Leaked document reveals UK Army anger at cuts: Report

Document reports effect of recent cuts in military spending on armed forces.

London: Recent cuts in British military spending have "badly damaged the confidence and morale" of the armed forces, according to a Defence Ministry document revealed by the Telegraph on Thursday.

A Ministry of Defence (MoD) paper, prepared by military officers and senior officials, condemned last month`s defence review, said the Telegraph.

They said it for having been carried out too quickly to take account of expert advice and to consult with allies, the paper reported.

"By general consensus, internal communication of the final decision was badly handled," the document said.

"The combination of well-sourced media stories on final decisions...and these restrictions on internal communications have badly damaged the confidence and morale of our personnel."

The document also said that due to the review`s tight timetable, responses from international partners "were received only as decisions were being taken”.

A ministry spokesman said the document had not been "authorised, requested or seen by a MoD minister”.

Senior lawmakers will question Prime Minister David Cameron about the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) later Thursday.

Key decisions made in the review were to axe flagship aircraft carrier Ark Royal, delay the renewal of the country`s Trident nuclear deterrent and to cut 20,000 uniform personnel.

British Defence Minister Fox Liam has defended the review, although the Telegraph, a right-leaning newspaper which strongly supports the military, has published a letter he sent Cameron in September warning of the "grave" consequences of "draconian" cuts.

While on a visit to Washington on Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague reassured the US that it could still support NATO`s Afghanistan mission despite the cuts.

"We can do that over these next four years," Hague said. "It is a quite long time. That is the length of the entire First World War."

World leaders are in Lisbon on Thursday for a NATO meeting expected to formally endorse a plan to hand over security duties to Afghan forces by 2014.

Bureau Report

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