Defense Secretary Warns Size Of British Army Hits 200-Year Low

The British army is inefficient for war and the current threats in Europe, according to a warning from a top official. With just 72,500 soldiers, Britain’s Defense Secretary Ben Wallace warns that the military will only work if the goal is “to stay home and tootle around.” The U.K. defense minister is urging for proper funding amid concerns about future cutbacks.

Wallace says that NATO, the international alliance, is the only proficient military deterrent Britain currently has. After Queen Elizabeth’s passing, it is yet to be identified what the new government’s foreign policy objectives will look like. Still, Wallace hopes it will bring better news as things heat up in the U.K. Army numbers are expected to drop by 10,000 troops after ministers approved cost-cutting measures last year.

The British Army was once feared, but the army size hasn’t been this low since the Napoleonic wars. Wallace is concerned about how well this will do in the current climate, as Britain is already suffering a great deal from the effects of the war on Ukraine. He has served as Britain’s defense minister since 2019 and promised to design armed forces to fit the prime minister’s threat.

Unfortunately, it is hard for Wallace to uphold his word when there are cutbacks. Big government “wants to be everywhere… but they don’t fund it,” Wallace said when asked about the potential foreign policy objectives. According to new chancellor Jeremy Hunt, it is possible that the defense budget could rise, but only after an updated review of foreign policy. But Wallace’s frustrations seem founded on the government’s pledge to increase military spending to 3 percent of the GDP, which likely won’t be a large enough increase to compensate for the low troop numbers. Wallace chose not to take the Prime Minister’s spot when Boris Johnson stepped down in July, but he was a front-runner at the time.

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