MoD 'needs overhaul to link forces'
The Ministry of Defence should be overhauled to end the "lack of coherence" between the three branches of the armed forces, according to a new report.
In a joint study, defence and security think-tank the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) and academics from Cranfield University called for a "revolutionary" reorganisation to cope with the loss of thousands of civil servants.
They raised concerns about the "single service orientation" of personnel which led to "rivalries" between the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.
The paper, called the Defence Reform Agenda, comes ahead of the findings of the Defence Reform Unit (DRU) which was set up by Defence Secretary Liam Fox to study the structure and management of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The report said that last year's defence review had laid bare the individual priorities of the different service chiefs as they battled to save their own forces from cuts. The crucial issue for the DRU would be whether the Government brought the three services more closely together, it said.
"The service chiefs in the past two years, with their pleas for their branch and preferred systems, have demonstrated a lack of coherence at the top of defence concerning future direction and priorities," it stated.
There was "no doubt" that the MoD needed reform to deal with its "many real problems" and the perception in Whitehall and the country that it is "poorly run", it said.
"The MoD needs to restore its image. This is unlikely to occur unless there is explicit recognition that the UK Government today needs an integrated and flexible set of military capabilities, and not forces which represent the outcome of a bargaining process among those representing separate land, sea and air environments.
"If the public should ask just one question about the output of the DRU's efforts, it is whether the MoD will be moving towards more joint and thus coherent arrangements for defence, or whether there will be a weaker centre with single-service perspectives having won the day."
Professor Trevor Taylor, one of the authors of the report, said: "The single service orientation of many senior military personnel has become all too obvious through their public statements as resource pressures have increased."