The former Chief of General staff has suggested that if Britain cannot protect the Falklands then “we don’t deserve” to keep them. Discussion around Britain’s military power has been thrown into the limelight following Monday’s announcement on the new defence review. Under the new plans, the British Army will be cut to 72,500 troops over the next four years, throwing into doubt the UK’s ability to defend itself and its territories.
Responding to question over the future of the Falkland Islands, Lord Dannatt stressed the situation has changed massively since the Falklands War.
Lord Dannatt said: “The situation in 2021 is very different from the situation in 1982.
“In 2021, we have Mount Pleasant airfield with modern fighter jets down there.”
He went on to explain that the presence of an airfield is very different from an isolated unit of soldiers, as was the case in 1982.
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The former Army chief added: “In 1982 there were just 40 Royal Marines with rifles and machine guns.”
Lord Dannatt suggested that if intelligence is that bad that Britain cannot monitor the Falklands sufficiently then the UK does not deserve control over the territory at all.
He said: “Frankly if our intelligence capability is so poor that we can’t detect a threat from Argentina such that we can reinforce the thousands-strong garrison that we’ve got down there.
“Then we don’t deserve to keep the Falklands.”
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It is also expected to see the British Army cut by around 10,000 soldiers.
This will see the number of soldiers cut down to around 70,000.
The latest figures show there were 80,010 soldiers in the UK’s regular Army in January this year down from 86,080 in October 2015.
The army has been drastically reduced in size over previous years leading to concerns over Britain’s military capabilities.