DefenceSynergia Short Commentary – UK Force Sustainability
DefenceSynergia (DS) is deeply concerned that at a recent Defence Select Committee hearing General Sir Richard Barrons described the UK Armed Forces as ‘Threadbare; Hollowed out; having too little sustaining support or mass and unable to fight for longer than a week’. Chillingly, but accurately, he concluded his evidence by saying that the UK cannot defend against a missile attack on London.
Air Marshal Knighton, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (DCDS) (Financial & military Capability) was asked to confirm the evidence of Sir Richard Barrons as to UK Armed Forces sustainability. He confirmed, without defining the assumed rates of effort he was using, that NATO could fight for longer than 7 days. A different question.
The Air Marshal’s evidence is contrary to DS research into UK Strategy and Defence over a decade or more. It also runs counter to the advice offered by senior retired Chiefs of Staff in the past. What is certain is that both these eminent people cannot be right, and DS supports, unequivocally, General Barrons’ position as the more credible.
The MOD contributors also confirmed that the ‘operating’ costs of the Armed Forces were being cut – repair/maintenance – to sustain the ‘capital’ procurement programme.
DS does not have the evidence that supports the current Defence Staff judgements but believes it is vital for public trust that the maintenance of capability of the UK Armed Forces is sustained at this time! An acknowledgement by HMG and MOD of the truth of General Barrons’ evidence is required and details of remedial action being taken are announced.
Only then will the UK be a safer and better ally to other countries in these troubled times.