BBC Radio 4: "The Briefing Room - Why Are The British Armed Forces Short Of Personnel?"


War Hero
"Britain's armed forces are struggling to maintain numbers. According to the National Audit Office there is a shortfall of more than 8,000 among military personnel and there is a significant shortage of personnel with skills in critical areas. The Army is at its lowest level since the days it was preparing to confront Napoleon, unable to meet even the reduced requirement of 82,000 regulars. Several reasons are cited: the lack of a current war to act as a recruiting sergeant, a recruitment process that's not working well, discontent within the ranks and a higher number of people leaving the forces than normal. We examine these causes and ask what effect the shortages have both on the battlefield and strategically. Britain has in living memory sent a Task Force to the Falklands, contributed to peacekeeping in Bosnia and sent combat forces to Iraq and Afghanistan. How well equipped is Britain today to defend itself both at home and overseas?"