Home News Chief of the Defence Staff warns Britain faces ‘gathering storm’ of threats
Soldiers on a Challenger 2 Tank

Chief of the Defence Staff warns Britain faces ‘gathering storm’ of threats

Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Chief of the Defence Staff, warned that Britain must ‘evolve, modernise and adapt’ to cope with budget cuts.

In an interview with Sky, Sir Stuart said:

“There is a gathering storm (with) the combination of the expression of terrorism across the globe, with state-on-state competition which is the reality before us, with the outlaw activity by regimes such as the North Korean regime, then you can see that sense of darkness.”

This comes amid reports that officials are considering cutting 1,000 Royal Marines as they try to deal with a gap in funding of between £20 billion and £30 billion over the next decade.

Two amphibious assault ships are also reportedly under threat.

MoD figures showed 78,407 full-time and fully trained troops, compared with the government’s target of 82,000.

Sir Stuart said:

“I would be absolutely wrong to say we don’t have an issue with recruiting. We are 4,000 below. That’s a matter of public record and we’re doing all we can to improve.”


  1. £20 to £30 billion over a decade? The first priority of the Government is defence of the realm. Why not simply increase income tax. Money in its self it’s not always the answer but I for one would happily pay more income tax so we could have well run and well resourced services including defence.

  2. Of course we adapt to the new set of circumstances and one of those is saying we can no undertake missions that were part of our core capability set.

    The politicians must realise if they cut budgets then they cut capability and they must take ownership of that choice and not expect the military to undertake tasks for which they are not resourced.

    At the end of the day it’s the voters who decide which politicians are in power

    • Unfortunately Mike it the one thing politicans of all colours always do. They refuse to make unpalatable choices and be honest about them. They just provide unsustainable budgets and blame the public servants when it all goes belly up. I could get behind a politician who said. Look you are only willing to pay this much tax, for that you require us to defend, educate, keep you healthy, clean your streets, provide a safety net, control crime etc…… Because of that you are actually going to have to wait this long for your knee op and we are going to have to take these risks with your security ect…..it’s not the fault of the forces if they can’t do a job they are not equipped for or the NHS for making you wait 6 months, it’s our fault for how much we actually pay them and then expect them to do.

      Unfortunately we would never actually vote for the honest politician and as a nation have developed a bit of a something for nothing, I want it now, it’s our right you know mentality.

  3. Mr Peach left me cold.

    Didn’t stand up for anyone; acknowledge current service personnel or explain choices then sold his staff down the river on pay.

    Could have been Fallon speaking

  4. I truly think the ACM’s warnings will fall on deaf ears within government and be seen as another rant by the military brass all the while missing the warning. At some point the constant stream of cutting will come home to roost. Our potential future foes are getting stronger as we willfully allow ourselves to become weak – to the point now that even the US has openly voiced deep concern.

    We have this mistaken belief that we will only ever act as part of a coalition (and by that I mean we will never act without the US). Why should the US have to continually bail us out when we CHOOSE to deplete our military? It’s not that we can’t invest; we simply won’t. Point in kind is that we will have USMC F-35s embarked on QE on her maiden deployment in large part to spare our blushes as we will have precious few of our own on board!

    Government will never change and will only realize the magnitude of such folly when it’s too late. Idiots the lot of them!

  5. I know this will fall on deaf ears but if these warnings by the top brass wont make the government realise what they are doing why dont the top brass and even lower ranking officers threaten to resign on mass
    I know a lot of you on this site think this is stupid of me but to be honest the only way to get things sorted is to demonstrate to the government the enormity of what is happening

  6. Afternoon all
    Like I said in an earlier post look for words like
    “A difficult rebalancing of resources to meet requirements, whilst painful are the right decisions at the right time to align ourselves better to the threats ahead. With an increasing defence budget and committed spend of £178bn we are showing that we can make tough choices, agreed by all the chiefs of defence staff and endorsed by the Prime Minister.
    For those in the armed forces who today have been affected by the rebalance I can assure you that these choices were not taken lightly and we will make sure that the major UK defence industry players are rewarded appropriately with the toys that we are now going to talk about as a slight of hand to hide the traitorous injustice we have just served you.
    Typhoon will get a proper radar (like the Sea Harrier FA2 has 10 years ago)
    Further investments can be made in T26. Plymouth will be the name of the next ship.
    F-35 will get mentioned
    New submarines will get mentioned again
    T-31e will report the first of many slight cost increases based on re-evaluation of requirements and something to do with the £$ exchange rate and Brexit.
    2nd carrier will get talked about, people will point at it and smile

    I could go on but I don’t want to sound like a cynical veteran crammed on a commuter train on his way home

    • Sadly I agree. Flowery spin from MoD.
      Even back in 1995 with Front Line First they then cut the front line, and waved a few Carrots in the air.
      One such Carrot, BVRAAM, is not even in service yet!

    • i really hope this is good news and the S of S is pushing for more funds. Could just be that he doesn’t feel he can make decisions on cuts at the moment as he is new in the job.

  7. There are 4 groups of people in this country.
    1. The general public who only learn of military matters when sensationalist stories hit the top of the popular press. They generally don’t like what they read and think the government are not doing a good enough job.
    2. Blog readers who study the military and also think the government are not doing good enough job.
    3. The government and serving senior officiers who say everything is fine.
    4. Retired senior officiers who say the government is not doing a good enough job.
    Stuart Peach is a 3, but soon to be a 4.

  8. There are 2As) bloggers who actually read history, study military weapons, capabilities and tactics and have a history of serving in or with the military and there are 2Bs) bloggers that like to think they know about the military, weapons programmes and procurement but actually have zero knowledge or expertise.
    There is also 6) Russian, North Korean or Chinese 5th columnists like TH. Who like to belittle and downgrade the UK and try to prevent the British lion roaring again. Do not worry though the nice men from MI5 and MI6 will be coming round to see you soon…knock knock on your door TH.

  9. The threats & risks increase but HMG continues to cut MOD budgets. There will be money for the MP salary rise well above inflation whilst the rest of the public servants get 1%.

    The only thing difficult in the choices HMG makes is how to sell it to a gullible public & how to cope with their hypocrisy, cynicism & reckless endangerment of the nation & servicemen.
    Who in parliament will beat the drum for the forces?

      • @Daniele
        Thank god, Farage is frankly Putin’s fellow traveller and has done enormous harm to the Uk as it is. He is not a serious politician (just look at his perfomances
        in the EU parliament, truly they make you ashamed to be British).
        best Tim

        • Will have to disagree there Tim.

          I think his performances in the EU Parliament are sensational, saying exactly what many think, telling EU “Presidents” who no one has ever heard of or even voted for exactly where their corruption and folly lies, and he has more common sense, charisma, patriotism, and loyalty to our nation in his big toe than all the rest of the mainstream parties charlatans put together.

          I also add that as UKIP won the European Elections he is doing rather well telling the EU what for and exposing the EU for what it is.

          Now I know you are totally the opposite view on this to me, I have read your pro EU writings here and enjoyed also reading Chris shoot down every one of your pro EU arguments, so no point in us debating.

          But you really picked the wrong poster to put down Nigel Farage to, you really did.
          No hard feelings.

  10. I have to ask where is the leadership in all this, we have decimated a military that not only provides high quality workers to the private sector, whilst supporting some of the most deprived areas of the UK with work in manufacturing or supporting bases. Not to forget those people from poor backgrounds where the military changes their lives forever and gives them an opportunity to “escape”.

    There is something to be said about the importance of the military in the UK that isn’t just about them protecting us from enemies, it is actually integral in maintaining our culture and for me worth every penny.

    Time to place the foreign aid budget on hold for 5 years and assign this funding to Education and Defence.

    2.5% minimum commitment to GDP is now required for Defence – as it is clearly unfair for the burden of the nuclear deterrent to have been placed into the defence budget on top of all the other cuts.

    Post Brexit this commitment can fund a larger defence force, increased manufacturing in the UK and secure those communities that will otherwise be decimated by this lack of investment.

    Lastly, The MOD really needs to get a grip and sort itself out once and for all and make sure this extra money has tangible benefits and does not sink into a black hole.

    Better PR with the public is also a must, perhaps using Forces TV to come up with a range of TV episodes/series that have forces participation. The US military is excellent at this and so must ours.

    • Morning
      Before the budget is increased MoD has to prove it can properly allocate the money it is already awarded. MoD reports underspend year on year so it is very difficult to go to Treasury and ask for more.
      You are correct WRT deterrent though, needs to be taken back out of the settlement

  11. Yes, there is a serious problem with non-commissioned recruitment across all three services. A number of issues that have been highlighted before but a number haven’t. The youth of today are not stupid and are very much of the opinion of: “If I do this what can I get out of it?” There is no doubt over their capabilities or their duty to do what is required when the time comes – Afghan being a prime example of the valour and courage that they have displayed.

    As it stands these are the issues that I think are part of the recruitment but also the retention problem:

    1. There is no incentive to join the forces.
    2. The military engineering apprenticeship schemes have been too watered down to speed up pushing recruits through the door.
    3. No final salary pension.
    4. Substandard accommodation.
    5. No deployment benefits only approved operational deployments.
    6. Limited educational development (limited financial help).
    7. No benefits for spouses.
    8. Pay below national average.
    9. Working alongside contractors who are doing the same work on at least double the wage for less responsibility.

    If we look at our brothers across the pond, their method of recruitment is no different to ours, but there career development is clearly laid out and there are a number of enticements to get people through the door. For instance:

    1. Medical and Dental benefits for spouses and family are paid for.
    2. Education is fully paid for.
    3. On deployments, the State pays for mortgages.
    4. On deployments, they get paid additional bonuses irrespective of the classification of the deployment.

    To entice more recruits to not only get through the door but to stay in longer than basic training, we need to rethink their whole employment strategy and give them something they desire. How about:

    1. Tax incentives at home and deployed.
    2. Medical and dental care for spouses and children.
    3. Investment in housing and accommodation.
    4. Education paid for.
    5. Change to the Pension scheme.
    6. Industry approved apprenticeship training and licensing.

    Until, politicians and senior ranks stop viewing junior ranks as parts of a sausage factory and give them some incentive to join and stay, we will still continue to suffer recruiting sufficient numbers and retain those already serving.

  12. Lee and Dave

    Totally agree with both your comments – it is clearly a complex issue and I am an advocate of a single USMC/IDF/ADF force structure with fully audited accounts (like the USMC). I am pretty good with numbers and it seems to me that double counting occurs on support/maintenance and infrastructure line items.

    I also think 8 super bases that can each hold a single division (20k troops) and their families are invested in (we already probably have 4) so that investment in infrastructure, homes and facilities can be targeted correctly and raised to the highest standard in the UK – Mildenhall offers us the opportunity to do this in Norfolk now and would seem to be a no brainer to me.

    Lots to be done – but it needs to be led and we have no leaders at this point in time

    • Good points made by all. A worthy & worthwhile military career demands proper reward for putting your neck on the line.

      Mildenhall is actually in Suffolk btw.


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