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U.K. defense cuts concern U.S. Army

By
JC Finley
U.S. Army Gen. Raymond T. Ray Odierno, chief of staff of the Army. File Photo by Ron Sachs/Pool/UPI
U.S. Army Gen. Raymond T. "Ray" Odierno, chief of staff of the Army. File Photo by Ron Sachs/Pool/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, March 2 (UPI) -- Gen. Raymond Odierno, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, is concerned about the impact potential cuts to Britain's defense budget may have on the global community's ability to respond to and counter security threats.

All 28 NATO members in September 2014 pledged to invest 2 percent of their countries' gross domestic product in defense, a decision Britain appears to be reconsidering.

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British Prime Minister David Cameron's refusal to commit to that figure has brought criticism from both the U.S. and British officials.

"I would be lying to you if I did not say that I am very concerned about the GDP investment in the U.K.," Odierno told The Telegraph. "As we look at threats around the world, these are global issues, and we need to have multinational solutions," Odierno said, emphasizing, "We all need to be able to invest and work together to solve these problems."

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Cuts to Britain's military budget have reduced the regular army to a level not seen since the Napoleonic wars, the Financial Times reported in February.

"The world is becoming systemically less stable" and requires defense spending at 2 percent, former British Foreign Secretary William Hague said in an interview with FT in February. Former Defense Secretary Liam Fox and former Army head Sir Peter Wall have also publicly championed meeting the 2 percent GDP investment.

Speaking at the New America Foundation's "Future of War" conference, Odierno advocated for Britain's continued commitment to collective defense. "We have a bilateral agreement between our two countries to work together. It is about having a partner that has very close values and the same goals as we do."

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