Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Videos and Links for November 28th

Blimey. The big "C" word isn't far away now. Get your calendars out and get ready to start munching on some chocolate. Anyway, for now I can't dazzle you with brilliance so I'm going to baffle you with some bullsh... yeah. Videos and links that caught my eye recently.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Defence Select Committee takes evidence on DE&S

The other day an e-mail notification dropped into my inbox ( if you have any questions or suggestions). It was a link to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee session on November 13th, when the committee took evidence from; Philip Dunne MP, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology; Bernard Gray, Chief of Defence Materiel and; Air Marshal Hillier, the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Military Capability).

I spent into the wee hours of the morning having a read and thought there was some interesting points that were worth a closer look. So that's what this article is all about. If you want to read the original copy of the session report it can be found here, though it should be noted that this is the uncorrected copy which means that neither the witnesses nor the committee have had the opportunity to correct any errors in the record, nor is this the final, approved, formal record of the proceedings.

I've also upped the size of the text a little, so you don't have to squint anymore to read it!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Just for the moment

I am just about to sit down and write what I expect to be a reasonably lengthy post about some of the evidence that was given to the defence select committee on November 13th by Philip Dunne MP, Bernard Gray and Air Marshall Hillier. I suspect this may take quite some time and as usual I have a host of other things to do lurking in the background, so I'm not entirely sure when this will be finished.

In the interim then, I'd like to give you another video if I may? This is from British Forces News and reports on the recent improvements in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand, where Afghan security forces are taking on a much greater lead as UK forces transition to a supporting role. The images of a bazaar in full flow would seem to suggest that the security mission is going very well in this part of the country, and it's nice to finally see some good news about Afghanistan for a change;

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Videos - 20/11/12

Is it really nearing the end of November already? Jesus. Anyway, videos time.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Future Reserves 2020

So the Secretary of State for Defence - Philip Hammond, MP - has been in the news of late talking about the future of the Territorial Army. The BBC has a fairly good run down of his latest statements. If you've any interest in the UK armed forces (which I suspect you do, being as you're here), then you'll know that the UK is planning to double the number of territorial forces available and spend around £1.8 billion on new equipment to bring them closer in line with their regular counter parts. There are also plans afoot to make more use of these forces to support the regulars in larger numbers and on a more regular basis.

There has since been a plethora of articles on the subject. For a good run down of some of the proposed plans you can check out the pdf format of the governments consultation paper called "Future Reserves 2020: Delivering the Nation's Security Together". Optionally, if you don't wish to read the whole thing, you can find chunks of it liberally copied and pasted verbatim (and claimed as own, original work) on certain defence blogs (cough *ukarmedforcescommentary*).

Next year the government is due to produce a white paper on this subject and so today I'm going to throw a few thoughts into the arena. That's why - in case you were wondering - I've changed the background image to that of TA medic Private Robert Willis, on deployment in Afghanistan. The original photo can be found on the army website here.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Day

First, I'm aware that not everyone who logs on to the site can see the background, so suffice it to say that for those whose cannot, it's a poppy today. As if would be anything else.

Secondly I just want to post two poems, in their entirety. The first is Recessional by Rudyard Kipling. It's believed that from this poem that we derive the phrase "Lest we forget". The rest of it is rather moving to. The second poem is For The Fallen, by Laurence Binyon, which contains the now famous paragraph associated with Remembrance Day ending in "we will remember them".

Rescessional - Rudyard Kipling

God of our fathers, known of old—
Lord of our far-flung battle line—
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies—
The Captains and the Kings depart—
Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called our navies melt away—
On dune and headland sinks the fire—
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe—
Such boastings as the Gentiles use,
Or lesser breeds without the Law—
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard—
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard.
For frantic boast and foolish word,
Thy Mercy on Thy People, Lord!

For The Fallen - Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

And we will keep that promise. We will remember them.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Goldwater-Nichols Act

See? I told you I'd finish this eventually. Congratulations by the way to President Obama. Commiserations to Willard "Mitt" Romney (yes, his real name is Willard... I laughed too).

With the presidential race dominating the news lately I thought it would be interesting to look at a piece of legislation related to defense with an "S" for a change; the Goldwater-Nichols Act (1986). This will be related back to the UK at the end, I promise.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Honest Guv

I am working on the next post. I've spent most of the weekend either working or hungover in equal measure and just seem to face a stream of constant interruptions.

And then there is American Football. Which takes precedence over everything except emergencies. And even those have to be real emergencies.