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SAS Recruitment Crisis

25.04.2011

A leaked letter from a British Army Brigadier has highlighted problems with recruiting new members to 22 SAS and other special forces units. Brig Richard Dennis, the head of the infantry, warned that high tempo and "unrelentingly demanding" Afghan operations were combining to "mitigate against special forces recruitment".

Before the UK's involvement in Afghanistan, soldiers who sought combat experience and more demanding operations would apply to join the SAS but now these same soldiers receive plenty of operational experience when deployed with regular front line units. As a result, fewer soldiers are applying for SAS selection. Ongoing cuts to the armed forces, along with a large number of injured soldiers, also mean that there is an ever-dwindling pool of suitable candidates to draw from.

In his letter to the head of the army General Sir Peter Wall, Brigadier Dennis said he had deep concerns over the "challenge of fully manning the SAS". The SAS is understrength due to a number experienced SAS soldiers leaving the Regiment for lucrative jobs as private contractors.

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