General Sir Nick Carter

The Head of the Army, General Sir Nick Carter, has warned that cutting troop numbers and diverting funds to hardware will not be enough to win wars.

His remarks come amid fears that major budget cuts will be made to the armed forces in the upcoming national security review.

UK troops rehearse parade

In a lecture organised by the British Commission for Military History, the Chief of the General Staff gave a speech on the challenges facing the Army. 

Sir Nick said:

“We have not been helped by the unpopular campaigns of the last decade or so.”   

He suggested that the desire to minimise risks to soldiers has spawned a number of fallacies, such as the belief that wars can be won without putting ‘boots on the ground’.

The Chief of the General Staff pointed to the growing use of targeting enemies with missiles from drones and using proxy forces to do the fighting.

British troops in Afghanistan

It is reported that a reluctance to deploy the Army after Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with a renewed focus on domestic security in the wake of recent terror attacks, will see defence money diverted into counter-terrorism and drone warfare.

Sir Nick also said he believes the public’s perception of the Army is hampering recruitment efforts, which is 4,000 soldiers below its target strength of 82,000.

He said there was:

“a real risk that soldiers are now seen as victims not as heroes.”

The Head of the Army added that “while we welcome the vital support of military charities, it’s a challenging recruiting message when they and their events have such a high profile.”