Harold's Defence Plans

Harold's Defence Plans

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In 1065 Edward the Confessor became very ill. Harold Godwinson claimed that Edward promised him the throne just before he died on 5th January, 1066. The next day there was a meeting of the Witan to decide who would become the next king of England. The Witan considered the merits of four main candidates: Harold Godwinson, Edgar Etheling, Harald Hardrada and William, Duke of Normandy.

In 1065 On 6th January 1066, the Witan decided that Harold Godwinson was to be the next king of England. The main opposition to Harold came from two brothers, Edwin, Earl of Mercia and Morcar, Earl of Northumbria. To gain their support, Harold married their sister Edith.

King Harold was fully aware that Harald Hardrada of Norway and William of Normandy would probably try to take the throne from him. He believed that the Normans posed the main danger and he positioned his troops on the south coast of England.

Harold's soldiers were made up of housecarls and the fyrd. Housecarls were well-trained, full-time soldiers who were paid for their services but the fyrd were working men who were called up to fight for the king in times of danger.

Harold Brown (Secretary of Defense)

Harold Brown (September 19, 1927 – January 4, 2019) was an American nuclear physicist who served as United States Secretary of Defense from 1977 to 1981, under President Jimmy Carter. Previously, in the John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson administrations, he held the posts of Director of Defense Research and Engineering (1961–1965) and United States Secretary of the Air Force (1965–1969). [2]

A child prodigy, Brown graduated from the Bronx High School of Science at age 15, and earned a Ph.D. in physics from Columbia University at age 21. [3] As Secretary of Defense, he set the groundwork for the Camp David Accords, took part in strategic arms negotiations with the Soviet Union and supported, unsuccessfully, ratification of the SALT II treaty.

The NATO Defence Planning Process’ five steps

Key characteristics

The NDPP is the primary means to facilitate the identification, development and delivery of NATO’s present and future capability requirements. It apportions those requirements to each Ally as Capability Targets, facilitates their implementation and regularly assesses progress. It achieves this by providing a framework for the harmonisation of national and Alliance defence planning activities that is aimed at the timely development and delivery of the capabilities, both military and non-military, needed to meet the agreed security and defence objectives inherent to the Strategic Concept.

The key characteristics of the NDPP are:

  • It is a coherent and integrated process in which Allies undertake to deliver the required capabilities in the short and medium term (up to 20 years into the future).
  • It takes a threat/risk-informed, capability-based approach that provides sufficient detail to enable Allies to develop the forces and capabilities necessary to undertake the full range of NATO missions and tasks.
  • It is sufficiently flexible to respond to the circumstances of both individual Allies and the overall Alliance it informs and guides national defence plans, provides transparency, promotes multinational approaches and offers opportunities to capitalise on best practices.

The NDPP provides a common framework for the integration and rationalisation of capability development across all NATO structures. Fourteen different planning domains have been identified, each of which is engaged in capability development to some extent. These planning domains are: air and missile defence aviation planning armaments civil preparedness consultation , command and control cyber defence force planning intelligence logistics medical nuclear deterrence resources science and technology and standardization and interoperability.

The NDPP methodology is not static, and it continues to evolve. In 2009, initiatives were taken to improve the harmonisation of the various planning domains, and Allies were encouraged to integrate their national defence planning activities to complement NATO efforts. In 2016, the NDPP was considerably enhanced. This included an updated methodology to address the derivation of requirements in Step 2 (see below). The four-year NDPP cycle remained, but the planning period was amended and divided into the short term (0-6 years), the medium term (7‑19 years) and the long term (20+ years). The NDPP focuses on the short and medium term.

The five steps

The NDPP consists of five steps conducted over a period of four years. Although the five steps are generally carried out sequentially, Step 4 (facilitate implementation) is a continuing activity, and Step 5 (review results) is carried out twice within each four-year cycle.

Step 1 - Establish political guidance

A single, unified political guidance for defence planning sets out the overall aims and objectives to be met by the Alliance. It translates guidance from higher strategic policy documents, such as the Strategic Concept, in sufficient detail to direct the defence planning efforts of the planning domains in order to determine the capabilities required.

Political guidance includes a definition of the number, scale and nature of the operations the Alliance should be able to conduct in the future (commonly referred to as NATO’s Level of Ambition). It also defines the qualitative capability requirements to support this ambition. In doing this, it steers capability development efforts within the Allies and NATO. It defines associated priorities and timelines for use by the planning domains.

Political guidance is normally reviewed every four years, by the Defence Policy and Planning Committee ‘Reinforced’ (DPPC(R)). The DPPC(R) is responsible for the development of defence planning-related policy, and the overall coordination and direction of NDPP activities.

Step 2 - Determine requirements

NATO’s capability requirements are consolidated into a single list called the Minimum Capability Requirements. These requirements are identified by the two Strategic Commands (Allied Command Operations (ACO) and Allied Command Transformation (ACT)), supported by the planning domains , and with ACT in the lead. The process is structured, comprehensive, transparent and traceable and uses analytical tools coupled with relevant NATO expert analysis. The determination of requirements is done once every four years, although out-of-cycle activity for particular capabilities can be undertaken as circumstances dictate.

Step 3 - Apportion requirements and set targets

The target setting process apportions the Minimum Capability Requirements to the Allies (either individually, multinationally or collectively) in the form of Capability Target packages. The Strategic Commands (with ACT in the lead, and supported by the NATO International Staff) develop a target package for each Ally for existing and future capabilities, with associated priorities and timelines. Targets are expressed in capability terms and are flexible enough to allow innovative solutions to be developed rather than replacing ‘like with like’. The apportionment process applies the political principles of fair burden-sharing and reasonable challenge in determining the Capability Target package of each Ally.

Following a round of consultations with Allies on the Capability Target packages, the lead passes from the Strategic Commands to the NATO International Staff. Allies review the Capability Target packages during a series of multilateral examinations and agree the Capability Target package for each Ally on the basis of “consensus minus one”, meaning that an individual Ally cannot veto what otherwise would be a unanimous decision on its own Capability Target package.

Agreed Capability Target packages are subsequently forwarded to the North Atlantic Council for submission to defence ministers for adoption. Defence ministers agree to take the assigned Capability Targets into their own national defence planning process.

Step 4 - Facilitate implementation

Step 4 assists national measures, facilitates multinational initiatives and directs NATO efforts to fulfil agreed targets and priorities in a coherent and timely manner. Unlike other steps in the process, this step – or function - is continuous in nature.

Step 5 - Review results

Step 5 of the NDPP seeks to examine the degree to which NATO’s political objectives, ambitions and associated Capability Targets are being met and to offer feedback and direction for the next cycle of the defence planning process. Step 5 provides an overall assessment of the degree to which the Alliance’s forces and capabilities are able to meet the political guidance, including the NATO Level of Ambition. It is carried out by a Defence Planning Capability Review, led by the NATO International Staff with support from the Strategic Commands. The Capability Review scrutinises and assesses Allies’ defence policies and plans, including their financial plans, with a particular emphasis on capability development and the implementation of NATO Capability Targets.

Every two years, Allies complete a Defence Planning Capability Survey, which seeks data on Allies’ national plans and policies, including efforts (both national and multinational) to a ddress their NATO Capability Targets. The survey also seeks information on the national inventory of military forces and associated capabilities, any relevant non-military capabilities potentially available for Alliance operations, and national plans for defence expenditure, including the breakdown of spending between personnel, operating costs and investment in major equipment and associated research and development.

Assessments are produced by the International Staff, supported by the Strategic Commands and the planning domains, for each Ally. The assessments comprise a detailed Staff Analysis, produced for the information of Allies, and a shorter Overview, drawn from the Staff Analysis. The Staff Analyses constitute a comprehensive analysis of national plans and capabilities, including force structures, specific circumstances and priorities. The Staff Analysis includes a statement by the Strategic Commands regarding the impact each country’s plans have on the ability of Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) to conduct NATO’s current and expected missions and tasks.

The assessments are submitted for examination to the DPPC(R) for review during a series of multilateral examinations, which use the same ‘consensus minus one’ approach as used in Step 3.

As part of Step 5, the Strategic Commands produce a Suitability and Risk Assessment, which provides the basis for the Military Committee to develop a Suitability and Risk Assessment. This includes an assessment of the risks posed by any shortfalls in NATO’s forces and capabilities, as well as an assessment of the suitability of Allies’ plans to enable NATO to meet its Level of Ambition, and a list of any Main Shortfall Areas.

Utilising the assessments of individual Allies’ capabilities and plans, the DPPC(R) prepares a NATO Capability Report, highlighting individual and collective progress on capability development as it relates to NATO’s Level of Ambition. The Capability Report, incorporating the approved Overviews of the assessments in respect of each Ally, is passed to the North Atlantic Council for agreement, and then to Allied Defence Ministers for endorsement (normally in the month of June of even years).

Harold Shipman

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Harold Shipman, in full Harold Frederick Shipman, (born January 14, 1946, Nottingham, England—died January 13, 2004, Wakefield), British doctor and serial killer who murdered about 250 of his patients, according to an official inquiry into his crimes. Shipman’s murders raised troubling questions about the powers and responsibilities of the medical community in Britain and about the adequacy of procedures for certifying sudden death.

Shipman was born into a working-class family in Manchester. A bright child, he became interested in medicine as he watched his mother receive morphine injections to ease the pain she suffered while dying of lung cancer. In 1970 he received a medical degree from Leeds University, and a few years later he became a general practitioner in Todmorden in Lancashire. In 1975, after it was discovered that he had written several fraudulent prescriptions for the opiate pethedine, to which he had become addicted, he was forced out of his practice and into drug rehabilitation.

In 1977 Shipman found work as a general practitioner in the town of Hyde in Greater Manchester, where eventually he gained respectability and developed a thriving practice. In 1998 one of his patients, an 81-year-old woman, was discovered dead in her home only hours after Shipman visited her. Her family was perplexed by the suddenness of her death (she had appeared to be in good health), by the fact that her will had been changed to benefit Shipman (it bequeathed her entire estate, valued at some £400,000, to him), and by Shipman’s insistence that no autopsy was necessary.

In 2000 he was convicted on 15 counts of murder and one count of forgery and sentenced to life in prison. Shipman committed suicide while in prison, hanging himself in his cell.

A government inquiry was ordered to determine how many more patients Shipman may have murdered in 2005 an official report found that he had killed an estimated 250 people beginning in 1971. In most cases, Shipman injected the victim with a lethal dose of the painkiller diamorphine and then signed a death certificate attributing the incident to natural causes. His motives were unclear some speculated that Shipman may have been seeking to avenge the death of his mother, while others suggested that he thought he was practicing euthanasia, removing from the population older people who might otherwise have become a burden to the health care system. A third possibility raised was that he derived pleasure from the knowledge that, as a doctor, he had the power of life or death over his patients and that killing was the means through which he expressed this power. Despite his forgery of the will of one of his victims, financial gain appears not to have been a serious motive.

One key question that plagued investigators was how such a large number of deaths could have occurred without raising suspicions of foul play. This was all the more baffling because Shipman’s patients were normally healthy shortly before their encounters with him. The fact that Shipman took advantage of his patients’ trust in him as a doctor made his crimes particularly odious to the public.

Changing History – William The Conqueror’s Superior Strategy At Hastings In 1066 Is One Of The Most Important Events In British History

Across a short, steep, grassy slope in the cold light of the bright October sun, two heavily armed bodies of men faced each other. They were evenly matched in numbers and skill, being each about ten thousand strong. The force at the top of the hill was entirely made up of men on foot.

They were equipped with broad shields, round, oval, or kite shaped, painted with many colours. Their helms were high and broad, pointed at the top like rounded cones. They stood by the king of England, Harold Godwinson, who had marched far and fast, fresh from their victory over Vikings in the North to face this invading army.

At the bottom of the hill was the army of William II, Duke of Normandy, claimant to the throne of England. This was a dark, chaotic and bloody time in the history of Britain. Harold had been king for only nine months, and a new king was obliged to defend his claim in person on the battlefield. William of Normandy had crossed the sea from France in haste with his host, seeking to overthrow the new king and take the throne by force.

William’s army was well equipped with cavalry, heavily armoured and battle-hardened horsemen who were arrayed on the left and right wings of his army. The main strength of his force was of infantry, also arrayed in bright mail and carrying heavy shields, but at the front of these men stood a long line of archers with small, short bows. These men were for the most part not armoured, save for a bit of leather or a light helmet. They were fast moving, short ranged bowmen, and it was they who moved first up the slope.

It had rained heavily overnight, and the grass underfoot was still slippery and sodden. The trees on either side of the battlefield were almost bare, though some still displayed, the last of the autumn leaves.

All had been quiet for some time as the two armies faced off, but now the archers hurried came into range. A shout came from the English line, and there was a crash as they locked their shields into the shield wall that had long been the default tactic for the Anglo-Saxon armies of England. The bowmen loosened a volley of arrows up the hill, and as they did so the front of the Norman infantry began to move.

They were armed for the most part with long straight swords, and these they banged on their shields as they gathered speed. The archers loosened another volley, then another, but few arrows found an effective mark, bouncing harmlessly off mail or helmet, or thumpng into the heavy wood of the shield wall. They fell back a little as the infantry, now running at full speed, passed through their ranks and crashed with a deafening noise into the defenders at the top of the hill.

Harold’s men were armed with huge axes and short stabbing spears. Their shield wall held fast in the face of the onslaught, and as the front line fought hand to hand with the Normans, the men at the back-flung rocks and javelins at the attackers. The Normans pushed, and the English pushed back. Men fell on both sides, but the attacking Normans took more casualties.

Their cavalry moved in to support them, thundering up the hill into the wings of the defence, but to no avail. They fell back, charged and fell back again. The second time this happened both the infantry and cavalry retreated, and in a ragged line from left to right Duke William’s force began to retreat backdown the hill. The English line began to move in pursuit.

The Battlefield, with Battle Abbey in the distance. By Ealdgyth – CC BY-SA 3.0

A detachment from the English left reached the bottom of the slope and engaged the rear of the fleeing Normans. Confusion and chaos grew, and the Norman line began to disintegrate, it seemed likely that the Anglo-Saxons would be victorious. Then the Duke of Normandy, pulled off his helmet to show his face, charged into the pursuing Anglo-Saxon infantry with his knights about him.

The retreating cavalry turned and rallied to him, and the Anglo-Saxons were beaten back. The Norman line reformed about the Duke. Harold held his men in check at the top of the hill. It was almost noon by the sun. The two armies faced each other again across the short slope, which was no longer green, but churned up into slick mud by the horses hooves, and littered with the bodies of the slain. Again, all was quiet.

William’s army was poorly placed, he knew. Attacking up the slope into the solid shield wall greatly reduced the effectiveness of his cavalry, and this would get worse. The slope would become more and more muddy and churned up with every attempt. Added to this, the Normans had nowhere to retreat to if the battle was lost, and no reinforcements to rely on in the coming days. They were not well supplied with food or water. The battle must be won quickly, if it was to be won at all, and victory would not be gained by sending his men up that bloody hill again and again.

His first attempt had nearly ended in disaster. But thinking on this during the lull in the early afternoon, William saw an opportunity. Harold’s troops had been eager to pursue his retreating army and had done so to their great loss in the morning. Could this be used to his advantage? He gave orders to his knights and footsoldiers and rode himself to the left of his army.

19th-century depiction of the battle by Francois Hippolyte Debon.

The cavalry charge came suddenly. From left and right great waves of horsemen charged up the hill. They met with fierce resistance at the top, and as before the force of their charge was greatly reduced by the slope. They fought, swirling against the shield wall, but they could not break through, and William, at the front of the battle, gave the order to withdraw. As before, the English pursued them down the hill, but this time, the whole length of the English line joined in the pursuit. The Norman infantry held their ground, and the battle was now joined on the flat ground at the bottom of the hill.

The cavalry, as William had intended, retreated until the English line was fiercely engaged with shield and battleaxe on the flat. Then they wheeled round, and on both the right and the left they flanked the English infantry. The pursuers broke and fled back up the hill. Arrows followed them, finding a mark now. The English line reformed at the top of the hill, but their strength was greatly reduced.

For the last time, Duke William ordered his men up the slope, but there would be no feigned retreat this time. Harold’s line was ragged, his men’s shields were cloven, their axes notched, their limbs heavy with the fear of their coming defeat. When the shield wall was raised the Norman infantry punched through at several points. Harold’s line was forced back. Harold himself, surrounded by a picked band of axemen, was overcome at last.

The cavalry gained the hill and held it. The once proud shield wall disintegrated into knots of men fighting desperately, back to back. One by one, they were all overcome. The battle was over, William was victorious, and two months later was crowned King of England in Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day. William’s victory changed the history of England and Europe.

Records of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency [DCPA]

Established: In the Department of Defense (DOD), by DOD Directive 5105.43, May 5, 1972.

  • Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA), Office for Emergency Management (OEM), Executive Office of the President (EOP, 1950- 51)
  • FCDA (1951-58)
  • Office of Defense and Civilian Mobilization (ODCM), EOP (1958)
  • Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization (OCDM), EOP (1958-61)
  • Office of Civil Defense (OCD), DOD (1961-64)
  • OCD, Department of the Army, DOD (1964-72)

Functions: Coordinated and directed federal, state, and local civil defense program activities, including fallout shelters chemical, biological, and radiological warfare defense emergency communications and warning systems postattack assistance and damage assessment preparedness planning and government continuity.

Abolished: By EO 12148, July 20, 1979, retroactive to July 15, 1979, pursuant to Reorganization Plan No. 3 of 1978, effective April 1, 1979.

Successor Agencies: Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Related Records:
Record copies of publications of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.
Records of the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, RG 304.
Records of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, RG 311.
Records of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, RG 396.

397.2 Records of the Office of Civil Defense and its Predecessors

1947-72 (bulk 1961-69)

History: For histories, and additional records, of OCD predecessor organizations, SEE RG 304. OCD established in Department of Defense (DOD), effective August 1, 1961, by announcement of the Secretary of Defense, July 31, 1961, assuming civil defense functions transferred to Secretary of Defense from Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization of EOP by EO 10952, July 20, 1961. OCD transferred to Department of the Army, effective April 1, 1964, by DOD Directive 5160.50, March 31, 1964. Abolished, and functions vested in DCPA, 1972. See 397.1.

Related Records: Record copies of publications of the Federal Civil Defense Administration, the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization, and the Office of Civil Defense in RG 287, Publications of the U.S. Government.

397.2.1 Central administrative records, maintained by the
Management Directorate

Textual Records: General correspondence, 1963-65. Subject file, 1964. Issuances, including advisory bulletins, administrative manuals, and other publications, 1951-68. Records relating to headquarters and field assignments, 1961-65.

397.2.2 Records of central staff offices

Textual Records: Records of the Office of General Counsel, including a general file, 1958-64 and records from Battle Creek, MI, concerning shelter prototypes, 1959-61. Records relating to annual reports, 1967-68, maintained by the Reports Branch of the Statistics and Reports Division of the Office of the Comptroller. Publication history files of the Distribution Division of the Publication Office, 1950-62. Records of the Technical Liaison Office, 1966-69. Records of the Emergency Public Information Office, 1964-65.

Related Records: Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization posters from the publication history files of the Distribution Division of the Publication Office in 304.8.

397.2.3 Records of the Industrial Participation Office

Textual Records: Program records ("General Records"), 1950-65. Administrative records ("Office Files"), 1961-66. Subject file, 1954-66. Industrial program records, 1968. Draft chapters of a textbook on civil defense management in industry, 1963. Records of the Government Liaison Division, 1954-63. Civil defense publications, compiled by the Government Liaison and Industrial Liaison Divisions, 1959-64.

397.2.4 General records of the Plans and Operations Directorate

Textual Records: Disaster program records, 1964-67. Joint U.S.- Canadian civil defense planning records, 1964-65. Planning- related studies, 1947-70. Records concerning the use of military forces in nuclear emergencies, 1961-63. Reports and studies concerning emergency resource management, 1962-63. Records relating to civil defense publications, 1959-64. List of public civil defense shelters in the United States, 1971.

397.2.5 Records of divisions of the Plans and Operations

Textual Records: Records of the Emergency Operations Division, including progress reports, 1962-64 records concerning emergency operations centers, 1962-64 records relating to on-site inspections of survival plan development, ca. 1963 and general records of the Warning Branch, 1965-68. Records of the Plans Development Division, including project files, 1965-66 studies of emergencies, 1963-67 other studies and reports, 1964-67 and records of the Shelter and Control Planning Branch, 1961-65. General records of the Doctrine and Systems Division, 1952. Records of the Regional Coordination Division, including a general file, 1963-64 and reports and studies concerning fallout shelters, 1962-63. Records of the Field Services Division, consisting of central files, 1966 and records of the Regional Support Branch, 1961-69. General records of the Training and Education Division, 1966-68.

Maps: For use in emergency warning activities ("Siren and Warning Maps"), from general records of the Warning Branch, 1965-68 (139 items). See also 397.4.

Glass Slides, Photographic Prints, and Negatives: Installations, equipment, and civil defense zone and subject maps, from general records of the Warning Branch, 1965-68 (194 images). See also 397.6.

397.2.6 Records of the Research Directorate

Textual Records: Technical reports, 1956-65. Records of the Support Systems Research Division relating to radiological monitoring systems, 1961-65.

397.2.7 Records of the Technical Services Directorate

Textual Records: Publications concerning fallout shelters, 1960- 67. Reports on communications, 1963-64, compiled by the Systems Branch of the Communications-Electronics Division. Records of subordinate organizations of the Architectural and Engineering Services Division, including specifications for emergency operations centers developed by the Protective Services Branch, 1955-62 and records of the Survey and Analysis Branch relating to shelter surveys, 1958-62.

397.2.8 Other central office records

Textual Records: Records relating to OCD annual reports, 1959-65. Engineering case studies, 1960-64. Records relating to the National Emergency Alarm Repeater ("NEAR") System, including records relating to tests, 1963-65. Collection of civil defense publications ("External Publications"), 1955-65.

Architectural and Engineering Plans: Civil defense facilities and equipment, from engineering case studies, 1960-64 (212 items). See also 397.4.

Sound Recordings: For use with filmstrips on fallout shelters for civil defense, 1965 (3 items).

Filmstrips: Use of fallout shelters for civil defense, 1965 (FS, 5 items). See also 397.6.

397.2.9 Records of regional offices

Textual Records: Correspondence of the Region 4 office, Thomasville, GA, relating to the annual review of the State Surplus Property Donation Program, 1967-68 (in Atlanta). Emergency facilities construction and design specification records, with interfiled blueprint drawings, maintained by the Region 6 office, Denver, CO, 1962-67 (in Denver).

397.2.10 Records of the OCD Staff College, Battle Creek, MI

Textual Records (in Chicago): Training course materials, 1962-72.

397.3 Records of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency

Textual Records: Correspondence and memorandums of the Office of the Director, 1973-79. Publications, 1955-76.

397.4 Cartographic Records (General)

See Maps under 397.2.5.
See Architectural and Engineering Plans under 397.2.8.

397.5 Sound Recordings (General)

397.6 Still Pictures (General)

Photographs: Mission activities of the Defense Civil Preparedness Agency and predecessor agencies, 1947-77 (MA, 7,052 images). Civil defense shelters, command centers, emergency equipment, and related activities, 1967-69 (CD, 2,000 images). Subject file relating to hurricane Betsy, which tracked through the Gulf of Mexico and struck Florida and Louisiana in September 1965 (HB, 54 images).

See Glass Slides, Photographic Prints, and Negatives under 397.2.5.
See Filmstrips under 397.2.8.

Bibliographic note: Web version based on Guide to Federal Records in the National Archives of the United States. Compiled by Robert B. Matchette et al. Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, 1995.
3 volumes, 2428 pages.

This Web version is updated from time to time to include records processed since 1995.

The Guardian view on UK defence plans: spending but no strategy

Royal Marines taking part in training exercises with HMS Tamar earlier this month. The navy is a biggest winner under the future defence spending plans. Photograph: LPhot Phil Bloor/MOD/Crown Copyright/PA

Royal Marines taking part in training exercises with HMS Tamar earlier this month. The navy is a biggest winner under the future defence spending plans. Photograph: LPhot Phil Bloor/MOD/Crown Copyright/PA

Last modified on Thu 19 Nov 2020 18.52 GMT

B oris Johnson’s statement to parliament on future defence spending showed the prime minister at his worst. The language was grandiloquent – he spoke of ending an “era of retreat” over which, in fact, Conservative governments have presided – as well as bombastic: “tipping the scales of history”. It was studded with dubious invocations of Britain’s past designed to stoke national pride. However, as Mr Johnson has done throughout the Covid crisis and over Brexit, it put the rhetorical cart in front of a horse that is still being tended in the stable.

There were very few specifics about how the £24.1bn extra spending at the core of the statement would actually be used. Some of that sum has been promised already, in the Conservative manifesto. There were even fewer details about how any of it is to be raised, especially in the tight post-Covid public financial world which the chancellor will outline in the spending review next week.

Most frustratingly of all, the post-Brexit strategic choices, which the government’s own integrated review of foreign, defence and security policy was supposed to have resolved, all remained unaddressed. That review has not yet been completed, not least because the US election has changed the global picture. Yet here was Mr Johnson, acting as prime ministers often do, jumping the gun to trumpet his commitment to Britain’s armed forces when they do not yet know how the government really sees their future role.

Mr Johnson has a spending plan but not a strategy. His approach owed more to domestic politics than anything else. He wanted to show he is back in charge after the departure of Dominic Cummings relieved Tory MPs lapped that up. He wanted to reinforce his appeal to voters who abandoned Labour because they doubted Jeremy Corbyn’s patriotism. Mr Johnson also needed some big spending headlines for Clydeside and Fife to counteract the wanton damage he did to the Scottish Tory cause on Monday by dismissing devolution as a disaster.

In addition, Downing Street clearly wanted a space in the news cycle between Thursday’s upbeat announcements and the chancellor’s less boosterish spending statement. This is likely to rein in many departmental budgets, and will prove a tougher political sell. On the world stage, it was also an opportunity to signal to the incoming Biden administration that Mr Johnson is ready to be the new US president’s military ally. Yet the real-world consequences of the statement are still overwhelmingly unclear and distant. As ever with Mr Johnson, the warm words were the easy bit – and we have learned from experience that the words are not just warm but weaselly.

The way Mr Johnson told it, absolutely everyone in the defence and security world would be a winner. If that is true, then why bother with a strategic review at all? The spending would boost all three armed services (though the navy is the biggest winner), as well as benefiting special forces, research and development, and a new aggressive cyber capability. There would even be a new British space rocket programme (based in Scotland). All this would safeguard “hundreds of thousands” of jobs, and produce a “renaissance” for shipyards across the country (especially in Scotland), as well as turbocharging the aerospace, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicle industries.

Yet it is simply not true that most defence spending can be treated as investment in this way. Ships, tanks and planes do not pay for themselves. The case for defence spending as a national priority rests squarely on its own terms. In principle, the case for a spending upgrade is strong, not least because of Brexit, and must not be dismissed. But increases have to be paid for, either by cuts to other programmes, by greater borrowing, or by tax increases. Social programmes and the overseas aid budget – both of which are true investments – should not be sacrificed for this. Mr Johnson was evasive when challenged on this on Thursday from both sides of the Commons. Now he needs to be held to account. Cuts in aid and welfare would tip the scales of history in a shameful way. They would do absolutely nothing to help make Britain a stronger and safer society.

Harold's Defence Plans - History

By Brent Wilson

The post is published in partnership with our friends at Borealia.
[This essay is part of a series of contributions to be published over the coming years by members of the research group “Military Service, Citizenship, and Political Culture: Studies of Militias in Atlantic Canada.” Any questions about the project can be sent to Gregory Kennedy, Research Director of the Acadian Studies Institute at the Université de Moncton at [email protected] / Nous vous présentons une texte d’une série de contributions qui seront publiées au cours des prochaines années par des membres du groupe de recherche « Service militaire, citoyenneté et culture politique : études des milices au Canada atlantique ». N’hésitez pas à joindre Gregory Kennedy, directeur scientifique de l’Institut d’études acadiennes de l’Université de Moncton, pour toute question concernant le projet à [email protected]]

For most Canadians, military participation during the Great War meant overseas service with the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F.), initially in Britain and then on the Western Front in Belgium and France. It is also generally understood that some of these Canadian volunteers had served with the militia, both before the war and during its early phases.[1] What we often lose sight of is that many militiamen also served at home, fulfilling a range of more traditional roles. This trend underlines the wider story of how during the First World War the role of the Canadian militia shifted from its original home defence duties to service overseas and, with it, popular conceptions of what constituted legitimate military service, especially in wartime.[2]

In the days leading up to the outbreak of war on August 4, 1914, many officers commanding New Brunswick’s various militia units received orders from Ottawa to place their troops on a war footing and prepare to send troops overseas.[3] Several units contributed troops to the First Contingent of the C.E.F., including the 67 th , 71 st , and 74 th Regiments, 3 rd (New Brunswick) Regiment, Canadian Garrison Artillery (C.G.A.), 10 th , 12 th , and 19 th Field Batteries, 1 st (Brighton) Field Company, Canadian Engineers, and No. 7 Army Service Corps Company,

A few months, later some militia units provided troops for the Second Contingent, particularly the 62 nd Regiment, which saw many of its troops join the 26 th New Brunswick Battalion, while the 3rd C.G.A. contributed to the Headquarters and No. 1 Section of the 2 nd Divisional Ammunition Column.[4] Thereafter, militiamen enlisted in large numbers in the numerous C.E.F. units raised within the province over the next three years. By the end of the war, some 27,000 soldiers had been raised in New Brunswick, 17,000 of whom fought overseas.

At the same time, many New Brunswick militia units were called on to defend vital local sites against enemy attack, their traditional role. Foremost among these locations was the port of Saint John, which saw a Composite Battery from the 3 rd Regiment, C.G.A. manning a battery of 4.7-inch guns on Partridge Island and various detachments from the 62 nd Regiment guarding harbour docks, elevators, and other properties connected to overseas shipping, Fort Howe, and other locations for the duration of the war.[5]

Gunner Phillip L. McBride from the Composite Battery standing in front of a 4.7-inch gun located in the Eastern Battery on Partridge Island, Saint John, N.B. PANB-#3547, Heritage Resources. Courtesy of Harold Wright.

The 73 rd Regiment also provided troops for most of the war to guard the international wireless station at Newcastle. After the German agent, Werner Horn, bombed the C.P.R. bridge between Houlton, Maine and St. Croix, N.B. in February 1915, the 62 nd and 67 th Regiments sent detachments to protect the international railway crossings at St. Croix and St. Leonard.

Private John C. Graham, 62nd Regiment Bridge Guard, St. Croix, N.B. #10898, Heritage Resources. Courtesy of Harold Wright.

In September 1914, three New Brunswick militia infantry regiments – the 67 th , 71 st , and 74 th – were also called on to contribute companies that numbered 60 all ranks to the Composite Battalion, a Maritime wartime unit, raised to garrison Halifax when The Royal Canadian Regiment (R.C.R.) was sent to guard Bermuda.[6]

In March 1915, 3 rd C.G.A. also sent some of its gunners to man coastal defence batteries around Halifax.[7] Many of these troops remained on service until mid-1918. Several New Brunswickers serving with the Composite Battalion were killed and many others injured during the Halifax explosion on December 6, 1917.

During the last two years of the war the government took steps to re-organize Canada’s home defence system. By early 1917, most C.E.F. units had gone overseas leaving only these small militia detachments available to defend the country. In April, the government reinforced its home defence establishment by creating the Canadian Defence Force (C.D.F.) to be raised by 48 city militia regiments across the country, including the 62 nd Regiment, which organized a special service company.[8]

Then, in April 1918, the Canadian Garrison Regiment (C.G.R.) was created throughout the country to absorb all home defence detachments. The 7 th Battalion, C.G.R. was established in Saint John and drew much of its strength from the 62 nd Regiment. It remained on duty until mid-1919 assisting with demobilization.

New Brunswick militiamen were also required to guard enemy aliens and prisoners of war who were interned during the war, initially at the Halifax Citadel and Detention Barracks on Melville Island, and later the Internment Camp created at Amherst, Nova Scotia in March 1915.

Several New Brunswickers participated in the detail from the Composite Battalion that travelled to Jamaica to guard 300 German prisoners of war being transferred to Amherst in early 1915.

Militiamen took on home defence duty under a variety of circumstances. According to the terms of their contracts the soldiers were obliged to turn out when called upon for home service. Many welcomed the opportunity. Early on, some who volunteered for overseas service but were rejected joined home service drafts as an alternate way of doing their patriotic duty.[9] Home service also offered many militiamen another pathway to overseas service. For example, in early 1916 the Composite Battalion organized two overseas drafts that provided soldiers with their eagerly sought-after ticket to the front. Others transferred to the R.C.R. Base Depot in Halifax and were among the replacements sent to the unit overseas.[10]

However, by 1917 recruiting for home defence service was becoming as challenging as it was for the C.E.F. overseas, leaving militia units seriously understrength and struggling to find new recruits. Some worked in protected occupations and were ineligible for active service, while those that qualified for overseas service under the Military Service Act left for the front when conscription took effect.

The story of New Brunswick’s militia’s role during the Great War highlights several important avenues of inquiry which this study pursues. First was the contribution that many provincial units made to raising the C.E.F. for overseas service, especially during the first part of the war. Second, and less known, was the part they played in the defence of key sites around the Maritimes against possible enemy attacks. Third is what it tells us about how militia soldiers saw their role in the war effort. Fourth is the challenges the militia faced carrying out its roles, especially manpower shortages. And finally, how the Great War shifted the primary role of the militia from home defence to overseas service.

[1] Desmond Morton, When Your Number’s Up: The Canadian Soldier in the First World War. Toronto: Random House, 1993 and Tim Cook, The Secret History of Soldiers: How Canadians Survived the Great War. Toronto: Allen Lane, 2018.

[2] James Wood, Militia Myths: Ideas of the Canadian Citizen Soldier, 1896-1921. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press, 2010, p. 18.

[3] At the outset of the war New Brunswick’s militia force consisted of five infantry regiments: 62 nd Regiment( St. John Fusiliers), 67 th Regiment (Carleton Light Infantry), 71 st York Regiment, 73 rd Northumberland Regiment, and 74 th Regiment (The Brunswick Rangers) four artillery units: 3 rd (New Brunswick) Regiment, Canadian Garrison Artillery, 10 th (Woodstock) Field Battery, 12 th (Newcastle) Battery, and 19 th Battery two cavalry units: 8 th Princess Louise’s New Brunswick Hussars and 28 th New Brunswick Dragoons and 1 st (Brighton) Field Company, Canadian Engineers, No. 7 Company, Canadian Army Service Corps, No. 6 Company, Canadian Signal Corps, and No. 8 Field Ambulance, Canadian Army Medical Corps.

[4] On the 26 th Battalion, see J. Brent Wilson, A Family of Brothers: Soldiers of the 26 th New Brunswick Battalion in the Great War. Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions and the New Brunswick Military Heritage Project, 2018, pp. 13-14, 18-20 and on the 2nd Divisional Ammunition Column, see Lee Windsor, et. al., Loyal Gunners: 3 rd Field Artillery Regiment (The Loyal Gunners) and the History of New Brunswick’s Artillery, 1893 to 2012. Waterloo, ON: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2016, p. 31.

[5] For more on the Composite Battery, see Windsor, et. al., Loyal Gunners, p. 27.

[6] The other militia regiments were the 69 th , 75 th , 76 th , and 93 rd from Nova Scotia and the 82 nd from Prince Edward Island.

[7] See Windsor, et. al., Loyal Gunners, pp. 32-33.

[8] The C.D.F. was organized into regional divisions. The Maritime division included the 62 nd Regiment, and 63 rd and 66 th Regiments from Halifax. In time, other provincial units, including the 74 th Regiment and 19 th Battery, were directed to recruit to full peacetime strength in readiness for an emergency call out.

[9] Some militia volunteers could not meet the more rigorous physical standards for overseas service, especially early in the war, while married militiamen were sent home when they could not produce the required permission from their wives. See Nic Clarke, Unwanted Warriors: Rejected Volunteers of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Vancouver, BC: UBC Press, 2015.

[10] M. Stuart Hunt, Nova Scotia’s Part in the Great War. Halifax, NS: The Nova Scotia Veteran Publishing Co., Ltd., 1920, p. 270.

Brent Wilson is Editor Emeritus at the Gregg Centre for the Study of War and Society at the University of New Brunswick.

In most years, the Department of Defense (DoD) produces a five-year plan, called the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP), associated with the budget that it submits to the Congress. The FYDP describes DoD’s plan for its normal, peacetime activities (corresponding to what is often labeled its base budget). DoD’s current plans are described in its 2016 FYDP, which covers fiscal years 2016 through 2020.

Those plans call for relatively flat budgets that average $534 billion for 2016 through 2020. (Unless otherwise noted, all costs in this report are expressed in 2016 dollars to remove the effects of inflation.) If DoD’s plans are projected for an additional 10 years, CBO’s analysis indicates that defense budgets would be larger, averaging $565 billion per year from 2021 through 2030 under DoD’s cost assumptions. Moreover, CBO estimates that the cost of DoD’s plans would be 4 percent higher over the next 15 years under a set of policies and prices that more closely matched recent experience.

DoD’s Plans Call for No Real Growth in Budgets Through 2020

For fiscal year 2016, DoD requested appropriations totaling $585 billion. Of that amount, $534 billion was to fund the department’s base budget, which encompasses activities such as the development and procurement of weapon systems and the day-to-day operations of the military and civilian workforce. The remaining $51 billion of DoD’s request was to pay for the costs of overseas contingency operations (OCO), mostly Operation Freedom’s Sentinel in Afghanistan and Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria.

For that year, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, provided $580 billion in funding for DoD’s base budget and OCO budget combined—slightly less than the sum DoD requested. Compared with the department’s request, there were modest reductions in funding for day-to-day operations and modest increases in procurement. Those changes were small and will probably have little effect on DoD’s plans through the FYDP period. Therefore, this report, which was largely prepared before the appropriations were enacted, focuses on DoD’s plans and not the actual 2016 appropriations.

Under those plans, real (inflation-adjusted) costs for the base budget would increase to $538 billion in 2017, DoD estimates, and decline slowly to $527 billion in 2020 (see figure below). That decline, coupled with CBO’s projections for continued economic growth, would see DoD’s costs as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) decrease from 2.8 percent in 2016 to 2.5 percent in 2020. Nevertheless, the average costs of the plan, $534 billion per year for 2016 through 2020, would be greater than the funding DoD received in all but six years (1985, and 2008 through 2012) since 1980, after adjusting for inflation.

Contributing to DoD’s projection of nearly flat budgets over the next five years are continued reductions in the number of active duty military personnel—from 1.31 million in 2016 to 1.27 million in 2020—as well as anticipated savings from a variety of other initiatives, including reforms to military compensation, a new round of base realignments and closures, and a restructuring of some elements of the force. Despite those changes, the shares of DoD’s budget allocated to costs for operation and support (O&S) and acquisition would remain nearly unchanged from 2016 to 2020. (O&S includes compensation for the department’s military and civilian employees, military health care, and the department’s other operation and maintenance activities acquisition includes research, development, test, and evaluation as well as procurement of weapon systems and other major equipment.)

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which amended discretionary funding limits established under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), set new, higher limits for 2016 and 2017. Those limits apply to total funding (excluding OCO) for DoD, the nuclear weapons activities of the Department of Energy, and security activities in several other agencies that collectively are subject to the BCA’s caps on national defense funding. The higher limits, combined with appropriations for OCO that include funding for some base-budget activities, very nearly accommodated the Administration’s total request for national defense in 2016. (The appropriations for DoD in 2016 are about $5 billion, or 1 percent, less than the department requested.) The higher limit in 2017 falls short of the Administration’s current base-budget plans for that year. Over the final four years of the FYDP, 2017 through 2020, the Administration’s planned budgets for DoD and other national defense activities exceed the BCA’s limits by a total of $107 billion (in 2016 dollars).

DoD’s Plans Would Require Larger Budgets After 2020

Because decisions made in the near term can have consequences for the defense budget well after the five years described in the FYDP, CBO annually projects the budgetary impact of DoD’s plans a decade or more beyond that period. For this analysis, CBO’s projection spans the years 2021 to 2030. The projection is based on DoD’s cost estimates in the 2016 FYDP as well as DoD’s longer-term estimates, if available. (For example, DoD provides annual cost estimates for major weapon acquisitions that often extend many years beyond the FYDP period.) Where estimates from DoD were not available (for example, estimates of the rise in labor costs), CBO used its projections of prices and compensation trends for the overall economy as the basis of its estimates of DoD’s costs. The projection is not a prediction of future DoD budgets it is an extrapolation of DoD’s cost estimates under the assumption that the primary aspects of the current defense plan remain unchanged.

After staying fairly constant over the FYDP period, the cost of implementing DoD’s plans would rise by 4 percent in 2021, CBO estimates. Costs would climb more slowly in most of the years thereafter, reaching $577 billion in 2030—an average increase of 0.5 percent per year. That total is 2.2 percent of CBO’s projection of GDP for that year.

The steeper increase projected for the years immediately following the FYDP period is attributable primarily to DoD’s plans to develop and purchase new weapons (activities categorized as acquisition), the costs for which are estimated to increase by a total of 10 percent the first three years beyond the FYDP period before declining slowly through 2030. That “bow wave” in acquisition funding suggests that weapons development and procurement is currently being deferred to keep budgets constrained through the end of the FYDP period. In contrast to the sharp increase in acquisition costs, CBO projects that the costs for O&S would grow steadily at an average annual rate of 1.3 percent from 2020 through 2030. By that year, the costs for O&S would reach $396 billion, an increase of 14 percent over the Administration’s request for 2016.

Historical Experience Indicates That the Costs of Current Plans Will Probably Be Higher Than DoD Anticipates

The FYDP and CBO’s extension of DoD’s costs through 2030 are estimates of long-term costs if current plans do not change. Of course, international events, decisions made by the Congress, and other factors could result in substantial departures from those plans. Nevertheless, even if current plans remain generally unchanged, many program-level policies that underlie DoD’s cost projections may not come to pass, and some of DoD’s cost estimates may prove to be optimistic. For example, DoD’s 2015 FYDP incorporated the assumption that the Air Force would begin to retire its fleet of A-10 attack aircraft and that DoD would implement certain changes to the military health care system—policies that were both blocked in the Congress. Furthermore, historical experience indicates that the FYDPs prepared by DoD often incorporate estimates that understate costs. If the Congress blocks similar policy proposals put forth in the 2016 FYDP or if costs in other areas grow as they have historically, DoD would need larger budgets to implement its plans.

Several areas of DoD’s budget have frequently turned out to cost more than originally planned or to increase more rapidly than expected from an extrapolation of recent trends. Those areas include the following:

  • Costs to develop and purchase weapon systems,
  • Compensation costs for military and civilian personnel (including military health care), and
  • Operation and maintenance costs.

How much the costs of specific programs in each of those areas might differ from DoD’s current estimates is not certain. Changes could result from some combination of Congressional action, DoD’s difficulty in controlling costs, or growth in costs in the economy as a whole. However, CBO projects that, if the costs in several broad areas of DoD’s budget were to experience growth similar to that observed in its budgets in the recent past (CBO’s historical-cost scenario), total costs for DoD from 2016 to 2020 would be about $57 billion (or 2 percent) higher than indicated in the FYDP, and total costs from 2016 through 2030 would be $318 billion (or 4 percent) higher than under current cost estimates. About 40 percent of those higher costs through 2030 would result directly from the adoption of different policies than DoD has requested, most of which ($118 billion) would require Congressional approval. The remaining higher costs would come from other factors that are harder to control.

PLA Navy

The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is the naval branch of the Chinese armed forces. Over the past three decades, the PLAN has been transformed from a coastal defence force into one of the largest and most sophisticated naval forces in East Asia.

The main responsibilities of the PLAN include safeguarding China’s maritime security and maintaining the sovereignty of its territorial waters along with its maritime rights and interests. Under China’s ocean-going naval strategy, the country has embarked upon a modernisation programme to develop a ‘blue water’ navy capable of operating in high seas beyond China’s continent shelf waters, in order to ensure China’s access to trade routes and economic resources. This programme is to be executed in three phases over a timespan from the early 1990s to the mid-21 st century.

  • In the first step, the PLAN sought to develop a “green water” capability in the beginning of the 21 st century. This allows China to operate beyond the “First Island Chain”, an arc swung from Vladivostok to the north, to Aleutian Islands, Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, to the Strait of Malacca to the south.
  • In the second step, a ‘blue water’ capability will be developed by 2020 to allow operations beyond the “Second Island Chain” formed by the Ogasawara Islands and Volcano Islands of Japan, and Mariana Islands of the United States.
  • In the third step, the PLAN seeks to develop a true global naval force capable of operating anywhere in the world, similar to the U.S. Navy, by 2050.

Since 2009, the PLA Navy has been maintaining the deployment of a small anti-piracy task force in the Gulf of Aden. It is also constructing China’s first overseas military base – a navy support facility – in Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. Beyond the year of 2020 onwards, China is expected to become a major regional power across the Asia Pacific area. By 2030 it will have established a global naval power, even supressing the U.S. Navy in terms of major surface combatant number. The rise of Chinese naval power will no doubt have profound impacts on international politics and world order.


The Chinese communist victory in 1949 was an army victory. The PLA had no naval arm but towards the end of the Chinese Civil War had captured some Republic of China (ROC) Navy vessels and facilities. The first PLA naval force, known as the “East China People’s Navy”, was created on 23 April 1949 in Jiangsu Province, based on the defected former ROC Navy Second Coastal Defence Fleet. This was late commemorated as the Navy’s birthday, through the PLAN Headquarters was not created until April 1950. The first PLA navy school was established in November 1949. The Naval Air Force was formed in 1952. The three PLAN fleets (the East Sea Fleet, the South Sea Fleet, and the North Sea Fleet) were formed between 1955 and 1960.

Throughout the 1950s, the PLAN was modernised with Soviet assistance. A shipbuilding industry was developed, with emphasis on building small and medium ships, patrol craft, and submarines. PLAN operations in this period largely focused on defending the Chinese coastline against attacks by ROC forces, and assisting the ground troops in capturing offshore islands. The PLAN engaged in a series of battles against ROC forces in the Taiwan Strait, including the artillery bombardments of Nationalist forces on Kinmen and Matsu in 1958. In January 1955, the PLAN took part in the first ever combined service operation by the PLA to capture the Yijiangshan Islands.

The PLAN saw significant expansions in the 1970s—80s, with significant increase in the number of conventional submarines missile-carrying fast attack craft. Production of indigenous missile-carrying destroyers and frigates, nuclear-powered submarines, and sea-going replenishment ships also began. In 1974, the PLAN defeated the South Vietnamese Navy in the South China Sea and captured the Xishang (Paracel) Islands. In May 1980, a Chinese naval task force composed of missile destroyers, replenishment ships, missile range instrumentation ships, logistics vessels, and naval helicopters went to the South Pacific to recover the re-entry vehicles of the full-range DF-5 ICBM flight test.

On 5 May 1980, the PLA Marine Corps was formed to help protect the country’s islands in the South China Sea. In 1985, a PLA Navy task force of a missile destroyer and an underway replenishment ship went to the Indian Ocean and visited three south Asian countries – the first goodwill tour to overseas by the PLA Navy. In March 1988, a skirmish began between Vietnamese and Chinese naval forces over the Johnson South Reef of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea, which led to the Chinese capture of the Johnson South Reef and several reefs nearby.

By the 1990s, the role of the PLA Navy had shifted from costal defence to “active offshore defence” in supporting China’s role as a regional power and protecting the country’s costal economy and maritime interests. The PLA conducted joint service exercises near Taiwan during the 1995—96 Taiwan Strait Crisis, which prompted the U.S. Navy to deploy two aircraft carrier battle groups to the region. This incident led to the subsequent investment by the PLAN in its anti-access/access-denial (A2/AD) capabilities, resulting in a fast expansion of its surface fleet and modernisation of its submarine forces.

On 1 April 2001, a PLA Naval Air Force J-8B fighter collided with a U.S. Navy EP-3 spy plan during an interception mission in the South China Sea, which led to the loss of the Chinese fighter and its pilot, and forced the U.S. plane to make an emergency landing on Hainan. The incident sparkled a major diplomatic crisis between China and the United States. In December 2008, the PLA Navy deployed a task group of three surface vessels to the Gulf of Aden to participate anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia. In April 2015, a PLAN warship helped 10 countries evacuate their citizens from Yemen during the violent aftermath of a coup. In 2016, China began to build its first oversea naval facility in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa.

In its recent publications, the PLA Navy has outlined a two-step strategy in its modernisation process. In the first step, the navy aims to develop a “green water” capability, which allows it to operate beyond the “First Island Chain”, an arc swung from Vladivostok to the north, to Aleutian Islands, Japan, Okinawa, Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, to the Strait of Malacca to the south.

In the second step, by the middle of this century the PLA Navy will develop a ‘blue water’ capability that can operate in the high seas beyond China’s continental shelf, in order to ensure China’s access to trade routes and economic resources throughout the region, a typical example being China’s deployment of naval vessels and forces to the Gulf of Aden to protect Chinese merchant ships against Somali pirate attacks.

Force Structure

The PLA Navy has a total strength of 255,000 personnel, including 25,000 naval aviation, 7,000 marine corps, and some 27,000 costal defence forces. The forces are organised into three fleets – the North Sea Fleet headquartered in Qingdao, the East Sea Fleet headquartered in Ningbo, and the South Sea Fleet headquartered in Zhanjiang. Each fleet consists of surface forces, submarine forces, naval air force, marine corps, costal defence forces, as well as various training, logistics, and maintenance elements.

Like other service branches of the PLA, the PLAN adopts a selective service system where conscripts serve a two-year service, after which they can apply to continue their service as non-commissioned officers (NCO). PLAN officers serve in one of the five career tracks: military, political, logistics, equipment and technical. Almost all PLAN officers received a three-year higher education or four-year bachelor degree, and many have also received a master or doctorate degree. There is roughly a 1:1:1 ratio for officers, NCOs, and conscripts in the PLAN. Education of the officer corps is provided by the nine naval academies across the country.

Each fleet has two or three major bases and a number of minor bases. Major naval bases include Lushun, Qingdao, Huludao, Shanghai, Zhoushan, Guangzhou, Zhanjiang, Yulin, Sanya, and Xisha. China’s state-owned shipbuilding industry is grouped into two industrial consortia: China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) and China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC), both of which are capable of building naval vessels of all types. Major construction facilities for surface vessels are located at Dalian, Shanghai, Wuhu, and Guanzhou. Conventional submarines are constructed at Wuhan and Shanghai. Nuclear-powered submarines are constructed at Huludao.

Command and Control

As one of the four service branches of the PLA, the command and control of the PLAN is originated from the the Central Military Commission (CMC), exercised through the PLA Navy Headquarters in Beijing. The PLAN is headed by the Navy Commander and Navy Political Commissar, who are assisted by three deputy commanders and two deputy political commissars.

The PLA Navy Headquarters consists of four first-level departments: headquarters, political, logistics, and equipment. The Headquarters Department include a number of second-level departments including general office, operations, intelligence, training, military affairs, and naval aviation. The Political Department is responsible for personnel affairs, political education, welfare and recreation, propaganda, cultural affairs, and military judicial. The Logistics Department is responsible for supply, finance, ordnance, civil engineering, transportation, and medical. The Equipment Department is responsible for accruement, research and development, equipment technology and repair.

Like other service branches of the PLA, the PLAN is subject to a political work system through which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) guarantees absolute control over the armed forces. Every unit and organisation within the navy has been embedded with one or more components of the military political system, including the Party committee, political departments, political officers, discipline inspection system, Party congress, and military judicial system.

Watch the video: Harold the Snowycopter 2015 (July 2022).


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