The Government has today launched a Green Paper which marks the formal consultation on Equipment, Support and Technology for UK Defence and Security.
The consultation, led by the Ministry of Defence and Home Office, will cover a range of issues, including national security, working with other countries, exports, small & medium-sized enterprises and cyber security. This is the first time these key issues have been considered together from both a defence and security perspective.
The Green Paper provides details of the consultation which will last for three months, commencing in the New Year. This will lead to a White Paper, published in Spring 2011, which will set out the Government's approach to industry and technology policy in the defence and security domains over the next five years.
Minister for Defence, Equipment, Support and Technology, Peter Luff said:
"To ensure our Armed Forces have the equipment and support they need, industry requires as much clarity as possible to plan its investment in research and production. The Strategic Defence and Security Review made clear that this consultation is an opportunity for industry and the public to help us shape how we deliver some of the vital components of our national security."
Security Minister Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones said:
"As we said in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, Government needs to be smarter in the way that we meet the challenges to national security. Defence and security go hand in hand in many areas, which is why we are increasingly joining efforts to deliver solutions."
A report by Intellect, July 2010
Information Superiority (IS) is essential to protecting and defending UK nationals from various threats. Whereas the utility of platform capabilities such as warships, submarines, and military aircrafts provide a very visible role in enhancing the nation's security, IS capabilities, whilst less visible, are the most critical capabilities in achieving the UK's defence and security goals. This paper, written by Intellect, will illustrate how these technologies benefit the UK's defence and security operations. Intellect is the trade association for the UK technology Industry, representing around 800 companies across the information technology, telecommunications, and electronics sectors. Its members include the strategically important companies active in the defence and security markets of interest to the UK.
IS provides the foundation for the UK's intelligence and information capabilities. These capabilities form the eyes, ears, and nervous system to the Ministry of Defence's (MoD) military operations. The UK's success in defending and securing the country from current and future threats depends on the country's ability to understand its adversaries' movements and intentions and the environments that they operate in. Gaining this understanding means that UK Armed Forces must be capable of continuously collecting (sense) critical data, interpreting what this data means by transforming it into useful and usable information or intelligence (understand), communicating this information to those who need it (share), and exploiting this information to make better informed decisions (decide).
Tangible benefits arising from various IS capabilities are evident in the context of the UK's current and likely future operations. For example, when conducting counter-insurgency operations, a strategy employed by UK forces in Afghanistan, information is the key capability for determining success. The UK must understand the operational environment better than the enemy, i.e., achieve information superiority. Industry's IS capabilities also play a critical role in ensuring the security and resilience of the UK, its public and private sector, and its critical national infrastructure. In this capacity, IS is critical in policing and emergency response activities.
By investing in these capabilities, the UK's defence and security operations benefit from increased effectiveness in the precision of action and the ability to conduct joint operations, which often lead to reduced fratricide and improved survivability both of defence and security forces and equipment. Therefore, IS capabilities allow the UK to defend and secure the nation at a smaller cost, both in terms of money and the loss of life.
By Nick Watts
The government's proposed Defence Industrial Technology Policy (DITP) will be published in December. Or rather, it will be the basis for a discussion between industry and government. Both sides have much at stake, so the outcome is important. Getting the right answers means asking the right questions. The government and the MOD each need to ask three questions when formulating the DITP:
How can the UK secure the necessary operational sovereignty to guarantee the provision of key strategic capability into the future?How best can the government partner with industry to ensure the continuation of a viable defence sector in the UK?How can the government help the UK's defence sector to explore and exploit opportunities in the export market?
For its part Industry also needs to collectively consider three questions, as it engages with the government and MOD:
How will industry adjust to the stated aim of MOD to reduce the number of operating platforms: how will this enable the UK to retain a viable defence industry? To what extent can exports help pull through programmes for the UK market?How can industry help MOD reform its acquisition process, to ensure that programmes get developed quickly and that equipment is delivered on time and on budget?
The DITP will be a Green Paper, a discussion document. This is intended to guide the subsequent discussions so that a White Paper can result. The White Paper will represent the government's settled view on the future of the MOD's industrial and technology policy for the life of this parliament, and at least until the next SDR in 2015. In the context of the SDSR and the CSR, there is much gloomy talk in the air. Yet both sides of this discussion have a mutual interest in ensuring that the other survives to fight another day.
The context, while not promising could be a lot worse. After the fall of communism the subsequent peace dividend took its toll on both the armed forces of the west and the defence industry. The notorious "Last supper" of 1993 encapsulated this. US Defence Secretary Aspin told the leaders of the 15 largest US defence contractors that the DOD was not going to solve industry's over capacity problem. The result was a wave of consolidation which has produced stronger contractors now. In Europe and the UK a similar series of consolidations took place.
The world in 2010 is far different from 1990, when policy makers were trying to get their heads around what the changes of 1989 meant. The SDSR set the context within which the industrial and technology questions need to be considered. The arithmetic of the CSR is another factor affecting the DITP. The contemporary setting does not allow the laissez faire approach adopted by Les Aspin in 1993, however much the government may wish.
Articles taken from Flight International Magazine.
1st November: Lockheed Martin eyes common architecture for F-35, F-22
Lockheed Martin is looking at revamping several of the F-22's most critical systems with hardware from the F-35.
The initiative would create a common architecture that links upgrades of the radar, electronic warfare suite and communications, navigation and identification (CNI) system to both aircraft.
3rd November: Lockheed's F-35 faces second restructuring this year
Facing a new round of cost overruns and schedule delays, the Lockheed Martin F-35 programme will finish the final two months of 2010 in much the same way as it opened the year.
One more year of development and an extra $5 billion may be added on top of previous extensions, according to the preliminary findings of a major F-35 review leaked by the Center for Defense Information (CDI), a well-connected think-tank.
12th November: F-35 cuts 'could slash US budget': report
The US government could save about $58 billion by slashing four major aerospace and defence accounts, a presidential commission advises in a draft proposal released on 10 November.
15th November: F-35B flies with Block 1.0 software
Lockheed Martin has flown an F-35 flight test aircraft with the third of five major blocks of software for the first time. The advance represents a key step, as the programme has struggled to deliver an estimated 11.6 million lines of code demanded by fusing the aircraft's advanced sensors and avionics.
22nd November: Latest deal for 31 F-35s shows slight price decline
Lockheed Martin has finalised a nearly $3.5 billion contract to deliver 31 more F-35s at a slightly lower price than last year.
The contract award, announced late on 19 November, is a key boost for Lockheed's F-35 production programme as top Department of Defense officials are scheduled to meet on 22 November to review possible new delays and cost overruns on the development side.
The $3.5 billion award is the third contract Lockheed has received as part of the fourth lot of low-rate initial production (LRIP-4), which will be delivered in fiscal year 2013.
22nd November: Fatigue cracks raise questions about key decision in F-35 redesign
Lockheed Martin has discovered fatigue cracks on an aluminium bulkhead inside a ground test aircraft for the short take-off and landing F-35B variant after 1,500h of durability testing.
25th November: F-35 production cost fall highlights pressures facing Lockheed
With the development phase of the Lockheed Martin F-35 under close scrutiny by US Department of Defense officials, a long-awaited contract award shows that production costs are falling, while the risks are shifting from the government to the contractor.
A $3.5 billion contract awarded on 19 November completes the orders of 30 F-35s from the USA and one from the UK in the fourth annual lot of low-rate initial production, or LRIP-4. Two other deals awarded earlier for LRIP-4 aircraft raise their total cost to $4.6 billion, or about $148 million each.
Ship 1 - HMS Daring was declared in service with the Royal Navy in July 2010.
Ship 2 - HMS Dauntless was Commissioned into the Royal Navy in June 2010. Sea Viper was fired from HMS Dauntless on 29th September in the first firing of the missile from a Type 45 platfrom.
Ship 3 - Diamond was accepted off contract at Portsmouth Naval Base in September 2010.
Ship 4 - Dragon will shortly commence her first set of sea trials.
Ship 5 - Defender was launched in October 2009 and is currently being fitted out in Glasgow.
Ship 6 - Duncan was launched on 9th October 2010 and was 60% complete on launch. The ship is named after Admiral Lord Viscount Adam Duncan who defeated the Dutch in the Battle of Camperdown on 11th October 1797.
A|D|S, the UK's AeroSpace, Defence and Security trade organisation yesterday commented on the signing of a defence treaty between UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicholas Sarkozy.
Ian Godden, Chairman of A|D|S, said:
As the natural partner to both Governments, with an existing strong element of cross-Channel co-operation, the UK-based defence industry welcomes today's treaty. This agreement may well prove crucial to both retaining and developing future capabilities within Europe by ensuring sustained investment in research and technology (R&T) - to deliver the next generation of programmes for our armed forces. The alternative, buying off the shelf from the US, is often not the appropriate solution for our troops and this development ensures that future governments will retain a choice of suppliers both UK-based and from overseas that meet the needs of our armed forces.
The UK is number one in Europe and second only to the US worldwide in terms of global defence exports market share. The UK defence sector employs over 300,000 people, generates more than £35 billion per year to the UK economy and last year our defence exports were worth £7.2 billion. Retaining a manufacturing base of this scale in Britain will sustain this economic strength for the long-term and ensure a continued competitiveness in the global market to meet the aims of the Government to grow our economy through exports.
Joint R&T programmes that lead to collaborative procurement programmes can be an efficient way of delivering capabilities to our armed forces that might not be affordable on a purely national basis. The conditions for co-operating with French industry have never been better. Both countries are seeking to sustain capabilities which they could otherwise not afford. Our R&T budgets are of similar size and we are engaged in similar operations which require similar capabilities. We look forward to joint programmes that will benefit from the efficiencies that flow from larger scale purchases and sustain skills and technology.
Articles taken from Flight International magazine.
1st October: F-35 grounded to fix new software problem
Lockheed Martin has grounded the F-35 to fix a newly-discovered software problem that can cause a fuel boost pump to shut down in flight.
The manufacturer announced the grounding order only a few hours after releasing a statement saying the F-35 was restricted from operating above 10,000ft (3,050m) because of the same problem.
7th October: F-35s resume flight operations, but problems persist
A software glitch grounded the Lockheed Martin F-35 test fleet for at least four days and the short take-off and vertical landing mode remains barred due to an unresolved mechanical problem.
Lockheed lifted a grounding order on 5 October after installing a software fix that prevents a BAE Systems-supplied fuel boost pump system from potentially failing in flight. The grounding order was announced on 1 October, but F-35s had not flown since 28 September.
The F-35B STOVL fleet has been cleared to resume conventional flights, and Lockheed officials expect the type to resume tests shortly.
7th October: New Dutch government to retain JSF commitment
The Netherlands' new coalition government is expected to maintain the nation's commitment to the test phase of Lockheed Martin's F-35 programme, although a decision on whether the type will replace its Lockheed F-16s will not be made for several more years.
8th October: Israel signs $2.75bn agreement for 20 F-35s
The letter of offer and acceptance for the supply of 20 Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth fighters to the Israeli air force was signed in New York on 7 October.
8th October: Lockheed gets funds for UK F-35 landing modification
Lockheed Martin has received a $13 million contract to incorporate a shipborne rolling vertical landing (SRVL) capability with the short take-off and vertical landing F-35B, with the work to be performed on behalf of the UK.
14th October: Israel's F-35 engine selection in dispute between rival manufacturers
An announced engine selection for Israel's first batch of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters has sparked a new dispute between both rival manufacturers.
Pratt & Whitney says the company has received a verbal commitment by Israel to buy the F135 engine to power the first batch of 20 F-35s ordered under a $2.75 billion agreement signed last week.
The General Electric/Rolls-Royce team developing the F136 alternate engine claims the selection process remains ongoing. "We fully anticipate we will have an opportunity to compete with the F136" in Israel, GE says.
19th October: P&W details success with F135 engine STOVL tests
Pratt & Whitney has completed a key test in the process to clear the initial service release for the short take-off and vertical landing version of the F135 engine powering the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Adam Dempsey, Research Associate UK Defence Forum
In the aftermath of last week's Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) many industry analysts were quick to paint a bleak future for the UK's defence sector. Further job losses are expected as hardware is retired, personnel numbers reduced and service contracts terminated. The global marketplace is unlikely to offer much in the way of respite. The United Kingdom joins France, the United States and others in seeking to offset shrinking domestic markets via exports. A crowded marketplace is further exacerbated by challenges from states with more 'joined-up' defence-industrial bases and emerging market entrants. The £650 million allocated to cyber security by the SDSR may provide new opportunities. Yet the specific nature of the UK's cyber security requirements remains unclear. Indeed, total clarity does not appear to be on the horizon.
What the SDSR makes very clear is that threats to national security emanating from cyber space are likely to increase over the next five to ten years. Whilst cyber attacks from hostile states cannot be ruled out, the actions of cyber terrorists and criminals are perhaps of greater concern. In 2009 alone 51% of all known malicious software threats were identified. The language of the SDSR also suggests that Government departments are not yet capable of fully addressing the threat. As a result, the £650 million allocated will support a National Cyber Security Programme that seeks to transform the Government's response in partnership with the private sector.
Greater clarity may be provided with the publication of the Defence Industrial Green Paper by the end of the year, followed by a White Paper in 2011. In advance of such publications, the increased emphasis upon cyber security has influenced a raft of recent mergers and acquisitions (M & A). During the third quarter of 2010 more than a third of all defence M & A concentrated on cyber security capabilities. The most high-profile acquisition was the EADS subsidiary Cassidian's purchase of the UK's Regency IT Consulting. According to Jane's, the purchase reflects Cassidian's overall cyber security strategy for the UK market. The purchase also suggests that defence companies are positioning themselves to ensure that they will benefit from the clarity that future Government documents may offer.
Cassidian's purchase of Regency IT Consulting also reflects the growing cyber security opportunities emerging throughout the international marketplace. As other markets – and indeed governments – seek to mitigate the threats posed by a cyber attack M & A focussed upon cyber security solutions are likely to increase. A cursory glance of Regency's website may also provide an insight into the public-private cooperation to be forged by the National Cyber Security Programme. Underpinning Regency's services is the practice of managing information-related risks with Information Assurance (IA). From the development of IT infrastructures through to the storage of information, IA seeks to ensure that authorised users only have access to privileged and confidential data.
As is to be expected Regency's website also outlines the type of services it offers. Yet if the U.S. cyber security market is anything to go by certain services offered to the Government may not make company websites. U.S. cyber security programmes have been estimated to be worth $11 billion. As these focus upon the protection of IT infrastructures, hardware and networks they also provide another indicator of possible contents for UK programmes. However estimates that approximately 75% of cyber opportunities are 'black' also suggests that aspects of the Government's programme may remain a largely grey area. Of course, the upcoming Green Paper may make the UK's cyber security strategy more clear. But if the machinery of government decides to replicate its American counterparts future documents may also make bold proclamations whilst keeping exact details to a bare minimum.
Indeed, such high levels of confidentiality make perfect sense when national security is at risk. One only need look at havoc wreaked by the Stuxnet virus on Iran's nuclear facilities at Bushehr or India's main television satellite to appreciate that a cyber attack is often against networks that societies take for granted. Giving challenges to cyber security more information on infrastructures ensures that the perpetrator maintains the upper hand. Accordingly, the specifics of national cyber security strategies – and purchases – may remain a grey area for some time to come.
Articles taken from Flight International magazine:
1st September: IAI to build wings for Lockheed's F-35
Israel Aerospace Industries will receive a multi-year contract from Lockheed Martin to manufacture up to 900 wing pairs for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter under a new industrial co-operation agreement.
The expected pact will follow the signature of a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) by Israel to purchase 20 F-35s for its air force.
1st September: F-35B delays lead to rephased flight-test schedule
The F-35 programme is likely to have a reshuffled flight-test schedule again as Lockheed Martin continues to struggle with the reliability of the short take-off and vertical landing variant.
It is not immediately clear if the possible "rephasing" of the flight-test schedule would result in a new overall delay for any of the three F-35 variants.
2nd September: L-3 division pushes for more F-35 work in Canada
L-3 MAS is lobbying the Canadian government to negotiate a greater role on the Lockheed Martin F-35 programme.
Concerned about the level of industrial participation on the Joint Strike Fighter, company president Sylvain Bédard pressed the case during a visit on 1 September by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to L-3's factory in Mirabel, Quebec.
8th September: DoD official shows fresh optimism on F-35 cost
A senior Department of Defense official says Lockheed Martin is now on track to reduce the cost of each F-35 by as much as 6.25%, only four months after the programme confirmed a major cost breach.
The remarks by Frank Kendall, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics, represent a massive turnaround by the DoD's leadership since reporting a Nunn-McCurdy cost overrun in June and restructuring the programme last February.
Instead, Kendall, addressing the Common Defense (ComDef) 2010 conference on 8 September, cited the F-35 as a key example of what Secretary of Defense Robert Gates means about making the defence industry produce more with less.
17th September: MBDA reveals clipped-fin Meteor for F-35
MBDA has revealed a slightly modified Meteor that would allow four of the beyond-visual-range air-to-air missiles to be stored inside the Lockheed Martin F-35.
A miniature Meteor mock-up featuring four clipped fins appeared for the first time in the company's display at the Air Force Association's Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition in Washington DC.
The missile's total fin area is reduced by roughly 20% compared with the original design, says Rob Thornley, MBDA sales and business development executive. The new shape allows the Meteors to squeeze into the space designed to house four Raytheon AIM-120C7 AMRAAMs.
17th September: Israeli cabinet approves $2.75b JSF deal
The Israeli cabinet has formally approved the purchase of 20 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters for the nation's air force. The value of the deal will be around $2.75 billion.
The decision was made after a series of talks between US and Israeli officials. These focused on issues including the extent to which Israel will be allowed to instal its own electronic warfare equipment, and the level of industrial involvement that its defence industry will be granted in return for the order.
Sources suggest that the value of immediate offsets linked to the buy will total over $2 billion.
23rd September: Lockheed, US government strike deal on next F-35 order
The US government has reached an agreement with Lockheed Martin on the structure of a fixed-price contract worth more than $5 billion for up to 32 more F-35s.
The agreement is necessary before the Department of Defense signs a contract for the fourth lot of low-rate initial production, which orders F-35s projected for delivery after 2012.
The agreement ends a negotiating process that was extended by about four months to satisfy demands by the DoD for a fixed-price contract.
Lockheed previously delivered the Joint Strike Fighter under a "cost-plus" structure, allowing the contractor to be reimbursed for cost overruns.
28th September: F-35 alternate engine damaged after high-speed anomaly
General Electric/Rolls-Royce is investigating manufacturing and assembly data on a single F136 engine after it was damaged during a checkout test on 23 September.
The alternate engine for the Lockheed Martin F-35 was shut down "in a controlled manner" after an unknown anomaly at near maximum fan speed on the test stand damaged the front fan and compressor area, the company says.
29th September: Norway defers some F-35 orders by two years
Norway has pushed back orders for 16 of 20 Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters by two years to 2018, but reaffirmed its commitment as a "serious and credible partner" in the programme.
The Norwegian defence ministry announced on 25 September that it will buy four F-35s in 2016 to serve as trainers, but that the remaining aircraft planned for purchase in 2016 and 2017 will be postponed until 2018.
Oslo originally planned to order as many as 48 F-35s over the five-year period from 2016 to 2020.
Diesel generators have now been installed on the first of the new aircraft carriers. Both ships will have two Rolls-Royce MT30 gas turbines and four diesel generator sets. The generators – provided by Converteam – provide a total power of 109 megawatts. The latest edition of Desider indicates that power will be generated to distribute electricity throughout the vessel powering anything from the propulsion system to crew members' laptops.
Another £33 million worth of contracts have also been recently awarded. These include:
- An £18 million contract for storage facilities to Wincanton.
- A £15 million contract for Balfour Beatty Engineering Services for the installation of cables on modules being constructed at Govan before final integration at Rosyth.
- A £44,000 contract for Edmundson Electrical to provide component parts used to pack and make airtight cables running throughout the vessels
- A £137,000 contract to Jetway Associates to supply hose baskets, which form part of the ships' fire fighting equipment.
According the Aircraft Carrier Alliance around £1.25 billion worth of contracts have been placed throughout the UK, which in turn are supporting thousands of jobs in almost every region.
Regional involvement in the development of the carriers was further enhanced as the final shipyard in the programme started its part of the construction work. Birkenhead-based Cammell Laird will build tow sections of the ships' flight deck. The work is worth over £44 million pounds and will keep a workforce of 1,200 busy until 2012. Upon completion the flight decks will be the size of three football pitches.
Commencing construction was especially significant for Cammell Laird as it marked the return of shipbuilding to the yard after a 17 year hiatus. Yet the company is by no means a stranger to carrier construction, having provided three throughout its illustrious 182 year history.
The Birkenhead shipyard joins five others – Govan and Rosyth in Scotland, Portsmouth, Devon and Newcastle in England – in the massive construction project. Work currently supports around 10,000 jobs at the shipyards and throughout the supply chain.
Despite the increase in debate over the cost of the aircraft carriers in the run-up to the publishing of the Strategic Defence and Security Review work continues unabated.
Articles taken from Flight International magazine
16th August: Fix for F-35 final assembly problem pushed back
Lockheed Martin has pushed back the resolution of a manufacturing problem plaguing F-35 Joint Strike Fighter final assembly schedules, but key suppliers are making progress building components as the programme prepares for the next leap in production orders.
In October 2009 government audit reports showed that Lockheed expected to eliminate the "wing-at-mate overlap" problem for the F-35's four-piece wing with final assembly of BF-13, the thirteenth short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) in production.
The overlap means that key parts are delivered after the wing has entered final assembly, requiring workers to partially disassemble the structure.
The Defense Contracts Management Agency (DCMA) identified the resulting delays and inefficiency in the wing manufacturing process as one of the key drivers for production delays ranging from four to six months during the first two years of low-rate initial production (LRIP).
17th August: F-35 targeting system enters flight-testing on CATBird
A new sensor for the Lockheed Martin F-35 targeting system has entered flight tests aboard a surrogate aircraft.
The electro-optical targeting system (EOTS), developed by Lockheed's Missiles and Fire Control division, is being tested aboard the BAE Systems co-operative avionics test bed (CATBird).
The tests on the Boeing 737 modified with the F-35's cockpit and flight-control surfaces is the final step before integrating the passive targeting system on BF-4, the flight-test aircraft for the short-take-off and vertical landing variant dedicated to mission systems testing.
The EOTS is installed under the F-35 cockpit and tucked inside a faceted, low-observable turret. Its job is to lock on to targets visually, especially when the F-35 is unable to use radar.
By Nick Watts, Great North News Services Correspondent
You can't help feeling that the RAF is enjoying the Libyan situation, just a little bit. Before and immediately after the SDSR, the inter-service back biting got to the point where the other two services were asking what all those fast jets were for? History as Mark Twain once said, doesn't repeat itself but sometimes it rhymes. Many may remember that the Nott defence review which threatened to do damage to the Royal Navy was followed by the Falklands war. Now along comes a situation which the RAF must be hoping will drag on, and on, and on. Just like the Iraqi no fly zone which endured for 12 years.
The MOD briefing given in London this morning by the AOC of No 2 Group Air Vice Marshall Phil Osborne went to great lengths to stress to the assembled media just how professional / flexible the aircrews were being and how the utility of air power was just what was needed to enforce the UN's resolution 1973. There was some reference to two RN warships in the Mediterranean and to the Tomahawks which had been fired by HMS Triumph, but the story was undoubtedly about Typhoon and Tornado.
In fact the RAF has every reason to be flagging this as operation "told you so" as the utility of the Tornado has been amply demonstrated by the mission from Marham to strike targets in Libya, a round trip of some 3,000 miles. The Harrier had neither the endurance nor the weapons carrying capability to undertake such a mission. The absence of any naval aviation has not been a show stopper. The Treasury must be watching this with great interest.
The unspoken story, however, is a bit more worrying. We learnt that the Tornadoes were re-fuelled in flight by Tri-star and VC 10 tankers, both venerable aircraft. We have also learnt that the aerial surveillance has included such assets as the Nimrod R1, which provides signals intelligence, and the sentinel which provides ground surveillance. Both of which are due to be withdrawn from service. The replacements for all of these assets are not yet ready. Neither the Tankers, nor the replacement Boeing 707 style Rivet Joint electronic surveillance aircraft which are due to replace the Nimrod R1. The Sentinel and the RAF's AWACS aircraft were able to assist the USAF locate and rescue the aircrew from their crashed F 15 Eagle.
The logistic support for this operation has been provided by the RAF's C 17s and the C 130s of the transport fleet. How much additional pressure is this putting on the airbridge to Afghanistan? It must be hoped that the advocates of air power will take heart from these developments and renew their case both with the MOD and the Treasury, so stave off some of the cuts demanded by the SDSR. The RAF is now involved in one enduring medium scale operation and a small one at the same time. No doubt the aircrews are working very hard, but the RAF must be at or near its operating limit. If the UK is going to be a player on the world stage, there cannot be any scope for further reductions in the front line RAF, and some of those announced must be re-visited.
There is just time to stop all those P45s going out!
The French are grabbing the headlines with up to 20 sorties, but despite appearing to hang back, the US is doing the heavy lifting in the enforcement of the UN no-fly zone over Libya.
Their Odyssey Dawn operation launched 110-112 Tomahawk land attack missiles at over 20 air defence systems; communications and SA-5 surface to air missile sites. F-18s supported by C-17s and a C-130 arrived at Aviano in Italy.
No bomb damage assessment will be possible until it is light over Libya. No Reaper or Predator unmanned planes are currently deployed.
The naval task force in the Mediterrranean consists of 11 US ships (of which 3 are submarines) 11 Italian, 3 UK (one submarine which also launched Tomahawks, HMS Cumberland and HMS Westminster), and one each from France and Canada. But the French carrier Charles de Gaulle isalso reported to be on her way.
French aircraft - believed to be Rafales - were in the first wave. There is an unconfirmed Gaddafi regime claim to have shot down a French plane. As part of Op Ellamy British Tornado GR4 bombers from RAF Marham flew overnight direct to lauch Storm Shadow stand off missiles and up to 18 Typhoon fighters from RAF Coningsby and RAF Leuchars. Antique 3 VC-10 refueling planes are being positioned at the sovereign base of RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus. 2 Nimrod R1s, destined for the scrap heap as recently as a fortnight ago, and 3 Sentry AWACS have also been deployed from there by the RAF.
Denmark and Norway are both sending six F-16 fighters, probably to the US base of Sigonella in Sicily, , and Spanish F-18 Hornets are also expected to be in operation, as are the Dutch. 6 Canadian CF-18s were refuelled in Scotland en route south. No info yet on the specifics of Arab involvement.
In my statement to the House on 27 October, I said that the Government would update Parliament on developments in Afghanistan every month. This is part of our commitment to keep Parliament regularly informed. This first monthly report covers a range of issues: the Lisbon Summit, Afghanistan's Parliamentary Elections, governance and regional engagement. Future reports will update on progress in Afghanistan.
The Rt. Hon. William Hague MP
Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs
Afghanistan was at the heart of the NATO Lisbon Summit on 19-20 November, demonstrating the high priority that NATO places on its efforts to build a secure and stable Afghanistan.
All 48 nations contributing to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) reaffirmed their enduring commitment to Afghanistan's security and stability. They also welcomed the participation and support of other international partners at the Summit, including the United Nations, the European Union, the World Bank and Japan, with all of whom ISAF shares a common vision for a better Afghanistan.
The ISAF Commander, General David Petraeus, reported that progress had been made on several fronts: the momentum of the insurgency had been broadly arrested across Afghanistan –though not in all locations – and reversed in a number of key areas; the area under the Afghan Government's control continued to expand and the Afghanistan National Security Force (ANSF) was proving to be an increasingly effective force, having successfully provided security for two nationwide elections in 2009 and 2010.
ISAF partners agreed that they would work in partnership with the Afghan Government to deliver President Karzai's objective of transitioning lead security responsibility to the ANSF, in all provinces, by the end of 2014. Transition to Afghan lead security responsibility will be dependent on the conditions in each district and province. It will see ISAF's role evolve away from combat towards increased training, mentoring and support. The transition process is on track to begin in some provinces and districts in early 2011 following a joint Afghan and NATO/ISAF assessment and decision.
In advance of the Summit NATO asked ISAF partners to fill additional training positions that would help the NATO Training Mission to Afghanistan (NTM-A) continue to meet targets for expanding the Afghan National Army (ANA)and Afghan National Police (ANP). The Summit reported a strong response from partners. The UK had already announced a contribution of approximately 320 additional trainers. Canada confirmed that it would deploy a training mission with approximately 700 military trainers, 200 support troops and 45 police; Italy pledged an additional 200 trainers; Portugal 42; Croatia 30; and Bulgaria three additional mentoring and training teams. Other countries confirmed that they were considering new pledges, which would be discussed at a Force Generation Conference at the end of November.
Although the NTM-A priority shortfalls have therefore been met, the UK will continue to press our international partners to ensure that NTM-A continues to have the resources to fulfil its mission.
Looking beyond ISAF's current mission, NATO and Afghanistan agreed at the Summit the framework of a long-term partnership. NATO agreed to provide sustained practical support for Afghanistan, while the Afghan Government affirmed that it would be an enduring partner to NATO and committed itself to carry out its responsibilities in a manner consistent with the commitments made at the London Conference of January 2010 and the Kabul Conference of July 2010. These would include measures to combat terrorism, address corruption and support regional security. NATO and the Afghan Government will now agree the details of a co-operation programme to take forward this partnership.
By Nick Watts, Defence Correspondent, Great North News Services
British military sources are confident that the Afghan National Army will be ready to take over operations from ISAF by 2014. At the Lisbon summit NATO committed itself to hand over counter insurgency operations to the Afghan National Army (ANA) by the end of 2014. Recently the British prime minister spoke of beginning to withdraw personnel as early as next year. British experience of partnering with 3215 Brigade ANA, which was raised in February this year, is cited as a good example of how this ambition is progressing. Much depends on this process succeeding.
NATO leaders recognize that the way to ensure that ISAF can hand over by 2014 is to step up the tempo of training of the ANA. The target for recruited and trained strength of the ANA is 171,600 by November 2011. Currently there are 144,000 trained soldiers in 28 Kandaks (Battalions). Following the transition of ISAF forces from Mentoring to partnering the emphasis has shifted to putting ANA forces in the lead on operations, with British and other ISAF forces in support. This has meant that the quality of soldiers needs to be raised.
The priority of the ANA is to concentrate on counter IED training (CIED), which Afghan soldiers take pride in doing well. Another priority is to improve medical training. In parallel with this is the need to improve absenteeism, which is addressed through better pay, and illiteracy which is being addressed by putting 34,000 soldiers through literacy training.
Putting the ANA into the front line more has had the effect of raising their self esteem, according to MOD commanders. The NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan (NTMA) estimates that as of November 2010, of 28 ANA Kandaks, seven are capable of undertaking operations with minimal advice; ten remain reliant on ISAF for direct assistance; nine are at an early stage of development and a further two are still being assessed. British officers admit that the ANA is being fashioned from the bottom up and that future senior leaders will emerge from the current cadres of middle ranking officers. Technical training is increasing alongside tactical training, but this will take time.
British experience with 3215 ANA Brigade has been positive. A small operation OMID DO was undertaken earlier this year, which the ANA planned and lead. There were no major tactical engagements with insurgents but the new partnering system proved itself. A subsequent larger scale operation OMID CHAR was launched in support of the governor of Garesh district, again with ANA elements taking a leading role. British commanders are upbeat about progress, but admit that General Petreaus's ambition to increase the tempo of operations against the insurgents will require a close eye to be kept on how the ANA progresses.
Speech by General Sir David Richards KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen ,Chief of Defence Staff, The Policy Exchange, Monday 22nd November 2010
Over the past month I have been getting to grips with my new appointment as Chief of the Defence Staff. Whilst I do not have time to ponder it too much, I am genuinely still somewhat baffled how I have ended up in this position. The 18 year old boy who joined 29 Commando Regiment to follow his brother would not recognise the rather care-worn man who stands before you – and would have quailed at the thought of high rank dismissing it without doubt as ridiculous anyway.
The job will not be simple, but it will be made easier by the fact that I know I will be supported by some of the most capable, dedicated and selfless soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines that this country has ever produced. And by the civilians in the MOD who have again and again demonstrated their skills and commitment.
I am not going to dwell on people in this talk other than to say that if we fail to attract and retain the very high quality people that historically join the British Armed Forces, our prospects for the future will diminish markedly. They lie at the heart of military capability. I am not certain the consequences of failing in this are always fully appreciated. People tend to focus more on the kit and metal than the people.
Over the next decade we will need every ounce of their dedication because the issues that we, in Defence as a whole, have to address are diverse and challenging. And, as was the case with every one of my predecessors, I recognise that the outcome of our efforts must meet the very real challenges confronting us. It is vital for the future security of our nation.
I speak at a time when all three services are heavily committed to operations. In Afghanistan, off the Horn of Africa, in the Gulf and in the Falkland Islands, to name a few prominent examples, the Navy, Army and Air Force are together ensuring the UK's interests are defended. They and the civilians who work alongside them across the Ministry of Defence, and indeed on operations themselves, have rarely been pushed so hard. Current commitments demand our endurance and test our resolve. But I have no doubt that with the support of the people of this country – support not only for who we are but for what we do – the Armed Forces will meet every challenge thrown at us. I am confident that they will not let you down.
I wanted to talk to you this evening about three things:
First, the National Security Strategy which is the guiding document for our analysis. It set the strategic context for and then shaped the Strategic Defence and Security Review, as it will the follow-on work. It is, in military speak, our Commander's Intent.
Secondly, the Review itself; the options we had, the choices we made and the military judgments that lay behind them. As with any outcome that is properly strategic in its approach, our military judgments are matched to the resource it is deemed the country can afford. This has required the difficult decisions we have taken to be a reasoned balance of acceptable risks.
And third is Afghanistan; the last in this list but the absolute priority of the National Security Council and the Armed Forces. The Defence Secretary reiterated in parliament this month that it is our main effort. And as I have said in the past, our actions in Afghanistan are vital for the short and long term national security of our country. The consequences of the choices made there will reverberate for many years to come, on international security and stability but also on the ability of Britain to exert influence worldwide.
Lieutenant General Sir Richard Shirreff, KCB, CBE (Late King's Royal Hussars), currently Commander Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps, to be Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, in rank of general, in succession to General Sir John McColl, KCB, DCE, DSO, in March 2011.
Major General A R Gregory, CB (Late Royal Regiment of Artillery), currently Director of General Personnel, Headquarters Land Forces, to be Military Secretary, in succession to Major General D J Rutherford-Jones, CB, in February 2011.
Major General G W Berragan (Late Royal Regiment of Artillery), currently Director General Army Recruiting and Training, to be Director General Personnel, Headquarters Land Forces, in succession to Major General A R Gregory, CB, in February 2011.
R W H Purdy, Late RA, to be Senior British Officer to the United States Security Co-ordinator with effect from March 2011.
D J H Maddan, Late Gren Gds, is to be Commander, Combined Training Advisory Group Afghanistan, with effect from March 2011.
R F P Felton, Late AAC, to be Chief Joint Force Operations, Permanent Joint Headquarters, with effect from January 2011.
T J Lai, Late Scots, to be Assistant Defense Attache/Head British Army Staff (United States), with effect from October 2010.
J D Keeling, Late RAMC, to be Directo, Headquarters Army Primary Healthcare Service, with effect from June 2011.
C J Griggs, Late RLC, to be Deputy Chief of Staff, London District, with effect from May 2011.
L R MacDuff, Scots, to be Assistant Director Employment (Army), Directorate of Manning (Army), with effect from June 2011.
N F W Hile, Late RA, to be Senior Army Board Permanent President (Service Inquiries), Directorate Personal Services (Army), with effect from December 2010.
S Barnard, AAC, to be Assistant Director Capability Development, Headquaters Joint Helicopter Command, with effect from January 2011.
Rear-Admiral G M Zambellas, DSC, to be promoted to vice-admiral and to be Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet and Chief of Staff Navy Command Headquarters in January 2011, in succession to Vice-Admiral R J Ibbotson, CB, DSC, who will be retiring from the Service. As Deputy Commander-in-Chief Fleet, Vice-Admiral Zambellas will assume the role and responsibilities of the Chief Naval Warfare Officer (CNXO).
Royal Navy and Royal Marines
Rear-Admiral I F Corder to be Commander Operations and Rear Admiral Submarines as Head of Fighting Arm with effect from March 2011 in succession Rear-Admiral M Anderson, who will be retiring from the Service.
Rear-Admiral B N B Williams, CBE, to be Deputy Director European Union Military Staff in succession to Rear-Admiral Lista (Spain) with effect from September 2011.
Brigadier D A Hook, CBE, Royal Marines to be promoted Major General and to be Director Force Reintegration HQ International Security and Assistance Force Afghanistan in succession Major-General Jones (Army) with effect from May 2011.
An Analysis of the Chief of Staff of the United States' Air Force Speech to the 2010 RAF Air Power Conference, 18 June 2010
I E Shields, Cambridge University
The United Kingdom Government's Strategic Defence and Security review ("SDSR") is nearly upon us, and although rightly the Review will be mostly inward-looking, we no longer operate in isolation but in coalitions, primarily with the United States. What might this most important ally be looking for from us? In terms of the RAF we might have some clues. At this year's RAF Air Power Conference, held in London on 17 – 18 June 2010 under the overall heading "Meeting the Challenge", General "Norty" Schwartz, the present Chief of Staff of the United States' Air Force (CSAF), gave the keynote address under the title "Adaptable Air and Space Power for the 21st Century" . A review of his speech, looking for pointers as to what the USAF might be looking for from the RAF in the future is instructive.
The General's speech contained, in my analysis, three core themes: the character of the present conflict; the need for coalitions; and the roles of Air and Space Power. Before considering each in turn and what it might mean for the RAF, it is worth examining his opening comments. He started by drawing a distinction between what is effectively the nature of Air Power, that which is unchanging ("speed, range, flexibility and versatility") and its present employment, which is subject to the vagaries of the nature of the conflict and the technology of the day ("tailorable, timely and precise effects"). This, Schwartz suggests, requires military strategists to always be attuned to current realities and trends. Herein lies, I suggest, a hint that the view presented of the conflict in Afghanistan will set the template for some time; if that is indeed his intent then this has marked implications for the USAF and (potentially) hence for the RAF. The CSAF then highlighted the present fiscal constraint and suggests that all air forces face a particular challenge at present due to the confluence of complexity, uncertainty and austerity – an analysis with which few would disagree.
A total of 131 members of the Armed Forces and one civilian have received honours and awards in the Operational Honours List dated today, 24th September 2010.
The full list, which recognises service on operations in Afghanistan and national operations for the period 1 October 2009 to 31 March 2010, is below.
George Medal (GM)
Acting Warrant Officer Class 2 Karl John Fairfax LEY, The Royal Logistic Corps
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
Brigadier James Michael COWAN, OBE late The Royal Regiment of Scotland
Colonel Harry Arthur Blair HOLT, OBE late Irish Guards
Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas Jan KITSON, The Rifles
Lieutenant Colonel Charles Roland Vincent WALKER, Grenadier Guards
Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (CGC)
Sergeant Robert TURNER, Royal Marines
Captain Robin Edwin Geoffrey BOURNE–TAYLOR, The Life Guards
Corporal Lee BROWNSON, The Rifles, (Killed in action)
Lance Corporal Graham Stuart HORN, The Parachute Regiment
Lance Corporal James Lee McKIE, The Rifles
Military Cross (MC)
Major Nigel John Powell SOMERVILLE, MBE Royal Marines
Sergeant Richard Edward WISEMAN, Royal Marines
Acting Colour Sergeant Paul Edward BAINES, Coldstream Guards
Acting Corporal Sarah Louise BUSHBYE, Royal Army Medical Corps
Lieutenant Douglas Anthony Keith DALZELL, Coldstream Guards, (Killed in action)
Lance Corporal Daniel John FLETCHER, Royal Army Medical Corps
Corporal Ricky Paul FURGUSSON, The Rifles
Sergeant Ashley Robert HILL, The Royal Anglian Regiment
Rifleman Harry LANCELEY, The Rifles, (discharged)
Lieutenant Colin William LUNN, The Yorkshire Regiment
Lieutenant Colonel Angus Donald MACGILLIVRAY, The Royal Regiment of Scotland
Lance Corporal Marc Anthony READER, Coldstream Guards
Corporal George Finau SALE, The Royal Welsh
Lieutenant Craig Angus SHEPHARD, Grenadier Guards
Sergeant Adam Charles SWIFT, Coldstream Guards
Lance Corporal Andrew WARDLE, The Yorkshire Regiment
Corporal David Thomas WILLIAMS, The Royal Welsh
Staff Sergeant Gareth David WOOD, The Royal Logistic Corps
Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
Flight Lieutenant Ian Anthony FORTUNE, Royal Air Force
Flight Lieutenant Andrew Michael NETHAWAY, Royal Air Force
Flight Lieutenant Timothy Richard POLLARD, Royal Air Force
Queen's Gallantry Medal (QGM)
Petty Officer Aircrewman Dian Jonathan LACY, Royal Navy
Private Callum John BROTHERSTON, The Royal Regiment of Scotland
Corporal John Alexander HARDMAN, The Yorkshire Regiment
Lance Corporal Julie Elizabeth MAY, Royal Army Medical Corps
Corporal Robert Alan NEALEY, The Royal Logistic Corps
Rifleman Ross David ROBINSON, The Rifles, (since deceased)
Sergeant John Arthur SWITHENBANK, The Yorkshire Regiment
Rifleman Reece William Stevenson TERRY, The Rifles
Air Force Cross (AFC)
Flight Sergeant Anthony Richard DAVEY, Royal Air Force
Mention in Despatches (MiD)
Marine Tobias GUTTERIDGE, Royal Marines
Guardsman Emmanuel ATTUQUAYEFIO, Grenadier Guards
Lance Corporal Lee Colum BLAKE, The Parachute Regiment
Lance Corporal Nikotimo BOLATAGANE, The Yorkshire Regiment
Lance Corporal Daniel Colin James BRAMLEY, Grenadier Guards
Lieutenant Simon Mark BROOMFIELD, The Royal Anglian Regiment
Corporal Daryl Alan BRYANT, The Rifles
Guardsman Lewis Nigel COULBERT, Grenadier Guards
Colour Sergeant Christopher Stephen Mark DUNDON, The Royal Welsh
Captain Hugo James Edward FARMER, CGC, The Parachute Regiment
Sergeant Paul Maurice FOX, Corps of Royal Engineers, (Killed in action)
Lance Bombardier Craig FROGGETT, Royal Regiment of Artillery
Lance Sergeant David Marc Eric GREENHALGH, Grenadier Guards, (Killed in action)
Corporal Paul Michael GEORGE, The Royal Welsh
Lieutenant Stephen James HEALEY, The Royal Welsh
Sergeant Paul Andrew HOWARD, Royal Tank Regiment
Lieutenant Richard David HUTTON, Grenadier Guards
Warrant Officer Class 2 Patrick HYDE, The Rifles
Lance Corporal Alexander David John JONES, The Royal Welsh
Corporal Steven Wayne MARTIN, The Rifles
Staff Sergeant Brian McINTYRE, The Royal Logistic Corps
Captain Andrew Donald MICHAEL, The Rifles
Lance Sergeant Nathan Joseph OWEN, Coldstream Guards
Lance Sergeant William Edward PATES, Coldstream Guards
Acting Colour Sergeant Quintin Benjamin POLL, The Parachute Regiment
Lance Corporal David John RADBAND, The Parachute Regiment
Staff Sergeant Gareth Desmond REID, The Royal Logistic Corps
Acting Corporal Liam Matthew RILEY, The Yorkshire Regiment (Killed in action)
Major Stuart Roderick SMITH, The Royal Anglian Regiment
Corporal Daniel SPRUCE, The Royal Logistic Corps
Lance Corporal Alan Robert TAYLOR, The Royal Anglian Regiment
Corporal Robert James TORDOFF, Corps of Royal Engineers
Rifleman Mark TURNER, The Rifles (Killed in action)
Acting Sergeant Ryan James VICKERY, The Royal Anglian Regiment
Lance Sergeant Mathew James WALLIS, Coldstream Guards
Corporal Ryan Joseph WALTON, The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment
Lieutenant Charles Edward Rufus WINSTANLEY, The Rifles
Senior Aircraftman Johnathon Tony FREEMAN, Royal Air Force
Queen's Commendation for Bravery (QCB)
Corporal George BURGESS, Royal Marines
Corporal Calvin James COULTER, The Parachute Regiment
Colour Sergeant Mark Stuart KNOWLES, Royal Marines
Warrant Officer Class 2 Andrew David GOODWIN, The Royal Logistic Corps
Lance Corporal Jamie HASTIE, The Yorkshire Regiment
Rifleman Peter Leslie Matthew MATTHEWS, The Rifles
Second Lieutenant Connor Neil Heriot MAXWELL, The Rifles
Rifleman Daniel Vincent NICKSON, The Rifles
Captain Daniel READ, The Royal Logistic Corps (Killed in action)
Rifleman Gareth Edward SUTHERLAND, The Rifles
Lance Corporal Jamie Martyn TAYLOR, The Royal Logistic Corps
Rifleman Aselemo Kokoidabuli VETANIBUA, The Rifles
Lance Sergeant David WALKER, Scots Guards (Killed in action)
Staff Sergeant Paul Thomas John WRIGHT, Corps of Royal Engineers
Queen's Commendation for Bravery in the Air (QCBA)
Corporal Carl Michael BOOTH, Royal Air Force
Flight Lieutenant Alexander Nicholas Riddell TOWNSEND, Royal Air Force
Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service (QCVS)
Commodore Timothy Miles LOWE, Royal Navy
Lieutenant Gary McCALL, Royal Navy
Chaplain to the Forces 3rd Class, Reverend James William AITCHISON, Royal Army Chaplains' Department
Major Ash Giles ALEXANDER–COOPER, The Royal Gurkha Rifles
Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Timothy George BAZELEY, Corps of Royal Engineers
Lieutenant Daniel James BENSTEAD, The Royal Anglian Regiment
Acting Lieutenant Colonel James Maurice Hannan BOWDER, MBE Grenadier Guards
Major Oliver Charles Christopher BROWN, The Royal Anglian Regiment
Corporal Andrew Steven BURROWS, Royal Corps of Signals
Sergeant Frederick John GOODING, Corps of Royal Engineers
Acting Sergeant Pritabahadur GURUNG, The Queen's Own Gurkha Logistic Regiment
Sergeant Nicholas HARRINGTON, The Parachute Regiment
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Alexander HEAD, MC The Rifles
Sapper Johnathan Robert HORNER, Corps of Royal Engineers
Corporal Marc David KEECH, Royal Corps of Signals
Second Lieutenant Philip Robert Anthony LENTHALL, The Royal Anglian Regiment
Surgeon Lieutenant Colonel Jeremy Hart LEWIN, Royal Army Medical Corps
Warrant Officer Class 2 Peter Joseph LINDSAY, Army Air Corps
Captain Jonathan Paul NOLAN, Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, Territorial Army
Captain David John POLLOCK, Royal Tank Regiment
Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Michael ROE, The Yorkshire Regiment
Warrant Officer Class 2 Justin Terence Gordon SEARLE, Royal Regiment of Artillery
Major James Andrew SEDDON, Grenadier Guards
Major Graeme Crichton WEARMOUTH, The Royal Regiment of Scotland
Constable Amanda HENDERSON, Ministry of Defence Police
Air Commodore Stuart David ATHA, DSO Royal Air Force
Squadron Leader Daniel Joseph ENDRUWEIT, Royal Air Force
Acting Group Captain Alan Kenneth GILLESPIE, Royal Air Force
Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)
Captain Nigel Anthony JONES, Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Lieutenant Colonel Henry Robert Downing FULLERTON, The Life Guards
Lieutenant Colonel Nicholas John LOCK, The Royal Welsh
Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
Sergeant Philip John CARR, Scots Guards
Captain Nigel Anthony JONES, Royal Fleet Auxiliary
Major Christopher David DAVIES, The Royal Anglian Regiment
Major Timothy John HARRIS, The Rifles
Major Patrick Simon REEHAL, The Royal Logistic Corps
Major Richard Giles STREATFEILD, The Rifles
Major Toby Patrick Oughtred TILL, Coldstream Guards
An RCDS paper by James Gray MP dated July 2003
As reviewed by Roger Green
In his paper James Gray gives a parliamentarian's view of the history, role and legitimacy of the Royal Prerogative in respect of committing the country to war. It is possible that a constitutional expert may be at variance with some of the analyses that Gray suggests concerning parliamentary proceedings and Prime Ministerial positions in the lead up to recent wars.
The Royal Prerogative has its origins in the 17th Century and is the outcome of an attempt by the Parliament of the day to control the power of Charles I. It is neither detailed nor enshrined in any legal document and has evolved to reserve certain functions to the Crown's ministers. Of these functions the most important is undoubtedly the decision to go to war. Whilst this power might be regarded as undemocratic and thwarting the will of Parliament, Gray provides substantial justifications in providing the Prime Minister with the authority to act in the national interest by making strategic decisions without full parliamentary disclosure and without political risk.
As Gray points out there is significant historical precedent for exercise of the Royal Prerogative by Prime Ministers. In these instances the Prime Minister chose to inform Parliament rather than seek its approval through a vote and the use of the Royal Prerogative was widely accepted other than by a small minority. In this context there is advantage in the fact that the UK has an unwritten constitution whilst in the US with its War Powers Act the President has little room for manoeuvre in such matters and needs to seek Congressional consent to go to war.
As the UK was being committed to war more frequently since 1997, there was increasing interest and inquiry into the repeated use of the Royal Prerogative and in the run up to the Iraq War in 2003 the Prime Minister was faced with a serious challenge. In late 2002 the government came under increasing pressure whilst it tried to hold the line over the use of the Royal Prerogative and there were attempts to obfuscate the situation by debating whether Parliament should vote on 'supporting policy' or 'implementing policy'. However, the Government eventually had to give way and there followed a series of votes that the Government only won with the support of the Opposition. The underlying reason for this situation was that for the first time there no consensus on the question of war and as a result a parliamentary precedent was established. Gray addresses the constitutional consequences of that decision in some detail and concludes with his Gray's Paradox that 'the inverse proportionality of the controversiality of war against Parliamentary debate about it dictates that only universally popular wars should be allowed a Parliamentary vote'. A slightly cynical but possibly true summation.
Gray alludes to the question of national sovereignty over the commitment to war but he only poses the question without pursuing it. If a Parliamentary vote is at odds either way with the will of the UN Security Council how should the dilemma be resolved? At least the use of the Royal Prerogative is a valuable procedure that can avoid the UK being left to stand alone or left behind on issues of a wider importance.
There are other factors beyond the purely parliamentary perspective that Gray does not address. The modern day difficulty over the legitimate use of the Royal Prerogative is bedevilled by public access to vast amounts of information, media positions taken by both informed and uninformed commentators, and by the increasing number of contemporary politicians who are prepared to challenge the perceived wisdom and established convention. The fact that the circumstances that lead up to a war are always unique as is invariably the political environment at the time, together further complicate the situation and weaken the argument of precedent. National unity is always of paramount importance and in such situations there is no place for attempts at party political advantage. The Prime Minister is charged with acting in the nation's best interest and should not have to take account of the consequences of losing a vote in the House when considering the gravity of his decisions.
In his paper Gray has revealed an insight into a little known area of government that is of great importance in the run up to war that will doubtless cause readers to consider further its role in 21st century politics. In the future, the success or otherwise of the exercise of the Royal Prerogative in a war context may ultimately be a measure of the Prime Minister's strength of character, the level of trust he engenders, his leadership qualities and his oratory skills to persuade both Parliament and the nation to support him.