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Fallon: Military must sell more assets to support frontline

Military airfields, barracks and vehicles must be sold to ensure frontline forces are properly resourced, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon is to warn.

Michael Fallon has warned that further savings need to made maximise resources for the frontline. Credit: PA Wire

Mr Fallon will say today that despite efficiencies made over the past five years the job "is far from over", and the Government has to keep "sweating our buildings and lands" to make savings.

The Defence Secretary will insist that Britain needs to go further in "rationalising our defence estate".

"With continuing demands on our resources, with the cost of manpower and equipment rising, and with competition from emerging nations increasing efficiency in defence cannot be a one-off," he will say in a speech to the Institute for Government (IfG).

"Every year we should be looking to take out unnecessary cost, to improve productivity, and to sweat our buildings and land so we can better support the front line."

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Army cuts decision 'taken without appropriate testing'

A decision to cut regular armed forces, while doubling reservists, was "taken without appropriate testing of feasibility" the National Audit Office have said.

Regular forces numbers will drop from 102,000 to 82,000. Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

The National Audit Office issued a statement saying that "military judgment played an important role in decisions."

They added: "Committing to moving towards an Army structure with fewer regular soldiers and an increased number of reserves within the planned timescale, should have been subject to more rigorous testing of feasibility."

Regular forces numbers will drop from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2018, with the report saying that without a "significant change in performance", the target may not be hit until 2025.

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£1.1bn armed forces savings won't affect 'equipment'

An annual shortfall in army savings will need to be found from cuts across the armed forces "other than equipment," the National Audit Office said today.

ITV News' Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship tweeted:

Soldier dead after incident at Cumbrian training centre

One soldier has died and another has been injured after an incident at an Army training centre in Cumbria, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed.

The incident took place at the Army's Warcop Training Centre near Appleby, and is thought to have involved a vehicle rolling over, according to the BBC.

The MoD said the family of the dead soldier has been informed.

US Army Sergeant held by Taliban in American custody

US Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, held for nearly five years by the Taliban, is now in US custody, President Barack Obama said on Saturday.

As part of Bergdahl's release, the United States is turning over five Taliban detainees at the US facility in Guantanamo, Cuba, to the custody of Qatar, US officials said.

Bergdahl's freedom follows months of indirect US-Taliban talks with Qatar acting as intermediary, the officials said.

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