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British army to cut 20 pct of soldiers in restructuring

07-06-2012 04:34 BJT

LONDON, July 5 (Xinhua) -- The British government announced Thursday that the British army is to become smaller, with many units axed altogether as it undergoes a fundamental restructuring.

The defense secretary Philip Hammond told the House of Commons that the Army's regular soldiers is set to fall from the current strength of 102,000 to 82,000, while reservists will double to 30,000 under a plan called Army 2020.

Hammond said now was a good time to plan cuts as Britain's combat role in Afghanistan was coming to an end in 2014.

He said the British army would now be divided into two parts -- reaction forces and adaptable forces.

"The reaction forces will generate high-readiness, contingent capability, trained and equipped to undertake the full spectrum of intervention tasks, including provision of forces for the first phases of any future brigade-scale enduring operation,"said Hammond.

Hammond announced that the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment, and the 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh Regiment would be axed.

"After a decade of enduring operations, we needed to transform the army and build a balanced, capable and adaptable force. Army 2020 will create a more flexible and agile army,"he said.

Editor:Wang Chuhan |Source: Xinhua

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