LibLink … Paddy Ashdown: If we want to win wars, first change the MoD

Over at The Times today, former Lib Dem leader Lord (Paddy) Ashdown has an article arguing that the the Ministry of Defence is not fit for purpose, branding it sclerotic, inefficient, hamstrung by inter-service rivalry, and resistant to change. Here’s an excerpt:

While the American Army under General Petraeus has developed a culture of listening, and learning, to troops, whatever their rank or experience, the culture in the MoD is that you don’t take lessons from junior officers. The ministry needs to become a learning institution if it is to become effective.

The adaptation to counter- insurgency operations seems to have been much slower in the UK than the US, despite our much vaunted experience from Northern Ireland of which we were so proud in southern Iraq in the summer and autumn of 2003.

A national security review would provide the leadership of the MoD with a clearer set of activities and missions. The ministry must then adapt itself to deliver those in as effective and transparent a way as possible. …

Future conflicts may not be exactly the same in terms of the enemy, the terrain and the weapons employed. But those adversaries who threaten the UK will look to our successes and failures in Afghanistan and Iraq and use these to plot their own strategic review. We must be faster at learning to be better than our enemies.

You can read Paddy’s article in full here.

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