Defence review may be reopened in funding crisis - report

Prime Minister David Cameron speaks to Afghan National army soldiers at patrol base 2 between Lashkar Gah and Gereshk December 6, 2010. REUTERS/ Leon Neal/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - The Ministry of Defence (MoD) needs to find at least 1 billion pounds a year of additional cuts to meet the government’s expenditure targets, the Financial Times said Thursday.

The newspaper quoted senior MoD sources as saying this could lead to Britain reopening its armed forces review over fears that the department lacks the funds needed to meet the government’s capability demands for 2020.

Britain in October unveiled plans to cut back its army, navy and air forces as part of the harshest public spending cuts for a generation.

The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), the first since 1998, detailed cuts to the defence budget, manpower, equipment and strategic capability as well as a focus on cyber security.

“We are continuing to develop and refine our SDSR implementation plans but the SDSR will not be reopened,” an MoD spokeswoman said in a statement.

However, the FT said that two senior sources, not otherwise identified, had told it the idea of reopening the defence review only a few months after it was published cannot be excluded.

One of the sources said reopening the SDSR would make the MoD look like “complete idiots” but added that the idea was being actively considered.

Under this scenario, the government would find the additional savings by further reducing the number of army personnel, Royal Navy frigates or RAF jets that the UK is projected to have in 2020.

Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Michael Roddy