British Army now a defence force: Official.

#1
The Herald
Why our Army is no longer an Army but a defence force

MICHAEL SETTLE and IAN BRUCE November 24 2006

Britain no longer has enough soldiers to constitute an army by international standards, official figures showed yesterday.
By October, the total strength of the UK land force had dropped to just 99,570, below the accepted minimum of at least 100,000 men and women. Technically, the UK now has a "defence force".
Quarterly figures from the government's Defence Analytical Services Agency revealed that the Army has lost 1570 personnel since January and is currently below strength by 2230.
This means that it is now smaller than Poland's 104,000, Mexico's 144,000, and Egypt's 320,000. The US marine corps alone at 180,000 is larger than the entire British "army".
...A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Defence put the continual falls in force levels down to the major restructuring announced by the department in October 2004.
The aim is to improve efficiency, she said.


http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/75215.html
 
#2
I believe National Service is required in the Armies of Poland, Egypt and Mexico.... I am sure Britain would have more than enough if we had National Service!
 
#3
Complete and utter BS in my opinion.

Yet another example of journos trying to add hype to what is already a serious issue. Who cares if someone in an office somewhere decrees to the wind that forces numbering under 100,000 pax are 'technically' defence forces and not armies; if soldiers are expected to frequently deploy on expenditionary operations - and such operations are the basis of their ethos (rather than simple territorial defence) - then they are part of an army, full stop.
 
#4
Egypt and Mexico may have numerically superior forces but we all know it's quality that counts, not quantity.

Unless it's the RAF in which case, disband the fcukers.....
 
#5
The figures are also wrong, or at least presented in a dishonest way. The 99,570 is the figure for adult (over 18) trained (finished Phase 2) soldiers on full UK conditions of service, the UK Trained Adult Personnel (UKTAP) strength. It does not include anyone under 18 even if they have completed Phase 2, does not include those of any age who have not completed Phase 2, does not include those in the Training Margin and I'm pretty sure does not include those on the Y List. At any one time this excludes between 10,000 and 11,000 personnel. In addition when comparing to other armies you have to add Marines (about 5,000 in the RM) to make a fare comparison of soldier to soldier strength as opposed to just army to army strength. Finally the are also para-military forces in which one could include the Royal Irish (HS) and the MPGS and regional forces such as the Gibraltar Regiment and the full time element of the Falkland Island Defence Force. Adding all these extra bits on actually takes the number of soldiers available to the Crown to around 120,000.
 
#6
RiojaDOC said "Adding all these extra bits on actually takes the number of soldiers available to the Crown to around 120,000"
Nice semantics. However, from what one reads here and elsewhere in other serious media, we would have great difficulty in deploying 120,000 with proper complement of fighting tools, back up and support. Be like a Chinese army where only the front two ranks have weapons which the rear ranks have to take from the dead as they advance.
 
#7
Willy waving. As is stated above, numbers are almost a sideshow here. It's what you can do with your 10, 20, 50 thousand troops that counts. If they are better trained, equipped and motivated than numerically stronger armies, then they will always punch above their weight.

I would agree that 'quantity has a quality all of its own', and that it's damn difficult to hold ground without adequate numbers of troops. But if it's down and dirty war fighting you're after, give me our small, but highly effective army against most numerically superior forces anytime.

(Oh! And you can call them what you want 8))
 
#8
Oh dear, please do not defend the new numbers with new labour speak. Brown wants to bring it down to 80,000. Are you going to come up with same arguments then? Give me a break..

Anyone care to explain the logic of reducing the size of the armed forces at a time of war? Because I don't see any logic there at all.
 
#10
It is a figure that has been reported in the press. Believe me, Brown is no fan of the armed forces. If he cuts and runs from Iraq it is a figure that might just be reachable, obviously if we stay in Iraq he could not hope to achieve it soon.
 
#12
Can't find one at the mo. Might even have been a defence debate. It is a long term figure. Back in 1997 it was said the RAF could not go below 52,500 without reducing committments. Well, the RAF is now down or going down to 41k and a bit and the committments have significantly increased. Some NATO countries are planning to be in Afg for 20/25 years. This will not stop the Treasury trying to reduce the Army even further. It is a dangerous game to use the Govt's own arguments on the strength of the military. Incidentally many people think the RAF is not viable below 40,000. This may please some people here on ARRSE but I think it spells implosion.

If I find a link I will post it.
 
#13
nigegilb said:
Oh dear, please do not defend the new numbers with new labour speak. Brown wants to bring it down to 80,000. Are you going to come up with same arguments then? Give me a break..

Anyone care to explain the logic of reducing the size of the armed forces at a time of war? Because I don't see any logic there at all.
Was going to say the same thing. It proved almost impossible to maintain momentum in areas we are presently involved with previous force levels., so over a brigades worth of infantry were cut - to increase efficiency! Defies logic.
 
#14
Storeman Norman said:
Willy waving. As is stated above, numbers are almost a sideshow here. It's what you can do with your 10, 20, 50 thousand troops that counts. If they are better trained, equipped and motivated than numerically stronger armies, then they will always punch above their weight.

I would agree that 'quantity has a quality all of its own', and that it's damn difficult to hold ground without adequate numbers of troops. But if it's down and dirty war fighting you're after, give me our small, but highly effective army against most numerically superior forces anytime.
(Oh! And you can call them what you want 8))
I think von Runstedt said something similar. Still, at least he made Fieldmarshal.
 
#15
Bd, I think it also shows clearly where the momentum lies, that is with the cost cutters in Govt. Our forefathers must be turning in their graves to see sharp suited politicians arguing efficiency cuts at a time of war. What is even sadder is seeing them receive support from successive service chiefs. It will all end in tears, or conscription, as most people here recognise.
 
#16
There is a school of thought which suggests that we are in line, sooner or later, for a good kicking: probably as a result of the constant paring of resources leading to an inability to deploy a true reserve *.

At this point the politicians really only have two choices:

1. Increase the size of the armed forces to a level which will allow them to continue with their expeditionary doctrine and UNSC Status foreign policy.

2. Decrease the size of the armed forces in view of the fact that a significant military disaster will spell the end of the expeditionary doctrine and allow the reallocation of resources in the direction of more voter friendly policies in the immediate term.


Sadly, either option relies on lots of flag draped boxes coming back into Brize first…


*On the basis that the Reserve is actually deployed at the moment and that we are seeing a deterioration in the status of both theatres of expeditionary conflict, we are already into the deteriorating phase of a lost battle...
 
#17
If the Herald wakes up the chavoid British public to the dire state of the Services, then I think I could forgive them for being clueless journos. Nigegilb is right, do not make out that the published numbers don't matter and that the job will still get done. Brown the Humourless is blatantly anti Service as are great swathes of Labour and LibDem. You can't even rely upon the ordinary people to give a sod these days.

Be clear; all 3 Services need more than they are getting if we are to remain a significant nation (cue cries of "little Englander" from the socially informed masses). If Johnny Journo stirs that in peoples' minds, good on him.
 
#18
Sad state of affairs when i read that soldiers believe the only way the government will take a decision on the armed forces future is if a lot of young men die.

Although i will say one thing.

I had a couple of problems in the local area, and ended up chatting to the MP Bernard Jenkin. Hes conservative, and used to be shadow defence minister.

Whilst he was a bit oily, and quite obviously thought about what he said before he said it (sometimes his lips moved before anything came out) - he has actually said pretty much all of what you guys are saying.

If we want to stay at the top table, put the money into the forces for equipment and training.

Decide what the RAF is for (im pretty sure that commercial AT would be better at getting troops into / out of theatre than clapped out tristars).

Decrease living costs and increase support for the family of forces (probably more important than a pay rise, if you know the family is always going to be looked after whilst you are away).


And can someone explain to me why we are ordering aircraft carriers, when, in reality, an amphibious / helicopter carrier would make far more sense? (Ie more helicopters in theatre, less dependance on Chinooks, interoperability with the RAF, RN etc etc).

Or then maybe i dont know enough about these things to make a sensible comment.
 
#19
Daede said:
Sad state of affairs when i read that soldiers believe the only way the government will take a decision on the armed forces future is if a lot of young men die.

Although i will say one thing.

I had a couple of problems in the local area, and ended up chatting to the MP Bernard Jenkin. Hes conservative, and used to be shadow defence minister.

Whilst he was a bit oily, and quite obviously thought about what he said before he said it (sometimes his lips moved before anything came out) - he has actually said pretty much all of what you guys are saying.

If we want to stay at the top table, put the money into the forces for equipment and training.

Decide what the RAF is for (im pretty sure that commercial AT would be better at getting troops into / out of theatre than clapped out tristars).

Decrease living costs and increase support for the family of forces (probably more important than a pay rise, if you know the family is always going to be looked after whilst you are away).


And can someone explain to me why we are ordering aircraft carriers, when, in reality, an amphibious / helicopter carrier would make far more sense? (Ie more helicopters in theatre, less dependance on Chinooks, interoperability with the RAF, RN etc etc).

Or then maybe i dont know enough about these things to make a sensible comment.
On the contrary, your first post on here was enquiring about joining the forces (check your pms btw): on that basis you have had more contact with and experience of the military than the entire cabinet combined.

Even if that sounds like hyperbole and a poor attempt at humour - it is not.
 
#20
Passed-over_Loggie said:
If the Herald wakes up the chavoid British public to the dire state of the Services, then I think I could forgive them for being clueless journos.
Check out the authors. Ian Bruce is far from clueless - quite a good reputation for being very well-informed when it comes to HM Forces. I've not met him, but those I've met who have, found him to be a good bloke.

By way of example, he was certainly embedded for CORPORATE and GRANBY, and I suspect went on TELIC.
 

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