UK risks losing 'fortunate' NATO position over army downsizing: Chief
A senior UK commander says the war in Ukraine showed that technological advancement cannot be at the expense of personnel.
General Sir Tim Radford, the Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe, considered on Tuesday that the United Kingdom is only “just holding on” to its influence in NATO, warning that it could lose its "fortunate" position in the US-led military alliance if it does not abandon downsizing its army personnel.
"I think we [the British Army] are too small ... We do need to grow ... We’re in a fortunate position here. We’ve got a position of influence right across Nato," Radford said in an interview for the Telegraph.
"I worry that if we don’t invest and we don’t build up our industrial base and we don’t lead as we should, we might lose that position," he warned.
The general noted that the war in Ukraine showed that technological advancement cannot be at the expense of personnel, pointing out that "equipment is only as good as the people that are managing and operating it."
He continued, "I think we’ve had a slight awakening after Ukraine, but we need to do a twin track approach. We need to stay at the leading edge of innovation and technology and lead on that as much as we can."
"But at the same time it needs to be underpinned with hard fighting power. If someone comes toward you with a tank, you can’t cyber it away. You can’t cross a bridge with cyber. It needs to be balanced," Radford explained.
The Telegraph highlighted, citing the 2021 UK defense command paper, that the UK armed forces have some 76,000 troops serving, 21,000 fewer than a decade ago, and is expected to drop to 73,000 people in military personnel.