|Does anyone here think it would be wise for the government to debate the actual role of the armed forces, and create new mission statements for the services accordingly?
I say this, as although we are very close to the US, we obviously can not afford the funding that America can, and so we will never be able to keep up with America across so many different capabilities. Is it time we sacrificed some capabilities in order to be able to afford to sustain other capabilities? An instance which springs to mind, is the manner in which the RN are selling their souls (along with everything else) in order to gain these two carriers.
The war in Iraq is clearly a very expensive mistake (not the actual invasion, but our staying there with no end in sight), and as such our military budget is going to be in the red for some time to come.
What can we do, to ensure a well trained and effective fighting force, without it costing us financially?
I believe our nuclear deterrent in our SSBN's is a must have, as do I our SSN and naval amphibious fleet. Do we need the RN to have carriers? Do we need both Portsmouth and Devonport? Now that we have long left East of Suez, do we need to many expeditionary RFA support assets? With a highly trained army, do we need the RM's as their own seperate entity?
As for the RAF (not going into my crave to dissolve them altogether), we obviously don't need so many short-range Eurofighters. However can our land based fast jets protect the RN as well? Or alternatively can we get rid of all the RAF's fast jets, in favour of a RN carrier force and FAA fast jets? We clearly need more transport aircraft and helicopters (at least now those 8 special forces Chinooks are being converted into transport versions and pushed into service). We also clearly need our AWACS and tanker assets. But do we really need the Nimrods?
What about the army? Again, clearly I think we need to improve on the standard of housing, but what can we cut? Do we still need our heavy forces in Challenger and Warrior (I say we do)? Do we need to retain a para ability?
Of course these are just a few questions and opinions off the top of my head. But realistically, what can we cut in order to afford the rest? Do we need duplications in capabilities, such as the Infantry and the RM's, and FAA and RAF fast jets? Do we need carriers? Do we need amphibious ships?