MPs warn Army cuts could leave Britain exposed

 

Cuts to the Army could leave Britain dangerously exposed in the event of a future crisis, MPs have warned.

The Commons Defence Committee said the restructuring programme, known as the Army 2020 plan, was driven by the need to fit a “financial envelope” rather than being a proper assessment of potential threats.

It urged the Ministry of Defence to draw up contingency plans for a rapid recruitment programme in case there was urgent need for more troops to deal with an emergency.

Under the plan, the Army is being slashed from 102,000 to 82,000 while the number of part-time reservists is to be expanded to 30,000 by 2018.

But the committee said the rationale for the plan remained untested while the “high level of change” involved could “compromise” the Army’s ability to respond to emergencies.

It complained at the “apparent lack of consultation and involvement” of the head of the Army, General Sir Peter Wall, who was simply told by the senior civil servant at the MoD what the future strength of the Army would be.

The committee said if ministers tried to make further cuts, the plan would “unravel”. “We note the Secretary of State for Defence [Philip Hammond] accepts Army 2020 was designed to fit a financial envelope,” it said.

“We are concerned this consideration took primacy over the country’s abilities to respond to the threats, risks and uncertainties contained in the National Security Strategy.

“We remain to be convinced the Army 2020 plan represents a fully thought-through and tested concept which will allow the Army to counter emerging and uncertain threats and develop capability to deal with unforeseen circumstances.”

Mr Hammond said the committee failed to recognise that the need to meet evolving threats, such as potential cyber attacks, meant there had to be a shift in the balance of spending. “It is not possible to maintain traditional regular forces at historic levels while investing in countering the threats of tomorrow,” he said.

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Group has been well establishe...

Recruitment Genius: Lettings Negotiator - OTE £23,000

£15000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Following a successful launch i...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Lifeguards / Leisure Club Attendants - Seasonal Placement

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003