Whole Army units to be replaced by reservists

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The army will be 'adapted' to suit the needs to the future. This means units will be lost. Photo: Reuters

We've known for some time that up to 20,000 army personnel will go by 2020.

What we didn't know for sure was that the Defence Secretary will allow whole units to be cut, so battalions and even some regiments are under threat.

Now Philip Hammond and the MoD have refused to be drawn on which units could go. But there has been speculation that some of the oldest regiments such as the 9th/12th lancers could disappear, or at best be amalgamated.

In their place, Mr Hammond wants to increase the number of reservists. And also, controversially, there's talk about using more private contractors.

Now all this will have political risks.

The Government really can't afford to alienate marginal constituencies more than is absolutely necessary. And with the threat of Scottish Independence, the Prime Minister will have to tread carefully with any army cuts north of the border.

But the politics aside, what's tough for many army families and personnel is that this will be the second time in eight years that they have to endure another waiting game to see if they will be affected.