Britain’s MoD looks at cutting 30,000 troops

British Prime Minister David Cameron meets with British soldiers in Lashkar Gah in Helmand Province, on June 10, 2010.

From Alex Barker and James Blitz, the Financial Times:  Military planners are examining cutting Britain’s land forces from eight to five brigades, in a radical restructuring option that would hand the army operational command of the Royal Marines.

The proposed overhaul, which would slash army numbers by up to 30,000, is an extreme scenario that underlines how a fierce budget squeeze is shaping the defence review.

Given the need to find savings of 10 to 20 per cent, ministers and defence chiefs expect significant reductions in armed forces numbers, but the negotiations are already raising tensions between the services.

The army is willing to reduce its heavy armour brigades but it is resisting big cuts to its 108,000 force levels, particularly before a withdrawal from Afghanistan.

“We’re all quite clear that Afghanistan makes early reductions in numbers impossible,” said a senior army figure.  …

Early papers being circulated within the Ministry of Defence are touching on some of the most highly charged issues in the armed forces, with reform plans challenging long cherished service traditions. One MoD figure said the army had “made a grab” at winning operational command of the Royal Marines, who have been run by the navy since 1755.  (photo: Getty)

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