World

July 9, 2012

U.K. army to lose 17 major units amid austerity push

by Cassandra Vinograd
Associated Press

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said July 5 the country’s army will lose 17 major units in a sweeping restructuring to handle the loss of 20,000 soldiers under the government’s austerity drive.

The U.K.’s army is shrinking from 102,000 troops to 82,000 by the end of the decade – part of efforts to meet steep cuts to public spending ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron. The military is handling an 8 percent cut to its annual $59 billion defense budget, and has already announced plans to scrap a fleet of jets and an aircraft carrier.

Hammond said that with British troops withdrawing from Afghanistan at the end of 2014, the armed forces must rethink their structure after more than a decade of continual combat – including the simultaneous wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“After a decade of enduring operations, we need to transform the Army and build a balanced, capable and adaptable force ready to face the future,” Hammond said.

He said four infantry battalions – each of which typically includes between 500 and 600 troops – will be scrapped under the plans, and a fifth relegated to performing ceremonial duties in Scotland.

Under the new plans, the army would be divided into three levels of readiness: rapid reaction forces to deploy quickly on operations as needed; adaptable forces at a lower level of readiness who would take over after reaction forces; and force troops, which are specialist support units such as intelligence and medical units.

With military families still reeling over the job cuts to get force numbers down to 82,000, anger boiled over July 9 at the loss of some historic battalions.

Stuart Parsons, mayor of the northern England town of Richmond, said the Conservative Party-led government should be embarrassed and “hang its head in shame” for deciding that his town’s 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment would lose its status, ending 300 years of military tradition.

Hammond said that the loss of full-time soldiers would be offset by increases in part-time reservists, whose numbers will double to 30,000. However, the ex-head of the Army, Gen. Richard Dannatt, warned that relying on part-time soldiers could be risky.

“We all recognize that placing more emphasis on the reserves is a good idea in theory, but it has got to be made to work,” he told BBC radio. “Let’s hope that the next decade is rather more peaceful than the last decade, but I wouldn’t bet on it.”

Jim Murphy, a lawmaker with the main opposition Labour Party, said the plans would leave Britain with its smallest army since the Boer Wars of the late 19th century. He said the cuts come as NATO operations will be under increasing pressure, particularly as the United States shifts its military focus to the Asia-Pacific region.

The government has acknowledged a smaller army would no longer be able to deploy in the same numbers as during the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

“Jobs and military capability have been lost and tradition and history have been sacrificed,” said Murphy, the Labour Party’s defense spokesman. “This isn’t just a smaller army. It’s also a less powerful army in a less influential nation.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines September 15, 2014

News: Navy identifies pilot presumed dead in crash - A Navy fighter pilot presumed dead after two fighter jets crashed in the far western Pacific Ocean has been identified.   Business: Boeing eyes 737-700 solution for new JSTARS - Boeing is officially planning a variant of its 737-700 commercial jetliner as a competitor for the Air Force’s...
 
 

News Briefs September 15, 2014

Australia contributing planes for anti-IS campaign Australia is preparing to contribute 600 troops and up to 10 military aircraft to the increasingly aggressive campaign against the Islamic State extremists in Syria and Iraq, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Sept. 14. Abbott said Australia was responding to a formal request from the United States for specific...
 
 
Courtesy graphic

Lockheed Martin conducts flight tests of aircraft laser turret for DARPA

AFRL photograph The Aero-adaptive Aero-optic Beam Control turret that Lockheed Martin is developing for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Air Force Research Laboratory has completed initial flight testing. T...
 

 

Lockheed Martin advances live, virtual, constructive training in flight test

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=jvXmOW8L3mU Lockheed Martin successfully tested a new solution for integrated live, virtual and constructive training during a flight demonstration at the company’s Aeronautics facility in Fort Worth, Texas. During the flight test, a pilot flying in a live F-16 engaged in a synthetic training exercise with a pilot flying as wing...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover arrives at Martian mountain

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has reached the Red Planet’s Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission’s long-term prime destination. “Curiosity n...
 
 

Raytheon begins full rate production on TALON Laser Guided Rockets

Under a $117 million contract awarded to Raytheon, Raytheon Missile Systems has begun production of the TALON Laser Guided Rocket. In 2013, the Armed Forces General Headquarters of the United Arab Emirates awarded Tawazun a contract to procure the TALON Laser Guided Rocket. “Full rate production of the TALON LGR is a significant milestone for...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>