Gap between aspiration and reality is just too wide

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According to a newly-published report, our navy is in serious trouble, facing problems on numerous fronts –and not from our enemies.

The report also highlights how our lack of capabilities leaves us reliant on our allies.

In the fractious world of the early 21st century, is this really where we want to find ourselves?

Should we be forced to rely on allies at time when their resources are equally stretched?

A fleet that is ‘seriously over-worked and rapidly ageing’ is not going to do us any favours on the global stage.

And it also indicates that we are not reacting quickly enough to the demands of modern warfare. The state of, and lack of, frigates is singled out as an area for concern.

Perhaps, ultimately, even more worrying than the equipment shortages is the gap the report has identified in manpower and the lack of key skills.

Without the sailors, soldiers and airmen or women to operate the equipment, or without the know-how to run it, it doesn’t matter how much or little equipment there is.

With the added concerns that the new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers could deploy without fighter jets, it all paints a troubling picture of our capabilities.

While our navy was once the pride of the high seas, we have to acknowledge that Britain is not the global power it once was. However, we should not be happy to see our sea power dwindle even further.

Our armed forces are still extremely important to the protection of our country, and the navy in particular is obviously very important to Portsmouth.

The gap between aspiration and reality is currently too wide.