Modernising Defence Programme
It cannot be stated too highly that the results of this exercise will determine the future of the defence of the UK for many years to come. The Government has the opportunity to put right some of the, potentially disastrous, decisions of recent years, particularly those emanating from SDSR 2010.
I was interested to read some of the evidence given to the Defence Select Committee by some leading defence journalists recently. Here are a few quotes from that session:
“Quite simply, we have completely hollowed out our ability to fight a conventional war.” (Deborah Haynes - The Times)
“I think that people who are not engaged in defence, and who do not work for the Ministry of Defence or as defence journalists have no real concept of the threat we face from Russia. In the past, the older generations knew what it was like to fight in World War Two and live through the cold war, whereas younger generations have no idea.” (Larisa Brown - Daily Mail)
There was some discussion about the ability of Service Chiefs to give interviews and to speak out on their concerns. This led to the next quoted comment.
“First, I second what Larisa and Deborah have said on access to senior chiefs, although I have been fortunate enough to interview some of the senior chiefs, including the CDS. However, last year I was particularly frustrated that in the Year of the Royal Navy, to the best of my knowledge—I have never been countered on this—the First Sea Lord did not do a single interview with any media outlet. I think it would help if they did speak publicly more, because I think the military’s best advert is their people, and that has to be led from the top.” (Alistair Bunkall - Sky News)
It is really depressing in these defence debates that it is the same amazing MPs who love defence and understand it. What about all the other MPs who have military bases and veterans in their constituencies and the defence industry providing a huge economic lifeline to their constituencies? Where are they? Why are they not interested? (Deborah Haynes)
I wonder what the press will have to say after this review.