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Telegraph: "Royal Navy To Halve Number Of Staff At Headquarters, As Sailors Are Redeployed To Front Line Roles"


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"First Sea Lord Admiral Anthony Radakin wants to move 1,000 from their Portsmouth hub onto ships and bases worldwide.

The Royal Navy is to halve the number of staff working behind desks at its headquarters and redeploy them to front line roles, the First Sea Lord has announced.

The radical reshaping of the Navy’s management structure will see around 1,000 people move from their Portsmouth hub onto ships and bases worldwide, said Admiral Anthony Radakin.

It is understood that around five of the 13 Admirals based at their Whale Island site will lose their roles, to be replaced by more junior officers, in a cost saving drive ahead of a review of Defence spending by the government.

“We are going to challenge ourselves and see whether we can decrease our headquarters by around 1,000 people,” Adm Radakin told Defence IQ’s Surface Warships conference.

“That’s as much as 50 per cent, which will give us more people and more money to reinvest at sea.

“We are redesigning our headquarters so that we have a flatter structure and we empower high quality people to take decisions and quite simply to get on with stuff.”

Citing the Danish navy’s Huitfeldt class of frigates, he said: “They have only three different grades of engineer on board. We have nine different grades. So can we get flatter, leaner and more efficient?

“Can we slow down or even stop the constant churn that we have in our personnel structures?

“And can we make the front line, for the sailor or marine, the best place to serve in the Royal Navy with the most stability, the best leave patterns and the best chance of doing adventurous training?

“I believe that we have the appetite for these conversations. If we admit that yes we can be better then we can drive a 20% increase in productivity over the next two to three years.”

In practice, this means taking specialists from shore and putting them back at sea.

“For example we have divers working in service capability management,” said a Navy source close to the plans.

“We would send them back to work on a ship, while their jobs would be done by either reducing the rank that it’s done at or we would potentially civilianise them.”

The Navy says their current personnel deficit against the workforce requirement is 5.2 per cent, or 1,500 people. They have only increased the number of regular forces by 100 since October 2016.

In 2000, Britain had 39,000 sailors. It now has just over 30,000.

In 1990, the government spent about four per cent on defence, while that is now closer to two per cent.

Today, the Navy has 77 commissioned vessels, including six destroyers, 13 frigates and 10 submarines.

30 years ago, it had 138 ships and 33 submarines.

Despite this, last month, the First Sea Lord was told by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace “to get what you’ve got, working.”

The Defence Secretary said he would be “laughed out of the building” by the Treasury if he sought extra money for more ships without fixing the existing problems in the fleet.

Another shot was fired across the bows by Dominic Cummings, the Prime Minister’s chief special advisor, who described the procurement of Britain’s new aircraft carriers, HMS Queen Elizabeth II and HMS Prince of Wales as “a farce” and said “they have built platforms that already cannot be sent to a serious war against a serious enemy."

A government Strategic Defence and Security review is set to commence next month, covering all defence spending.

Adm Radakin also announced plans to test “large drones” on aircraft carriers for the first time next year.

In the future, the Navy wants to be able to launch and land devices that could undertake reconnaissance missions and also deploy missiles."

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