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Author: Subject: British Defence matters, 2017 onwards
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[*] posted on 23-1-2018 at 11:13 AM


Head of Britain's Army warns of eroding capability

By: Danica Kirka, The Associated Press   4 hours ago


British Army chief Gen. Nick Carter makes a speech during the launch of the service's leadership doctrine at the BT Tower in central London. (Steve Parsons/PA via AP)

There is some very clever pressure being brought to bear on the government, possibly coordinated by the new Defence Minister. Certainly there is a precedent for this as a preceding Conservative Defence Minister from a number of years ago successfully squeezed the nuts of the Treasury hard and with great delight through a number of budgets. The only way they could shut him up was by transferring him to NATO.

LONDON — Britain’s Army chief warned Monday that the country’s ability to withstand attack and respond to threats is being eroded by a lack of investment in the military, increasing pressure on the government to boost defense spending.

Gen. Nick Carter said Britain has been left exposed to adversaries such as Russia, which already boast capabilities Britain would struggle to match.

“The threats we face are not thousands of miles away but are now on Europe’s doorstep,” Carter told the Royal United Services Institute. “We have seen how cyberwarfare can be both waged on the battlefield and to disrupt normal people’s lives.”

Carter joins the head of the Royal Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach, in warning that Russia is an increasing threat. Prime Minister Theresa May said last year that Russia had “mounted a sustained campaign of cyber espionage and disruption” against other countries.

Carter’s comments seem intended to pressure Treasury chief Philip Hammond to refrain from further cuts to defense spending, which has been hit hard by government-ordered austerity following the 2008 financial crisis.

Some reports have suggested the government is considering combining elite units of paratroopers and the Royal Marines as part of plan to reduce the number of military personnel by 14,000. That would represent a 10 percent reduction from the current staffing level of 137,000.

Meanwhile, some lawmakers have called for the government to increase defense spending to 3 percent of gross domestic product, from the current 2 percent.

Carter said that without action now, Britain will be constrained in its ability to respond to hostile powers.

“The time to address these threats is now,” he said. “We cannot afford to sit back.”

He called for Britain to greatly increase its ability to project power over land routes to Eastern Europe and said Britain needs contingency plans to deal with a number of potential Russian threats that can be put into place quickly in a crisis.
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[*] posted on 25-1-2018 at 04:29 PM


Gavin Williamson Wins More Time as Defence Review Separated from Security Review

(Source: British Forces News; issued Jan 23, 2018)

Downing Street has confirmed the existing rumour that the defence strand of the National Security Capability Review will be separated out.

Officials were unable to give any details on the specifics of how this will now be managed but said the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson is expected to give a statement by the end of the week.

The announcement comes after weeks of debate and rumours that Mr Williamson wants the Treasury to give the Ministry of Defence more time and money.

Whether or not he's succeeded in securing more funds has not yet been confirmed but he has, it seems, secured five months to make the case for increased military spending.

It had been feared there could be cuts to the Armed Forces and its capabilities.

According to the Telegraph, service chiefs are now expected to make a series of high profile interventions as they hope to persuade the public of 'rising threats' against Britain.

There were reports these would include a cut to the size of the Royal Marines in an attempt to plug a black hole in the defence budget, with ministers also looking at plans to scrap the Navy's two amphibious assault ships - HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark.

But what exactly does this mean?

The defence strand will now be made into a full-blown defence review. Downing Street explained that "further work is needed in order to modernise defence and deliver better military capability and value for money".

Liberal Democrat Defence Spokesperson Lord Menzies Campbell said it could be recognition of "possible anxiety" within the Conservatives about what may be contained in the review.

He told Forces News: "Everyone should be worried about pressure on the defence budget [...] in the end Mr Williamson will have to take responsibility for it."

Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith explained that the devil will be in the detail. The Labour MP went on to explain we need to know exactly what the remit on this 'seperation' will be and what the contingency plans are if considerably more funding is needed.

Griffith added: “What I don’t want to see is that this is just a way of kicking defence cuts down the road."

Speaking to BFBS Radio, Chair of the Defence Select Committee Dr Julian Lewis said he hoped that the treasury could now be 'persuaded' into considering defence in terms of votes in elections but, "for the security of the next generation". He added: “Defence expenditure in peace time is like paying the premiums on an insurance policy, you don’t like paying them but you’re jolly glad you’ve paid them if ever you have to call in the policy. But that is not seen as attractive in winning the votes..."

The UK's amphibious capabilities could reportedly be axed in plans to ease the budget deficit

Sources say Gavin Williamson is likely to give and address in Parliament tomorrow, though little can be said as the review is still ongoing.

Ultimately what this announcement provides is breathing space – more time for the MoD to continue to make its case to the Treasury that more money is required.

While many may say this is a win for the Defence Secretary, it’s likely he’ll still have a big battle on his hands.

-ends-
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[*] posted on 29-1-2018 at 08:17 PM


Opinion: Cuts likely in the great grim defence review

27th January 2018 - 06:01 GMT | by The Clarence in London

The first Defence Questions of 2018 took place on 15 January in the House of Commons. This monthly occurrence is the chance for ministers to respond to questions, and for MP’s to try and get some form of response, commitment or make a tactical point. In a highly unusual occurrence, a Government MP (Julian Lewis) also asked an Urgent Question of the Minister on the recent media reports over the national security review.

Many of the questions focused on the reports that a full blown SDSR would be launched as a spin-off of the current review, although the Secretary of State refused to commit to anything beyond announcing that the current review would conclude soon, and that the Prime Minister and cabinet colleagues would consider what happened next.

What was particularly interesting was less the way questions were answered without actually saying anything of great importance, but the insight into where the department feels its priorities will lie over the next few months. The Secretary of State twice stated that the key priorities for the Government were maintaining continuous at sea deterrence, generating armed forces capable of supporting NATO in the North Atlantic and Europe and a globally deployable carrier strike capability.

This is the first time that such a clear statement of priorities has been made by the MOD on where its strategic thinking seems to be evolving in the review, and is a fascinating insight into what may, or may not transpire. The three commitments are not by themselves unremarkable and serve as a reiteration of what has been stated many times before. But what is missing is the wider focus on globally deployable armed forces that has underpinned much of UK defence planning since the end of the Cold War.

It feels listening to this statement that the focus appears to be on building a military force capable of reaching into Europe and fighting at the higher end of the capability spectrum, which would lead to the conclusion that a reasonably high-end army capability, supported by effective airpower is still needed. This would not necessarily require 82,000 regular soldiers though, which lends credence to the reports that the Army is likely to lose 10-14,000 soldiers.

The commitment to the deterrent implies an ongoing future for the RN’s ASW force, suggesting cuts would likely fall on the older GP Type 23 force, not the ASW sub fleet of 8 hulls. It also suggests a strong future for the SSN and MCMV force, along with supporting hydrographic assets. Finally, it reiterates the importance of the proposed P8 buy to deliver support to the SSBN.

The final commitment to generating Carrier Strike implies support for a globally reaching carrier task force, suggesting a continued commitment to F35, sufficient escorts to protect the carrier (e.g. T45) and appropriate support ships and tankers to deliver this.

This package effectively represents a line of thinking that is a rerun of the 1981 Defence Review, which fundamentally recognises that the need for the armed forces is to act as a tripwire and conventional deterrent in Europe and the North Atlantic, combined with a reasonably limited global power projection capability.

There are remarkable similarities to both reviews – armed forces requiring major investment in new aircraft, ships, tanks, and Trident at a time of economic uncertainty and real financial challenges. The primary threat is from Russia, with major threats to stability coming from the Middle East and a latent interest in wider regions too. The only real change is the emergence of cyber as not just a capability, but also a theatre of operations.

The implications from the statement are telling and much was left unsaid. The reference to a global carrier task force did not come alongside a statement about a globally deployable Royal Navy beyond this. It must be asked whether the RN is reconsidering its global commitments, and considering stepping away from deploying escorts on tasks, instead generating them to support the carrier instead.

Is it possible that the Review will signal an end to tasks like Op Kipion escorts, with a preference to use the ships to provide a formidable carrier group that can sail globally instead? Arguably a fully formed carrier group with two escorts and a tanker/stores ship is of more credibility than the same assets dispersed globally.

Similarly, no mention was made of UK interests in the Gulf, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. Does this signal the view that outside of global carrier deployments, the UK is stepping back from a desire to exercise and project power globally?

The fact that no reassurance was offered for the LPD force suggests in many ways a rerun of the 1981 review is on the cards. On the one hand the loss of the two LPDs is highly emotional and extremely politically unpopular. But, if the plan for the armed forces is to focus on delivering force locally to Europe, not commanding amphibious operations thousands of miles from home, then you have to ask why these ships need to be retained?

This represents the hard choices open to planners – a genuine rethink to a more limited aspiration of defending Europe and limited power projection goes a long way to making it easier to take risks in a lot of areas, and reinvest in others. A move to return to the days of land based conventional deterrent in Europe and defending the GIUK gap signals that there will be investment in many areas, but acceptance that the UK is no longer going to do other military tasks in future.

The review is likely to report back soon, but what is already clear is that it seems determined to signal a reduced global reach with physical military assets (but potentially increased expenditure on cyber, counter terrorism and other challenges) and a reduced aspiration to intervene beyond Europe and significantly depleted armed forces. This reduces the need for globally deployable intervention forces like the Royal Marines and Parachute Regiment, and in turn for the associated strategic lift and logistics support that goes with this.

It is questionable about what this policy means for UK foreign policy goals – why have a globally deployable carrier force able to project airpower if your national policy is not to provide many other forces capable of intervening too? There is a danger that the carrier force will represent the worst of both worlds – a means to suck the UK into external conflicts, but without the underpinning ground, air and other assets required to fully commit to seeing the conflict through.

The final area which remained unsaid was any discussion, despite regular questions on the subject, about the state of the MoD finances. The aim seems to be to push the review as a genuine review of capability and threats that have changed – and nothing would persuade the Minister to suggest otherwise.

This is highly disingenuous – the MoD is clearly facing significant budgetary woes, with many media reports highlighting a figure of £20bn funding shortfall over the next few years. The MoD is clearly pushing a major financially led review, designed to plug shortfalls in an inadequate funding settlement and not taking a genuinely strategic view that matches resources to threats, rather it seems to be matching affordable threats to resources and hoping not to worry about the rest.

The way that ministers declined to even acknowledge, let alone comment on suggestions about budget cuts and grimly cling to the palpably false line that this review was all about new threats is a sign of a desire by the MOD to avoid suggestions of bad news. To make out that a review which seems likely to have to strip significant amounts of capability out of the armed forces has no links to funding is an astonishing approach and one that is bordering on misleading the public about their security.
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[*] posted on 1-2-2018 at 12:31 PM


Auditors say Britain can’t afford its 10-year defense equipment plan

By: Andrew Chuter   8 minutes ago


Industrialist John Parker in a 2016 report described BMT Defence Service's Venator-110 ship design as an example of the right design approach for the Type 31e frigate. (BMT Defence Services)

LONDON — Britain’s 10-year defense equipment plan is unaffordable, with the funding gap anywhere between £4.9 billion and £20.8 billion, or as much as U.S. $29.52 billion, according to the National Audit Office.

“The Ministry of Defence is facing a minimum affordability gap of £4.9 billion. There is an additional affordability gap of £15.9 billion if all identified financial risks of cost growth materialise and the Department does not achieve any of the savings assumed in the [equipment] plan. Overall, the potential affordability gap is £20.8 billion,” the government spending watchdog said Jan. 31.

The NAO report on the affordability of the MoD’s rolling 10-year equipment procurement and support programs said it was assuming that the £6 billion of contingency funds set aside in the plan to supplement budgets will also be swallowed up by spending requirements in the 2017-2027 plan.

Optimistic project costs, exchange rate problems, failure to achieve efficiency cuts and the spiraling bill for nuclear submarine programs are some of the reasons identified by the NAO for the lack of affordability of the British equipment procurement and support programs over the next decade. The report confirms a risk previously noted by a parliamentary Public Accounts Committee investigation into the financial viability of the plan.

As an example: Since the 2016 plan, the cost of the Dreadnought nuclear missile submarine and Astute hunter-killer submarine projects have increased by £941 million.

“Unless the Department takes urgent action to close the gap in affordability, it will find that spending on equipment can only be made affordable by reducing the scope of projects, delaying them, or cancelling them altogether. Such an approach risks destabilising the plan, compromising value for money, and undermining operational capability,” the NAO said.

To an extent, that’s already happening. Britain’s defense industry is already reporting program cuts and delays. In a trading statement late last year, Ultra Electronics said its performance had been impacted by MoD spending problems.

The NAO report said that military commands have already reduced anticipated spending over the 10-year period by £3.4 billion, allocating this funding to other responsibilities, such as staff.

“If the Commands are unable to identify ways of delivering their equipment projects to this lower budget, then they must reduce their plans elsewhere or reduce their equipment ambitions,” the spending watchdog warned.

Spending pressures also saw the MoD fail to match costs to available budgets for the 2017-2018 financial year. As a result, the NAO said, the department had not accounted for £9.6 billion of forecast costs for the year in the plan.

The NAO annually audits the affordability of the MoD’s rolling 10-year equipment plan.

The report comes just a week after recently appointed Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson announced the MoD will conduct a requirements review, known as the Defence Modernisation Programme.

The report, which uses the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review as its starting point, is expected to be released in late summer. The outcome is likely to significantly impact the equipment plan.

Military readiness

Defense had been part of a wider security review by the Conservative government, but it was split away as a struggle developed between Williamson and the government’s chief financial minister, Chancellor Philip Hammond, over whether additional spending could be found to overcome the kind of shortfalls the NAO has now highlighted.

The chief of the General Staff, Gen. Nick Carter, weighed into the argument for more funds last week, warning Britain must face up to the increasing threat posed by Russia.

The security element of the review is expected to be unveiled by the government in the spring.

Leaks to the media over the options armed forces commanders were considering in the original review to help close the funding gap ranged from cuts to warship and helicopter numbers through to shrinking the size of the Army and axing the Royal Marine amphibious capabilities.

The government is spending about £36 billion on defense this year and has committed to an annual 0.5 percent increase in spending in real terms up to the year 2022.

The NAO said the financial picture for defense could be even worse, as the costs of the program to build five Type 31e frigates for the Royal Navy have not been accounted for in the MoD’s plan to spend £179 billion on equipment and support over the next decade.

A competition to build the warships is currently underway, with the aim of handing over the first of the new class of frigates to the Royal Navy in 2023. The cost of the frigates themselves has been capped at £250 million each, but support and other costs are expected to drive overall program costs higher.

The NAO has forecast a minimum affordability gap of £4.9 billion, but said that figure could rise substantially if the MoD fails to meet the efficiency targets it has itself set — something it has struggled to do in the past

The MoD reports that it has so far achieved savings of about £7.9 billion and identified a further £7.6 billion of potential savings. The saving target is £16 billion by 2027.

Efficiency savings are not always what they seem. Previously so-called efficiency has often been a euphemism for capability and program cuts or delays.
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[*] posted on 1-2-2018 at 07:25 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  

Efficiency savings are not always what they seem. Previously so-called efficiency has often been a euphemism for capability and program cuts or delays.


Truer words have rarely been spoken.




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[*] posted on 1-2-2018 at 09:01 PM


Analysis: Affordability the greatest challenge for UK defence modernisation

Nick Watts, London - Jane's Defence Weekly

01 February 2018

Against the backdrop of a rapidly evolving threat landscape, the UK armed forces must become more agile to effectively respond to new challenges. However, as Nick Watts reports, affordability may be the biggest challenge of all

The UK Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson has won his first victory by succeeding in splitting off the defence element from the National Security and Capability Review (NSCR).

However, although the Defence Modernisation Programme (DMP) will buy the Ministry of Defence (MoD) time, Williamson and his new procurement minister, Guto Bebb, have not solved the problem. The defence budget is out of balance due to inadequate funding.

(105 of 843 words)
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[*] posted on 2-2-2018 at 09:30 AM


Opinion: UK defence must choose which cut will be deepest

1st February 2018 - 11:02 GMT | by The Clarence in London

The worst kept secret in Whitehall has recently been publicly confirmed in the House of Commons by Gavin Williamson, namely the intention to split off the defence part of the National Security Review into a separate Defence Review.

The move became inevitable when the scale of cuts that would required to meet the supposedly financially neutral review was deemed unacceptable by ministers and, perhaps more importantly, backbench MPs.

The MoD will now embark on the fourth review of its spending plans since 2010 (the others being the 2010 and 2015 defence reviews and the so-called ‘three-month exercise’ that occurred in 2011). The indications are that, unlike previous reviews, this one will not necessarily require a financially neutral set of proposals to balance the budget.

Splitting the defence element out into its own review is a short term political victory for the Secretary of State, who since his arrival into high office has embarked on a series of highly populist moves to try and raise his profile and supporters on the Conservative backbenches. It does not necessarily mean that defence will get a good result in the medium term though.

For all the talk on outputs, force structures and missions, the staff conducting the review will need to balance three very different drivers to try and create an outcome that works. They must consider the desire by ministers and the backbenches to avoid politically contentious cuts to front line forces headcount and equipment. They must be able to put together a force package to generate sufficient capabilities to meet the goals of the National Security Strategy (last updated in 2015), and finally they need to do this against the backdrop of an approximately £20bn shortfall in the MoD budget. These three goals are not easily reconciled with each other and will require some extremely difficult choices to be made.

In the last 20 years there have been seven formal major spending or defence reviews, plus multiple in year planning rounds. The armed forces have decreased in size by well over 100,000 personnel, with swathes of equipment, ships aircraft and weapons being scrapped and nearly 80,000 civil servants have also been laid off. Yet despite all of this, the MoD remains singularly unable to get itself into a position of financial stability for a period of more than a year or two.

Partly this is due to challenges beyond its control – changes to the way accounting occurs, or the change to exchange rate and so on. But the department has always done well in the last 20 years across Labour, Coalition and Conservative governments, securing good (by standards of other departments) funding settlements and enjoying reasonable growth, or reduced cuts in overall spending compared to other departments.
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[*] posted on 2-2-2018 at 10:49 AM


In my opinion, the UK should bite the bullet and their Trident missiles and Vanguard Class subs should go, the future Dreadnought Class BM subs should be cancelled and the nuclear deterrence capability be replaced with F-35 carrying B61 Mod 12’s and a standoff nuclear armed cruise missile.

That would save more than £50b on the sub / Trident based capability and would resolve every other UK defence funding issue, with plenty of change left over.




In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 2-2-2018 at 11:16 AM


That is one drastic possibility BUT the simple fact is that the UK spends far too much money on other aspects, one of the worst being the NHS, grossly inefficient, and with huge waste, yet Defence is the only one that seems to get asked to tighten their belt(s) which they do.

Within Defence, there remains wasteful exercises called Projects, where stupidity and an inability to accurately forecast expenditure roams freely. It's far better than it was, but still has a huge way to go.............they still can't do a Final Investment Decision or Sanction Estimate to save their lives, always being under-estimated or calculated, you have to wonder WHY?

The simple fact of the matter is that the UK needs an increase to meet current needs, never mind what they need to meet future needs. As it stands they are being slowly strangled to death!
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[*] posted on 2-2-2018 at 01:27 PM


Nuclear sub, combat vehicle gun attributed to high project costs in UK

By: Andrew Chuter   5 hours ago


Astute-class submarine HMS Artful officially became a commissioned warship of the Royal Navy at a ceremony at Faslane Naval Base, Rhu, Scotland, on March 18, 2016. (Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

LONDON ― An increase in the cost to complete the British Royal Navy Astute-class nuclear submarine program as well as technical issues with the gun on the British Army’s upgraded Warrior infantry fighting vehicle were the main reasons behind a £358 million (U.S. $507 million) rise in the cost of the 28 largest projects during 2017, according to the Ministry of Defence.

The final four of seven Astute-class attack submarines being built for the Royal Navy by BAE Systems at its Barrow-in-Furness yard saw costs rise by £516 million over the course of the last year, the MoD recorded in its project performance summary, which was published as part of the 10-year defense equipment plan Wednesday.

The Warrior capability sustainment program saw its costs rise by £136 million during the year as a result of issues surrounding the new 40mm cannon being fitted to the vehicle by prime contractor Lockheed Martin UK.

The MoD said the cost rise on the submarine program was sparked by a number of factors including increased building schedules for the final four Astute-class boats now being tested or built at the yard in northwest England.

The fourth boat to join the fleet, HMS Audacious, completed a test dive in the basin of the BAE yard last month and is expected to be handed over to the Royal Navy toward the end of the year.

The cost of the four submarines is now forecast to come in at £6.69 billion, some £836 million more than when their build was approved.

Like the submarine, the Warrior capability sustainment program was hit by cost and schedule delays last year.

Costs on the Warrior update increased £136 million over the year, taking the expected total cost of the program on current forecasts to £1.48 billion.

The in-service date slipped 19 months during 2017, MoD figures showed.

The MoD put the latest cost increase down to “technical and engineering challenges associated with the new cannon build standard” on the updated vehicle.

Lockheed Martin UK distanced itself from the cost increase, saying the cannon wasn’t its direct responsibility.

“We don’t recognize the figure of £136 [million] ―the cannon is GFE [government-furnished equipment] and any inquiries would have to be directed to the MoD,” a company spokesperson said.


The Warrior capability sustainment program saw its costs rise by £136 million as a result of issues surrounding the new 40mm cannon being fitted to the vehicle by prime contractor Lockheed Martin UK. (Courtesy of Lockheed Martin)

The Warrior upgrade, which includes a new turret and other modifications, is using a new type of 40mm cannon known as the cased telescoped weapon system developed by CTA International, a joint venture between BAE Systems and Nexter.

The weapon has also been ordered for the British Army’s Ajax armored reconnaissance vehicle program being led by General Dynamics UK.

Lockheed is also leading the turret work on that program. The French Army has also ordered the cannon system.

Lockheed Martin UK reported last week that it was continuing to make progress on the program and had delivered eight of the upgraded fighting vehicles to the British Army’s armored trials and development unit for qualification and verification trials over the next year.

The company spokesman said Lockheed was on track with the program and had met every development contract milestone so far.

The MoD and Lockheed Martin continue to negotiate over the manufacturing contract for the Warrior. The company declined to comment on the status of the talks.

Data released by the MoD showed the in-service date for the upgraded Warrior vehicle as 2022 ― 39 months behind the original schedule.

The MoD said in the report that the delay to the Warrior capability sustainment program “is directly tied to the cost increase” issues around the cannon.

Overall, with several programs achieving price reductions, the aggregate cost of the 28 programs under review rose by £358 million, or 0.8 of the total cost.

That’s a deterioration compared with 2016 when major program costs rose by £237 million.

Program delays have also increased in 2017 to a total of 57 months compared with 34 months in 2016.

One of the longest delays was on the Project Marshall program being run by Thales UK and the National Air Traffic Service primarily to upgrade air traffic services on air bases in the U.K. and abroad.

The MoD reported a two-year delay on the program and said the in-service date has now been pushed back to June 2019.

Thales and NATS won the contract in 2014. The deal is expected to be worth about £1.5 billion and run for 22 years.

The MoD report said they were protected from cost overruns by the contract terms.

The cost and time overruns are a fraction of the problems defense procurement has run into. For example, in 2001, costs on the 20 largest programs rose during the year by 6.6 percent, and delays totaled 557 months, the National Audit Office reported.

Until 2015, major defense programs’ cost and time performance were independently verified by the National Audit Office, the governments spending watchdog, but the effort was axed, and for the last two years a much reduced report has been published by the MoD itself.
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[*] posted on 2-2-2018 at 03:50 PM


The Defence Equipment Plan 2017

(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Jan 31, 2018)

I am pleased to lay before Parliament this year’s financial summary of the Defence Equipment Plan. This is the sixth consecutive annual publication of the equipment plan summary, and demonstrates MOD’s investment and the need to continue progress in driving improvements, reform and efficiency, with a plan to spend £180bn on equipment and support over the decade out to 2026-27 which will provide our Armed Forces with the capability they need.

The Government remains committed to the Defence Budget increasing by 0.5% above inflation each year and the Department is focussing on where best to invest across the entire Defence programme in order to remain on top of an ever changing and increasing threat environment.

However, it was evident following the 2016 annual planning cycle that both uncertainty and risk had increased in the Equipment Plan. Consequently, the Equipment Plan emerging from [Annual Budget Cycle 2017, or ABC17] contains a high level of financial risk and an imbalance between cost and budget.

In addition to the underlying imbalance, the key risks at the end of ABC17 were the immaturity of the costs for the Type 31e frigate and the nuclear programme, and the demanding efficiency targets the Department is aiming to deliver from the equipment programme through the transformation of DE&S, more demanding approaches to contracting and the Single Source Contract Regulations.

In addition, there are potential cost pressures related to the change in the value of sterling. It is though worthy of note that the difference between the aggregate project team cost estimates and the independent estimates carried out by the Cost Assurance and Analysis Service has fallen again, indicating an improvement in project team estimating.

These risks have informed the Department’s work on the National Security Capability Review, and associated work in the 2018 Annual Budget Cycle. The Department recently launched the Modernising Defence Programme. We aim to use this work to deliver better military capability and value for money in a sustainable and affordable way, and to ensure that defence capabilities complement other national security capabilities in the most effective way.

We have also continued our efforts to improve the organisation and internal processes that deliver the equipment plan. April 2016 saw the formation of the Director General Nuclear to oversee the Defence nuclear enterprise and further benefits are anticipated from the standing up of the Submarine Delivery Agency in April 2017. We remain closely involved in the cross-government work on industrial strategy to ensure that the Department benefits from this initiative.

(signed)

Guto Bebb, MP
Minister for Defence Procurement

Click here for the full report (45 PDF pages) on the UK MoD website.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachm...

-ends-
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[*] posted on 3-2-2018 at 08:25 AM


That one stat says it all doesn't it?

Over 100,000 service personnel, 80,000 bureaucrats.

I know which one's needed to go first




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[*] posted on 3-2-2018 at 10:47 AM


I can't remember who did it, but I'm pretty sure it was one of the Uni's, but they estimated that a unified structure for the Civil Service side should be able to reduce it to 32,000 MAXIMUM!

It's NEVER been followed up as far as I know, and was severely attacked by the Civil Service union(s) when published (of course!) The fucking "Mandarins" still run their own little empires.............."Yes, Minister" still exists and continues to roam freely!
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[*] posted on 6-2-2018 at 09:07 AM


Loss of Amphibious Ships Spells "Sunset for the Royal Marines"

(Source: UK House of Commons Defence Committee; issued Feb 04, 2018)


After the controversial scrapping of HMS Ocean (top), the Commons Defence Committee has warned the UK Ministry of Defence that retiring its two other amphibious ships, and cutting 2,000 Royal Marines, will end an important military capability. (RN photo)

The United Kingdom will lose its ability to conduct specialised amphibious operations, if leaked plans considered in the National Security Capability Review (NSCR) are not cancelled by the new Modernising Defence Programme (MDP), according to the Commons Defence Committee.

In its Report, 'Sunset for the Royal Marines?', published today, the Committee warns that further reductions in the Royal Marines and the disposal of the amphibious ships HMS Albion, and HMS Bulwark, would be “militarily illiterate” and “totally at odds with strategic reality”.

The NSCR, has been carried out by the National Security Adviser rather than by the Ministry of Defence. It has led to persistent rumours of major cuts in conventional forces. Up to 2,000 Royal Marines – about 30% of current strength – would be lost, together with the two amphibious assault ships which are essential for landing personnel, heavy equipment and supplies over a beach.

News of such options being considered has met with fierce opposition within Parliament and widespread public concern. The review process has been conducted behind closed doors, without significant input from academics, think-tanks and individual experts. Any discussion of the options being considered has been dismissed as ‘speculation’ by the Government, which has not yet agreed to allow the National Security Adviser to face the Defence Committee for detailed questioning. Parliament has, in short, been prevented both from influencing or scrutinising major potential reductions in the UK’s defence capabilities.

The Report sets out the series of challenges faced by the Royal Marines in recent years. Since 2011, numbers have declined from 7,020 to 6,580; training and exercises have been cancelled; and surveys have shown a tangible drop in morale. The disproportionate contributions made by the Royal Marines to UK Defence – not least in providing up to half of all UK Special Forces personnel – are being put at risk by inadequate funding.

The Report also rigorously examines the role of HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark. It concludes that their disposal would remove any prospect of the Armed Forces achieving a successful amphibious landing with a substantial force. Ships which have been touted as alternative platforms – including the Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers – are no substitute for such specialised vessels as HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark. Their loss would also have a considerable impact upon the local communities where they are currently based.

Global trends, such as the growing urbanisation of littoral areas, point to the continuing need for amphibious operations in the future. The Committee’s findings establish that every other major defence power is seeking to increase its amphibious capabilities at the very time that the UK may be forced prematurely to abandon them.
Chair's comments

Dr Julian Lewis, Defence Committee chairman, said: "In January, we were told that the Albion and Bulwark were not due to leave service until 2033 and 2034 respectively. That such irreplaceable ships are in line for deletion fifteen years early demonstrates, yet again, the desperate inadequacy of the Defence budget. We must reinstate a target of around 3 per cent of GDP – the percentage which we spent right up to the mid-1990s, long after the ‘peace dividend’ cuts, at the end of the Cold War, had been made.

"Gavin Williamson deserves credit for seizing back control of the Defence dimension of the NSCR process; but, ultimately, he will fail without extra funding from the Treasury. Unless he secures this, the Royal Marines will be reduced to a level far below the critical mass needed to sustain them as a high-readiness Commando force.

"Nor can there be any substitute for the Albion-class vessels: the Committee is adamant that no other ships can be used as alternatives without assuming an unreasonable level of operational risk.

"In initiating the Modernising Defence Programme, the Ministry of Defence now has an opportunity to take a different approach – and to open up these drastic and dangerous proposals to proper Parliamentary scrutiny."

Click here for the full report (56 PDF pages) on the UK Parliament website.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmdf...

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[*] posted on 6-2-2018 at 09:08 AM


HMS OCEAN wasn't scrapped, she was sold to Brazil.....................not sure if the contract has been signed yet or not (without looking it up).
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[*] posted on 6-2-2018 at 09:07 PM


Wonder if we can offer fast-track Australian citizenship to each Royal Marine made redundant, it'd be a great way to build up Australia's amphibious expertise in a hurry.



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[*] posted on 6-2-2018 at 09:31 PM


You'd probably get the whole Royal Marine's if you just ask.................:lol: :lol: :lol:
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[*] posted on 7-2-2018 at 02:58 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
You'd probably get the whole Royal Marine's if you just ask.................:lol: :lol: :lol:


We should just buy the whole Royal Marine capability, base it in Townsville and loan it out to the UK on a lease type arrangement whenever they need it...




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[*] posted on 7-2-2018 at 05:37 PM


You'd see a very happy bunch of Royal Marines if you did.....................
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[*] posted on 13-2-2018 at 05:59 PM


New Plans for Military Flexible Working Become Law

(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Feb 12, 2018)

Service personnel will be able to apply for enhanced flexible working opportunities after the Armed Forces (Flexible Working) Bill became law yesterday.

The measures, which achieved Royal Assent on Thursday, will allow some military personnel to serve part-time for defined periods.

Consultation within the Armed Forces has found that personnel want more choice over the way they serve when their personal circumstances change, such as having young children, needing to care for elderly relatives, or taking on further training and education.

Personnel will also be able to restrict the amount of time they spend away from their home base and their families.

The plans, which will come into effect in 2019, are part of a range of measures the Armed Forces are implementing to become more modern and diverse.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “This change will make it significantly easier for our dedicated Armed Forces to raise their children, care for elderly relatives, or look after an ill family member.

“This will ensure we are able to retain and recruit the brightest and the best from all backgrounds to keep Britain safe.”

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said: “Flexible work is key to retaining our expert personnel who we’ve invested in during their military career.

“Personnel have told us they want more flexibility and we have listened - that’s what this Act delivers.”

The flexible working measures are designed so that they won’t impact the military’s ability to deliver its core tasks of defending the country. Applications for part-time service and restricted separation will be assessed against the need of the Armed Forces and personnel would be required to deploy on operations should the need arise, such as in cases of national emergency.

Internal MOD surveys have consistently reported the impact of service on family and personal life is the most important factor that might influence them to leave.

Flexible working will help retain personnel, and a recent survey found that 70% of respondents were supportive of more opportunities for flexible working, with 71% interested in taking up such opportunities in the future.

The measures are part of military modernisation, aiming to retain personnel who have been trained and have gained important experience, particularly on operations, rather than having them leave for civilian life.

96% of UK employers already offer flexible working for some of their employees and research has found that offering flexible working encourages people to stay with their current employer.

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[*] posted on 13-2-2018 at 10:18 PM


A part time defence force, Jesus wept.



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[*] posted on 14-2-2018 at 03:35 PM


Aimed at the junior and senior NCO ranks where retention is paramount.............
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[*] posted on 14-2-2018 at 03:37 PM


Defence Secretary Hails Modern Partnership with Australia

(Source: UK Ministry of Defence; issued Feb 12, 2018)

The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has visited the regional power with global interests, Australia, to discuss reinforcing the modern partnership, as well as tackling the nuclear threat from North Korea.

In his first trip to Australia as Secretary of State for Defence, Mr Williamson met his counterpart, Minister for Defence, Marise Payne, in Sydney. They examined how both allies can continue to adapt in the face of cyber-attacks and nuclear threats from North Korea and how best to counter global terrorism.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Britain and Australia both face intensifying, complex and evolving threats to our way of life. That is why it is so important our two countries stand side-by-side to stay ahead of those who want to harm us.

“Two Royal Navy warships, HMS Sutherland and HMS Argyll, are heading to the region to continue the pressure campaign on North Korea, demonstrating Britain’s role on the international stage.

“We have a long and historic relationship with Australia but today we are modern, equal, and global powers with shared values and a commitment to make the world a safer place.”

As part of this modern partnership the UK and Australia:

--Have more than one hundred people from all three services on exchange programmes between our nations, working together and learning from each other;

--Are part of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing organisation and work together on tackling shared threats;

--Hold annual meetings of foreign and defence ministers (AUKMIN) to coordinate responses to shared threats, such as Daesh;

--Work together on the mission to establish stability in Syria and Afghanistan, to which Australia is the largest non-NATO contributor;

--Combine on humanitarian missions, such as: the two Malaysian airline incidents, Ebola in Sierra Leone and disaster relief in Vanuatu;

--Police the seas as part of the Combined Maritime Forces, to provide security and stability on the seas, including tackling drug and weapon smugglers;

--Work together on science and technology, and defence equipment;

--Additionally, Royal Navy ship HMS Sutherland will visit Australia in February and March, allowing further opportunities for the two naval forces to collaborate.

The UK Defence Secretary also met Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, in Canberra today (Monday 12 Feb) to discuss exciting new defence export opportunities as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

The Type 26 Global Combat Ship is a key example of this and has been shortlisted for Australia’s Future Frigate Programme. The cutting-edge warship would not only boost the partnership between the two countries, but would bolster Australia ballistic missile defences and give them an unrivalled anti-submarine warfare capability to face growing underwater threats.

Mr Williamson went on to meet Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel, Michael McCormack, to talk about issues impacting and sharing research on Veterans and the successes of the British Armed Forces Covenant.

Australian forces recently solved a 103-year-old mystery when they discovered His Majesty’s Australian Submarine AE1, the first Allied submarine lost in World War One, off the coast of Papua New Guinea.

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[*] posted on 16-2-2018 at 08:46 AM


Backing away from the beach: UK Defence Committee report raises wider questions for future amphibious operations

Richard Scott, London - Jane's Navy International

15 February 2018

The value and utility of the Royal Navy’s two landing platform dock ships is coming under intense scrutiny amid consideration of cuts to the UK’s amphibious capability, reports Richard Scott
In a heavily trailed report published on 4 February, the UK House of Commons Defence Committee (HCDC) came out strongly against the possibility that the Royal Navy’s (RN’s) two amphibious landing platform dock ships (LPDs) could be retired early without replacement.

Entitled ‘Sunset for the Royal Marines? The Royal Marines and UK amphibious capability’, the report was sharply critical of any suggestion of further reductions to the Royal Marines and the disposal of the assault ships HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark , describing them “militarily illiterate” and “totally at odds with strategic reality”.

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[*] posted on 16-2-2018 at 04:03 PM


Tory Committee Chair: Defence Budget Target "Way Below What We Need"

(Source: British Forces News; issued Feb 14, 2018)

The Government is under renewed pressure to boost the defence budget after a think tank claimed the UK was failing to meet its Nato spending target.

Analysis by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) suggested the UK fell just short of the target of spending 2% of GDP on defence.

The Ministry of Defence and Nato disputed the figures, insisting that the UK was meeting the 2% commitment.

But Tory MP Julian Lewis, chairman of the influential Commons Defence Committee, said "quibbling" over the 2% target missed the point that spending should be far higher.

He told the Press Association: "In a sense, we are having the wrong argument here because the 2% is way below what we need to be spending."

The target should be the 3% level of defence spending in the mid-1990s, he suggested.

"I welcome the analysis the IISS has done but, in reality, we are arguing about whether or not we have reached a totally inadequate level," he said.

"The key figure is one from the mid-1990s, the year 1995-6, well after the Cold War, well after we had taken the peace dividend cuts, and yet we were still spending 3% of GDP on defence and that was without including some of the more questionable items that just got us over the line."

The IISS analysis suggests UK spending in 2017 was 50.7 billion US dollars (£36.4 billion) - the equivalent of 1.98% of GDP.

It is the second year running in which the think-tank has claimed the UK has fallen short by 0.02%, but the MoD said the UK spent 2.2% in 2016 and the most recent estimate for 2017 was 2.14%.

Bastian Giegerich, IISS director of defence and military analysis, said spending by European Nato members had grown since 2014 but was still over 4% lower in 2017 than it was in 2010.

He added: "Measuring the input of what people are spending only tells one part of the story.

"It is defence investment spending, including research and development, that will influence how well countries can adjust to changing requirements and innovate to create new capabilities.

"In this area, European countries still have a lot of catching up to do if they want to prepare their armed forces for future challenges."

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson was in Brussels for talks with Nato chiefs.

Nato general secretary Jens Stoltenberg said the UK was "leading by example" by spending more than 2%; there is no doubt the UK is meeting the 2% guideline of Nato and I welcome that."

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: "These figures are wrong: Nato's own figures clearly show that the UK is one of few countries to spend over 2% of its GDP on defence.

"In the face of intensifying threats, we not only meet but exceed this target, and it remains a base rather than a ceiling."

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