The Army is in danger of not having enough troops to defend Britain because of the government’s military shake-up, according to a committee of MPs.
The Commons’ Defence Select Committee says that plans to sack full-time soldiers and replace them with reservists could leave Britain with a shortfall of personnel.
The Daily Mail reports that the committee’s damning conclusion is that the government’s army restructuring programme, known as Army 2020, could jeopardise the nation’s security.
The report says, “We remain to be convinced that the plan represents a fully thought-through and tested concept which will allow the Army to counter emerging and uncertain threats and develop a contingent capability to deal with unforeseen circumstances.
“There is a danger of a gap emerging in the Army’s required capabilities and real fighting power.”
The report even said that the plans contain a financial incentive not to commit troops to war, because reservists are only cheaper when they are not actually called up to fight.
Commenting on the government’s plans, committee chairman James Arbuthnot MP said: “The MoD has failed to communicate the rationale and strategy behind the Army 2020 plan to the Army, the wider Armed Forces, Parliament and the public.
“Our concern is that the financially driven reduction in the numbers of Regulars has the potential to leave the Army short of key personnel until sufficient additional Reserves are recruited and trained.”
He added: “There is no question that UK Armed Forces will deploy on an expeditionary operation in the future. It is essential that the Army maintains its ability to undertake such operations at short notice. Any loss of such capability would have serious implications for the UK’s national security.”
The government plan to reduce the number of troops by 20,000 while doubling reservists to 30,000 by 2018.
Last month, official figures showed that the number of reservists had actually dropped by 50 in 2013.