Britain must pay for tanks, not more troops, the defense secretary said ahead of a major announcement on military plans in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Ben Wallace said that reversing the cuts in the size of the Army would have meant sending troops into battle equipped with “forks” instead of high-tech weapons due to defense budget constraints.
He made the comments ahead of the release of the Defense Command Document on Tuesday, which was updated from its original release in 2021 in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The document outlines how the military will modernize and adapt to the “changing global landscape,” as well as prioritize investment in science and technology.
Mr. Wallace previously announced that the number of fully trained soldiers would drop to 73,000 by 2025, its smallest size yet, below 82,000.
He said: “I’m not prepared to cut the Armed Forces by around £5bn to put up an ‘I’m going back to 82,000’ postcard. You have to equip those soldiers with married quarters, barracks, night goggles, helmets, weapons, whatever equipment you are going to give them.
“If it’s going to be a battle group, are you going to buy 300 armored vehicles or am I just going to give them a pitchfork? I mean, that’s the choice.”