A new report warns that both the Army and the RAF are unlikely to reach personnel targets this year because of recruitment problems.
An annual report from the House of Commons Defence Select Committee said that military performance is “deteriorating” following five years of warfare in Afghanistan and Iraq, running at full stretch.
The committee found that the pressure being put on the armed services is driving out experienced personnel and undermining morale. It added it was “unacceptable” that troops were still not getting enough rest after their deployments.
The group of MPs pointed out that both the Army and RAF and the were breaking “harmony” guidelines on how long troops should be on active duty in any given year.
“The continuing pressure on our Armed Forces personnel is likely to have an impact on retention, and there are some disturbing signs of an increase in early departure in the Army,” committee chairman James Arbuthnot said.
The committee also called for the MoD to resolve its pay issue “as quickly as possible”. Thousands of Army, Navy and RAF personnel have been underpaid because of a faulty new computerised system.
The report will come as a fresh body blow to the MoD which came under fire last week following the theft of a laptop from the car of a Royal Navy recruitment officer in Birmingham.