Lord Dannatt , former Chief of the General Staff has today told the BBC that the MOD should think again before withdrawing all UK forces from its bases in Germany. Since the end of the second world war, thousands of troops and their families have been deployed full time in various bases across the former West Germany, called BAOR during the Cold War, as a deterrent and defensive line against Russia and the Warsaw Pact. IN recent years the bases have formed a launch base for operations in the Middle East.
Massive defence cuts and, a seemingly peaceful accord between NATO, Russia and its allies, has seen those bases close one by one. The remaining 20,000 troops are due to leave by 2020 and the bases sold.
In response to events in the Ukraine and Crimea, Lord Dannatt is reported to have warned that despite the “war-weariness and war-wariness” felt by the UK, if the country was going to send “diplomatic messages” it was “better to do it from a position of some strength rather than a position of weakness”. He also thinks that reducing our Army to just 82,000 regular troops shows weakness. I agree, do you?
A Ministry of Defence spokesman has said: “With the fourth largest defence budget in the world we are reshaping our armed forces to ensure that they are properly equipped and more adaptable to future challenges and to bring the UK into line with our closest allies, who make much more use of reserve forces.” I think this comment will come back to haunt the MOD in 5-10 years time.
by Grant Evatt, Partner