The head of the Army has suggested that withdrawal from Germany could be halted so that troops can maintain quick access to Eastern Europe in the event of Russian hostilities. General Sir Nick Carter said that the threat from Russia meant that the Ministry of Defence is considering retaining bases in Germany that troops are set to withdraw from by 2020. He made the announcement in a speech delivered at the Royal United Services Institute:
“Our ability to pre-empt or respond to threats will be eroded if we don’t keep up with our adversaries. The threats we face are not thousands of miles away but are now on Europe’s doorstep. We have seen how cyber-warfare can be both waged on the battlefield and used to disrupt normal people’s lives. We in the UK are not immune from that. We must take notice of what is going on around us or our ability to take action will be massively constrained. Speed of decision-making, speed of deployment and modern capability are essential if we wish to provide realistic deterrence.”
General Carter said that when it comes to threats, it is important to recognise that “readiness is about speed of recognition, speed of decision-making and speed of assembly.”
He said the Army is testing the ability to deploy over land by using road and rail, but that it is “also important to stress the need for a forward mounting-base.”
“Therefore we are actively examining the retention of our infrastructure in Germany, where we store our vehicles in Ayrshire Barracks in Rheindahlen, and our training facilities in Sennelager, as well as our heavy equipment transporters that are based there, and our stockpiling and ammunition storage,” he revealed.