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Gates: British Military Cuts Limit Scope for US Partnership

  • Reuters

FILE - Former U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates.

FILE - Former U.S. defense secretary Robert Gates.

British defense cuts mean the country can no longer be a full military partner of the United States, former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned on Thursday.

Britain is the world's fourth largest military spender after the United States, China and Russia but is cutting the army by 20,000 soldiers over this decade while its navy will lose 6,000 personnel and its air force 5,000.

Gates, who served as defense secretary under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, said he lamented the British cuts which limited Britain's ability to be a full partner to the United States.

"With the fairly substantial reductions in defense spending in Great Britain, what we're finding is that it won't have full spectrum capabilities and the ability to be a full partner as they have been in the past,'' Gates told BBC Radio.

British generals have warned that the cuts are hollowing out the armed forces and could limit Britain's ability to fight wars.

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