Britain 'losing touch' with service men and women, report says
(5 November 2007)
Britain is losing touch with the men and women of its armed forces says a new report co-authored by a Durham University academic.
In a time of turbulence and risk, the British armed forces are on a dangerously unsustainable course, the report by the think tank Demos warns. The report, written by Professor Anthony Forster, of Durham University, and Dr Timothy Edmunds, of Bristol University, warns that men and women of the armed forces are being let down by underinvestment. The armed forces have an unfocused brief, insufficiently linked to the threats of the future. The nation itself is divorced from them and their needs. Stretched budgets remain tied up in big-ticket, high-profile hardware while the ‘software’, the men and women who make up the armed forces are overlooked. Unless pay, terms, housing, training and recruitment are sufficiently resourced, the future for the armed forces looks bleak. Professor Forster and Dr Edmunds said: “Despite sterling service in Iraq and Afghanistan, UK armed forces are over-stretched, under-resourced and under tremendous organisational strain. “It is time for a new, pragmatic and public debate on UK defence; one that is honest about current economic, organisational and societal constraints. “It will require a more open-minded and flexible approach from senior military commanders; and a willingness on the part of the government to face up to the contradictions that lie at the heart of British defence policy.” Based on extensive research and consultation, the report analyses the new security challenges from serious and organised crime, international terrorism, religious and ethnic conflict and makes recommendations on how to meet them. The report is part of a major new series on national security, part of the Demos Security Programme. For more information please see the original press release by Demos: www.demos.co.uk.