Robert Gates: military cuts will end UK's global role

Jan 16, 2014

Britain can no longer be a full military partner of the United States, says former US defence secretary

THE spending cuts imposed on British armed forces will mean the UK can no longer be a full military partner of the United States, a former US defence secretary has warned. 

Robert Gates, who served under Presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush, said the cuts would limit the UK's ability to be a major player on the world stage.

He singled out cuts to the Navy as particularly damaging, noting that for the first time since World War One Britain did not have an operational aircraft carrier.

While the Ministry of Defence insists Britain still has the fourth largest defence budget in the world, it plans to cut 20,000 personnel from the Army, 6,000 from the Navy and 5,000 from the RAF by 2020.

"With the fairly substantial reductions in defence spending in Great Britain, what we're finding is that it won't have full spectrum capabilities and the ability to be a full partner as they have been in the past," Gates told BBC Radio 4's /Today/ programme.

His comments come a month after General Sir Nicholas Houghton, the Chief of the Defence Staff, warned that Britain could be left with the "spectre" of a hollowed-out force.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond conceded last week that Army recruitment represented a "big challenge", but said there was not a crisis.

Many voices have warned of the scale of the government's defence cuts, says Jonathan Beale, defence correspondent for BBC News. But it will be harder to ignore that of Gates, a man who served two US presidents of very different political persuasions, and oversaw the wars in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Given the unpopularity of the wars during his tenure, some may now be breathing a sigh of relief. But that's not true for senior politicians and military brass inside the MoD. They value being so close to the most powerful military nation on earth," says Beale.

Gates's intervention is unlikely to reverse the cuts, he adds, but it will wound Britain's pride.

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Well THAT is very good news. No more poking Britain's nose in International events where it shouldn't be. Bravo!!!

It wont be long till we realise that we have shoot ourselves in the foot, they are trying ti get a defence force on the cheap it cant work

...don't you mean "no more poodling along after America, lending some form of sham legitimacy to American (Greater Israeli) "defensive" aggression - particularly in the Middle East"?

...also, Cameron still fails to recognise the connect between military capability and British influence on the "World Stage" - he is far too quick and eager to commit us to further futile, ill thought through military adventures with precious little regard for actual resources available with which to indulge his fantasies.

Perhaps our waning military capability might persuade America to "go it alone" in years to come - no bad thing IMHO.

Thank goodness,the US has made the world a far more dangerous place with it's incompetent foreign policy.