Jan 7 2013
The Armed Forces' ability to protect the nation has diminished "to a perilous degree", former defence chiefs have warned.
Defence cuts are creating gaps in the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force and new investment is needed instead, three former senior officers warn in a new report.
In the report from the UK National Defence Association (UKNDA), named State of the Nation's Armed Forces, co-authors Admiral Lord West, General Sir Michael Rose and Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon present views on all three services, calling for more resources to be ploughed into defence.
UKNDA chief executive Commander John Muxworthy branded defence the "Cinderella of the public services" and a "sacrificial lamb", saying: "The security of the United Kingdom is being severely compromised by the continued swingeing cuts to our Armed Forces."
Writing on the Royal Navy, Admiral Lord West, First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff from 2002 to 2006, said: "The ability of our military to protect the nation from the shock of the unexpected has diminished to a perilous degree", and the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review was the "final nail in the coffin".
The navy is "far from being as robust as the nation has a right to expect", he said, and called for an increase in defence funding to the equivalent of 3% of GDP, which is "vital to the survival and wealth of our nation and people".
Writing on the prospects for the Army, General Sir Michael Rose, who commanded UN forces in Bosnia, said the latest reductions in manpower and an over-reliance on the Territorial Army "could prove fatal".
The military is set to increase its reliance on reserves as the regular Army is slashed by 20,000, accompanying it by a doubling in the number of so-called weekend warriors to 30,000.
"Given the past run-down of the TA including the closure of TA centres, the reduction in man training days and lack of funding for recruitment campaigns, it is clearly not possible to increase the trained manpower of the Reserves in time to compensate for regular soldiers being made redundant," he said.
Former head of the RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon added his concerns for the future of the air force. He said whole capabilities are absent, such as maritime patrol and long range electronic reconnaissance, while the loss of the Harrier GR9 fleet has left the UK with no sea-borne offensive air support.
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-defence(Ministry of Defence)