28/08/2009

New Army Chief Marches In

General Sir David Richards today became the new head of the British army.

He takes over from General Sir Richard Dannatt, whose last weeks in charge have been marred by political controversy.

General Richards may have to face-down similar problems, as disagreements over military resources continue to simmer.

His biggest challenge will be the ongoing war in Afghanistan, following a recent upsurge in British personnel fatalities in the region.

General Richards's grounding as head of the International Security and Assistance Force, has given him first-hand experience of the country.

He also has extensive operational experience in East Timor and Sierra Leone.

General Richards has said he will not present the government with a "shopping list" for military equipment.

"It is impossible to say whether having more equipment of a particular kind would lead to less casualties, and pretty fruitless speculating about it," he said in an interview with the Times newspaper.

"The enemy's tactics will always reflect, and try to exploit, how we operate - my American comrades first taught me the adage, 'the enemy has a vote' - and our own tactics must reflect the equipment and troop numbers we have.

"It is a truism to state that the more we have, the more we can do."

(PR/GK)

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