Political Promise

Defining our Future Role

In David Brownsey-Joyce on October 12, 2010 at 12:33 pm


With the armed forces looking at cuts of 10%, David Brownsey-Joyce considers whether we are all doomed or simply adapting to the future.

The last few weeks have been reporting interesting news that will define the UK’s position in the world for the next few decades, certainly with regards to our military capabilities. Currently the final touches are being taken care of for the Government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, a document that will outline the capabilities and requirements the armed forces require to carry out their duties and secure our nation’s interests for the foreseeable future.

Cuts of 10% look on the cards and this will reduce capabilities in all areas of the armed forces, with the Navy taking the brunt of the hits with projections of reducing its size by half and seeing it reduced to it’s smallest ever size; a move that could secure the funding of two new aircraft carriers, more than a £1 billion project that offers thousands of jobs to Clyde and Rosyth.

The prospects of these jobs is terrific news for the country, however the fact that we are going to have to sacrifice so much to pay for them is terrifying. We need a force that is capable of dealing with all manner of situations, from launching military campaigns against nations, defending our shipping lanes from pirates, intercepting terrorists, delivering relief efforts, and heaven forbid launching a nuclear retaliatory second strike.

Just looking at the pirate issue, this is a multi billion pound industry that transports over 6.8 billion tonnes of goods via shipping lanes on an annual basis. No one can grow their economy out of recession if we cannot move things around and moving things by sea is the most viable option in a lot of cases. The cases of Somali pirates has been in the news particularly in the last few years with over 123 attacks on private vessels this year alone, of which 33 were successfully seized for ransom.

The sea is awfully big and we need fast interception vessels to secure our interests, the problem has become so bad that insurance firms have been formulating plans to create a private naval force to protect members’ interests; with the expansion of private contractors to secure the vessels this effectively privatises the waters as we simply won’t have the resources to protect transports so the private sector will have to.

Maybe the Coalition Government wants to privatise the military, it’s a good way to start but I would never imagine that a Conservative partnered Government would ever cut spending in the military. Maybe it’s the Liberal Democrats pushing them hard on Trident. After all the cuts to the military could result in one of the four submarines that would have Trident cruise missiles being scrapped, so our effective second strike capability is cut by a quarter.

Personally I don’t think we need an independent nuclear deterrent, anyone who is mad enough to use one against us isn’t going to worry about the retaliation or they will convince themselves that they can knock everything out in the first strike.

Maybe the Coalition Government is pushing the agenda of non proliferation by simply saying:

“Hay we are all in a worldwide downturn. Lets all give up on nuclear weapons, because none of us can afford them.”

And maybe none of us can see it, but really that’s not it, we’ve run out of money and are trying to do with what we’ve got.

The new national motto for all aspects of society, including the military; make do and mend.


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