UK Defence Committee Warns Military Unfit for War

The UK parliament has been warned that the British military is not sufficiently prepared for an all-out war due to ongoing recruitment and stockpile shortages.

In a recent defense committee hearing at the House of Commons, Ministers of Parliament (MPs) heard concerns about a “consistently overstretched” military affecting its warfighting resilience.

They were also told that the “hollowing out” of the armed forces since 2010 would exhaust the British military’s capabilities after just two months of high-intensity war.

“While able to deploy at short notice and to fulfill commitments, our inquiry found that readiness for all-out, prolonged war has received insufficient attention and needs intense ongoing focus,” committee chair Jeremy Quin said.

He added that the high tempo of UK military operations and the unrelenting pressure on its services are reasons why the country was “unable to devote sufficient training and resources” to support high-intensity warfighting.

Quin and committee members agreed that the UK military would remain ill-prepared for war unless it addressed stockpile shortages and a recruitment crisis. They also encouraged the armed forces to be more “strategic” about their resources.

‘More People Leaving Than Joining’

MPs acknowledged an ongoing crisis in the recruitment and retention of British troops, saying they are “increasingly concerned” about the situation.

They also said that the increasing operational demands have made it unsurprising that more people are leaving the armed forces than joining them.

The UK Ministry of Defence previously admitted that only five people are enlisted for every eight who leave the military. The committee said the situation may be even worse now.

Issues such as substandard military housing and questionable policies are why more troops are leaving.

British soldiers
British soldiers participate in the Exercise Trident Juncture 2018. Photo: Corporal Ben Beale/British Army

Troubled Warship

As the House of Commons discussed the British military’s alleged unreadiness for war, the Royal Navy announced that its flagship aircraft carrier, the HMS Queen Elizabeth, had suffered a new misfortune.

Recent pre-sailing checks identified an issue with the warship’s starboard propeller shaft, so it had to withdraw from participation in Exercise Steadfast Defender.

The HMS Queen Elizabeth had been leading the largest NATO exercise since the Cold War, guiding seven other ships from the US, Spain, and Denmark.

The Royal Navy said another UK aircraft carrier, the HMS Prince of Wales, will replace the 65,000-ton warship.

It is not the first time HMS Queen Elizabeth has suffered technical problems. In 2019, a mechanical malfunction left the large vessel without propulsion for days.

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