CND protest Parliament

In search of the Royal Navy’s political friends (Part 2: minority parties)

Summoning only a handful of MPs between them, the fringe parties have until now had a very limited ability to influence national issues. The absence of a legacy that can be criticised maybe to their advantage but they lack the political inexperience and the gravitas that comes with office. Any judgement of them must therefore be made mainly on their pronouncements, not their actions. The mainstream parties are mainly composed of ‘career politicians’ more concerned with power than ideology, but at least the fringe parties are predominantly ‘conviction politicians’ who actually believe in something. They tend to have stronger and sometimes extreme views on defence matters which must now be scrutinised.

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In search of the Royal Navy’s political friends (Part 1: the mainstream parties)

The general election due in May this year promises to be a tight contest and the result is unusually difficult to predict. Whatever the complexion of the new administration a defence review will be conducted in October that will be critical for the future of the RN and the security of the nation.

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Putin and submarine

Is Britain prepared for the naval challenges of a new Cold War?

In December 2014 Russia quietly signaled what maybe called the start of Cold War II when it issued a new military doctrine which lists NATO as its “main threat”. President Putin, a former KGB officer is determined to return Russia to the superpower status of the Soviet Union. Communist dogma may have gone but it has been replaced by nationalist expansionism and paranoia used to justify a military renaissance. Western nations are feeling this growing power by increasing numbers of Russian ships, aircraft and submarines to probing defences and even entering territorial waters.

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Future Royal Navy

The big picture for the Royal Navy leading up to the 2015 SDSR

This guest post by the DefenceSynergia (DS) RN Editorial Team looks at the history of cuts, compromise and decline experienced by the RN in recent times and hopes for better strategy and policy to inform the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

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Govan shipbuilding yard

Contraction & consolidation – relying on a single shipyard for warship construction

Lack of warship orders and the Government’s ‘lassiez faire’ attitude is damaging the industrial base that the navy will need in the long term. This is clear to see in the likely consolidation of all Royal Navy warship construction on a single site.

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Manpower

The hidden crisis – Royal Navy manpower

The 2010 defence review required the Royal Navy to reduce its personnel numbers from 36,000 down to around 31,000. The salaries, benefits and pensions for serving and former RN personnel amount to a significant cost, making naval budget manpower cuts an attractive naval option for the Treasury. After 3 waves of redundancies, the RN was down to 30,310 trained personnel by April this year.

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