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Army Top Brass Prepare to Cut Troop Numbers by Over 20,000 After Tories Drop Pledge to Keep Fighting Force at Target of 82,000

The Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, in Washington, said Defence chiefs will struggle to sustain much more than a brigade – around 6,500 troops – in a future war because of a significant slashing in the number of troops, a Washington-based think-tank said in May.  British forces peaked at 46,000 during the invasion phase and then fell away year on year to 4,100 in May 2009 when the UK formally withdrew from Iraq. There are currently just 78,407 regular soldiers in the Army, down from 102,000 in 2010.  The US report also criticised the strength of the Royal Navy, saying it is still unclear whether there will be enough jets to fly off Britain's new aircraft carriers.

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