Letter: Nato marches east into a great blunder

Share
Related Topics
Letter: Nato marches east into a great blunder

Sir: Paul Vallely ("How Blair can save billions on defence", 10 February) may well be right to say that substantial savings in the defence budget would be possible if Britain either faced up to its dependence on the United States or joined up to a common European defence policy. However, neither option appears realistic, certainly in the near-medium term.

I disagree with Paul Vallely's conclusion that there are "not many more efficiency savings to be made". Significant delays and massive cost overruns in the procurement process persist, and poor MoD management still wastes large sums.

But the more fundamental issue Labour's review would need to address is the balance between commitments and resources. If our armed forces are overstretched and becoming "hollow", and we are not going to increase their numbers, then we must reduce their commitments. If Britain wants an army rather than a gendarmerie it must allow it the opportunity to train as such: if it wants to sustain high morale amongst service personnel, it must honour minimum standards of intervals between operational duties.

There is a danger that we are concentrating too heavily on high-profile new pieces of hardware and neglecting the essential support of that equipment in warfare. What is the point of sustaining hundreds of shiny new tanks if the minute you need to actually use them three-quarters of them do not work, as was discovered before the Gulf War?

Dr STEPHEN PULLINGER

Executive Director

International Security Information Service

London WC2

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Infrastructure / Development Support

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunity to join a...

Recruitment Genius: Partnership Relationship Manager

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Partnership Relationship Mana...

Recruitment Genius: Mobile Developer - Xamarin

£45000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software development compa...

Recruitment Genius: Student Support Assistants - Part Time & Full Time

£14600 - £17600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are passionate about sup...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

If I were Prime Minister ...: No child would be caged in a failing prison

Frances Crook
 

Daily catch-up: 99 days until the election, which is also the average life of a web page

John Rentoul
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

Homeless Veterans appeal

Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

Pot of gold

Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore