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MoD: war on two fronts leaves Army 'critically weakened'

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cal04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 06:22 PM
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MoD: war on two fronts leaves Army 'critically weakened'
The British Army suffers from "critical weaknesses" to the point that, it is "almost impossible" to fulfil commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a Ministry of Defence briefing document obtained by The Independent on Sunday.

The Army is so stretched from having to fight on two fronts that 40 per cent of army divisions report they are suffering from "serious or critical" problems. Manning shortages mean that soldiers are having to go on to tours of duty before they are properly rested or trained. And there are such serious problems recruiting for key military professions that colleagues in the field are having to forgo leave and extend their tours.

The official memo, given to MPs on the House of Commons defence committee, details the extent of pressure the military is under. MPs say it is threatening its ability to fight insurgents in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan. The document reveals that the Army's ability to reach levels of "peacetime readiness" and "immediate readiness" have declined sharply in the past year. Forty per cent of units now say they are having serious problems getting to a state of "immediate readiness" for war and have reported "serious or critical weaknesses".

According to the MoD, forces with critical weaknesses would find it "almost impossible" to fulfil immediate commitments in the field while forces with serious weaknesses would find it "difficult but not impossible". The memo says: "The proportion of force elements reporting no critical or serious weaknesses against their peacetime readiness levels has declined from 81 per cent in September to December 2005 to 69 per cent in April June 2006."
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