View Full Version : Th British Armed Forces
12-23-2007, 07:24 PM
There has been much discussion recently about whether the British Government is supporting or exploiting the British Armed Forces.
For those who have not been following, this newspaper article outlines the issues well.
CDS = Chief of the Defence Staff = the most senior person in uniform.
12-23-2007, 09:32 PM
The British Military has been among the best for over two hundred years. It was a big part of what helped to create the Empire. If the government fails to recognize that and maintain and equip the military as it should be, then the results could be catastrophic.
I read a fictional story a while back in which the British Government underfunded the military for a period of time. Argentina re-invaded the Falkland Island and the Navy could no longer defend them adequately. Britain had to let the islands go.
12-23-2007, 10:22 PM
Change the names, and it seems like a similar argument could be made for US forces.
I was in the Navy during the Carter Administration. I remember distinctly when my junior guys could qualify for food stamps because of poor pay and subsidies for housing, etc.
We have all read the stories about our troops going into combat without body armor, or parents buying it from private sources, etc.
It's expensive to wage war, and sometimes our logistics and our mindsets aren't on the task at hand.
It is probably still true that if you want peace, prepare for war. Funding your armed services properly is still a key ingredient.
12-24-2007, 06:06 AM
I have a number of friends in the military services-army ,navy and marines.they all speak highly of the u.k. personnel.you folks have my respect.i have heard of some of the problems in your supply and equippage.politicians are always good at downgrading the military while asking more of them.our last president was a good example of that.damn them.
12-24-2007, 06:41 AM
I don't mean to sound cynical, but history is full of generals who prepared diligently to refight the last war and then cried poor because they didn't have the right equipment to fight the war they were currently in. Hitler's success from 1939 - 42 was largely due to the German General Staff's superior understanding of the tank, and Germany's considerable investment in them, at a time when the Allied Armies were not interested in developing new tanks nor in developing new tactics to make the old ones more effective.
To some extent, at least, politicians must take the military's advice when purchasing or funding new weapons systems. Why then do we rarely hear military personnel taking responsibility when those investments prove to be poor ones?
12-24-2007, 06:43 AM
It is a similar, though less severe, story in the US forces. Outstanding men and women doing a near-impossible job in the best way possible, while the politicians at home verbally support them and then cut their funding. The GI on the streets of Kirkuk doesn't need 200 more F-22 fighters, at a cost of $325 million EACH; he needs a raise, better equipment, and a clearer mission. (I'll refrain from the discussion about whether he needs to come home.)
The generals can talk til they're blue in the face, explaining why they don't need a certain piece of equipment, but they get it anyway, because the manufacturer's lobbyists convince the politicians to spend the money, needs-be-damned. And to many of the politicians, troops-be-damned, too.
12-24-2007, 07:02 AM
To some extent, at least, politicians must take the military's advice when purchasing or funding new weapons systems. Why then do we rarely hear military personnel taking responsibility, when those investments prove to be poor ones?
That's a tough argument to make at troop-level:
Forced to replace the M1911 .45, we wanted the Sig-Sauer 9mm. The powers-that-be went with the inferior Beretta instead, to avoid offending the Italian government, who threatened our basing agreements if they didn't "win" the contract.
Faced with an enemy who routinely carries a 7.62mm assault rifle that will fire in just about any condition of filth, we got a 5.56mm rifle that jams if you sneeze in its general vicinity. HK recently came out with a fix, replacing only the upper receiver, and creating a vastly superior weapon. The powers-that-be decided that we don't need a better weapon.
Then we have the widely-mistrusted Interceptor body armor, unarmored Humvees, uniforms with VELCRO pockets (noise discipline, anyone?), new headgear that is hotter and allows sun and rain in your face (the old headgear was cooler and blocked the sun and rain), and various other SNAFUs.
Yes, I think we still need to spend on the big stuff, because while the cold war is over, there are other major nations we need to be prepared for. But there is plenty of stuff completely applicable to today's style of combat that troops have begged for, and not received. We'll gladly take responsibility for asking for those items. Who is going to take responsibility when we don't have them?
12-24-2007, 07:08 AM
The GI on the streets of Kirkuk doesn't need 200 more F-22 fighters, at a cost of $325 million EACH; he needs a raise, better equipment, and a clearer mission.
They also need permission to do their jobs more effectively (rules of engagement).
12-24-2007, 07:58 AM
Let me amend my question to read "general staff" instead of "military personnel", and thank you for your interesting and informative answer.
Of all the generals who fought WW2 I've always admired Montgomery and Bradley the most, because of their care for the men under their command, and their zealousness to see them equipped properly.
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