Our Armed Forces are smaller than they have been for a very long time. In terms of quality and training they are second to none but do we have sufficient numbers to face the current threat.
Budgets have been reducing and the number of soldiers, airmen and sailors have been in decline for over 25 years.
I can remember as long ago as the 1990s review after review cutting the numbers of combatants.
We went through a civilianisation program which meant that many of the support postings, to provide flying training aircraft for example, were no longer filled by servicemen. These posts had often been used as a “rest” tour between more active postings and allowed for a bit of catch up time with families.
I can remember, when I joined the RAF in 1977, numbers were around 100,000. Current plans show these numbers will fall to 33,500 by 2015 and to 31,500 by 2020.
Many of the cuts were as a result of the “peace dividend”. The Cold War had ended, tensions were reduced and it was right to reduce the cost of the armed forces.
Today we see tensions with Russian rising and perhaps the start of a new Cold War. Extremists across the globe are becoming more active and increasingly a threat to the peace we enjoy in the UK.
Is it not time to increase our spending on defence? Is it not time to react to the change in tension and recruit more not less servicemen?
One thing history shows us is that decisions of this sort left too late can be very costly in the long run.