February 2, 2015


After years of military cuts, can Britain still defend itself? (Con Coughlin, 02 Feb 2015, The Telegraph)

At the height of the Cold War, there was no shortage of aircraft and warships to keep foes like the Russians at bay. The RAF boasted more than 30 combat squadrons; the Army was more than twice its current size; and the Royal Navy had more than 50 warships, as well as two fully operational aircraft carriers.

But that was before a succession of governments - both Tory and Labour - undertook a series of dramatic cuts. They have reduced our Armed Forces to a lamentable state, with serious questions now being asked about their ability to deal with the many threats we are likely to face in future years, whether that be the Kremlin's new-found spirit of military adventurism, or the rise of well-organised Islamist terror groups, such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), which has seized control of large swathes of northern Iraq and Syria and is once more dominating the headlines after the murder of the Japanese hostage Kenji Goto over the weekend.

With the Coalition's most recent defence cuts, following the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the Army's strength now stands at a modest 82,000 men. The total number of RAF combat squadrons is due to fall to a paltry six - hardly sufficient to protect Britain's airspace, let alone undertake overseas combat operations. The number of operational Navy warships stands at just 18 - five destroyers and 13 frigates - with the two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers unlikely to enter service until well into the next decade.

The most recent cuts, moreover, have had a disastrous impact on our ability to undertake even the most basic military tasks.

So what?

Posted by at February 2, 2015 1:20 PM

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