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US Downgrades UK Army’s Status as MoD Grumbles About Military Being ‘Hollowed Out’ by Aid to Kiev

CC BY 2.0 / 7th Army Training Command / 150320-A-WB953-107British cadets of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
British cadets of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst  - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.01.2023
Britain’s elite, all-volunteer Army has long prided itself for ranking among the strongest of NATO’s armies, and has consistently served as a loyal foot soldier of American hegemony, joining US-led wars of aggression (Iraq, Libya) which even many other NATO allies shied away from.
Britain’s military is privately grumbling about the weakening of its capabilities – especially those of the Army, thanks to Number 10’s decision to send arms and ammunition to Ukraine without plans to restock them in a timely manner. At the same time, a senior US general recently informed Minister of Defense Ben Wallace that the Pentagon no longer considers Britain’s military as a “top-tier” fighting force.
That’s according to defense sources speaking to UK media, who are urging Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to dramatically ramp up Britain’s defense spending – notwithstanding the island nation’s unprecedented cost of living crisis and growing recession fears.

“The PM’s wartime approach is currently to cut the Army, hollow it out further by gifting [equipment to Ukraine] with no plans to replace [it] for five to seven years,” one source complained.

Britain “ha[sn’t] got a tier one [Army].” Instead it’s “barely tier two,” according to the Pentagon general, ranking alongside the likes of Germany or Italy, instead of “tier one” militaries like those of the US, China, Russia, or France.
“Bottom line…it’s an entire service unable to protect the UK and our allies for a decade,” a source grumbled.
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“We have a wartime prime minister and a wartime chancellor. History will look back at the choices they make in the coming weeks as fundamental to whether this government genuinely believes that its primary duty is the defense of the realm or whether that is just a slogan to be given lip service,” another source indicated.
Britain’s military top brass is reportedly concerned that decades of defense cuts by successive governments have taken their toll – with the country’s military now understaffed, underequipped, and using armor between 30 and 60 years old. One defense source complained that existing plans to modernize the forces are too slow, and that the military can’t effectively defend the skies over Britain, has enough ammunition for only “a few days” of fighting, and can’t field a division of 25,000-30,000 troops with tank, artillery, and helicopter support in fewer than five years, and possibly up to 10.
The military wants at least a £3 billion ($3.7 billion US) boost in its budget, the scrapping of plans to further downsize the Army, and for red tape slowing the pace of weapons and ammunition procurement to be done away with.
Instead, sources complained that Mr. Sunak seems to be hoping that the supposed Russian threat to Britain will just “go away,” and has asked for a review of defense policy instead of immediately ramping up spending – as France and Germany have done.
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Bloc-Wide Problem

Despite the MoD’s cantankerous statements, the UK isn’t the only NATO ally to have expressed concerns about the state of its armory after sending billions of dollars in military equipment to Ukraine. Earlier this month, a retired US Army officer specializing in logistics told Sputnik that some of the weapons and ammunition sent to Kiev may take the Pentagon close to “half a century to remedy even if the US ramps up ammunition production” now.
Also this month, a senior Danish military analyst and government advisor on defense matters complained about Copenhagen’s decision to send its entire arsenal of CAESAR howitzers to Kiev, saying the move will “really hurt” the Nordic nation’s defense capabilities.
Last week, UK media reported that the German government’s assistance to Ukraine had depleted the Bundeswehr, leaving them with enough ammunition for just several days of warfare, outdated or non-operational radio equipment and vehicles, and shortages of everything from guns to Band-Aids.
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