Sounds a little odd:

Britain\’s ability to defend itself from attack has been called into question after deep cutbacks to the Armed Forces were announced to pay for the war in Afghanistan.

When unemployment rises we don\’t cut unemployment pay in order to keep the budget constant. We wouldn\’t insist that a pandemic were paid for by cuts in the NHS.

So why insist that the extra task of fighting in Afghanistan has to be paid for from the rest of the military budget?

9 thoughts on “Eh?”

  1. Not least to pay for helicopters that won’t arrive until after we are supposed to have started to leave Afghanistan. By which time we will have handed over to the Afghan army and won’t need them.

    What’s the betting that we get the cuts early, well at least booked early to make the finances look better, but the helicopters are late and over budget?

  2. Ah this is just interested-party special pleading. The military are old hands at it, which is why we have so many planes that serve no purpose (albeit the article appears to imply we are keeping them in reserve in case France attacks).

  3. “It is not clear whether this will have an impact on the security of the country’s submarines”

    We are cutting our ability to resist the Chinese, Russians or septics from about 10 minutes to 9 minutes.

    Then comment above about inter service bickering is spot on. There is still quite a lot of fat left though, eurofighter, trident, etc aren’t really that useful unless we need to fight the ussr again.

  4. Brian, follower of Deornoth

    The defence of the United Kingdom is not an objective of the British armed forces.

    Strange but true.

  5. Brian – Responding to “Strategic Attack on NATO” – which would include the UK mainland and “Defence of British Overseas Territories” still are, though, as well as “Strategic Deterrence” and “Peacetime Security”.

    Yes, the likelihood of an independent nation attacking solely the mainland UK is very low but, regardless (even the French) is a simple Article 5 (NATO) event …

  6. Alex,

    Did you predict the invasion of the Falklands requiring the dispatch of an amphibious task force complete with carriers and aircraft? Or that Saddam would invade Kuwait requiring Britain to send an armoured division, fast jets, etc etc? Or that we’d need to send troops to Sierra Leone (Light Infantry plus heli support), Kosovo (Armoured formations plus assorted air support), Iraq (armoured formations then motorised infantry all with the requisite air support) Afghanistan (Light Infantry plus helicopters, attack aircraft and heli gunships)? Did you predict the Royal Navy would be conducting anti-piracy operations in the Indian Ocean?

    Most of the deployments of the British armed forces over the past thirty years have been due to unexpected things happening. If Britain wants to play in the big leagues (which as the world’s fifth largest economy and a major power she should) she needs to have a set of armed forces capable of reacting to a wide range of possible situations.

    As a one shot weapon with very little flexibility and an even lower possibility of use, I could be persuaded that Trident can be sacrificed, but the other systems, even the eurofighter, are multi-situation weapons that cover at least part of the whole spectrum of possible threats. If you want to sacrifice some of them, which scenario are you going to stick your neck out and say: “That won’t ever happen again, not never”?

  7. But RM the forces aren’t going to be large enough to cover every eventuality and clearly there’s a trade off between breadth and depth. To pretend otherwise is silly.

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