Chaps: I think I have nailed it. Given that: The British Army is a fine fighting force, but underfunded and under-equipped; The use of said institution is a political hot potato for our fine and noble-minded government; and There is clearly a need for at least one European Army that is (a)up for combat and (b) good at it: I suggest PRIVATIZING the Army, rebranding it is "Blackwater" or perhaps "The New Model Army"* and - hey presto! - all our problems are solved! The new army can charge what the private companies are making, which means all our lads get a pay rise, and all the kit they need/want; The government can take its hands off, and so ther is no political fallout every time it goes into harm's way; Future European defense against any bad boys is assured. And in the meantime, the entire Army can be sub-contracted to the Pentagon for the War on Terror. You read it here first. (And for any defense correspondents, defense under-secretaries, MPs or others reading this: Kindly bear in mind that it is Andy_S' intellectual property! If you execute, I expect my cut!) *Hang on, both those are taken. Anyway, no sweat it's just a brand: I am sure the marketeeers will think of something.