Page last updated at 11:19 GMT, Tuesday, 8 June 2010 12:19 UK

UK military funding 'must prioritise troops'

British Royal Marine Commandos
British troops in Afghanistan face a long and complex task

British forces fighting in Afghanistan must be given funding priority over projects for possible future dangers, the head of the Army has said.

General Sir David Richards also attacked those who "for far too long" refused to admit the conflict is a war.

He said not all "cherished programmes" would survive the military review launched after the general election.

The general seemed to imply front line forces should be prioritised over projects such as replacing Trident.

Sir David said military chiefs had to accept that not all long-planned and expensive projects would survive the strategic defence and security review launched after last month's general election.

He told a Royal United Services Institute conference in London that supporting the current mission in Afghanistan had to take precedence over "future projected possibilities".

There are too many analysts and commentators who with hindsight are a little cleverer than perhaps they deserve to be seen as
General Sir David Richards

This appeared to be a reference to planned costly equipment projects such as building two new aircraft carriers and replacing the UK's Trident nuclear deterrent.

He said: "There must be a balance between current operational priorities and future capabilities.

"When they conflict, we must resource those current known requirements over future projected possibilities."

The general added: "The prime minister describes it as a war, something that some people were reluctant to do for far too long, in many people's view.

"There are too many analysts and commentators who with hindsight are a little cleverer than perhaps they deserve to be seen as."

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