Rishi Sunak believes British Army is ‘top-level fighting force’ despite US general’s warning | Politics News
Rishi Sunak still considers the British Army a “top-tier fighting force” despite a US general’s warning that the British military is no longer considered an elite force, Downing Street reported.
Yesterday Sky News reported The US General privately told the Secretary of Defense The UK Armed Forces are no longer considered a top-level fighting force.
Defense sources said the U.S. general said this declining capability needed to be reversed faster than planned after Russia’s war in Ukraine.
They told Sky News defense and security editor Deborah Haynes that this should include increasing the defense budget by at least £3bn a year and ending a plan to further downsize the army.
US criticism of British military ‘will be music to Putin’s ears’ – latest war in Ukraine
But when asked about the US general’s private comments on Monday, a spokesman for the prime minister said yes to Mr Sunak, believing the British army to be a top-tier fighting force.
He said the government is “providing our armed forces with the equipment and capabilities they need to face the threats of tomorrow, including through a £242 billion fully funded 10-year equipment plan.”
“The Prime Minister is making it clear that we must do whatever is necessary to protect our people, which is why the UK has the largest defense budget in Europe,” the spokesman added.
US General Warns British Army No Longer Top Tier Fighting Force, Defense Sources Say
Sending tanks to Ukraine weakens British forces, chief of ground forces says
UK orders thousands of new anti-tank weapons in £229m deal
He added that it was “clear” to the prime minister that the government must do “whatever is necessary” to protect its people.
The former Secretary General of NATO, Lord Robertson, did not agree with the opinion of the American general.
Is the army capable? Watch our special program tonight at 19:00 on Sky News.
“I completely disagree with him,” he told Sky News.
“You can find any American general who will give you this or that opinion.
“The fact is that the British military may have been weakened of late, but they are still a formidable fighting force and I think our country can be proud of them.”
He continued: “I think this is a subjective judgment of individual commanders and they change, come and go.
“And although I received my criticism of what the government is doing and how it is doing its defense at the moment, I do not agree with it, and I do not think that most people in America and in the American military will agree. with that feeling.”
Earlier today, Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Conservative Defense Committee, said people should be “very concerned” about the current capabilities of the military.
Elder Tory urged government to reverse army because his equipment is “obsolete”.
Mr Ellwood said there had been a “huge investment” in the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force in recent years, but added: “The Army is in a terrible state.”
He continued: “Our army is simply too small, we have reduced it by 10,000 men.
“I really hope that the security review will address these issues and undo some of the drastic cuts that were made a couple of years ago.
“The Treasury and Number 10 must recognize that the world is changing – now we are at war in Europe, we need to move to a war footing.
“We have become complacent. We need to invest to keep the people, the good people that we have, but there aren’t enough of them, and the equipment is outdated.”
European powers such as France and Germany announced plans to significantly increase defense spending following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year.
Mr. Sunak has not yet made any meaningful pledges to replenish his defense coffers, instead he is conducting an “update” on the Defense Policy Review due March 7 ahead of the spring budget, which will signal whether there are any new money. for the military.
The defense crisis arose from repeated post-Cold War downsizing of the three armed forces by successive Conservative, coalition and Labor governments to save money on peacetime priorities.
In 2020, Boris Johnson as prime minister increased defense spending by £16bn, the biggest increase since the Cold War, but not enough to close the gaps.
Mr. Sunak has so far resisted calls, following his predecessor, Liz Truss, to raise defense spending to 3% of GDP by 2030, from just over 2% today.