Some Quick Thoughts on the Barron's Report

UK Sep 18, 2016

A report has come to light from the recently retired Gen Sir Richard Barrons who was the Commander of the Joint Forces Command, or the big cheese in the British armed forces. His report is a haul down report covering the issues in the military for the next commander and it raises some interesting issues that are worth talking about in different contexts.

So the first thing that's striking from the report is

could not withstand attack by major power like Russia

This is regarding the entire British armed forces. To some people, like me, this isn't so much of an issue as it is a known fact. If we break down some of the issues that Britain has, it quickly becomes apparent that this is going to be a problem for GB in the event of an attack.

So if we look at the big trends globally in militaries the two big things are EW and A2AD. Britain's access to EW isn't great, as the report highlights,

no electronic warfare capability

But not only that, the only training facility in Europe is the Polygon between Germany and France. Which is a Joint EU/US project. And guess who's leaving the EU... Yup, GB. So they lack a capability and can't train it's offence and defence.

And on A2AD

UK air defence now consists of the [working] Type 45 [destroyers], enough ground-based air defence to protect roughly Whitehall only, and RAF fast jets.

So the Type 45 Destroyers, listed as working, is debatable... They look cool as fuck and futuristic as all get out! But GB cheaped out on the engines and they keep breaking down... So, in reality they're not great! They are based on Aegis Combat System which is a big plus, but if you compare the capabilities of a Type 45 to a French La Fayette or a Dutch De Zeven Provinciën, which is arguably the BEST Air Defence ship on the seas as we speak! But there's more. The ground-based air defence is basically what's referred to as RAF Fast Jets, which are Eurofighter Typhoons, which are arguably the best jets in the skies right now, but they are being replaced with F-35's as we speak. And the ground-based system for Whitehall, I know nothing about and the rest of the system, CAMM, is an idea at present...

So where do we stand? No access to EW and no real working A2AD... And Russia exploits that all the time by flying Bear's, and I've heard Blackjacks into GB airspace until they are intercepted.

But it's worse than that.

The current army has grown used to operating from safe bases in the middle of its operating area, against opponents who do not manoeuvre at scale, have no protected mobility, no air defence, no substantial artillery, no electronic warfare capability, nor – especially – an air force or recourse to conventional ballistic or cruise missiles.

That quote is a scathing criticism of the British Army. It says that the Army only knows how to fight targets who have no real modern hardware who don't maneuver like like say a Russian Maneuver Battalion kitted out with T-14's and BTR's. And even if it could fight them, it can't fight the supporting troops who use Artillery, EW, Air Forces and conventional and ballistic cruise missiles. It's a fancy way to say that they can't fight for shit in more polite political language.

But my favourite part of the entire report is this line in reference to the brand spanking new Queen Elizabeth class Aircraft Carriers and other small but hugely expensive pieces of equipment that dominate the UK Military like the F-35 and the Vanguard-class submarine's or the hilariously expensive Trident Missile System which both are in Scotland, which may no longer be in GB if the SNP have their way!

we cannot afford to use fully, damage or lose

And this part of the report is dead right! If GB does loose a carrier in conflict, that's the Pride of the British Navy and the Armed Forces in general. That's HMS Tiger all over again. That's a huge loss to morale! And it's a very costly loss! And it can so easily happen as the CVN USS Theodore Roosevelt and it's escorts found out in 1999 when a Dutch Walrus-class submarine sunk a training exercise called JTFEX/TMDI99 in the Atlantic Ocean. The Dutch sub got into the Task Force, sunk it all and got out without being detected and left because it ran out of torpedo's.

And one last thing.

lack of manpower across the military

The British Army has been at war for 100 years on the trot with no breaks. It's had no recovery time. It has great institutional knowledge of fighting and how to fight, but it lacks the man power to do so and the manpower isn't trained well enough to do so since more and more troops are needed to keep working on operations

And just to end as Brexit was mentioned... GB hates the idea of an EU Army or European Defence Pact/Colation/Corps because it's the end of NATO. Europe will form it, pay for their force and not NATO's. It will be GB, USA and a few non-EU nations and the US will likely with the current political climate look at NATO as a waste of resources and a boone for US Isolationists. And that right there is the end of the UK/USA agreement or the end of the "Special Relationship".


Paddy Kerley

DFCS at TU Dublin's Cyber Program and talk giver TU Dublin Hacker Soc. Mostly talks about Cyberwarfare, NatSec, Infosec, Big Safari, Arms Control, North Korea, OSINT and stuff that goes boom

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