15:08 05 July 2012
It's the biggest cuts towards the military in decades: The Defence Secretary will announce a 20,000 reduction in the size of the army, it has been revealed.
The BBC reported that the regular Army will be slashed from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2012 as the Government outlines a massive move to bring down spending on defence. The move will leave thousands of soldiers facing compulsory redundancy.
Five entire infantry battalions will be dropped. However, no regimental cap badges will be lost in the move.
Leaked documents ahead of the announcement suggest that these five battalions will be lost:
* Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland.
* The 3rd Battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington's).
* The 3rd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (The Staffords).
* The 2nd Battalion The Royal Welsh Regiment.
* The 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
The Royal Artillery and Royal Logistic Corps will have a third chopped off while two cavalry units will be lost through amalgamations.
Brigadier David Paterson, the honorary Colonel of the Regiment of Fusiliers, was quoted in the Guardian as saying that the move will not "best serve" the armed forces and "cannot be presented as the best or most sensible military option".
He said: "I, as colonel, have the duty to tell my men why it is their battalion, which at the time of the announcement will be the best manned battalion in the army, with recruits waiting in the wings, was chosen by CGS.
"I will then also have to explain to my Fusiliers in a fully manned battalion why they are likely to be posted to battalions that cannot recruit. This will not be an easy sell."
There are talks of increasing the TA (Territorial Army) headcount, but not at a level which will balance out the cuts previously stated.
With a proposed total force of under 100,000 regulars "you should start referring to yourselves as a self-defence force" Colonel Bob Stewart, a former Army officer who sits on the Defence Select Committee, told the BBC, highlighting a concern that a smaller scale army would be detrimental to the nation's strength. However, he did concede that "the right path forward is for us to have more armed forces than we've got but we're stuck, we have a real problem of trying to pay for them and equip them. That's the problem."
A MoD spokesman said: “By 2020 the Army will be restructured to become an integrated Regular and Reserve force of 120,000 personnel. We are investing £1.8 billion over 10 years to enhance the capability and strength of the Reserves and better integrate them with the Regular component."
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