Defence UK patron, lord west, comments on the latest world crisis
"The crisis that blew up last weekend shows what a vital role Britain has in global security. No nation is better placed to work to keep the conflict from spiralling out of control.
Our leading politicians recite the rubric that their greatest responsibility is the defence and security of the nation and its people worldwide. Their actions belie this: they seem to imagine that future wars will be fought solely in cyberspace and that there's no need for military equipment.
That is dangerous nonsense. Those, like me, who have warned of chronic underfunding have been told time and again that we were wrong. The reality is that, when our Armed Forces are suddenly needed, they will lack the equipment and the manpower to keep us safe.
We saw this vividly last year when Iran took hostile action in the Straits of Hormuz, attacking an oil tanker flying the British ensign. Because of the nature of international shipping, there were no British sailors among that crew – rather to the surprise of the Iranians, I think. If any of our nationals had been unlucky enough to be captured, I am sure they would still be held as hostages today.
Rather late, two Navy ships are now being deployed to the Persian Gulf: the Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose and the Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender.
That force is insufficient. My assessment is that we need at least six ships constantly on patrol in the Straits to avert another attack."
From article in the Daily Mail 8th January 2020
as we enter 2020
Five years ago Defence UK Vice President, Professor Andrew Roberts, gave a lecture entitled: “Why Our Wars Are Never the Ones We Think They’re Going to Be”. His words are as relevant today as then. The government has announced that a wide ranging review of defence and global policy will take place during 2020. We cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past. The defence budget cannot be treated as an area which can be cut to subsidise other government spending. Nor can we afford to reduce capability in one area simply to fund other areas which are considered to counter more likely threats.
Those conducting the review would do well to heed Professor Roberts when he said: “The only thing that is predictable in warfare is its unpredictability. As soon as experts, general staffs and politicians decide what they believe will be the nature of the next war in order to prepare for it properly, an entirely different kind of conflict develops. The witness of history is so uniform in this regard that it needs to become a general law of warfare: The war we expect and plan for is almost never the one we’re called upon to fight.'
For all we know today, drones and satellites and cyber might be the Zeppelins or crossbows of the future, wildly overstated as war-winning weapons.”
Wise words from our pre-eminent historian.
4th January 2020
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.”