The Defence Ministry announced the full scale of redundancies that will take place in the army, air force and navy in an attempt to cut billions of pounds from the department’s budget.
Military experts and former officers said the “crass” decision to tell troops that they may be sacked while putting their lives at risk to fight the Taliban would inevitably damage morale.
It prompted allegations that ministers had broken promises to shield front-line troops from cuts. Many of them have endured repeated tours of duty amid some of the fiercest fighting experienced by British forces since World War II.
It also follows criticism that the coalition government had broken its promise to enshrine in law the military covenant, the duty of care between the nation and its servicemen and women.
Two weeks ago, the ministry was forced to apologise for using email to inform dozens of serving soldiers that they were to be made redundant.
The armed forces will lose 17,000 posts, a tenth of their number. Eleven thousand will be made redundant, with 6,000 coming from “natural wastage” including retirement and a reduction in recruitment.
The job losses are part of cuts announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review last October. The Daily Telegraph