Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Where is Tommy Atkins when you need him?

Some cheerful news from the Commons public accounts committee:
There are not enough servicemen and women to meet the demands placed on the UK armed forces by the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq, MPs have said.

The Commons public accounts committee said the overall shortfall in personnel stood at 5,850, or 3.2%, of full strength in April.

Now that's bad enough, but then read some of the comments:
I don't think operations in the Middle East are a major factor in people leaving, people join up to put into practice what they train to do, the problem is the length of deployments, the lack of correct equipment, the lack of working equipment, and most importantly pay. For the job they do, members of the armed forces, particularly amoung junior ranks are not very well paid.


Well they shouldn't have sacked us all in the mid 1990s should they. They knew there was a demographic trough comming but did nothing. Now we are wrapped up in two wars and they are still closing RAF units and mothballing Navy ships. Prehaps if we went back to the same proportion of national income being spent on defence as we did at the beginning of the 1990s we wouldn't be in this awful mess right now.

Simon, Farnham

As a former infantry officer, consider how the military is structured versus the tasks its carries out. Out of 100,000 soldiers, there are 30,000 infantry. About 1 third are immediate support staff - leaving 20,000 fighting troops; of which a fifth will be sick/downgraged/training; leaving about 16,000 fighting troops. The army is used as HMG's reserve not only for war but other emergencies (eg Foot and Mouth/fire strikes) So that's 16,000 fighting soldiers for Iraq, Afghanistan and very very little left over. The result is that soldiers are usually multi-roled; multi toured; immensely busy and hugely underpaid for the hours they work. No suprise that they are leaving in droves.

GTL, London

Perhaps if Gordon Brown didn't take most of our money in taxes already, we wouldn't mind spending some more on our armed forces.

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