The Army needs at least 2,000 more soldiers to meet its recruitment targets, military experts have revealed. Britain now has the smallest Army since the Crimean War back in 1853.
This stark news comes at a time when Britain has increased security measures amid international terrorist threats. Indeed, terrorism is the most significant national security threat that the United Kingdom is facing, according to an MI5 article.
It is not just national security which is compromised by a lack of military personnel. The Army was drafted in over the Christmas and New Year period to help in flood-stricken areas in the north of England, particularly Cumbria.
This illustrates the diversity of the role of the modern army in the UK and how critical the shortage could become.
Recruitment firm Capita has been tasked with hiring soldiers but is purportedly failing to meet its targets. An article in The Mirror indicated that Capita had to pay £750,000 in one month for failing to meet targets. It has also had to pay millions of pounds to the Ministry of Defence in the past six months for failures in the recruitment programme.
It is feared that the UK does not have enough recruits to deal with the terrorist crisis.
The Mirror article quotes Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, who said that he tried to help potential recruits to join the Army but faced “incompetence” and called for Capita’s contract to be withdrawn.
Capita signed a contract to deliver recruitment services to the Army in March 2012. It said that the project “transformed” military recruitment and was a “major investment”.
Indeed Capita’s website says that its innovative recruitment team would actually reduce the time needed to recruit and train soldiers.
It said states that its objectives are to deliver the right quality and quantity of recruits, while improving training for them.
However, some are suggesting that Capita is failing to live up to these claims. The target for 2020, in just four years’ time, is 82,000 but current projections are believed to be less than 80,000.
Capita argues that its target is to reach pre-defined recruitment numbers and that it is not responsible for replacing soldiers who leave. It feels that it has made it faster and easier for new recruits to sign up and is committed to providing the Ministry of Defence with an Army of 82,000 by 2020, as required.
Another article in the Mirror added that MoD figures showed that the Armed Forces require a further 6,400 trained personnel, including about 4,000 soldiers. The article went on to quote Lt-Gen Sir Gerald Berragan who warned that a failure to attract these recruits would lead to a shortage of soldiers.
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