The Sunday Times has reported that the British Army is set to be reduced to a target size of 70,000 by 2030.
An excerpt from this article states.
“The size of the army will be drastically reduced, with personnel to be cut by 10,000 by 2024 and a further 2,500 by 2030, to a target size of 70,000. “
You can read more by visiting the original source here.
When this was last touted, former defence minister Lord Robathan said the plan was “bonkers”.
In a House of Lords debate he said:
“I follow what the noble Lord, Lord Campbell, said because I fear that the reduction people have been speaking about—the plans to cut the army to a ceiling of 72,000—are true. Now, this is nuts. It is completely bonkers. I would like to quote Kim Darroch, who was our ambassador in the United States and is now the noble Lord, Lord Darroch. He was addressing a defence committee recently, and I thank the right honourable John Spellar for pointing this out to me. The noble Lord, Lord Darroch, said:
‘I would be really worried about reducing further the size of the British Army. I say that in part on the basis of my experience in Washington. I would go into the Department of Defense and occasionally to see General Mattis myself or to take people in to see him and his predecessor under the Obama Administration. One of the things that both would say consistently is, ‘You are already too small—in terms of your Army. I mean, 80,000 just isn’t good enough. You need to be above 100,000. It is a big mistake to reduce to the level you are at. For goodness’ sake, do not go down any further and expect to retain your current level of credibility in Washington.’
Those are powerful words from a noble Lord who sits as a Cross-Bencher, not as a Conservative.
The current coronavirus crisis shows the need for manpower—perhaps we call it people power in these politically correct days—in helping to organise the Nightingale hospitals, as my noble friend mentioned, and for the vaccinations that are still being done through military personnel. I think we used to call it military aid to civil authority. You need a disciplined force for that, and as an insurance policy to cope with the unexpected. By the way, we are about to face rocketing unemployment levels, so recruitment should become easier. We do not want to add to that unemployment.”
A spokesperson for the MoD said:
“Last November the Prime Minister announced the biggest increase to defence spending since the Cold War. This will underpin the modernisation of the Armed Forces following the conclusions of the Integrated Review, cement our place as a leader in NATO and bring jobs and prosperity to every part of the UK.
The Army will continue to have the numbers and capability required to protect the UK. As the threat changes our Armed Forces must change. Following the record financial settlement, they are being redesigned to confront future threats, not re-fight old wars.”
We will see what happens.