Former head of British Army says UK military is ‘hollowed’ out as the Ukraine War creates a ‘dilemma’

13 March 2023, 10:51

General Sir Peter Wall warns UK military defence is close to a 'dilemma'

By Georgie Greer

Former Chief of the General Staff Sir Peter Wall has warned that the Ukraine War is contributing to an already ‘hollowed out’ military in the UK.

General Sir Peter Wall spoke to Nick Ferrari at Breakfast on LBC to discuss the reduction in resources for the military, saying all three of the armed forces have seen cutbacks.

Sir Peter noted the 2010 Defence Review which showed significant reductions in resources for the British Armed services, the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force.

When asked by Nick if he believed he saw a ‘hollowed out’ military Sir Peter said it was certainly ‘trending in that direction’.

This refers to a reduction in first-line capability but also “reductions in logistics support, resilience and maintenance of equipment."

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He went on to say the Ukraine War highlights “contrary to twenty-first-century expectations” armed forces still need “vast stocks of ammunition” and that we "cannot rely on the most sophisticated weapons."

“Against that backdrop, our military at the moment certainly is hollowed out, yes.”

Nick then asked if there was concern the war in Ukraine would deplete resources in the UK.

To which Sir Peter replied “very much so” and that we are “on the horns of a dilemma.”

He explained that by giving equipment to Ukraine to “fight on our behalf” in the "promotion and protection of Western values," we are depleting our own resources when “they are already not very big and intended to get smaller.”

He stated, “we don’t expect any equipment from Ukraine to come back from the war.”

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Sir Peter was the Chief of the General Staff from 2010 to 2014 and is now the founder and Chief Executive of Amicus, a leadership and change consultancy.

He was speaking ahead of the Budget to be released on Wednesday, with defence secretary Ben Wallace pushing for an additional 11 billion for the armed forces.

Reports suggest less than half of that figure will be awarded.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is also expected this week to unveil a new integrated review of defence and foreign policy, updated after Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The review will set out the UK's approach to threats from Moscow and China.

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