Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

General's job to have balanced Armed Forces

There are some 9,500 British service personnel in Afghanistan. The majority, but not all, are soldiers, but more than 10% are from the Royal Marines and Royal Navy and there are a few hundred from the RAF, too.

Indeed, next April 70% of the British contribution in the region will be provided for six months by the Royal Marines with the Royal Navy in support.

The incoming Chief of Defence Staff has apparently convinced the Prime Minister that no cuts should be made to Army numbers, and so larger cuts will fall to the other services, including the Royal Marines. The Royal Navy could also be scuppered, a sorry pass for an island trading nation.

The country must not be fooled by General Richards' smooth-talking - there is no need to fear any impact on current frontline operations if there are some cuts to the Army.

General Richards is paid to provide facts and advice to the Prime Minister and he must be brutal with the truth.

His job is not to 'save' the Army, but to achieve a balanced Armed Forces right for today, tomorrow and 10 years' time.

LESTER MAY

By e-mail

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