The Defence Secretary has revealed that discussions are ongoing to scrap plans to reduce the army to 73,000 troops amid the heightened threat from Russia.

The original plan, prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, aimed to bring full-time troop numbers from 77,000 to 73,000 by 2025.

Speaking to the International Relations and Defence Committee, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

“So first of all, the size of the Army, we’ve pushed it back up to 73,000, to up an extra 500, which is approximately the size as an infantry battalion or a light role infantry battalion. So in one sense, we have pushed the army back up, and it is currently lurking, I think I’d use the phrase, at about 76-77,000 in strength, it was 79,000, about two months ago. So we haven’t got down there. I’ve always said as the threat changes, so must the size of everything, and I still stick to that.

So in my negotiations with the Treasury, I’ll be looking at whether we should go down to 73,000, or whether we can maintain it. I think our second point about, you know, is it a good metric? I don’t think it’s a good metric at all. And it has often been a metric just handed out from the Treasury and Number 10 over the years, whereas any other business would seek to be given the challenge of how do you reduce your salary envelope?

So I managed an agreement with the Treasury about six months ago that we will push that challenge back to the army on a salary scale, and ask the army if it can produce a different number based on looking at how it structures itself. They might be able to have more junior ranks and therefore more people.”

More on this when we have more detail.

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George has a degree in Cyber Security from Glasgow Caledonian University and has a keen interest in naval and cyber security matters and has appeared on national radio and television to discuss current events. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_681606)
1 year ago

Darn. When i first read the title I thought “great we are going to go back upto 89,000 but instead this is stopping the cut from a ridiculously low 79,000 to 73,000 which is frankly ludicrous and utterly craven folly. I mean its not like we have 2 mad men evil dictators in charge of massive countries with powerful nuclear armed forces that hate the Western world is it? Or that there is an all arms brutal conflict going on in Europe at this time. I think due to the Tories economic mismanagement and austerity 2 thats coming we are… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681612)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

The size of a countries land forces is irrelevant when it comes to nuclear weapons and their use or not. Increasing the size of the army will have no influence on whether an enemy uses these against us or not.

Please name this peer opponent that you think is capable of defeating the UK’s armed forces… it certainly isn’t Russia, they’re being taken apart by the Ukrainians.
Even if another nation could match us, they’d have all our friends – aka NATO – to deal with too.

Wasp snorter
Wasp snorter (@guest_681634)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

I agree Sean but I’d add that our armed forces are usually applied against less than peer forces and we need some reasonable mass for that. A peer war would mean mobilisation so it’s less relevant in this argument. I don’t consider Argentina a peer but if they made a grab (with Chinese backing) say in 10 years then we would struggle to not only get there but have troops in play to retake falklands. most other conflicts including Iraq and Afghanistan revealed shortcomings in mass and equipment but these were not peer wars.yes we can count on NATO but… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681648)
1 year ago
Reply to  Wasp snorter

The Falklands is a good scenario to consider as Article V wouldn’t apply so we’d be fighting without NATO support. However Argentine is a basket case economy, they can only dream of inflation at our current level, and their armed forces are in an atrocious state. True China could finance them, especially if Argentine promised unlimited fishing access in Falkands waters to Chinese fishing fleets. But even if this occurred, it would take at least a decade for Argentine’s military to be revitalised sufficiently to pose a credible threat. I’d hope that under the circumstances the MoD would notice and… Read more »

Jonathans
Jonathans (@guest_681672)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Even if or when China supports some form of grab at the falklands ( and I think it’s a geopolitical risk for future decades). They will be limited by the logistics of how many men they can move…so it’s not the size of the army that will matter in this case but how many you can deploy…and what you do about the air and sea domains to cut of logistics to them and supply logistics to you side…so your never talking large field armies or mass needed for fo the body bags of grinding attritional warfare…the falklands was all about… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681690)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

I can’t Argentina affording it, even if the Chinese gifted them the necessary ships, aircraft, submarines, weapons, training, etc. I think China won’t consider that a worthwhile investment especially the fundamental weaknesses in their economy that are starting to surface.

Jonathans
Jonathans (@guest_681710)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

No not for at least this decade. But the BAT is going to be an import part of the world for resource extraction at some point, when the cost of extraction in extreme environments outweighs the costs. Which is problem in around a decade or two ( I would lay money on the Antarctic treaty failing by 2040 at the latest and maybe even before 2030. At that point I could see some larger geopolitical player ( China ) using the South American belief systems as a way to get access to to BAT….supporting their friends in South America. to… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681711)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

Believe you have assessed situation correctly; scum-sucking slimeball ChiCom PLAN units will not materialize in Falklands or BAT theatre until after 2030, when naval/amphibious predominance is self-evident and nuke warhead inventory surpasses 1K. Taiwan is higher on the “we’re going to make you an offer you can’t refuse” list. 🤔😳

Jonathans
Jonathans (@guest_681720)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Yes, I lot will actually depend on what happens in the next few years in the Pacific. If China was clever it would just stay on the edge of using normal geopolitical means of keeping Taiwan as it wants its…Taiwan not acknowledged as a true independent nation and the US maintain its strategic ambiguity. But I think time will move swiftly and that we may see a swing in Taiwan to wanting full independent nationhood . At that time China and the US will both probably have very big decisions. Will China sacrifice its access to western markets and invade… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681738)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

ChiComs playing 3-D chess while Western governments are playing checkers, badly. Scum-sucking, slimeball ChiComs have a plan for at least the next 20-30 yrs. Does anyone seriously believe any Western governments plan on that timescale?

Darren hall
Darren hall (@guest_681812)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Western Governments are unable to work on more than a 5-year timeline due to our democracy…
Those dictators have the planning advantage in that respect..

Jim
Jim (@guest_681928)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

It’s there 30 year plans that will be their undoing. Just Look at belt and road, the only country they have built a debt trap for is themselves. Many countries will just default and all China will be able to do is reschedule payments and right down debt. Magically gaping naval bases all over the world in this manner is a fantasy.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681986)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

Chinese will find a method to extract their pound of flesh from debtors. Guaranteed.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681714)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

I can’t see anyone getting to extract anything out of Antarctica. The different overlapping competing claims will never be resolved. It will, if you’ll pardon the pun, be a frozen issue. The CCP deliberately delayed the release of GDP growth until after the recent party Congress because it’s the lowest in the Far East. But that’s not the problem. The entire Chinese property market is a giant bubble that will burst within the next year or so. Evergrande is not an isolated case. On top of this regional authorities within China are carrying huge amount of debt due to surprisingly… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681734)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

🤞🤞 Would very much prefer to believe your forecast, future prospects for US/West would be much brighter. Dunno…

Jonathans
Jonathans (@guest_681736)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Hi Sean, with the Antarctic and all the overlapping claims, it’s actually one of the problems. Essentially the Antarctic treaty is a holding pattern that everyone accepted even if they did not sign up. It’s only real strength has been that it’s just not economically viable to extract resources, but that’s going to be hitting a tipping point very soon. As soon as one party decides it’s game on with extraction, the whole place is going to open up like a new frontier… That’s a really important thing for us as the BAT is by far the easiest bit of… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681743)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

Hmmm…2048 at the latest… reminiscent of Oklahoma Sooners episode…

Sean
Sean (@guest_681778)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

98% of Antarctica is covered by ice, averaging 2km in depth but rising up to 4.7km. Good luck to anyone trying to get through that to mine the continent.

Jonathans
Jonathans (@guest_681823)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

I’m not the one building bases all over it, that’s just every power on the globe. For almost no other reason than to be there and be able to stake a claim. As I said getting the resources is hard and not viable now. But pretty much every nation that can has an eye on it. And a lot of geopolitical think tanks and analysis groups, think it’s a very likely potential flash point. Also don’t forget about global warming. Once apron a time a viable North East passage all year round was a pipe dream, now every is getting… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681826)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

No they’re building bases for scientific purposes. Antarctic is an important location for studying the effects of global climate change. One of the effects being melting glaciers and rising sea-levels, something that would only be exacerbated by blasting through Antarctica’s glaciers to mine the continent.
Only a fruitcake nation, such as North Korea would think of ignoring the UN and attempt mining Antarctica.

Jonathans
Jonathans (@guest_681847)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

thats because all that is allowed is science at present, most of the science would be better done in shared bases ect..but ask yourselve, why is China putting up a constant build rate of bases, why does India have three etc ect..it’s about getting ready to make a claim. There are a total of 55 different bases in the Antarctic….that’s a lot of of investment for science that could be done in a few key sites. also it’s not a UN treaty. It’s a treaty between the nations that have a perceived stake in the Antarctic, either bases, prior claim… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681866)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

Each country wants its own scientific research. By your argument why do we bother do scientific research at British universities? Why not just pool the research at a “few key sites” in Germany or France?
National prestige that’s why.

I know the treaty isn’t a UN one, ffs. But combating climate change is handled by the UN, and exploiting the resources of Antarctica would sink efforts to combat climate change.

Ian
Ian (@guest_681815)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Trying to build an oil rig in a place with floating icebergs could be fun.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681829)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian

Exactly. It’s a dumb idea to even try.

IanbUK
IanbUK (@guest_681839)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

@Sean you are right. China has a major issue that will cripple it & the other world economies to a lesser extent. The housing market has an issue whereby they have been throwing tofu-dreg quality up for over a decade, we would call it Jerry-built. The problem is entire buildings/developments are crumbling and that’s not good when your home is on the 20th floor. People are just giving they keys back to the bank. Local and national government is covering up the issue by threats or bribes in the form of government contracts. This still leaves the issue that Chinese… Read more »

Tomartyr
Tomartyr (@guest_681884)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

PRC’s population pyramid isn’t very enviable, one child policy may have sent them down a dead end.

Jonathans
Jonathans (@guest_681888)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tomartyr

That is true they have a demographic issue, but to be honest it’s one that’s no much different than the west ( the more advanced a population in education and opportunity the less likely they are to have lots of babies). Although the communists did it a bit earlier in the cycle. One thing to remember their life expectancy is still not up to western standards, which does take a lot of pressure off. Their public health is also shit so it’s probably not going to improve much beyond the 77 years mark…And its the later years that really drag… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681759)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

True. The army only deployed 5 Inf Bde and two para bns to the Falklands conflict (plus some Theatre troops). That was very do-able from an army of about 140-150,000 regs.

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_681825)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Your statement is correct, however, it omits the contribution by Royal in the land theatre!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681898)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Barry

Deliberately so as the question was about the British Army.

Amin
Amin (@guest_681673)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Inflation and your economy is a dream, an impossibility, an illusion for us, and even if we achieve it, we will have to pay the price for this until the end of our lives.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681689)
1 year ago
Reply to  Amin

Huh? Coherent english please! 🤷🏻‍♂️

Amin
Amin (@guest_681697)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Google translate 💁‍♂️

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_681717)
1 year ago
Reply to  Amin

Google translate can be funny sometimes. It gets the words but building it into a sentence that makes sense to different languages and the way the languages structure sentences is extra tricky.
Thanks for trying👍🏻

Jonathans
Jonathans (@guest_681722)
1 year ago
Reply to  Amin

Google translate is really bad, that made no sense unfortunately. I suspect you may have been aiming at the illusion of growth and that economies that are dependent on finite resources can grown without finally expending those finite resources.

its the population growth, destroy its environment, starve and Final catastrophe population crash model…rabbits and wolves model as I was taut a long time ago ( remove the wolves, and the rabbit population grows exponentially until its destroys its environment and all the rabbits starve).

wonder what google translate will make of that lot..should be funny as hell.

David Flandry
David Flandry (@guest_681739)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

So therefore…what? Keep on cutting is the unspoken logic.
The thing to do is realize we are in a 1938-type situation and plan and act accordingly.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681774)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Flandry

Are we in a 1938 situation? I don’t think so. More like 1939 but, to go with your analogy, the Poles are kicking the invading Nazis back to their own borders without anyone else having to get involved.

So you propose we hike taxes higher, as the country goes enters the longest recession on record? Congratulations, you just reduced our GDP resulting in Defence getting less money even though it gets the same %. Putin thanks you for your service.

OldSchool
OldSchool (@guest_681793)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Taxes will have to go higher. Full stop. Truss just tried borrow & spend and the markets clobbered HMG. So that aint going to work. I’m hoping ghe govt will increase windfall taxes – on banks, oil and gas etc. Those sectors can afford it at least.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681796)
1 year ago
Reply to  OldSchool

Yes they will have to fund current planned expenditure which did not factor in such high inflation.
But David is wanting to increase them even more in order to increase defence spending to financially unsustainable levels.

IanbUK
IanbUK (@guest_681841)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

What percentage is unsustainable? I hear the term thrown around on here often, yet, no one can put a figure on it. I would take the cost of the Nuclear deterrent back out of the military budget as it’s a political device. Then ensure the military budget for the UK is 3% of GDP by 2028. The government wastes so much money already, a new inspectorate of government spending that has real teeth would enforce action against bad/poor spending by departments. Applying a larger element of commercial reasoning would also help. The civil servant’s “SA80” work ethic needs breaking to… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681878)
1 year ago
Reply to  IanbUK

Given we have the 4th largest defence budget, we should look more at how it’s spent rather than shovelling yet more money into the pit. Now purchasing power varies by country, so you can’t simply assume we should have twice the military of someone with half the budget. But major reform appears to be required, not just on CAPEX, such as projects like Ajax, but on OPEX costs too. Well I think the USSR was spending 30% of GDP on defence when it collapsed, so that level was clearly unsustainable. But where between 2% and 30% is the limit? During… Read more »

David Flandry
David Flandry (@guest_681942)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

1938 vs1939, lol.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681758)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

I have always considered the British Army to be a force that is mainly used in an expeditionary way – and that this is not a new thing. Numbers of deploying troops are always constrained by politicians and it costs lives and risks strategic failure. We needed an infantry division in Helmand but politicians only allowed a single BG initially, then upped it to aTask Force of Bde+ size. I accept that it would have been a struggle to deploy a div to Afghan whilst also undertaking TELIC in Iraq, although the TA was used to bolster numbers and could… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681773)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

And what would that achieve? Provide more targets for the Taliban?
The strategy was fatally flawed, juggling tactics, personnel would not have altered the eventual result.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681788)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Sean, your comment puzzles me. An army needs to be at a certain mass to cover the ground and to protect the population – we were well under that number in Afghanistan – so arguably failed in our mission. The lack of troops caused inappropriate strategies to be adopted. I was in Camp Bastion when the US surged to help us out of a mess in Helmand – we were so grateful for those extra troops and could hand over Sangin to a more numerous force – and to get more patrol activity happening. Would you advocate fewer troops being… Read more »

OldSchool
OldSchool (@guest_681795)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Problem was that A-stan was for practical reasons unwinnable. Twenty years of blood and treasure for what to me at least was obvious from the start. Pointless waste.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681800)
1 year ago
Reply to  OldSchool

Agreed, and the same for Iraq.

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_681868)
1 year ago
Reply to  OldSchool

Disagree with that. Invest in South Korea, TIME, and Afghanistan could have had a great future and a platform to undermine Iran and to some extent, Pakistan. In the later years, our loss of life was minimal.

Now, it would appear the Allies have effectively gifted well trained Afghan SF to fight for Russia. Good result, right?

Sean
Sean (@guest_681799)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

You’re puzzled because you don’t understand why the strategy was doomed. The reason to attack Afghanistan was because that was where al-Qaeda where based. Once it was smashed, with its members killed or driven out of the country NATO should have left. Staying to try and build into a secular democratic nation with western values was doomed to fail. Eventually we realised that, but it it took 20 years of wasted effort and our servicemen losing their lives unnecessarily.

Falklands, Yugoslavia, Kuwait, and D-Day were completely different political scenarios. So irrelevant to the conversation here.

OldSchool
OldSchool (@guest_681808)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Absolutely agree. When i heard nation building being the new mantra I said to myself ‘ this isn’t going to end well’.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_681821)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Nation building, peacekeeping or whatever u want to call it in somewhere like Afghanistan could of possibly worked but it would of taken 50-100 years of peacekeepers and real progress or making the situation for average citizens substantially better. But it could also still fail. It’s a gamble

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_681837)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Hi Sean, I totally agree. Afghanistan was utterly doomed from the start. The moment we switched to nation building in a country that’s ridgeley stuck to a feudal system of regional Warlords, that apes the 14th Century, the West was totally screwed! The whole situation was an abject and shameful failure on every political level, not least to our armed forces, who as ever did their duty and followed their orders to the letter. Hundreds of youngsters dead, thousands living with serious injuries of the visible and unseen type. Our Armed forces were emasculated and stripped to the bone to… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681893)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

I don’t think I am puzzled. I fully agree that the mission in Afghan was to destroy AQ (and deal a serious blow to their Taliban backers into the bargain) – and that NATO should have left when that was done, or thereabouts. My point was that we (UK) had insufficient manpower in Helmand province to do that – and by a large margin. Mission creep was disastrous, I fully agree. We should not have been burning poppy fields and ‘democratising’ the country and building new girls schools, as well as undertaking military operations against AQ/Talib. My point about those… Read more »

Steve
Steve (@guest_681794)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

The US were limited by numbers also. They had to extend contract durations and adjust rotations to keep the troop numbers. The US has a big army but even they have their limitations.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681797)
1 year ago
Reply to  Steve

Agreed even the was US was limited, so what chance did the U.K. then have given a smaller economy, population, army, etc.
Ultimately it made no difference, numbers of troops on the ground can’t make a doomed strategy work.

OldSchool
OldSchool (@guest_681809)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Vietnam is a perfect case of that.

Ian
Ian (@guest_681814)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

For the Falklands specifically, it would require an almighty c*ck-up to allow an Argentine invasion force to be able to land again in the first place.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681830)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian

I think it would have to be larger than “almighty”. It’s not going to happen, not even with China funding it.

David Flandry
David Flandry (@guest_681943)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Never happen barring help from Aliens.

Jonathans
Jonathans (@guest_681671)
1 year ago
Reply to  Wasp snorter

The key here is why…we are never going to be invading another nation off our own bat (Ireland is safe) ,as Russia has point out out so well, even with massive advantage you will get chopped to pieces and we don’t have any bits connected to continental land mass..so at most we are dealing with an amphibious or air landing on our possessions or helping out a friend in need, who will already have an army.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jonathans
Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681761)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

I struggle to remember the last time we invaded another country on our own. But this does not suggest we only need a small army. Our expeditionary armies (helping out a friend in need) have on occasion been quite sizable.

Jonathans
Jonathans (@guest_681846)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Hi Graham, in most so much advocating for a specific sized army, more that it should be the right size and composition for what the U.K. is asking it to do. Generating a combined arms division, airmobile brigade and an amphibious brigade in a sustained way, while still supporting that tasks that keep the army healthy ( training, rest, recruitment etc) is not a small ask in any way. I just hate the arbitrary setting of meanless targets like troop numbers as it’s mean less. HMG should set what they want, then pay for what is needed to deliver that… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681900)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

Thanks for the well thought out reply. We used to have a list of Military Tasks (MT) and assign numbers of troops to each task whilst cleverly understanding that many Tasks will run concurrently not consecutively. I presume that was how overall numbers were decided. Now it may be very different. Trouble is it is very difficult to say that to fight a war against a peer we need to contribute 1 x modern, combined arms division to NATO – and thats it. That really may not be enough by a large margin. Much easier to work out NHS metrics… Read more »

Cripes
Cripes (@guest_682079)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I think we have a pretty clear idea of the numbers the army needs (and the sister services too). As I see it, our role is not to sit on our little island pretending that the narrow seas offer us protection. Our primary role is as a (supposedly) leading nation in NATO, where the army fields sufficient troops to reinforce allies in Poland, Estonia and now Sweden & Finland. We additionally need medium and light forces to play our part in overseas operations, whether war-fighting, peace-enforcing or peacekeeping. The numbers the army needs to fulfill these tasks can be calculated… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_682338)
1 year ago
Reply to  Cripes

Thanks Cripes for your interesting reply. I have always said that Options for Change in 1990 set the reg army figure at 120,000 for the post Cold War world and was fairly carefully worked out, even though it did not foresee major commitments such as Op Granby, Herrick and Telic – arguably it needed to be bigger then! Quite right that Military Home Defence is not emphasised – don’t think we even exercise for that these days – and that the focus is on the contribution to NATO operations in the Euro/Atlantic area, with the detail for the army being… Read more »

Marked
Marked (@guest_681681)
1 year ago
Reply to  Wasp snorter

Argentina is no credible threat, all we need to do is say we have a sub down there to protect the islands and the argies won’t come remotely close. Belgrano is fresh in their memories. We don’t even need one down there, they just need to believe there’s one down there. An easy con job for something that’s invisible by design. Get the RAF to fly down a fake supply drop to the islands for the navy to reinforce the illusion. The RAF, even in its current state, could quickly reinforce the fighter defence making it a no fly zone… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681741)
1 year ago
Reply to  Marked

The Argentinians will not attempt another invasion alone–the lessons of 1982 have been inculcated. The concern is when they come calling in concert w/ PLA/PLAN/PLAAF…🤔😳

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681763)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I struggle to see the Chinese being interested in the Falklands.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681782)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Sea lane control, fisheries, believe offshore petrochemical development and jumping off point for BAT?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681790)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Its a long way from (their) home.
Why would they want to control sea lanes in the South Atlantic?
Offshore petrochem is very hard to extract (very deep waters) and there is no land-based infrastructure to pump to – the major O&G companies seem to have give up on the idea.
Fisheries – maybe.
BAT?

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681807)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

SA would be a part of an overall plan to throttle NATO. Would not occur before control of Indian Ocean and Persian Gulf. Would occur before control of Med and NA. Presumes Pyrrhic victory or defeat of USN and coalition of willing allies in Indo-Pacific.

Petrochemical development probably depends upon extraction cost of additional marginal barrels of oil and pace of development of alternative energy sources. Hard to predict.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681897)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Thanks. Seems quite far into the future as the PLAN is only a regional (and not a blue water) navy for now.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681954)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Consider the rate of expansion of PLA/PLAAF/PLAN over the last twenty years, then extrapolate forward. Believe that should give the prudent cause for concern.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_682047)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Fair point, mate. China is also the 2nd biggest economy in the world and would be in the G7 if the West had not chosen to exclude her.

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_681944)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

Control of the Indian Ocean is on-going… Sri Lanka is being bought!

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_681870)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Same reason that Africa is a long way for them: resources either for their own industry or denial of the use of those resources to us. Simples.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681901)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Barry

Yep, but I think the cost-benefit analysis would not stack up for China acting in the South Atlantic as for their African exploits – and also fewer people/regimes in the South Atlantic for them to influence.

David Steeper
David Steeper (@guest_681783)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

👍

Marked
Marked (@guest_681872)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

I can’t see the US or nato standing by letting China attack a uk colony. That’s a whole different ball game militarily and politically to what happened in 1982.

China are not stupid enough to get into a shooting war with nato half the globe away from home. They might well think it winnable in the south China Sea in their own back yard, not the south Atlantic though.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681881)
1 year ago
Reply to  Marked

Would not be a case of “letting China attack a UK colony,” but being unable to prevent the action w/ conventional forces. The contention is that as a consequence of a potential decisive and comprehensive defeat in the SCS, there would no longer exist sufficient USN/USAF/USMC, RAN/RAAF, RN/RAF assets to deter PLAN/PLAAF activity in other theatres. Obviously, this scenario would take some time period to unfold.

Jim
Jim (@guest_681929)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

That would be a direct attack by one nuclear power on another, It’s highly unlikely even if China did some how have naval superiority in the South Atlantic. Also sending a major amphibious fleet all the way from China to Falklands is a feat beyond the USA at the moment much less China. The USN had to island hop for a reason in WWII.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681953)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

Exactly, that is why the contention was stated that it will occur in a serial, logical fashion. Attacks would not be precipitated by ChiComs until they have sufficient deployed nuke inventory to hold entire US and NATO territory at risk. Believe ChiComs have an ambition to rule the world and neutralize/eliminate any competition.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681762)
1 year ago
Reply to  Marked

I recall that Callaghan sent a sub down there overtly, to make sure the Argies got the message – it worked.

BBC: “The flotilla led by nuclear-powered submarine HMS Dreadnaught was thought to have deterred a 1977 invasion.
James Callaghan’s government secretly ordered Operation Journeyman after 50 Argentine “scientists” landed on South Thule, prompting fears of an attack”.

Jim
Jim (@guest_681930)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yes but don’t forget the narrative must remain labour is weak on defence and Thatcher was the “Great” War time leader who re took the Falklands. Don’t mention she managed to loose them in the first place through her cuts program and not listening to basic intelligence.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_682044)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

Good points Jim, the Conservative Party narrative is all about making and preserving myths about defence.

Wasp snorter
Wasp snorter (@guest_681913)
1 year ago
Reply to  Marked

I agree, but we do have less subs than I have fingers, with enough Chinese intel the argies could attempt in a window where all astutes are accounted for and far away from the falklands. I did say in 10 years plus time, they have no chance as it stands now and in the foreseeable future I can’t see how. The point is it takes almost 10 years to build decent ships now so it’s easier for them to plan to invade in the long term then it is for us to plan to defend in the long term, which… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681757)
1 year ago
Reply to  Wasp snorter

Good points. But I don’t see it being hugely hard for the army to again deploy an Infantry brigade (and two Para Bns) to re-run the Falklands conflict. We deployed a Brigade Group to Helmand when we needed an infantry division. We were also running light in numbers in Iraq. Our lack of mass is probably the key reason our army did not excel in either Theatre – the Americans used less temperate language. Our goal is to be able to launch a modernised, networked armour-centric division (with allies of course) against a peer opponent in high intensity conflict by… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Graham Moore
john christmas
john christmas (@guest_785168)
3 months ago
Reply to  Wasp snorter

We cant count on NATO,or the EU, they are struggling to supply Ukraine. Without doubt, if Ukraine fails, Putin will march on through Europe, thats why Poland is trying to Arm itself right now. People said all this before WW2 and just like then, this country was in at very critical state with Armed forces. Putin now knows that America will no longer supply Ukraine or NATO if Trump gets back in. Putin knows that the EU and NATO are weak without the USA. EUROPE HAS RELIED ON AMERICA AND CUT THEIR DEFENCE BUGETS TO THE BONE-PUTIN ALSO KNOWS THIS… Read more »

Jim
Jim (@guest_681645)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

I agree, the UK having 73,000, 82,000 or going back to 103,000 would make zero difference in any conflict. However scaling back on capabilities would make a difference and that will be the only way to pay for extra bodies in the army. I think it’s also important to look at the army through the lenses of the other services. The defence secretary is not talking about capabilities here but literally solider numbers. That is no way to run a modern military and is the very problem that put Russia where it is now.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681650)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

Succinctly put, and of course Russia is an ongoing demonstration that there’s more to fighting a war than simple numbers of soldiers.

Russia’s extra 300,000 mobilised soldiers will make little if any difference to the war in Ukraine. They’re cannon fodder and the Kremlin knows this, which is why they’ve been recruited from the distant provinces rather than the major cities.

IanbUK
IanbUK (@guest_681805)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

@Sean, Quantity has it’s own quality! I know from my time in planning DHQ & HQ that the older numbers at 110k were a limiting factor, imagine how bad we are with less than 77K (sorry, 24K fighting troops). As far as your comment on nations such as Russia (I am ignoring the Nuclear option), they would beat us comprehensively just on numbers. Whatever their downfall in Ukraine, the Russians have numbers. In fact, any half baked African nation lead by a madman could (sadly) most likely defeat the UK on it’s own. If they are prepared to take the… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681833)
1 year ago
Reply to  IanbUK

So you believe everything Stalin says?…

It’s sad you think so little of our military. Ukraine is beating Russia without any modern aircraft, tanks, and no navy. Yet you think we couldn’t do the same.
So you think an Africa nation could magic up an invasion force, get it to the U.K. without being sunk by the RN or bombed out of existence by the RAF, and then beat a smaller, but better equipped, trained and motivated army??…

I’m not going to say anything more, your comment is the stupidest thing I’ve read on the internet this year.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

Last edited 1 year ago by Sean
IanBUK
IanBUK (@guest_681843)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Sean, you read it wrong. If you put the two sides in an environment against each other, it would be a different outcome. When it comes to a numbers game. I cannot see the British people ever accepting losses of the kind seen on day one of the Somme. Of course not. The same would go for any modern war where the loss of a near battalion would sway public opinion. Ukraine is performing very well. But we know it’s now a war of attrition. Putin has fielded 60,000 “bodies” as a blocking force. Essentially, they will have to kill… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681869)
1 year ago
Reply to  IanBUK

No it wouldn’t, because unless it’s an environment where the RAF can’t fly, the African army would be smashed by our air superiority long before the army came into contact with what was left. The British people won’t accept Somme level losses for some unnecessary foreign adventure like Iraq. But for an existential threat against the U.K., they would. The Ukraine war shows that a smaller but better lead, better trained, better motivated, and better equipped force can stop, defeat and rout a numerically larger force. We’ve since that since the early days of the war when Russia’s advancing forces… Read more »

Cripes
Cripes (@guest_682281)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

What a rude and arrogant comment Sean, you want to rein it in mate. Not everyone agrees with your sweeping generalisations.

Sean
Sean (@guest_682287)
1 year ago
Reply to  Cripes

My experience is that idiots generally don’t agree with me, because instead of forming a conclusion based on facts they instead try to find facts that support their entrenched position.
They also tend to launch as hominem attacks when they fail, just like you have.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681764)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

How is having up to 30,000 more soldiers making zero difference in any conflict? It would have made an enormous difference in how successful we could have been in Afghan.

David Steeper
David Steeper (@guest_681786)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

We didn’t lose because of lack of troops or resources we lost because no one since Genghis Khan has worked out how to win in Afghanistan.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_681651)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

As much as I admire that the Ukrainans have inflicted heavy losses on the Russian army, I think it is a bit premature to write off Russia yet, they still have a lot of ordinance and reserves left as well as manufacturing capacity, they can still afford to play a long game of attrition, worse still we are now hearing reports that Iran and North Korea (possibliy China too) are resupplying Putin Forces.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_681652)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

As much as I admire that the Ukrainans have inflicted heavy losses on the Russian army, I think it is a bit premature to write off Russia yet, they still have a lot of ordinance and reserves left as well as manufacturing capacity, they can still afford to play a long game of attrition, worse still we are now hearing reports that Iran and North Korea (possibliy China too) are resupplying Putins Forces.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bringer of facts
David
David (@guest_681654)
1 year ago

Let’s face it – if it wasn’t for the military and intelligence support of the West, Ukraine would have been overrun in a week.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681657)
1 year ago

Russia is having to mothball its manufacturing because they can no-longer source the foreign produced parts they require. They’re using air-defence and anti-ship missiles to attack land targets in Ukraine. That’s says volumes about their remaining stock levels. Iran is supplying drones, and Western supplied systems are shooting the majority of them down. North Korea won’t have qualms about supplying artillery shells to Russia. But South Korean monitoring shows their failure rates and accuracy are even worse than the Russians own munitions. Ukrainian fire is a tenth of the volume of Russia’s. But the Ukranian rockets, missiles and shells are… Read more »

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_681662)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Yes, I hear that, but the fact Russia still has missiles/drones (of any kind) and is using them to attack and knock out key infrastructure in Ukraine says they are far from finished with this war. When they stop attacking (and/or withdraw land forces from all of Ukraine) we can confidently say they are a spent force.

Last edited 1 year ago by Bringer of facts
Sean
Sean (@guest_681694)
1 year ago

Attacking Ukraine’s infrastructure away from the front line is an admission they’re losing the real battle. They know that Ukraine can’t do the same back so they’re trying to wear down the country’s will to fight and inflict further economic damage. I’m sure the Ukranian army prefers a missile being targeted at a power transformer than at one of their HIMARS. Russia has effectively stopped attacking on the ground, its been pushed back in all areas, with it being a rout in the east before they managed to stabilise it. The missile and drone attacks on cities are reminiscent of… Read more »

David Barry
David Barry (@guest_681873)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Good points Sean

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681742)
1 year ago

Agreed, the Russians have demonstrated the ability to absorb tremendous losses in the past (WW II) and continue fighting (although the political environment differs today).

Jonathans
Jonathans (@guest_681670)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

I agree Sean. The size of the army is functionally an irrelevant metric. What we need is to agree what the army is for and then have it sized correctly for what it’s going to be asked to deliver. contrary to many views, we are never ever going to be fighting a U.K. only land battle with a peer adversary. It simply cannot happen we are an island who’s only possession connected to a continental land mass is gib ( and the geographical challenges of Gib means your never taking it with a large scale land action). if we exclude… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681691)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

Agree 100%

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681765)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jonathans

Interesting post. It is an old adage that the army equips the man and the RAF and RN man the equipment. If army soldier numbers is an irrelevant metric then so too must the numbers of aircraft, ships and submarines be. Very much agree that the army (and the other services) should be established, structured and equipped according to their actual and possible remits. Not sure why you need to state that ‘the U.K. is going to launch a whole field army against another nation or to fend of the field army of some attacker that can get 100,000 men… Read more »

Cripes
Cripes (@guest_682284)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I am amused by the odd argument that whether the army has 70,000 troops or 100,000 makes no difference. That is plainly wrong, if we can deploy 6 combat brigades rather than 4 we can pack more punch in a peer conflict and play other than a bit part in a secondary expeditionary engagement. Of course numbers count on the battlefield and the hard fact is that our army numbers are now way too low to play anything other than a minor role in NATO or out of area. It is interesting that some of those arguing against higher army… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_682402)
1 year ago
Reply to  Cripes

Right! Many seem to like to think that technology can more than make up for a reduced headcount for the army. Technology is a tool and it can help but is not a perfect substitute for sufficient manpower. For the army, numbers matter. You cannot hold and dominate vital or important ground or hold a line or conduct a succesful attack if you are light in numbers – or if you do manage it, it will be at a high cost in casualties. In the Cold War we had a Corps to hold a 65km front and even then there… Read more »

John Stevens
John Stevens (@guest_681702)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Hi Sean.. l would certainly say extra personnel for more specialists jobs will be needed. So l hope numbers will not be cut. Tricky times, hope Ben Wallace has had a reasonably good meeting with the Chancellor today. Fingers crossed!

Sean
Sean (@guest_681705)
1 year ago
Reply to  John Stevens

I can see greater specialisation being required across the army going forward. Both specialist jobs and specialist skills for ordinary soldiers. For example, I can envisage someone in each fireteam requiring the skills to operate a small handheld drone for scouting ahead.

The big difficulty is that the military suffers from inflation just as we do. So it’s now having to pay extra that wasn’t budgeted for everything from food and fuel through to weapons.

John Stevens
John Stevens (@guest_681756)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Yes, well said. Extra 8 billion needed just to cover for the current armed forces plans. Thanks to inflation. Yikes!

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681748)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Scum-sucking, slimeball ChiComs.

edwinr
edwinr (@guest_681749)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Well said Sean. I agree if we were pitted aginst just one adversary (small scale war or otherwise) I am confident we would win. The problems start when we have, at the same time, more than one adversary across the globe from one another. Our army, navy and air force assets are currently inadequate for such a scenario.

David Steeper
David Steeper (@guest_681760)
1 year ago
Reply to  edwinr

Who ?

Cripes
Cripes (@guest_682555)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Steeper

The major autocracies, China and Russia, are both intent on undermining and overturning the Western democratic system. They are doing so by serious state programmes of economic, cyber, agitprop and espionage warfare against the West. Their intentions are pretty clear. China is well on the way to rivalling and surpassing US military power, st which point it will undoubtedly start to flex its military muscle. Russia may be on the back foot economically and militarily just now, but it will bounce back sooner or later to pose a military threat to its neighbours. It is rather similar to the 1930s,… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681767)
1 year ago
Reply to  edwinr

The days of the empire when we could fight two wars simultaneously are long gone. I think even the US with its vast resources would struggle to do so.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681768)
1 year ago
Reply to  edwinr

We have had multiple adversaries before and the army could just about manage but running HERRICK and TELIC simultaneously was a stretch. Don’t think we could do that, going forward, with a 73,000 strong reg army.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_682405)
1 year ago
Reply to  edwinr

We have often had two or more adversaries ranged against us, and not always at small scale. The overlap of Op Herrick (Afghanistan) and Op Telic (Iraq) being a pertinent and painful example, certainly for the army.
In the transition downwards to a 73,000 strong army – this becomes a greater problem of course. One can beef up the regular army with numbers of Reserve Army soldiers and by the Royal Marines, to some extent.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681755)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

So Sean, do you support the Reg Army coming down to 73,000?

Sean
Sean (@guest_681769)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

It depends what the alternatives are doesn’t it? If the choice is keep the army the same size but lose all tanks, or keep the tanks and drop to 73k which would you choose?
We simply don’t know the options on the table 🤷🏻‍♂️

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681787)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

That particular binary choice is not proposed. I think only little Belgium has chosen to scrap their tanks – we would not do that, as our potential adversaries all have tanks – and lots of them.

The only option the Government wants to adopt is to cut the size of the army irrespective of the threat – they have done that once or twice a decade since the end of the Korean War. I am not sure even Ben Wallace will get a new headcount of more than the currently proposed 73,000.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681801)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Oh god I’m debating with a literalist who doesn’t understand the concept of analogy🤦🏻‍♂️ I’m trying to keep it simple so you understand.
Ok, let me rephrase it in simplest terms possible.

Ben has £2 of pocket money to spend each week. He uses this to buy 2 Kit Kats and a comic. But inflation means the prices have gone up but his pocket money hasn’t. So he has to choose, does he give up the comic, or one of the Kit Kats?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681895)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

No need to over-simplify. I understand inflation and furthermore military inflation has always been higher than that in the civilian world. OK, I get that you want role specialisation and that usually means that the army drop certain roles (Kit Kats or the comic) – and an ally will cover that off. Trouble is no-one else thinks that way, so in the last Defence Command Paper there was nothing about this – we continue to salami slice and have fewer men and fewer equipments but still cover across the full spectrum. What would you drop from the army’s current capability… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Graham Moore
Stc
Stc (@guest_681766)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

The point of nukes is to deter the use. The point of convention forces is to be at least good enough, if not big enough, to deter the start of the use of any force against you. True, it will not stop a silent war like cyber, undersea cables etc, but conventional force is still vitally important. You and our politicians have to learn when it comes to war you cannot ask some else to pay your insurance premium. NATO is a back stop. No one is going to risk nuclear destruction of their cites on our behalf nor should… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681771)
1 year ago
Reply to  Stc

And armchair generals like yourself need to learn that funds are not unlimited. The easiest way to lose a war is let defence spending become such a large part of your national budget that it becomes unsustainable and destroys your economy. Or were you not around for the collapse of the USSR? Whether it’s defence or the NHS, you have to limit what you can spend. As the U.K. has one of the largest defence budgets in the world it’s difficult to justify run away spending on the basis of having to fight possible numerous wars simultaneously. As things stand,… Read more »

Bill
Bill (@guest_681819)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Ludicrous comment. Ukraine have 400k men in the field and ten times the tanks we have.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681828)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill

Ukraine isn’t at war with us you idiot.
It’s at war with Russia, and it certainly hasn’t got that many men in the field, if it did it would outnumber the Russian forces on the ground.
The Ukrainians have that many tanks only because the Russians gifted them.

Grizzler
Grizzler (@guest_681883)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

What’s the size of the Ukrainian Army again?

MikeR
MikeR (@guest_681927)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

@sean

The size of a countries land forces is irrelevant when it comes to nuclear weapons and their use or not”

A credible conventional force (all domains) gives options for defence, short of nukes. So does impact on the use of nukes or not.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681952)
1 year ago
Reply to  MikeR

No it doesn’t because you’d never use nukes simply because you’re losing a conventional war. You have nukes to deter people from using nukes against you.

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681987)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

Not absolutely certain Mad Vlad and the slobbering Orcs necessarily subscribe to that view, as evidenced by their published doctrine. Wouldn’t bet the farm.

Sean
Sean (@guest_682036)
1 year ago
Reply to  FormerUSAF

That they’ve published it shows they’re bluffing. Putin is expansionist, trying to secure Ukraine’s land, in particular the resources in its east • the Sea of Azov, the richest fishery on the planet • the Donbas, the largest potential source of rare earth metals in Europe. Irradiating it by using nuclear weapons defeats his objectives of securing them. Even if used nukes in parts of Ukraine that weren’t under his control, radioactivity drifts, he knows that from Chernobyl. If it drifts east it poisons Russia, if it drifts west over a NATO nation then Article V could be invoked. Even… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_681958)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

We’re more likely to be seduced/betrayed by our own leading capitalists/political leadership being bought by Chinese/Russian money. We’re so embedded in Chinese manufacturing dependancy & our leaders are more commited to their own wealth than preserving our rights & freedoms.
But it is essential to have strong convetional forces to ensure nukes are only a very last exitential resort.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681962)
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank62

Western companies are moving their manufacturing out of China. Not only are there now cheaper countries in Asia to manufacture in, but China’s zero-Corvid lockdowns are resulting in manufacturing stoppages that means western companies are unable to fulfil orders. As for our politicians/ capitalists being bought by Russian and Chinese money. I assume you have proof of this rather than making an unfounded allegation. But if it’s true, I imagine the Russians will be wanting their money back because it certainly hadn’t helped them at all this year!! 😆 The only existential threat is if someone uses nukes or bio… Read more »

grizzler
grizzler (@guest_681975)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

I would suggest it has helped them – as without the Russian money that was /is engrained in the EU (UK) economy- it would have been a lot worse a lot sooner-indeed they may not ahve even bothered.Its been the same for the Chinese influence since Camerons red carpet/Royal Gala treatment.In politics, in infrastructure ,in education , their aim is to own us – and we’ve paid them to do it.If you truly don’t believe that then you must be in government or the civil service.

Last edited 1 year ago by grizzler
Sean
Sean (@guest_681977)
1 year ago
Reply to  grizzler

Well that shows your analytical skills are flawed then, never worked in government or civil service or even the public sector. I also take that failed attempt at an ad hominem attack to be an admission you have the same amount of evidence for your beliefs as a flat-earther. Yes all that Russian money invested in our politicians has obviously paid of. The U.K. has not sanctioned them, not seized there assets, not supplied the Ukraine with weapons, and not… oh hang in, wait a minute… Putin was always going to make a move on the states that broke away… Read more »

john christmas
john christmas (@guest_785165)
3 months ago
Reply to  Sean

They said that about missiles and cancelled our Air Craft Industry-trouble is we cant buy soldiers from a America like aircraft

Nicholas
Nicholas (@guest_681613)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Thinking of two scenarios with greatly different numbers of troops needed. In a classic Putin land grab nice big armed forces numbers are going to deter him, he’d be (more) crazy to use nukes over land that he requires for expansion, he knows it would be useless for generations. Should any comflict escalate to full on nuclear war numbers of front-line troups simply won’t matter. Personally, given the expansion plans of China and Russia, we need numbers. That means people, tanks, planes, helicopters, ships and subs. Frankly we’ll be lucky to see much in the way of increases there. Reductions… Read more »

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681770)
1 year ago
Reply to  Nicholas

Good point. In 1982 we had 28 attack subs – now we have 7.

Army numbers cut too – just before the Falklands Conflict we had 4 armoured divs in Germany, a div-equivalent in NI, several light role bdes in GB.
But there was a Cold War on, and many of the NI troops were home-grown UDR. Still, for us to struggle to be able to deploy a modernised, warfighting div now is pretty tragic.

Andrew Thorne
Andrew Thorne (@guest_681683)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

I would totally agree that the Tories messed up the economy and this will defence badly. However. Labour are just as bad….currently we don’t have a third choice party….I mean the Lib Dems…they are third rate instead of a third party….My honest opinion is we really need to pay higher salaries to attract better brains into parliament…we really do…They get paid £82K and we’re attracting third rate intellects…ergo the current chaos…

Jim
Jim (@guest_681721)
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

PR would certainly help to tackle the issue, FPTP has a habit of attracting more crazy’s as selection is never easy. Puts most people off and attracts “professional” politicians with PPE’s from Oxford that are as thick as mince. Keir Starmer stands out in modern politics as a person who actually achieved senior position in unrelated field before going in to politics.

Jon
Jon (@guest_681835)
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew Thorne

Paying MPs more won’t make any difference. It’s not about second rate minds, it’s about lack of experience in anything other than politics, and the impossibility of choosing anyone better.

Do you know what your MP did before becoming an MP? Their passions? Priorities? How about the other candidates that stood in the last General Election? You wouldn’t hire an employee without even seeing a cv, would you? But all electors are entitled to is name, party, address and the names of sponsors we’ve never heard of.

Matt C
Matt C (@guest_681709)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Needs must when the budget drives, unfortunately. Regarding “economic mismanagement”, I will not point fingers at any one party. However I would note that it doesn’t help that the brightest economic ideas to come out of certain quarters has been to introduce a universal basic income, on the sound economic principle that “we don’t know if it works but politicians must be seen to do something”. The bottom line in my view is that Britain must get down to producing competitive goods and services for global consumption, as that is the bedrock of any economy. Unfortunately this seems to be… Read more »

Jon
Jon (@guest_681838)
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt C

How do you know that’s low on the list of the British voter? We have been sectioned into social media bubbles for years now, incapable of guaging the temperature of “the British voter”. In my bubble, people are worried about paying the bills and tree hugging is way down the list. I know intellectually that RSPB membership exceeds that of all the political parties combined, but I don’t think I know a single birder and I can’t recall “save the starling” ever being anyone’s political slogan. For what it’s worth I think trade is hugely important, but so is education,… Read more »

Matt C
Matt C (@guest_681842)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jon

Anybody who’s been following UK defence news intently for the last 15 years should by now be fully cognisant of the golden rule of budgeting: spending on X means not spending on Y. You said that “I think trade is hugely important, but so is education, health, defence, infrastructure and the rule of law. I don’t believe these are incompatible with addressing climate change or use of personal pronouns”. That is a nice statement of intent that covers all the PC bases, but it lacks actionability. Which in line with the basic budgeting principle above, translates to “what are you… Read more »

James
James (@guest_681933)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr Bell

Which economic mismanagement is that exactly, the pandemic?

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar (@guest_681607)
1 year ago

Probably need to think about an even bigger increase. Pretty sure during Cold War defence was closer to 5% gdp than 2%. Sorry to all the ones that believe flying lawnmowers and missiles are the future, but you still need ground forces as we have seen in Ukraine. Defending with ATGM ambush attacks is effective, but to get gain ground you still need armour and infantry. Neither side in Ukraine has been very effective on that front. The frontline has not moved much either way in last few months, reminds me of WW1 western front and that little game lasted… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681611)
1 year ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

You’ve clearly not been following the news the news of you think the frontline hasn’t moved in the last few months. The Ukrainians have had a blitzkrieg like advance retaking huge amounts of territory in the East of their country.
Even in the South in Kherson they’ve retaken territory at a speed that WW1 generals could only marvel at.

Defence was just under 5% at the height of the Cold War before the peace dividend after the collapse of Communism.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar (@guest_681617)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

? Ukraine has not moved much around Kherson. It is still in Russian hands. Ukraine just got Krechenivka.
Actually Ukraine’s biggest success has been in the east between Kharkiv and Izyum.
There has been next to 0 progress in Lubansk and Donbass regions.
https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/news/976/cpsprodpb/785B/production/_127411803_ukraine_russian_control_areas_map-640-nc.png.webp

Sean
Sean (@guest_681623)
1 year ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

I think you need to actually look at that map again. All those purple/lavender patches are areas regained by Ukraine in the last few months, over 6,000 sq km. Areas larger than some European countries. So much for your claim the frontline hasn’t moved much!!! 😂 And while the largest advances have been in the east, considerable territory in Kherson oblast on the right/West bank has been regained. It’s possible than Ukraine could have captured more but they may have decided not to bother and simply let the remaining Russians starve given they’ve been isolated from their logistics on left/east… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Sean
Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar (@guest_681629)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

If by larger than some European countries, you mean Luxembourg or Belgium? I think you need to look at the scale. About 100km in the east which is mostly open empty fields. Frankly i do not find these recent gains that impressive in the bigger picture, certainly not game changing. However it is very impressive that Ukraine stopped Russia advances at the begining, but it is mostly a stalemate in my opinion. Anyway this conflict is not over anytime soon, especially if Ukraine wants to regain all its lost territory. I have serious doubts they will ever get Crimea back.… Read more »

Last edited 1 year ago by Lordtemplar
Sean
Sean (@guest_681638)
1 year ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Georgia, Luxembourg, Andorra, Malta, Lichtenstein etc. The 6,000 sq km is a week old figure, so probably Azerbaijan too now. A sizeable change in the frontline for anyone but you it seems. If you think it’s a stalemate you’ve clearly been listening to John in MK too much. The remaining Russians troops on the right bank of Kherson oblast are essentially in a siege situation, so the Ukrainians don’t need to rush there. I expect we’ll see them open up a completely new front instead as the Russians have proved useless at redeploying quickly and effectively. Yes the pro-Putin anti-vax… Read more »

John Stott
John Stott (@guest_681668)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

😅Time for the blue pill.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681692)
1 year ago
Reply to  John Stott

Time for all your medication, though it doesn’t seem to be working

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_681665)
1 year ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Putin is hedging his bets on the collapse of western economies leading to reduced support for Ukraine, as I have said in other posts, he is playing the long game.

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_681728)
1 year ago

That is an astute observation of Putin. However there are external moving factors beyond his control. Probably the primary factor is the poor state of the Russian economy.

Get enough of the people disgruntled, most of the time ,and who knows what might happen. A little revolution every now and then can be a healthy thing.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar (@guest_681806)
1 year ago

Probably all he can do now is hope. Initially he thought he would walk into Kiev with a big parade. It clearly didnt go that way and now he is backed into a corner having spent a lot of political capital, so no turning back. I just dont see this being resolved anytime soon. I just hope Putin gets overthrown so we can hopefully see the end of this bloody mess.

James
James (@guest_681934)
1 year ago

100% hes in it for the long game, as winter creeps in and peoples lives in western economies are impacted more and more public pressure will mount to end the help in the war.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_681663)
1 year ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Yeah, there were a lot of gains in September, but it now looks like the front lines are consolidating. Some confusing reports coming out of Kherson, some saying Russian forces are withdrawing, others saying they are building fortifications around the city.

BigH1979
BigH1979 (@guest_681922)
1 year ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Yes Ukraine has showed that there is a need for massed ground forces but that doesn’t necessarily translate to our Army. We don’t have a land border, an unfriendly neighbour and flat tank country in between. The ground war in Ukraine is the war that Nato was postured for 40-50 years ago. I don’t think we have any doctrinal lessons to learn from it other than that the Russian Armed Forces are nowhere near as effective as believed.

Billy
Billy (@guest_681608)
1 year ago

Any merit in increasing the sizing of the TA ??

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_681622)
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy

In a word, No. The idea of copying the US Army reserve and National Guard and restructuring the TA to a more active and deployable Army Reserve was a good one. The TA was stuck in the past, structured to mobilise in the event of general European war, with specific caveats regarding deployment in war zones etc. So while the new Army Reserve is a good idea, it hasn’t quite worked as planned, the trained and deployable troop numbers are still too low to in any way make up for the cuts in the Regular Army. We need a Regular… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper (@guest_681609)
1 year ago

Clever move by Mr Wallace. Hand the problem over to the Army. Save the same amount of money by reducing numbers at the top of the wage scale and increase the numbers at the bottom. Imagine how much cash the RAF could free up if they did the same. Also commonsense about not fixating on headcount rather than capability but that is unlikely to fly inside the Army or anywhere else for that matter.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_681614)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Problem is that cuts promotion pathways?

That can impact on retention for the brightest and best?

Changing the shape of the pyramid sounds easy but is fraught with risk.

Where is all the retained experience going to reside.

Though I’d tend to agree about RAF senior desk flyers doing jobs that need a competent civvy administrator. A lot of the older desk flyers can’t get an external job which is why they are flying a desk….

Expat
Expat (@guest_681630)
1 year ago

The pyramid will need to change, Ukraine has shown smaller empower units are the way to go. They have taken Russia’s more convention pyramid apart by setting units objectives but not being to fussed about the execution as long as the objective is met.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681772)
1 year ago

Do all those aircrew flying desks need to receive flying pay?

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_681811)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Depends if you want risk the desk crash landing when the pilot bails out?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_681620)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Steeper

The RN did the same a few years ago. I believe they deleted some RM posts from 42 Commando to get more sailors.

Agree. Capability is key over numbers of people, which I suggested in my effort.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_681633)
1 year ago

I tend to agree.

But at the same time not hollowing out the key enablers which are what the Orcs lack.

John Clark
John Clark (@guest_681624)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Indeed David, General Blow Hard will drop his monocle in his Caviar in shock! Get rid of senior officers you say, but what of the country club membership and my wifes Bridge club, outrageous idea!!!!

Jason
Jason (@guest_681610)
1 year ago

Nobody seems very decisive concerning this as far as I see .

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_681619)
1 year ago

The issue with this is, for me, not the number of posts in the army but how it is equipped and organised. While more is welcome, whether it is 73,000 or 76,000 or whatever makes little difference in the wider scheme of things regards the army when the issues are primarily armoured vehicle procurement, and lack of artillery, aviation assets, firepower, and enabling CS CSS assets across the board,, aligned with constant reorgs of the ORBAT to fit what remains rather than a coherent force structure that distributes assets appropriately. What would you choose? Retaining kit that is in short… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681625)
1 year ago

Agreed, capability is what matters, and that is based on equipment, organisation, logistics, tactics, and numbers.
But that’s a complex equation to balance, and headline writers and politicians find quantity easier to comprehend: cf Stalin.

Expat
Expat (@guest_681631)
1 year ago

As I posted above, Ukraine has shown how effect smaller empower units can be. Get them well equipped, well trained, set the objective and let them execute.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_681635)
1 year ago
Reply to  Expat

They are but they are supported by the whole of NATO back end R&D, tech, intel and storage operations with JIT airfreight to Poland.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681653)
1 year ago

Yes, all that tech, intel, along with better organisation, command and control, and tactics have proven to be real force-multipliers for the Ukrainians against the behemoth of the Red Army.

Last edited 1 year ago by Sean
Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_681658)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

It is all very well getting carried away with the small motivated groups thing but isn’t it more the small motivated groups being sent to deal with objectives that they have exactly the right kit and firepower to deal with?

Sean
Sean (@guest_681695)
1 year ago

My point exactly 🤷🏻‍♂️ With the right kit, firepower, intel, training, organisation etc you can dramatically multiply a forces ability to inflict damage on the enemy.
Remember how quickly the Ukrainian army collapsed in the Crimea in 2014? Since then initiatives like Operation Orbital have raised the standard of the Ukrainian army to near Western European levels. Then since the invasion they’ve been inundated with western weaponry and kit that is way in advance of the Russian equivalents.
Which is how a smaller force has not only stopped, but defeated and routed a numerically larger force.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_681698)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

I think the key is selecting objectives that the Ukrainian teams are capable of easily overrunning to build confidence and momentum as well as to create ongoing attrition of morale, men and materiel. Momentum has quality all of its own on the battlefield and the confidence it breeds. Otherwise it is a bit like saying “the Russians have terrible tank losses therefore the age if the tank is over” Whereas, the truth is that using the exact same tanks, T72, the Ukrainians can take positions with better tactics/support and strategic/in theatre selections. Always beware of the obvious and grand conclusion… Read more »

Sean
Sean (@guest_681703)
1 year ago

Well that comes down to good training, not just of the troops on the ground but their commanders. The U.K. and USA training missions have borne fruit on the battlefield.

The tanks are a good example of this. I’m the west we always have infantry in supporting tanks and vice versa, working together. But often the Russians have been losing line tanks or groups of tanks without them having any support infantry. The Ukrainians will know better that to do that. 🤷🏻‍♂️

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_681704)
1 year ago
Reply to  Sean

That is exactly my point.

You could have Leopard, Abrahams or Challenger and if you used them unsupported, Russian style, then the result would be poor(er).

Even the most wiz bang equipment won’t help if used wrongly.

Sean
Sean (@guest_681707)
1 year ago

Exactly. It’s not a question of having the greatest numbers; despite what Stalin thought. It’s not a question of having the most wiz bang wonder weapons; despite what Hitler thought. It’s about quantity, quality, training, organisation, tactics, and leadership. All these determine how effective or ineffective a force will be, and can be force multipliers if you can excel in these.
But focus of just one, and ignore the rest, and you’ll have disasterous results.

Expat
Expat (@guest_681701)
1 year ago

Yes but they leveraging that to great effect. The point is do we need a huge army with lots of layers or focus on hitting hard and fast in the right places. I think most of all never be complacent and look to how you fight the next war not the last.

Simon
Simon (@guest_681775)
1 year ago

Very true, it is no good have a further 1000 personal to form another inf battalion, but there isn’t any support units. The army still dosent seem to have a plan

DanielMorgan
DanielMorgan (@guest_681627)
1 year ago

This is a difference of .05% in an Army that is already ludicrously small for a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The fundamental problem is that the UK’s perception of itself as a world power and the reality of its commitment to maintain a defense force worthy of that title don’t equate. Squabbling about 4,000 troops only illustrates that problem.

Expat
Expat (@guest_681637)
1 year ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Todays wars will not be won by massive armies. Snipers knocking out Russian transport at the front and back of their convoys was a classic example how a well trained force with superior tactics can frustrate a much larger one.

Steve R
Steve R (@guest_681639)
1 year ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Well, 4,000 troops is still 4,000 troops. The Army is better off with them than without.

Jim
Jim (@guest_681646)
1 year ago
Reply to  DanielMorgan

Compared to who? France? Russia? China? The UK is the only P5 member that’s an island, it has a very capable navy so conversely a small army. It’s working on the worlds 3rd largest defence budget but real militaries cost money.

We could easily add in extra soldiers but then as with Russia China and France they would come at the cost of having a hollow force unable to act independently.

As Ukraine is showing us, army’s can be built in months, air forces in years navy’s take decades.

steves
steves (@guest_681687)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

Months? with years of training from UK and US, tons of equipment, logistics and intelligence from many western countries.
Not sure you really can build an effective army in months, not really….

Jim
Jim (@guest_681931)
1 year ago
Reply to  steves

Not an effective one but an army non the less, out that army in to combat and it will rapidly become effective. Exactly what we did in 1914 and 1939. It’s what the Ukrainians have done this year.

Jon
Jon (@guest_681628)
1 year ago

The heck with the complaints that it’s too little too late. This is good news. Getting rid of staff and later rehiring is vastly more expensive than just keeping. Just putting a hold on firings is a really good thing.

I’d love to see an actual estimate of how many years (if not decades) it takes to replace over to just keep. The cost of firing, the cost of hiring, the cost of training, the cost of experience lost. And if you can’t hire at all without raising an entire pay scale, wowie!

John N
John N (@guest_681636)
1 year ago

I still can’t get my head around the fact the UK Def Min (and I assume UK Government too?), basically has to negotiate (beg?) with Treasury.

Here in Oz, it’s the Government that sets budgets and funding, not Treasury.

Anyway, sounds more like buck passing to me.

RobW
RobW (@guest_681643)
1 year ago
Reply to  John N

The Government does set the budgets. The head of the Treasury is the Chancellor, an MP and cabinet minister. After the PM the Chancellor is usually the second most influential member of the Government. Budgets will be approved in accordance with the Government’s wishes. When there isn’t any more money to give, like now, the Treasury is often used as a scapegoat.

Supportive Bloke
Supportive Bloke (@guest_681659)
1 year ago
Reply to  RobW

Treasury often annoy cabinet members with the funding settlements.

The funding isn’t agreed by cabinet.

Treasury hammer it out, with detail and constraints on major projects: then it is approved by PM and only then cabinet who are usually to exhausted by the process to complain en mass.

Tom
Tom (@guest_681642)
1 year ago

The reality is, the UK cannot carry out an ‘operation’ on the scale of Iraq OR Afghanistan again, as the Army is far too small. ‘Battalions’ (500 bods and always under strength) are broken up to deploy overseas, both for training, and operational reasons. The point is, when the UK sends the Army overseas nowadays, it is in woefully low numbers. Low enough to serve any purpose, other than as a presence only, and as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike. Same ol same old with the British Army over the last 15+ years. They are used as… Read more »

Jim
Jim (@guest_681647)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom

Not being able to carry out an operation on the scale of Iraq or Afghanistan again seems to be a real plus to me.

If cutting the army further means we can stop participating into the forever wars then I am all for it.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_681669)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

The human race is almost in a perpetual state of war. Unfriendly countries we had no reason to fear 50 years ago now yield bigger armed forces backed up by strong economies and manufacturing ability. We will always need to have strong armed forces, as a deterrent.

Jim
Jim (@guest_681727)
1 year ago

Yes but we need a strong navy and Airforce to make sure the bad guys stay very far away from us. Having a professional army able to deploy 10,000 troops into a third world s**t hole to try and somehow make it not a s**t hole is where we have been going wrong. When the Soviet Union had millions of men on the west German boarder just a few hundred miles from London we needed a big army. Now the bad guys are at the extreme end of the Eurasian land mass with no way to reach us by other… Read more »

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_681827)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

That will not keep us safe, some of those hostile nations are developing ballistic missiles in leaps and bounds (Iran, North Korea), which will eventually give them the ability to strike Europe or the US without having to engage our navy or airforce.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681781)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

It is up to politicians to change their decision-making on controversial deployments. Wrong approach to cut the army to shape decision-making.

Jim
Jim (@guest_681649)
1 year ago

Main things to take from this statement.

1 There is no new money coming to defence, kiss goodbye to any pledges at 2.5% or 3% of GDP.

2 There are no plans to cut defence spending inline with the other devastating cuts Sunak is about to go for.

3 All rumours of Wallace threatening to resign were lies.

4 Despite its renewed attempt to paint itself as relevant again the army has failed. If it wants more people it needs to cut other costs. It’s budget will stay the same. The Maritime focus will continue in the MOD.

Jason Bannister
Jason Bannister (@guest_681666)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

If the Government wants the British Army to cut its Wage Bill it should reduce the amount of surplus Senior Officers…

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_681723)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

“kiss goodbye to any pledges at 2.5% or 3% of GDP.” Jim, a perfect summary.

Jim
Jim (@guest_681744)
1 year ago
Reply to  Klonkie

Yeah it’s back to champagne tastes and brown ale budgets as sunak does an Osborne 2.0. Russia makes defence cuts probably too toxic for them and they will probably be out of office before they get another chance at SDSR 2025.

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_681655)
1 year ago

Getting numbers back to 100,000 would be good better still 150,000.

Ukraine had an army 200,000 at the start of the Russian invasion, and many more AFVs than the UK could field. When fighting near peer enemies it is important to have reserves, and be able to play the long game of attrition

Angus
Angus (@guest_681664)
1 year ago

Here here on that, no real reserves and you soon fail in the task. Lucky we have a great barrier to invasion. A bigger TA would be best then you can swell the numbers quickly and with trained personnel and it’s cheaper than keeping full time numbers up. USA relies on there reserves to give them real clout in all except the Naval Forces. About time UK did likewise.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_681678)
1 year ago
Reply to  Angus

I think you might be right Angus- having an army of just 79,000 is a small force but if it was backed up by a reserve of another 70-80K trained troops with equipment to supply them held in ready that would be fine. As it is we have neither the large reserve force or the equipment probably to surge thousands of additional recruits into service if the need arose. I think large amounts of NATO reserve 2nd tier hardware has been gifted to Ukraine. There is a risk of putting all our eggs into the one Ukraine basket and then… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper (@guest_681676)
1 year ago

So you think we need an Army able unaided to defeat a Russian invasion ? How would Russia invade ? With what would they invade ? How as a member of NATO would we be alone facing an invasion ?

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts (@guest_681713)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Steeper

I never said that at all, even as part of NATO we need reserves, what if we engaged in a major conflict and had to fight on 2 fronts? , it is better to be prepared.

David Steeper
David Steeper (@guest_681715)
1 year ago

Ok I misunderstood. We wouldn’t be fighting alone within NATO theatre of ops obviously. Neither against China in the Pacific or Iran in the Gulf. That just leaves Falklands or something comparable to Sierra Leone in 2000. We could do 2 of those level of conflicts simultaneously i’m confident. I actually agree with you on greater use of reserves but maybe for different reasons i’d see them as filling capability gaps rather than an- attritional reserve.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681776)
1 year ago

Options for Change determined that the post-Cold War army should have 120,000 regulars. Your figure of 150k is too high.
Do you forget that if we engaged Russia it would be with NATO allies?

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_681960)
1 year ago

Agreed.

richard M
richard M (@guest_681656)
1 year ago

I have always thought that some more imaginative thinking needs to take place. I give one example. Training for say the Royal engineers often involves say building infra structure ie bridges. At the end of the day it is pack evrything up and home for tea and biscuits with all the equipment. Why not do this on a grander scale in support of our soft power overseas and get a full cost recovery out of the overseas development budget which is both bloated and very inefficient. A small saving in it self but it has knock on effects. key is… Read more »

Ian Watson
Ian Watson (@guest_681667)
1 year ago

When I left the RAF IN 1990, the strength of the Junior Service was 89,000+. The Army, 156,000 and Naval Services, RN & Royal Marines, about 70,000. Seems like a golden age of a long ago era.

Klonkie
Klonkie (@guest_681725)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Watson

Hi Ian – and an RAF with 31 front line jet squadrons in 1990 !

Jim
Jim (@guest_681746)
1 year ago
Reply to  Klonkie

But nothing multi role and alot of old s**t that struggled to be relevant even at the time.

One squadron of F35 may well have more capability that the entire force in 1991.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim
Jim
Jim (@guest_681729)
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Watson

Let’s not forget the struggles that “golden age force” had in getting to the Falklands, an operation that would be comparatively simple for us today. Lots of frigates able to do little more than catch missiles with their hulls. That same golden age force sent a fairly small proportion of its self to the gulf in 1991 (relative to 2003). It struggled to field tanks that worked and it’s soldiers were armed with a rifle which frequently failed. An RAF not equipped with Laser Guided munitions in its front line aircraft. Front line interceptors flying with concrete waits instead of… Read more »

Jonathans
Jonathans (@guest_681674)
1 year ago

Just to add my to pence. The size of the army is functionally an irrelevant metric in many ways and is a false question. What the U.K. needs is to agree what the army is for and then have it sized correctly for what it’s going to be asked to deliver. Contrary to many views, we are very very unlikely to ever be going to be fighting a U.K. only major land battle with a peer adversary. It simply cannot happen (unless we turn into raving imperialists and invade Ireland and France etc) we are an island who’s only possession… Read more »

Nick Cole
Nick Cole (@guest_681677)
1 year ago

The previous cuts were a sign of weakness that Putin is now trying to exploit. We do not have enough manpower, equipment or other resources to do anything other than non-peer police actions. All in the name of reducing tax for the well off, and now we haven’t the resilience to cope with the global economic situation. We need to be able manufacture and support our own forces, but our mas manufacturing capability has been exported to one of our potential foes the other side of the world! Our current crop of politicians are only interested in short term profit… Read more »

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_681680)
1 year ago
Reply to  Nick Cole

I agree!

Was reading the other day that THALES supply the gun sights/targetting sytem to the Russian tanks as well as the UK. Is it not time to drop these ‘dogs-of-war’ companies and design and make our own systems that will be better than the enemy’s and not used against us in a conflict..

Ian M
Ian M (@guest_681696)
1 year ago

Thales in Glasgow make our sighting systems.

Simon
Simon (@guest_681777)
1 year ago

I belive they stop doing that in 2014. Thales own the Barr & Stroud plant in Glasgow

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_681679)
1 year ago

What I find depressing is that, as I get older and wiser, I realize that most UK politicians don’t have a scooby-doo as to what they are doing, and no expertise in the department they have been tasked with. This goes for other subjects, but especially for defence as it is so fundamental (although Ben Wallace is an exception). Even when it is blindingly obvious from world events – and indeed our history – what is coming down the track, our politicians simply do not understand what is needed to prevent world conflict. It is a naivety, ignorance, short-termism, or… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_681737)
1 year ago

You are pretty much spot on. Politicians are mostly their as it’s a career. Not often do you get to be an MP in a big party by just showing up and saying I want to run in my area. It a career they spend a long time getting into. Then when they are an MP the leader tends to put in his supporters from the party. So the best to hope for is that they have transferable skills that allow them to run a massive organisation. They are normally short term appointments and want to make changes to put… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_681802)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Most politicians go into politics to make a difference. The journey makes them cynical & reminds them that they are unlikely to make very much difference even if they reach the top. Politicians set the broad policy the civil servants do the work & as you say some of them are excelent.

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_681818)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

…trouble is some Civil Servants have gone basically ‘native;’ ignore the strategic interest of the UK and/or are themselves on a career path so do not want to rock the boat. Net result is no long-term planning or strategic thought, unlike our adversaries.

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_681853)
1 year ago

… any civil servant will tell you that they do not set the policy & take no responsibility for the results. They do however do much of the work and can, if they want, make it difficult (or easy) to implement policy. Key civil servants tend to be able to guide policy and to be fair that is sometimes helpful as they might guide a Government away from disasterous decisions.Several Governments have ignored advice and paid the price. This is the way things have been for centuries – I’m not sure there are many people who know how to change… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_681798)
1 year ago

Politicians are not there to provide any expertise – they are there as representatives of the great unwashed (us) to ensure that what is done is broadly in line with what the public want. Consequently they are in a tough place because the public want a load of services whilst paying as little tax as possible. To be fair it helps if the secretary of state knows something about their department & has a little common sense – make the most of Ben Wallace, At the end of the day we could have more sensible politicians however we all insist… Read more »

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_681820)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark B

…in theory yes you are right. In practice it leads to chaos and waste. Crucially nobody then looks at long-term planning or has a mind-set focused on a strategic approach, when our adversaries are doing just that. We need a better system I would argue, and politicians that have a better understanding of the strategic need of the UK, and vision of the issues coming around the corner.

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_681849)
1 year ago

‘Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.…’ – Churchill 1947 As a society the problem is ours. We need to select politicians who have the skills to fix the NHS – not just throw money at it and we have to accept that these people will be fallable humans like ourselves. Starmer understands… Read more »

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_681885)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark B

The tories do make it very easy to trash talk them.
Saw today the Home Secretary took a chinook to travel to the migrant centre in Kent. Talk about not understanding how people will view that. It probably took her longer to get to the airport, under go flight safety etc than it would of taken to drive there. Then the climate gang will moan about the emissions.

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_681937)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

To me the solution to the economic migrant crisis is to build the economies of their home countries such that their labour is needed and decently paid at home and contributes to the world economy thus benefitting everyone. World problem – world solution.What is the solution to the root cause of the problem? We need to measure people on what matters 😀 I’m guessing that there were a shed load of other people travelling to Manston & security considerations so I’m guessing she wasn’t in charge of travel arrangements. Most tories would sack her if it doesn’t solve the problem.… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_681963)
1 year ago

Indeed. The elephant in the room is the idiots in charge & those in real power who choose to put them up for nomination.

Tom
Tom (@guest_681682)
1 year ago

In recent weeks/months, members of the household division have received ‘briefings’ from their top brass, regarding the justification of paying those soldiers as ‘infantry soldiers’, as the thought somewhere seems to be that especially Guards regiments “do not do as much as other infantry regiments”. This comes directly from members of the Guards themselves. Clear evidence that bean counters somewhere, are looking at cutting costs, and using the Army to do so. There are of course many problems and issues with this ‘logic’. However, one that does not seem to have been considered, is that if you treat regular forces… Read more »

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_681964)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom

We need to better distribute wealth down from the few at the top calling all the shots down to the rest of society before our society collapses. If those at the sharp end of war are paid peanuts & treated like dirt, their morale & parfomance will be dangerously undermined.
Funny how the dogma followed way too long has been we MUST pay top talent extremely well to recuit & retain them but those at the cliff face MUST take cuts to pay & conditions.

John Hartley
John Hartley (@guest_681688)
1 year ago

At the end of the cold war, the British Army had 160,000 troops. Of course it was wise to take a peace dividend, but I always thought it a mistake to drop below half of our cold war strength, whether it was ships, aircraft or man power. So I would want the British Army to be 80,000 strong. Some say there is no difference between 73,000 & 80,000. I disagree. Those extra 7000, let you man the Tanks, Artillery, Drones, Ground Based Air Defences, that clever Treasury types said we no longer needed, but the Ukraine conflict shows we do.

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_681804)
1 year ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Putin has picked on the Countries which are not part of NATO which leads me to believe that he is avoiding a conflict with NATO. It would suggest we are deterring aggession. That said I do agree broadly with your points. We need a solid military.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_681840)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark B

He is trying to avoid a conflict with nato. His issue is that nato should not of expanded into previous soviet territories.
He and a lot of Russians are under the illusion that the Soviet Union was all Russia’s territory, when it’s separate countries. They believe they have a right to what happens in those countries.

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_681851)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

His issue surely is that he would like to roll the clock back to the Soviet era when all those countries were dominated by Russia and when their resources & manpower made them a world power. He has never come to terms with the concept of freedom. His issue with NATO membership simply means that is one more country he cannot get back either by force or intimidation.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_681886)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark B

That is the time he longs for. Powerful Soviet Union or so he thinks. It will never come back.

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_681887)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Once a country discovers true freedom (no matter how bad their politicians are) they never want to go back. Gorbachev should have turned the Soviet Union into an EEA. Removed the nukes & exstablished a professional army and applied to join NATO.It would have saved all this trouble.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_681965)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Nothing less than neo colonialism. Same with PRC’s ambitions.

Bloke down the pub
Bloke down the pub (@guest_681700)
1 year ago

British Army has frequently claimed that their best asset is their junior ncos. Now is a good time to prove it and re-balance the chiefs and Indians.

Geoff Roach
Geoff Roach (@guest_681712)
1 year ago

Another falsehood? As many have said 73000 or 77000? It’s the training and the kit that makes the difference. What could we run for buy for £200 million a year. We need to think forward and not equip for the last war./

Mark B
Mark B (@guest_681803)
1 year ago
Reply to  Geoff Roach

Very true.

Russ
Russ (@guest_681836)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark B

👍

Andrew D
Andrew D (@guest_681718)
1 year ago

Well for me our Army is far to small ,just like navy and RAF but that’s just me sorry 🙄

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_681966)
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

You & me both Andrew.

Cripes
Cripes (@guest_682295)
1 year ago
Reply to  Frank62

Me too. The NATO-Warpac agreement at the end of the Cold War was a cut of 25% in both sides’ conventional armed forces. That was a sensible peace dividend. It cut our army from near-on 160,000 to 120,000, a big 25% saving. Alas, Labour had to cut it to 105,000 as a consequence of the 2008 crash. There is no such excuse for the Conservatives, who have slashed numbers by another 30% in pursuit of their ideological commitment to reducing public expenditure to the bone. The resulting numbers and equipments in Army and RAF now bear little relation to the… Read more »

John
John (@guest_681719)
1 year ago

Maybe 10 years ago talk of penny pinching with the military would have flown but today with the world the way it is talk of yet more cuts is bordering on treason. Yet another war for us to turn up to with a stripped out force and get kicked about until enough sqaddies die that someone thinks some money should finally be spent or we just straight up lose. Also, walk softly but carry a big stick. If you look weak all the various ankle biters of the world think they can have a go, and do.

Jim
Jim (@guest_681730)
1 year ago
Reply to  John

Country is at far more risk from a debt spike and collapse in the pound than it is from a foreign adversary especially mad Vlad and his dwindling band of Orcs. Don’t get me wrong I want to see the budget at-least maintained but when we are facing massive government cuts in things like health care, policing ,education and infrastructure investment, I don’t think we can expect any kind of blank cheque for defence. Especially when the people in charge of defence have constantly proven they don’t know what they are doing and will piss any budget increase up the… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli (@guest_681862)
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim

“For instance here is Ben Wallace talking about retaining 4,000 bodies in the army , not capability or force structure retention just simple numbers of soldiers. The army has not been able to generate a complete force structure since 2010. What are we in now, Army 2035? What are 4,000 more soldiers for? “ Agreed. We have had FAS, then A2020, then A2020R, now FF2035. The usual spin while capabilites and numbers of things that matter are cut. I want to see capabilities, CS CSS that are available, and a force structure and plan, not just posts. Rather than the men,… Read more »

John Hartley
John Hartley (@guest_681880)
1 year ago

Quite right DM. The extra numbers need to man the heavy kit, that clever Whitehall types said we no longer needed, but Ukraine shows that we do.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_681967)
1 year ago
Reply to  John

With Politicians taking Russian money & with deep interests in China, treason it is IMO.

Tom
Tom (@guest_681724)
1 year ago

The British Army has less than 19,000 Infantry today. When all said and done about technology, drones, schmones self firing guns or whatever garbage, you will always need boots on the ground.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681779)
1 year ago
Reply to  Tom

True, and what needs to be stressed is that we could not put all those 19,000 infantrymen into the field, for a host of reasons.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_681726)
1 year ago

Well I thought the argument for the reduction was that the army can’t meet it’s stated strength so the reduction was just reflect actual numbers. So in other words it’s not a cut as those soldiers don’t exist. If they now do exist that puts a spanner in the works.
When they said it was 2000 higher last month I gulped. I didn’t think so many would depart, be released or what ever it’s called all at the same time.

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_681733)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Retention in public services is taking a hit. Cost of living crises, energy crises, inflation vs minimum public sector pay rises and poor terms and conditions.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681780)
1 year ago
Reply to  Monkey spanker

Army establishment was for 82,000 reg posts but army struggled to recruit much more than 79,000.
Does not justify cutting the establishment to 73,000 posts.

David Steeper
David Steeper (@guest_681791)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

76,000 Regulars, 4,000 Gurkhas and 30,000 Reserves. The Army is not able to field a combat division because of lack of manpower. With 1m Regulars and Reserves the US Army fields 20 Divisions or equivalents.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681890)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Steeper

David, the Army is not able to field a strong modernised, digitised, networked division (of three brigades and div troops) as of today because the equipment is archaic – and I suspect that CSups is in short supply.
The numbers do look sufficient to field a strong div, as you say, but for a limited period – and other important activities may have to be curtailed.

David Steeper
David Steeper (@guest_681902)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

They have to switch resources to Arty, Air Def and the loggies. That will probably mean fewer Inf batts. I know internal Army politics is a tough nut for any CDS to take on. The not unreasonable affection for cap badges etc. Even i’d be upset if my local Regt was reduced in size but if the people at the top aren’t ready to take unpopular decisions they shouldn’t be in the job. With the Army’s manpower a Heavy Division and a Light (Air Assault) Brigade should be feasible.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore (@guest_681950)
1 year ago
Reply to  David Steeper

From my time in the ACF (1968-72), CCF (1973-74) then Reg Army (1975-2009), many, many famous capbadges disappeared no matter any protestation (which was ineffective). I don’t think cap-badge politics is as much of an issue as some claim.

Agree that a Heavy div and an AA Bde is feasible – that is only 4 bdes (BCTs), whereas we have a little more than that currently.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker (@guest_681845)
1 year ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

I think in all the yak I forgot the number was meant to be 82,000. They should hold off for a few years as if the economy tanks more people will take a job in the forces.

Mike Gill
Mike Gill (@guest_681732)
1 year ago

It would not be wise to allow our army headcount to shrink but of more serious concern is the quality of the equipment that the army would have to fight with. There is concerning lack of domestic companies capable of working in the defence area at present nor is there any incentive for them to do so without a government lead with orders. Times are financially difficult but these very hard choices will have to be accepted despite the pain it would cause. This can only be achieved by strong leadership. There are lots of comments about whats happening in… Read more »

FormerUSAF
FormerUSAF (@guest_681915)
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Gill

Thus, according to Oryx data, the ratio of equipment losses to date favors the Ukrainian defensive strategy; the single category that is relatively equal is aircraft losses. Not certain what that presages longer term w/out NATO recapitalization of air assets…🤔

Mr Bell
Mr Bell (@guest_681735)
1 year ago

Unrelated but I see the Russian ambassador to London has warned the UK that we are getting too deeply involved in Ukraine. Funny that. I thought the same about Russia. Why exactly have they become embroiled in a war of conquest against a sovereign and democratic country? Because of Mad Vlad the Impaler.
Now is not the time for ANY defence cuts. In fact- opposite- need to invest and build asap.

Robert Billington
Robert Billington (@guest_681740)
1 year ago

What’s the number one maxim in war, to always think the unthinkable…

Craig Wilson
Craig Wilson (@guest_681751)
1 year ago

Will common sense prevail though?

Barry Larking
Barry Larking (@guest_681754)
1 year ago

There is no shortage of money in the U.K. economy. This a wealthy country. Unpaid and uncollected taxes would more than fill the gaps for defence spending.

Lazy, lazy thinking is all these people know.

peter french
peter french (@guest_681816)
1 year ago

Ere arguing over a couple of thousand as though its a major move Utter nonsence if we have to have a effective Army we should taliking multiples of that,
Its a joke

Bill
Bill (@guest_681817)
1 year ago

What a load of old bollocks. Hang your head in shame Wallace.

Roy
Roy (@guest_681874)
1 year ago
Reply to  Bill

The UK has made a series of bad choices over the past twenty years to salami slice cuts across the armed forces. Strategic choices have been avoided in favor of an 18-ship major combatant fleet, the capacity to deploy nothing more than 1500-person “battlegroups” in eastern Europe and an RAF with fewer than a dozen fast jet sqaudrons. At the same time, domestic spending (and foreign aid) has been allowed to grow to the point where there is now a 40 billion pound hole and a massive national debt. Efforts to close that hole in years past have been unsuccessful… Read more »

David Steeper
David Steeper (@guest_681877)
1 year ago
Reply to  Roy

And all while spending £48,000,000,000 per year.
🤔

Last edited 1 year ago by David Steeper
Grizzler
Grizzler (@guest_681882)
1 year ago

If they all took a 50% pay cut we could have twice as many soldiers..I for one think it’s disgraceful squadies can’t see that and only think of their pay and not defending the UK. What is this country coming to…

Chris
Chris (@guest_682250)
1 year ago
Reply to  Grizzler

Service personnel get paid a pittance and always have done. Based on data on the Army website, a typical Private earns around £21,424 a year and a Sergeant earns £37,198 a year. If a 50% pay cut was introduced as you suggest, who in their right mind would want to join up for the chance to earn a starting wage of a mere £10,712 a year? bear in mind also that according to nurses.co.uk, the average wage of a UK nurse is somewhere around the £33,000 to £35,000 a year mark. And they are striking because they say it isn’t… Read more »

Richard Beedall
Richard Beedall (@guest_681916)
1 year ago

As Wallace hints, its madness to let the Treasury set the numerical strength of the British Army. It harks back to when the Treasury set the tonnage of new classes of RN warships – most notoriously setting the displacement of the CVA-01 aircraft carrier at no more than the existing HMS Eagle, i.e. 55,000 tons standard. The MoD is surely going to also have to rethink how many tanks it needs. The Ukraine war shows that whilst they are vulnerable when misused. they also an essential element of both defence and offensive operations. The T72 is a late 1960’s design… Read more »

AlbertStarburst
AlbertStarburst (@guest_681948)
1 year ago

…and not able to design and build any more – only rely on foreign-owned “dogs-of-war” companies. I believe I read the other day that the UK can no longer produce, anywhere, its own gun barrels either.

My Thumb is up 👍 for a pure UK designed & built Super-Chally 4 to also help re-generate British industry in a post-Covid 21st Century with new awareness of world threats, now that the Putin-appeasement era is over.

Graham
Graham (@guest_682744)
1 year ago

Given that we don’t get Chally 3 until 2030, then Chally 4 would not arrive until 2050 to 2060!

CaptainHook
CaptainHook (@guest_681946)
1 year ago

Soon Brexit Britain will have no army at all. The fishermen will be the last line of defence against Putin’s Russia.

Frank62
Frank62 (@guest_681956)
1 year ago

Hmm. Defence on the cheap usually ends up in the loss of the state. Myopically suicidal idiocy. By cheap, I mean of course just cutting financial backing rather than getting the best value for money considering the realities of threat & capabilities needed. “Reducing the pay envelope” sounds like disgusting pay cuts for those at the sharp end getting killed/maimed/wounded/traumatised. Pay & conditions should be improved there, not made worse. We should wake up to the reality that Western democracy is facing an exitential threat from China. The whole world order is being subverted & easily played. China is being… Read more »

Ryan Brewis
Ryan Brewis (@guest_686257)
1 year ago

Aren’t we at risk of getting bogged down in numbers? Is it 73,000 or 75,000 or 80/90/100 thousand etc et al. Fine, yes, the Army could do with a size increase. But what’s going to be more capable, 75k strong and well equipped or 100k and not? We aren’t going to be able to sustain any sort of heavy casualties, so aiming for that as a capability is surely pointless. Better to get the force we have armed to the teeth then look at expanding, no?

john christmas
john christmas (@guest_699003)
1 year ago

What a stupid thing for Wallace to say, wouldn’t be enough to fill a football stadium.

The British Armed Forces are now defunct. Old equipment, not enough personnel, not enough electronic and personnel to controll them. Not enough ships or submarines, not enough fighter aircraft and scant drones

SO WHY BOTHER WITH ANY OF IT? ITS ALL A FACADE TOTALLY POINTLESS.

john christmas
john christmas (@guest_785164)
3 months ago

Have to ask the very real question, why do we have a Army,poor RAF and scrambling Navy -if the politicians are set on cuts, why bother at all, why not just give it all up and surrender here and now? What we have right now is pathetic