Defence Secretary proposes thousands more troops to be added to Army

Defence Secretary proposes thousands more troops to be added to Army

11/02/2022

Thousands more troops will be added to Army under new move by Defence Secretary

  • 4000 junior troops may be added while number of senior officers will be cut
  • Current projection shows troop numbers to fall from 77,000 to 73,000 by 2025
  • Mr Wallace said our forces were 15 years out of date due to successive cuts
  • Defence Secretary is expected to put the proposals to the chancellor this week

Thousands more junior troops will be added to the Army under plans being put to the Treasury.

The scheme would bolster the lower ranks by around 4,000. But to balance the books, there would be fewer senior officers. 

The plans come after current projections, drawn up before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, suggest full-time troop numbers will fall from 77,000 to 73,000 by 2025.

The Defence Secretary is expected to put the proposals to the Chancellor this week.

Ben Wallace will tell Jeremy Hunt that, as the threat to UK and international security increases, so must the capability of our Armed Forces.

In testimony to a House of Lords committee yesterday Mr Wallace, a former Scots Guards officer, said: ‘In my negotiations with the Treasury I will be looking at whether we should go down [to 73,000] or whether we can maintain it.

Ben Wallace will tell Jeremy Hunt that, as the threat to UK and international security increases, so must the capability of our Armed Forces 

‘I have also asked the army to reduce its salary envelope and to review its structures.

‘I don’t think my regiment has changed its structure since 1930, the same number of captains, the same number of lieutenants

‘The Army’s salvation is in its own hands. It might be able to have more people if we produce a different looking salary package. 

‘We can also further reflect modernisation and autonomy.’

Mr Wallace hopes Mr Hunt will ensure the defence budget is protected from inflation and changes in currency values – which affect the cost of purchasing kit from overseas 

Mr Wallace added the Army was ‘15 years out of date’ compared to some other NATO members in its equipment due to successive budget cuts.

While the RAF has more stealth jets than pilots capable of flying them due to issues around training.

Mr Wallace hopes Mr Hunt will ensure the defence budget is protected from inflation and changes in currency values – which affect the cost of purchasing kit from overseas.

He said: ‘We are having to take account of the economic challenges at the moment and we will wait to see what the budget produces.

‘I will have a meeting with the Chancellor this week around what that will mean for my department.

‘I am confident defence is moving up the funding priority ladder. Inflation is the biggest enemy. I am particularly vulnerable to inflation and exchange rate pressures. I will be seeking insulation from those.’

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