Ex-Defence chiefs warn of terror threat after MoD confirms 5,300 army jobs will be sacrificed in 2014

Soldiers in Afghanistan face sack on return

A plea has been made tonight to ring-fence defence spending from further Government cuts in order to deal with a “generational” terrorist threat from Islamic extremists around the world.

The Former First Sea Lord West warned ministers that their “rhetoric” over defence spending wasn’t “backed up by funds” as it emerged that thousands of soldiers serving in Afghanistan this year face losing their jobs in a third round of redundancies in 2014.

Today the Government announced that 5,300 army personnel are to be handed their notice in June as the Ministry of Defence tries to reduce the number of full-time soldiers to 82,000.

Any soldier preparing for, deployed on, or recovering from operations on 18 June will not be made redundant against their wishes this time – but the MoD said those exempt would not be protected from a further tranche of job losses next year, which will also affect medics and dentists in the Royal Navy and RAF. The redundancies arise from the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review designed to cut the size of the regular armed forces and make-up the numbers by using more Territorials.

The Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall said he recognised the “unwelcome uncertainty and pressure” for those affected but added the cuts were unavoidable.

“For some it may present an opportunity; for others it will curtail their service prematurely,” he said. “Our aim now is to apply the process as fairly as possible and to prepare to support those individuals who are selected as they and their families transition to civilian life.”

But former Defence chiefs criticised the decision at a time when the armed forces are facing multiple challenges around the world. “If you wish to intervene, even in a small way militarily, [in a country] then you must adequately fund the military to be able to do it,” said Lord West.

“And if you think back, we’ve had the Libya operation, very shortly after the Defence and Security Review. [David Cameron] is now talking about what’s happening in Mali and I have real concerns that actually the rhetoric and the strutting of the world stage by some of our prime ministers isn’t backed up by sufficient funds for the military.”

Labour also urged the Government to revisit its defence review, which it said had been “exposed” by conflict and incidents in Mali, Algeria and Libya.

“One certainty is the heroes of today could be sacked tomorrow,” said shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy.

“The Prime Minister rightly spoke of the urgency of the Islamist terror threat to the UK from North Africa but, in a ‘carry on regardless’ strategy, serious skills in the Army are being lost.

“Not enough is being done to rebalance our forces towards new threats and a changed role.”

But Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “Unfortunately redundancies are unavoidable due to the size of the defence deficit that this Government inherited.

“We will have smaller armed forces but they will be properly equipped and well funded, unlike before. These redundancies will not affect current operations in Afghanistan, where our armed forces continue to fight so bravely on this country’s behalf.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Purchase Ledger Administrator

£5120 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the countr...

Recruitment Genius: Engineering Surveyor

£20000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Services Support

£9000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working for one of the countr...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Estimator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence