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Subject: UK army should get bigger of fight less?
Hewlett    3/8/2007 12:45:47 PM What do you people think should happen to the army? If it gets bigger alot more funding is going to be needed and where would that come from with the NHS in problems which will cause a large arguement over which is needed more. Any thoughts? Thanks
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flamingknives       3/8/2007 1:20:50 PM
From the social security funding? It's bigger than the NHS, the defence sector, and possibly education all put together.
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Hewlett       3/8/2007 1:59:26 PM
social security funding? Whats that? sorry never heard of it could you tell me about it?
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Yimmy       3/8/2007 2:42:06 PM
To be honest, although I agree that we are over-stretched, I don't think the numbers look that bad.  We have 13,000 odd troops abroad, while in the army alone we have around 103,000(?).
Going by the theory of threes, I don't see why we can't have 10,000 on operations, 10,000 training for operations, and 10,000 relaxing having just returned from operations.  Add in 10,000 in basic training as replacements, and those on other training courses, and we have an army of 40,000 only, with 10,000 on operations at any one time.
Okay, I realise this would mean a constant strain of 6 months on deployment, then a year off, then 6 months on deployment, which does reduce down time, and our rediness for other deployment needs which may spring up.  Ultimately though, I think time on deployment is far more valuable than time on large exercises in Salisbury Plain.
I think to a large extent the problem is we are trying to get the military to fight a war, while keeping a peace-time frame of mind.  Using "Fireforce" as a reference, the book I recently read on Rhodesias war on terrorism, the author fought in the unit solidly for three years, with just the odd two week R&R period.
I think you would actually find, that although a lot of good people would leave the army if they were to be used far more, I think a good number of people would actually join for the same reason - for the opportunity of soldiering without the boring bull of barracks life.  Personally, (and I say this with caution my never having served an operational tour), I would sooner sign on dotted lined for two-three years solid in Afghanistan, than I would for four years in Catterick.  I can only assume so many have joined the RLI and Legion through similar desires for basically adventure.
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Yimmy       3/8/2007 2:43:05 PM
As opposed to "Abroad", I mean on active deployment.
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flamingknives       3/8/2007 2:59:59 PM
Social security is things like unemployment benefit, disability allowances, pensions etc.
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interestedamateur       3/8/2007 3:30:55 PM
Yimmy, the army works on a series of 5's not 3's (or at least that's the theory!). Each unit should undergo: 6 months rest, 6 months small unit training, 6 months major unit training, 6 months standby, 6 months active service. The idea is to give units a 24 month break between operations. Part of the idea of FAS was to work towards this - hence the 5 mech/armd brigades. You've no need to tell me that the reality is somewhat different.
To answer the original post, we urgently need a defence review to look at the role of our armed forces in order to decide their equipment, structure, level of spending etc. Tony Blair suggested that we need a debate and it is widely rumoured that Mr Brown will conduct this review.
I know you guys won't agree with me, but I could easily put forward a case for halving the size of the army - we wouldn't be taking part on all of these overseas missions, but the UK as a country would still be safe. The Italians (a similar sized country) for instance spend only one-third on defence that we do - does anyone think that they are being threatened?
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Yimmy       3/8/2007 3:39:15 PM
Anybody invading Italy would be liable of getting run-over.
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Hewlett       3/8/2007 4:08:35 PM
Not sure how to phrase this but anyway: If we have 13000 troops (roughly) abroad out of a total of 10300 how many of those not on active duty could be rapidly deployed if something "kicked off"? Just how overstreched are we and would we have to withdraw troops from the current warzones? I dont know what kind of situation it could be.
Or what if Congo allowed  UN peace keepers in could we realisticly send in a decnt sized force to help?
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Hewlett       3/8/2007 4:10:51 PM
Not Congo sorry Chad
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Yimmy    I-A   3/9/2007 6:27:30 PM
I don't suppose you know of any government link explaining his army of 5's principle.... I am brining it into an essay and should probably credit it to a suitable reference.....
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