The United Kingdom would not be able to confront serious military powers, like Russia, in the event of a conventional conflict, a former senior commander has warned.
General Richard Barrons, who was head of Britain's Joint Forces Command, warned the Defense Ministry before he stepped down in April that the country would quickly be overwhelmed by a concerted Russian air campaign, The Financial Times reported Saturday.
“Neither the UK homeland nor a deployed force – let alone both concurrently – could be protected from a concerted Russian air effort,” he wrote in a ten-page private memorandum that was delivered to Defense Secretary Michael Fallon.
“Counter-terrorism is the limit of up-to-date plans and preparations to secure our airspace, waters and territory ... there is no top-to-bottom command and control mechanism, preparation or training in place for the UK armed forces [to defend home territory] ... let alone to do so with NATO, ” Barrons added.
The document -- obtained by The Financial Times -- raised concerns that the army has not been trained to conduct full-scale wars and that such an experience could be a disadvantage.
Barrons, who served in the army for nearly 40 years, described that the army is not equipped to fight a major power, adding that it is significantly outgunned by Russia.
He argued that small numbers of hugely expensive pieces of military equipment that make the UK's military capabilities are “extremely fragile.”
“Capability that is foundational to all major armed forces has been withered by design,” the general wrote.
The Ministry of Defense announced a plan last year to put more ships, planes and troops at readiness, alongside greater spending on cyber and special forces. The government also pledged a military budget rise to meet NATO's spending.
The UK’s military approach since 2010, however, has been conditioned by the reality of a dramatically shrinking budget. Since then, the size of the armed forces has also shrunk by around one sixth.