Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Rebuffing the IPPR

Never give in,
Never give in,
Never, never, never,
Never-in nothing,Great or small,
Large or petty,
Never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense.
Never Give In, October 29, 1941 Winston Churchill

I was going to write a stinging attack on Paddy Ashdown and the IPPR, who managed to write a report which recommended scraping every navy project, and greater still - not purchasing any American equipment or actually exercising with them as much; because it is Europe that is our future and Europe that is our greatest ally and commitment; however after reading the report, and realising how lacking in proper research (apart from the opinion of so called 'great men' of the past) and un-ashamedly biased and corrupt it was; with pages reading as if they had been cribbed from the former Commander of the RAF's article in the telegraph. So I decided to be balanced, methodical, and vaguely polite. I would also like to point outs in panel was surprisingly lacking from a balanced naval point of view; perhaps this explains why every system it seeks to cut or curtail is part of the Royal Navy's order of battle.

On a sub-note I would point out that the last time a power put its nuclear deterrent on aircraft, with cruise missiles, well accidents did happen - and who really likes the thought of nuclear bombs endlessly circling above our heads.

The phrase throwing the baby out with the bath water springs to my mind, when the say that whilst we cannot fault the strategic and tactical arguments for the nuclear deterrent, aircraft carriers, JSF (rather than Typhoon's...which they do not mention in spending review at all), or Type 45's(which are not in service yet, but they have been built, and yet they want to scrap them or sell them on); however, due to the strictures of the current financial climate we should cancel them all, and put of the Future Surface Combatant indefinitely. Okay, I know currently we are fighting a war in Afghanistan; but who knows where we will be fighting next? Who knows what forms of conflict there will be? What we do know is that aircraft carriers are useful; they provide on call air power where ever they are needed. As for the strategic nuclear deterrent, it is currently the only ace in our sleeve keeping us on as a permanent member of the Security Council; something which every foreign expert says is incalculable in its worth diplomatically and status wise. The T-45s are necessary in a world of cruise missiles; and whilst they do not have the t41 vls which would allow them to carry the SM-3 ABMM...they are pretty good, and could be upgraded fairly cheaply. as for the JSF's...the same arguments for an aircraft carrier, require that vessel to have aircraft, and the RAF has got rid of the sea harriers...so there is no other option.

Let’s all go nuts and piss of our best ally buy European, conform with Europe. This seems strange to me; as it is a German soldier in Afghanistan complains about a lack of a good bed..and if they see combat, then the whole company has to go back home for counselling; whilst this is not something to hold against the Germans - it is something to say that you should seek to have as much commonality with its more active partner; with the one who it goes to war with. We may someday see United States of Europe, I for one shall fight it democratically to the utmost; and if me and those like me fail...expect to see me moving to Canada, or Australia, New Zealand perhaps; but up until that point to do try and make something out of nothing, make an artificial connection because that is your dream, when the reality is very different.

Finally the bias. An attack on all these navy projects, well that must mean the RN is now not necessary. well its not surprising; you take a group of former RAF, and Army officers, and you ask them to write a free thinking paper on the future of defence spending...surprise, surprise the service which they can take the money from is the Navy...wow that was unexpected - please excuse the cynicism but I am getting a little fed up of this; we have to stop this destruction of our armed forces...these spending fights are turning them inside out, and this is going to lead to tactical problems in the battlefield. If only they united together against the treasury, then they would surely far more likely to succeed in getting what they need to carry out the missions that the British Government signs them up for.

And where are the FCO, in this piece I see no mention of them, I see no mention of their views on the aircraft carriers, and the strategic nuclear deterrent...even though these weapons are in the norm far more important to them and their work? I find this lack of involvement and lack of joined up long-term thinking and preparation a little disturbing, and disquieting; it seems so reactionist as to be dangerous.

So after writing all this, you will be wondering why I started off with Churchill, well apart from it being about time I did, I thought it would be a good speech for those who speak reason, for those who put forward a balanced strategy for defence. I support the aircraft carriers, I also support the army's need for troops, I am sceptical - although many are not and I do respect their arguments, of the value of the Typhoon fighters...what though I want to see, second only to an election, is a proper defence review; which instead of looking just to see what it can cut, is a review which says: these are our current commitments; this what we need to be able to maintain these commitments; these are likely commitments; therefore we need some other stuff to give coverage if they come true. That is the only way that any British government could fulfil its most sacred duty...defence of the realm, and the only way to rebuild the covenant between the political classes, the British people, and the forces which protect them...by allowing the forces to ask for and be given what they need to do the jobs we ask of them.
that is the problem, a few years ago the other services (army and raf) forced the RN to take on the sole burden of maintaining the strategic detterrent, and they managed to get the extra money divided equally between the three services!
yours sincerly

The Bay Class....Brilliant Motherships? or just Logistics?

RFA Mounts Bay

Here are the vitals:

Crew: 60

What they can Transport :

  • Troops - 356, materiel - 1,200 linear metres of vehicles; including up to 32 Challenger II MBTs & 32 Warrior IFVs, or 150 land rovers, or various other combinations

  • 12 x 40 TEU or 24 x 24 TEU containers

Landing Craft: 2 x LCVP Mk.5 or 1 x LCU Mk10, 2 x Mexeflotes

RFA Cardigan Bay

Overall Length: 176m

Beam: 26.5m

Draught: 5.8m

Full Load Displacement: 16,200t

Speed: 18kt

Range: 8,000nm


  • Type: Diesel electric
  • Diesel Engines: 2 x Wartsila 8L26 engines (2,240kW each), 2 x Wartsila 12V26 (3,360kW each) engines

RFA Sir Bedevier...what the Bay Class replaced


The ship design has included weight and space allocation for 4 30mm gun emplacements, a Phalanx close-in weapon system and decoy launchers for chaff and infrared flare rounds. there are also rumours that they can be fitted with a vls designed for the launch of sea wolf missiles...although these have not be substantiated by any official site or source in an explicit manner.

The superstructure is located far forward to provide the large available space to the aft of the ship for the helicopter deck.

RFA Largs Bay alongside next to the Grand Turk

"The helicopter deck has the capacity for two landing spots and allows simultaneous operation of two medium-size helicopters"such as EH101 Merlin, or Sea King

The helicopter deck structure is reinforced for two static load points and will also support operations by a Chinook helicopter, an MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and Support and Amphibious Battlefield Rotorcraft.

A helicopter hangar is not installed as standard, but tempory ones (picture above) are often fitted to those vessles on counter drug operations in caribean, as well as those operating in the south atlantic; they are usually big enough to support either 1 medium or 2 light helicopters in shelter; although most rotor maintenance will have to be carried out on the deck.

My Analysis

I like these ships, they are very good at sea keeping, and can carry a lot, I just wish they were fitted with not for on the weapons, I also think a permanent hangar should have been included and a definite plus in my opinion would have been the construction of 6 or even 9 of these excellent vessels. The fact that they are 'D's of the amphibious trade means that they can operate Landing Craft with maximum ability; making them very useful tools of modern amphibious warfare - in both the logistical and tactical sense. The latter I added on because although they have only 350 troops as standard, they have been given enlarged shower facilities as well as larger than required galley spaces...meaning in overload they can take over 800 troops, or a full Royal Marines Squadron or a Army Infantry Battalion.

Overall the Bay class are great, but to have been really up to standard, there needed to be more of them.


Cost: £400 million for all four; this included cost of design, and it would have been cheaper per unit cost had all the orriginal 6 considered been bought, going on final cost that would have made to total £528million...which would have made a unit cost of about £88million each, rather than £100million

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Whatever Happened to the Type 45?

Figure 1: HMS Daring


This text is examining the appearance of the Type 45 Destroyers in the printed media, how various experts feel the program has been portrayed, and what could be done to improve the situation. It has discovered that there has been so small an amount of real coverage of the program that it is almost a joke. It has found that a nation which used to pride itself on its navy, and where practically every journalist could name off the top of their heads every major vessel in the Royal Navy. Now, they cannot even get the number of missiles carried in the navy’s brand new class of destroyers. It has concluded that the programme of procurement for Type 45 destroyer has included the MoD pursuing a media agenda which was actually counterproductive (whether willingly or not) to the Royal Navy getting what it asked for. Its findings reflect the fact that the UKNDA has been handicapped in its attempts to correct this and many other programs. Primarily this could be said to be because the UKNDA pursues an exclusive top down approach to lobbying rather than inclusive ground swell political campaign; simply put it is concentrating on influencing ministers and rallying former senior military personal to its standard, when the former have no wider body of ‘voters’ interested in the issue, and the latter are already prepared to pledge support; but are very bad at presenting either a united front or actively mounting a political front to effect the government. However, more than anything it is the current government forcing down the level of debate which has crippled both their actions and their attempt to build a wider base of support. In order to overcome this in the long-term a suggestion might be for them to try a populist approach to build up a wider foundation of support for complete defence procurement reform; as well as to enable to starting of an ongoing vibrant debate on the future operational requirements, strategy, shape and what is necessary for it.

Figure 2: Artists impression of a T45 firing an Aster missile in profile

“I have not followed the programme closely, and to me there has been very little coverage of note in the press, and no significant discussion at Westminster.”
The Type 45 class of destroyers[1] is arguably the Royal Navy’s most important vessel procurement program for 30 years[2]. These 6 destroyers, of which the Royal Navy originally asked for 14, will be the core protection, presence, and support of all future naval operations; whether they are in the Mediterranean (Freedman, et al., 1994), the South Atlantic (Woodward & Robisnon, 1992, paperback edition 2003), or East of Suez (Clapp & Southerby-Tailyour, Amphibious Assault Falklands, The Battle of San Carlos Water, 1997).

These vessels, whose primary role is that of ‘monkey-goalkeeper’; moving around the seas and the carrier (Fig 3) or amphibious task groups that they will be attached to with the roles of fielding cruise missile strikes and air attacks; whilst also providing fire support with their 155mm main gun[3]. They nevertheless have only the fittings for but are not fitted with anti-ship missiles, they are fitted with a Vertical launch System (VLS)[4], which even those who recommended it, advertise it may have to be upgrade to another; which was cheaper to buy in the first place. To this are added a litany of further compromises on the original requested specifications. Even with these issues, and costing about £600million for each, there has been limited, or no involvement by the media; this report asks two questions; what have the media reported on the Type 45, and why have they reported so little. Simply put, both these questions ask what the quote at beginning stated; why has there been no debate on something so important.
Figure 3: Artists impression of a Queen Elizabeth class carrier under way

During the 1982 Falkland’s War and the 1991Gulf War I the importance of area air defence was consistently reinforced (Clapp & Southerby-Tailyour, 1997; Jones, 2008); unfortunately all the Royal Navy had was the Type 42 class destroyers (Figure 4). They were, and are still, armed with the arm launched ramjet based Sea Dart surface to air missile (Janes, 2006).
Figure 4: Type 42 class destroyer firing a Sea Dart missile
A replacement though was sought; originally this was to be a collaborative effort with France and Italy; in order to spread the cost, this was the Horizon Frigate project. Unfortunately, it was doomed from the very first due to the nations wanting different things from the vessels, and unlike with Euro-fighter project[5]; the navies were building enough the compromising was an option; thus FREMME (still sometimes called the Horizon Frigate, Fig 5) and the T45 destroyer were born. Italy and France had similar enough requirements to continue working together; whereas prior to 2004 the RN desperately needed at least 12 (it had by then been forced to accept the cuts already) Area Air Defence Destroyers or AAD’s as the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) calls them, in July of 2004 it was cut to 8 (SPG Media Limited, 2009).
The T45 design was thus entrusted to British Aerospace Engineering (BAE), Britain’s largest, in fact one of the world’s largest, full spectrum arms companies. Through the borrowing of a lot of influences from both the Type 23 Duke class of ASW Frigates of the RN (Fig 6) and the Horizon project, a design was cobbled together with an initial order of eight being placed; after a strategic defence review had made further cuts.
The project continued, eventually leading to events of 2005, when HMS Daring’s keel was laid, the lead ship in class which due to budget cuts brought about by ‘unforeseen drains on the MOD finances’ (Afghanistan & Gulf War II), had been further cut to the figure it now currently resides at 6. They had also grown dramatically in price and austerity.
Figure 5: Horizon class Frigate of the French Navy

Figure 6: HMS Norfolk, a Type 23 class frigate

3.0 What has been reported?

“It has focussed on the gee whiz statistics and largely ignored the need for AAD and the question of why 6 is the right number.”
AL (2009)

The report of the type 45 has been heavily orientated within the direction of firepower and the equivalence to the Type 42s (Evans, 2006), which were considered inadequately armed even when launched 30 years previous (Ministry of Defence (National). C, 2009). The most obvious example of this focus is the quote Lord Drayson[6] in the Times “the most modern and powerful air defence destroyers anywhere in the world” (Scotland Correspondent, 2005); this is a very bold statement considering the world also contains the Arleigh Burke class of the United States (Janes, 2006). However, this is where the reporting comes in, the Arleigh Burk class are General Purpose Missile Destroyers; which thanks to the SM-3 missile[7] and their Aegis command and control system (and the SPY-2 radars) (Janes, 2006) mean they can hit ballistic missiles or aircraft the size of cricket ball’s, if ever that is necessary, but can also carry Tomahawk cruise missiles which can hit land targets with pin-point accuracy at a range of 1000nm’s (WGBH educational foundation, 2009), or can launch ASROC torpedoes at targets found by their own sensors or either of the two helicopters (compared to the Type 45’s 1) or the UAV’s(which the T45 does not have) that they carry’s sensors (Janes, 2006). Despite the comparison with the Arleigh Burke class the claim is based in some fact.

The reports point to the Principle Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMs)[8], talking about it as “the most sophisticated of its kind” (Leppard, 2009), as an ace in the Royal Navy’s arsenal; after all only one type 45 is required to defend London (Leppard, 2009) for the 2012 games. There have been considerations for installing the SM-3 on Type 45s (Pike, 2008), however as was stated in the introduction the Type 45 with the wrong VLS, it is fitted with Sylver A-50, not the Type 41 VLS, or even the Sylver A-70. The problem therefore is one of size of launcher, whilst the A-70 might have been upgradeable[9], the A-50 which was selected over the Type 41[10] for political reasons (and the Type 45s might still have to be retrofitted) is too small and too limited to be able to take the SM-3, or tomahawks, or even the less capable Tactical Land Attack Missile being developed by the French for the A-70 VLS[11].
Figure 7: Type 41 VLS missile range[12]

The comparative qualitative lacking of the Type 45 has been further clouded by the eye catching statistics such as each Type 45 has the firepower equivalent of over eight Type 42s (Evans, 2006); “weaponry capable of hitting an object the size of a cricket ball travelling at twice[13] the speed of sound” (Reid, 2007; Ministry of Defence (National). E, 2006); And that a Type 45 “generates enough electricity to power the Shetland Islands” (Reid, 2007). The fact remains that none of these statements really matter, it does not matter in a warzone whether or not a Type 45 could power the Shetland Islands, whilst being able to hit a cricket ball suggests a very accurate system - any missile or aircraft will be dodging and manoeuvring not travelling in a straight line, and the firepower of eight Type 42s does not matter as the Type 45 is not fitted with the technology to be in eight places at once[14]. These originated with the MOD’s own press releases such as is featured in Appendix F (Ministry of Defence (National). E, 2006).

“These ships will form one of the essential pillars of the Royal Navy in the 21st Century."
(Ministry of Defence (National). A, 2009)

Bob Ainsworth the Minister for the Armed Forces has been quoted by the Ministry of Defence as describing the “Type 45 is an immensely powerful state of the art destroyer that will provide a vital layer of protection from missile attack for the fleet” (Ministry of Defence (National). B, 2007); Whilst Quentin Davies the Minister for Defence Equipment and Security “These ships will form one of the essential pillars of the Royal Navy in the 21st Century". The Type 45’s are consistently presented as important and necessary for the future capability and operation of the Royal Navy in waters near or far from Britain’s own territorial waters; however only 6 are being procured.
Figure 8: HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark, the LPDs which are the core of the RN's Amphibious Task Group
Figure 9: HMS Ocean the LPH which is so important to the RN's Littoral capability

4.0 Analysis of Interviews

‘To me there has been very little coverage of note in the press’
CG (2009)

AL (2009) classified the press coverage as simplistically positive and taken straight from the press release; the quote of CG is very much a reinforcement of this; but it is JM’s analysis of the press which is really interesting.
The emotive and highly expressive vocabulary that JM uses to describe the way the media interacts with their audience and the information available to them on topic of the Type 45 would suggest that he believes it is a more widespread problem than just the Type 45 program of procurement. It also points to a source of the trouble, targeting the MoD/Government’s ‘spin’ doctors as being responsible for giving cover to the undermining of the Royal Navy’s required number of destroyers. It is therefore an analysis which puts forward the view that rather than the press coverage just being non-existent in the most part and vacant in the rest, the press coverage was in places wilfully uninformed and in others was in a frame not suiting the seriousness of the topic.
Figure 10: 3D drawing of a Type 45

The seriousness of the topic though is something which comes up again and again in AL’s (2009) testimony, for example he states that “there is a glaring need to show the public that behind the statistics...is a vital mission upon which the safety, prosperity and food supply of this country depend”. AL doesn’t finish there though, making the statement that “No navy = No food, and no fuel”, a point which is probably the most salient to make in support of a stronger Royal Navy, in fact it is the most salient point to make in favour of a viable debate on defence, on what is desired for, on what is needed from the defence establishment and what is required for the forces to accomplish that.

This is different again from the way that JM develops it; he suggests that the RN did get the type and style of ship it wanted; although he is careful to avoid mentioning the words quality or quantity. The Royal Navy wanted an AAD[15], it wanted 14 of them, probably with a better VLS than the Sylver A-50; however it’s got just 6 of them, and according to JM (2009) it is due to the huge cost which was caused by MoD/government imposed cuts to the defence budget. This is an interesting point to put across and it’s probably more a product of the lack of media or public debate, in fact interest, in the defence procurement and planning process.
Figure 11: Selected point Picture HMS Daring

The programme of procurement for Type 45 destroyer has become mired in its own MoD media releases. They have focused on fun rather than serious, they give anecdotes about football pitches, cricket balls and one being enough to cover the whole of London, rather than have a radar system which can pick out sea skimmers at over a 100 miles, armed with Aster 30 missiles which can pluck said sea skimmers or in fact almost any aircraft out of the sky at a range of over 40 miles. Therefore instead of focusing on the Type 45 as a war fighting vessel with an actual role in modern conflict they have been putting forward a media program like they are advertising a kid’s toy or a book of 1001 interesting facts no one else knows. This is why the Type 45’s press has failed; this is why defence procurement gets so little mention of quality, because the MoD’s own press releases have pulled it down to a level below the lowest level of newspaper readers. The reason there is no debate is because defensive is a complex issue, defence procurement even more, and it keeps being driven down below the level at which it can take place.

The groups such as the UKNDA need to develop the capability of lobbying the court of public opinion as the only viable method of affecting government action. They are currently focused on lobbying a government which does not want to listen in the first and in the second would prefer to not have to pay anything for the forces it deploys around the world for its political/diplomatic ends. This is notably the converse opposite of America where defence spending and procurement is a very public issue. As an issue though it gets worse when you go from land to air to sea, the land has a visible battle Afghanistan and Iraq which it is fighting, the air is ‘obviously’ supporting the ground battle (even though the most successful aircraft are RNAS harriers); what is the role of the navy? This is not being announced to people of Britain, all that they hear and see are the failures verses the pirates, not the fact that it is lack of deployable escorts, with UAVs and Helicopters, which is holding back the counter pirate effort and merchant protection.
Figure 12: HMS Daring conducting pre-service entry trials

Primarily this has happened because the UKNDA pursues an exclusive top down approach to lobbying rather than inclusive ground swell political campaign. The UKNDA is concentrating itself on influencing ministers and rallying former military personal to its standard; when the former have no wider body of ‘voters’ interested in the issue, and the latter are already prepared to pledge support but are very bad at presenting either a united front or actively mounting a political front to effect the government. It needs to change itself from focusing at the very top, if the MoD drives the debate too low, the UKNDA is focusing too high – they need to bring the bottom, they need to bring the defence debate to the same level as immigration and hospitals; equally complex topics but they are still given more debating space because they are at the level at which debate can and will take place.

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[1]. Defined as vessel as greater than 6000 – 12000 tons and not nuclear powered
[2]. Whilst the Future Carrier (Queen Elizabeth Class) is also important, without the destroyers to provide a layered protection against the swarms of cruise missiles and any aircraft which might leak through a Combat Air Patrol CAP, then the carriers and the amphibious ships will be tragically exposed. Layered defence, that is CAP and long range Surface to Air Missiles SAMs are what are necessary to provide a full spectrum defence for a modern fleet far from home (Hill J. R., 1988)
[3]. This is to be retrofitted into the first two vessels of the class when it is opportune
[4]. VLS is complete system of both launcher and controls, including software, which allows for the operation of a specific range of missiles
[5]. The MOD has been on a buy European tract recently; but it keeps having to then buy American to get the equipment it needs, the Euro fighter is a perfect example of this as it is only batch 3 which will be able to launch the bombs required for modern warfare, whereas the Joint Strike Fighter JSF (Britain and America’s joint effort to replace the Harrier) is about 20% of the cost and even though it has not gone into production can launch or fire every weapon system either in use or projected
[6]. Minister for Science
[7]. SM-3, is the Standard Missile, the principle family American naval SAMs, they have multiple versions, with the SM-3 being the Anti-Ballistic Missile/Extended Range Area Air Defence missile; with a range of 250nm and a ceiling of 150nm. (Pike, 2008)
[8]. PAAMs is like the Aegis, it is a command, control and information system, however the Type 45 does not have phased array radar, and does not have missiles with the range of the SM-3 or SM-2ER
[9]. It is bigger, therefore might be large enough to take a modified missile, the A-50 due to its size is limited to Aster and Mistral missiles: the A-70 was selected for the Horizon class frigates, but when the project broke down the MOD changed and selected the A-50 in order to keep costs down
[10]. The Type 41 is probably the most common most tested VLS in the world; it carries the widest range of munitions available (Figure 7 is only about 25% of those available), because of its modular design it is capable of taking multiple sizes of missile. It is currently fitted in the USN’s Ticonderoga class cruisers and Arleigh Burke class destroyers, examples from the rest of the world include the Anzac class frigates of the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy, the Canadian Iroquois class destroyers, the Netherlands De Zeveb Provincien class frigates, the Israeli Navy’s Sa’ar 5 class corvettes, the Japanese Kongō class destroyers, the South Korean KDX-II & III class destroyers, the Spanish Álvaro de Bazán class frigates, the under-construction Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen class frigates, the German Navy's Sachsen, Brandenburg, and F125 class frigates and others.
[11]. In its RAF version it is called Storm Shadow and has a range (once launched) of 250km, its cost seems to vary though with Italy having paid $270 million for 200 putting it at $1.35million per unit, whilst the French senate is indicating it at €800,000 per unit or $1,117,760 per unit; the RAF have not disclosed what they paid for it. This is all compared to $575,000 per unit for the Tomahawks which are arguably better more proven systems.
[12]. From left to right, Tomahawk, VL ASROC, SM-2 IV (for runner of the SM-3), Aster 15, Aster 30, Sea Sparrow, and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) quad pack
[13]. Some articles have three times the speed of sound
[14]. This point is especially important America has 61 Arleigh Burkes in its fleet and is still building, whilst Britain is only building 6 of the Type 45’s, which is only slightly better in design and slightly cheaper to build; but is so under armed and un-versatile in comparison that they should never be put next to one another lest the rest of the world notices how hollow the British claims are. Whilst Britain does not need 61 destroyers, to guarantee at least one to defend the UK, and two deployed at other places in the world 9 would needed, to accept any level of battle damage and extremes of situation 12, if not the 14 originally asked for, would be required. Although if 6 more were to be built then A-50 VLS would probably be replaced with the Type 41 VLS.
[15] The RN likes specialist vessels still, although this might be a reaction to the MoD/Treasury and the need to sell it to them. It is after all easier to sell a vessel which has a single visible focus or mission that is easy for non-area specialists, not to understand, but to quantify.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Contemporary globalisation has reached levels unseen since before 1914. Comment on the significance of this fact in the context of two of the....

...following topics
James Rosenau (Reich, 1998) describes globalisation as it is not:
“Globalisation is not the same as globalism, which points to aspirations for an end state of affairs wherein values are shared by or pertinent to all the world’s five billion people, their environment, their roles as citizens, consumers or producers with an interest in collective action designed to solve common problems. Nor is it universalism—values which embrace all humanity, hypothetically or actually.”

This when combined with the definitions of Higgot and Reich (Globalization and Sites of Conflict: Towards Definition and Taxonomy, 1998), and also Scholte (What Is Globalization? The Definitional Issue - Again", 2002) can give the following definition:
Globalisation is a term of economy and purchase where by companies or in fact any organisation spreads the costs of production and resource procurement between different nations, territories, or even continents in order to maximise profit by taking advantage of the situation within those places.

Armed with a working definition of globalisation it is now necessary too examine the title question through the use of two sub questions. The first to be considered will be whether or not resource conflicts are on the increase; first examining what are resource conflicts, then considering those which have become wars, those wars which were not resources conflicts and finally conflicts which have not escalated to the level of war.
The second question is that of considering two aspects of capitalism, and their impact upon globalisation. The aspects selected for this evaluation are Free trade and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) combined with Multi-National Corporations as a new ‘imperialism’. These are both of course cornerstones of globalisation, with free trade being the ‘best’ and ‘truest’ circumstances for the conducive conducting of globalised business model; whilst FDI is closely linked with the process of turning a company into a global force as it is only by investing in factories, workers and mineral rights within the poorer countries (directly investing or investing through intermediaries), the company can gain access.
Both questions will be concluded in their own sections before the conclusion of the whole work draws together the evidence from both to examine the significance of Contemporary globalisation attaining a levels financial fluidity and prevalence unseen since before the First World War.
Virtually all conflicts fit the definition of a resource conflict; i.e. a conflict over or because of economic reasons such as mineral exploitation, trade, fossil fuels, and of course the oldest form of resource conflict over living space or farm land and people to tax. The problem that sometimes arises with such conflicts though is that there are so many different forms as well as reasons for resource conflicts; is it a conflict to deny or restrict access to a particular resource, to gain access to or control over the resource, to displace and replace a resource (i.e. people); or is gaining these various levels of control over such resources as are part of the dispute subsidiary to another wider dispute (i.e. cultural, religious or political). These are all questions which have to be decided before the conflict can be confirmed as a resource conflict.
There are however some wars which are straightforward when it comes to assigning them as resource conflicts. For example World War I can be assigned as one such straightforward resource conflict. In World War I there was conflict over empire; all the European powers wished for ‘their place in the sun’ or rather access to the raw materials needed to fuel the factories and arsenals of Europe which were so important to the powers sense of themselves (Kaufman, Little, & Wohlforth, 2007; McDonald, 2004). For Britain there was another resource which it sought to defend, from what it saw as German aggression; control of the sea. Much as the modern US dollars predominance in economic transactions gives the united states power, British military and mercantile dominance of the world’s oceans were what secured it the empire, and its place in the world (Churchill, 2004; The Churchill Centre and Museum at the Cabinet War Rooms, London, 2009; Lavery, 2006; McDonald, 2004).
World War II is much the same with Germany instead of attempting to build an empire external to Europe, aiming to take through force of arms ‘Lebensraum’ from what they viewed as the ‘lesser’ peoples of Eastern Europe; Poland, Ukraine and Russia. For the Japanese it was again a story of the desire for more natural resources; something which had become more urgent after the American government had cut the supplies of the resource that has kept on giving, in terms of conflict, oil. Oil was arguably the root cause of the British and French involvement in the Suez Crisis 1956; it was the cause of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait; and according to some the real reason for the American led invasion of Iraq in 2007.
The future cause of conflict though is more likely to be the one thing more precious than oil; fresh water for drinking, irrigating, and practically every other basic life requiring necessity. The African Great Lakes region (Adebajo, 2002; African Union, 2008) and the Middle East (Mendoza, 2007; Bregman, Israel's Wars, A History Since 1947, 2000) are just two areas where water is already causing conflict; the latter area building on the already inflamed tensions of the Arab-Israeli conflict (Bregman, A History of Israel, 2003). A conflict which up till recently was mainly based in culture, ideology, and history has added an even more important element; life. This is similar to the Falkland Islands conflict between Argentina and Britain, which started off with history (Clapp, Commodore Amphibious Warfare 1982, 2007; Thompson J. , 3 Commando Brigade in the Falklands, 2007) and has now added oil under the sea shelf to its potential victor’s prizes (Cronin, 2007).
Although of course the currently most famous resource conflict is the piracy of the coast of Somalia. This is where a very poor people are holding lots of very rich corporations, governments and international organisations to ransom in order to earn a living (Fellows, 2009; African Union, 2008; The Daily Telegraph, 2009).
The other major form of resource conflict is of course trade/tariff ‘wars’, such as the banana conflict when the EU was structuring its Tariff’s to favour former British and French Colonies (elsalvador.com, 2008); these in modern times are mostly decided by the World Trade Organisation. However, these themselves have escalated into full wars such as when Britain was in war time fight Napoleon’s armies, in peacetime fight the Napoleonic Continental system (Corbett, England in the Seven Years War, 2005, London/New York/Bombay/Calcutta: Longmans, Green, and Co 1907; Mahan, 1987, Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1890). With the increase in globalisation some say these forms of conflict are over; others point to the growing militancy of labour movements revolting against the loss of jobs to cheaper less regulated peoples.
In conclusion resources conflicts are changing, they are less physical now than they used to be more focused on diplomatic posture; but when they do get violent they go all the way to total war very quickly. They are on the increase; especially in areas such as South America, Africa and the Middle East, where a combination of scarcity of resources, widespread poverty and political regimes which have both a history animosity and history of rapidly occurring extreme changes of those in power makes them all extremely volatile. These situations are only compounded by external interference and the factionisation which often results; that not only will the number of conflicts increase but they will grow in nations and numbers that they encompass.
Free trade, the theoretical counter to the causes of resource conflict, unfortunately there is also the counter that Germany’s biggest market in 1940 was Russia; however that is also countered, after all, both of those nations at that time were dictatorships and therefore not subject to the normal rules and restrictions imposed by a capitalist market on a democratic nation.
Therefore perhaps we should say that Free Trade stops wars between democracies; well leaving aside what some would say was the natural tendency of politicians from democratic nations to want to rely on their own strengths of jaw, jaw, rather than they’re commander’s abilities at war, war, this can make sense. After all the greatest advantage when revving a nation or people up for conflict is misunderstanding, it is playing on the cultural stereotypes to fuel the fires of indignation and pride (McDonald, 2004). However, free trade boosts contact, boosting cultural exchanges, and the relationships which spring forth from such interaction; all these things make it harder for politicians to build the case for war (McDonald, 2004). This is one of the theories behind the European Union, the more interconnected and interdependent the economies, the people of its nations become the less likelihood of conflict. However, some would also point out that the conflict has just moved from the arsenal to the parliamentary chamber; and whilst this may be good from the ‘war’ point of view, it does not mean there are any less conflicts in fact there are probably more as they take on such personal perspectives.
It is promulgated that if the nations are trading rivals, then free trade will decrease the chance of conflict because it will move the emphasis to the individual corporations rather than making it a case of national pride (McDonald, 2004); after all when it does become a case of pride it can actually increase the chance of conflict.
Many economists will argue that Free trade is the truest form of Fair trade, as it is only under a situation of no tariffs in fact no trade barriers of any kind does the economic and mercantile world seem to be a fair and level playing field. This fairness if implemented would benefit all nations involved by allowing supreme access to limitless financial growth; although recent events would suggest that that is no longer more than an idealised possible. Unfortunately, this would not be the case as without tariffs to protect the manufacture of goods and the operation of services being carried out ex-national then a lot of nations would simple go bankrupt and their own industry would be bought wholesale by the really rich American, British or Chinese Multi National Corporations; or they might not even bother to buy out the local opposition, they may just decide to undercut to the point that all manufactured goods or Wheat (for example) is brought in from outside; due to the cost in comparison of producing their own.
Multi-National Corporations (MNCs) are the main vehicle for the transfer of work/production from one national address to another, the main vehicles for undermining local economies and the main vehicles for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI); or as some call it economic ‘imperialism’. It was argued prior to 2008 that the MNCs had lost their nationality; that they had become supra-national like the United Nations or European Union, and were now separate and powerful almost state-like organisations channelling the movement of capital (FDI) from one geographical area to another as it promised greater profit or greater influence and thus more power for a longer-term increase in profit.
However, with the recent banking crisis have caused many of this so called supra-national entities to suddenly become very national; for example HSBC ‘the worlds local Bank’ suddenly became ‘British’, General Motors became ‘American’ again (Abboud, 1009), in fact almost all major countries to a lesser or greater extent found themselves suddenly having to support these huge conglomerates which right up until before the crisis had been protesting their freedom, their power, their place in the world as being above/apart from nation states.
This has of course had a major impact on the flow of FDI; something which will have more of impact of the poorer nations whose economies had been reliant upon MNCs using them for the production part of the product process. In this case with the ‘re-naturalisation’ of the MNC’s governments are placing on them the requirements to build at home, to close factories abroad before they close factories at home; so as to protect their own economies (Abboud, 1009). As the economic crisis deepens the true extent of the FDI impact on nations economies is going to become very apparent; with countries Mexico going to need an increase in aid if it is going to carry on financing the Drugs War, without the part and unit production that has become so important to its economy.
Globalisation, free trade, these are both concepts which are supposed to reduce the chance of conflict by creating/fostering a ‘global world’ – this is not the same as globalism however. Globalisation is in its purest form when it is a Multi-National Corporation, moving parts all over the world, assembling, selling them again all over the world, minimising cost and maximising profit; removing the need for a conflict over resources as after all who needs to go to the costly business of sending arming when you can a send profit making entity to take control. The problem though is in the title; even with the huge levels of jealousy the empire period brought about; the fact was globalisation was present, and according to the title at a level which has not been seen again till the current era.
The significance of this should not be lost as whilst such trade and economic power is good it can build up unhappiness; with fresh water and oil both becoming such precious resources, how content are populations going to be if such resources are in the hands of foreign nations. This has previously been an argument countered by the fact that MNCs had apparently lost their ‘national identity’; something which the recent economic crisis has changed, perhaps irrevocably. This means that now foreign powers are controlling key resources, which are now key not only to national development, but thanks to Globalisation international development.

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Monday, 22 June 2009

The Logic of Cuts....not that logical

In the current debate on cuts, all that is spoken about are Carriers, Typhoon fighters and other major projects; but is the right place to look? Britain maintains at great expense bases in Germany, Saudi Arabia and many others; but do we need them? And if not; why have these bases at all? These bases are cold war relics, the aircraft carriers are not – the RN needed them in the cold war but the RAF and Army vetoed them; hence the Falklands War problems. Even worse the bases in Germany are still defended with the visage of Hitler...if we leave he may rise up again; he won’t, he is dead; we do not need them anymore. What about the bases in Saudi Arabia, surely with wars in Afghanistan and Iraq they are worth the money...the short answer is no. Britain and the US were not allowed to use them in either conflict, and in fact Saudi Arabian bases are too far away to be of much use, if any, in Afghanistan. So to sum up these bases; they provide a rallying call for Islamic extremists, they provide no tactical assistance at all, with bases in Iraq they have lost their strategic value, and they cost money! These bases are of course the only ones; there are a multitude of Airbases and other facilities around the world that Britain purchases access to through the expenditure of hard currency. These bases, which may well never be used, but if such facilities were needed could be far more cost effectively provide by an aircraft carrier; after all aircraft carriers are built and maintained in Britain, their crews live in Britain, they do not employ foreign citizens in foreign lands, they do not take funds out of the nations own economy, in fact they often stimulate growth in the home technology and service industries.

The other accusations thrown at the Royal Navy is its fighting the last war...always an interesting accusation, this though should not be considered always a bad thing as it is represented; it is considered a sign of good character to learn from ones past actions, to not do so is a sign of immaturity. Therefore, learning from past actions:

  • 1982 Falklands War, dependent on naval airpower for the entire campaign, one must ask the question...what would the outcome have been had the RN had a decent carrier? Would the war have taken place in the first place?
  • 1991 Gulf War, carrier based aircraft provide arguably the most efficient 50% of the tactical air support, as well as also provide
  • 1995 Bosnia & 1999 Kosovo, whilst being peacekeeping operations the preferred air support for the Peacekeepers was called from carriers...the reason being that it was felt the nice safe USAF and RAF bases in Italy damaged moral by bringing down massive airstrikes of a strategic nature, and then leaving, going home nice and safe and beyond easy call back range (unlike their carrier counterparts); whilst the peacekeepers were taken hostage or fired at by angry participants.
  • 2001 Afghanistan, beyond the range of many land bases, the key troops were inserted by helicopter from amphibious ships, and whilst air support was provided by USAF from bases in central Asia, those bases themselves are now being closed by internal politics of host nations.
  • 2003 Gulf War 2, due to the denial of land bases to USAF and RAF, the USN were the key providers of air support, providing at times up to 90% of the tactical air support, and with cruise missiles included a minimum of 54% of the strategic air strikes.

Finally I put forward these figures for your consideration before conclusion:
But he has a problem: so much of what the Navy does is invisible. Be it anti-drugs patrols in the Caribbean, anti-piracy patrols off Somalia, mine clearance in the Persian Gulf or intelligence gathering by nuclear-powered attack submarines, naval operations rarely make the news. The Royal Marines, the Navy's infantry, have distinguished themselves in Afghanistan but when a television viewer sees a Marine he or she is likely to think Army. The contribution of Fleet Air Arm Harrier and helicopter pilots to the campaign is also rarely noted. If it flies it must be RAF.
When the Navy did make the headlines in March 2007 it was in the most humiliating circumstances. Fifteen Marines and sailors from the frigate Cornwall were captured by the Iranians while inspecting vessels in the Persian Gulf. Images of detainees smiling their way through captivity were compounded by the inexplicable decision to allow several to sell their stories. Nelsonian it was not.
But public relations are only a part of it. Why does Britain, which shed its global empire nearly a half a century ago, need a blue-water Navy? Why not a brown-water one, a vestigial coastal defence force? The answer lies in some figures.
The United Kingdom remains a crowded archipelago of 61 million people reliant on maritime traffic for its survival. Shipping carries 92 per cent of British trade, as compared to less than one per cent carried by air. Tanker traffic – oil, chemicals and liquefied natural gas (LNG) – accounts for nearly 40 per cent of total maritime trade movements. LNG is central to future energy needs, with imports expected to rise by half in three years. The British-owned merchant fleet may not be the colossus it once was but still weighs in at 20 million tons. The raw materials and finished goods on which the UK depends must use nine global choke points which are easily blocked, and the country is still enmeshed in a network of treaties and informal arrangements requiring a naval presence. There is also the nuclear deterrent, a naval responsibility for 40 years..
"All truly great powers are maritime powers," says Lee Willett, senior naval analyst at the Royal United Services Institute. "Navies allow you to operate when and where you want, over the horizon or as a visible presence helping to prevent conflict."

From an Article in the Telegraph by Neil Tweedie (The Navy strikes back)
Published: 7:00AM BST 18 Jun 2009

So what am I saying with all this? I am saying that if the reason you have a base is political commitment it is cheaper for a ship to make a port call every so often than to maintain a base which is a tie to a particular regime, a particular set of commitments and of course a far larger cost; after all a corvette could visit many countries in an 18 month period, hold many drinks parties, and cause many occasions for everyone to get dressed up; but most importantly if you don’t like that countries human rights, or the current government it can skip past and visit their next door neighbour whom you do like.
I am saying that before the RAF and Army go pointing the finger at the RN they should take a look at their own budgets, and ask if they really need multiple jungle training bases, when most of the army is so over stretched I am surprised they still have time for basic training.
However what I am really trying say is you cannot fight 2 Major Regional Conflicts, 1 Minor Regional Conflicts and have commitments numbered in the double figures each requiring the maintenance of garrisons numbered in treble figures on a budget which is actually less than the average peace time commitment of funds; when compared to comparative powers, whose governments sign them up for less resource drains.

The simple fact I am arguing therefore, is that the forces need more funds not less, they need to stop fighting each other, and fight together to get these funds. I am arguing the Navy needs 3 aircraft carriers* (but it is just getting 2 and only half of the JSFs deployed on them will belong to it), 18 destroyers (it asked for 12 but it is getting 6) and at least 48 corvettes (asked for none, but they are cheaper and if you have 18 destroyers to provide core of escort fleet will do all that needs to be done whilst providing increased worldwide presence); the Army needs an extra 16 battalions of mechanised infantry (with decent armoured vehicles), an extra 8 squadrons of attach choppers as well as transport helicopters and they need new vehicles...desperately; the Air Force has fared the best in some ways under the current climate, but it is still suffering, it might have got its Typhoons but they need to be modified to Tranche 3 level to be able to carry the bombs and other munitions they need to support the army on the ground, they need helicopters to support the troops as well (if they don’t want them then they should allow the other services to buy them). I am also for the greater building of UAVs and amphibious forces; as I believe and will be posting on this in the future that sea basing is the future of humanitarian intervention, due to the benefits for keeping western troops especially out off bases which are surrounded by groups whom may turn hostile at any moment; however this article is focusing on the procurement of the platforms those systems would operate off.

The conclusion is this, the forces have been cut, further than they should of been, further than they would have been if the government had actually thought about more than the cost before making decsions. There is an old saying 'the price of everything and the value of nothing' well successive British governments have fitted this addage, they no price of armoured vehicle but not its value to the men sheltering behind it as they try their uptmost to carry out orders which will make their political masters happy, the know price of destroyer but they don't understand why the navy needs them, they don't think...what will that be used for? these masters know the cost of every nut and bolt of the aircraft they purchase, yet still they do not think...if that will be used for Combat Air Support...why did we not order the fittings for bombs to be attached? The unfortunate thing is this is likely to continue, until someone listens, and I don't mean to bloggers, to senior officers and former grandees, I mean to the facts, to the actual facts that are presented to them when they are presented honestly; and instead of just hearing the price tag they might hear what it does, and then might just buy what the forces need, rather than buying what looks good and costs right.

*3 carriers actually work out better value for money than 2, especially if the bases are closed, as they provide a guarantee of at least one read for operations immediately, and one either on operations or able to come online within 2 days.


singing to the choir is good...as long as you can get the choir to sing to other people as well

yours sincerly