Dannatt: Brown 'refused' to fund SDR
06 September 2010
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown 'refused' to properly fund the 1998 Strategic Defence Review, putting "impossible operational pressures" on the military in Iraq and Afghanistan according to former Chief of the General Staff General Sir Richard Dannatt.
In excerpts from his forthcoming autobiography, Leading From the Front, Gen Dannatt argues that although the review set a "good framework" for defence in the future, Prime Minister Tony Blair never resolved the underfunding problem that followed the review.
"In my view, Gordon Brown's malign intervention when chancellor on the review - by refusing to fund what his own government had agreed - fatally flawed the entire process from the outset," wrote Dannatt. "The seeds were thereby sown for some of the impossible operational pressures to come.
"Why didn't Tony Blair resolve this problem... I was forced to the conclusion that he lacked the moral courage to impose his will on his own chancellor."
Dannatt is not alone in suggesting the review was underfunded. Critics of the previous government have argued that the 1998 review faced an annual shortfall of £1-2bn.
In his book, currently being serialised in The Sunday Telegraph, Dannatt also criticises former fast jet pilot and current Chief of the Defence Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup for not understanding the battlefield environment.
Dannatt wrote that Stirrup, "although brilliant at what he did, could not have been expected to understand the sights, sounds and smells or the battlefield".
"You don't have time to pick up body parts and decide who lives and who dies when you're in a cockpit flying at the speed of sound."
The former Chief of the General Staff also argued that the coalition government must reduce the casualty rate in Afghanistan after over 100 British soldiers were killed in the country in 2009.
"We've got to have cracked it by 2014/2015," he said. "You couldn't ask an organisation to go on taking this level of causalities for 10 years."
HAVE YOUR SAY
07 September 2010
Assigning blame for the past should be accompanied by constructive recomendations for the future!!
Wait until a few of the Royal Navy's starved-for-funds during-construction new surface combatants, LSDs, and LPDs go down- due to not being fitted with industry-standard ship self-defence systems, weapons, communications and sensors...
Who will get the blame- G. Brown/the previous Labour govt, or the current govt due to lack of actions taken to rectify their predecessors' egregious errors??
Roderick V. Louis - Vancouver, BC, Canada
07 September 2010
Perhaps Gen(Retd) Dannatt should donate the proceeds of his book to Help the Heroes after all thats all this is about, is it widely known he retired on full pay, there are not many in the public sector who can boast that! It is a shame that Dannat didn't use his position to influence Defence when he was in one of the top jobs!
R Smith - England