CUTS to Britain’s armed forces have “effectively removed” its ability to “deliver and sustain” an effective fighting force against a “competent” enemy such as Russia, a damning new report has claimed.
The paper, published by the Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research, blasts years of slashed budgets for the “hollowing out or deletion of the army’s deployed capabilities” – and warns of the British military’s single remaining fighting division being “wiped out in an afternoon”.
The report argues that although the UK’s armed forces “might not be facing an immediate risk of a direct attack by a foreign state”, there were “a few plausible scenarios” in which it could be dragged into conflict following an attack on another country.
It reads: “This raises an important question: is the British Army ready for such a possibility? If one merely sees preparedness through net manpower and kinetic force capacity, the answer might be a simple ‘no’: the British Army is at its smallest and has faced years of budget cuts.”
Under the Government’s defence review in 2015, the army’s only “war-fighting division” will be made up of 50,000 troops – more than half the army’s total of 82,000 regular soldier.
It says: “The ‘prospect of losing the division in an afternoon’ will weigh heavily on the chain of command, as politicians appreciate the stakes involved in committing the division to battle.”
The report also raises questions over Britain’s capacity to transport a large ground force to the front line – with warnings of a “consensus” that the army did not have enough big aircraft to do so.
It adds that without more aircraft, the military would rely on allies or commercial companies to get its troops to battle.
Full article: Cut British army ‘could be wiped out in a SINGLE AFTERNOON’ by Russia, report says (Express)