DefenceSynergia (DS) Welcomes New Secretary of State for Defence

Below is the transcript of an open letter that DS has sent to the Right Honourable Penny Mordaunt MP

DefenceSynergia (DS) congratulates you on your appointment as Secretary of State for Defence and wishes you every success, believing that security and defence will be in safe and capable hands. Some years ago we met you and fellow members of the Defence Select Committee where we discussed aspects, inter alia, of the aircraft carrier programme. We enjoyed that experience

As DS warned on the appointment of your predecessor, we are sure that you must be mindful that Russia, China and other potential adversarial nations continue to develop evermore effective weapon systems and asymmetric tactics to counter the conventional balance that naval power and especially aircraft carrier groups have traditionally projected. In the jargon of the age it is referred to as ‘Anti-access (A2) Area Denial (AD) capability’ now being enhanced by Hypersonic Missile systems that can defeat current detection systems and against which the British Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force has ‘no obvious, deployed, credible defence’.

Beyond the MOD PR bubble DS sees the operational capability of these ships somewhat differently and less complacently than otherwise might seem to be the case from endless vacuous statements designed to mask the true position that all of our Armed Forces generally find themselves in.

For example, America with her large nuclear powered and more powerful catapult equipped aircraft carriers is leagues ahead of the United Kingdom. The USS Gerald R Ford can deliver far more combat effect and enduring operational capability than both Queen Elizabeth (QEC) and Prince of Wales (POW) combined. Even when QEC and POW are fully operational only one Air Wing with Helicopter Airborne Early Warning (AEW) – with inherently poor radar horizon and limited early warning time – will be operational at any one time with sufficient fully manned supporting destroyers, frigates, submarines, Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, RAF transport, no indigenous air to air refuelling (AAR) and limited air cover available to offer the Chief of the General Staff appropriate protection for his soldiers deploying forward as part of a newly constituted ‘Strike’ Brigade in a ‘non-permissive’ environment.

So DS urges you to reject the hyperbolic statements often peddled by the MOD PR and focus effort on getting the right money, spent on the right things, to provide coherent UK Armed Forces and Capabilities geared to achieving realistic and stated Strategic aims. In fact it would not hurt if you could persuade the Cabinet Office to articulate what its strategic intent is: give the Service Chiefs a heads up so to speak. It would do no harm, either, to give the heads of our armed services a little more freedom to brief on capabilities like other professionals such as police, NHS and civil servants.

However, we respectfully suggest that the top of your agenda is the desperate need to redress decades of over statement and under investment in the equipment, support capabilities and remuneration provided to our selfless Service men and women who place themselves in harm’s way daily to keep UK and its global interests safe and secure. Perhaps then a few more recruits could be found and a few less trained service personnel will want to leave.

DS wishes you every success and stands ready to support you in the above matters.