In the news today is the fact that the UK armed forces have significantly reduced exercises this year, down to 25 from the previously planned 48. One in 5 has also been cancelled in the last 6 years. There has been a predictable outcry fro the press and politicians alike complaining of cuts to defence spending resulting in dangerous cuts in training, ultimately reducing effectiveness
What these cries fail to realise is that any armed forces at war does not to exercise as often, it substitutes the real thing for a simulation.
In addition the nature of the conflict in Afghanistan means that complex overseas all arms exercises are not needed as much as role or theatre specific training that matches the conditions of Afghanistan. Rest assured, anyone deploying to theatre will have undergone a great deal of training as an individual, sub unit or unit.
Reducing the number of exercises will also give units invaluable ‘down time’ to recover from intense periods of deployment on operations.
So the alternative point of view is this, the reduction in exercises is a sensible response to the continued deployment in Afghanistan and draw down in Iraq.