Thursday, September 25, 2008

Response to "indecision time in defence" blog entry by Conservative MP Douglas Carswell

With regard to the item "indecision time in defence" written by Conservative MP Douglas Carswell, The purpose of defence is to deter (i.e. not to start from a position of "choosing which wars to fight"). Deterring potential aggressors requires the investment in capabilities to put them off of doing wrongful things.

Capabilities require an industrial base capable of providing them - what is the point of knowing the problem but being unable to address it ? Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS) was all about matching industrial capabilities to defence needs and further enhanced with the Defence Technology Strategy (DTS - identifying R&D priorities in support).

Criticising procurements such as the Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft at the superficial level is all too easy. However it is with no small sense of irony to note that the Eurofighter contract was so tightly written because of the propensity of politicians to change their minds causing chaos for the military and industry.

The Future Aircraft Carrier (CVF) is regarded a key to projecting military capability around the world to protect British interests in an era of globalisation - is this not the logical product of reviewing British foreign policy interests and defence needs ?

Lastly, with regard to buying the best kit in the world, there is an implicit assumption that overseas developed military equipment is superior - interesting that the USA is buying defensive electronics and means to combat improvised explosive devices (IED's) from the UK by the bucket-load.

To suggest the military and MoD lack clarity is perhaps a reflection of the broad failure both of politicians in government to manoeuvre as circumstances change but also of the opposition for choosing to be shrill about defence rather than pursuing a more detailed analysis and critique of the subject as best befits the role of the Opposition.

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