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Rant MoD cut NATO exercise's

Discussion in 'All Non Military Discussion' started by John A Silkstone, Dec 24, 2009.


  1. John A Silkstone United Kingdom

    John A Silkstone Mi General MI.Net Member

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    The Ministry of Defence has cancelled dozens of army training exercises as it struggles to cut costs.

    The savings affect the regular Army as well as the Territorial Army and have forced Britain to withdraw from a major Nato exercise alongside the United States, The Times has learnt.

    Fifty-six exercises have been cancelled this year, raising concerns about the readiness of military personnel who are deployed to Afghanistan.

    General Sir David Richards, the Chief of the General Staff, admitted that there were long-term risks in scrapping exercises. News of the cuts comes at the end of a year in which more than 100 troops have been killed in Afghanistan, the largest death toll for a generation, and the Government has faced constant criticism that underinvestment is compromising frontline operations.

    The TA has already been the subject of an embarrassing U-turn by the Government. In October it was revealed that part-time soldiers had been ordered to stop basic training for six months to save £20 million. The cuts were reversed after Gordon Brown persuaded the Treasury to meet the costs.

    General Richards told The Times: “Whilst in a perfect world we would have wished to keep options open for the various cancelled exercises, in practice the Army is now rightly focusing very much on Defence’s top priority — training for Afghanistan.” He said that troops would not have time between tours of duty to complete all the exercises on the programme and admitted that this could jeopardise core training skills in the long term. He added that next year’s Strategic Defence Review would need to resolve this problem.

    Liam Fox, the Shadow Defence Secretary, said: “It’s clear that the Government is potentially compromising military capability to save money.

    “Training isn’t for fun. When we’ve got the Navy in the Gulf of Aden dealing with pirates and the Army and Marines in Afghanistan, we need to keep their military skills at the highest level of readiness. The Government must reassure the Armed Forces that these cuts will not have any impact on their readiness for current operations or to respond to the unexpected.”

    Bill Rammell, the Armed Forces Minister, accused the Tories of scaremongering. “No Service personnel would deploy to Afghanistan without adequate training,” he said. “Given our current commitments we must ensure that activity is focused on preparing our Forces for the challenges they will face. Any suggestion that Service personnel are not ready to respond to the unexpected is nonsense, as was seen in the fast and effective response to the flooding in the North of England last month.”

    The latest British casualty was from the 1st Battalion The Parachute Regiment serving with the Special Forces Support Group, which provides added firepower to the SAS and Special Boat Service. He died in an explosion while on foot patrol with Afghan troops south of Sangin in central Helmand province. He is the fifth soldier to die this month in Sangin, which has become the focus of attacks by the Taleban.

    Buckingham Palace said last night that the Queen would pay tribute to the Armed Forces in her Christmas message.
     
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