British forces suffering from specialist shortfall

The British armed forces are suffering from widespread shortages of specialist staff, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Monday.

British forces suffering from specialist shortfall
The British armed forces are suffering from widespread shortages of specialist staff, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Monday.


Citing figures that it had seen, the Telegraph said that more than a third of Army medical posts were vacant, while there was an 85 percent shortfall in Navy Harrier pilot instructors, amid British involvement in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When contacted by AFP, a spokesman for the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said he could not immediately comment on the figures cited by the newspaper, but said: "The MoD is taking action on recruitment and retention challenges, however there is no question of British forces deploying on military operations without the right support."

"We recruited 97 percent of the recruiting target last year and the latest Army figures show a 25 percent increase in enlistments into the infantry. Challenges remain in other areas, but action is being taken to address this."

The spokesman said that steps that had been taken included a 2,320-pound (3,420-euro, 4,680-dollar) operational bonus, and a nine percent pay rise for those among the junior ranks.

According to the Telegraph, there was a 25 percent shortage of bomb disposal experts, a 40 percent shortfall of Merlin helicopter crew, and 32 percent shortfall of submarine warfare specialists.

Britain has 5,500 troops in Iraq, a number that is set to fall to 5,000 by the end of the year, along with more than 6,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, figures that are set to rise to 7,700 by the end of the year.


AFP
Last Mod: 27 Ağustos 2007, 12:36
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