One in four senior military and civilian staff at the Ministry of Defence are to be axed over the next two years, the defence secretary, Philip Hammond, has said.
A new senior structure for the ministry will be introduced next year in an attempt to show that all ranks of the services are making savings, and the cuts are not falling disproportionately on serving lower ranks.
“At a time when we are making difficult decisions about defence spending and have had to accept reductions across the board, we cannot ignore the volume of posts at the top,” said Hammond. “For too long the MoD has been top heavy, with too many senior civilians and military.”
In July, Hammond announced that 17 units were to be axed from the British army as part of sweeping reforms that will reduce its overall strength by 20,000. There would be at least two tranches of redundancies next year and in 2014.
By April 2013, 26 civilian and military posts at the rank of Commodore, Brigadier, Air Commodore or above are expected to have been phased out, saving an estimated Â£3.8m a year. Following the change, the slimmed-down head office is expected to focus on strategic direction, and frontline commanders will start to take responsiblity for their own budgets.
The changes were recommended in a report in 2011 by Lord Levene, the former chairman of Lloyds of London. The 84-page report also recommended a joint forces command to break down rivalries and barriers between the army, air force and Royal Navy, and that senior military should lose their jobs if over-spending got out of control.