The UK’s former NATO commander General Sir Richard Sherriff has said that it is now time to “think the unthinkable” and is urging the government to introduce conscription.
He said that the UK has had years of defence cuts and he is urging the government to “go further and look carefully at conscription.”
General Sir Richard who is the former deputy supreme allied commander said that the government’s current defence budget need to be bigger.
Speaking to Sky News the former top NATO commander said, “Conscription to most professional soldiers, and I count myself as one, is absolute anathema.
“Britain’s armed forces have traditionally and culturally relied on long service volunteer highly professional soldiers with huge experience – and that is really the way we would all want it to go on.”
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Since the end of the Cold War the UK has cut defence budgets, he then warned, “I think we need to get over many of the cultural hang-ups and assumptions, and frankly think the unthinkable.
“I think we need to go further and look carefully at conscription.”
His views comes after the current Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Patrick Sanders said on Wednesday that in the event of a war with Russia British men and women will be called up to fight for the UK.
The outgoing head of the British Army said that the public should be “trained and equipped” to fight a war should NATO trigger Article 5 against Vladimir Putin.
General Sir Richard added, “So there is a real threat to peace in the Euro-Atlantic region – and the way to preserve peace is deterrence, effective military deterrence, conventional and nuclear.
“That means being ready for the worst case, which is war with Russia. So that means our armed forces have got to have the numbers, the capabilities, the logistics, the training needed.”
He then warned that the British Army numbers are in “freefall” with only around 74,000 troops and that we are not “ready and capable of producing a war fighting division.”
He said, “So I think General Sanders is absolutely right to be talking about a citizens volunteer army.
“I think now, against all the odds though, is the time to start talking, thinking the unthinkable, and really having to think quite carefully about conscription if we are to deliver the numbers needed.”