If HM Forces had implemented internal cost saving measures over the past decade there would have been no need to reduce manpower or equipment. The truth is simple, in the past lip service has been paid to the management of military budgets, the lack of accountability is shocking.
HM forces employs approx 80,000 civil servants, a large percentage of these positions were opened up to allow military personnel to fight wars on many fronts, Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. On the surface this seems to make perfect sense, however it does not portray reality. In the past 15 years the amount of military personnel that are unfit to deploy on Operational Tours has risen at an alarming rate. In the past camps would resemble ghost towns, now during deployment periods, nowadays they appear full. This truth negates the need to employee civil servants at all.
Regardless of rank, military personnel have no grasp of economics, this is natural as most join the service at a young age. The military ethos is simple, if something is broken, order a new one. If the treasury want the military to be fully accountable at all levels it will require a change of ethos and serious retraining.
What will happen when the national deficit is reduced and the economic climate is back on a sound footing? Will forces personnel learn from the experience or will they simply return to the days of excessive wastage.
Having served a full career in the Army, I witnessed many changes, most of them revolved around finding a short term solution to a specific problem. The facts are simple, there are horrific amounts of sick, lame and lazy hiding behind the scenes a problem that is certainly being brushed under the carpet and too many civil servants are currently employed.
If ever there was a case of closing the door after the horse has bolted the recent strategic defence review is a fine example.
Author: Chris Slay
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