Today the Conservative Party - the bookies' favourite to be the next government of old Blighty - sets out as much of its plans on national-security matters as it is willing to share before this year's election. PM-in-waiting David Cameron, in a speech delivered today at Chatham House, promised "one of the most radical departures …
...always been at war with Eurasia.
Still perpetuating the myth of American superiority
> "With this commitment in advance to keep on paying UK factories to reinvent American wheels"
Seriously, change the record. The American defence industry doesn't have some sort of intrinsic awesomeness that makes them automatically superior, and it makes little sense for us to continue running down what little remains of our own industry to make foreign shareholders rich. We once did and still can make world-beating goods ourselves; I'm not really sure what's to be gained by giving up and saying "we're too crap to manage, let's be forever beholden to our masters and betters in the US instead". So let's not, eh?
Not inherently better, but ...
The US defenc/se industry is not intrinsically better, no, but when their budget is more than the next ten national defence budgets *combined*, they will naturally be ahead. That also excludes the exceptional funding for Iraq and Afghanistan. That much money buys a lot of Russian, Chinese, Indian and European engineers, so in effect the brains of the rest of the world are also at the disposal of the US defence industry.
When "British" corporates like BAe have more or less shipped out to the US anyway, but are happy to carry on taking UK tax subsidies and, quite frankly, the piss, it seems like we're wasting a lot of money for negative net benefit, no?
I agree It would be nice to be completely self-reliant for defence again, but do you honestly believe that will ever happen? Bearing in mind it's an all or nothing deal. Either we are or we aren't. No point in having British-made stuff with foreign tech in the recipe.
Nobody's saying we should have armed forces equipped entirely with badly-matched or inadequate OTS stuff from the Septics, just that there are a LOT of white elephants hoovering up cash that could be better spent on real progress in areas that matter more.
We don't have an empire, we don't have the resources. We punch way above our weight, which is a whole other issue, but if we're going to spend such a torrent of cash on defence then I would honestly rather see my money spent more wisely.
Permanent War Cabinet?
Doesn't that mean we have to be permanently at war with someone?
Now where have I heard that before?
Perhaps it's just me
But I didn't read that as solely engaging the British defence industry but rather the industry as a whole. And I have to agree with AC - we're perfectly capable of making top level kit ourselves when the stars align, or substantially improving other peoples kit.
I point to the Lynx as a perfect example of a world beating small utility helicopter, or the Challenger 2 as a world beating MBT, or if we want to go back in time, the Bucanner as one of the worlds premier maritime strike aircraft, or hell, the Baker Rifle as one of the worlds foremost infantry weapons.
Or we could wind back the clock even further to the English Longbow - show me a comparable weapon the United States of America had at that time ;)
Re: Still perpetuating the myth of American superiority
It isn't about superiority, though there's little enough to show for UK defense research spending these days. It is about cost.
The US government blow horrifying amounts of money on their military, and like all good capitalists are willing to let other people benefit from their experience and economies of scale, for the right price.
When it comes to a choice between adequate US equipment at a reasonable price, compared to UK or EU equipment of dubious worth and alarming expense, I know where I'd rather my tax pennies went.
Wrong interpretation of defence strategy. A more accurate interpretation is, "We will engage defence industry to make sure that the profitability of relevant companies (ones that have Tory presence on the boards and shares etc) will be secured for the long term benefit of the stakeholders. This will be achieved through extensive privatisation of the MoD and will ensure, wherever possible, that equipment decisions are made by companies (and Tory Ministers) not civil servants. To implement this we shall pretend that military people are capable of making good procurement decisions by putting them in charge and then privatising them when those projects inevitably fail."
Voila, enough said!
CyberIntelAIgent Security Operations Theatre Modus Operandi
Keep IT Simple and SurReal ..... Command CyberSpace 42 Control Earth.
Does Anyone know who speaks with Authority for Blighty on Cyber Security and Advanced IntelAIgent Virtual Defence Matters/Programs. Who is the Lead Point of Contact?
Or is it a Ghost Appointment in a Quango Office with Sinecure Positions?
And with Dave the Rave and his Merry Men and Magnificent Maidens Undoubted Fans of El Reg, for the Register is a Star in the Top 20 blog roll on the Blue Blog .... http://blog.conservatives.com/index.php ..... can they never say that they were never asked for their Leader in the Field.
With a permanent "war cabinet"
does that mean they can have permanent "extraordinary executive powers"?
Also, and rather bizarrely, I agree with amanfromMars. I'm not sure that's healthy.
We have to remove tax, then remove the income tax workers on our projects pay, then remove the benefits that we would expect some of those workers to claim, then, and only then, can we compare the prices from UK manufacturers to foreign ones.
Of course, that doesn't mean that the foreign product won't be better, which is whole different argument.
Define those items which you want manufactured in the UK
Issues would seem to be:-
1) poor definition of what the UK needs to retain design and production capability for (eg, nukes, nuclear subs, ships, some aircraft, some missiles, small arms and ammunition ). Having decided on this, ensure that we maintain numbers large enough to ensure production is ticking over at least; rebuilding capabilities after they have atrophied is difficult (see Astute).
2) make decisions and stick to them. We have repeatedly bought penny packets of aircraft rather than deciding to replace an entire class, eg C130J/C130K, EH101/Puma/Chinook. This has caused large additional costs
3) buy off the shelf by default if the class of equipment if it exists already, license produce only if the numbers are large enough. Examples of silly decisions; MRA4 Nimrod
4) avoid european collaboration as much as possible because of the political interference. if the governent is signing the teaming agreement, it's probably already poorly specified. If it already exists, see point 3. If it doesn't, take a leaf out of the Swedes and pay a contractor from where ever to do the work for you. BAE designed the Gripen's wings for example
Ministry of War
Why not go the whole hog and simply bring back the Ministry of War, with full Timelord apparel?
And how can you have permanent 'extraordinary' powers?
A regime about to war with its own people
Permanent war cabinet implies a permanent war chest. To keep the peons continuing to fill the war chest I hear Dave Cameraman will set up a new 'Homeland Command'. It sounds like Mao's favourite little helper is about to be pointed at us on a street near you shortly (CCTV will help with remote ranging). What have the Generals to say about the prospect of the army being used against socialist-agitated demonstrations and riots that seem to be anticipated with this provision?
Hang on a minute Davey boy
Isn't that jumping the gun? You've got to get into power first - not exactly a dead cert, despite being up against the lamest duck in generations.
And as for "...everyone in law enforcement will become "cyber literate" under their rule" - is that before or after they're made "law literate"?
As the Tory motto goes: "If you want change, vote for anyone but us."
As others have asked- does this mean we need to be at war all the time?
Who is there in the big, wide world that we can take on for a considerable time at low cost and also be 'bad' enough that we can maintain the required hatred of the gullible public?
Is this the way to deal with unemployment -- national service for all young people out of work?
Hmm, whole divisions of graduates who are all officers, ranked according to uni grades, plenty of 'pals' to go off as cannon fodder (hopefully from all the towns where the BNP/UKIP/TPA are popular (apart from money what's the difference) to go and clean the world of -- erm, Muslims most likely as they are the anti-christ.
It's the return to the Days of the Empire and Carry on up the Khyber - but who will be Sir Sidney Roughdiamond and who will be the Khazi?
To Shiny-Headed Dave and his mates -- Fakir Off!
...We'll do everything that NuLabour did, but add some more bureaucracy and import the ideology of GWoT from that nice Mr Bush.
1. Will you attempt to maintain Britain as a Great Power (ref: RUSI - A Force For Honour)?
2. How will you maintain Britain as a Great Power (ref: RUSI - A Force For Honour)?
3. Are you willing to cough up the requisite beads to fund that strategic ambition?
Britain should follow the Strategic Raiding doctrine as outlined by RUSI.
As a great Canadian once said ... “There is No Whore, Like and Old Whore”
Perhaps it is most profitable to just design and redesign.
Field deployment risks embarrassment and loss of credibility. Worse than that, monies that might gainfully be directed towards more R & D spending become lost to manufacturing and support.
Climategate is great. The threat persists in an inconclusive and unresolvable state.
Needs more money.