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Lord William Hague, former Foreign Secretary, emphasizes the need for the UK to establish a 21st-century national service, advocating for a Scandinavian-style approach amid warnings from army chiefs about the country’s preparedness for war.

In a detailed analysis for The Times, Lord Hague asserts that British citizenship is more than a mere travel document and stresses the imperative of adapting to the hyper-individualistic nature of the contemporary age. He acknowledges the slim likelihood of navigating the next few decades without encountering a significant global crisis and advocates for a modernized concept of national service.

Lord Hague proposes a Norwegian-inspired national service model, where 18-year-olds undergo a selection process after completing a form, with approximately 17% serving for a year or longer. This approach aligns with the changing societal values and the demand for a more individualized experience, reported Daily Mail.

The call for a robust national service comes in the backdrop of warnings from Carlos Del Toro, the United States Navy Secretary, urging the UK government to reassess the size of its armed forces. General Sir Patrick Sanders, the outgoing Chief of the General Staff (CGS), has underscored the need for bolstering the army’s strength with at least 45,000 reservists to address potential threats, especially if NATO triggers Article 5 in response to an attack from Russia.

Former head of the British Army, Lord Richard Dannatt, echoes the concerns about the current army size, emphasizing that relying on 75,000 soldiers is unsustainable in the face of evolving international circumstances. He acknowledges the historical precedence of citizen armies playing a crucial role in wartime and supports the idea of involving the broader population in the event of a conflict.

General Sir Patrick emphasizes the need for an army designed to rapidly expand and equip citizen armies to effectively respond to evolving threats. He envisions a British Army of 120,000 within the next three years, incorporating reserves and strategic reserves to enhance the country’s defense capabilities.

Tobias Ellwood, former chairman of the defense select committee, underscores the urgency of upgrading the UK’s defense posture in response to a shifting global landscape. He highlights the growing challenges and the need for a proactive mindset in the face of increasing geopolitical complexities.

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