While not quite on the scale of Augustine's law of fighter procurement – that is by 2054 the defense budget buys you one a year – the latest report from British think-tank the Royal United Services Institute raises some uncomfortable funding questions.
“Capability Cost Trends”, the institute’s latest paper on the pending defense review, argues that London faces a 10-15% cut in real term defense spending from now until 2016, coupled with annual cost growth of 1%-2%.
The upshot of this – pending the arrival of the tooth fairy with a spare few billion pounds a year – is that widespread cuts will be required. The report’s author, Prof. Malcolm Chalmers, argues this could result in an overall drop of 20% in personnel over the period to 2016, along with further reductions in platform numbers.
Chalmers asserts that the ministry faces the choice of spreading the pain across all three services, or whether “some capabilities should be protected at the expense of deeper cuts elsewhere.”
Cue yet more internecine struggling between the service chiefs while circling their respective wagons around their pet programs.
Picture credit UK MoD