Tag Archives: ministry of defence

Philip Hammond on Coalition with the Lib Dems: horses for courses?

philip hammond house magazineThere’s an interesting interview with Tory defence secretary Philip Hammond in this week’s House magazine. Two snippets in particular will be of interest to Lib Dem readers.

Let’s start with the defence department and horses. In the lead-up to the spending review when tensions were spilling over between the treasury and the spending departments, Danny Alexander remarked in an interview: “Of course, in a department that has more horses than it has tanks, there are room for efficiency savings without affecting our overall military output.”

Danny’s jibe stung …

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Trident: it’s déjà vu all over again

The latest flurry of excitement about the Trident nuclear deterrent — as the Daily Mail puts it with typical tabloid restraint: Tories and LibDems at war over contract to build Trident sub: £350m deal is jumping the gun, warns Clegg — is one of those stories which pops up twice a year. The last time was six months ago, in May, when the Ministry of Defence announced £350m-worth of design contracts for the Trident successor submarines had been signed. As then Lib Dem defence minister Nick Harvey pointed out on LDV at the time:

is being portrayed as the Coalition Government moving a step closer to a

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Nick Harvey writes on yesterday’s Army re-structuring announcement

With Britain’s combat role in Afghanistan coming to an end, so ends the predictability of our Army’s main effort. Looking beyond 2014, we need to restructure our armed forces to face an increasingly uncertain world: ready to intervene to protect our national interest, with the agile and adaptable ability to project force and prevent conflict, as set out in the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

So yesterday’s Army 2020 announcement was about restructuring the British Army for the future. Contrary to many claims, it is not about personnel cuts.

Of course, we cannot avoid the fact that the economic situation …

Posted in News and Parliament | Also tagged and | 15 Comments

LibLink… Paddy Ashdown: Defence cuts? Why, they’ve barely started

In today’s Times (£) Paddy Ashdown argues that the Ministry of Defence is “no longer fit for purpose.”

Ashdown says that the current government are not making enough progress with addressing the Ministry’s problems: the large annual deficit, bureaucratic blunders and project overruns and puts them down to a lack of political direction.

Here’s an excerpt:

The dust is now settling on the Strategic Defence and Security Review, published last October. And what it reveals is that the deeply painful cuts already announced are not going to be enough to balance the books. There will have to be more — there may

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The Saturday debate: how important should promoting military exports be for the MoD?

Here’s your starter for ten in our Saturday slot where we throw up an idea or thought for debate…

The Ministry of Defence’s business plan lays down seven priorities for 2010-15, of which the fourth is:

To promote defence exports consistent with export control criteria; as part of a defence diplomacy programme to strengthen British influence and help support British industry and jobs.

Should the MoD have that as a goal? And if it does, should it fourth of the seven? Over to you…

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Helicopters and Trident face cuts as financial squeeze hits the MOD

Both Conservative and Liberal Democrats made plenty of justified political hay out of helicopter problems faced by our armed forces back under the Labour government. Now it looks as if both parties will be having to perform a sensitive political change of gear as the Ministry of Defence turns to making helicopter cuts.

Apart from the need to save money, there are good substantive policy reasons for this change. One is that the previous shortages have been tackled. As Paul Waugh recounts it,

When a newly-elected Prime Minister Cameron held his first meeting with defence chiefs in Number 10, he was

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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

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Ministry of Defence under fire following new report into accommodation for the military

The National Audit Office has a new report out which finds that:

While 52% of Service families feel their accommodation is in a good condition, 31% are dissatisfied with the condition of their property.

The MoD is currently undertaking a programme to upgrade Service family accommodation. In the last two years it has upgraded some 1,700 properties and will continue upgrading an average of 800 per year. At the current rate of upgrade, it would take some 20 years before all properties reached condition 1 (the highest of four standards)…

the MoD also has 9,170 vacant properties. This is 18% of its housing

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