A senior U.S. general has warned against cutting Britain’s armed forces any further, saying the nation’s standing in NATO and the world could be diminished.
The UK would be unable to meet its international commitments if deeper cuts were made, Lt Gen Ben Hodges, commander of the U.S. Army in Europe, explained.
A former head of the British Army agreed, describing his remarks as “well-founded” and “timely”.
Britain is currently a leader in NATO, but the U.S. General told the BBC he could not “see how you could maintain those global commitments if you got any smaller”.
“It’s a leader in the alliance and if it can’t sustain the level of commitments it’s fulfilling right now, then I think it risks going into a different sort of category,” he said, predicting the UK could become a second-rate power.
Head of U.S. Army Blasts Britain’s Shrinking Troop Numbers https://t.co/KxsiFW18Ix
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Furthermore, at a time when the U.S. is urging other NATO members to meet their two per cent of DGP spending target, cuts to UK forces “take the pressure off other countries” to spend more on defence, he said.
Lt Gen Hodges joined Gavin Williamson, the UK’s new defence secretary, and ministers from 28 other member states, including James Mattis, his U.S. defence chief, for two days of meetings at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.
The Ministry of Defence is currently attempting to make £20 billion worth of savings, and the Army, Royal Navy, and Royal Air Force have been told to make sweeping cuts.
Lord Dannatt, a former Chief of the General Staff, told The Telegraph: “I think [Lt Gen Hodges] is right. The UK has always been a significant ally of the United States and to use his own words, a leader in NATO.
“We have always been a significant ally and leader in NATO because we have had a significant range of capability available.”