It does appear to be more a PR exercise with very little meat on its bones. It in no way contradicts previous US statements where they express serious concerns about the size and composition of our Armed Forces. Of course we will continue to co operate but whereas in the past British Units have sometimes "Borrowed", equipment form US units, and have needed the logistical and ISTAR support of the US Military as a matter of routine, in future we may have to make this the standard practice, having lists of equipment needed and the amounts, to make out units combat effective.
I am pretty certain most senior US Commanders are fully aware of how hollow out military has become, with little or no spare capacity in any of the three services to absorb losses in personnel or material. With the exception of our Special Forces, future deployments may well be mainly shows of solidarity rather than the UK actually contributing effective combat power. I have no doubt of the courage and bravery of our service men and women but we simply lack the mass for anything but the most minor conflict.
Simply look at Afghanistan where we had to drastically reduce our area of responsibility and hand over large areas to the US because we lacked the mass to effective fight and control our area of responsibility. Basra in Iraq is another example, there out lack of mass forced us to retreat out of the city and hand over responsibility to US and Iraqi forces. The image of crewmen bailing out of a burning Warrior surrounded by a mob will be with me forever.
I used to think that pictures of body bags arriving in the UK would force the Government to realise that their defence policy was broken but to no avail. When the Tories got back into power I thought things may change for he better, with the 2010 SDSR they c0g far worse and the 2015 SDAR only managed to put a sticking plaster on a dire situation.
The British Army is at a crisis point. If the current plans are implemented without alteration we will have an Army that is no longer fit for combat against anyone but poorly armed insurgents. Yes it has a broad range of capabilities but these mean nothing if we do not have the mass to be able to use them effectively and replace losses rapidly and have the levels of spares and munitions to maintain a high combat tempo. SO much of its equipment is either obsolete, worn out or simply no longer combat effective. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have broken the equipment cycle, where scant funding has been used to provide equipment under UORs that really has no place in the force structure. Deciding to use the "Snatch" Landrover was a criminal act by the MoD and until a suitable platform was available, the best protected vehicle available should have been used, no matter how intimidating it may have been to the local populace. If such a vehicle couldn't traverse certain street then you adjust things.
With Boxer for example we should be receiving the first examples by the end of this year not waiting until 2023. The production line is up and running and we could be receiving some from the German line, albeit in small numbers ASAP, having UK specific kit installed by REME if necessary, so that the "Strike" trials unit can actually have the vehicle it will be using rather than Mastiffs.
Ajax is a square peg the Army is trying to jam into a round hole. It was suppose to re equip the Army's Armoured Reconnaissance Regiments, belonging to the Armoured Infantry Brigades and also held at Division level. The clue is in the title "Reconnaissance", they are not supposed to be used as light tanks in a medium weight formation, but are being used as so for lack of a suitable platform. And knowing that the 40mm Auto cannon has limitation against possible peer opposition does the MoD equip the vehicles, any of the vehicle in these new Cavalry Regiments with ATGWs that might give them a chance against hostile armour. No not one, instead each regiment may have eight dismounted Javelin teams.
The Army's "Make do" attitude may have worked in the analogue age but today the Services To Brass needs to do their duty to the country, the Man and Women under their command and make sure the situation is not kept behind closed doors. They need to make it clear that without the right equipment, personnel levels, training and stockpiles of spares and munitions, then the Army is not capable of conducting many of the operation the Politicians may require. For the Army there can be no more "Jam tomorrow", they need it now and in large quantities, otherwise again with the exception of its Special Forces, be limited to a Home Guard and Parade force, unless the Politicians are willing to under write a large casualty bill that could have been avoided.
Rant over now I need a drink! Damn it I am tea total