Monday, February 16, 2009

Lost before it started – Part 2

click here to go to the blogIn Part 1, we saw how in 1998 and the following year, Tony Blair agreed to commit the bulk of the UK's deployable Armed Forces to the European Rapid Response Force (ERRF) – 12,500 personnel plus ships and aircraft and supporting elements. This in turn led to the 2003 Defence White Paper in which the Government announced a "major restructuring" of the Army, with a shift in emphasis from light to medium Brigades, based around based around the Future Rapid Effects System (FRES) family of vehicles. This was to be Britain's contribution to the ERRF.

At a time when very time when the Army was only in the first months of its occupation of Iraq, it neededed to keep its options open. Instead, it was committing its intellectual, planning and financial resources to introducing an entirely new and untried system, one which had no relevance to counter-insurgency operations. In this second part, over on Defence of the Realm we look at how the Army reacted and, in particular, the response of the then newly appointed Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mike Jackson.