Saturday, July 21, 2007


According to the Telegraph, there are just 500 troops - one battalion - to defend our nation in the event of an "emergency".

In the memorandum to fellow defence leaders, the Chief of the General Staff (CGS) confessed that "we now have almost no capability to react to the unexpected". The "undermanned" Army now has all its units committed to either training for war in Iraq and Afghanistan, on leave or on operations.

There is just one battalion of 500 troops, called the Spearhead Lead Element, available to be used in an emergency, such as a major domestic terrorist attack or a rapid deployment overseas.

I'm sure a lot of people will point to Afghanistan and Iraq and say these are the reasons the Army is undermanned, but I believe a significant cause is the scandalous way this government has treated our armed forces. Deprived of the weapons and equipment they need, expected to house their families in poor accommodation, low wages and a government that will sell them out to the "human rights" lawyers at the earliest opportunity makes the Army seem pretty unattractive.

On top of all that comes the fighting. It's not the tours themselves - soldiers are trained to fight and, although it may shock many to hear this, the majority of them enjoy their work - it's the fact that the tours are so long and the gaps between them too short.

There are a multitude of reasons why the Army is understaffed - but at the root of them all is one.


The armed forces have long been underfunded, but this is the first time in history that our armed forces have experienced real term cuts in funding while fighting wars. While public spending has rocketed in recent years - with more than £120 BILLION spent on quangos alone - the armed forces are expected to do more with less.


bernard said...

There may be a hidden agenda here, Stan.
Keep the army 'neutered' at home, and pre-occupied abroad... and the govt can rest easy at home.

Great boxing tonight. Must'nt miss it!

Greg said...

The military may be underfunded but can still piss billions away on Eurofighter, duplicating Apache production in UK, hiring tens of thousands of penpushers etc.

Which can't only be blamed on the government.