British cuts to military budget worry U.S. officials

Remember, when the Yanks say, “Jump!” – you ask “how high?”
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Plans by the British government to make significant cuts in defense spending have spurred concerns among American military experts about Britain’s ability to carry out its role as the United States’ most dependable ally.

The Brits used to use the term “batman” to describe a similar purpose within their imperial army. Americans are more likely to say “flunkey”.

A wrenching government spending review has pitted Britain’s army against its navy, spawned a series of leaks to the British media and raised the question of whether the military that emerges from the budget cuts — expected to be 10 percent to 20 percent of current outlays — will be a strategically agile force that can join the United States on major combat operations.

American and British officials said that they did not expect any cutbacks to curtail Britain’s capabilities to fight in Afghanistan over the next five years…

The ten or fifteen years after that might be a problem, though.

Mr. Fox told reporters later that, after any cuts, the British military would be able to respond to a broad array of threats and retain capabilities particularly valued by the Pentagon. He identified those as Britain’s Special Forces, its nuclear deterrent, its participation in the Joint Strike Fighter program and its ability to deploy substantial forces when needed.

While they joust with Israel to see who gets to be the 51st state, the various wings of the British government are working like little beavers to assure Uncle Sugar they need to stay on the death and destruction payroll.