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UK unveils plan for smaller, more high-tech armed forces

LONDON (AP):  Britain plans to cut the size of its army and boost spending on drones, robots and a new cyber force under defence plans announced by the government on Monday.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the British Army would shrink from 76,500 soldiers to 72,500 by 2025. He said the army hadn't been at its established strength of 82,500 for several years.

Wallace said the military would no longer be overstretched and under-equipped and that new investment in equipment, infrastructure and technology marks a shift from mass mobilisation to information age speed, readiness and relevance for confronting the threats of the future.

Wallace said the armed forces will no longer be held as a force of last resort, but become more present and active around the world.

Britain is the second-biggest military spender in NATO, after the United States. In November the government announced a 16.5 billion-pound ( 23 billion) increase in defence spending over the next four years, focusing on the future battlefields of space and cyber rather than traditional resources such as army troops.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Monday that the reforms would give the military "the kit now that they will need to make themselves all the more useful, all the more, I'm afraid, lethal, and effective around the world...Therefore, all the more valuable to our allies, and all the more deterring to our foes".

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Britain  Army  Drone  Robot  Cyber  Defence  

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