UK conscription warning as ex-MI6 boss makes major WW3 statement | UK | News

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UK conscription warning as ex-MI6 boss makes major WW3 statement | UK | News

A former MI6 boss has quietly called upon members of the public to ready themselves to fight for their country. Sir Alex Younger, speaking in an interview with BBC‘s Today podcast, claimed the nation has been « infantilised’ since the end of the Cold War.

Sir Alex believes Britain should adopt a similar approach to Sweden where conscription is partial so the call to step up is not nationwide. Speaking in the interview, he said a blanket approach to the situation was not what’s needed, but rather hand-picking people based on the skills they have.

He told the BBC: « I don’t think this is about blanket conscription. But I think it is about thinking about ways in which the broader country would participate and contribute to security in a time of an emergency, which you know is no longer impossible to imagine. »

In the radical changes he put forward, he said having a reserve of forces would allow Britain to call upon its peers with little notice in the event of an emergency. Sir Alex pointed to Sweden’s approach where their government has the power to « compel » people to provide a service.

He said this is only rolled out when it is absolutely needed. The topic of conscription has been floated repetitively as Vladimir Putin‘s threat of a Western invasion grows. He has previously spoken of NATO triggers, and fears of a wider war have been exacerbated by conflicts not only in Ukraine, but in the Middle East.

Head of the Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, has previously said Britain should launch a citizen army – where people are told to fight and given the appropriate training.

The Estonian prime minister Kaja Kallas has also waded into this discussion today – urging Britain to grow its army in the event of war escalation.

Plagued by ammunition shortages, Ukraine this week lowered its military conscription age from 27 to 25 in an effort to replenish its depleted ranks.

Sir Alex’s comments also recall the programme of National Service introduced after World War Two. Clement Attlee’s Labour government saw Parliament pass the National Service Act in 1947, which came into force in January 1949.

It meant all physically fit males aged 17 to 21 had to serve in one of the Armed Forces for 18-months. They then remained on a reserve list for a further four years.

During that time they were liable to be called to serve on no more than three occasions and for a maximum 20 days. Students and apprentices were allowed to defer their call-up until they completed their studies or training.

A further National Service Act in 1950 lengthened the service period to two years. National Service ended in 1960 with the last national servicemen discharged in 1963.

Sir Alex called for a strengthening of military capabilities, arguing there is a set of key skills which would be required in a hybrid war that are « more broadly represented across the whole of society ».

He said: « I think we need a completely different approach to, for instance, our reserve forces which allow us to call on those people in the event of an emergency.

« And then ultimately, in extremis, I think we’d be looking at something like the model I understand exists in places like Sweden where the government theoretically has the power to compel people to give their service one way or another but doesn’t exercise it except in areas where it’s really needed.

« You’ll notice on that list is not everyone being called up and going to the drafting session. I think that’s extremely unlikely. »

Sir Alex’s comments come amid a chorus of calls for Britain to bolster its defence capabilities from analysts and military experts.

Figures show in the 12 months to September the size of the Army fell from 79,139 to 75,983 amid growing recruitment challenges, and a battle to improve retention.

General Lord Dannatt criticised the shrinking size of the army, which he said had fallen from 102,000 in 2006 to 74,000 today.

In an op-ed in The Times, he likened the current situation to the 1930s when the « woeful » state of the Britain’s Armed Forces failed to deter Adolf Hitler.

And in a rare intervention, US Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said in January it was important for the UK to reassess where it is today « given the threats that exist ».

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