Britain to back NATO reforms at Lisbon Summit (2)

15:22, November 20, 2010      

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Britain was able to retain a global military capability, but its troop numbers will be reduced. Instead of the 10,000 troops it is now able to maintain long-term fighting overseas, as are now deployed in Afghanistan, it will only be able to deploy 7,000, and the size of the navy will be reduced with the loss of aircraft carriers and the aircraft to go with them.

However, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates have said that they wanted Britain to sustain the level of commitment it made to NATO.

The SDSR outlined areas where Britain expected to need a military capability and these chimed with the recasting of NATO's priorities. Both have identified international terrorism and cyber- warfare as threats, and both identify no state as a military threat.

The cuts of defense budget and jobs also chimed with NATO Secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen's stated intent to recast the internal structure of NATO, reduce the number of its bases and cut the number of employees working in its bureaucracy.

NATO strategy on the continuing war in Afghanistan is also likely to chime with Cameron's initiatives on British involvement in the war.

Shortly after taking power, Cameron set a deadline of 2015 for the withdrawal of all British combat troops from Afghanistan, where it is the second largest foreign combat force only after the Americans.

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