HCDC Inquiry – F35B and Carrier Progress

DefenceSynergia (DS) publishes here a March 2020 United States Government Accountability Office report entitled Weapon System Sustainment ‘DoD Needs a Strategy for Re-Designing the F35’s Central Logistic System’. We also publish a 14th September 2020 letter to the UK Defence Committee sent by The Honourable Jeremy Quinn MP, Minister of State for Defence Procurement, covering some UK F35B procurement questions.

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US Congress – China Military Power Report 2020

Since 2000 The Pentagon has produced an annual report for the United States Congress on Military and Security Developments Involving the Peoples Republic of China. This year’s report, just released, says this in its introductory paragraphs:
DoD’s first annual report to Congress in 2000 assessed the PRC’s armed forces at that time to be a sizable but mostly archaic military that was poorly suited to the CCP’s long-term ambitions. The report recognized the CCP’s objective was for the PRC to become a “strong, modernized, unified, and wealthy nation.” Despite these great power aspirations, the PLA lacked the capabilities, organization, and readiness for modern warfare. Yet the CCP understood these deficiencies and set long-term goals to strengthen and transform its armed forces in a manner commensurate with its aspirations to strengthen and transform China. The (2000) report assessed that the PLA’s organizational obstacles were severe enough that if left unaddressed they would “inhibit the PLA’s maturation into a world-class military force.”
 
Two decades later, the PLA’s objective is to become a “world-class” military by the end of 2049—a goal first announced by General Secretary Xi Jinping in 2017. Although the CCP has not defined what a “world-class” military means, within the context of the PRC’s national strategy it is likely that Beijing will seek to develop a military by mid-century that is equal to—or in some cases superior to—the U.S. military, or that of any other great power that the PRC views as a threat. As this year’s report details, the PRC has marshalled the resources, technology, and political will over the past two decades to strengthen and modernize the PLA in nearly every respect. Indeed, as this report shows, China is already ahead of the United States in certain areas…
 

 

 

 

The Centre Must Reassert Control Over Our Underpowered Armed Forces

DefenceSynergia (DS) is indebted to CAPX for permission to publish this thought-provoking article by Jonathon Kitson formerly of the School of Oriental and African Studies and Kings College London and now is a ‘Superforecaster with the Good Judgement Project’. The article covers ground which is currently very relevant to the Cabinet Office study into the UK Integrated Review albeit it will not be comfortable reading for some senior military chiefs “War has become too expensive to be left to the generals” he says.

We should point out that the views expressed in the article are those of the author and not DS. However, where Jonathon highlights the need for Strategic purpose; the extant threat from Russia; the emerging threat from China; the lack of logistic enablers and tackles the lack of Readiness, Resilience and sustainability within the Armed Forces’ order of battle, DS is not only right there with him but has been saying as much for a decade or more. Read the full article here: (more…)

SOVEREIGN STATES AND THE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONE

In view of recent media coverage of the UK v EU differing positions concerning Sovereign rights in international law DefenceSynergia (DS) publishes below an authoritative analysis on the subject of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea 1982 – specifically fishing.

The author is a founder member of DS and in a former life served in the RN and RNR.

In the RNR he did his sea training with the ‘fish squadron’, completing the MAFF course and becoming a British Sea Fisheries Officer in 1975. He served in 3 Island class OPVs. After regular RN service – 1987 to 1990 – he worked as operations controller for the Falkland Islands Fisheries Department . Thereafter he worked in West Africa as Technical Adviser to a seven country fisheries project for the NW African Sub-Regional Fisheries Commission financed by the Government of Luxembourg covering Mauritania, Senegal, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea and Sierra Leone. This project ran until December 2003 and involved aerial surveillance using three regional turboprop planes and patrol boats from the Senegal Navy and the Guarda Costeria of Cape Verde. He was also seconded to FAO, working on harmonisation of fisheries regulations in southern Africa and Indonesia. His last appointment was as project manager for fisheries monitoring, control, and surveillance in the Republic of Yemen between 2004 and 2008.

This is what he says: (more…)

Thousands stuck at sea

DefenceSynergia has been asked by 34 eminent mariners – Royal Navy and Merchant Service – to help circulate a letter they have signed rightly saluting all merchant seamen, wherever they are, on this ‘Merchant Navy Day’.

 

DefenceSynergia is pleased and honoured to do so.  

Thousands stuck at sea

 

SIR – Today is Merchant Navy Day. The annual service at the Merchant Navy Memorials, Tower Hill, and the annual national service for seafarers – administered by the charity Seafarers UK and held at St Paul’s Cathedral in mid-October – are cancelled.

When early lockdown panic-buying caused shortages, supermarkets and suppliers did their best to steady the ship, and soon most of us could again buy essential goods.

One reason that this was possible was the work of merchant ships bringing goods to our ports, every day of every week of the year. Some 95 per cent of United Kingdom trade by volume (75 per cent by value) comes and goes by ship.

Merchant seafarers are often unsung heroes in our nation’s story. More than 30,000 merchant seamen lost their lives in the Second World War (a death rate higher proportionately than that in any of the Armed Forces), their ships carrying the food, fuel, armaments and troops that were essential to victory.

The seven seas are unforgiving. Storms, hurricanes and danger are ever-present. More than 100 merchant seafarers died last year.

Early this year, cruise ships were at the centre of another storm: Covid-19. However, more than 50,000 other ships – bulk carriers, general cargo, specialist and container ships, tankers, ferries and trawlers – have continued to ply the seas. Twenty million containers are crossing the globe right now.

Of the world’s 1.6 million merchant seafarers, some 300,000 are stuck at sea, world travel restrictions having prevented routine crew changes.

For many seafarers, life is hell right now; without them, your life might be hell too. Let’s salute merchant seafarers – our essential workers at sea. (more…)

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