Saturday 4 September 2021


Now that the dust has settled and everyone has had a chance to take a breath, perhaps now is a good time to talk about Afghanistan and the withdrawal of the US and its allies.

There are no particularly good starting places, so we'll begin by pointing at and addressing the very obvious elephant in the room; the spectre of US isolationism.

Or rather, the utter madness that this sentiment represents. 

Sunday 14 March 2021

Don't read this: It's rubbish and not worth your time. Much like the Integrated Review.

Apparently this is post number 300. I suspect 150 of those are just drafts I have sitting around, consisting of one line thoughts from 6 years ago that I've completely forgotten about. But I digress. 

Today's topic is the impending review of defence. And by "review" we do of course mean "latest exercise in getting the books to balance, but not really, because the MoD is to sound finance as Harold Shippman was to ethical medicine". As you can probably gather, I don't have an enormous amount of patience left for this.

Wednesday 18 November 2020

£15 billion and a packet of Benson and Hedges please mate

So then, it was announced yesterday that the MoD is to get a £15 billion uplift in funding over the next four years, thanks to the efforts of the defence secretary who has been so active that I can't actually remember his name right now despite having seen it nay but a few hours ago, and cannot be arsed to go and look up. 

Of course MilTwitter in the UK has been losing its shit, as everyone starts getting excited and making plans about where to spend the money, dreaming of a return to the Napoleonic navy or the cold war British Army Of the Rhine. What is needed then is some kind of counter-balance; a person of such undying cynicism and truly miserable spirit as to be able to come along at this happy hour and generate the feeling of someone having broken into your house and pissed all over your early christmas present. I accept this mantle with a heavy (honest guv) heart.

Sunday 7 June 2020

Seven insights of Marine Corps wargaming

Way back at the end of March I wrote a piece about the US Marine Corps 2030 force design, in light of the neat little presentation that the Marine Corps Commandant produced at the time outlining the future vision for the force. You can read that article here, for those that haven't already. Today I want to delve a bit deeper into just one portion of that document, specifically the seven "key insights" that the Marine Corps derived from the intenstive wargaming efforts that helped shape their force design 2030 vision.

Wednesday 29 April 2020

Why National Service is a fucking stupid idea and you should stop promoting it

Discipline. A sense of purpose. A sense of self worth. Developing a worth ethic. Fostering a greater national and community spirit. And so the list goes on.

These are just a collection of some the tired old shite cliches that have been trotted out in recent days since the spectre of bringing back National Service has risen once again from its grave, this time in a report commissioned by the MoD. Allegedly this will boost public understanding of defence, which given the frequently shambolic state of the MoD is probably something it should be actively trying to avoid, not promote.

Thursday 16 April 2020

Could Britain rapid re-arm?

One of the features of the Covid-19 pandemic has been the amazing response - both here in the UK and around the world - of various enterprises rising to the occasion and turning their brains and their factory space over to tackling the most pressing problems caused by the crisis. As I type this a number of different manufacturing consortiums just in this country alone are pumping out ventilators and CPAP machines at an impressive rate, along with a variety of apparel manufacturers who have turned their hands to making protective clothing, and everyone from large manufacturers to school teachers and home enthusiasts are using 3D printers to pump out components for face masks and other PPE, as well as sub-components for some of the aforementioned ventilator and CPAP designs.

If Britain is "at war" to use a turn of phrase that has become immensely popular all of a sudden, then Britain most definitely has embraced the idea of a war economy. Which is interesting because people often wonder (at least in defence circles on Twitter) how would Britain cope if it had to recapture the spirit of the second world war and go into a state of rapid rearmament? Could we do it? Could we match our forebears achievements in pumping out Spitfires and Lancasters and Halifaxes by the thousand? Could we manufacture small arms at a similar rate, sufficient to equip a modern day army group of a dozen divisions?

Thursday 9 April 2020

Is globalisation really at an end?

Today we're going a little "Economics with a C".

Since the start of this Covid-19 pandemic I've seen an awful lot of comments and articles assuring us that globalisation is coming to an end. The world, they say, will change fundamentally after the pandemic is dealt with. China will become the global pariah and everyone will be tripping over themselves to bring manufacturing capacity back to their own shores. 

The reason for this? Erm, nobody really seems quite sure. Everyone is sure that it will happen, it's just that nobody can explain why, aside from "because China behaved badly". Well let's test that theory with a little thought experiment shall we?

Tuesday 31 March 2020

The US Marine Corps Force 2030

Today we're going all defence with an "s", (so defense then? Not defence). The other day I came across an interesting little nugget; a report by the commandant of the US Marine Corps on progress towards its Force Design 2030. You can read the report here (a slender 15 pages).

I found it very interesting in large part because of just how candid and concise it is, with little (but some) management speak, and how open the commandant is about the future challenges facing the Marine Corps as it pivots away from COIN operations in the middle east and back to its traditional role of forcible entry from the sea. This is particularly of interest given the impending defence review here in the UK, even if it will be set back a little by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thursday 27 February 2020

The Equipment Plan 2019-2029

Earlier today I did a thread on Twitter pulling out extracts from the National Audit Office's (NAOs) report on the MoD's 2019-2029 equipment plan. Here I will attempt to condense that down into a more coherent set of thoughts.