Insights into procurement: The TSR-2 and CVA-01 programmes

Background: The 1960s environment
•  What can historical analysis yield to us ? •  Before the Central Organisation for Defence: The War Office, Admiralty, Air Ministry •  Ministry of Defence as bit-player •  Efforts of ‘Zuk-Batten’ axis to integrate •  Underwritten however by Prime Minister

The stakes for the services
•  Air Ministry had lost control of the strategic deterrent mission to the Admiralty. Economic political - defence reasoning. End result the same •  Admiralty needed to replace aircraft carrier force •  Concept of the ‘decisive weapon’ and influence on culture of the organisation

The strategies
•  Island Basing. Island stockpiles, containing runways from which force could be projected. Threat to aircraft carriers. Plus ca change ? •  Naval Task Forces. Aircraft carrier groups capable of support amphibious warfare operations. Validated following Kuwait intervention of 1961 •  For RAF who controls air support mission ?

Budgetary issues
•  The Defence budget on the whole is spilt fairly evenly between the services •  manoevering over strategy influences the order in which equipment is procured •  Therefore the successful service lays an advance claim at the next generation stage of procurement

The tactics - 1963.
•  Chief of the Air Staff sought to make direct comparison between Island Basing and carrier strategies •  The Admiralty arguably abetted by the Chief of Defence Staff seek to push forward Buccaneer as joint-service replacement for TSR-2 •  Chief Scientific Officer as Arbiter: Visibility, flexibility, cost. Issue of quantitative versus qualitative methods

The tactics - 1964
•  Turnover in ministers and lack of co-ordination allows projects to retain momentum •  April fools day 1964, new MoD created •  October - Labour government elected with small majority in House of Commons •  ‘Weekend of the Crunch’ briefing on defence at Chequers to establish policy

1965 - Defence Review in progress.
•  Cabinet Defence and Oversea Policy Committee as pivotal. personalities count. •  Healey on TSR-2 ‘we could not afford the successor... the problem would be postponed’. Ability of new government to make difficult decisions. F-111A as concession. •  Air Force hit back ‘the case for dropping carriers’.

The Defence Review 1966
•  Mountbatten (Navy) had been replaced by Hull (Army) as Chief of the Defence Staff •  RN rejected offer of two US aircraft carriers for $30m each in favour of CVA-01 •  Bargaining issue. RN only requested one carrier in order to get ‘toe in the door’ •  RAF’s creative use of geography to show veracity of Island Basing strategy

The aftermath.
•  9 days before the 1966 General election the Minister for Defence (RN) and 1st Sea Lord resign •  Currency crises cause not only loss of TSR-2 and CVA-01 but cancellation of F-111A •  Relations soured for sometime between RN and RAF

•  What role does strategy serve in peacetime ? •  Are force structures victim to service cultural ‘myths’ ? •  Procurement is as much a political process as a technical, military, or scientific one