Report: Defense cuts weaken Britain’s armed forces


From Adrian Croft, Reuters:  Defence spending cuts may have so weakened Britain’s armed forces that they are incapable of carrying out their commitments, an influential group of lawmakers said on Wednesday.

Parliament’s Defence Committee, joining a chorus of criticism of last year’s defence review, said the government’s desire to save money had in some cases taken priority over Britain’s security needs.

The committee said the government seemed to have "postponed the sensible aspiration of bringing commitments and resources into line" by joining a NATO mission to bomb Libya at the same time as it was cutting defence spending.

NATO member Britain also has around 10,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, the second biggest foreign force after the United States.

But the need to cut a huge budget deficit has forced the 15-month-old coalition government to slash public spending, including on defence, which faces an eight percent spending cut in real terms over four years.

"There is mounting concern that the UK armed forces may be falling below the minimum utility required to deliver the commitments that they are currently being tasked to carry out, let alone the tasks they are likely to face between 2015 to 2020 when it is acknowledged that there will be capability gaps," the Defence Committee said in a report.  (photo: Reuters)

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