message for armed forces day
Today is the day not just to celebrate and thank Britain's armed forces but also to remember that without adequate resources our military capabilities will continue to diminish, thus harming the UK's global reach and influence, and leaving our forces dangerously overstretched in the event of any future emergency or increase in threats to our security, our trade, our food and energy supplies, and our economic interests.
public accounts committee tackles the defence equipment plan
Not as many sparks as the HoC Defence Select Committee on 12th May (chaired by Tobias Elwood), but the 2 hour Public Accounts Committee on 28th May does raise some key Defence Capability questions and accusations, linking the expenditure on the Defence Equipment Plan with Defence capabilities on the back on a couple of critical NAO reports - which concluded the Equipment Plan is unaffordable, with capabilities entering service months or even years late. From the off the Chair goes for the jugular. The proceedings unashamedly tackles the acknowledged fact the Defence budget is out of balance, that a drip fed funding of the military (from the Treasury) is not sustainable and the military warnings that it may have to cut kit and training to stay in budget. What's more it's a stellar cast of witnesses: Sir Stephen Lovegrove, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence; Charlie Pate, Director General Finance, Ministry of Defence; Sir Simon Bollom, Chief Executive, Defence Equipment and Support, Ministry of Defence; Air Marshal Richard Knighton CB, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Financial and Military Capability), Ministry of Defence; Air Commodore David Bradshaw, Assistant Chief of Staff Capability Delivery Combat Air, Ministry of Defence.
We must not take our eyes off the ball. important debate on defence continues
The House of Commons Defence Select Committee proceedings on Tuesday 12th May is a 2 hour must watch/listen, echoing the many critical thoughts of Defence UK on the MOD and Government. Chaired by Tobias Ellwood, its subject "Defence industrial policy, procurement and prosperity" masked what turned out to be a rich and strikingly frank exposition of MOD challenges and issues. Importantly with no MOD representatives, attendees during the first session focused on the state of the UK’s defence industrial strategy; major issues related to the MOD’s procurement processes; the absence of a UK land strategy; and the importance of the UK’s defence sovereignty. In particular, both Lieutenant General (Retired) Sir Mark Poffley (Former Deputy Chief of Defence Staff - Military Capability 2016-2018, Ministry of Defence) and Francis Tusa (defence journalist) pull no punches and offer some hard but welcome evidence and advice. This was then followed by a second session with Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, concerning the UK’s defence prosperity.
Link to the proceeding is here:
Let us not forget the role of the armed forces in the corona-virus emergency
How many people know that within all levels of local government there exists, an emergency reaction department (a relic of the former civil defence organisation)? Part of their contingency planning is to identify possible refuge centres and, to this end, village halls, schools, sports centres and other public venues have been identified and in some cases slightly modified to act as emergency accommodation. Centres such as the London Excel and Birmingham NEC, with their labyrinth of flexible under floor electrical connections, water supplies, toilets, kitchens and good access for ambulances and other vehicles, will not have avoided attention. Thus, working to NHS requirements, the Army, with the local authorities and the people who normally re-arrange these centres for exhibitions, have been able to quickly set them up so that the screened compartments are for patients, not exhibitors.
pro patria - Journal of defence uk - 2019 volume 1
At the official launch of Defence UK on 16th October 2019 the first edition of Pro Patria, the Journal of Defence UK was published. It can be read online by selecting the heading above. Hard copies are available from Defence UK, PO Box 819, Portsmouth PO1 9FF.
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“Defence UK is an independent pressure group that campaigns for a strong and well-resourced Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force, to ensure the security of the United Kingdom, her Sovereign Territories, trade and commerce, and to protect her citizens wherever they may be. We also call for a greater commitment by the UK Government to the nation's defence industries, and to non-military services such as the Merchant Navy, Coastguard, Border Control and Homeland Security that are essential to the Defence of the Realm.”