Can the British Army Modernize Under Pressure? - by Sophia Wright for Fair Observer

Updated: Mar 13, 2021

This article, dated March 3rd, 2021, is very timely after the article by Dame Karen Pierce - UK Ambassador to the USA entitled: "Modernize the NATO kit and the message"

Here are the first few paragraphs of this article:

Over the past three decades, the British Army has faced numerous challenges. British soldiers have been putting their lives on the line in several intense multilateral deployments, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These operations have enhanced the mechanical wear and tear, necessitating an early replacement of vehicles that were already due to be replaced by newer generations.

As bad luck would have it, the need for expensive new equipment comes at a time when budgets are scarce. In the wake of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, UK defense budget allocations were systematically slashed by governments that considered the expense no longer indispensable. This has led many observers to describe the modern British Army as a shadow of its former self. The entire British Armed Forces shrank by more than 50% percent over the past three decades, dropping from 311,000 to 145,000 personnel.

While the overall budget has increased from £38 billion ($53 billion) to £48 billion, the figure is misleading as it does not take into account rising costs of development or inflation. A more telling indicator is the percentage of GDP dedicated to defense, which dropped from 3.5% to 1.7% between 1990 and 2020. The rhythm of deployments, however, has not slowed, with the UK taking an active part in virtually every NATO operation in the past decades.

But things may be changing. As defense expert Andrew Chuter writes: “The British government has approved the largest rise in its defense budget since the end of the Cold War, with £16.5 billion (U.S. $21.9 billion) in additional funding made available for spending on shipbuilding, space, cyber, research and other sectors over a four-year period.” This is welcome news for an institution that can no longer count on European military assistance as it could before Brexit.

For the full article, please click on this link:

Article by Sophia Wright for Fair Observ
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Since this article was posted, the Telegraph reported on 12.03.21 a full description of the proposed plans to modernise the miltary. Here is the link to our post: 

Here also is the Telegraph article in pdf:

Article from the Telegraph 12.03
.21 - £8
Download 21 - £8 • 315KB

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