Army training exercises cut by a third to save money

(15 Mar 2010) Daily Telegraph Defence Correspondent Thomas Harding reports that training exercises for military operations have been cut by a third to save money at a time when the Army is engaged in heavy fighting in Afghanistan.

A record 80 training exercises were cancelled last year while the number of British troops in Helmand reached 10,000.

Last week a coroner castigated the Ministry of Defence over “inadequate” mine detection training following the death of Cpl Sarah Bryant, the first British woman killed in Afghanistan, and three SAS soldiers.

The Daily Telegraph has also learnt that units training to deploy to Afghanistan within the next two years have had their training cut.

One battalion commander said: “We are attempting to train essentially with one hand tied behind our back.”

Figures show that the number of exercises conducted in the past three years fell by almost 30 per cent, dropping from 646 in 2008 to 462 last year. Meanwhile, the number of cancellations rose from 58 in 2006 to a high of 80 last year. ...

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