Hammond To Visit Rosyth

The Defence Secretary is in Scotland today, just a week after he announced an increase in personnel based here, would be thousands fewer than first promised.

In a speech in Edinburgh today, Mr Hammond will describe the SNP's plans for the defence of Scotland if it succeeds in gaining independence as a ``significant gamble''.

A Scottish defence force would be able to offer only a ``fraction'' of the opportunities available in the British forces, he will say, making it difficult to attract high-calibre recruits.

``One of the challenges any armed forces around the world will face is how to attract and retain high-quality recruits. And the key to recruitment and retention is the quality of the offer you are able to make to potential  recruits,'' he will say.

``The British armed forces are able to attract some of the highest calibre recruits because they are able to offer some exciting and demanding career opportunities, with the chance to deploy overseas on operations and training and with the cache of being among the best and most widely respected armed forces in the world.

``The nationalists have taken for granted that soldiers currently serving in the 'Scottish' regiments would want to serve in a Scottish defence force. But who knows how many Scots would want to serve a new state as part of a Scottish defence force?

``They certainly wouldn't have a fraction of the opportunities they currently have for overseas deployment and training, nor the diversity of experience or access to the quality of kit and equipment with which they currently operate.

``It is a significant gamble to assume that troops in our UK armed forces would volunteer for a Scottish defence force. All of this adds up to a set of serious questions about the SNP's military personnel plans.''

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