The number of active duty chaplains serving in the Armed Forces will be reduced under the Government’s troop reduction programme proposed in its Strategic Defence and Security Review, the Under Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Astor told Parliament last week.
The former Archbishop of Armagh, Lord Eames, asked the government what “impact planned reductions in the future strength of the Armed Forces will have on the number of chaplains serving in the Armed Forces?”
Lord Astor responded in a written statement released on 26 June 2012 the number of chaplains will be cut. The “number of chaplains serving in the Armed Forces is dependent on the size and structure of the service which they support. Following the reductions to the Armed Forces that we announced in the Strategic Defence and Security Review it is currently planned that the number of chaplains required by the Royal Navy will reduce from 68 to 62 by 2013 and the Royal Air Force chaplaincy requirement will reduce from 76 to 68 by 2018.”
The minister stated it was “not possible to comment on what the Army’s future requirement for chaplains will be” as troop levels for a reduced force had not yet been finalized. In recent years approximately 150 chaplains served in the Army, with additional chaplains assigned to the Territorial Army and the Army Cadet Force.
But then I see that the British Army on the whole is about to shrink by a fifth – all ‘part of an economy drive’. Dangerous stuff, if you ask me. Her Majesty’s Armed Forces are a shadow of what they once were…