Ministry of Defence

Face of the day

Sqn Ldr Charlotte 'Charlie' Thomson-Edgar (left) previously Staff Officer 1 of the Medical Emergency Response Team in Afghanistan, with a colleague. She has criticised MOD failings in the conduct of the war  Read more: Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Sqn Ldr Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Thomson-Edgar (left) previously Staff Officer 1 of the Medical Emergency Response Team in Afghanistan, with a colleague. She has criticised MOD failings in the conduct of the war 

If we are going to send our soldiers into battle it is the very least we can do to provide them with the very best medical support. Squadron Leader Charlotte Thompson-Edgar has highlighted the totally unacceptable way that the British Government under resourced and under prepared the medical teams. I can’t help but compare this shocking situation with the millions of pounds being put into building Mosques in Britain. They build places where Muslims can spread their ideology that is anti democracy, freedom of speech and Infidels while British citizens fighting to protect others rights overseas did not even have blood and plasma available to them on board British helicopters when they were injured.

A senior RAF nurse awarded one of Britain?s highest medals for nursing on the front line has hit out at military leaders, saying they were woefully unprepared for the consequences of fighting in Afghanistan.

Squadron Leader Charlotte Thompson-Edgar spoke movingly about the bravery of the 600 soldiers she brought back from the brink of death after fierce battles against the Taliban.

But at a ceremony last week to mark the latest Operational Honours and Awards for Britain?s Armed Forces, Sqn Ldr Thompson-Edgar ? who was awarded the Royal Red Cross 2nd Class ? said she believed the Ministry of Defence failed to plan or prepare for the fighting, during which 453 troops lost their lives.
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday the 40-year-old revealed:

  • Senior officers failed to anticipate the scale and severity of casualties the Taliban could inflict;
  • She received no job training;
  • For two years, British helicopters flew without any blood or plasma on board to give to wounded soldiers ? a policy that cost them their lives;
  • Overworked medics suffered ?burnout? and quit their jobs after working 24-hour shifts for ten days without any rest.
  • From 2007 to 2013, Sqn Ldr Thompson-Edgar, from Peterborough, commanded a medical response unit that flew by helicopter to the battlefield, braving Taliban gunfire, to rescue injured soldiers.

Speaking about her ?horrific? experiences in the war zone, she said: ?There was no training for the job whatsoever and I?d never done any pre-hospital care.


+6 Sqn Ldr Thomson-Edgar (left) working onboard a Chinook helicopter with a colleague on Operation Herrick: the codename under which all British operations in Afghanistan have been conducted. She said she was a ‘complete mess’ on returning to Britain after her first tour

‘I was used to working in a nice emergency room in a safe environment with kit and with everyone on standby.

?Suddenly I was in a Chinook helicopter, unable to hear myself think, treating guys with horrific injuries and being shot at. I was not prepared to see these injuries but then the military was not expecting to see them either.

?I pulled 600 patients from the battlefield ? about 80 per cent of them had limbs missing or gunshot wounds. Quite a lot died, especially those with gunshot wounds to the head and chest.

‘We also saw guys were dying because they were losing too much blood.?


…However, leading so many missions commanding the Medical Emergency Response Team (MERT) soon took its toll.

Sqn Ldr Thompson-Edgar said: ?Every time the red phone rang to signal another MERT mission I would think, ?Is today going to be the day??

?And when I came back to Britain after that first tour, I?ll be honest, I was a complete mess.

?So I said right, we?ve got to prepare our people better because I hadn?t been prepared and didn?t want somebody else to go through it.?
Once home, she played a key role in setting up a MERT training programme, which used amputees in Britain to act as injured soldiers to help medics train before they were deployed to Afghanistan.

As a result of recommendations from senior medical staff, blood and plasma started to be carried aboard MERT helicopters in 2008.

But as the campaign continued, the Taliban changed their tactics ? leading to injuries becoming even more horrific and the experiences of UK medics more traumatic.

She said: ?Originally they just wanted to hurt as many soldiers as possible in order to dent morale and get the public up in arms.

‘Then they decided that if they maimed somebody really, really badly that?s going to affect people more and affect the minds of the soldiers on the ground.

?So the blasts got bigger and the amputations started getting higher up the soldiers? legs. This made our jobs a lot harder, especially when someone was bleeding from the groin because it is very difficult to stop that sort of bleeding.

…She added: ?The past seven years have been very difficult and I know my family have been concerned.

?I got through it for a reason ? because of the guys on the ground, the soldiers, who deserved the best.?

‘Their bravery was my reason for going back to the war zone so many times.?

To read the article in full

Britain is ready, are we?

It seems that Britain is well prepared for the zombie apocalypse…but are we? What is John Key doing to prepare us?

I can see Gareth Hughes filling out OIA requests now to see what our preparedness is for the zombie apocalypse.

A zombie invasion is a problem that may seem to belong in a horror film rather than to real life, but, none the less, the British government believes it has worked out the best way to cope with one.

In the event of an apocalypse brought about by an army of the undead, civil servants would co-ordinate the military’s efforts to “return England to its pre-attack glory”, according to a Freedom of Information request that has revealed the country’s contingency plans.

The MoD would not lead efforts to plan for such a zombie attack or deal with the aftermath because that role rests with the Cabinet Office, which co-ordinates emergency planning for the Government.

Details about the authorities’ surprising level of readiness for a zombie onslaught emerged in a response to an inquiry from a member of the public.

The MoD replied: “In the event of an apocalyptic incident (eg zombies), any plans to rebuild and return England to its pre-attack glory would be led by the Cabinet Office, and thus any pre-planning activity would also taken place there.

“The Ministry of Defence’s role in any such event would be to provide military support to the civil authorities, not take the lead. Consequently, the Ministry of Defence holds no information on this matter.”

Using the Death Star as a metaphor for military procurement

via Andrew Sullivan

Recently there has been news in New Zealand that military procurement has stalled, mainly because some personnel in Defence HQ can’t use Microsoft Project or Google search for a list of procurement solution providers. Mostly they want to run very expensive projects to decided which machine gun to produce, or to select a sniper rifle that will suit New Zealand soldiers as if our requirements are unique in the world. Never mind the US Army and Marine Corps have spent billions of dollars doing the exact same testing and selection.

Worse than that the?Ministry?of Defence instead of operating a Pharmac style of procurement policy instead pays way over the top for?weapons?that can be obtained on?the?open?market for half the price.

The army, which does not have many shotguns, decided in 2007 it needed 311 of the weapons but it will not finish ordering them until December next year.

“A shotgun has become increasingly important in stability and support-type operations where a less-lethal capability is required.”

Cabinet had said the army could have 50 sniper rifles at a cost of $2.2 million by next year, but it will now be another two years before it gets them.

An order for 100 new marksmen rifles will not arrive until 2013

These delays are unacceptable and un-necessary. It should take two months not two years to supply 50 sniper rifles. Indeed a SE Asian country just recently took delivery of over 100 sniper rifles and ancillary?equipment?and they paid half what?the?NZ Army is being billed for 50 rifles. The Ministry of Defence is essentially feeding the middlemen and meanwhile the troops are missing out on vital equipment. Same goes for machine guns. The specification as supplied by MoD fits only two machine guns in the world. Coincidentally the US Marine Corps just?placed?an order for 5000 of them, why cant we piggy back behind that order and have our 500 fulfilled inside 6 months instead of the 3 years that is planned? Better still why is the Ministry of Defence planning on letting this contract to a one man band based out of Nelson with no support, no spare parts and inventory?

All this lead to what is increasingly called the Death Star syndrome regarding military procurement.

Adam Rawnsley?reports on Lieutenant Colonel Dan Ward’s paper (pdf) using the Death Star as a metaphor for the poor state of DoD acquisition practices:

It?s embarrassing enough that the galaxy?s supposedly most fearsome weapon was felled by crappy?duct work. But it was entirely predictable. A project so big and complex, Ward writes, will invariably stretch the oversight capabilities of acquisition staff. In this case, it led to manufacturing delays and prevented the Empire from realizing that one of its thermal exhaust ports was a de-facto self-destruct button. Moreover, for all the expense poured into it ??$15.6 septillion and 94 cents, to be precise ? the Death Star is destroyed?twice and in its two iterations only ever manages to get off a single shot…Star Wars holds lessons about what to buy as well as what not to. Ward contends that?the humble droid mechs represent a better acquisition path than Death Stars.

Apparently, this is a?hot topic.

The challenges of military procurement are complex but here in new Zealand we should?have?none of the issues other, larger countries face, we can simply be fast followers and avoid the hassle and leverage partnership arrangements to get good, cost effective solutions. Instead we are filling the coffers of middle men and agencies who are charging double what the?Ministry?should be paying.