General Sir Patrick Sanders will warn the British government on Wednesday afternoon that the people may be called up to fight if the United Kingdom goes to war in the coming years.
As reported by The Daily Telegraph, the potential occurrence of this phenomenon is attributed to the United Kingdom's perceived deficiency in military strength.
General Sanders, 57, is expected to emphasise the importance for the government to “mobilise the nation” in the event of war with Vladimir Putin’s Russia over the years during a speech at the International Armoured Vehicles expo in Twickenham. It is understood that the General does not support national conscription; but rather a change in mindset among the British public amid a historic recruitment bust.
The British Army chief has made similar remarks in recent years. In 2022, he suggested that the UK was facing another “1937 moment” following the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine in February of the same year, adding that the country must be prepared to “fight and win” against Putin’s forces.
The total number of troops across the British armed forces is at unprecedented lows in the modern era. As of last October, there were just 184,865 servicemen - a 3.9 per cent drop compared to the year before. The trajectory worsened still as the most recent quarter saw the number of troops fall by 1,115. As a result, fully-trained troop levels are “now at their lowest for 200 years,” when the population of Britain was 20.9 million – roughly a third of what it is today.
In response to Sanders’ expected comments, former Chair of the British Defence Select Committee Tobias Ellwood said, “we need to listen and listen carefully, we’ve been too complacent,” continuing, “what’s coming over the horizon should shock us. It should worry us and we are not prepared.”
The announcement will come soon after similar statements by other Western powers, many of which are witnessing similar falls in army recruits. NATO military commander Admiral Rob Bauer admitted last week that private citizens of NATO member states must be ready for a possible conflict with Russia over the next two decades. He explained, “We have to realise it’s not a given that we are in peace. And that’s why [NATO forces] are preparing for a conflict with Russia.”
“The discussion is much wider… people that have to understand they play a role… The realisation that not everything is plannable and not everything is going to be hunky dory in the next 20 years,” Admiral Bauer added.
German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius similarly stated in an interview with Der Taggesspiegel last week, “We hear threats from the Kremlin almost every day… so we have to take into account that Vladimir Putin might even attack a NATO country one day.”
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