Mark Collins - RCN and National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy: Irving up to it? Mark Collins - Plus ça change, or, as the Foreign Affairs World Turns
Dec 04

Further to this post, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas via Tom Ricks’ “Best Defense” blog:

What austerity looks like?: The British army is told to take the month off

“The British Army has been ordered to take an extended 25-day Christmas holiday or ‘work from home’ in an attempt to cut its gas and electricity bills,” reports a British newspaper. This reminds me of George Marshall as a Depression-era garrison commander encouraging his married troops to take time to plant vegetables.

Not so, Joe, responds the Ministry of Defence’s blog. “To suggest the Christmas leave plan is a cost-cutting measure is not true. In recognition of the exceptionally busy year the Army has had, both on operations and at home — including vital support to the London 2012 Olympics, fuel tanker drivers’ strike and the Diamond Jubilee — the usual Christmas leave period has been extended…

Well, maybe. Meanwhile our army is cutting back on training, money don’t you know?

No fat to cut in Army overhead; budget cuts affect training of soldiers: general

Relevant, note links at end:

Canadian Defence Budget: Oh, Oh

Ah, that wonderful CFDS:

Finally the Truth: “Canada First Defence Strategy” Just a Scrap of Paper

At some point there will have to be re-do. But if each service tries to go on being as all-singing and all-dancing as possible each is likely to end up not performing all that well. The government needs to make some some very difficult choices to focus the services, and abandon some capabilities so as to be able to afford and maintain others. That means the government must decide what types of missions/roles each service must be able to perform (as opposed to “nice to have”) and how much it is willing to pay for the personnel and equipment so that those missions/roles can be carried out effectively and efficiently.

But I doubt this government is capable of–or our services willing to–engage in such a serious review (which the UK government did carry out some two years ago, almost mercilessly). And, concerning “nice to have”, does Canada for example really need the F-35’s touted “first day of war” strike capability–see first bullet here?
Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

2 Responses to “Mark Collins - The Incredible Shrinking British Military, Mainly Army Section: “take the month off” (plus Canadian Forces)”

  1. MarkOttawa Says:

    More on the CFDS re-do here:
    http://www.cdfai.org/the3dsblog/?p=1640#comment-3399

    Mark Collins

  2. MarkOttawa Says:

    More on the CF:

    ‘John Ivison: Canadian military struggling to slash budget in new post-Afghanistan, post-Libya reality

    The British military is a bit strapped for cash these days, so it has ordered its personnel to “work from home” over the holidays to save on gas and electricity bills.

    “Army shuts down for Christmas,” ran the headline in the Sunday Times.

    The Canadian Forces have their own money troubles. Budget 2012 called for $2-billion in savings from its budget over three years.

    But according to testimony at the Senate Finance committee this week, the brass at National Defence have a much more subtle solution than sending the entire armed forces on block leave. Rather, they have just moved a few decimal points around, shifted some numbers from one column to another and voila, money has appeared as if by magic.

    Maj.-Gen. Robert Bertrand, acting chief financial officer at DND, gave the good news that no new funding is required from Parliament. But that is only because money is being “re-profiled” from the capital spending budget into the operations budget.

    The supplementary spending estimates being examined by the Senate committee show that $162-million is being transferred from the capital budget to offset the spending cuts on the operations side…

    The real story here is DND’s struggle to bring its budgets into line with the new reality, post Afghanistan, post-Haiti, post-Libya and post-Winter Olympics. We have just gone through a seven year period of heightened Canadian security activity…’
    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/12/05/john-ivison-canadian-military-struggling-to-slash-budget-in-new-post-afghanistan-post-libya-reality/

    Mark Collins

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