So reports a British MP. The senior service now has 40 admirals, 260 captains -- but just 19 ships, he alleges. But checking around the web, I think what the MP meant was that Britannia has just 19 major surface combatants (not counting minesweepers and such). It also has about a dozen submarines -- but then, the British have always undervalued subs, haven't they?
At any rate, the MP's point is a good one. It appears that the RN could man an entire warship with surplus skippers. On the other hand, here's one blog's analysis that kind of knocks down the report. The blogger needs an editor -- he leads with ancillary observations, and only after much throat-clearing gets to his argument. But worth wading through the top to get to the core argument.
The newspaper report adds that the British Army has more generals (260) than it has main battle tanks (200). I wonder if it has more artillery officers than artillery pieces. Anyone know?
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.