Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Extra £1bn For UK Defence Will Not Be it time to size forces based on budget size?

A pledge of £1 billion for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will not resolve the hollowing out of Britain's armed forces but is just a mere "drop in the ocean" compared to what is needed, a former head of the Royal Navy has said.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced the move - which he said will boost cyber capabilities, anti-submarine warfare capacity and maintain the pace of the Dreadnought nuclear submarine programme.

The extra funding has been hailed as a "significant win" for Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who is said to have "lobbied hard" during his first year in the job.

But Labour peer Admiral Lord West said that the cash - although welcome - "will not stop the hollowing out" of Britain's armed forces.

Delighted that the pledge will mean the Dreadnought programme moves forward, he added: "It doesn't resolve the problem that we have of hollowing out - which is a real problem.
Story here. 

This story is instructive.  Yeah it's an issue in the UK but every Western nation seems to be facing the same difficulties.

What is the solution?

In my mind, its the old "threat" that the Pentagon rolls out every now and then.

If the requirements/responsibilities of the nation outstrip the money that its willing to spend on defense then maybe its time to scale back.

Let's be serious.

The US has an EXTRAVAGANT defense budget.

But many claim it isn't enough.

There is no doubt that fraud, waste and abuse is rampant (it is a federal agency after all) inside the organization but they've defied the simplest overwatch measures to include a serious audit.

The answer?

Maybe the UK and the US are flipsides of the same coin...maybe they both need to scale back overseas commitments AND tailor the force to meet the budget that they have.

As things stand now, especially with the worldwide commitments that the USMC is fulfilling, I lust for a 4 Division Marine Corps.  That's just not in the cards.  I cringed at the planning that once envisioned the idea of the Corps going down to 150,000 Marines.

Maybe its time to dust that off.

The USAF is talking about expanding its fighter squadrons.  That's definitely off the table.  The Navy talked about a 350 ship fleet.  That needs to be scrapped too.

I don't have a solid answer but one thing is obvious for the UK and the US.

As much as we might want it to be, things are not normal.  Budget reality needs to faced head on.

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