Greater Danbury – As we edge ever closer to Essexia’s significant 3rd anniversary on the 26th December, there is much to reflect on from our past, and in the future. One such topic, which has been furiously debated since it’s creation close to the founding of Essexia itself, is the Imperial Essexian armed forces.
Although the shape and purpose of the armed forces has always remained in constant motion, similar issues have repeated themselves throughout Essexia’s history – A lack of meaningful quality or quantity, the deficiency of successful reforms and, crucially, the absence of practicality. However, even these hurdles haven’t been enough to deter some significant individuals from attempting groundbreaking reforms, such as Supreme Justice Jacob and the Rt. Hon. Lord Jack.
The Imperial Essexian Navy (IEN), Essexia’s oldest branch (being utilised as early as 2017 and formed in mid 2018), has always embodied the struggles of the armed forces clearly: Never effective enough to be worth any significant diversion of resources. Whilst it’s first ship, the CTS-01 IEN Jaywick-A, did prove to be somewhat effective and significantly imposing, it’s retirement and scrapping earlier this year has left the IEN barebones and completely incapable of performing its duties. Furthermore, despite being arguably the most in need of radical reforms, it has generally lacked the attention of most reformers, who see it more as a symbol than being able to harness the potential of an effective fighting force. As such, the IEN’s future is uncertain, and Essexia’s waters left vulnerable as a result.
Whilst the IEN has for the most part at least been equipped with numerous vessels and plenty of grandeur, the Imperial Army of Essexia (IAE) on the other hand arguably barely exists; it lacks experience, equipment, manpower and structure, among other things. It has only ever been operated in one single exercise of combat, which itself is mostly forgotten – the occupation of Chelmsford city centre. Whilst it has received proportionally more attention, especially under the watchful eye of ex-Defence Secretary Jacob, the vast majority of proposals have gone unimplemented and/or untested, and to this day there is yet to be any real structure implemented. However, unlike the IEN, the IAE’s future looks at least somewhat brighter – the recent actions of reformers have begun to organise the army’s assets, and pre-coronavirus there were very serious talks of holding military exercises within the Commonwealth’s borders. However, whether any of these actions will lead to some meaningful outcome is yet to be seen.
Many of the problems listed within this article come down to basic issues – lack of organisation, willpower and manpower. But there is one very evident issue that plagues all areas of not only Essexia, but most micronations too: money. we are privileged to live within a tax-free state, but we are also hindered by it, as government departments face asset deficiencies as a result of an inability to acquire expensive materials, and the armed forces are no different. Both branches have discussed implementing uniforms, but the cost to do so would be at the behest of the enlisted personnel. The IEN has tried to overcome this by maintaining a reduced pool of manpower (Only the most necessary) and the adoption of a particularly affordable (but as of yet unpurchased), multi use uniform. The IAE, on the other hand, continuously faced issues between balancing cost and quality – It is currently still undecided on what uniform, if any, to mandate. But this doesn’t stop at fancy clothing; Low funds also mean the IEN faces difficulty building truly effective and worthwhile ships, resorting to adopting experimental tin-foil and foam armouring techniques for newer ship hulls, and the IAE has yet to even contemplate the extensive equipment required by every single soldier. In short, ‘no money, no military’. But is there a way around this?
As mentioned previously, the IEN has seen extensive reviews of its personnel and the affordability of equipment, leading to a highly refined pool of manpower which is overall quite sustainable. Additionally, under some more recent reforms, both branches have a joint pool of manpower in the ‘Naval Infantry’ sub-branch, which allows the two to share it’s precious personnel. Although still a bit of an organisational mystery, Essexia’s pilots have made extensive use of free software and low-budget equipment to train digitally (Most likely the micronational community’s best airmen as a result), despite the lack of any real, manned aircraft.
All in all, while Essexia’s armed forces have face an awfully rocky road on the way to effective change and. meaningful purpose, the sun is dawning on such an eventuality, albeit only just dawning. Both branches are still to finish sorting out their organisational and personnel issues, and both will still need to overcome funding issues. Additionally, the presence of COVID-19 restrictions prevent serious military training until such a time that it is safe to do so. But as long as there are those in the Commonwealth that are proud of our Navy, Army and Air Force, there will be an eternal struggle to improve and implement.
Jack is the Minister of Defence, and a previous First Minister of Essexia.