Former US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme that cuts to the UK Armed Forces will limit the country’s ability to be a “full partner” to the US. Gates said that the UK did not have a full spectrum of capabilities to match the US and highlighted that for the first time since World War I the Royal Navy did not have an operational aircraft carrier. However, Mr Gates told the BBC that despite this the special relationship between the UK and US would continue and said it was essential that the UK continued to operate a Trident-based nuclear deterrent.
The Prime Minister said that he disagreed with Mr Gates over the UK’s military standing and said that the country continued to be a “first-class player”. Mr Cameron highlighted that Britain maintained the fourth largest defence budget after US, China and Russia. However, the BBC says that although many individuals have criticised the Government’s defence cuts it will be harder to ignore the views of Robert Gates, as a man who served under two US presidents and oversaw the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
- Answer to written questions on MOD Guard Service
- Millions of pounds wasted on flawed IT recruitment system
- 85 MOD civil servants paid over £100,000 each
- MOD annual report and accounts published
Answer to written question on MOD Guard Service
- Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders asked the Secretary of State for Defence what methodology his Department used to calculate savings to the public purse from removing the MOD Guard Service personnel from some military sites.
Defence Minister Anna Soubry MP said the savings were calculated by assessing the capitation costs of the Ministry of Defence Guard Service (MGS) guards being removed and subtracting the cost of additional Military Provost Guard Service (MPGS) personnel needed to carry out the relevant security duties at a small number of the sites affected. At the remainder of the sites, existing MPGS posts or regular service personnel were able to cover the required duties at no extra capitation cost to Defence. The overall annual saving was calculated to be £36.7 million
Millions of pounds wasted on flawed IT recruitment system
The Times reports that millions of pounds, equivalent to the annual salary of 1,000 troops, has been wasted by the Army on a flawed IT recruitment system. The Times says it has had access to leaked MOD documents which show the project is two years behind schedule and will not be fully operational until April 2015 at the earliest. Up to £15.5 million has so far been spent on constructing the system.
The Times says that the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is considering spending a further £50 million on a new solution. In addition, £1 million a month will be lost by the MOD until the problem is fixed. The newspaper describes the situation as “an embarrassing failure” and says the problem has caused recruitment targets for regular soldiers and reservists to be missed, and applications to be lost in the system. It also says that the revelation will put pressure on the Defence Secretary to halt further planned redundancies in the regular Army which are due to be announced this month.
85 MOD civil servants paid over £100,000 each
The Daily Telegraph reports on official figures released by the MOD which show that 85 civil servants at the Department are being paid over £100,000 each. The figures were released as part of a Cabinet Office transparency drive, which has revealed that some 800 officials across the Government as a whole are receiving six figure salaries. The highest earners in the MOD are Bernard Gray, the chief of defence materiel and Andrew Manley, chief executive of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation.
The Telegraph highlights that these revelations come as the Army continues its redundancy drive with the fourth and final tranche of cuts to be announced later this month. The majority of these are expected to be compulsory redundancies. A spokesperson for the department said that MOD civil servants manage some of the most complex and critical procurement projects in the country and that it was important the Department was able to attract highly skilled people.
MOD annual report and accounts published
The MOD has published its annual report and accounts for 2012-13 which assesses the performance of the department against the financial input it has received and how far it has met the aims of its business plan.
The report concludes that the MOD has failed to provide clarity over aligning roles and responsibilities in risk management structures and says there is cause for concern over the Departments overall structural changes. According to the report, the main concern for the MOD is over the shortage of key personnel which has led to a deficiency of trained individuals in certain trades. Voluntary outflow from the military is above the long term average and it recommends the MOD identify the causes and determine what measures can be put in place to reduce outflow.