The day of the Generals

by Chris Ames

The inquiry has posted the transcripts of today’s two witnesses, General Sir Richard Dannatt and General Sir Mike Jackson. Both were at some point head of the army.

I think the beginning of Dannatt’s evidence, in which he talked about the “contingency” planning for the invasion in the spring of 2002, is particularly interesting. Dannatt explained how the army assessed what its contribution ought to be. You can watch a section of this on the BBC website.

Elsewhere, the media unsurprisingly pick up on Dannatt’s comment that the army came close to seizing up in 2006, under the pressure of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are quite a few newly declassified documents (in fact sections of documents) on the Inquiry website. Unsurprisingly, the earliest is 10 March 2003.

One comment to this article

  1. Iain Paton

    on July 29, 2010 at 6:49 am -

    Very interesting evidence, from a lessons learned perspective, from two somewhat different generals. Jackson cultivated a no-nonsense reputation and was known as ‘POD’ (prince of darkness). Dannatt was very popular, loyal to the troops. Both generals identify clear problems such as lack of preparation time, lack of kit, lack of helos, inadequacy of procurement processes and the particular problems with Snatch. Dannatt recognised the strategic imperative of Afghanistan. Drayson’s role is interesting; perhaps a latter-day Beaverbrook (WW2 minister) who faced insurmountable challenges…unlikely he left only to go motor racing. DPA ‘Customer 2’ approach is appropriate for big price ticket procurement, but not for smaller items in the inventory. A degree of ministerial ‘three monkey’ denial is clear going all the way back to SDR…suspect the root cause was 11 Downing Street.