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Top Officer Slams British Army Cuts

Jul. 3, 2012 - 09:14AM   |  
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LONDON — A senior British Army officer warned July 3 that the government’s plan to ax some of the country’s most celebrated battalions is not a “sensible military option,” the Daily Telegraph reported.

In a letter seen by the paper, Brigadier David Paterson, the honorary colonel of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (RRF), told Gen. Peter Wall, the chief of the General Staff (CGS), he was “bitterly disappointed” by government proposals.

The Ministry of Defence on July 5 is set to announce plans to abolish the 2nd Battalion of the RRF as part of a program of cuts to the U.K. defense forces, the newspaper reported.

“I, as Colonel, have the duty to tell my men why it is their battalion, which at the time of the announcement will be the best manned battalion in the Army, with recruits waiting in the wings, was chosen by CGS,” Paterson wrote.

“I will then also have to explain to my Fusiliers in a fully manned battalion why they are likely to be posted to battalions that cannot recruit.

“This will not be an easy sell.

“If challenged or scrutinized by, for example the media, it cannot be presented as the best or most sensible military option,” he added.

Five infantry battalions are due to be scrapped, resulting in the Army losing 12,000 personnel, according to the Telegraph.

A ministry spokeswoman later said it is not departmental policy to comment on leaked documents.

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