General Sir Richard Barrons has claimed that Britain’s military is ‘broken’ and the British Army is ’20 years out of date’ at a Defence Select Committee meeting.
“All three Armed Forces are falling behind the rate of innovation you see in our peers. The people who are in defence, they have to keep going every day so they are never going to say publicly, or to themselves, or to their enemies, or to their allies that we’re broken.
But when they fly, sail or deploy on the land and they look at their equipment, they look at their sustainability, they look at the shortfalls in their training and they look at their allies, they know they are not fit for purpose.”
General Sir Richard discussed what he perceived to be the problem:
“The first discussion should be in Government, ‘How much risk are we running in the world and what do we need do to fix it?’ They don’t seem to want to have that discussion.
So you end up with the risk of a ridiculous, zero-sum, discussion both within a Service the nonsense of culling Marines to buy more sailors and between the Services – which is why you end up generally with a Navy that’s currently structurally under-funded, an air force that is holding together a bunch of very good equipment but really at the edge of their engineering and support capacity, and an Army that is now, broadly speaking, 20 years out of date.”
An MoD spokesman said:
“As one of the few countries to exceed NATO’s 2% spending target, our rising defence budget is the largest in Europe.
We are investing in brand new equipment from submarines, frigates and carriers for a growing Navy, to state-of-the-art vehicles for the Army, to a whole range of cutting-edge technologies through our £800 million innovation fund.”
The Royal Navy, by the way, is not growing.