It appears to DefenceSynergia (DS) that the old adage ‘what one gives with one hand can be taken back with the other’ applies to our Prime Minister (PM). The Secretary of State for Defence, The Right Honourable Mr Ben Wallace MP, has declared that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) must find £1bn in savings next year despite the PM promising MOD an extra £16.5bn over 4 years, according to reports in today’s press.
An unnamed government spokesman claimed that the £16.5bn offered by the PM was for new procurement not to fill the existing circa £13bn black hole in the procurement budget. A statement only a bureaucrat could make without seeing the irony of the position being postulated; that somehow, by verbally compartmentalising the MOD budget, the strict laws of arithmetic can be circumnavigated. IE 16.5 minus 13 = 3.5 however many beans, in whatever columns, are manoeuvred around the balance sheet.
The consequences of the actual position is that to achieve the arithmetical reality MOD must find more annual savings from wherever they can just so the preposterous PR position that the PM has allocated ‘more real cash’ to MOD than at any time since the end of the ‘Cold War’ can be maintained.
DS says poppycock!
No amount of arithmetic sleight of hand or warm words to justify cuts to reserve training in the Royal Navy (RN) and British Army or to reduce the Royal Air Force’s (RAF) E-3D AWACS fleet claiming ‘military readiness’ will not be affected does not wash with DS. At a stroke, the proposed cuts drive a coach and horses through the MOD’s vaunted and much-quoted ‘Whole Force Concept’ leaving more capability gaps through resource and training deficiencies that MOD claims will be filled at some later, yet to be defined, date.
More Jam Tomorrow!
Perhaps it is time for MOD to start honouring the ‘Whole Force Concept’ mantra by pushing for, but first believing in, a ‘Whole Force Budget’ that is indivisible. A single budget that is fixed beyond the ‘annuality’ term fiasco. In doing so to acknowledge that ‘efficiency savings’ are in reality ‘defence cuts’ by another name and a procurement deficit is a problem to be resolved and/or funded, not ignored to suit political machinations.
Please will the MOD cancel the inter-service ‘fight’ on service grounds for ‘their’ budget? All of one company perhaps being the Whole Force Concept in action.