US war planners need to have Britain on board," he said. "So far that is not forthcoming."
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
MODTEM

maggie (norman) has been banned. I don't expect we've heard the last of him though.
 

onions

GCM
Ref "Shrinking Fleet". In last nights issue of The News, Pompeys evening rag, ran a banner "Minister's pledge as he sees the Navy in action".
During a visit to RFA Argus Bob Ainsworth, The Armed Forces Minister, said " The numbers of ships, the capability of the ships, the capacity within them, is going to change as technology impacts on the ability of forces and, therefore, on the way its structured".

"Rest assured that in ten years time we will have one of the most powerful Navies in the world that will have a global reach. And that is effectively what's being planned".

I hope I am around in ten years time to see this figment of his imagination!

Cynical? Moi?

Semper Strenuissima
 

safewalrus

War Hero
Passed-over_Loggie said:
Ah; as per

.. well we can't even say that but rest assured if you go in and out of our larger (non-RN) ports, e.g. Liverpool and London/ Harwich/ Thames Estuary, often enough you will eventually see a small grey tupperware ship going up and down, up and down...
So that's why we don't see them (both of 'em) in the naval ports! Adn I thought they may be off enjoying themselves, ah well!!
 

Black_Cat

Newbie
It really is a disgrace given the importance of the RN to the UK’s long term security. The general UK public certainly don't seem to realise how vulnerable their prosperity is. Neither does the Government it seems. Can you just imagine Brown's stuttering reaction if Iran blockaded Hormuz with mines or submarines and people started wondering why they were paying £2/litre at the petrol pump? Only then would questions really be asked about the RN's emaciated force structure. Incidentally, in addition to this what really gripped my £$%^ was being e-mailed a PM petition to allow the Red Arrows to fly at the 2012 Olympics. The petition already has 170,000 votes?! I really don't see how this is an imperative issue given how much the RN is struggling at the moment. To that end, I started my own 'Save the Navy' petition on the PM's website if anyone is interested in signing it (link below). Would also be grateful if the link is forwarded on to as many people as possible, both civilian and military. I'd like to think we can raise more votes than the Red Arrows! Many thanks.

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/SaveRoyalNavy/
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
It's been done Black_Cat and linked to and posted on RR;

http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/savethenavy/

As much as I sympathise with your aims perhaps what we 'need' rather than another petition is a serious threat (the clichéd clear and present danger) to our sea trade and British citizens on the high seas (more likely to be on a foreign flagged cruise ship as passengers) piracy and terrorism. I don't think the current drug interdiction is popular among civpop given the coke doing the rounds across all levels of society. The RN and RFA are spoiling their fun and making the sh1t expensive. Who'd vote for more of that?

There is a lot of trouble brewing in the world that will require forces more mighty and numerous than we have at present. We need to grow and maintain them. Governments can't say they haven't been warned and, there is no COTS solution.
 

safewalrus

War Hero
Seadog you mention that future 'sweepers etc will be made up from the fishing fleet as they did 'down south' (and kept one of them for Nav training for quite some time after) could I ask the question "what fishing fleet?"

Most of the remaining few are too small and they big ones (the few) would be more use in a wartime situation being used to catch fish (useful to help sustain life!!)
 

Black_Cat

Newbie
Completely agree seadog ... I guess what really miffs me is a) the fact that Sarah Felmingham's petition elicited about 14,000 signatures (no mean feat of course) but that the Red Arrows peition already has 170,000! - and b) the number of rubbish peitions whose intentions are good, but do not articulate the case for the RN very well at all and certainly not well enough for PM's Office to take seriously.

That was my main aim, although the cynic in all of us probably concedes that 10 Downing is more than likely to come up with the same PR spin of 'longest sustained spending', 'investment in the new carriers' blah blah. As you describe though, and as in WW2, Falklands etc., the Navy will be saved only by a very publicly perceived requirement for it. My concern is that with the government not looking strategically much farther ahead than 5 years, any such potential conflict could have quite devastating economic consequences at the very least. Can we so faithfully rely on the Yanks to look after our unique interests? Despite the size of their Navy, even they're dealing with overstretch at the moment, and Europe must remember that the US strategic oil focus is shifting very much from the Middle East to West Africa whereas the majority of our oil still comes from the former. I could go on, but that about sums up my current frustration with our strategic planners!
 

Seadog

War Hero
Moderator
safewalrus wrote
Seadog you mention that future 'sweepers etc will be made up from the fishing fleet
I'd written
Auxiliary minesweepers when required come from the fishing fleet, not the merchant fleet. 'We' (I wasn't there) used them in 1982 down south
I wasn't spouting on the future Military (Naval) / Strategic safewalrus. I was making the distinction between the merchant 'fleet' and fishing 'fleet' in response to an uninformed post. Hapag Lloyd don't provide 10000 TEU container ships for mine warefare duties, Big Shuggie Fisherman fra Peterhead takes a wedge from HMG for giving up his stern trawler for a campaign. Maybe Pedro Fisherhombre from Vigo will be just as keen (he's not going to war-his boat is). Now as for where the ships' companies come from...................

Note; I am not saying that depending on being able to charter foreign ships and trawlers is a good idea, it isn't. There may come a time when China and India have every non grey thing that'll float chartered and there won't be a British merchant or fishing fleet to draw on.
Then Whitehall, we have a problem.
 

babystew

Lantern Swinger
in 1982 we sent 33 major warships to the falklands, carriers , destroyers,frigates, submarines , today the R.N can muster 44 major ships
god help us in future conflicts, i know that technoligy has progressed since then but if now we can't put a ship to sea for lack of crew. who will man and train the crews needed.
 

Black_Cat

Newbie
Many thanks for that - I'm hoping that we can better the last petition's 14,000 odd signatures by sending the link to as many people as possible. Hopefully it will cascade from there and at the very least keep the issue current. 22 signatures so far - a long way to go and I hope that there's more interest in the subejct than just 22 people, but we'll see!!
 
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