The telegraph made headlines this week with an article claiming that the Army would be facing a cut of up to 20,000 troops after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, leaving manpower cut to circa 80,000 in the period following 2015. This has come as a surprise to some quarters given the vagueness of the SDSR itself, not least because of the constant reference to the heavily quoted number of 94/95 thousand troops alongside repeated references to the ‘aspiration’ of the 2020 force structure. It should not have been a surprise.
Notwithstanding ambiguous quotes in the SDSR document there were plenty of caveats.
This post has been filed under politics for a reason; because it is widely believed that there can only be three mainstream smartphone ecosystems, in addition to niche platforms such as RIM, and with Android and Apple IOS occupying two of those positions the race to be the third depends massively on the perception of momentum. Consumers and developers will follow the perceived trend, and so creating a vision for where your platform will go is as much an art of political manoeuvre as it is a science of engineering prowess.
Nokia want to be (a part of) that third platform and they didn’t have confidence that MeeGo could take them there.
It should not be news to anyone that the Defence budget was a shattered ruin by the beginning of 2010, when the Gray report revealed an unfunded 10% budget deficit over the coming decade, in addition to Treasury insistence on Defence funding of the acquisition costs of the Trident replacement which represents a further 2.5% cut, and, a Treasury demand for a 7.5% reduction as part of the Defence contribution to balancing the country’s shattered public finances. And yet people are surprised at the huge number of capabilities and platforms that got axed at the SDSR……….
Why? Did we not all spend the preceding twelve months consuming a non-stop diet of horror stories?
Conventional wisdom says that the Lib-Dem’s are done as a third-force in British politics, opinion polls have them down to single digits, they are vilified for back-tracking on their manifesto commitment to student top-up fees (ironically the result of the consensual coalition carve-up style of politics they advocate), and they are beginning to realise that for all the ministerial positions the thrust of the policy narrative is blue in hue. Surely the end is nigh?
This blog takes the view that things are not so bad as they appear.
A set of brief predictions for technology trends that will occur, or become apparent, during 2011.
What does the future have in store.
The Think Defence site has begun a series of articles looking at new ways of structuring the forces with the aim of achieving the best bang for the buck, or Capability Plus in TD parlance. The first service to attract scrutiny is the Royal Navy. The articles are packed with informed detail, cast a harsh spotlight on many long accepted assumptions about what the Navy should do, and provide a number of excellent solutions for preserving and enhancing capability. The purpose of this article is first and foremost a recommendation that people should read them.
Additionally; both thanks and awe that TD has remained such a prolific writer throughout.
Surprise surprise, the eurozone crisis of confidence has returned with a vengeance, only this time with apocalyptic statements from the EU’s president, Herman Van Rumpoy, that if the Euro did not survive, neither would the EU. First we must strip away the hyperbole; the presumption of a continuation of europe’s ‘natural’ state of warfare and ethnic cleansing without the moderating influence of a pan-european ‘national’ identity is utter clap-trap. The reality is that if the Euro does not survive then the EU of ever-deeper political union will not survive, instead it might devolve back to something that more closely resembles the European Community of old. Whether this is a terrible thing is a matter of perspective. However, there is no doubt that the current Eurozone without full economic governance and the political mandate for a transfer-union will never function effectively, or that the current direction of sequential bail-outs as contagion spreads is destined for catastrophic failure for all members and neighbours.
So if political union is impossible, and collapse is unconscionable, what other option exists?
CDProjekt are about to embark on one of the most risky experiments in PC gaming history, releasing a their new title DRM-free on Good Old Games and doing so from day one. One way or another we will soon know the answer to the question we have all been asking for years; is it possible to create a viable business case for developing and publishing DRM-free media in a digital & online world?
The experiment will have far reaching consequence’s, well beyond the realm of PC gaming itself.
The SDSR was never going to be satisfactory, the perpetual wars during declining budgetary prominence was always going to result in a car-crash, and sure enough that crash arrived with the financial crisis in 2008. This has resulted was a lot of unsatisfactory decisions, mostly due to the (correct) commitment to the Afghan mission conflicting for the desire for a force structure for 2020 and beyond, but did we avoid making the difficult choices demanded by RUSI in the FDR paper; capability cost trends?
What that is recognisable can we pull out of the rubble?
France and Britain have concluded a set of new Defence agreements that will see the countries work more closely together, but what will be the result? The countries share a great number of complimentary & similar characteristics including GDP, Defence budgets, UNSC membership, nuclear deterrents, overseas dependencies & global foreign policy ambitions, but both have defined their ambitions though opposing reactions to the Suez crisis. In both instances to never find themselves marginalised in world affairs through opposition from the US, but on the one hand by by converging already complimentary ambitions, and on the other by creating a european framework through which independence of the US can be achieved.
What does this agreement tell us about how those ambitions have evolved since the Cold War?