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Defence Cuts - Letter to the Daily Telegraph

Published: 13 Jul 2011

Simple Defence Truths

Sir – There has been much critical comment of late on the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

Britain is an island, so needs ships and maritime aircraft to defend its borders. The SDSR cut of both was illogical.

We have a severe terrorist and civil disorder problem at home. The Government has cut the police and security services the year before the Olympics – a dangerously unwise step.

Britain has 14 overseas territories. No proper analysis has been done to assess whether their strategic, political and economic value warrants the considerable defence capability required to defend them. (Political timidity.)

We wish to continue to contribute to coalition operations. Most Alliance and potential partners have strong land forces; fewer have modern air forces and fewer still have the sophisticated systems to hang on them; finally, very few have strong and modern naval and amphibious forces capable of power projection. The SDSR proposes to emasculate the Navy and Air Force in order to maintain the Army in Afghanistan – a short-sighted move.

Reduction in conventional forces may lead to humiliation or to an early use of nuclear weapons. Unthinkable? Then why does the SDSR propose replacing Trident?

The Prime Minister needs to take these warnings seriously to avoid history holding him in the same contempt as Neville Chamberlain.

Colonel S.C.H. Ashworth
Lichfield, Staffordshire


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