Former British military chiefs criticize coming defense review

21:35, September 06, 2010      

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With Britain set for a fundamental reassessment of its military priorities and capabilities in a month's time, three former top military officials publicly criticized the Strategic Defense and Security Review (SDSR) which will detail the changes.

The SDSR will contain details of future military priorities and equipment for all three British armed forces.

Defense Secretary Liam Fox outlined what the SDSR would do in a speech on Aug. 13.

"It means looking ahead to the end of the decade and deciding what we want our armed forces to look like at that time based on the foreign policy goals we have set ourselves, our assessment of the future character of conflict and anticipating the changes in technology that we will need to incorporate," he said.

"The National Security Council has agreed that the overarching strategic posture should be to address the most immediate threats to our national security while maintaining the ability to identify and deal with emerging ones before they become bigger threats to the UK," he added.

But there are strong doubts about the SDSR, and a leading former admiral, general and air marshal all criticized it over the weekend. Former army chief General Sir Mike Jackson told BBC radio in an interview that cutting troops was not the way to save money, saying: "The bottom-up approach of just balancing the books may not work."

"The whole management of defense downwards needs a really radical look at it. There is a lot to be done before you start cutting frontline troops," said General Jackson.

He also attacked the idea of sharing aircraft carriers with the French.

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