UNLIKE a famous wood treatment the Integrated Defence Review does not do what it says on the can, it neither integrates nor adds to our defence capabilities.

It, however, does what many reviews have done before, it reduces our capabilities and makes redundant soldiers who have served this country faultlessly.

This review has been trailed for some weeks in order to prepare the ground for these cuts and every attempt has been made to suggest that improvement are going to make our Armed Forces more capable and deployable.

It of course, is a total fabrication, it is as all reviews for decades, a cost cutting exercise to mitigate the true failure, which is the procurement system. This has been plundered by vested interest in the MOD, both civil service and senior officers who are more politicians in uniform, than custodians of the ethos and wellbeing of our service personnel.

There are a number of fundamentals when waging any conflict and they are; that taking and holding ground whether vital or key terrain is a function that can only be completed by troops on the ground and that requires suitable numbers to achieve that. All the technology in the world cannot achieve that and that does not change no matter what type of conflict you are involved in.

We already struggle to send formations to areas of commitment, Baltic, Sahel, Afghanistan and training support to allies is just a small part of our responsibilities, so how is it with less troops can we ever hope to meet these commitments?

Less numbers means more risk and more domestic disruption for those deployed and this is not a sensible or justifiable course of action just to save money.

Look at the contribution by our forces but in particular our soldiers made during the pandemic and how could we have coped? They sorted out the logistic debacle with PPE, treated and tested, built the Nightingales, and provided command and control to the whole of the UK, and their reward is an end to their careers and an uncertain future. 

This government should hang their heads in shame. However we know they won’t because that’s what makes them politicians I suppose.

Major (Retd) Chris Gallacher TD, Middlesbrough.