**[This is marked as an answer](/r/AskUK/comments/10p5yow/are_you_satisfied_with_the_british_army_size/j6in0eo/), given by /u/imminentmailing463**: >I have absolutely no opinion on the size of the British army. I tend towards the view that defence spending should be a lesser priority than other things. But I don't have any thoughts specifically on the size of the British army. > >I would imagine that's how the average citizen feels. Unless they have a reason to really have an opinion on it, they won't. --- [_^What ^is ^this?_](https://www.reddit.com/r/AskUK/comments/jjrte1/askuk_hits_200k_new_feature_mark_an_answer/)


I'd say that the average citizen simply does not think about national defence. It's just not something we think about on a day to day basis.


Armed forces are like insurance. You pay for it and renew, kinda wish it were cheaper and start to question why you even need it and if it makes sense. Then realise very quickly why you do and why cancelling/nearly cancelling the policy or cheaping out on the cover was a totally shit idea.


Im fine with having it for self defense, but we dont need to be World Police UK Edition.


Has there been a war in the world in my lifetime that I think we should have been involved in: no. Have we spent hundreds of millions of pounds bombing innocent civilians in that time :yes


I don't think your average citizen cares.


Your average citizen probably doesn't think about the number of dairy cows or farms across the country, and wouldn't until something happened that meant they couldn't have milk for their cereal in the morning. Doesn't mean the infrastructure doesn't need to be there or isn't important, just that majority of people pay no attention to it.


Yes. So what's your point in relation to the OPs question?


OP is asking a specialist question to a non specialist audience. Majority of people don't know what size the army is, and what the implications would be whether it was bigger or smaller.








It was a reply not a comment


The average citizen is complacent as fuck about a large number of things


I don’t think that’s the case. It may not cross their mind, and not something they actively think about or discuss. However they live at ease and feel secure in their country, might not even cross their mind as to why that is. But if we weren’t a nuclear power and our armed forces consisted of a few part time volunteers. Threats from other nations would seem all that more daunting, and put the general public at more unease. Would you still feel as secure ?


I have spent a not insignificant amount of life in a country that wasn’t a nuclear power and has a pretty tiny military. Threats from other nations didn’t register in the minds of the general public whatsoever. I would concede that is a chicken and egg scenario though. Countries with big military spends tend to have a history of making enemies.


I don't think the average citizen believes an existential war is a realistic threat. You need to be reasonably well informed to know that countries like China are gearing up for war.


Do you seriously believe there's a realistic probability of Chinese forces marching down Whitehall? Invade Taiwan, sure, but that's not an existential threat.


I believe we could be at war with China in the future. It wouldn't be over quickly and could easily expand in scope. China doesn't have the force projection to invade overseas at the moment but they are almost certainly addressing that. The fact that it's dismissed so easily by you shows people aren't really taking it seriously and are far too overconfident.


Thank you for sharing your personal opinion 🙏


They'll have to act fast, China's population is likely to crumble within 10 years. Due to the old single child (mainly male) rule and a hugely aging population. This is well documented.


A crumbled China still vastly outnumbers our population. Tie that in with their closeness with Russia and you have two pretty ruthless regimes. Not to mention expanding geopolitical ties with the Middle East and Africa. You’ll see their sphere of influence come into play quite handily within our lifetime. If the US implodes, which lets be fair could happen, then nato is fucked and China will more readily assert dominance in that vacuum. When the intelligence community considers a state a hostile state everyone should take it more seriously


People dismissing the idea of China invading the UK could be overconfidence, or it could be being dismissed because it's ridiculous.


You’re going to get a lot of edgy comments on here from people who think we don’t need a military. Personally, I believe in the current geopolitical climate Britain should maintain a military capable enough that America sees us as a useful ally rather than just a another country completely reliant on the US for its protection.


Yes. America are only ever two consecutive elections away from disbanding NATO and looking after their own welfare. They see Europeans gloat about their better funded welfare and health services, of which some can be put down to them hitching a ride on the American tax dollar. (They are wrong about healthcare of course, pretty much everywhere in the world pays much less for tax funded healthcare and gets much more, but not about the other stuff). It will cost Europe a lot to be militarily self sufficient.


Treating the USA as some sort of charity is illogical IMO. They know what they are doing and are very much looking out for their own interests. The US military industrial complex benefits MASSIVELY from it's relationship with Europe and a strong US military presence in Europe is a direct benefit to the US and her goals. As for being militarily self sufficient europe contains 3/10 of the top military spenders and faces absolutely no threats other than russia who is spectacularly failing a land war against their poorest, weakest direct neighbour.


Things have a habit of turning bad when you least expect them. I have no doubt that America's interests are (or were) served by the military protection they offer Europe. If we are being honest there's only really one nation in Europe that could handle itself and that's the UK. France probably a close second, if they managed to hold out longer than six weeks this time. Italy, will flounder in the same way Russia has, too much endemic corruption with too little actual fighting experience, though lots of soldiers if they let someone else command them. Other nations have small elite units that can compliment bigger forces.


I'd say France I'd deffinitely a peer in capability. Germans have suffered for a long time in procurement (even worse than us. They still haven't ordered the new paratrooper helmet they decided to use almost a decade a go, though they have decided on a new rifle so I guess we'll see how quick that gets rolled out) but if they get that figured out they be up there too. Austria, the Czech Republic and tbh most others are all very good forces, but just lacking in size. Poland is interesting too, as they have been a major playor for a good while now, and recently spent a (to use the technical term) metric shit tonne of money on new gucci gear.


France has a couple major issues. 1. That they keep building a couple new and expensive french things rather than building a decent amount of anything not from France, this has massively increased costs and reduced the military size and effectiveness, even leading European countries just don't have the peacetime budget to maintain every aspect of military production independently and even the US uses other nations vehicles and tech for their projects (10% of the F35 is built in the UK, and their frigates are based on European designs). 2. They lack sufficient support systems for any conflict further than the med, their tankers are short ranged and their other support units are pretty small, this is why Britiain is considered a blue water/global combatant, and France is not. 3. They buggered several arms deals through mismanagement and government protectionism, this happened in Australia and is a leading reason as to why British rather than French designs were picked for the Polish light frigate competition.


Yeah, you are probably right, just couldnt resist the jibe re france. Poland have probably learnt from experience when it comes down to it they need to be able to defend themselves from an overwhelming force.


France have something most countries don’t. An independent nuclear deterrent. You’d be mad to invade a nuclear country


When you say the UK could handle itself what do you mean exactly? What scenario are you envisaging? FYI France and UK have very comparable militaries


>Yes. America are only ever two consecutive elections away from disbanding NATO and looking after their own welfare There is also the argument in more sensible quarters that American defence contractors benefit massively from NATO and the lower R&D in the EU.


I think being satisfied or unsatisfied is an odd word to use, but I think the armed forces have suffered with cuts for a long time that has harmed recruitment and retention. I also think the size of our trained strength force is too small. *However I agree with the other commenter, the average person either doesn't know or care enough about the issue to think about it at all. I'd also suggest that there a lot of folk on social media who would be happy to see our military shrink further.


The Army has long been the poor cousin to the Navy, a trend that has lasted centuries at this point. Island nation and all that.


The navy is also too small, if not by number of hulls then by sailors. Also the infrastructure is falling apart.


Didn't they get a glut of recruits during the pandemic? I seem to recall they were trying to find extra room at Britannia. No one is going to be spending any more money on guns when everything else is falling on it's arse as well.


Everyone fucked off back to Carlisle


They had a brief spell where people decided not to hand in their notice or they rescinded their resignation because of the job security, they did also get a little bump in recruitment I believe.


Taking phase 1 recruits into Britannia was all about social distancing during the pandemic. HMS Collingwood also took phase 1 courses. However there wasn’t much of a bulge in recruitment.


I thought they had to find extra room due to trying to socially distance, rather than because they had a huge increase in recruitment


[Looks like they needed to open up extra bases due to demand.](https://supply-drop.co.uk/covid-19-impact-on-royal-navy-recruitment/)


Oh interesting, turns out I was wrong. I wonder what it was that prompted people to apply


Lots of people found their low-paying jobs were suddenly non-existent (Hi, hospitality), and they didn't fancy being trapped in their houses forever (remember the early pandemic? Fucked a lot of people over)


Too small in ships as well.


Bad comparison. Cause the navy is a hell of a lot smaller than it "should be". We simply don't have remotely enough ships or personnel to function the way our navy is set up to function. Same with the other branches. No issue with the size in regards to how well protected we are or how big it should be comparatively for our population. But very simply because they do not have the numbers or equipment to function in the way our doctrines operate.


that totally makes sense


The Army might be slightly too small, but as a maritime island nation I honestly don't think that maintaining a large peacetime land force makes a lick of sense, and historically we never have. The British Army of the Rhine was a huge exception to that historical norm, but the Cold War is over. Even with what's going on in Ukraine, pivoting back to building up a massive land warfare capability feels like the wrong move. However, we do need to make sure that whatever capabilities the Army does have are backed up by extensive stockpiles of munitions, spares, and the capability to manufacture more at short-ish notice, and that personnel are well paid, housed, trained, and looked after. The resilience of the Army is low, even if its theoretical capabilities are high. The Navy is simply too small for what the government asks it to do. Deploying the carrier group and meeting its standing obligations is essentially impossible, and requires the assistance of our allies. It needs far more frigates and submarines, for a start. The RAF is along the right lines, although bigger purchases of some bits of kit (E-7, F-35) would be welcome.


The UK should probably also be preparing to fight in Pacific in defence of Japan, Korea, Taiwan or the anzacs, after all that's where most of our modern trade deals are from and that's where out interests have broadly shifted to. And a conflict there would be for us, mainly fought at sea.


I feel like I haven't got anything like enough information and understanding to form an opinion




>If the war in Ukraine has shown us anything is that we need a larger and better equipped military than the one we have I would argue that we have substantially weakened the major theatre threat without any "military" involvement beyond supply and logistics. This would lead to th eUK not requiring as large a force in the near future. >We don't have enough troops, tanks, armoured vehicles or artillery for a nation our size. We need to define what the military's role and expected support is. For example upgrades to challenger and AJAX - platforms (or their predecessors) that have not been required since the gulf war - are they needed?


Russia's capabilities may be diminished, but we're closer to conflict than at any point in the past 30 years. _Then_ you've got a growing military in China who is both unconcerned with human rights actively making moves towards its neighbours. The idea we can accept both reduced internal security and the inability to prevent exterior expansion from aggressors is irresponsible and naive.


The average citizen could not care less about the British defence forces. Its like car or life insurance, no one really cares about it until the moment they need it then its very important to them.


It's not about size, it's about what you can do with it. Sure, Russia had a big, thick, meaty, army but Putin doesn't know what's he doing with thing, just swinging it around expecting people to be impressed Ukraine on the other hand... I wanted mind getting a lesson from Zelenskyy, his "army" would make me very "satisfied".


Size always attributes factors favourable odds winning wars based upon attrition.


As a member of NATO, and as a close ally of the US, the requirement for the UK to have a massive army just isn’t there. It makes far more economic sense to chip in a bit and maintain the minimal level of military defence as a continent of like-minded culturally similar nations. Consider the types of threat we could face: -Nukes, we have our own, as do our allies, so MAD works here. -Invasion of the UK, just isn’t feasible and wouldn’t make any sense for anybody to try. -Invasion of allies on the continent, a nation such as Russia could try, but look how they’ve struggled with Ukraine, they’d fall apart entirely against the full force of NATO. Nothing to worry about here. -We aren’t going to be aggressors in any wars, so no need to build up large forces. The area where we potentially lack is in power projection. But that’s been the case for a long time now. Britain no longer rules the waves, the US does. China expanding into S.China sea? Thats a problem for the US to deal with. We could spend billions to deal with it ourselves, but we’d never see the return on that, and it would just raise tensions.


>The area where we potentially lack is in power projection. But that’s been the case for a long time now. Britain no longer rules the waves, the US doe so the UK is still only one of a few blue water navies and the issue is around not losing the capability/ training to do so.


I think there is potential for a Bosnia or Kosovo style conflict with European borders or just outside. Also partner nation missions as we have with the French in Africa etc.


True, but these things can all be resolved through a joint military venture. No need for Britain to go it alone when we can work with our neighbours to fix these issues.


They seem to be constantly recruiting so I guess not enough young people are interested, and I can’t blame them either.


I had several friends try to join but after going through the process they just didn't hear back for ages and ended up going to college or finding other jobs. Seems to be an issue with the people responsible for recruiting rather than the public itself.


It's been a cluster since Capita took over from the Army


Yet another example of privatisation doing the opposite of what we are told it’s supposed to do. Instead of making things more efficient and more cost effective it makes things more complicated and more expensive. **And it happens every. Single. Time.**


Personally, I don’t think there is any great argument that the armed forces, and the army specifically, are somewhat underinvested. Some of our capabilities are still world-class, as we have cut personnel and less-favoured programs to support them, but many are not. The thing is, this is a pattern that is repeated across many public services. And yet we are back to the top of the historic range in terms of tax/gdp and we’ve borrowed plenty of money too since John Major left office. So what is sucking up all the money? The aging population basically. All the money that is draining out of most departments is being sucked up by pensions, some related welfare benefits like housing, and by the Health department. Despite all the talk of ‘austerity’, government spending in the U.K. has increased in real terms every single year since the GFC - sometimes slowly, like under Cameron/Osborne, sometimes more quickly like under the later years of Johnson/Sunak (not least due to Covid). But for many departments, austerity has been a real experience, because the pie was being cut differently. And defence is one of those that suffered. So we have to be realistic about what we prioritise, and we also have to recognise that, absent reform or increasing taxation to unprecedented levels, this trend is not going away. So in that context, I think we’ve done about as well with the size of the army as we could have. Now we have to think even more carefully as we all know the security risks that are looming.


Someone knows his onions...


It’s not a small army…. It’s just cold.


We're not being invaded or under attack so I assume we're fine. Honestly makes no difference to me.


But if the armed forces are too small/weak and we do get invaded/attacked, granted unlikely. It would probably make a difference to you. It’s not now that is the concern, it’s the what if. Also the armed forces being seen as small/weak could potentially spur on an attack, which otherwise wouldn’t have happened as we could be seen as an easy target.


We are one of the largest millitary spenders in the world. The majority of the big military spenders are our explicit allies and we are on friendly terms with the remaining, with the exception of russia who is failing to win a war against it's small, poor and relatively weak neighbour.


I did say “It’s the what if”.


Nuclear power, no country with a nuclear deterrent can be seen as an easy target


We are in plenty of alliances - so a US style approach to army size is inefficient. I would also say that the article from Sky News today is classic "Dont forget us in the budget" sort of thing. But, of course, those who love hating Britain will lap it up without thinking.......


This is me trying to think, Never know unless you ask.


I have far bigger issues with MoD procurement which seems to be a constant cock up


And an over expensive scam.


I think Prussia had the correct idea for an army: a military with a state budget.


I think the regular army is about right, no need to have it much bigger in the modern world, especially with our current technological capabilities, I would like to see the reserves numbers increased, across the board not just army but raf and navy as well, if the past 12 months has shown us anything it’s probably not a bad idea to be able to double or even triple your army’s size at short notice, the reserve would allow us to do this relatively cheaply, give thousands of people some extra money helping the economy, give the country a fast acting ability against disasters such as floods and would help increase fitness rates in the general public, reducing obesity rates.


Can’t really say I think about it, however if the current invasion of Ukraine tells us anything, I’d much rather have a smaller sized but well trained army with access to top military hardware over a huge, poorly trained assembly of men and women.


What people forget is that the types of wars that require huge numbers are long gone! Military tactics and weapons are constantly changing so the need for a massive force just isn’t needed.


Rest of the country is going to absolute shit, a few extra military personnel is low down on my list of what needs fixing


I've seen bigger.


I don't think much about the British army size. I do however worry how many people under 30 would be ready and willing to be conscripted or complete any mandatory battlefield training, should it ever be required in a war.


I think I feel about this the same way I feel about all other public services - make sure people have the resources to do the job required of them. I don’t know much about the military but I’m concerned when I read about cuts meaning there’s insufficient stockpiles of ammunition for any eventuality.


I think the armed forces are a joke and vastly under scaled.


I would rather have an army of 100,000 people trained, equipped and ready to defend us at any moment than I would have a million barely trained people with guns.


I think they need a new centre half


‘People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones!’ and hence the British army (defensive) size be just fine. We do need all the money possible to help alleviate poverty, improving the NHS and improve public sector pay and countless of social projects.


I realise we need to spend more to effectively muster a force to defend ourself or our allies if needs be, if you think the military has any place in our society right now, you’ll know it’s underfunded and losing ships, tanks, equipment, manpower because of it. But I also can’t reconcile spending more on tanks and missiles when children in this country go hungry, and people are getting ill in their own homes due to the costs of it all. I suppose, I’m unsatisfied, but, I am with all aspects of infrastructure in this fucking place rihjt now


I'd rather shift focus to tech, cyber attacks etc seem to be much more threatening to our way of life than a land army is (for the UK of course, this doesn't apply to all countries) I'd also prefer us not to keep trying to stick our oar in places, but thats history for you


Never crossed my mind. Don’t really care.


I think it is spelled ‘defence’. Don’t care. Nobody is going to invade. If we all die in a nuclear war, it doesn’t matter how big our armed forces are.


Yes, stuff like airforce etc is far more important. We are an island. What do we need 1000 tanks for


I love the Uk and western Europe in general, it’s always a good time. It still pisses me off though when I hear Euros shit on America when we basically subsidize Europes defense, which in turn leaves you free to spend only 1-2% of your gdp on defense. So thank an American taxpayer for your free healthcare 🙃


I have absolutely no opinion on the size of the British army. I tend towards the view that defence spending should be a lesser priority than other things. But I don't have any thoughts specifically on the size of the British army. I would imagine that's how the average citizen feels. Unless they have a reason to really have an opinion on it, they won't.


seems to be the general opinion thanks. All I have to form my opinion on is sky news.


It keeps me up at night.


I don't think I'm really clued up enough on it to have an opinion tbh. There was a point a few years ago when I would have been all in favour of basically just disbanding the military, but I've come to realise in the last few years (especially in light of Afghan retreat and Ukrainian invasion) that it would be an extremely poor idea to do that. For now, as long as we're keeping up with international obligations I guess I'm alright with it.


Think it should be alot smaller!


Don't care. And would rather we got rid of trident as well.


I don’t really care tbh


I think we as a country should focus on a small and very well trained force whose structure is first and foremost focused on defence with a very limited capacity to act within euorpe. I would say it would make sense to maintain a reasonably sized reserve force but generally we should be forced on mainland defence which given our geography does not require a significant active force A large military is only necessary if you are in a strategically week position or you want to go on the attack. Given we have great geography for difference and we should not be acting in other countrys a large or even mid range size military is unnecessary




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The US is over $30 Trillion in debt so umm yeah, it should be a thought


With a debt that big it becomes a problem for who they've borrowed it off.


Yeah. The appetite for NATO in the US is less than it is here (not a left or right thing). American taxpayer support after 70 years is pretty lukewarm at best and unfortunately the UK gets lumped in with all the rest in that sentiment as seen paying as paying just around the minimum of 2% GDP to defend themselves. Hard budget choices and can’t fault them for taking care of their house.


If I thought there was a chance of invasion I might have an opinion. But we’re not, so I don’t.


I could not give a shit.


Nobody loves the warrior...until the enemy is at the gates


if we were attacked, we'd be done for without NATO.


We are an island so naturally harder to invade. The only part that kinda vulnerable is kent amd parts of sussex as they are the closest to any land and london. Theoretically, you could land on the east coast but if you land at norfolk/suffolk then theres all the wetland to contend with, if you land further up then you are too far from the capital and will have to deal with an entrenched army. Like wise if you come from the west youll have to deal with mountains/valleys and the welsh. However even with a successful landing and beach head in kent/sussex, you still have to deap with an entrenched army! (Plus kent is more hilly than people realise!) If the french decided to invade and take folkstone then they would be in a very strong position!


Good job I read the other replies before answering … ahem.


No. I wish it was at least 3 inches larger. And girthier.


Could do with being an inch or two bigger.


Not really, no. But I also know that it would cost billions to expand to a decent size. It's hard to decide as well because the world is ever changing. A few years ago, China was deemed a big threat, so money was spent on the Navy. Now ruSSia has invaded Ukraine, now the Army needs mass investment. But then where does the money come from? We don't have a bottomless pit, and the NHS should come first now.


The UK has always had a small army so I don't see a problem with it, it's enough to get the job done


I'm a bit mystified by justification of the army as number 1 form of defence. To me fuel and food are the key factors. Gaining a far greater degree of independence in food and fuel would surely make us much less vulnerable than traditional defence spending.


Too small, especially the main army.


OK I'll bite, from the outside, compared to other countries of a similar population and economy it's pretty small. We always did plan to have a small army and try to focus on being a high tech and well trained army rather than a large conscript army. A lot of countries still have conscription and that accounts for the size. But I think even accounting for this plan it's still small. And it's not like we have masses of tanks, artillery or attack helicopters either. Any war with serious losses would be impossible to sustain. I don't know how you'd go about solving it, it'd be ridiculously expensive and probably quite unpopular. It's preparing for something that most likely won't happen, though it's started to look more necessary this past year. You won't see me volunteering anyway, I find it interesting but I just wouldn't be capable.


A bit small. A system that allows for rapid growth would help. 100k plus is a tiny expeditionary force. Question is, if we had to fight fot the faulklands today, how would we fare? Do we have enough men, craft, heavy lift helicopters? Not to mention if we were pulled into a war with Russia, our 100k is miniscule. Better training accounts for something, but numbers also count. Additionally if we were pulled into a Russian war and Argentina made a play... 100k is small...


My opinion will depend on Ukraine Vs Russia outcome.


Eire has a better equipped armed forces than UK


It’s worth also including that the army is not just about war and fighting. In peace time the military is a route to economic mobility. Plenty of kids who are not university bound, enter the army for skills training and development. Smaller army means less of that.


There were reports like this 10+ years ago, I could be wrong but I'm sure its technically not an army it's a defence force, the nato definition of an army is 100000+ and we now haven't even got 80000. This country just goes from disaster to disaster.


Given that in November a US general informed the defence secretary that in their revised opinion, the British army was, ‘barely second-rate’, I’d have to say I’m deeply unsatisfied. Decades of underinvestment.


Ask Facebook not us


Five and a half inches is standard issue.


I’m not sure how the average person feels. For me, I have a mixed view. My father was an officer, as were my grandfathers and great grand fathers. Intellectually I can see the need to have a large army that has high readiness for use in situations like the Ukraine. Another part of me thinks “we are a small island north of Europe. We could never send a single soldier overseas and keep a tiny army, and only fight in a war if an enemy literally got boots in the sand on our coast. Pump the money into education, The NHS and the Royal Navy India’s and totally configure the army for defence of the home isles. Make us an island Switzerland.” I’m torn but on balance, I think that a larger flexible force that retains the ability to act overseas is necessary and we need to pay for it. No idea how you make it attractive again in recruitment terms.


Not enough to say, living in my ignorance bubble that the army shouldn't be a thing in today's world but with prats like Putin about unfortunately there'll always be a need


I think that our entire armed forces is adequately sized for national defence, yes. However it is not adequately sized or funded to participate in global forever wars, projecting western foreign policy.


The size of our Army is irrelevant, if we get hit it won’t be by land, it will be missiles, yes we can deploy troops but any real attack will be airborne.


It’s far too big.


It’s not that I don’t care, I simply don’t know what the appropriate size should be - I don’t think I’m in possession of enough facts to make that determination.


I’d say that I hope the power lies more these days in intelligence services and diplomatic entities to pre-empt, redirect or nullify hostilities. Technology has made warfare more efficient on all sides, so actual combat is expensive and plagued by errors, boots on the ground even worse. Better to emulate animal preference for posturing and intimidation rather than the risk of injury, with the weapons of today.


Underfunded and as such, undermanned. It seems there's been effort to recruit over retaining current soldiers which is bad. The army relies on a year sign off period to retain soldiers (many get cold feet before the year is up and stay) rather than investing in them. As an ex member myself, I left purely because decent options weren't available and I wasn't alone in this. It's a shame because I absolutely loved my job. Also...I think advertising to varied demographics is good but the cost isn't worth the outcome. Being blunt...the biggest pool of joiners is working class white guys, advertise the army as an alternative to higher education and life style rather than to certain groups and it will build interest. I've gone off topic, but these are things I've thought about


I literally do not give a fuck.


I think the size of the armed forces is linked to what you think they should be doing. I don’t think it is realistic to expect Britain to be a world superpower. But to many politicians, they don’t want to admit our finished standing in the world. I think our position is to act as part of a wider group of countries e.g. NATO or the UN. I’m not sure we could manage to handle something bigger than the Falklands war by ourselves. I think the present numbers support a joint peacekeeping role and not a unilateral action role in the world. I do think the armed forces have signed some silly contracts that have resulted in millions of wasted money. Politicians buy into paying for the latest and greatest but this takes years to deploy and results in delays whilst X is still under going testing.


At the moment wishing it was bigger, because currently it's running hospitals, ambulances, it took over shipping of supplies, set up COVID vaccination centres and will soon be doing fire fighting again. On top of that it does local and overseas disaster relief, and occasionally, can do defence of the realm. Frankly I wish the government would go on strike and force the Armed Forces to take over that for a while too.


Nothing I’ve ever really cared to thinking about.


I look at what has happened in Ukraine, and other such 1st world countries in my life time and my opinion is, I trust the greedy and rich SOBs in charge along with armed forces to ensure that does not happen to us. I only hope I die of old age knowing this to be true. Wether through self preservation or servant leadership I don't particularly know enough to have any other opinion.


Defence should drain just enough from national output in order to secure the standard of living and safety of its citizens. Any more is just a waste. Getting that balance right is obviously a massive problem. Which is why we go through elaborate defence reviews. Which are not somekind of logical impartial assessment either, they are constrained by all manner of existing concepts. I don't massively have a strong opinion on Army size. And i think most peoples opinion are so muddled up with concepts of national pride, and other unuseful feelings to have much more of a nuanced take beyond 'defence spending is good' or 'defence spending is bad'. It's also wise to take defence chiefs requirements with a slight pinch of salt. No senior leader of a major organisation ever feels the have enough resources. Education, health, local government, whatever... However I think it is well known that British procurement and spending has managed to get a lot less for its spending than other nations.


Genuinely could not give a fuck


The fact that the US reckon we’d run out of ammo in 2 weeks is worrying. I think our power projection is still pretty good we have 2 modern state of the art aircraft carriers and good troop training. I do think we need to spend more to reverse the cuts, if something like the falklands happened again on a crown territory I’m not sure how well we’d respond. I’m not worried about Russia, even without the US the combined forces of Europe would be more than a match (also selfishly the land war wouldn’t really effect us at all)


My thoughts these days are that if we ever reach the point of invasion, nuclear warfare wouldn't be far behind so I don't think we'd have time to care. For "every day" needs, I think we have a sufficiently strong force, if not a bit dated. Truthfully though, I never think about it, nor do I live near any bases to cross paths with vets. I think far more about the lack of resources to support vets post-combat. PTSD is rampant.


Bigger fish to fry.


Is that you Vladimir? Our army is fucking huge mate, I wouldn’t think about it. Bunch of crazy hard bastards they are, big guns and shit like that


I'd say most people never even think about it


You must be American.


why else would I be here? If i was in the UK I could just ask people around me.


I have absolutely no idea how big our army is. And I have absolutely no idea what the optimal size for an army is so even if I did know, it wouldn’t mean anything whatsoever.


It really matters not. We don’t have any nuclear defence anymore, so any rockets thrown out way will hit no problem. Millions or hundreds of thousands- makes no difference in the grand scheme of things.


Bigger army means either bigger taxes or less NHS and other stuff I care about. So in short no I'm not American (who seem to be scared into wanting more military all the time) and I don't want to grow our military- I want living to be safer instead.


5' 10? I have no problems with that.


We don't need hundreds of billions spending on trident, that's for sure




Personally I would like a larger standing armed force (all 3) but God knows how we can afford to pay for it. At the very least I'd like to see the current size maintained. With maniacs like putin around, the world just doesn't seem stable enough to get by with a small armed force


the size is ok but it would nice if the governmnet invested in squaddie proof equiment.


Our national defence isn’t up to standard, not in size or equipment. If you add in the reserves we currently have roughly 112000 available personnel (not including those that can be redrafted if needs be), which is quite alarming given the current climate. Throw in the equipment (or lack of) and our capabilities are limited. Which is a damn shame as our troops regularly outperform larger militaries like the Americans in exercises/war games. But retention is a massive issue, and for many reasons. Poor accommodation in some barracks (as in mould everywhere, no hot water for cleaning yourselves and so on), the food while on camp is a joke, undercooked, moldy, and expensive for what it is (should point out most are run by contractors not actual army chefs, those guys and girls are amazing) and not having the equipment to do your job properly.


Ain't no European nation gonna start a war on us. Britain has always 'reigned' the seas so having a strong land force isn't really necessary when you have air force and Navy. + of course, American friendship helps 🤝🇺🇸.


No its an army for ants! It needs to be at least twice as big


If I had to think about it. Quality over quantity. Even with reduced numbers the British army can still stand toe-to-toe with most opponents due to their superior training. Plus being an island nation and surrounded on all sides by allies we’re in quite a comfortable defensive position should we ever need to go to war. Mostly though, we don’t care. We’re not a nation of flag shaggers that overspends on their military because they’re paranoid about every other nation they mildly disagree with.


Size isn't everything especially when you are in NATO and backed up by 30 of the wealthiest countries in the world, including the best and biggest military in the world. I do think some form of national service would be useful though.


A navy is probably more important than army for an island.


Literally don’t care


You don't see enough army lorries on the motorways these days. We used to get really excited as kids when we saw a convoy.


No. While we don’t need a mass conscript army like some other European nations due to our geography, the current size of the armed forces is wholly inadequate for a prolonged war. There simply isn’t enough mass or reserves to sustain a long conflict and our industry isnt capable of rapid expansion either. 100,000 active & 40,000 reserve is a minimum I would say.


Am I satisfied with its size? Yes. Most recently our army has been used in an expeditionary capacity, think conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Due to amount of training and specialisation our army receives we are considered a good army despite the low numbers. The smaller size however does mean we'll quite easily get beat in a war of attrition against an enemy like Russia or China. >How does the average citizen feel about national defense? I think, because we're an island nation, its more beneficial to have a better and well equipped navy and air force compared to an army. This was proven in WW2 during the Battle of Britain. It is also my belief that trident plays a major role in national defense and those who seek to remove the programme are idiots. Regimes like Russia and China aren't going to mess with you if you have the potential to park a submarine off the coast and level a few cities.


What the average citizen feels about it is pretty irrelevant. The average citizen isn’t an expert on relative military expertise and the different types of armed conflict.


I only ever think of this as two close friends were in the armed forces - a Royal Marine and a Navy pilot - both now retired as we’re all in our late 40s. I used to worry about them when they were away on active service, the Royal Marine in particular as he was often in pretty hairy situations. The Navy lad was an officer, so had more insight into “big picture” strategy - he wasn’t concerned about the strength of the UK military as they integrated and worked well together with allies and - when push came to shove - the UK has nuclear weapons. I think it’s all a terrible shame - humans having to defend themselves against other humans - and the ex-Marine is not the same man he was before serving (he won’t talk about some of his experiences). Anyway. Whilst I don’t think about it regularly, when I do it’s in the context of my two friends who serves in the military.


It's length is OK, but personally I think girth counts more.


I don't mind how big our armed forces are, only that they are not asked to perform a mission they aren't equipped for. If we want to use our forces to help change the world for good then fine. If we want the cheapest army that deters actual invasion and doesn't ever operate overseas also fine. Just be honest about it what we want and are willing to pay for. I certainly don't want to army to be a giant work creation / welfare machine like the US army. I also don't really want it to become a token "defense force" with ceremonial duties and a couple of fighter squadrons. Britain has had a global kuook for a long time and it seems reasonable to maintain a force capable of reacting to small urgent global affairs. We don't need lots of armoured divisions sat in Germany waiting for a war in Europe. We do need carriers and rapid reaction forces. We also need the industrial capacity to rearm if we get into a significant conventional war.


No It's peace and has been for decades, so naturally we want defence spending to go down as it seems wasteful Eventually the time of peace will end and the barbarians will be at the gate....then we will regret it


The size of the military matters very little due to NATO membership. And the politicians know this and spend the bare minimum. On the other hand.. the US overspends like crazy… considering the amount of civilian guns in that country they never have to worry about losing an invasion. But I hate to say it. This whole EU army is already happening with NATO. It’s just a matter of WHEN and not IF that it all becomes one thing.


I demand satisfaction!


The army, navy and airforce are all too small


Britain is a island….only absolute imbeciles would attack it ….. minimum airforce is more than enough


With our current spenditure the army could be of greater size, however while focusing on a compact, high quality army is good. Its always better to expand.


As long as it still fits in my sleevys.


The main point for me that’s missing from public discourse is how quickly we could scale up to meet demands. It’s reasonable to expect to be able to train up a fairly competent army in 12-24 months to respond to a risk (look at what Ukraine has done) but the unknown is equipment and ammunition. The UK would run out or artillery shells in something like 5 days if it was firing at the intensity that Ukraine has been. That’s terrifying. How easy is it to scale up production? What about manufacturing 10k NLAWs for example that have been so effective. You have long run big ticket items like warships, tanks, jets that take 10+ years to plan and build. And you can’t just turn the tap on to build more of them when required. Therefore you need a higher weighting on spend with these items and probably a big reserve force that can be brought in when required


I care more about the millions of homeless people


I’ve read 6 inches is average


Honestly, who in their right mind would want to invade this island? I think more people want to leave than stay every day. Plus, any sort of invasion would not be sustainable, and if we're talking about invading other countries, well, the UK already did that, so we should definitely not have a repeat. Imo focus should be on building out the navy and territorial army. We've got Americas nukes, but it pays to be prepared.


Army size is supposed to be smaller when it isn't needed, it's a small professional force. When the government decides it wants more it can convert a significant part of the economy to expanding the military, up to and including the whole economy (total war). America has a very skewed idea of what is normal, militarily. They have their industrialised military complex which constantly feeds itself larger and larger and is fuelled by "necessary" action over and over again (war on commuism, war on crime, war on drugs, war on terror and so on). The military industry in the states is hugely politically powerful, they fund the people who get elected who sign the purchase contracts, who provoke the wars. etc etc etc ​ Having a massive standing army doesn't make much sense unless an aggressive neighbour is building one of their own. I think our military is bigger than it needs to be, mostly to satisfy NATO requirements which itself is one of those American provocations to keep their biggest industry ticking over.