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Critical effects on morale

October 21, 2010

I’m watching and reading with great interest, the stories and comments about the war in Afghanistan made in the last few days – not least, those of Lord Guthrie, a former Trustee of The BFF and now a Vice President, who has made some important points.

There’s no question in my mind that the Ministry of Defence has for a considerable length of time got poor value for money, and whilst we can acknowledge it can be difficult to find new money for defence, I do find it deeply depressing how much money is wasted and misdirected within the Defence budget.

I’ve been banging this ‘value for money’ drum for years in various speeches I’ve made at the CGS conference, First Defence etc. From our own experience we know that the procurement/contract system, whilst not being overtly corrupt, is corrupted.

All these things have a worrying affect on morale, but perhaps the most corrosive and long term effect is the questioning of the overall mission and what the Forces are actually trying to achieve in Afghanistan. If the public starts to deeply question the mission and that becomes confused with the role of the Armed Forces, they in turn will perceive that the public is no longer behind them. That could have a critical affect on morale, and we all know morale is crucial to effective operations.

That being said, the good folk of Wootton Bassett are doing a wonderful thing with their demonstration of public respect for our Armed Forces as they line the streets today when yet more coffins pass by. Good for them.

Mark Cann Director of The British Forces Foundation (These are the personal views of Mark Cann and not necessarily those of the Foundation)

 

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