The [British] Ministry of Defence is bracing for what one Whitehall official has described as “brutal” cuts in a security review scheduled to be announced early next year.
The scale of proposed cutbacks in the army, navy and air force has created alarm within the MoD and poses a major headache for the new defence secretary, Gavin Williamson.
The Times reported that Tobias Ellwood, the minister in charge of personnel and veterans and a lieutenant-colonel in the army reserve, is threatening to resign if the army, which has already been reduced to 82,000, is cut back further.
The Cabinet Office review is looking at 12 different strands of UK security including the intelligence services MI5 and MI6 and the surveillance agency GCHQ, as well as the MoD. Against a background of increased terrorist attacks this year, the intelligence agencies appear to be escaping lightly while the armed services take the brunt of the cuts.
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The MoD has drawn up a list of options for cuts, resulting from a budget squeeze and a planned shift to projects judged to be more relevant to modern warfare. One of the key planned changes is to devote more resources to cyberwarfare given the threat posed by hackers to essential supplies and to an increased use of drones, robots and artificial intelligence.
The MoD is also looking at ways to better combat the kind of hybrid warfare that Russia has engaged in in eastern Ukraine, a mixture of irregular forces and psychological operations.
Areas vulnerable to cuts are the marines and amphibious vessels. Other budget-saving measures could include delays in building frigates or reducing the number of F-35s bought for two new aircraft carriers. An ambitious army plan to be able to deploy a new 30,000-strong division by 2025 could be in jeopardy. (end of excerpt)
Click here for the full story, on the Times of Israel website.