'Full-strength' Army to retire soldiers

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The Independent Online

The Army is seeking to "pension off" some of its soldiers after almost reaching full strength, having struggled in the past to achieve the required numbers.

Mainly due to the recession, both recruitment and retention is at its highest level for the best part of a decade, enabling the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to carry out "rebalancing".

In effect, this will mean that a number of soldiers reaching between 12 and 15 years of service will receive around £20,000 in a resettlement allowance, as well as help with jobs in the private sector to return to civilian life.

The Commander in Chief, Land Forces, General Sir Peter Wall said: "The Army is close to being fully manned for the first time in some years. This is great news, but size is only part of the picture. We need to ensure that there is the right balance of soldiers in different arms and services, ranks and trades, so that we are in the best possible shape for current operations.

"The fact is that the Army has grown unevenly and we now need to make some adjustments. Part of this is about giving some of our people the opportunity to retrain with the service, so that they can make their contributions in areas where our need is greater.

"A relatively small number of soldiers will also be required to leave the Army under the Manning Control Points mechanism in order to balance the Army."

The Ministry of Defence announced yesterday that it will carry out the reduction of numbers through Manning Control Points (MCPs). "MCPs are an effective and focused means of achieving these important adjustments," said the MoD. "They are part of soldiers' terms of service and have been used when required since the days of national service.

"With the Army now close to full strength, Manning Control Points are a necessary tool to enable the Army to manage its structure more effectively. "While Manning Control Points give the Army the opportunity of terminating the service of soldiers at the end of three, six, nine, 12 or 15 years' service, the current intention is to focus on the 12- and 15-year groups only."