Fox outlines backroom cuts to make MoD 'leaner'

The number of senior military officers could be cut as part of efforts to rein in costs at the Ministry of Defence, Liam Fox suggested today.

The Ministry of Defence faces cuts to its backroom operations to ensure frontline troops get everything they need, Liam Fox said today.



The Defence Secretary indicated that numbers of senior military officers and civil servants would be reduced to help tackle the £37 billion black hole in the department's finances.



Launching a wide-ranging reform of how the MoD is run, he said the ministry had to be "leaner", less centralised and more transparent.



Dr Fox said he was reminded while visiting Afghanistan this week that supporting British forces on operations had to take priority over spending on staff in Whitehall.



He said: "It brought home to me once again that the prime purpose of what we are doing is to make sure that our Armed Forces on the frontline have everything they need, and all the support they require, to carry out their mission successfully and safely.



"That means that the backroom sometimes has to do without to make sure that the frontline gets what it wants."













Giving a speech in London, Dr Fox said the "ghastly truth" was that financial mismanagement by Labour had left the MoD with an "unfunded liability" of £37 billion over the next 10 years.

The ongoing strategic defence and security review (SDSR) must "put the Cold War to bed" and concentrate on future dangers to the UK rather than the threats of the past, he said.



In the modern world the "moral climate" demands precision weapons and battles are increasingly waged in cyberspace and using unmanned vehicles like aerial drones, he added.



Dr Fox said alongside the review his department would be restructured and decentralised, with top brass given more control over running their own services.



He ruled out any merger of the Royal Navy, Army and RAF but suggested numbers of senior officers could be reduced.



He said: "We will also consider whether the current senior rank structure across the services is appropriate for the post-SDSR world.



"We cannot demand efficiency from the lower ranks while exempting those at the top."



The Defence Secretary set out plans today to reorganise the MoD into three pillars: policy and strategy, the Armed Forces, and procurement and estates.



There will also need to be a "cultural shift which will see a leaner and less centralised organisation combined with devolved processes which carry greater accountability and transparency", he said.



Dr Fox announced the formation of a Defence Reform Unit under Lord Levene to guide the "hard thinking" and complement the SDSR.



He admitted the process of reducing costs would "not be painless" but refused to say how many MoD civil servants would be cut.



He said: "I'm not beginning from that premise. I'm beginning from the premise that we set out the structures we will need in the long term, and then we will make the changes we require to get there.



"It will not mean equal changes across the system. Some parts of the organisation I think work better than others, I think some parts of the Armed Forces work better than others.



"It will be a root and branch reform."



He added: "This needs to be the defence review that puts the Cold War to bed. This needs to be the defence review that changes the way Britain looks at the world around it ...



"What this is about is shaping Britain for the 21st century, and that is the big cultural shift which I think underpins every bit of thinking of the review that we're undertaking."



The MoD faces having its £36.9 billion annual budget slashed by between 10% and 20% as part of massive Whitehall funding cuts ordered by the coalition.



The SDSR is looking at all options as it assesses Britain's future defence needs, apart from the question of whether to replace the Trident nuclear deterrent, which is already a Government commitment.



The Royal Navy, Army and RAF are set to see personnel numbers reduced and equipment projects axed as a result of the review.



Reports suggest the Army could lose one of its brigades in Germany, the Navy could see one of two new aircraft carriers cancelled, the Royal Marines could be brought under the Army's control and the RAF could shrink to its smallest size since the First World War.



Chancellor George Osborne made it clear last month that the full £20 billion cost of renewing Trident must be paid for out of the defence budget. Previously it was funded directly by the Treasury.



Asked about the MoD's ability to pay for Trident in the light of the Chancellor's comments, Dr Fox said today: "How that budget is funded to take account of that is a conversation that is constantly ongoing with the Treasury."



The results of the SDSR will be announced at the end of October.

Sport
Premier League Live
footballLIVE Follow all the Premier League action as it happens
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
gadgets + echSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
News
The slice of Prince Charles and Princess Diana's wedding cake and the original box from 29 July 1981
newsPiece of Charles and Diana's wedding cake sold at auction in US
News
James Argent from Towie is missing, police say
peopleTV star had been reported missing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Clinical Negligence Solicitor

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...

Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF, BGP, Multicast, WAN)

£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...

Commercial Property Solicitor - Bristol

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...

DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, Linux, Shell, Bash)

£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone