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UK aims to downsize British Army to 73,000 soldiers

UK defence secretary Ben Wallace told parliament on 25 November that the British Army would be reduced by 500 soldiers to a target strength of 73,000 by the middle of the decade. Pictured: soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment training in Oman in October. (Crown copyright)

Proposals to reduce the size of the British Army have been scaled back by 500 troops, UK defence secretary Ben Wallace announced on 25 November.

Wallace told the UK parliament that the British Army would now be reduced to 73,000 by the middle of the decade. When the Defence Command Paper (DCP) was published in March, the target strength of the army was set at 72,500 trained soldiers, down from the 82,000 hitherto planned.

Wallace revealed a series of changes to the organisation and deployment of the British Army's major units, confirming the new brigade combat team structure set out in the DCP in March.

A new Ranger Regiment is to be set up in December to take over the role of the Specialist Infantry Battalions that train and advise allied armies and indigenous militia forces. The regiment is to be part of the new Special Operations Brigade.

Wallace said in a statement released on 25 November, “Future Soldier is reinforced by the ambition outlined in the Defence Command Paper to transform the British Army into a more agile, integrated, lethal, expeditionary force. We have underpinned this generational work with an extra GBP8.6 billion [nearly USD11.5 billion] for army equipment, bringing the total investment to GBP41.3 billion [USD55.1 billion].”

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