In further reporting of Defence Secretary Liam Fox's speech today (13 Aug 2010), the FT says that "Britain's military top brass is to be thinned out for the first time since the end of the cold war as ministers rebalance services that are more top-heavy with officers than at any time in the 20th century":

Liam Fox, defence secretary, on Friday launched a review to restructure and slim down the top tiers across the services as he made clear that changes were needed to address a "ghastly" budget black hole.

According to Financial Times analysis, the ratio of officers to "lower ranks" has fallen from 1/7 during the 1970s and 1980s to 1/5 today, as non-commissioned personnel have borne the brunt of the squeeze on force levels.

The imbalance is such that the military could shed almost a quarter of all officers and still remain at the same ratio as prevailed through the cold war. In salaries alone, this would save about £400m a year. ...