So what do we 'know' ahead of the announcement next Tuesday? Well, very little. There is a comprehensive media plan doing the rounds which warns for significant backlash from those troops heading off to Afghanistan in the next few days. Read into that what you will...
So what do we 'know' already? Well, the Royal Navy are going to get their grotesquely expensive carriers - although it's anyone's guess what will actually fly off them. And it's a triumph for that awful man, Gordon Brown, who gets to look smug in front of his constituents. Well played, Sir. And the Royal Air Force are going to lose their Tornado force, lots of Harriers - but get their precious Typhoons in their place. I have to say that this is entirely in line with their doctrine and so should be seen as essential 'house keeping' and is an opportunity, not a threat.
But what of the Army? Well, we're going to lose about half our Challenger 2s - half of our AS90s - and possibly see a few mergers on the cards. AGC are going to see some redundancies (aren't we all?) totalling around 10%. But that will be swept up in the massive push to get lots of people to volunteer for redundancy anyway - with reduced termination rights. However, the great men in Whitehall are very worried about forced redundancy - because of course the government is liable to be sued for changing TACOS 'on the fly'. My god - are they worried.
I am struck by how much we owe General Dannatt - his legacy of sticking up for the 'great unwashed' (who actually go on ops, take risks, lose their lives, live in appalling SFA et al) is still with us. I guess it's time to see what legacy his successors leave. Probably not much - they are making sure they look after themselves.