UK defence secretary Philip Hammond is set to unveil details of cuts to the armed forces as part of the Future Force 2020 programme to the House of Commons today, amid the increasing prospect of a public outrage.
In what is being labelled as the biggest reorganisation of the military in more than a century, Hammond will outline how the regular UK Army will shrink from its existing size of 102,000 to 82,000 by the end of 2020.
According to reports, the defence secretary is scheduled to confirm that the army will be split in two, with a ‘reaction’ force ready to be deployed in response to emergencies worldwide, and an ‘adaptable’ force relying heavily on reservists, which will double in numbers from 15,000 to 30,000.
An expected five out of 36 infantry battalions, including the Yorkshire Regiment and the Mercian Regiment, are expected to be disbanded, while the Royal Regiment of Scotland’s numbers is expected to be reduced by more than a quarter.
Two cavalry regiments will be lost, with the amalgamation of the Queen’s Royal Lancers with the 9th/12th Lancers, and the 1st and 2nd Royal Tank Regiment.
The Royal Artillery loses a third of its strength, the Royal Engineers and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers will each shed 30%, while the Royal Logistic Corps will be reduced by a quarter.
A Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesman said: "These are necessary changes due to tough decisions, which had to be made."
Last month the department said that there was no way to ‘avoid difficult decisions as the army gets smaller’, but insisted that the country would still maintain an effective, well-equipped fighting force, with increased reliance on part-time soldiers, co-operation with allies and private contractors.
Criticised by senior army officials, the planned moves are scheduled to make another 12,000 to 13,000 servicemen redundant, in addition to about 7,000 personnel, whom have already lost their jobs, under the UK Government’s 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review.
Image: UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond. Photo: courtesy of Amplified2010.