Coalition sacks brave troops rather than risk anger of defence contractors

The Government's axe looks like it will fall on the the frontline. It has been announced that there will be a reduction in the number of service men and women in order to save money, whilst continuing with massive defence procurement spending - drawing criticism from the Pentagon and the tabloid press alike.

The Government’s axe looks like it will fall on the the frontline. It has been announced that there will be a reduction in the number of service men and women in order to save money, whilst continuing with massive defence procurement spending – drawing criticism from the Pentagon and the tabloid press alike.

Today The Sun accuses the Coalition of betraying Britain’s “frontline heroes”. US Defense Department officials too have warned the Ministry of Defence that swingeing cuts “could widen the transatlantic divide in military power and spending”.

As Paul Mason’s must read analysis of the internal debate between the Ministry of Defence, the Treasury and defence experts makes clear, the Strategic Defence & Security Review (pdf) is a “Treasury driven” process in which budget cuts are prioritised over strategic choices. As such, defence secretary Liam Fox looks set to make true on his June pledge to cut “ruthlessly and without sentiment” – even at a cost to frontline forces.

Coalition defence priorities continue to confuse. On the one hand, the Coalition looks set to favour the construction of aircraft carriers, the purchase of the Joint Strike Fighter, continued pursuit of the high cost and highly questionable Future Rapid Effetcs System (the American equivalent of which the Obama Administration has cancelled) and of course, the imminent renewal of the Trident nuclear deterrent. On the other hand, the MoD is preparing to scrap a full brigade of Army forces with units in the frame for cuts including the illustrious Ghurkas.

The quixotic nature of the Government’s defence spending priorities – particularly the emerging preference for procurement programmes over frontline forces – is sure to raise questions as to the objectivity and indeed validity of the forthcoming Strategic Defence & Security Review.

If it is indeed the choice of the Coalition to sack those fighting in Afghanistan rather then risk the anger of defence contractors, then serious questions must be asked as to the Government’s commitment to British defence as opposed to British defence spending.

18 Responses to “Coalition sacks brave troops rather than risk anger of defence contractors”

  1. jennifer roberts

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition sacks brave troops rather than risk anger of defence contractors: //bit.ly/cuiRcs says @marcusaroberts

  2. JCBua

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition sacks brave troops rather than risk anger of defence contractors: //bit.ly/cuiRcs says @marcusaroberts

  3. Shamik Das

    Coalition sacks brave troops rather than risk anger of defence contractors: //bit.ly/cuiRcs reports @marcusaroberts on @leftfootfwd

  4. David Pearce

    #ConDem #coalition draws criticism from the Pentagon & tabloid press on defence procurement spending //bit.ly/akTgN2 via @leftfootfwd

  5. Bileys Mullet

    RT @leftfootfwd: Coalition sacks brave troops rather than risk anger of defence contractors: //bit.ly/cuiRcs says @marcusaroberts

  6. Matt

    “serious questions must be asked as to the Government’s commitment to British defence”

    Seeing as our invasion and almost decade-long occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has done far more than anything else to create a new generation of Jihadists and put British citizens at risk of more terrorist violence, these questions you alude to are, by now, very old ones.

  7. Frank Spring

    Good piece by @marcusaroberts on UK defence policy //tinyurl.com/32s7co2

  8. Patrick

    Brilliant piece. ‘Decide not to decide.’ Or why not share our aircraft carriers with the French? We always have the same foreign and maritme strategies don’t we? Like in Oran.
    And troops remain the mmost flexible tool in the changing nature of war… I think General McAuliffe got it right: ‘Nuts!’

  9. Marcus A. Roberts

    My take on the coalition's bizarre defence spending priorities //tinyurl.com/32s7co2

  10. Robert

    But an expensive tool, men are expensive you have to cloth them feed them, we have been used by the UN as police, sorry for a long time now if the UN wants to have a police force then it has to pay for it, everything these days have a price.

    My worry is for the hundreds if not thousands of disabled people still within the military, whats going to happen to them now.

  11. Simon

    How soon will the ConDems back down? I reckon next week.

  12. mike

    all those right wing red necks attacking us
    lets see what they do when faced with real cuts to the naval airforce and army

    working class kids and their families on the dole

  13. George McLean

    I think your contributions on this should avoid the term “deterrent” when used in relation to Trident.

  14. Mr. Sensible

    I find it interesting how the Coalition has performed such an about turn on the Gurkhas.

  15. Martha

    I guess Marcus failed to notice that BAE Systems announced a possible 1,000 job losses last week, citing the impending cuts in the defence budget? Has he considered who the employees of defence contractors are? It’s hardly a bunch of well-paid fat cats. The UK defence industry is world class (£7.2 bn in exports last year, largest exporter in EU, largest exporter of defence/security equipment to the US) and one of the few bits of our decimated manuacturing sector that is still doing well. This is an ill-considered, confused article that reeks of a knee-jerk reaction towards the defence industry.

  16. Trident delay rumours lead to contrasting reactions on all sides | Left Foot Forward

    […] a Coalition defence policy that cuts frontline troops whilst spending significant sums on long term defence procurement contracts. Share | Permalink | Comments Off […]

  17. MoD agrees to 8% cut as Army chief and Clinton voice concerns | Left Foot Forward

    […] and, indeed, British troops continue to distinguish themselves in Afghanistan. Yet, as has been covered here at Left Foot Forward, the coalition government has threatened to reduce the British infantry by a […]

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