British army cuts made 3 years ahead of schedule
Iran Press TV
Wed Jul 29, 2015 1:40PM
Senior UK military figures argue that army personnel cuts have already been made, three years ahead of schedule, and without proper reservist numbers.
Over the last few years of austerity government cuts to the British military have proven controversial. When the last announcement of cuts of over 20,000 army staff was made, there was an outcry from some ranks in the military.
These cuts were supposed to be made gradually, while reservists were recruited to fill the gap. But while the reservist targets have not been met, it has been revealed that then full cuts of over 20,000 personnel have already been made, three years ahead of schedule.
But instead of this target being applauded, there has been criticism of the accelerated cuts.
Former commander Richard Kemp, a commander of British forces in Afghanistan, has said, 'To have already made the cuts by 2015, it shows confusion and targets that don't match up... it doesn't mean it's a good thing. The whole plan was to cover the gaps with reservists, but if you've not achieved that then it must mean that we have got deficiencies. Not only does that cause us concern about how we govern our people, but it is also the message we are sending to our enemies. That kind of message always shows aggression towards us.'
This sentiment is echoed across the ranks in the military although officially the Ministry of Defence says the army does have the manpower it needs. Official figures show that there are currently 81,700 full time soldiers in the army, down from 102,260 in 2010.
While the cuts have been controversial, so too have been plans to fill the gap with reservists. The official target is to increase the number of reservists from 19,000 to 30,000 by 2019. But as of April 2015, there were only 21,030 trained reservists with only 1,000 being brought on board in one year. At this rate, the army will be short of 5,000 reservists by the 2019 target.
Last year, MPs on the parliamentary defence select committee warned that these shortages, as well as shortages in nurses, intelligence officers and qualified engineers, were leaving the military vulnerable.
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