The British Army is deliberately missing recruitment targets in order to slim down the British Army, a military expert has claimed.
Earlier this week Conservative MP Mark Francois, a former army reservist, raised the issue of recruitment at the House of Commons defence select committee and claimed the army was only reaching 80 percent of its targets.
One of the world’s most respected war historians, Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, responded by saying, “If they don’t make progress and reverse these trends, it’s going to be awkward.”
But Tim Ripley, a defence analyst and author of “Little Green Men: The Inside Story of Russia’s New Military Power,” said the army was deliberately slowing down recruitment in order to slim down the army from a roll call of 77,000 to around 73,000.
Mr. Ripley told The Epoch Times: “I would suggest to you that they actually are reducing the number of people recruited into the British army on purpose.”
“Because they have set themselves a target to reduce the size of the British Army to 73,000 by 2025 and they’ve also promised not to make anybody redundant. So they are going to allow natural wastage, people when they finish their contracts they just leave and they’re not replaced. But they’ve also got to reduce the number of people they recruit,” he said.
Army Faces a ‘Churn Factor’
Mr. Ripley said the army also suffered from a “churn factor” with recruits tending to stay for an average of only six or seven years, compared to ten or 12 years in the Royal Navy and RAF, which tended to attract people looking for more specialist roles.
Earlier this week the army launched a new video advert, which popped up on social media, under the slogan, “You belong here.”
But Mr. Ripley said the army was in fact raising the bar for recruits and rejecting more applicants than in the past.
He said he understood around 90,000 to 100,000 people a year express an interest in joining the army but only half of them put in an application and he said this year only about 1,500 would probably make it through the recruitment process.
Mr. Wallace said he thought, “73,000 is enough to meet today’s threat” and said: “We … have to be honest about the size of our defence budget envelope. There is no point pretending that we can have huge numbers without a defence budget to match.”