UK defence cuts spark fear

jump jets, the Navy’s flagship HMS Ark Royal and planned Nimrod spy planes are
to be axed and 42,000 MoD and forces jobs cut by 2015.

the strategic defence review, PM David Cameron said defence spending would
fall by 8 per cent over four years.

RAF and Navy will lose 5,000 jobs each, the Army 7,000 and the Ministry of
Defence 25,000 civilian staff.

the Harrier and Ark Royal means no planes will be able to fly from British
aircraft carriers until 2019.

Cameron opened his Commons’ statement by denying the review was simply a
“cost saving exercise”, saying it was a “step change in the way
we protect this country’s security interests”.

said Britain would still meet NATO’s target of spending 2 per cent of GDP on
defence and would continue to have the fourth largest military in the world and
“punch above its weight in the world”.

he said the country had to be “more thoughtful, more strategic and more
co-ordinated in the way we advance our interests and protect our national security”.

would be no cuts to support for troops in Afghanistan – which is funded
separately from the Treasury’s special reserve, the prime minister stressed in
his statement.

he said he wanted the Ministry of Defence to become more commercially
“hard headed” and said it would face “significant
challenges” as a result of cuts.

outlined savings of $7.4 billion at the department – including a reduction in
civilian staff by 25,000 by 2015. The department will also sell off
“unnecessary assets”, renegotiate contracts and cut overheads.

no bones about it, these cuts will be painful and will alter Britain’s military
footprint around the world.

in Helmand the UK can sustain a force of around 9,500 troops. But after 2015
Britain will only be able to commit to a force of 6,500 troops over such a
lengthy period.

review also makes clear that there will be smaller forces for any major
military operation.

says for a limited time and with sufficient warning, committing all our effort
to a one-off intervention, the UK could deploy a military of 30,000. That is
two thirds of the force deployed to Iraq in 2003.

the prime minister and the defence secretary insist that Britain will still
have an effective military at the end of this process.