Ex-Army chief Dannatt continues criticism of MoD

Image caption Sir Richard has criticised Labour's record in the past

Victory in Iraq and Afghanistan was prioritised only after a Ministry of Defence "awayday" years into the wars, a former head of the Army has said.

Gen Sir Richard Dannatt claimed the MoD was a "cocooned environment" and that "vested interests" rather than national security had decided military spending.

On Sunday he accused Tony Blair and Gordon Brown of letting down troops by a lack of funding and "moral courage".

A major review of the MoD has been launched, an MoD spokeswoman said.

Sir Richard told the BBC: "[During] this awayday we had in October 2006, we debated the issues of the day, and the conclusions from that day, as is reported, is that the primary focus of the department should be in strategic success in Iraq and Afghanistan in the context of global terrorism.

"My point really is, why, three years into our war in Iraq, six months into our major reinforcement in Afghanistan, why only then do we have to clarify the priorities for the department?


"It should be pretty obvious."

In his book Leading From the Front, which is serialised in the Daily Telegraph, Sir Richard also accused the MoD of being a "byzantine" department and claimed its officials - civil servants, politicians and military officers alike - lived in a "cocooned environment".

The criticisms are the latest in a series of attacks since Sir Richard stood down as Chief of the General Staff in 2009, often over spending.

On Sunday he accused Tony Blair and Gordon Brown of letting down UK troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He criticised Mr Brown for inadequate funding and said Mr Blair lacked the "moral courage" to make his chancellor deliver money.

The MoD said Sir Richard's criticisms referred to the department as it was under the Labour government.

An MoD spokeswoman said: "Defence Secretary Liam Fox recently ordered a major review of the MoD to ensure it as efficient, effective and fiscally responsible as possible.

"The Defence Reform Unit, which holds its first meeting today, will develop a new model for the MoD, based around three pillars of policy and strategy, the Armed Forces and procurement and estates, each with clear allocation of responsibility, authority and accountability."

Sir Richard sparked a row when he acted as a defence adviser to the Conservatives after stepping down from the armed forces.

But last month the former Army chief revealed he had quit the role when David Cameron became prime minister.

Sir Richard said he had given up the post to ensure military advice came from chiefs of staff, not a "has-been".

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