Cuts Watch #64: the armed forces
In a major speech to the Royal United Services Institute earlier this week, Liam Fox, the Defence Secretary warned the armed forces to expect the Strategic Defence Review to cut “ruthlessly and without sentiment”.
In a paper designed to contribute to the Defence Review, RUSI recently warned that “the deeper the immediate budget cuts that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has to make, the greater the risk of reduced capability without commensurate financial gains.”
The author, Prof Malcolm Chalmers, predicted that a 10% – 15% cut over six years was a “plausible, if perhaps optimistic” prediction. Cuts on this scale, he warned, could lead to personnel being cut by 20% – 25% by 2019; the number of aircraft being reduced from 760 to 550 and major vessels from 57 to 45.
Despite this, Dr Fox confirmed that Trident has been excluded in advance from any cuts, though all other aspects of defence are subject to review.