Tuesday, April 10, 2012

DTN News - BRITISH DEFENSE NEWS: The SDSR Is A Slash-And-Burn Campaign Plan - And It's Time The Government Admitted It

Defense News: DTN News - BRITISH DEFENSE NEWS: The SDSR Is A Slash-And-Burn Campaign Plan - And It's Time The Government Admitted It
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By William Forbes - Daily Mail UK
(NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - April 10, 2012: Four days ago I wrote, in respect of the Falkland Islands but with relevance to all British interests in the wider sense:
'The most effective deterrent of all, the true guardian of the Islands‘ security, is British clarity of vision, rational national defence policies, and consistently unambiguous and fudge-free ministerial communication. Those are issues this blog will examine during the next few months.'

Our theme for this, Rational Defence First, is linked to Effects-Based Financing (EBF) and to unwavering insistence on Integrity as the principal virtue of our national leaders. That integrity must include the willingness to admit incapacity, to acknowledge failure, and to surrender office to others better qualified in knowledge, experience and skill.

So where, amid what defence analysts recognise as a truly appalling political, economic and military situation, should we begin? If we are to concentrate on what has happened and will happen under the present coalition government (treating the dreadful years of Mr Brown’s stewardship, about which we can do little now, as merely the platform for future disasters we can still avert), then the obvious place to begin is this government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, the SDSR (or, as it is known among defence analysts, the Suicidal Disarmament and Surrender Retreat).      

Fair-minded readers may ask whether the selection of such a defenceless target can be justifed? Perhaps it seems like bullying, but effectively the target has been chosen for us by the government’s own insistence that the SDSR will not be amended (even while ministers surreptitiously seek to do just that as the true horror of their position, and of the nation’s military weakness, sinks into the government’s addled corporate brain). 

Despite its condemnation by a host of defence experts, highly qualified by experience, especially by members of the United Kingdom National Defence Association (UKNDA), whose criticisms are countered solely by personal smears (but while the MoD employs a battalion of PR spin doctors they may as well be used, no?), and despite the mounting evidence of the SDSR’s irrelevance, the government refuses to budge from its obtuse stance.

Again it may be asked if such criticism is not rather too harsh, for were the authors of the SDSR themselves not highly qualified experts who knew exactly what they were doing? Well, yes, they did know, but they were not composing the rational strategic review expected from their deliberations and they did not produce oneThey were responding to what the Treasury dictated, not to strategic requirements, and the result was a slash-and-burn campaign plan that is incrementally destroying the UK’s ability to protect its sovereign interests.

As independent analysts everywhere accused the government of fantasy, a serious charge when the nation’s defences are in question, again we must ask if the charge is too harsh. To this the analysts reply that the hub of the SDSR’s thinking is the acquisition at some time in the future of two aircraft carriers equipped, at some further time in the future, with squadrons of the F-35B or F-35C Joint Strike Fighters. Future issues of this blog will deal extensively with the practicality of this plan, especially in respect of its cost (which is already, we are told, out of control, and far beyond our ability to pay), but for today I shall restrict the criticisms to those in a formal paper I have had on file for a year.

The basis of the paper’s argument was ‘the conflict between the SDSR’s representation of the F-35 JSF as “the world’s most advanced multi-role combat jet” and (when paired with the Typhoon) “two of the world’s most capable combat aircraft”, a claim for which the MoD can produce no valid evidence ...’ and the paper charged: ‘The SDSR claim was untrue and destroyed its credibility.’ 

The paragraph of the SDSR relevant to this stated:

“Our fast jet fleet will be made up of two modern and highly capable multi-role combat aircraft, the Typhoon and Joint Strike Fighter. This combination will provide the flexibility and strike power to deal with a variety of new and existing threats, while also radically improving cost-effectiveness and efficiency.” 

The Typhoon was described two decades ago by a very senior RAF officer as “the aircraft that will bankrupt the Air Force,” and it has been reported that when quoted to an American audience it drew a snort of derision: “We have an airplane that will bankrupt the whole ******* country.”  The full JSF programme began life modestly, so when it was predicted that its cost would rise to near one trillion dollars there were questions to answer. First there was denial, and then admission that this might possibly be correct, then that it was but it might be higher, then that it would be $1.3 trillion, then $1.45 trillion, and now there are rumours it will be $1.5 trillion (or $1,500 billion, or $1,500,000,000,000 if that is easier for the MoD, which has problems with figures, to comprehend). 

The paper continues with a reference to a recent letter from the MoD pleading that 'the JSF programme is in the early development stage' and thus implicitly accepting the validity of the original criticism of the SDSR’s promotion of the JSF as a superior aircraft in its category, and also of the MoD’s subsequent claims that it is most 'cost-effective'
Such claims may easily mislead the public. No aircraft in the inchoate development stage of the JSF – nine years behind schedule and with three million lines of code yet to be written (another six years at the current rate of progress) – can be portrayed as one of the world’s best, nor may it be validly described as 'cost-effective' when neither its costs nor its effectiveness are known or are capable of calculation.

We shall have much to discuss on this fantasy in future issues of the blog, principally on the grounds that, first, the carriers, if they are ever ready to put to sea ten years or more from now, will be too vulnerable to risk in war, and second, that the JSF design is not what the UK wants or can afford.

So the SDSR should be scrapped immediately, plans for any more cuts should be stopped immediately, and a new review commissioned for production within a realistic timescale. The SDSR, as the government must understand, has no credibility and has been shown, in its distortion of the truth about the immense financial commitments the MoD is making on our behalf, that it lacks the integrity essential for government communications in a democracy.

Having started with the SDSR, several of the coming posts must be used to provide the information the MoD has forgotten to give the public. None of it is secret. All will be taken from material in the public domain, much of it in America. Owing to the crucial role of the carriers-JSF programme in the SDSR's plans, most of it will be concentrated on these two immensely expensive items - whose real costs, the MoD has admitted, have been grossly underestimated by the department's ‘conspiracy of optimism’ and hidden by processes described in Parliament as ‘dysfunctional and incompetent’.


*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By William Forbes - Daily Mail UK
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News Contact:dtnnews@ymail.com 

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