back to article MoD turns to bloggers for advice on UK defence policy

With the major parties agreed that a full defence review is to be carried out after the election - thus avoiding any need to let the public vote for what it wants - one wouldn't expect yesterday's MoD green paper to say much, and indeed it mostly doesn't. However there are a few snippets of mild interest: an admission that the …


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  1. S Larti

    coming soon

    the remotely piloted army, run by geeks in a blogroom.

  2. Richard 81


    Army Air Corps and a Fleet Air Arm make sense to me, flying is flying. Merging the navy and army makes no sense though. They have completely different roles and we already have marines.

  3. Optymystic


    Purely from an organizational point of view, ignoring the military aspect, if you reduce the preposterous numbers of senior ranks, who are probably creating work for one another as well as conducting their ridiculous inter service feuds and vendettas, you can probably get to the point at which service can talk to service sensibly. Under these circumstance reducing from 3 to 2 services may well be unnecessary to secure greater efficiency and co-ordination.

  4. Robert Grant Silver badge

    The solution's simple

    They should give promotion based on whether there's a job vacancy, not on whether they think someone deserves it.

    OR they should introduce Prestige classes into the services. "Yeah I'm a Private First Class, but I've prestiged twice already."

  5. PaulK


    Retire everybody above the ranks of Captain (Navy), Colonel or Squadron Leader. Sack all the Whitehall leaches. That gets rid of most of the obstacles.

    The whole lot should then be reformed into a unified strike force along the lines of US Marines. They have a single chain of command with land, sea and air assets and none of this inter service rivalry. Save the fighting for the fuzzywuzzies, you morons, not your mate in light blue.

    Britain will not have an effective defence strategy until this is taken care of. Deep down you know it is right - this will save far more than Gordon Broon could ever dream of give the UK a force worthy of the 21st century. Our forces are admired today as hard bastards and complete nutters (what you want in a front line troop!) because they go into battle with peashooters and cloth caps. Just imagine how hard they would be if they had the right kit and effective leadership.

  6. Peter 6


    Bob Ainsworth might be better off getting his advice from the War is Boring and Free Range International blogs who provide sensible advice (i.e. don't hide in MRAPs or FOBs)

    If Bob Ainsworth paid attention to El Reg's "Military man" then all our kit would be American and only marginally cheaper, the Navy would still be facing a crippling shortfall in new Frigates and Destroyers and we'd probably be ploughing our money into buying loads of nice F35s which, despite being waaaaay over budget are American and thus are "cheap off the shelf kit" regardless of the facts.

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "Kings of War"

    Is that Playstation, PSP or XBox?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    For non-MoD eyes only

    Now I suppose retaining lots of flag rank brass might be justified on grounds of difficulty of finding qualified people when you really need them, but military brass thriving in office warfare don't tend to be the go-getting field commanders you usually need to succeed in a shooting war. Not too surprising then they didn't manage that very well when they had the chance to fight a jolly good one against a suitably un-plucky enemy.

    On the merging stuff, it's probably more honest to gather up all the intra-servicing and create a REMF service which, er, services the now much deduplicated fighting services. And it'd be neat in theory, but predictably not so much in practice, given how and how deep intra-service rivalries tend to run. Which itself is a sign of bad management. Best to do something about that first. But that would be a real achievement, because doing management well is hard, and I don't mean Ken and Barbie hard.

  9. william henderson 1

    makes me think...

    of british industry, whats left of it.

    full of managers, directors and secretaries, with a few belaboured oiks doing the dirty work, making the money, for sweet fa by way of recompence and always having to catch the shit for any balls-up.

  10. Graham Marsden

    Pour encourager les autres...

    ... or, at least, it would get rid of some of the redundant Admirals, Generals and so on...

  11. James Pickett

    Deja vu

    “300 MoD civil servants in the top four grades”

    You have to admire the prescience of G&S, who wrote: “Stand by your desk and never go to sea, and you’ll soon be ruler of the Queen’s Navy” over 130 years ago. Plus ca change...

  12. Ned Leprosy

    "Two star general"

    Huh? No such thing, last I heard, unless our army really is being managed by the Americans now.

  13. Tom Maddox Silver badge


    "[T]he Chief of the Defence Staff - Air Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup" -- I think I see part of your problem. There's no way this person can be real, therefore it's clear that the British High Command has been infiltrated by Anonymous or some other group of pranksters determined to throw the military into disarray. Sounds like it's working, too!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who Cares

    the UK military is pretty pathetic, staffed by a bunch of girly boy lunatics. Let's get the cannon fodder into some more conflicts, under funded, and improve the genetic line.

    MoD wouldn't even ask them to defend their own boat in neutral territory they will probably just surrender.

  15. Nigee

    rank inflation

    The ranks of senior positions in MoD is to a considerable extent determined by the civil service grades involved at the same organisational level. These are determined by civil service rules, this is a far bigger issue than MoD. Of course this might be a bit difficult for the peasantry to grasp, so its much easier to indulge in underinformed rants.

    The rank inflation problem is worst in the RAF, they've managed to convince everyone that one of their flying squadrons is equivalent to a battalion in the army, it balloons nicely out and upwards from there. Navy flying may well be similar, but army flying squadrons are company level. WO & NCO pilots in RN and RAF would be a good step forward as well.

    1. arkhangelsk

      That's because it is...

      Personally, I don't see much problem with saying a fighter squadron of 12-24 fighters is "battalion-level".

      Don't remember exactly about Brit artillery squadrons but typically an arty battalion has 18-24 or so pieces, and traditionally they'll be used in batteries so you really only have 3-4pcs on the board. A fighter squadron of 12 fighters will have SIX (or in a pinch, even twelve if you give up the Wingman Rule) maneuver elements moving around much faster and over a much wider area and a 24 plane squadron will have 12. Why would the latter not qualify as a battalion if the former can?

      In naval terms, a fighter squadron might be equated to a Fast Attack Craft squadron of 12+, except it moves faster and covers its range more quickly. Try telling a naval admiral that 12 ships (though small) should be headed by a naval Lieutenant or even a Lieutenant Commander.

  16. Coltek

    If things don't change...

    Been the same since Pontious got his pilot's wings - lots and lots of Rodneys'

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