Thursday, June 16, 2005

Something will give in the Armed Forces if the current 'string and sealing wax' approach is maintained. The National Audit Office report has highlighted the disparate stories of unpreparedness on the part of the armed forces and placed them within one framework.

The report did, however, say that there were major problems related to a reduction in collective training, a shortage of resources, including military hardware, and overstretched forces that would affect the deployment readiness and performance of the three branches of the British armed forces.

More than one-third of the armed forces was described as having “serious weaknesses” in terms of preparedness to deploy within the desired timeframes. Two per cent of these were said to have reached readiness levels so poor that they were described as “critical”.

The worst branch hit by the lack of resources has been the Royal Navy, and the Ministry of Defence will no longer be able to defend stories of equipment delays or failure as unrelated to a lack of resources for the armed forces.

In a worst-case scenario, the NAO report said, little more than half of the naval fleet would be able to deploy within the required timeframe, a problem that could continue for the next six years.

Posturing on the world stage whilst ensuring that our armed forces do not have the resources to complete the tasks laid out by our catwalk politicians will have lasting consequences. The NAO provides independent corroboration of New Labour's mishandling of our defences, though it is unclear if this cutprice approach has actually resulted in the casualties or deaths of soldiers, sailors or airmen in Britain's employ. We do know one thing from this: Probably the most hypocritical government in the world.


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