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S28 - Statement of Intent from the Secretary of State for Defence Watch

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    The Secretary of State for Defence, Count Bezukhov, has submitted the following statement of intent:




    S28 - Statement of Intent from the Secretary of State for Defence






    Secretary of State: Count Bezukhov MP



    Introduction

    The United Kingdom has been one of the globe’s foremost military powers for several centuries, and it is important that the nation retains this status throughout the Twenty-first. With emerging powers beginning to flex their military muscle, the UK faces a number of growing security concerns that can only be resolved with a strong military deterrent and robust foreign policy. Perhaps now more than ever, Western leadership is needed throughout the world in order to ensure that stability, development and trade are at the forefront of international relations. Military strength will allow Britain to contribute to bringing these aims to fruition. The policies outlined below are designed to target four key areas:
    • Trident, NATO and Deterrence
    • Funding, Capabilities and Recruitment
    • Iraq, Syria and the Refugee Crisis
    • Foreign Energy Dependency


    Policy Overview

    Trident, NATO and Deterrence

    Trident forms the pillar of the UK’s deterrent against aggression by foreign states. Heightened tensions between the West and Russia, in combination with the growing influence of China, highlights the necessity of maintaining an effective nuclear arsenal. Britain cannot afford to compromise on her national security, when potential aggressor states are modernising their capabilities. As such, introducing a bill within this parliamentary term, to make the process of renewal legally binding, is not only justified, but necessary.

    Our active participation in NATO forms an equally vital component of our national security. The Atlantic Alliance is pivotal in deterring Russian hostility: the conflict in eastern Ukraine demonstrates the willingness of Russia to exert military muscle over former USSR territory; yet, under the NATO military umbrella, the Baltic states have thus far escaped similar aggressions. Nevertheless, concerns have been raised regarding the ability of NATO to deter a ground invasion [1], and this is why Britain must commit 1000 additional troops to the eastern sphere as a display of commitment and resolve. The Ministry of Defence will ensure that these troops are in place by the beginning of 2018. We pledge to meet all spending targets, whilst encouraging other NATO allies to respond likewise as the outward commitment of all participants to the alliance underpins its credibility.

    Equally, it is vital for Europe’s own security interests to gradually reduce its reliance on American military power over the coming years. The election of Donald Trump as POTUS demonstrates the growing strength of the isolationist streak within American society, and therefore America cannot be relied upon to unconditionally support European states in military affairs. It is not outside the realms of possibility that another isolationist could succeed President Trump in office, and consequently this government will put forward a motion calling for European nations to conduct joint military exercises more frequently, so that the continent is better coordinated to provide for its own defence. This will not undermine NATO, but strengthen it by reinforcing the European contribution to the alliance.

    Funding, Capabilities and Recruitment

    Concerns raised by top military officials make it clear that spending cuts are compromising Britain’s national security. Regular force numbers are at historically low levels, and despite millions of pounds being spent on recruitment campaigns the army experienced a shortfall of 34% from their recruitment target [11] in 2013/14. This government will respond to these concerns appropriately by gradually expanding the budget, beyond inflation, over the course of this parliament.

    To aid in attracting and retaining personnel, part of the increased budget will be used to increase pay for all servicemen and women, and the government will end any further cuts to the number of Regular soldiers. Reserve forces will be expanded to fill in personnel gaps, at a reduced cost compared with the recruitment of Regular personnel. The target for this government is 11,000 additional Reservists over the next four years, or 2750 per year. Recruitment campaigns will focus on portraying Reserve service as a form of civic engagement: helping to defend both local communities and the nation as a whole. Such ideas will particularly resonate with British citizens, in light of a string of horrendous terror attacks striking our homes and those of our allies. The MoD will increase sponsorship funding for Combined Cadet Forces (CCF) in schools – in particular those in deprived areas – and promote the University Officer Training Corp in television ads. By calling upon the patriotism of British citizens, the Ministry of Defence is confident that this new style of campaigning will lead to a meaningful increase in Reservist intake.

    Those who have previous military experience and those who are currently unemployed will be given priority in Reservist recruitment, subject to requirements, but it is expected that many recruits will already have civilian employment. The government will provide more support for employers by subsidising paid leave during training, and launch an information campaign informing employers about the skills advantage of hiring Reservists (such as leadership, teamwork, or operating under pressure). Therefore, it is clear that encouraging more civilians to apply for Reserve service has benefits for national security and businesses alike.

    Further to reports of engine failures in Type-45 destroyers whilst on operations in the Gulf, the government will launch an investigation in order to determine whether reconditioning or complete replacement will be the most cost-effective solution to the problem, ensuring that all Type-45 Destroyers in the Royal Navy are fit for purpose. Vulnerability to “total electric failures” leave our warships unable to operate their weapons or propulsion systems [4], which is open to being exploited by potential aggressors and could compromise British interests abroad. The Secretary of State for Defence will put a bill to the House, before the end of this term, resolving the matter.

    Iraq, Syria and the Refugee Crisis

    Islamic State is engaged in a bloody campaign across Iraq and Syria, displacing millions from their homes and striking Western nations in cowardly attacks designed to sow division in society. It is our duty to those who have fallen to continue defend our citizens and press-on with our military campaign against this barbaric terrorist group. Prior experience in Afghanistan demonstrates that committing Western ground troops in large numbers is ineffective at counter-insurgency work and comes at a great human and financial cost to ourselves. On the contrary, coalition airstrikes against IS have aided local forces in fighting back the terrorist organisation, reclaiming almost 25% of occupied territory in 2016 alone, with a further 14% liberated prior to this in 2015 [7].

    The longer this war continues, the more civilians will be at risk and the longer it will take for displaced peoples to return to their native lands. The MoD commits to continuing precision airstrikes within the framework of the international coalition, at the request of the government in Iraq and at tactical discretion in Syria. British Special Forces units will also support ground efforts to achieve key tactical goals that local forces may be unable to otherwise accomplish. Furthermore, we commit to sending 100 more personnel to train local forces in combat techniques and discipline, and advise on how to generate and maintain stability following the liberation of populated areas. The post-war instability created by the 2003 invasion of Iraq is a lesson that we must pay heed to, and local forces are the only groups able to provide this stability in the long-term.

    The companion policy to an offensive against Islamic State is humanitarian in nature, and serves a dual purpose. This government, in combination with our coalition allies and local forces will set up Humanitarian Safe Zones in Syria, and will aim to do likewise in Libya by providing support to the UN-backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli. HSZ’s will aim to create areas of land that are free from terror, allowing infrastructure to be rebuilt and serve as an alternative place of refuge for migrants fleeing to Europe. Simultaneously, they will reduce the administrative, financial and cultural strains on European states that arise as a result of high migrant intake. Royal Navy ships operating in the Mediterranean Sea will be instructed to rescue migrants attempting to make the crossing, and will transfer migrants back to a location nearby a HSZ, no matter where they are picked up from. This will shut down the Mediterranean as a viable route into Europe and encourage migrants to remain in HSZ’s, where they will receive appropriate humanitarian support until conflicts are resolved.

    Energy Dependency

    Relying upon foreign nations to meet the UK’s energy needs is a strategic weakness. Currently, nearly 60% of all energy in Britain is imported from abroad in order to meet the demands of British residents [5]. It is therefore of vital importance that we, as a nation, take advantage of Britain’s own natural resources to rapidly increase the proportion of energy generated within our borders, making Britain less vulnerable to aggressive action by foreign states. The Ministry of Defence and the Department of Energy and the Environment will collaborate to reduce the UK’s strategic energy weaknesses.

    In addition to this, the transition towards a Green Economy will offer a further strategic benefit to the United Kingdom. Slowing – and in the best-case scenario, halting and/or reversing – the effects of climate change is necessary in order to prevent mass migration from Africa and the Middle East, when looking towards the mid- to long-term future. Such migration will be on a far greater scale than that experienced during the Syrian Refugee Crisis, and consequently poses an existential threat to continental stability. Therefore, it is overwhelmingly in Britain’s national security interest to limit the impact of climate change.

    Costing

    NATO Spending Target and Defence Budget Increase

    The target for defence spending amongst NATO members is 2% of GDP per year. The UK’s GDP is predicted by the IMF [26] to be approximate £1.947tn in accordance with the exchange rate on 28/06/2017. This means that the minimum targeted budget will be £40.002bn for the year 2017/2018, once the average inflationary figure of 2.73% per year [9] is taken into account. A budget increase of 2% above inflationwill provide a cash injection for the plans set out in this SOI, whilst allowing contingency funds to be reserved for unexpected events. This increase will provide an additional £800m of financial resources, to bring the overall defence budget to £40.802bn for the year 2017/2018.

    Renewal of Trident

    The government, as summarised by Full Fact [8], estimates the cost of replacing the UK’s nuclear submarines to be a further £36.45bn on top of current investment. A further £1.3bn will be needed to ensure the current system operates until 2028, although savings from the Submarine Enterprise Performance Programme (SEPP) will cover some of these costs. The average running costs of Trident are expected to be equal to 5-6% of the MoD’s current budget, which is £35bn in 2016/17, equating to £1.92bn, rising with inflation. This information can be collectively used to determine that the total cost of renewal and maintenance will be £4.23bn per annum, up to the year 2060.

    Reservist Recruitment, Salaries and Campaigns

    The government will recruit 11,000 additional Reservists over the next 4 years, which is equivalent to 2750 recruits per year. Minimum commitment currently stands at 27 days per year, allowing Reservists to qualify for a cash bounty [13].

    The following daily rates of pay apply, as of the year 2017:

    Soldiers
    New entrants: £37.47
    Private: £46.42

    Officers
    Cadet (after passing AOSB) £65.24
    Second Lieutenant £78.41

    Using figures from 2008, it is stated that the force required 13,460 officers in addition to 88,320 ‘other’ ranks, a ratio of 1 officer for every 6.56 ‘other’ troops [14]. Using this ratio, we will recruit 364 officers in addition to 2368 ‘other’ ranks per year. The cost per batch of 2750 recruits is therefore as follows:

    Year 1
    364 officers * £65.24 * 29.7 days = £705,296.59
    2368 troops * £37.47 * 29.7 days = £2,635,250.11
    2750 recruits * £444 yearly bounty = £1,221,000
    Total cost = £4,561,546.70

    Year 2
    364 officers * £78.41 * 29.7 days = £847,674.83
    2368 troops * £46.42 * 29.7 days = £3,264,700.03
    2750 recruits * £982 yearly bounty = £2,700,500
    Total cost = £6,812,874.86

    Year 3 and Year 4
    364 officers * £78.41 * 29.7 days = £847,674.83
    2368 troops * £46.42 * 29.7 days = £3,264,700.03
    2750 recruits * £1517 yearly bounty = £4,171,750
    Total cost per year = £8,284,124.86

    The number of personnel currently employed by the military stands at 232,675 [27], with officers earning £50,765 on average and soldiers earning £26,225 on average [28]. Universal salary increases of 5% will therefore cost approximately £342,858,472.75 in total. Broken down, using the 1:6.56 ratio, this means 30,777 officers will be paid on average £2538.25 extra per year, and 201,898 soldiers will be paid on average £1311.25 extra per year.

    The cost of the previous government recruitment campaign worked out to approximately £15,000 per head, for 140 recruits [16], working out to a total cost of £2,100,000 in the year 2014. Only the message content is changing, so there will be no changes to the campaigning budget. Therefore, the budget will be £2,276,728.05 for the year 2017 (after inflation). Employer information campaign costs will be low and taken out of the central budget, as information can be conveyed through seminars between business leaders and government officials. Lastly, there are more than 350 CCF contingents across the country [29], with varying levels of funding requirements. The planned changes are not expected to incur significant costs, and will be easily covered by the overall increase to the defence budget.

    Reconditioning and/or Replacing Type-45 Destroyer Engines

    The procurement of six Type-45 destroyers originally cost the government £1.076bn per ship [17]. Precise costs for engine parts are unavailable in the public domain, but sources from within the Royal Navy estimate that it will cost “tens of millions of pounds” [4] [17] to rectify the engine failure problems previously identified. The main option on the table is to upgrade all diesel generators to improve their resilience, and to install an additional generator within each ship.

    Air Strikes in Iraq and Syria

    According to an MoD report in 2010 [18], each Tornado flight costs £35,000 per hour. Two aircraft typically partake in a mission, lasting on average for 6 hours. Each Tornado carries a payload of 4 Paveway bombs (totalling £88,000) and two Brimstone missiles (totalling £210,000); the total cost is therefore £1,016,000 per mission, with an additional £790,000 added on for every Storm Shadow missile carried [19]. The real cost per mission is in fact lower, as not all armaments are used in any given mission. Since Parliament voted to authorise airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, approximately 480 strikes per year have been carried out in the two countries [20]. Therefore, the total cost in 2017 will be around £588,865,298.20 including inflation. In addition to airstrikes, submarine-launched Tomahawk Cruise Missiles cost £950,000 each; however, these missiles are rarely used.

    Humanitarian Safe Zones

    The UK will spend roughly £10m in Libya this year in reducing migration and humanitarian aid [21], whilst it previously spent £275m per year in Syria between 2011 and 2015 [22]. Funds to provide aid and rebuild infrastructure will come directly from the foreign aid budget, whilst additional support from Royal Navy ships in the Mediterranean will be funded by the increased military budget. Exact costs here will depend on the commitment shown by Parliament to supporting these measures, and to the extent that infrastructure, naval and air support is required.

    Concluding Remarks

    The measures outlined in this SOI are necessary to ensure that our military remains well-funded, well-manned and globally operational. The UK will meet its NATO responsibilities, maintain an effective nuclear deterrent, expand its Reserve forces, procure equipment and machinery that is fit-for-purpose, become self-sufficient in energy and secure our borders. At the same time, we will continue to fight IS and take action to address the appalling humanitarian crisis in Syria and beyond. The Secretary of State for Defence, the Rt Hon. Count Bezukhov MP, urges all members of the House to support the plans outlined in this SOI.

    References

    References

    [1] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-a7384381.html
    [4] https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...its-royal-navy
    [5] https://www.goodenergy.co.uk/blog/20...rgy-come-from/
    [7] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-27838034
    [8] https://fullfact.org/economy/trident-nuclear-cost/
    [9] http://www.in2013dollars.com/1997-GBP-in-2017
    [11] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukne...ly-matter.html
    [13] https://www.army.mod.uk/documents/ge...ay-Reserve.pdf
    [14] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/news...-soldiers.html
    [16] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ix-months.html
    [17] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35432341
    [18] http://news.sky.com/story/how-much-w...payer-10388441
    [19] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storm_Shadow
    [20] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39598979
    [21] https://www.theguardian.com/global-d...asylum-seekers
    [22] https://fullfact.org/immigration/uk-aid-syria/
    [26] https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft...PPPGDP&grp=0&a=
    [27] http://www.globalfirepower.com/count...united-kingdom
    [28] https://www.glassdoor.co.uk/Salary/T...es-E141278.htm
    [29] https://combinedcadetforce.org.uk/
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    A very sincere Aye. Great to see such a well written and well intentioned SoI from my Liberal friend.
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    Aye

    A excellent SOI written by my right honourable friend.
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    Easy Aye

    Clear, well costed policies from an excellent Secretary of State.
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    I'm very proud of the work the Defence Secretary has done and proud to support this statement of intent.
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    Brilliant SOI, an easy aye from me. This is a government that understands the crucial role defence plays, and is giving it the funding it needs.
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    Aye. I praise the effort also.
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    I am happy to see my right honourable friend, Count Bezukhov, taking the necessary steps in order to secure the security of the United Kingdom and its subjects.

    I am pleased to see the government committing to renewing TRIDENT and recognising it as a vital deterrent in an increasingly dangerous world. I am proud to say I will be supporting these extremely detailed, informative and progressive steps.
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    Aye.
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    Absolutely brilliant. I could not pick fault with any part - great work from the right honourable member. I congratulate him and the government on their efforts in this regard.

    A strong aye from me.
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    (Original post by Saracen's Fez)
    I'm very proud of the work the Defence Secretary has done and proud to support this statement of intent.
    You are praising something that does things which would happen under Canon, that ignores the previous defence SoI by contradicting it, and says what will be done but does not say how that thing will be done.
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    :nah: Violence serves no purpose other than destruction.
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    (Original post by Wilhuff Tarkin)
    I am happy to see my right honourable friend, Count Bezukhov, taking the necessary steps in order to secure the security of the United Kingdom and its subjects.

    I am pleased to see the government committing to renewing TRIDENT and recognising it as a vital deterrent in an increasingly dangerous world. I am proud to say I will be supporting these extremely detailed, informative and progressive steps.
    You are supporting something that does something that has been done by your own party when in government. I would have thought as the Deputy Leader of the TSR Conservative Party you would be leading the calls against copying ideas, doing things that have been done, and doing things that will be done because the Canon amendment exists: not doing that is being bad opposition.
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    (Original post by Nigel Farage MEP)
    You are supporting something that does something that has been done by your own party when in government. I would have thought as the Deputy Leader of the TSR Conservative Party you would be leading the calls against copying ideas, doing things that have been done, and doing things that will be done because the Canon amendment exists: not doing that is being bad opposition.
    And the right honourable gentleman is welcome to feel that way but he under the notable disadvantage of being wrong. I support this because :

    1. The right honourable Defence Secretary wasn't even here when we were in government, so I have serious doubts he just blatantly copied any such policies.
    2. It outlines sensible steps to ensure the security of the United Kingdom through programs such as the renewal TRIDENT and steps in order to counter the fall in active personnel.
    3. It is very detailed and informative about the steps it wishes to take and adequately outlines the cost of said steps.

    If the right honourable gentleman is searching for blind opposition, he should look elsewhere. If he's looking pragmatic opposition where one prioritises the country above party politics, then he should just cease.
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    (Original post by Wilhuff Tarkin)
    And the right honourable gentleman is welcome to feel that way but he under the notable disadvantage of being wrong. I support this because :

    1. The right honourable Defence Secretary wasn't even here when we were in government, so I have serious doubts he just blatantly copied any such policies.
    2. It outlines sensible steps to ensure the security of the United Kingdom through programs such as the renewal TRIDENT and steps in order to counter the fall in active personnel.
    3. It is very detailed and informative about the steps it wishes to take and adequately outlines the cost of said steps.

    If the right honourable gentleman is searching for blind opposition, he should look elsewhere. If he's looking pragmatic opposition where one prioritises the country above party politics, then he should just cease.
    Not being a member of the MHoC when the previous SoI for defence was written is not an excuse, there should have been research to find it, meaning your first point falls. The second point praises the renewal of Trident when it happened under the last Conservative government and will happen on TSR because it is happening in real life: the second point falls. The third point has merit, however, when the detail is for unoriginal ideas there is no point having the detail because more detail on the ideas has been debated before in the MHoC.
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    I thank the Minister for making a statement. I profoundly disagree with the renewal of Trident as the House may be aware. I welcome the recognition about energy security and the need to generate renewable local energy supply, though I think the government moves too slowly in this regard.

    Whilst welcoming the pay rises for those in our armed forces, I note that for new recruits they are still below a Living Wage, which concerns me. I am concerned that it appears that we are becoming too like the US where armed service becomes predominantly for those from communities devastated by de-industrialisation and this is reflected in the pay on offer.
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    Count Bezukhov


    "Equally, it is vital for Europe’s own security interests to gradually reduce its reliance on American military power over the coming years. The election of Donald Trump as POTUS demonstrates the growing strength of the isolationist streak within American society, and therefore America cannot be relied upon to unconditionally support European states in military affairs."

    Couldn't agree more, Britain needs to be self-reliant in terms of defense. Not because of Trump's election but because nations should, as a rule, pay for their own defense and because my IRL tax dollars are going to pay for your defense. In the same light, renewing Trident is necessary to discourage further nuclear proliferation by our allies in our defense.

    However, this statement makes no pledge of support to the Kurds, particularly the Rojava government, in its struggle against the authoritarian dictatorships of Turkey and Iraq. The broader theme of your statement of intent is cooperation, and we must not neglect our chief ally in the region.

    I also see that your plans would add 27m GBP to the deficit over the next 4 years. You should outline areas in which we can make the necessary savings in order to pay for those additions, whether military or non-military, otherwise I cannot support this.
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    I was hoping there would be something new, this is more of the same. It's nice to see that the Defence Secretary cares about the safety of our citizens. So perhaps the first step the right honourable member should take is by amending the Peace Corps Bill - which uses funding from the Defence Budget for aid. We can't have the "military strength" this government is striving for if aid is eating into the Defence Budget, I'm sure the Defence Secretary agrees with me on this?

    Secondly, if Gladstone1885 is correct about this policy adding to the deficit then I also cannot support this.
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    I'll respond to all replies in full later (out at the minute), but I would just like to allay fears that the policies outlined will add to the deficit. They will not. Appropriate measures are being taken to accommodate for the changes in question.
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    (Original post by CoffeeGeek)
    I was hoping there would be something new, this is more of the same. It's nice to see that the Defence Secretary cares about the safety of our citizens. So perhaps the first step the right honourable member should take is by amending the Peace Corps Bill - which uses funding from the Defence Budget for aid. We can't have the "military strength" this government is striving for if aid is eating into the Defence Budget, I'm sure the Defence Secretary agrees with me on this?

    Secondly, if Gladstone1885 is correct about this policy adding to the deficit then I also cannot support this.
    Your last requirement is odd, to stop the deficit being increased, there needs to be tax increases, a cut in defence, or cut somewhere else in government spending.
 
 
 
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