Almost 5,000 soldiers and officers – or 20% of army infantry personnel – are unfit for frontline combat duties, Ministry of Defence figures show.
Some are not fully deployable because of physical or mental injury or illness, or lack of fitness, others because of non-medical reasons.
The data from a Parliamentary written answer showed 19 battalions had fewer than 500 fully deployable soldiers.
…The issue of how to deal with seriously injured personnel is a deeply sensitive one.
The Ministry of Defence has been studying whether some may have to be discharged on medical grounds, to ensure that the Army’s fighting strength is kept up.
But it is well aware that the issue has to be handled with care, with many of the injured keen to remain within the armed forces, if necessary in non-combat roles.
“Sooner or later, we have to decide what to do, and we have got to either ask those people to leave and recruit more, or make the Army bigger and recruit more,” said Maj Gen Cordingley.
2010-01-12 07:16:34 UTC