Defence cuts: Insider says there will be ‘difficult choices’
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A former army chief has warned the British Army “would not be able to recapture the Falklands” following the latest defence review plans. Speaking to Times Radio on Sunday, Lord Richards, former Chief of Defence Staff, added cuts to troop numbers planned by the Government will increase security risks for the UK. He suggested Britain would be able to engage in “small scale operations” such as the one carried out in Sierra Leone but feared anything larger would not be possible under the new plans.
The former general warned: “We would not be able to recapture the Falklands almost certainly.
“I think we could do another Sierra Leone, because that’s a small scale and we had 5,000-odd people there.”
Lord Richards added it will be “jolly difficult” for future army chiefs “to actually make military sense of what we’ve got left.”
He also warned of future pressures in conflict zones which may require a British presence such as Yemen.
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He added his concerns over Britain’s Naval capability getting “talked up” following the Government’s suggestion that there would be additional “ships, submarines and sailors”.
Lord Richards went on to say “we could not do another Gulf one or two” with the newly reduced armed forces.
But the former Army chief did add a positive note saying that there is a “whole range of other activities” that the armed forces and particularly the army “get involved in.”
These include “helping in covid” through “peacekeeping”.
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The former general’s warnings come as the defence review is likely to see the loss of military vehicles such as some tanks and aircraft.
It is also expected to see the British army cut by around 10,000 soldiers.
This will see the number of soldiers cut down to around 70,000.
But the Government suggested that there would be additional “ships, submarines and sailors”.
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The latest figures show there were 80,010 soldiers in the UK’s regular Army in January this year down from 86,080 in October 2015.
The army has been drastically reduced in size over previous years.
The defence review will put more money into space and cyber warfare.
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