British Army at Risk of Becoming ‘Static’ Land Force: Chief

The head of the British Army has warned that the service is now at risk of becoming a static and domestically-focused land force due to a lack of government funding.

General Sir Patrick Sanders said in a leaked letter obtained by The Telegraph that the army has been “asset-sweated” for some time, jeopardizing its ability to carry out successful operations abroad.

He also revealed that he and his fellow officials have struggled to fully relay these concerns to the UK Ministry of Defence.

“Our strategic resilience is at risk, and we might inadvertently reduce ourselves to a smaller, static, and domestically-focused land force,” Sanders said. “I am not sure that this is either the Army the nation needs, or the one that policymakers want.”

Sanders previously claimed that the UK military is “too small” to survive an all-out war, opening the possibility for the public to be called up to defend the country.

Funding Shortfall

In December 2023, the UK’s National Audit Office announced that the military was facing an equipment funding shortfall of 17 billion pounds ($21.6 billion).

It was the largest deficit since the watchdog began publishing annual defense spending reports in 2012.

According to the audit office, inflation and the demands from the government’s updated defense strategy were partly responsible for the shortfall.

But for Commons Public Accounts Committee chair Meg Hillier, the latest figures reflect a “huge gap between the military equipment the government thinks it needs and the budget available to provide it.”

‘Truly Shocking’

British Army commander Maj. Gen. Julian Thompson agreed with Sanders’ statement, saying the service might soon be unable to fulfill its expeditionary or NATO commitments if the funding issue persists.

He went so as to describe it as “truly shocking,” considering that militaries around the world are increasing their investments amid heightened geopolitical tensions.

Col. Richard Kemp, who commanded British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, also backed Sanders’ and Thompson’s assessments, calling the defense cuts “very worrying” given the multiple threats from China, Russia, and Iran.

“Our Armed Forces have been gutted of the resources required to fight effectively and to support our allies abroad,” he told The Telegraph.

A defense ministry spokesman commented on the claim, saying large investments are underway to ensure the army has the “highest quality equipment for the battlefield.”

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