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Are David Cameron’s Defence Cuts ‘failing the Military?’ The Defence Select Committee Suggests So

Posted on the 03 August 2011 by Periscope @periscopepost
Are David Cameron’s defence cuts ‘failing the military?’ The Defence Select Committee suggests so

Royal Navy Sea Harrier jump jet. Photo credit: Free Foto

It is well-documented that many amongst the military top brass feel the Libyan intervention is a real stretch on resources given the coalition cuts ushered in by last autumn’s Strategic Defence and Security Review. The report released today argued that the Armed Forces may not be able to carry out all that is asked of them after 2015 as a result of the cuts. In a direct blow to Cameron, the committee said it rejected the Prime Minister’s assurance that Britain retained a “full spectrum” defence capability, noted Politics Home, which flagged up Committee Chair James Arbuthnot comment that there were “real worries” that cuts jeopardise Britain’s international influence, and claimed that Coalition plans were not in line with promises made in opposition to “bring our resources in line with our commitments.”

  • “Cuts have left our troops with mission impossible in Libya and Afghanistan,” warned Thomas Harding, Defence Correspondent, The Daily Telegraph, who mulled the findings of the “critical” report. Harding spelled out how hard the cuts have hit the Ministry of Defence. He noted that the Navy has lost its aircraft carriers and Harrier jump jets, the RAF has seen Nimrod reconnaissance aircraft and jets cut and that both services will suffer 5,000 personnel cuts each. “The MPs are deeply critical of the decision to fight in Libya while weakening the Forces,” reported Harding.

“The Government appears to believe that the UK can maintain its influence while reducing spending,” said the report. “We do not agree.”

  • We can’t run the MoD on the cheap. Writing at the influential ConservativeHome blog, John Glen, Tory MP for Salisbury and a member of the Defence Select Committee, said, “we found that without significant investment in the spending period after 2014 the UK’s Armed Forces will not be able to do what is asked of them in the second half of this decade.” He reported that during the evidence sessions “single service chiefs were prepared to contradict the Prime Minister’s view that the UK still has a full spectrum defence capability.” Seemingly alluding to the Libyan intervention, Glen wrote, “it seems unreasonable to enter into new enterprises without calculating the cost and true wider impact. We can’t run the MoD on the cheap if we want to maintain the influence of the UK in the world.”

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