Experts believe he is likely to need slightly more soldiers, and in more flexible formations. Most specialists will have to have a dual role as infantry, to undertake peacekeeping and security, outright war, and humanitarian missions. In all, the UK needs a working ground force of around 125,000. Today the fully trained strength of the Army is around 95,000. The 125,000 could be made up of about 110,000 regulars and 15,000 permanently deployable reservists.
The traditionalists will be hit hard. It must be possible to move men and women between units and career paths with the ease of a big army like that of the United States. "There are too many private armies within our forces," a planner at the MoD said privately recently. One such "private army" is the Royal Marines, which has more than 100 lieutenant colonels, yet fields a force the size of a medium infantry brigade, plus a clutch of small specialist units like the Special Boat Service.
The Navy guards the Marines jealously but it would be more cost-effective to make it part of the Army. The same might go for the RAF Regiment.
The Navy might also have to wave goodbye to the project to build two aircraft carriers of over 50,000 tons. It is now evident it is stretching the UK's capacity to build such ships - the welding alone would require a huge import of labour from Poland. The Navy in its present diminished state probably does not have the manpower to man or maintain such vessels - and by all accounts underestimated the crew levels in the original prospectus. Instead of the projected 1,500, they will need at least 3,000.
Is this the way HM Forces iwill be forced to go? Or do we take what the Independent calls the Traditionalist view?
The Independent Article