British Special Forces Under Threat From Spending Cuts?
British special forces may be under threat as a result of defence spending cuts, it is feared. The concern is that the United Kingdom Special Forces (UKSF) will have difficulty finding suitable recruits. (1)
For the special forces to maintain their standards, they need to draw from a pool of experienced, capable soldiers. The latest defence cuts will see the Army shrink down to 82,000 personnel by 2015. Many of the soldiers facing redundancy have the experience and other qualities needed by the special forces.
The exact number of UK special forces is not publicly known, with most analysts estimating the number at around 1000, along with perhaps half that number of supporting elements. Aside from the Special Boat Service (SBS), which draws mainly from the Royal Marines, the bulk of the special force's ranks come from the Army.
It has previously been reported that UKSF have been experiencing a drop in applicants,(2) mainly due to the war in Afghanistan providing many soldiers with the combat experience that previously only joining the special forces could provide. With an ever-dwindling pool of candidates to draw from, the nation's special forces will likely struggle to operate at full capacity.
more info / further reading:
- 1. SAS Units Threatened By New Defence Cuts
- 2. SAS Recruitment Crisis
(Elite UK Forces report)