Nearly half of Special Forces could go in deepest cuts in 50 years

Ravage

running up that hill
Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Messages
3,865
Location
in Wonderland, with my Alice
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukn...ces-could-go-in-deepest-cuts-in-50-years.html

SBS_2497921b.jpg

The SBS, formed during the Second World War, has fought in every major conflict in the past 70 years

The elite units could be cut by up to 40 per cent, with two famous Territorial SAS regiments being “demoted” to serving with the regular Army, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

The restructuring programme is designed to return the Special Forces to their pre-Iraq War footing as a smaller, less expensive, but highly capable covert organisation.

The proposals will be presented by the director of Special Forces – the officer in control of the Special Air Service (SAS), the Special Boat Service (SBS) and other units – to Gen Sir David Richards, the Chief of the Defence Staff, in the next few weeks.

The plan includes:
* Reducing the SBS from four to three squadrons, but leaving the SAS intact;

* Taking the 21 and 23 SAS territorial units out of the Special Forces command and making them part of the regular Army Reserves;

* Major cuts to the Special Forces Support Group, which provides logistics, communications and other support to the SAS and SBS;

* Ending the independent role of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR), which was only set up in 2005.

The changes involve the loss of hundreds of posts, and come after a warning on Saturday from Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, that further defence budget cuts cannot be sustained.

The restructuring is part of existing savings, but Mr Hammond said that going further would mean “expensively trained troops may not be able to be exercised and trained as regularly as they need to be”. His intervention came before the June spending review and as he pushed for welfare cuts, which George Osborne, the Chancellor, has privately suggested must be the focus.

It is understood that an initial review of the future of the Special Forces Group was produced last year by senior officers in the Ministry of Defence, listing a series of recommendations now being enacted by a team in the headquarters of the Directorate of Special Forces.

The proposals, which would be carried out after Britain’s withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014, have divided opinion, with many seasoned soldiers describing them as “madness”. But senior commanders have ruled that the Special Forces must “share in the pain” of cuts. The current Special Forces Group stands at around 3,500 soldiers and marines, but the cuts could result in a reduction to between 1,750 and 2,000.

Of all the proposals, the reduction in the size of the SBS and the loss of the two territorial SAS units from the Special Forces Group are the most controversial. The MoD is likely to face strong resistance and will be under pressure to withdraw the plans.

The SBS, formed during the Second World War, has fought in every major conflict in the past 70 years. It expanded in 2004 to meet the extra requirement for covert missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Keeping the unit at full strength has been a constant problem, partly because its recruiting base, the Royal Marines, is relatively small.

Equally controversial is the removal of 21 (Artists) and 23 SAS, both territorial units, from the Special Forces Group and their placement within the regular Army.

The relationship between the regular and territorial SAS has become strained in recent years with the TA units seen as the “poor relation” in terms of expertise and equipment.

Although the TA units have not supported their regular colleagues on covert operations in Afghanistan, they play a vital role in intelligence gathering and mentoring Afghan police. Three members of 21 SAS were awarded Military Crosses in 2009.

The SRR, which recruits from all three services, will also have its role diminished in what has been described as a “loss of independence”.

It was created from a covert intelligence gathering detachment called 14 Intelligence Company, which operated almost exclusively in Northern Ireland, and has operated primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan. After 2014, it will reduce in size and support the SAS and SBS rather than conducting independent operations.

The Special Forces Support Group, which is composed of members of the Parachute Regiment with additional troops from the Royal Marines and the RAF, was created in 2006 and has operated primarily in Iraq and Afghanistan supporting the SAS and SBS. After 2014 its strength could be cut by two thirds to about 200 troops.

A senior source with knowledge of the proposals said: “There is still a need for both the SRR and the SFSG, just not in the numbers required. Every unit has to justify its existence and the Special Forces are no different.

“They are not so special that they are immune from defence cuts. The Special Forces Group will still be larger than it was before 2001, just not as big as it is today.”

The plan ends the longest period of sustained growth for the Special Forces since the Second World War. The increases began with the response to the September 11 terror attacks.

Initially the expansion was greeted with scepticism, with many senior SAS troops saying the move would lead to a “dilution of quality” required for special operations. But those claims were refuted by a series of combat successes in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as praise from US commanders.

Until recently, the received opinion within the Armed Forces was that the SAS and the SBS, which have notched up an unbroken period of almost 12 years of combat operations, were immune from the defence cuts.

In Iraq, the SAS and the SBS formed part of Task Force Black, the US and British covert antiterrorist unit specifically aimed at al-Qaeda, and played a direct role in the killing of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the group’s leader.

In Afghanistan, they have captured and killed hundreds of middle-ranking and senior members of the Taliban and al-Qaeda. British Special Forces have also taken part in, and advised on, hostage rescue operations involving UK and US nationals and helped train Afghan special forces.

An MoD spokesman insisted that the Government recognised the “strategic value and long term importance” of the Special Forces.

He added: “Furthermore, the Prime Minister has committed to significantly increase investment to ensure this elite group retain their cutting edge operational capability.

“As we draw down in Afghanistan, we will review the supporting infrastructure to ensure those front-line units have the support they require.”
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
10,774
Location
CONUS
The militaries of the EU need to seriously re-consider all of these massive cuts they're envisioning. The US is losing interest in Europe fast, in favor of the Pacific; and no one is going to take the EU seriously without a highly competent military force. Sorry guys, that's just the way it is. As it stands now, IMO, the UK's SOF is the most highly competent in all of Europe, in no small part because of the skills they honed fighting alongside the US in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. With the West's general risk aversion to military affairs, SOF will become more important, not less. Halving your most effective military force at a time when your security posture is being weakened overall is not a good move.
 

Soldado

Verified Military
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
128
Location
Peru
The militaries of the EU need to seriously re-consider all of these massive cuts they're envisioning. The US is losing interest in Europe fast, in favor of the Pacific; and no one is going to take the EU seriously without a highly competent military force.

How about France?
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
10,774
Location
CONUS
How about France?

France, like the rest of the EU, has highly competent forces at the tactical level. They, like the EU, are also utterly dependent upon the US for things like intelligence, logistics, and strategic airlift.
 

pardus

Verified Military
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
9,993
I thought France could be an exception of what Marauder06 said.


Roger.

This could be of interest to you then...

France soon to announce massive defense cuts


March 15, 2013

From Olivier de France, European Council on Foreign Relations: Initial budget projections for France’s defence effort started leaking yesterday. . . .
[T]he talk is of a shift so massive that it would simply change the face of French foreign policy. To put it briefly, France would lose its capacity to project power abroad. It would no longer be an ‘expeditionary’ power – that is, it would no longer have the ambition or capacity to send regular armed forces outside domestic borders, enter a foreign theatre first, engage, autonomously do battle, and then stay there to see it out. In short, it would lose its capacity to do Mali.
French defence would still be tasked with ensuring sovereignty and protecting territorial integrity – albeit with an unlikely combination of nuclear deterrence and policing forces. And it would still have the capacity to send special forces to areas where France’s vital interests are at stake. But it would lose its ability to send regular troops to wrestle a country from the grip of radical jihadist groups, to name but one – entirely theoretical – example.
The worse case scenario makes even bleaker reading30 regiments disbanded, Rafale fighter jetproduction lines unplugged, the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier sold off to Brazil or India and the flagship A400M programme scrapped. . . .
We are not there yet. The worst case scenario seems improbable for a number of reasons – not least that the Charles de Gaulle is, after all, a nuclear powered aircraft carrier. It would not do either at this point to discard the possibility of a media strategy. The thinking at the Ministry of Finance might be that by brandishing the apocalyptic option it can hope to shepherd through the dismal one.
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
10,774
Location
CONUS
Also, about France:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/africa/2013/01/201311813241652988.html


Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, confirmed the move to put intelligence resources and transport planes at the disposal of French troops.
"We are supporting the French operation in Mali with intelligence and airlift," she said in Washington


So they're not a whole lot different than any other army of a member nation of the EU. They still need A LOT of help with anything approaching an operational or strategic level.

EU member nation militaries can do a lot- once they get to the fight. Figuring out where the enemy is, and how to get out there to him, they still need Uncle Sam.
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
10,774
Location
CONUS
It could be a 'political help'(To make his relationships stronger).


And Uncle Sam still needs of them(OTAN).

Of course. It's a symbiotic relationship, we usually don't make allies with people who are of no use to us. But when you're saying that the US needs NATO... that's a bit of a stretch. For all intents and purposes, the US is NATO. Look at the "NATO" operation that went down in Libya as Exhibit A.
 

Soldado

Verified Military
Joined
Feb 16, 2013
Messages
128
Location
Peru
Of course. It's a symbiotic relationship, we usually don't make allies with people who are of no use to us. But when you're saying that the US needs NATO... that's a bit of a stretch. For all intents and purposes, the US is NATO. Look at the "NATO" operation that went down in Libya as Exhibit A.

Yes, you're right. But the US still needs a pact to be stronger, like Warsaw, the Axis Powers, the Triple Entente or the Seventh Coalition.
 

RackMaster

Nasty-Dirty-Canuck
SOF Support
Joined
Feb 8, 2007
Messages
10,429
Location
Land of Swine and Maple Syrup
It could be a 'political help'(To make his relationships stronger).


And Uncle Sam still needs of them(OTAN).

I agree some what, we have interests in the AO but France doesn't have the strategic airlift that we do. If it wasn't for the lack of will here for being part of another conflict, I'm sure we would have sent a lot more than just one plane. There is already talks of expanding our commitment and providing a "Peacekeeping" force to Mali. But France requested that as soon as Operations started and it's because they don't have he capacity for a long haul foreign mission.
 

Ravage

running up that hill
Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2007
Messages
3,865
Location
in Wonderland, with my Alice
Interesting that the British MoD is considering scratching a SBS Squadron, but leaving the Hereford guys as they are.
Kind of like "the Blades are the priority now and everybody needs to tighten up".
Didn't Duncan Falconer write about a "conflict" between the two Services?
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
SOF Support
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
16,010
Location
Not Afghanistan
If France backs out of the A400M program or even kills it that could be ugly.....great for the US though. More -130's for everyone.

It kind of cracks me up at how cumbersome our militaries have become. Costly and large, you either pay a princely sum to project power overseas or you have a really awesome local gendarmie...there's almost no in between anymore. Countries like France have the remnants of a colonial empire to defend thanks to various defense agreements, but find themselves with an economy which can't support those agreements. So, you let them go and then what in 5, 10, 20 years? Suddenly you're left with one or two nations who can project power and if it isn't in their best interests to intervene...well, that sucks.

Europe is about to be in a position where they are utterly dependent upon the US for overseas military support. NATO without the US will be an old tiger: slow, nearly toothless, but the claws are still sharp if they ever connect.

Funny....200 years ago with colonies all over the place you need a vast blue water navy, because you only needed a local power. Your ships and armies were based overseas and while a country had a home fleet, it didn't require this massive logistics chain to go to war; your local forces were usually enough. Now that colonies are so passe, nations are left with what? Sure, a few forward bases exist, but the cost of maintaining those bases and the equipment on them is becoming too much for even the first world to bear.

I guess this is the part where some would thump their chest and talk about "'Merica" and all that, but the collapse or degredation of our partners' ability to project power overseas is troubling, frightening even. It is not cause to cheer. While that isn't in our best interests, neither can afford to foot the bill for their militaries like we have in the past (or present in Afghanistan).

The losers here will at first be in the developing world as nations encroach upon others and old boundary disputes find new life. Eventually, things escalate as they always do and who is left to help? The US? China? India? Maybe Russia one day?

Hopefully it won't come to that, but without 9/11 think of how different the US and NATO nations would look, militarily speaking.

Frightening.
 

pardus

Verified Military
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
9,993
U.S., U.K. Chiefs To Hold Historic Strategy Meeting

WASHINGTON — In what is believed to be the first time since the 1940s, the entire British defense staff will be here March 25 to discuss long-range strategy and the impact of budget cuts with their U.S. counterparts, according to U.S. and British sources.
The meeting is reminiscent of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, when British and American military leaders joined forces during World War II. Both nations are undergoing significant budgetary reductions and will continue to rely on each other in future years for support. Understanding what capabilities will survive and won’t is essential to long-term strategic planning.
“The relationship military to military is very strong. We have common interest in how we meet the financial constraints placed on both nations, but also on issues like how we manage the drawdown in Afghanistan and also how we reconfigure post Afghanistan,” said Sir Gerald Howarth, a member of parliament and the ex-defense minister responsible for international security affairs from 2010 to 2012.
“We have a huge amount of strategic issues to discuss where we have a very large level of common interest,” he said.
A Defence Ministry spokesman characterized the meeting as private and declined further comment.
In the U.S., spokesmen for the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not respond to questions.
U.S. and British military leaders regularly discuss ongoing issues. What’s different about this series of meetings is they will focus not on immediate budget, program or operational issues, but the strategic future of the Anglo-American alliance, including deepening cooperation.
In addition to the U.S. Joint Chiefs, British attendees are expected to include Gen. Sir David Richards, chief of the Defence Staff; Gen. Sir Nicholas Houghton, vice chief of the Defence Staff, who will take over as chief when Richards retires later this year; Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton, chief of the Air Staff; Adm. Sir George Zambellas, incoming Navy first sea lord; Gen. Sir Peter Wall, chief of the General Staff; and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, commander of Joint Forces Command, sources said.
The U.S. and U.K. regularly share the most sensitive military intelligence, technology and equipment, including submarine-launched nuclear ballistic missiles. Britain over the past decade in particular has shaped its capabilities to dovetail with U.S. forces.
The British are the leading developmental partner on the U.S.-led F-35 fighter program with Lockheed Martin and have in their inventory Boeing C-17 transports, Chinook and Apache helicopters and Lockheed C-130 cargo aircraft. In addition, the Royal Air Force is buying highly sensitive RC-135 Rivet Joint intelligence planes produced by L-3 Communications in the U.S., making London the only international customer for that program.
The meeting comes as the Pentagon faces $500 billion in spending cuts over the coming decade, which will force senior leaders to make difficult choices. The British delegation arrives with particular experience in that area, having faced even deeper budget cuts — in percentage terms — over the past several years, forcing major reforms to force structure, organization and acquisition programs in that time.
“Getting value for money and efficiency is something we have focused a considerable amount of attention on, and we can offer them advice in that area,” Howarth said.
Still, the British budget is a fraction of that of the U.S. In fact, at $62.7 billion in 2011, the British budget is not much larger than the size of the annual cuts faced by the Americans. Under mandatory cuts for the remainder of 2013, the Pentagon is reducing its budget by $46 billion.
Yet the U.S. military could learn a thing or two from its British counterparts when it comes to consolidation, especially within the headquarters staff ranks, said Barry Pavel, the director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council here.
“I think [the U.S.] can learn a lot,” Pavel said. “There’s a lot of inefficiencies in our headquarters. They’ve taken jointness ... to new levels that we haven’t yet done.”
But the British, having cut so deeply, are also in need. They are “going to have to leverage the U.S. to a greater degree, or try to,” Pavel said.
To get leaner and reduce overhead in recent years, the British military consolidated its war colleges into a single school and created an operational command center outside of London to oversee operations, according to retired British Army Brig. Gen. Ben Barry, now with the International Institute for Strategic Studies think tank in London.
The U.S. Defense Department is already preparing for force structure reductions in the coming years and is re-evaluating its military strategy to determine how further budget cuts would affect its plans.
U.S. and British forces routinely train together and have fought side-by-side over the past decade in Afghanistan and Iraq. In Afghanistan, British Lt. Gen. Nick Carter serves as the deputy commander to U.S. Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, commander of NATO forces.
“On the day-to-day business of military cooperation, the relationship between the U.S. [NATO] commander and the British second in command is another good example of working in partnership,” Howarth said.
The two militaries regularly participate in personnel exchanges.
 

Mac_NZ

Stitch Bitch
Verified Military
Joined
Jul 26, 2008
Messages
1,597
Location
Christchurch
Britain is a welfare state as much as it pains me to say it. There was a discussion on here a year or so ago where it was predicted that they would pay more in welfare than they would make in GDP. No country can live that way.

I begrudge no man assistance when they need it but when the career unemployed can have a holiday abroad paid for by the state (to appease some socialists belief that it will make them feel more a part of society and get them off the dole) and the British Military is being eviscerated something is very very wrong.
 

pardus

Verified Military
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
9,993
Britain is a welfare state as much as it pains me to say it. There was a discussion on here a year or so ago where it was predicted that they would pay more in welfare than they would make in GDP. No country can live that way.

I begrudge no man assistance when they need it but when the career unemployed can have a holiday abroad paid for by the state (to appease some socialists belief that it will make them feel more a part of society and get them off the dole) and the British Military is being evidcerated something is very very wrong.

I would love to think that when things get to the tipping point, people/society will wake up and we'll go back to at least a semblance of normalcy again, but I fear it will turn into something very ugly indeed.
 
Top