Military Academy phoney consultation hides New Labour toxic legacy

A long awaited effort to consult the people of Wales on a privatised military academy for MOD and mercenaries has been launched in the summer holidays at extremely short notice and gives no opportunity for those in Cardiff or work in Cardiff to have a say. Why are our AMs and MPs not asking some serious questions about the future of this dodgy scheme?.

ST ATHAN – Home of the Defence Technical Academy and Aerospace Park – FAQ, leaflet dated June 2008 produced by Metrix/WAG has just reached the public domain and asks ‘Who will deliver the project? … they say primarily Metrix, the Welsh Assembly Government and the MOD.

Shusshhhh….they don’t mention war profiteers Raytheon or EDS and Serco or that Qinetiq is a company that has been mired in ethical controversy since its very beginning, and that has been accused of taxpayer rip-offs, profit-gouging, sweetheart contracts and conflicts of interest. The National Audit Office has condemned the company for the “excessive profits” earned by senior managers and investors.

So no mention either for the training for mercenaries which should alarm us all. We have all seen the disaster that comes with the privatisation of warfare, as the scandal of Blackwater mercenaries operating in Iraq keep hitting newspaper headlines. Mike Hayle, chief executive Metrix consortium 'Our aim is that by 2013 if you travelled anywhere in the world and talked about military training, people would say that St Athan was the only place to go. 'It will genuinely be on the world map. People will come from Australia, the Middle East and other parts of the world to train.’ So, could a regime like Burma for instance, on paying the right fees, get its soldiers trained here? Answer: ‘The MoD…prioritises those countries that receive training on a case by case basis.’ so journalist Greg Lewis was told when he asked if the MoD would ban any nations from training at the academy. He contacted the MoD under the Freedom of Information act and the response plus an article he wrote for The Big Issue can be found here.

What about all those thousands of jobs we were promised? Anne Greagsby, spokes person for the campaign against the military academy said “A huge figure of 5,500 jobs has usually been quoted by AMs and MPs but untrue as I and PCS union officials have said all along. The Metrix/WAG leaflet tells us “The Technical Academy will result in the creation of a number of new jobs.” Not 5,000 jobs, not even any specific figure. Remember this was the principle if not only reason given by AMs for supporting the whole project.”

The Defence Technical Academy (hastily renamed in the last few weeks!) in a joint Metrx Consortium/Welsh Assembly government ‘consultation’ spin ‘information’ leaflet says it will “bring training, for each of the services; Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, together in one location for the first time. The benefits of this are considerable and will ensure that UK military personnel continue to receive the very best training available, whilst bringing together each of the services in one location will mean further benefits in terms of efficiency and shared learning.


However top secret meetings reveal a different story. Private Eye 1213 points out that privatising defence training could turn out to be one of labours more toxic legacies, (supported by all Plaid AMs and MPs !)So does the ministry of defence. Private eye tells us that “Documents produced following a recent meeting of the “defence training review executive board” reveal that the project, under which training will be handed to the Metrix consortium through a 30m PFI contract worth around £11bn, poses catastrophic risks on the front line.” Not ‘benefits in efficiency’ then! A confidential “post meeting readout” of deliberations led by deputy chief of defence staff (personnel) Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson exposes “major AFFORDABILITY issues” requiring a “realistic contingency plan” for the deal to privatise training. Hinting at serious difficulties on the deal, the “affordability gap” could not be disclosed even to the project board as it was too “sensitive”.

More alarming still was a list of 15 significant risks with the project, including some that will fill the military on engagements around the world with dread. “trained output fails to meet requirement of operational commands” is one of them, on the grounds that “there is a risk that the Metrix solution will not be able to deliver the numbers of suitably trained personnel that are required and/or that the training output is not to a sufficiently high standard.”

Tory MP Mark Pritchard told the Shropshire star that he had called for a National
Audit office investigation
before it is too late. Labour MP for Telford David Wright has raised concerns whether the defence training contract can be delivered. Where are the calls for investigation from Welsh politicians?

Shouldn’t Wales commit itself to promoting sustainable development, responsible international citizenship, and the creation of green and ethical jobs?

And if you want more information from Metrix/WAG, the regularly updated web-site promised – it isn’t there yet in time for the consultation process so you will have to wait and see!

Private Eye article is reproduced here The Metrix Miscalculation
Greg Lewis The Big Issue can be found here.
last minute consultation sham
metrix web site has no picture of alarming fighters in battle dress!
Views on St Athan plans sought WalesOnline –
Latest articles from Shropshire Star at
Yesterday the Shropshire Star reported on the potential risks involved in handing Defence Training over to the private consortium Metrix:
Highlighting pitfalls in plans to hand over national defence training to a private sector group is all part of the normal risk management process, the Ministry of Defence has claimed. It follows the publication of leaked documents which list 15 significant risks with the proposal which would see 800 jobs lost at RAF Cosford.
The full article can be viewed
ST ATHAN – Home of the Defence Technical Academyand Aerospace Park – FAQ, June 2008 A document produced by Metrxi and WAG contacts

- Email -
- Phone - 0845 618 0016
- Address - Camargue Group Ltd, Freepost RRKG-AZTG-JLJX,
St Athan Consultation
Eagle Tower,Montpellier Drive
Cheltenham, GL50 1TA

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