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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.

More: Watchdog warns of Army cuts 'risks'

£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:

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The £1.1bn annual shortfall in savings will need to be found from cuts "across the armed forces from budget areas other than equipment" <NAO

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Despite cutting regular Army by fifth to save cash @naoorguk estimates MoD won't make savings it had planned. Will be £1.1bn PER YEAR short

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NatAuditOffice: "significant risks" in new Army structure & shortfall in recruitment of new reserves "will up the pressure on regular units"

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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.

Harry arrives for Monte Cassino memorial service

Prince Harry has arrived for the service to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino, one of the most important battles of the Italian campaign during the Second World War.

ITV News Royal Editor Tim Ewart is covering the service, along with royal producer Emma Wright.

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The 70th a anniversary of the final battle of Monte Cassino. UK veterans gather to remember http://t.co/ToiomtBEWX

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Prince Harry attends 70th Anniversary of the battle of Monte Cassino in Italy http://t.co/1WRneKnwB1

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Veterans gather for 70th anniversary of Monte Cassino

ITV News royal producer Emma Wright is in Italy ahead of Prince Harry's arrival at the site of the battle of Monte Cassino.

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British veterans gather at Cassino war cemetery for 70th Anniversary, Prince Harry will arrive shortly http://t.co/tCMDxg8BBd

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Read: Prince Harry tours WWII monastery ruins in Italy

More Afghan veterans seeking mental health support

British war veterans from the war in Afghanistan are seeking support for mental health issues like never before, according to mental health charity Combat Stress.

The latest figures from the charity suggest a 57% increase in the number of veterans attempting to access services.

Read: '57% rise' in war veterans seeking mental health support

ITV News Reporter Dan Rivers reports

More: Combat Stress charity treating rising numbers of soldiers

Combat Stress charity treating more Afghan veterans

Mental health charity Combat Stress has 662 Afghanistan veterans in its care and has been treating a rising number of soldiers who fought there.

The number of Afghanistan veterans seeking mental health support has climbed by 57 per cent
The number of Afghanistan veterans seeking mental health support has climbed by 57 per cent Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Commodore Andrew Cameron, the charity's chief executive, said: "We cannot allow the ex-service men and women who suffer from the invisible injuries of war to go unnoticed and untreated.

"This is an unnecessary drain on society and our veterans and families deserve better."

Read: '57% rise' in war veterans seeking mental health support

'57% rise' in war veterans seeking mental health support

The number of Afghanistan veterans seeking mental health support has climbed according to new figures.

Some 358 ex-military personnel sought help from mental health charity Combat Stress last year, compared with 228 in 2012, meaning a 57% rise in cases.

Some 358 ex-military personnel sought help from mental health charity Combat Stress last year. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Archive

The charity's chief executive, Commodore Andrew Cameron, warned that the numbers are likely to increase over the coming years and they face "a real challenge" in continuing treatment for those who need it.

More: Young soldiers 'at greater risk of suffering from PTSD'

He said: "We are planning for services at or above the current level for at least the next five years, and we do not expect to see demand for support tail-off in the near future."

"A small yet significant number of veterans who serve in the armed forces each year continue to relive the horrors they experienced on the front line. Day in, day out, they battle these hidden psychological wounds, often tearing families apart in the process," he said.

Commodore Cameron said one fifth of all veterans are likely to suffer from mental illness.

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