In a recent statement, General Sir Patrick Sanders, the outgoing Chief of the General Staff (CGS) of the British Army, has underscored the necessity for the United Kingdom to prepare for the increasing likelihood of conflict. Speaking at the International Armoured Vehicles conference, Gen Sir Patrick emphasized that the current reserve forces alone are insufficient to meet the potential threats, advocating for a substantial increase in the size and capabilities of the UK’s armed forces.
Sanders highlighted the need for a dramatic increase in the size of the British army, proposing an expansion to around 120,000 personnel within three years, up from the current strength of approximately 74,000. However, he emphasized that this alone would not suffice. The general underlined the necessity for the entire nation to be involved in defense efforts, mentioning the need for training and equipping a “citizen army.” This call reflects a broader movement across Europe, particularly in eastern and northern countries that feel the immediate threat, to lay the groundwork for national mobilization.
In response to these comments, the UK Prime Minister’s office expressed skepticism about discussing hypothetical scenarios of future conflicts and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to maintaining a voluntary military force, ruling out any move towards conscription.
This stance by Gen Sir Patrick is not isolated. Other senior NATO military commanders have echoed the need for the alliance to prepare for potential conflicts, possibly involving large-scale civilian mobilization. The ongoing situation in Ukraine serves as a stark reminder of the changing nature of global conflicts and the necessity for nations to be prepared.