The 23rd of October is the deadline to submit your thoughts on the opportunities and threats to be considered in the 2015 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review. Get cracking, make your 1500 characters count!
What did I say?
Nothing you haven’t heard before:
“Previous doctrine, whereby Britain seeks to maintain Framework Nation status could not have envisaged an Armed Forces that included more than ten combat brigades, so our maximum sustained commitment would be no more than two brigades and supporting HQ, logistics and specialists elements, about 13,000 troops in total. Not only is this wholly insufficient for the main engagement we sought to influence, it is only half the total commitment required to demand the command-input we seek as recompense. Worse still, a commitment to a continental strategy of necessity requires the loss of naval-expeditionary capability that would offer an alternative to enduring US coalition operations.
In short, we would suborn our entire military capability to US ends, and still be unable to justify the 2IC slot that would permit HMG to achieve its own objectives.
The challenge for Britain’s ambitions under a maritime doctrine lies in convincing Washington that reducing our capability to support their forces in theatre will increase the probability of delivering the EU that can be a genuine partner in a post-unipolar world. American scepticism of European commitment to deliver effective military capability is well justified. The cost of a maritime doctrine may be considered very-long odds contrasted against the capability we provide today. On the other hand, the US State Department has always be keen to see Britain thoroughly enmeshed in ever-deeper-union, presumably on the logic that if there is to be an EU it might as well be both effective and friendly to American interests, neither of which is assured without British involvement.
In short, maintain 3Cdo as a brigade level capability (not merely an administrative unit), ensure both carriers are operable at the same time (in extremis), amphibious capacity to deploy a brigade level capability (in overload), retain submarines as a strategic industry (design/build drumbeat), and ensure enough escorts and support to employ the above as a credible force (18 + MPA + a global RFA).”
Pull that off we’re most of the way there.