Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Navigating the MoD minefield

Iain Dale has posted this morning asking the question 'who leaked the Liam Fox letter?' in relation to the lead story in this morning's Telegraph here.

I think it is pretty clear that it came from within the armed forces because Thomas Harding is an excellent and well respected defence correspondent with impeccable sources. It is also quite clear that the view within the military and those associated with all three of the services, but especially old soldiers, is that any proposed cuts are being rushed through the MoD too quickly. Loyalty to the services and Britain's armed forces more broadly is handed down across generations.  

This is revealing for two reasons. Iain Dale rightly points to David Cameron's desire to debate the future of our armed forces in public and it appears that the services are willing to accept this challenge. But on their own terms.

Second, the MoD are the one department of state where a change in direction really is like the classic 'turning the aircraft carrier around'.  Modernisation is not in their blood instead hundreds of years of tradition run through their veins.

There is no doubt that David Cameron has a large fight on his hands in changing the way things are done in the MoD. A proper internal communications strategy would certainly help but if you can change the Conservative Party then surely anything is possible. Perhaps the Policy Exchange pamphlet published tomorrow on defence cuts can help point the way through this particular minefield?

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