03 November, 2006

Recruitment and retention problems in the UK's armed forces.

The National Audit Office, the British government's official spending watchdog, has produced a report, Retention and Recruitment in the Armed forces, which argues that the UK's armed forces are about 5,000 understrength. It is not just recruitment which is a problem. The report asserts that vastly increased workloads, resulting from over-commitment in deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans, are causing problems with retention. The problems are across all branches of the services. Both the BBC and the Times have more.

The NAO report only confirms what is already known to anybody with an interest in defence policy: government is still behaving as though there is a "peace dividend" to be had and 9/11 never happened. As Lord Guthrie pointed out this week, the last strategic defence review was in 1998 and had been "geared to a dramatically different world." Since then, the UK government has made series of worldwide commitments without paying detailed attention to how they are going to fulfilled, a prime example being North Korea. We have finally reached the point where the hard political decisions can be deferred no longer.

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1 comment:

Thanos said...

I have to agree. While the UK has brushed up bits of their forces, usually to align with NATO strategies, they have not stepped back and looked at overall strategic posture in this new century.
How will they address the old strategic threats (which have not completely evaporated as some would have us believe?)
How will they address the new strategic threats?
It's a new millenium, and most of the strategic thinking put forth in white papers of the 70's and 80's has been implemented, warfare has changed dramatically and forever. Are Her Majesty's forces ready in this new warspace or will they be caught napping?