The Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, has said that he believes the British Army is too small to effectively tackle threats to British interests.

Asked by Soldier Magazine if the conflict in Ukraine has put a spotlight on the size of the British Army said:

“It’s certainly highlighted the fact that mass and size are important. I’m not comfortable with an Army of just 73,000. It’s too small. That was never part of our proposition going into the review. In fact, I was working to direction that we regrow the Army to 82,000 – and we have done that successfully over the past four years.

So being limited to 73,000 people was quite a surprise – and it’s a bit of an arbitrary figure because it’s just a price point. What’s important is that it’s an amalgamation of what we think we can afford and what we can translate into a coherent, balanced capability.”

You can read more of the interview here.

What is the ‘Chief of the General Staff’?

The Chief of the General Staff (CGS) is the professional head of the Army, with responsibility for developing and generating military capability from an integrated Army (Regular and Reserve) and for maintaining the fighting effectiveness, efficiency and morale of the Service.

The CGS reports to the Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) and, as a Service COS, has a right of direct access to the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister. The CGS is a member of the Defence Council and the Army Board, the Armed Forces Committee, the Chiefs of Staff Committee and the Senior Appointments Committee. The Ministry of Defence say here that the Chief of the General Staff:

  • maintains the institutional health of the Army by exercising Full Command responsibility for all Army personnel
  • ensures the efficient and effective governance of the service
  • chairs the Executive Committee of the Army Board and the Army Command Group
  • contributes to the conduct of defence higher level business, with a particular responsibility for providing specialist advice on Army matters
  • develops future Army capability within the context of Defence strategic direction and resource allocation
  • leads the senior management team of the British Army
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. He also works for the NHS. George is on Twitter at @geoallison
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JamesD
JamesD
8 days ago

He’s brave

Grinch
Grinch
8 days ago
Reply to  JamesD

Retiring soon with locked in pension.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  Grinch

Is he? That’s very cynical. I worked for him in Colchester. He is a top officer.

Mark B
Mark B
8 days ago
Reply to  JamesD

It’s his job to speak his mind. It will start a debate and providing he can justify what he needs I think he will get it. It will need to be flexible & adaptable force which makes the best use of existing weaponry & that still on the drawing board. Ask now whilst there is a war in europe – there won’t be a better time.

Last edited 8 days ago by Mark B
RobW
RobW
8 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

He won’t get anything without an increase in budget, which isn’t happening I’m afraid.

Mark B
Mark B
8 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Good thing Carleton-Smith doesn’t give up as easily as you Rob😀It will happen if the Government wants it to happen. This Government is actually quite positive about the military and sees it as part of the solution to a variety pf problems. Carleton-Smith will need stong arguments though as money is tight.

Last edited 8 days ago by Mark B
RobW
RobW
8 days ago
Reply to  Mark B

It’s not me giving up it’s the Chancellor stating that defence had its uplift last year. Sunak has said this several times in interviews since the invasion began. Unless he is moved on in a reshuffle and someone more pro defence replaces him then there will be no uplift. Given the cost of living crisis, the poor economic forecasts, rising interest rates, and that MPs have turned their attention away from defence to these matters, then there isn’t sufficient pressure to change his mind. Comments from a retiring General will have little effect, despite the fact he is right. I’ll… Read more »

Mark B
Mark B
8 days ago
Reply to  RobW

The chancellor is doing his job which is to lower expectations of wage hikes and the Government generally bailing the country out. He will be saying the same thing across government.
If Carleton-Smith has a really strong case then a way will be found to quietly fund what would be a modest amount in the scheme of things. The question is how strong is his case and are there better things to spend the money on in the light of what we have leant in Ukraine?

Martin
Martin
8 days ago
Reply to  JamesD

Wow the head of the army thinks it’s too small, stop the presses. What extra tasking can he do with 82,000 vs 73,000?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Seriously, Martin? You don’t think recovery of 9,000 posts would be significant?
We could conduct an enduring brigade group operation (including National Support Element (NSE) (such as HERRICK) with 82,000.
We could deploy a strong warfighting division with NSE on a 1-shot operation with 82,000 and run at least one small-scale operation elsewhere.

David Flandry
David Flandry
6 days ago
Reply to  Martin

Lets see, 9000 extra equates to almost a brigade. You really don’t know where to put a brigade ?

Jay R
Jay R
8 days ago

Disagree. 73,000 if adequate. I can’t forsee, over the next 20 years, a flashpoint. The reason is simple, the regime change years of Bush and Blair are long gone. We are not going to invade Iran and Syria. And a war with Russia is not going to happen. Where do we imagine these boots on the ground will be required?

Steve
Steve
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

We have been involved in endless small wars, whether it is Balkans, Iraq, afgan etc. No question we will have to deploy again at some point, the whole global britian rubbish means we will follow the Us into whatever war they get involved. We need to be able to long term deploy 20k troops, which it has been proven we don’t have the numbers for

Nick Cole
Nick Cole
8 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Yup!

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
8 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Agree, we need more and with the best equipment available to safeguard them as much as we possibly can.

Russ
Russ
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Fair enough. But surely you’ve heard the phrases “history repeating” and “never say never”? A defence budget should programme in the unlikely and unforseeable changes in circumstances over a reasonable period. Otherwise we are forever preparing for the past. “Peace Dividend” anyone?

Nick Cole
Nick Cole
8 days ago
Reply to  Russ

exactly.

Marked
Marked
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

What on earth do you call the events in Ukraine then?

Jay R
Jay R
8 days ago
Reply to  Marked

A justification for a smaller army if you are in nato. Nato soil is immune to russia

Jonno
Jonno
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

What about Putin’s trouble makers in Africa and Syria etc? You think that’s not confrontation with Russia? Lots of lazy members of NATO. Hard to see your logic with NATO’s borders about to double in length.

Dern
Dern
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

NATO soil is immune to Russia because a) NATO has a much stronger military than Russia and b) NATO has a nuclear deterrent. If you neglect A) you have to rely much more on B) which makes the situation much more precarious.

Darren hall
Darren hall
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

I think you are playing the Devils advocate…..

grizzler
grizzler
8 days ago
Reply to  Darren hall

I think hes a subversive element tbh.

Darren hall
Darren hall
8 days ago
Reply to  grizzler

Too true…😪

grizzler
grizzler
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

oh thats OK then …why don’t you write to Sir Mark and let him know – Im sure he will be so relieved his concerns are unfounded.

Daveyb
Daveyb
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

It doesn’t matter, where or with whom a future conflict is with. That is and has always been a significant failing of politicians and the public at large throughout our past and recent history. They simply do not understand how modern warfare is fought, believing the Battle of Britain spirit will see us through! With today’s technology that is certainly no longer the case. Against a peer opponent, whether fighting alone or as part of a larger NATO collective. A major conflict may only last weeks to a month. Therefore, what does matter is that the UK has an Army,… Read more »

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
8 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

So around 200K like we had back in 1990 ?

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago

No. That was an army configured for the Cold War in central Europe. We need a regular army of 120K.

Frank62
Frank62
7 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Yep, c100k to 130k to ever be in a realistic situation to stand our ground. I’d say 100k for our population, wealth, interests & commitments should be an absolute minimum. Excessive cutting only enables & encourages the likes of Putin.

Bill watson
Bill watson
5 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Cold wars back mate with a vengeance!

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  Bill watson

OK, lets bring back 1 (BR) Corps and RAFG in Germany!

Trouble is our politicos have not made one statement about increased defence spend since Russia invaded, not even in Sunak’s recent budget – no votes in Defence!

Keith Hitchman
Keith Hitchman
17 hours ago

Totally agree with you. We need more troops more than ever in these troubled times

steve
steve
8 days ago
Reply to  Daveyb

Excellent piece Davey, spot on.

How do we get you on to the ‘commons select defense committee’?!

John Williams
John Williams
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

The Far East South: China Sea, Taiwan

Jay R
Jay R
8 days ago
Reply to  John Williams

Naval, and air force wars.

Dern
Dern
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Irrelevant if you can’t eventually put boots on the ground.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 days ago
Reply to  Dern

Agree, a modern war needs, navel,air,ground,space and cyber assets you cannot fail to have the right force level for each domain and expect to win.

The Big Man
The Big Man
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

I think many people forget that the Army (and all the other services) are not staffed by 100% fighty people. There are so many roles that keep any organisation running that the ones at the sharp end either directly or indirectly rely on. Currently on the British Army website there are 102 roles described which has to be spread across the 73,000 personnel. Clearly not evenly spread. Add to that leave time, training, sickness, compassionate leave etc and the numbers start to look absolutely shocking and worrying. Below is the list of roles taken from the website, some are not… Read more »

Jacko
Jacko
8 days ago
Reply to  The Big Man

Let’s not forget that every one of those jobs above needs the soldier to do his basic training which includes weapons and tactics before he/she
starts their trade training!

The Big Man
The Big Man
8 days ago
Reply to  Jacko

Appreciate that. My point was that when you look at all the support staff (I do not use the term in a derogatory way) you have a very diluted final fighting number.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  The Big Man

Exactly. Only 25% of the army is Infantry.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

That’s the point no one can truly for-see the flash points. But at the moment geopolitics, resource requirements, the rise of Mercantilism and global warming are getting to a point where the whole world will become a flash point. I differ from you I cannot really see a future where we are not in at least one major war within the the next 20 years and a shed load of small interventions. If anyone thinks at countries will be doing anything other than fighting for their lives over the next half decade they have seem a different world and read… Read more »

ExcalibursTemplar
ExcalibursTemplar
8 days ago
Reply to  Jonathan

Spot on

Bringer of facts
Bringer of facts
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

It is not just about deployment its about deterence. Countries that have a hostile attitude towards the UK (e.g Iran )are emboldened by seeing our armed forces cut.

Last edited 8 days ago by Bringer of facts
Frank62
Frank62
7 days ago

Exactly. The weaker the richest nations become, the more inviting attacking them becomes.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Jay, I bet no-one in 1980 foresaw the Falklands Conflict, and no-one in 1988 foresaw Gulf War 1, etc etc. We had up to 21,000 soldiers in NI on Op Banner – unforeseen. How could anyone foresee the next 20 years? The army has been on deployed operations almost continuously for the last 300 years, but less so since the end of HERRICK, I grant you. How can you doubt that boots on the ground in some quantity will not be required? We have quite a few boots on the ground right now all over the world, not necessarily in… Read more »

Allan
Allan
8 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

War To End All Wars.

Robert Billington
Robert Billington
6 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

Agreed, we need larger airforce and navy more gran a large army, let the landlocked countries use theirs first!

David Flandry
David Flandry
6 days ago
Reply to  Jay R

In 1920 who could foresee what the next 20 would bring? You don’t know anything that will, either.

ChariotRider
ChariotRider
8 days ago

No s**t Sherlock! We probably already have a significant portion of our land combat power deployed very thinly across a number of countries in Eastern Eaurope ‘reasuring’ NATO allies. I have felt for a long time that even 82,000 is way too small, however, I doubt the army has managed to be able to retain / recruit enough people to reach even that modest strength in ‘normal’ time. Although, perhaps things have improved during COVID and now with Putin throwing his weight around in Ukraine? Whatever, the actual level of the army’s strength the target strength has been too for… Read more »

Dern
Dern
8 days ago

That’s great, but the practical truth right now is 73,000 funded, equipped and trained, or more personnel with less of the first three. And as the Russuabs have shown, prioritising numbers over training and equipment isn’t a winning proposition either.

Shep 030
Shep 030
8 days ago

When was the last time anyone saw an Army recruitment advert on the telly? (The last one I saw involved a bunch of soldiers on patrol having to wait until one of the team finishes praying, before moving on).

David Steeper
8 days ago

The entire AFV fleet with the exception of Challenger needs complete replacement thanks to the gross incompetence of his predecessors. That should be the rational objective for the Army leadership.

Gavin Gordon
Gavin Gordon
8 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

My thought entirely.
Cheers

steve
steve
7 days ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Afraid the current fleet of Challengers need to be replaced too, and not at the rate of 2 for 3 as per current plan, but 1 for 1. Challenger 3 sounds like it would be pretty good if it were coming into service now, but by 2030 it probably won’t look so good! In an ideal world Challenger 3 would be nothing more than a stop gap until the replacement for the M1 or Leopard comes along, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are on the scene before the Challenger 3.. Still, not to worry, our masters now best,… Read more »

Sisyphus
Sisyphus
8 days ago

If it’s a bit of a surprise to him – the head of the army – then who made the decision for this ‘arbitary’ figure? I fully expect – that once Ukraine prevail over Putin – that our treasury will demand a ‘peace dividend’ and cut the army further. I despair.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  Sisyphus

The head of the army (CGS) never ever sets the Establishment figure. That is the remit of politicians.

Nick Cole
Nick Cole
8 days ago

It isn’t a case of what we can afford (basically to allow reduced taxation), but a case of what we need. Need and capability are the paramount factors. Given that it takes time to train, and even more time nowadays to produce equipment and arms it is essential that the core is capable of an effective defence while reserves and manufacturing get uo to speed. This is also where outsourcing stuff to other countries, China in particular, is foolhardy. The only way of providing any service is to ensure there is sufficient manpower and that is the fundamental reason why… Read more »

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
8 days ago
Reply to  Nick Cole

The Armed Forces are looked at as nothing more than an expense. As has been the case for many years now, bean counters are in charge, and their remit is ‘every cost’ is up to them to decide. So an Army of 72-73,000 is just an expense on a spreadsheet, and an easy target for ‘alteration’.

Until this mindset improves. the Armed forces, (especially the least favoured at the time) will continue to be prone to budget cuts, and shortages. Things have been this way since the 1980’s.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  Tom Keane

The army has been cut once or twice a decade since the end of the Korean War.

Andrew
Andrew
8 days ago

During times of peace and stability the Army should not fall below 100,000. That should be enough to adequately assist with domestic or international natural disasters, peacekeeping, small conflicts, maintain a varied skills base and not so small that it will take decades to build up to a decent force in case we need to.

During times of uncertainty and definitely in the case where we are waging a proxy war then we ought to be looking at 120,000+. Of course troop numbers isn’t everything, the numbers needs to be in addition to decent kit. It shouldn’t be an either/or.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Options for Change (1990) reduced the army to a new figure for the post-Cold War era – down to 120,000.

Tom Keane
Tom Keane
8 days ago

Nothing new there then, other than a ‘new bigwig’ telling re-confirming what we already know.

Stu
Stu
8 days ago

“it’s a bit of an arbitrary figure because it’s just a price point.” – It’s my belief that this is the key to it all. When a business set’s about a task/forecast/business plan, it looks first to what it wants to achieve, then what it will take to achieve this and then how much it will cost. Then make a decision as to execution or not (cost/benefit etc.). We seem to have slipped into a position over time where we spend 2% of GDP (or inflate our budget to make it look that way!) & then go about figuring out… Read more »

Last edited 8 days ago by Stu
Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 days ago

Is he retireing yet??!

Going round in circles at HMGs behest. Why not stand up to them and make a stink?
Oh, pension, and cosy consultancy job for the MIC incoming?

Challenger
Challenger
8 days ago

Easy to say when you’re halfway out the flipping door mate!

Real courage and backbone would have been to challenge some of this publicly years ago!

That aside the obsession with raw numbers clouds the fact that The Army need to get a LOT better as utilizing the resources it has first!

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
8 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

He’s been there long enough to be an architect of future soldier reducing supports while hanging on to every last infantry battalion.
4 BCT has none without the reserve.
The Army needs deployable effective brigades, be that from 73,000 or 82,000. Thats the priority, not just numbers.
And a RA massively improved.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 days ago

Agree

John Clark
John Clark
8 days ago

Absolutely Daniele, it’s hard to take someone seriously who’s been fully part of the future Soldier strategy…

So easy to say ‘ you’re all a bunch of bast*rds’ as you head for door with your carriage clock and cardboard box.

We’ve seen it so many times before, yes men climbing the greasy pole, suddenly find their voice when the golf course is in sight…

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  Challenger

Years ago, he was not CGS!

andy
8 days ago

if they keep trying to make up the main numbers with reserves we will be no better than the Russian military now, we need a secure full time army that lives and trains day in day out, ie train hard fight easy, reserves can be good but only get to train certain days and times as most of them have full time day jobs, so playing saturday and sunday is not great, when it was the TA we were short manned for bosnia, we were asking for volunteers from other battalions to make up the numbers, a lot of TA… Read more »

Steve
Steve
8 days ago

It is pretty unusual for a non retired senior military member to talk about lack of anything. Normally they wait until they retire and then complain, after they have their pension and promotions all sorted. Credit to the guy, even if it won’t get picked up by the media as they are too busy with latest celebrity story and therefore won’t result in any change. There is a minor chance that a big boost is now planned and he already knows about it and so is talk ahead of it, so he can praise the government after, and ensure his… Read more »

Last edited 8 days ago by Steve
John Hartley
John Hartley
8 days ago

Well the events in Ukraine, have shown that all those Army bits HMG thought it did not need any more, in fact it does. Tanks, Artillery, Shorad, armed drones, helicopters. Cutting the UK Army below 80,000 is HM Treasury madness.

PaulW
PaulW
8 days ago

If the UK are committed to NATO then the British army (and the UK armed forces in general) needs the capacity to reinforce Europe. So who’s left defending UK national boundaries? Currently UK armed forces do not have the capacity to do both effectively. Ask yourselves, if your armed forces are out-of-country, do you feel safe sitting at home?
Those that don’t agree work for the treasury and know only of money. Those that agree are likely to have experienced real combat.

JamesD
JamesD
8 days ago
Reply to  PaulW

White

JamesD
JamesD
8 days ago
Reply to  JamesD

While I want a bigger army there is no threat of invasion to the UK mainland and probably won’t be in our lives

John Hartley
John Hartley
8 days ago
Reply to  JamesD

Invaded every day by dinghy. What if some are hostile & come armed?

JamesD
JamesD
8 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

And the army are doing what to stem that exactly? Nothing because it isn’t their job. Stay on topic nigel

John Hartley
John Hartley
8 days ago
Reply to  JamesD

Do you think a police armed response team could deal with a dozen+ ISIS/Daesh armed with Kalashnikovs, grenades, RPGs, PKMs, Manpads, running amok in Kent?

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

No, but CTPSFOs might. And the det of the CRW Wing of 22 SAS that sits in London for the purpose.
They can respond very quickly, the intelligence apparatus exists for that.

Jonathan
Jonathan
8 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

HADs Heavyweight Attack dingy’s

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
8 days ago
Reply to  PaulW

Perhaps the Reserve Army can envisage two roles – 1. Reinforce the Reg Army on very major expeditionary operations and 2. Lead on Military Home Defence.
They might need to be a bit bigger than 30,000.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

In the 2000s the Infantry Battalions of the TA were placed in the CCRF, Civil Contingencies Reaction Force I think it was called? For that purpose.

Of course it died a death very quickly.

In the Cold War the TA included the HSF, older recruits to guard KPs.

Some contingency will still exist.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
7 days ago
Reply to  PaulW

No threat of invasion in any number. If there are incidents with an enemy, either SF or terrorists, then plenty of army units won’t be deployed at any one time, including various CT elements from all arms, RS, RE, RLC, AAC, assisting UKSF with CRW and MCT Sqn permanently available in the UK. Add to that as well MDP, civilian CTP, civilian armed police, armed civil nuclear constabulary, the numerous garrisons of the Army, the Army Reserve, the list is endless. At Andover is SJC ( UK ) AD CT&UK Ops to respond to any incident and respond to requests… Read more »

Andrew D
8 days ago

The Iraq and Afghanistan war told us the Army had got to small but HMG love saveing money 💰

Steve
Steve
8 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Not really about saving money as HMG spends more than it earns, it’s about where that money goes. I’m just not sure where that is considering the NHS has less beds now than it did pre pandemic.

John Clark
John Clark
8 days ago
Reply to  Andrew D

I guess it’s simply down to cutting your cloth to suit your budget…

If we are going to remain on the high tech, low personnel numbers road, then we have to stay clear of any operations of an enduring nature, requiring more than 1,800 troops.

Our job is going to be to kick the door in and clear the way for others to put boots on the ground in quantity.

Steve
Steve
8 days ago

I’m surprised there hasnt been much talk about the new US army weapon calibre and what the move away from the NATO standard means to the SA80.

John Clark
John Clark
8 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Initially Steve, absolutely nothing. The limited issue of Colt Canada M16 derivatives and the rolling A3 upgrade of the L85 keeps the show on the road. The US is going to slowly roll out 6.8x51mm for the Sig M5 and new support weapon. They will also retain 5.56mm for second line duties for the foreseeable future too. 6.8×51 is an interesting round, very high pressure. I’m hoping we simply start to introduce the M5 later in the decade. By then the kinks will have been worked out. The rifle and sight combination will be a real game changer, allowing an… Read more »

Steve
Steve
8 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

We should be making our own assessment of the new rifle now and deciding if to tag onto the US order, as let’s face it we would get significant economy of scale savings if we join the US rather than waiting and placing our own much smaller order.

There was a lot of reports of western troops getting outranged in Iraq/afgan, which is clearly an issue.

Last edited 8 days ago by Steve
John Clark
John Clark
7 days ago
Reply to  Steve

I would agree, but I would just hold back a tad and let Uncle Sam work out the kinks…

But after that, order in quantity and roll them out across the Armed forces.

John Hartley
John Hartley
6 days ago
Reply to  John Clark

Did the UK order 1000 AR15 in the late 60s, a decade before NATO adoption, just to get experience of 5.56. Might be a good idea to order 1000x 6.8×51 guns now, for proper evaluation.

John Clark
John Clark
6 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

I would certainly agree to a limited buy for trials, perhaps 200 to be dished out to SF/ RM and Para units for field trials and a proper heads up… I wonder what the French think having started to re- equip their Armed forces with HK 416’s! Behind the curve guys🤣🤣 Looks like we made the right decision (for once) to go full on ‘Triggers broom’ with the L85A3 rebuild programme and kick the can down the road a little longer…. Re our 1960’s AR buy, we actually used them in combat before the Americans in the Far East and… Read more »

Stc
Stc
7 days ago

Well, Jay R, I admire your confidence. With what’s going on at the moment I think a bookmaker would have quite low odds on a war with Russia, especially their media whipping up anti UK feeling. The danger is that Putin has started that ball rolling and in the end he may lose control and feel he has to do something.
Our chief military should always be able to speak their minds, on strictly military matters, in a democracy.

Frank62
Frank62
7 days ago

Stating the blindingly obvious. Apart from our 2 carriers & nuclear deterrent, Putin & Xi must be delighted how weak our forces are.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago
Reply to  Frank62

Is the RAF so very weak?

John Hartley
John Hartley
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

Well it had 400+ combat jets in the 1970s.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
6 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

That was Cold War and we spent up to 5% of GDP on Defence. Those jets were not as capable as today’s. The RAF has good equipment in its inventory, mostly very modern and/or upgraded. Many lament the loss of C-130s, but overall there is surely a lot of punch, sustainment and reach.

Last edited 6 days ago by Graham Moore
John Hartley
John Hartley
6 days ago
Reply to  Graham Moore

The Vulcan could reach a lot further & we had 70 of them, back then. Also the RAF was a nuclear force then with its WE177. Again not now.

Graham Moore
Graham Moore
5 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

John, We can all indulge in nostalgia. I remember when we had a Corps of 4 armoured divisions in Germany, 900 tanks in the inventory, nuclear artillery (tube and rockets), a division-equivalent in NI and plenty more brigades of troops in the light role in GB – plus what was ‘Out of Area’.
However, surely today the RAF could still bring a lot to the party? 101 Typhoon, 23 F-35B etc

David Flandry
David Flandry
6 days ago

He is right. He will be ignored.

bill masen
bill masen
3 days ago

Should never have scrapped the BAOR and UKLF, cut them down a bit OK, but 73,000 all arms is simply a joke, It leaves in practical terms about 20,000 combat troops. I think 100,000 all arms would be sensible in part as we are now seeing that in the age of the autonomous anti armour munitions and drones plus guided anti armour munitions that armour is now critically vulnerable. So we need a lot more heavy and light Inf , plus mech inf