British Military Requirements, Resources, and Conventional Arms Control

by Joseph E. Nation

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British military leaders face a formidable challenge in the next 15 years as they modernize their forces. The financial requirements of modernization efforts will be large, especially since replacement equipment is almost always more expensive than its predecessors. Modernization requirements will be substantial, even with conventional force reduction agreements that cut forces deeply. Other factors complicate Britain's military modernization efforts: Demographic pressures will probably make recruiting Britain's all-volunteer force both more difficult and more costly. In turn, increasing personnel costs may reduce defense resources available for investment and jeopardize the acquisition of replacement equipment. A reduced Warsaw Pact threat will also probably reduce defense resources. This report compares the financial requirements of achieving British modernization goals with a range of projected budgetary resources. The financial requirements of major equipment production with projected resources are estimated in two cases: in the absence of conventional arms control in Europe, and following a Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) agreement.

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