MPs warn that the UK military is not prepared for a high-intensity conflict

MPs have cautioned that unless shortfalls of manpower and equipment are promptly remedied, the UK’s armed services will not be prepared for a “high-intensity” war. The “offer” made to them needed to be enhanced, according to the Commons Defence Committee, because employees were leaving at a faster rate than they could be hired. It went on to say that in order for the UK to confront “increasingly challenging” threats, a “vicious cycle” needed to be interrupted. The MoD stated that boosting hiring and enhancing retention were top priorities.


General Sir Patrick Sanders, the commander of the Army and the outgoing Chief of the General Staff, issued a warning last month, stating that just increasing the number of reservists “would not be enough” and urging the nation to create a volunteer “citizen army” prepared to fight a ground war. He emphasized the threat posed by Russia after its invasion of Ukraine and mentioned the actions other European countries were taking to get their citizens on a “war footing.” Sir Patrick has long urged that the Army should be bigger. Its professional ranks currently total about 73,000, up from over 100,000 in 2010.


In its “Ready for War?” report, the cross-party defense committee concluded that although it was a “matter of national pride” that the armed forces always managed to find a way to intervene when called upon, “overstretch has negatively impacted high-intensity warfighting readiness due to the sheer pace of operations and other commitments”. The MPs stated that operational demands were making it more difficult to accomplish training and recovery, and they were “increasingly concerned” about a “crisis” in the recruitment and retention of both regular soldiers and reservists.

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