The British Army chief has demanded plans to reduce the number of troops in service to the lowest number since the Napoleonic era following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith said the war in Eastern Europe should make the government think twice and reconsider plans to reduce the number of soldiers in the army to 73,000.
The chief of general staff appeared to be critical of the planned cuts outlined last year as part of the defense review.
General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith appears to be responding to government plans to reduce the military to its smallest size since the Napoleonic era. He is pictured here at a memorial ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace had announced the military would lose 9,000 soldiers by 2025 when this was implemented, making the military the smallest size in more than 200 years.
Sir Mark appeared to be breaking the tradition of serving army chiefs and not criticizing government decisions after making the comments to the Policy Exchange think tank.
The 58-year-old said Putin’s unwarranted invasion of Ukraine could mean rethinking the defense assessment, The Times reports.
He said: “I think our structure and the growing shopping list of potential output in the wake of the redefinition of European defense and deterrence, which I am sure Ukraine will usher in, will demand more from the field forces and I would like to see investing in a bigger army.’
Sir Mark said the Russian invasion of Ukraine means rethinking the cuts outlined by the government. Pictured are two Russian soldiers in the ruins of the Ukrainian city of Mariupol
He added that the number of soldiers the assessment should have kept — 73,000 — was not a figure “based on most of the experiments and analysis” the military contributed.
But we also have to accept that, in terms of building a broader, balanced force across not just the traditional environmental domains of land, sea and air, we need more investment in the new, new, man-made domains, especially cyber,” he said.
He was joined at the event by Labor MP John Spellar, who agreed to war in Ukraine showed that the latest defense assessment should be reconsidered.
Mr Spellar, who sits on the House of Commons defense committee, said he would like the size of the army to remain the same in the meantime “rather than the Treasury-driven austerity measures that have been criticized across the board”.
A Defense Ministry spokesman said: ‘Over four years we will be investing an additional £24 billion in Defense – the largest investment in the British armed forces since the end of the Cold War – which will provide the British Army with new tanks. , armored vehicles and combat helicopters.
To address growing threats, we’ve launched the military’s radical “Future Soldier” reforms to make the service more agile, deadly and more expeditionary, including the new Ranger regiment – ready to battle with partner troops across the deploy all over the world.
The cuts, outlined by Defense Secretary Ben Wallace (left) last year, come as Vladimir Putin (right) ramps up his aggression in Eastern Europe
Sir Mark, who unsuccessfully interviewed for the post of Chief of the Armed Forces, made the comments ahead of his departure from his post as Chief of the Army in June.
He will be replaced by General Sir Patrick Sanders, who has experience in cyber, special forces and military intelligence.
After being announced as his successor, Sir Patrick said he was “deeply honored” to take the helm at “such a pivotal time for the future of the British Army”.
He said: “The Russian invasion of Ukraine is a stark reminder that the world is becoming increasingly dangerous and uncertain as war on land comes to Europe for the first time in decades.
“The British Army will play its part in defending the UK and our allies as we have done for centuries.”