General Ben Hodges, commander of the US Army in Europe, has said that he was worried that British forces were already stretched too far.
This comes not long after we reported that, according to the Annual Assurance Report released by the Defence Safety Authority, the majority of overseas helicopter training exercises have been cut due to costs.
The report identified “significant resource pressures across the Department, which are likely to lead to further changes to organisations and potentially outputs, owing to activity reductions”.
The General was quoted in the Financial Times as saying:
“British forces have global commitments right now. Any reduction in capability means you cannot sustain those commitments. That creates a gap.
I don’t know what the magic number is, but I do know that we need the capability that the British army provides, and any reduction in that causes a problem for the alliance as well as for the United States.”
Hodges served as a battalion executive officer with the 101st Airborne before becoming Aide-de-camp to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe in August 1995. He became a battalion commander in the 101st Airborne in 1997. He was Congressional Liaison Officer at the Office of the Chief of Legislative Liaison between 1999 and 2000.
After graduating from the National War College in 2001, Hodges served at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk. Taking command of the 1st Brigade of the 101st Airborne in 2002, Hodges led the brigade in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
No long ago, American Colonel Dan Sullivan said cuts to the Royal Marines and the loss of two amphibious assault ships would change the military relationship between the US and UK.
“My message is to articulate how important having that capability in our partner is.
And how damaging I think it would be if our most important coalition partner potentially takes the hits that are projected right now. If you want to be decisive you have to be able to project power ashore at some point.
From a military standpoint as the UK continues to diminish and as the Royal Marines in particular take a hit, I think that our view of what we will be able to do together in the future changes.”