Thanks to http://twitter.com/IanPJ and http://twitter.com/veterans_uk for this find.
The MOD: Unfit for Purpose from http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/standpoint
Here are some extracts from the article that was published in 2008;
I am often asked why the MOD makes so many strange decisions and seems to care so little about the welfare of its personnel. People are surprised to read about expensive computer systems that fail to pay service members their proper salaries — or pay them late. Some are shocked by the apparent dumping of severely wounded personnel from Afghanistan and Iraq into civilian hospital wards, remote from their regiments and families, or the massive contracts for systems that are delivered late and don’t work properly, or the strange failure to publicise genuine successes and minor victories achieved “against the odds” in Afghanistan and Iraq.
None of these scandals — or many others less well known — would surprise anyone who knows the MOD and what it has become.
Most people still believe that the MOD is essentially a military organisation. It is not. It is an organisation dominated numerically, culturally and structurally by civil servants and consultants, many of whom are unsympathetic to its underlying purpose or even hostile to the military and its ethos. You just have to spend a few days at the MOD before you realise that the culture there is not just non-military, but anti-military.
The MOD has slipped from being one of the top five ministries to one of second or even third rank. Moreover, even if our top generals wanted to oppose some aspect of defence policy, they would find the MOD’s structure is now rigged so that civil servants increasingly come between them and the government.
Now the ratio of civilians to service-members is closer to six to one — not including the ever-growing numbers of consultants and Spads (special advisers) or the parallel government structures in the cabinet office and the PM’s policy unit which may be driving the ratio towards 12 to one. Essentially the military has lost command of its own HQ.
Worse still, the civil servants who now dominate the MOD are a different breed from those who staffed it in the 1980s. In those days there were still many civil servants who had served in the Second World War or Korea, or who had at least done national service. They respected and understood the armed services; they believed an effective military was important and had usually learnt essential skills of leadership and management. They were loyal to the Queen (then the head of the Civil Service), to the Civil Service itself and to its code, and to the service arm they were working for. They have all gone.
The real point of most MOD contracts is industrial strategy. We buy planes or vehicles or systems not because they are the best we can afford for the task in hand but because they mean jobs in some part of the country. Or because they further European integration. This is why we buy helicopters like the Merlin that cost more than three times the price of the US Blackhawk. As a result we don’t have decent airlift capacity in Afghanistan, and our infantry in Basra were the first British troops to go into battle without dedicated “on-call” air cover since the First World War.
Because the services haven’t had the budget increases they need to fight the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military is running out of everything. We’re running out of trucks, for instance. And when things break they aren’t being replaced. Increasingly one gets the impression that the civil servants don’t care if the forces are broken — their careers will not be affected. But it may also be that some civil servants and a body of politicians, from both Left and Right, would actually be happy for the military to be broken in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then they will have truly achieved the Europeanisation of Britain’s armed forces along the lines of a purely defensive “UK Defence Force”. War will somehow have been abolished — until, of course, it returns at a time of our enemies’ choosing.
This has to change, the Government is sending our troops into battle with substandard equipment, if they're lucky.
The Government is meant to look after our military, why isn't it?